What is gluten free allergy

Today we are increasingly hearing terms such as gluten intolerance, wheat allergy and coeliac disease. On top of this, the words wheat and gluten are often used interchangeably too, even though there is a extremely clear difference between the two substances. So what do they actually mean and how are they different?

Gluten is a component of wheat and is also a protein that is found in some other grains too, including spelt, barley and rye. It’s also what gives yeast-based dough its elasticity.

What is gluten free allergy

Because gluten is found in a variety of grains, people who react to gluten (including those with coeliac disease, which is actually an autoimmune response triggered by gluten, as we’ll see below) need to avoid not only wheat, but also other gluten-containing grains and any foods that contain them.

A reaction to wheat can be completely diverse from a reaction to gluten. In fact, those with a true allergy to wheat are often not reacting to the gluten, but to some other part of the plant. Researchers own actually identified 27 diverse potential wheat allergens (1), of which gluten is one type. Albumin and globulin proteins may be particularly common triggers (2).

Let’s glance more closely at the difference between wheat allergy, coeliac disease and gluten intolerance.

In Summary

Understanding the difference between wheat and gluten can assist avoid any unnecessary symptoms that may be brought on by ingesting the incorrect foods.

Confusing wheat and gluten may own less of an impact on people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity/intolerance, or wheat sensitivity/intolerance, but it can own more serious consequences for those with a true wheat allergy and coeliac disease.

Clearspring’s Range of Gluten-Free Products

The Clearspring promise is to provide great-tasting, yummy foods that support excellent health and provide optimum nutrition. We desire to give our customers who need to avoid gluten or wheat the chance to own great-tasting food and to be capable to cook with confidence. This has inspired us to launch a range of gluten-free ingredients, from meal staples such as soya protein, rice and vegetable pastas to seasonings, sauces and garnishes.

These are tasty, nutritious alternatives perfect for those on a gluten-free diet but equally yummy for the whole family.

Alternatives To Wheat and Gluten Grains and Flours

The following are alternatives that are both wheat and gluten-free: maize (corn), corn flour, potato, potato flour, rice flour, soya beans, soya flour, buckwheat, millet, tapioca, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, arrowroot, chickpea (gram) flour and lentil flour.

Chickpeas, beans and lentils are excellent fillers and can be added to soups and gravies, while wheat-free pasta and rice noodles are a grand alternative to standard wheat pasta.

Other Conditions

A gluten-free diet may also be beneficial for other conditions.

These include inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and other digestive conditions or symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome or excessive bloating and gas. There’s increasing evidence that following a gluten-free diet may be beneficial for some people with other types of autoimmune disease too.

«Gluten-Free» and «Wheat-Free» Foods

Now let’s glance at why understanding the difference between these two terms is significant, depending on which of the above conditions/symptoms you may have.

‘Wheat-free’ foods are free from any components of wheat, including other proteins that people with a wheat allergy can react to.

But foods that are just labelled ‘wheat-free’ may still contain other gluten-containing grains or substances derived from them, and are not necessarily gluten-free.

‘Gluten-free’ foods own to be free of gluten from any of the gluten-containing grains (more accurately, they own to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten – a extremely tiny amount). Once again, these grains include rye, barley and spelt as well as wheat. Oats can also contain little amounts of gluten via contamination from other grains. Therefore oats also need to be avoided on a gluten-free diet, unless they are specifically labelled ‘gluten-free’, indicating that the oats own been processed in facilities that eliminate risk of contamination with gluten.

However, ‘gluten-free’ doesn’t necessarily mean the food is free from other wheat components.

So if you own a wheat allergy and you’re buying packaged or processed foods, it can be wise to glance specifically for ‘wheat-free’ and not just gluten-free – or thoroughly check the ingredients list to make certain the food you’re buying doesn’t contain other wheat components.

Reading The Ingredients

If a label on a packaged food doesn’t explicitly state ‘gluten-free’ or ‘wheat-free’ then you may need to glance through the ingredients to check. But it’s not enough to avoid anything that lists the expression ‘wheat’ (or when looking for gluten-free products, the words ‘wheat’, ‘barley’, ‘rye’ or ‘spelt’). Products such as gravies, soya sauce, salad dressings and casseroles can contain derivatives of wheat or other gluten grains that are harder to identify and can also be listed under diverse names.

The following should every be avoided: durum wheat, spelt, kamut, couscous, bran, wheat bran, wheat germ, farina, rusk, semolina, wheat starch, vegetable starch, vegetable gum, malt extracts, vegetable protein, cereal filler, cereal binder and cereal protein.

