What are the causes of wheat allergy
As with every food allergies, the management of a wheat allergy involves the finish avoidance of wheat in any form. This can be hard since wheat is found in a plethora of everyday products from cereals and bread to cookies and pasta.
In fact, around 75 percent of every grain products in the U.S. is comprised of wheat, making this a particularly tough allergy to manage.
To address the growing concern, the U.S. Food and Drug istration requires every wheat-containing food products to be properly labeled so that consumers can avoid them if needed.
To differentiate, gluten is a protein found in numerous diverse types of grain. Persons who are gluten-intolerant are those who experience a reaction when exposed to every grains of the Pooideae subfamily, including wheat, barley, rye, and oats.
Overview of Gluten Allergy
By contrast, persons diagnosed with a wheat allergy—meaning wheat specifically—will only react to wheat and generally be fine with barley, rye, or oats.
The health problems caused by wheat
There are 3 key health problems caused by wheat:
- Wheat allergy – reactions generally start within minutes and include itching, sneezing and wheezing.
See your GP for referral to an NHS allergy clinic.
- Coeliac disease – a condition where the intestine lining can’t absorb and is damaged by gluten-containing foods including wheat, barley, oats and rye. See your GP for a blood test.
- Wheat sensitivity – symptoms love bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and sickness come on fairly slowly, generally hours after eating wheat.
There’s no diagnostic test.
What to do if wheat triggers digestive symptoms
If your symptoms are severe and long-lasting, especially if you own blood in your poo (stools), vomiting or painful stomach cramps, see your doctor to law out a medical condition.
If you own bloating or other minor symptoms after eating bread, Dr Skypala recommends trying an elimination diet. This is where you completely cut out wheat from your diet for 4 weeks, then gradually bring it back in to see if symptoms reappear.
«When you bring wheat-based foods back in, I recommend trying Weetabix or pasta first for a few days before starting on bread.
It’s better to start with wheat in a more pure form, as bread has so numerous other ingredients,» Dr Skypala says.
Types and Symptoms of Wheat Allergy
Wheat allergy symptoms can vary in severity from a mild, flu-like condition to a life-threatening, all-body reaction (known as anaphylaxis).
The speed by which symptoms develop can also vary. With an IgE-mediated reaction, in which the body responds to an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE), the symptoms can happen within minutes or hours of eating wheat. With a non-IgE-mediated reaction, symptoms may not appear until a day or two later as a result of other components of the immune system aside from IgE
A wheat allergy can affect one or several organ systems at once and may include:
- Respiratory symptoms, including rhinitis, asthma, wheezing, and respiratory distress
- Digestive symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Oropharyngeal symptoms including mouth and throat itchiness, coughing, and the swelling of the tongue and throat
- Dermatologic symptoms including eczema, hives, blisters, and the swelling of the hands and face
- Neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, and seizures
In more severe forms of anaphylaxis, people will commonly describe a "feeling of impending doom" in relation to their deteriorating state.
Bread-related gut symptoms
«Probably a third of patients in my allergy clinic complain of digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain after eating bread,» says Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
She says allergy is unlikely to be the culprit, but bread-related symptoms are genuine, and wheat could be to blame.
«Some people discover certain foods are simply hard to digest, and wheat appears to be one of those,» she explains.
Read more about food intolerance.
How to Spot Hidden Wheat
Even though wheat must be clearly labeled on food labels in the U.S., there are times when it can be hidden in the ingredients list. Here are some of the terms used by manufacturers which ultimately mean wheat even if it isn't clearly spelled out:
- High-gluten flour
- Cracker crumbs
- High-protein flour
- Enriched Flour
- Graham flour
- Modified starch
- Wheat germ
Manufacturers will also use the phrase "may contain wheat," or "made in a facility that processes wheat." If your reaction to wheat has been severe enough to require emergency care or hospitalization, you will likely desire to steer clear of these products just to be safe.
The same applies to certain cosmetics, hair care products, vitamins, and pet foods which may contain trace amounts of wheat and accidentally contaminate your hands or cooking surfaces.
Thanks for your feedback!
Is eating bread giving you bloating and other digestive symptoms?
If so, you could be sensitive to wheat. Cutting out bread or changing the type you eat may help.
More and more of us claim to suffer from a wheat allergy, so we shun bread and other wheat-based foods, love pasta and cereals.
Experts tell genuine food allergy is, in fact, rarely to blame. But wheat sensitivity (also known as wheat intolerance) or simply trouble digesting wheat is increasingly common.