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Wheat Allergy: Spotting Problems on Food Labels

With a food allergy, it’s always important for you to know what you’re eating. Reading labels is your best way to stay safe. Here are tips for spying out culprits in packaged and prepared foods.

Any packaged food has to show on the label if it contains milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans. Look at both the food label -- "Contains: Wheat" or "Contains: Gluten" -- and the ingredients list.

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Wheat Words to Watch For

  • Bread crumbs
  • Bromated flour
  • Bulgur
  • Cereal extract
  • Couscous
  • Cracker meal
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Flour
  • Fu
  • Graham flour
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Kamut
  • Malt, malt extract
  • Matzoh
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Pasta (there are some non-wheat versions)
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Vital wheat gluten
  • Wheat bran hydrolysate
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Wheat grass
  • Wheat protein isolate
  • Whole wheat berries

Where Wheat Hides

Even if you skip baked goods, wheat is hard to avoid. It can show up in odd places like:

  • Spelt -- a type of wheat that is sometimes falsely marketed as safe for people with wheat allergies
  • Sauce mixes, seasonings, and condiments, like mustard, mayonnaise, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce
  • Sausages
  • Ice cream
  • Candy
  • Beer, whisky, and wine
  • Medications that use wheat binders to help them stick together

How to Choose Safe Foods

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on October 31, 2014

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