Coeliac Disease

According to the Coeliac Society (www.coeliac.org.uk), coeliac disease is a well-defined, serious illness where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue, when gluten is eaten. This causes damage to the lining of the little intestine and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from ingested food. Generally diagnosed by a gastroenterologist, it is a digestive disease that can cause serious complications, including malnutrition and intestinal damage, if left untreated.

Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance; it is an autoimmune disease where the sufferer must completely avoid gluten from every grains – not just wheat.

The Coeliac Society states that one in 100 people in the UK is thought to own coeliac disease, but only 24 per cent of these people are diagnosed. This leaves almost half a million people in the UK who could own coeliac disease but aren’t yet diagnosed (www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/myths-about-coeliac-disease).

Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance

Many people who do not own coeliac disease can still experience uncomfortable symptoms when they consume gluten.

This is known as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. Researchers continue to debate just how numerous people are truly sensitive to gluten, but the number has been estimated to be approximately 6% of the population.

As some of the symptoms of coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and even wheat allergy can overlap, it is significant to be tested by your doctor to determine which of these may be causing your symptoms.

Wheat Allergy

A true wheat allergy should not be confused with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease. A food allergy is caused by the immune system producing IgE antibodies to a specific food protein or proteins.

Symptoms tend to happen fairly soon after eating the food, from seconds up to two hours.

What is gluten free allergy

When the food protein is ingested, it can trigger a range of allergy symptoms from mild (such as a rash, itching, or sneezing) to severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, anaphylaxis). Wheat allergy symptoms may also include abdominal pain, diarrhoea and other digestive disturbances. A true food allergy such as this can be potentially fatal.

Allergy to wheat is thought to be more common in children, who may ‘grow out of’ it before reaching adulthood. But it can also develop in adults.

Those with a wheat allergy may still be capable to consume other gluten-containing grains; although in some cases these will need to be avoided too.



Sotkovský P et al. A new approach to the isolation and characterization of wheat flour allergens. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011 Jul;41(7):1031-43.

2. Mittag D et al. Immunoglobulin E-reactivity of wheat-allergic subjects (baker’s asthma, food allergy, wheat-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis) to wheat protein fractions with diverse solubility and digestibility. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2004 Oct;48(5):380-9.

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Below is a table with our sausages and their ingredients. You will discover a key to the allergens under too.

Sulphites (preservative) S Wheat Gluten (rusks) WG Mustard M
Milk- MI Eggs- E Soya- SO
Celery- C Sesame- SE Nuts- N
Peanuts- P Fish- F Peanuts
Antioxidant A
Preservative ( Sulphites/ sulphur dioxide SO2) P
Flavour Enhancer (Glutamates eg MSG) F
Colouring E120 (Cochineal) C
Sausages % Meats Allergens Alcohol
International Sausages – Gluten Free
Toulouse 89% pork S
Fresh Chorizos 69%pork,22%beef S,MI,
Merguez 66% lamb, 22% pork S
Italian Piccante 91% Pork S White Wine
Sicilian 91% Pork S White Wine
Boerewors S
Bratwurst 79% pork S
Weisswurst 14%/beef, 37% pork S
Specialist Sausages
Whisky, Hog & Wild Thyme 72% Pork S,WG Whisky
Pork, Leek & Fennel 68% Pork, leek 4% S,WG
Pork & Edinburgh Ale 71% Pork S,WG Ale
Summer Sizzlers 71% Pork S,WG,M
Pork, Honey & Mustard 70% pork S, WG, M
Piggy Black 65% pork,7% B/Pud M,S,WG
Pork & Leek with Ginger 68% Pork S,WG
Mediterranean Pork 65%Pork S,WG
Pork, Whisky & Marmalade 72% pork WG,S Whisky
Pork & Caramelised Onion 69% Pork S,WG
Pork, Spicy Mango & Ginger 71% Pork S,WG
Sweet Chilli Dragon 71% Pork S,WG
Pork, leek, pancetta & cheese 67% pork, 9% cheese,4% pancetta WG, S Cheddar cheese
Celebration Sausage (Bucks Fizz) 74% Pork WG, S, Bucks Fizz
Poughman’s Pork – Deli only 62% Pork WG, S, Mi Cheddar Cheese
BBQ Chicken 47% chicken, 27% pork WG, S, F anchovies
Cock-a- Leekie 46% chicken, 26% pork WG, S, C
Rum & Ale Pork Sausage 71% pork, 6% Ale WG, S, Ale
Pork, pear & parmesan 70% Pork S, WG, MI Cheese
Pork Apple, Leek & sage 70% Pork S, WG
All with beef of lamb
Lucifer’s Matchsticks 68% Beef S,WG,M
Wine Merchants 61% Beef S,WG,MI,M R/Wine ,Cheese
Auld Reekie 31% Beef 33% Pork S,WG,
Lamb, Rosemary & Garlic 71% Lamb S,WG
All gluten free
Venison, Redcurrant & Basil 58% Venis 38% Pork S Red Wine
Boerewors(new seas) S
Bratwurst(see above) 79% pork S
Weisswurst (see above) Pork 36%, Veal 14% S
Irish Pork 81% Pork S,WG
Cumberland Style Coil 85% Pork S,WG
The One O’clock Banger 69% pork WG,S,M,,MI,C
The Broughton Banger 81% pork S,WG
Special Pork 72% Pork S,WG
Pork Chipolatas 72% Pork S,WG
Farmers Pork 74% Pork S,WG,C
Prime Steak 61% Beef S,WG
Grandad’s Beef 68% Beef S,WG
Beef Lorne Slicing 65% Beef S,WG

In fact, FODMAPs seem more likely than gluten to cause widespread intestinal distress, since bacteria regularly ferment carbohydrates but ferment protein less frequently.

Although a FODMAP-free diet is complicated, it permits people to eliminate individual foods temporarily and then reintroduce them systematically to determine which, if any, are responsible for their stomach problems. FODMAPs are not as trendy as gluten and not as simple to understand. But, biologically, their role makes more sense, Murray says.

“That first paper, in 2011, blew our minds,” Murray told me. “Essentially, it said that people are intolerant of gluten, and it was based on a well-designed, double-blind study.

When people were challenged with gluten, by eating the muffins, they got ill. We just couldn’t figure it out. But then came the second study. By then, it was almost too tardy to put the genie back in the bottle. You own millions of people out there completely convinced that they feel better when they don’t eat gluten—and they don’t desire to hear anything different.”

The FODMAP research, while influential and highly regarded, involved fewer than a hundred people, not enough to account definitively for the number of people who own abandoned foods that contain gluten.

What is gluten free allergy

Several groups are trying to repeat those results. But studies love that take time. At present, there are no blood tests, biopsies, genetic markers, or antibodies that can confirm a diagnosis of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. There own been a few studies suggesting that people without celiac disease own a reason to eliminate gluten from their diet. But most of the data are unclear or preliminary. Doctors rarely diagnose non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and numerous don’t believe that it exists. Few people seem to own been deterred by the lack of evidence.

“Everyone is trying to figure out what is going on, but nobody in medicine, at least not in my field, thinks this adds up to anything love the number of people who tell they feel better when they take gluten out of their diet,” Murray said. “It’s hard to put a number on these things, but I would own to tell that at least seventy per cent of it is hype and desire. There is just nothing obviously related to gluten that is incorrect with most of these people.’’

About a month ago, in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the role that gluten plays in our diet, I flew to Seattle, then drove north for an hour, to Mount Vernon, where Washington State University’s Bread Lab is situated.

The lab is part of the university’s wheat-breeding program; by studying the diversity of the grains grown in the Pacific Northwest, researchers there hope to determine which are most suitable for baking, brewing, and making pasta. Dan Barber, a chef and the co-owner of the Blue Hill restaurants, in Manhattan and in Pocantico Hills, had suggested that I visit Stephen Jones, a molecular cytogeneticist and the lab’s director. Barber, in his recent book “The Third Plate,” describes Jones as a savior of traditional wheat in a world that has transformed most crops into bland industrial commodities.

I was more eager to hear what he had to tell about the implications of adding additional gluten to bread dough, which has become routine in industrial bakeries.

Jones, a strapping man with an aw-shucks manner, has spent the past twenty-five years trying to figure out the best way to make a loaf of bread. The quantity of gluten added to industrially made bread keeps increasing, and Jones has become acutely interested in whether that additional gluten may be at least partly responsible for the gastrointestinal distress reported by so numerous people. “My Ph.D. was on the genetics of loaf volume—looking at chromosomes and relating them to the strength of the dough in bread,’’ Jones said, as he greeted me at the entrance to the research middle.

The inviting, if somewhat incongruous, aroma of freshly baked bread filled the building. Jones’s lab is unique; few bakeries own Brabender farinographs, which Jones and his team use in their search for the ideal ratio of gluten to water in dough, and to measure the strength of flour. Nor can there be numerous labs with a Matador deck baking oven, which can accommodate more than a dozen loaves at a time, and which circulates heat uniformly, at boiling enough temperatures, to insure a voluminous loaf and the strongest possible crust.

For every the high-tech gadgets on display in the Bread Lab, the operation is decidedly old-fashioned, relying on rock mills of a type that own not been used for more than a century and on a philosophy that every it takes to make genuine and yummy whole-wheat bread is time, talent, flour, a little salt, and lots of water.

There are essentially two ways to turn flour into bread. The first is the way it was done for most of human history: let the flour absorb as much water as possible and give it time to ferment, a process that allows yeast and bacteria to activate the dough. Kneading then binds the two proteins that come together to form gluten. Most of the bread consumed in the United States is made the other way: in put of hydration, fermentation, and kneading, manufacturers save time by relying on artificial additives and huge industrial mixers to ram together the essential proteins that form gluten.

Until the tardy nineteenth century, when steel rollers and industrial mills came into use, wheat was ground on stones, a slow and imprecise process.

Steel was quick, efficient, and simple to maintain, and it permitted millers to discard the germ and the bran in the wheat kernel and then rapidly process the starchy endosperm. This made white flour. Almost nobody seemed to notice, or care, that by tossing out the relax of the kernel industrial bakers were stripping bread of its vitamins, its fibre, and most of its healthy fats. White bread was seen as an affordable luxury. Love numerous Jews arriving from Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, my great-grandfather had never seen white bread before, but when he did he immediately made what was referred to, at least in my family, as an “American sandwich”: he took two pieces of the black bread that he had always eaten, and carefully placed a piece of industrially made white bread between them.

He is said to own been delighted.

The Bread Lab team, which includes the patient, inventive baker Jonathan Bethony, uses whole grains, water, salt, and yeast. Nothing else. Whole-wheat bread, even when it’s excellent, is generally thick and chewy, and rarely moist; Bethony’s bread was remarkably airy and light. It contains only the natural gluten formed by kneading the flour. Most bakers, even those who would never go near an industrial mixing machine, include an additive called vital wheat gluten to strengthen the dough and to assist the loaf rise.

(In general, the higher the protein content of wheat, the more gluten it contains.)

Vital wheat gluten is a powdered, concentrated form of the gluten that is found naturally in every bread. It is made by washing wheat flour with water until the starches dissolve. Bakers add additional gluten to their dough to provide the strength and elasticity necessary for it to endure the often brutal process of commercial mixing.

Vital wheat gluten increases shelf life and acts as a binder; because it’s so versatile, food companies own added it not only to bread but to pastas, snacks, cereals, and crackers, and as a thickener in hundreds of foods and even in some cosmetics. Chemically, vital wheat gluten is identical to regular gluten, and no more likely to cause harm. But the fact that it is added to the protein already in the flour worries Jones. “Vital wheat gluten is a crutch,’’ he said. “It’s every storage and functionality. No flavor. People act as if it were magic. But there is no magic to food.”

Jones is a careful scientist, and he said more than once that he had no evidence that a growing reliance on any single additive could explain why celiac disease has become more common, or why so numerous people tell that they own trouble digesting gluten.

But he and his colleagues are certain that vital wheat gluten makes bread taste love mush. “Flour that is sliced and packed into plastic wrapping in less than three hours—that’s not bread,’’ Jones said. He and Bethany Econopouly, one of his doctoral students, recently published an essay in the Huffington Post in which they argue that the legal definition of the expression “bread” has become meaningless and ought to be changed: “FDA regulations state that for bread to be labeled as ‘bread,’ it must be made of flour, yeast, and a moistening ingredient, generally water.

When bleached flour is used, chemicals love acetone peroxide, chlorine, and benzoyl peroxide (yes, the one used to treat acne) can be included in the recipe and are masked under the term ‘bleached.’ Optional ingredients are also permissible in products called bread: shortening, sweeteners, ground dehulled soybeans, coloring, potassium bromate . . . and other dough strengtheners (such as bleaching agents and vital gluten).”

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the ingestion of gluten induces enteropathy, or inflammation of the gut, in genetically susceptible individuals.

This destruction of the gut means that nutrients cannot be absorbed, leading to a variety of clinical symptoms: anemia due to the lack of iron, atherosclerosis due to the lack of calcium, failure to thrive in children, and GI stress, among others.

Gluten is the primary protein component of wheat – it is what gives breads their yummy chewy texture. The only known cure for celiac disease is finish elimination of gluten from the diet – so no pizza, bagels, pasta, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, cookies, soy sauce (it has wheat in it), licorice (ditto) … you get the thought.

Even communion wafers are verboten.

Although this is obviously extremely onerous on numerous levels, unlike any drug regimen it is 100 percent effective and free of side effects. Ingestion of gluten puts celiacs at risk for developing other autoimmune diseases and lymphomas.

Celiac disease was first described in A.D.

What is gluten free allergy

100 by the Greek doctor Aretaeus. When his extant works were first published in Latin in 1552 the Greek expression for abdominal, koiliaki, was transcribed to celiac.1

But it was not until the Dutch famine of 1944 that wheat was positively identified as the factor instigating the enteropathy. An observant pediatrician, Willem Dicke, noticed that the celiac patients on his ward improved with the strict rationing of flour. When the first supplies of precious bread were generously given to these ill children they relapsed, proving that wheat was in fact the culprit2.

The scarcity of celiac diagnoses in this country had been a self fulfilling prophecy for numerous years: medical students were taught that celiac was so rare they would probably never encounter it, so they never bothered looking. The variable clinical presentations compounded this thought. When doctors started looking for it, they found it in roughly the same rates as it is found in Europe: 1 in 133 people3.

Although numerous autoimmune diseases are thought to result from an interplay of genetic and environmental components, celiac is the only one for which the environmental trigger is actually known. It is gluten, as well as hordein and secalin, the homologous protein components of barley and rye.

So no beer or malt vinegar for celiacs either. For the sake of convenience, foods labeled “gluten free” are free of these proteins as well. But foods labeled “wheat free” may still contain them, so these foods are not necessarily gluten free.

What is gluten free allergy

Celiac disease is hardly the beginning and finish of this tale. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a rash that results when gluten induces an autoimmune response in the skin rather than the gut, and there is evidence that gluten can provoke a similar autoimmune response in the brain as well1.

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance – a somewhat vague claim by people who definitely do not own celiac that they feel better when they eliminate gluten – was belittled by the scientific and medical establishment for a endless time because it had no discernable cause or explanation, but now they are starting to come around and believe that it might be real4.

It might be mediated by the innate, rather than the adaptive, immune system, meaning that T and B cells are not involved5.

All this is completely separate from wheat allergies, which are mediated by a completely separate adaptive immune response (allergies are mediated by IgE class antibodies, and celiac antibodies are IgA). People with wheat allergies can safely eat spelt as well as barley and rye, while those with celiac cannot. And allergies can be outgrown, whereas celiac is forever.

So whether it is due to an actual increase in occurrence or merely an increase in diagnosis, there are certainly more celiacs around than there used to be. Wheat has been cultivated by humans for some 10,000 years, but as is the case with so numerous favorite crops, the number of varieties we used to grow and consume has been reduced to those few that are commercially viable.6

The soft white winter wheat that was traditionally grown in the mid-Atlantic states is low in gluten, so it is grand for pastry and cake flour but not so much for bread.

Now, most wheat used in this country is hard wheat grown in the Midwest, and it is bred to yield flour that is consistent in taste and texture. Hard wheat contains twice as much gluten as soft wheat does, so it produces chewy loaves of bread with crunchy crusts rather than flaky pie crusts.

As of now, FDA labeling laws do not require that the presence of gluten in foods be disclosed. These laws require only that the presence of eight major allergens be declared on food labels. Wheat is one of these allergens, but gluten is not. Manufacturers may label foods as gluten free, but such labeling is voluntary. For the millions of Americans with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, and gluten intolerance who must ensure that they are not consuming any gluten, this translates to A LOT of time spent reading labels in supermarket aisles.



Hadjivassiliou M, Sanders DS, Grünewald RA, Woodroofe N, Boscolo S, and Aeschlimann D. Gluten sensitivity: from gut to brain. Lancet Neurol 2010; 9: 318–30

2. van Berge-Henegouwen GP, and Mulder CJ. Pioneer in the gluten free diet: Willem-Karel Dicke 1905-1962, over 50 years of gluten free diet. Gut. 1993 34(11): 1473–1475.

3. Roberts AG. Gluten Free Baking Classics. Surry Books, Chicago, 2006.

4. Biesiekierski JR, Newnham ED, Irving PM, Barrett JS, Haines M, Doecke JD, Shepherd SJ, Muir JG, and Gibson PR.

Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 106(3):508-14.

5. Sapone A, Lammers KM, Casolaro V, Cammarota M, Giuliano MT, De Rosa M, Stefanile R, Mazzarella G, Tolone C, Russo MI, Esposito P, Ferraraccio F, Cartenì M, Riegler G, de Magistris L, and Fasano A. Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

BMC Med. 2011; 9: 23.

6. Indrani Sen. Flour that has the flavor of home. The New York Times Sept. 10, 2008.

About The Author: Diana Gitig received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Genetics from Cornell University’s Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 2001. Since then she is a freelance science author. Diana is based in New York.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.