What is a Wheat Intolerance?
Wheat intolerance is when symptoms are manifest in the sufferer when wheat is eaten. Symptoms can be severe with inflammation in the gut, and symptoms can manifest outside of the gut as in skin issues such as eczema. Whereas gluten is the main concern for those who suffer from wheat allergy, there can be intolerance symptoms that manifest from any part of wheat eaten as food. Usually there is little concern for contact intolerance with wheat proteins contained in or on non-food items since there is no measurable immune response. However, since wheat is so prevalent in normal foods, it is of great concern to those who suffer with the symptoms of intolerance.
What is a Wheat Allergy?
A wheat allergy is an immune system response that sees the wheat proteins such as gliadin and glutenin which make up gluten as invaders. The immune system will send white cells to the area where it detects gluten in order to fight off the supposed invading protein. The white cells cause inflammation. Inflammation causes upset in the gut and when in the airway can cause symptoms of asthma. Wheat allergy can run the gamut from mild to severe where it causes anaphylaxis.
What is Wheat?
Wheat is one of the cereal grains along with others such as rye and barley. Wheat is on the Top 8 list of foods that produce an allergic response. The gluten compound of gliadin and glutenin found in wheat is a known offender for causing allergic response, intolerance and celiac disease. Wheat is the main ingredient in most breads, bagels and pastas. Commercial food production components of wheat such as starches and gluten are used in such a vast amount of both food and non-food items, it can not even begin to be covered here.
How Common is a Wheat Intolerance?
Wheat intolerance would most likely be more common than a wheat allergy since wheat allergy needs to involve the immune system. Since wheat allergies are common to the point of wheat being in the Top 8 list of food allergies, it is likely there are significantly more people who suffer from wheat intolerance. Some experts estimate that up to 30% of the population suffers from wheat intolerance.
How Common is a Wheat Allergy?
Exact numbers of the population that is truly allergic to wheat is not known. Truly allergic in that the body has a measurable immune system response when wheat is eaten or even in some cases comes in contact with the body. Immune system response can be tested through blood testing and skin response testing. The United States Food and Drug Administration considers wheat to be an allergen to enough people that it requires it to be made known on the labels of products wherein it is contained.
What is the Difference Between Wheat and Gluten?
Wheat is the main source for gluten proteins used in food and non-food mass production of products. Glutens are proteins in wheat which are gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is known to cause more true allergic reactions than glutenin. This is why many can tolerate other cereal grains that do not have gliadin protein but do contain glutenin. Those who suffer intolerance symptoms that are not provoking a response from their immune system may manifest symptoms from any component of wheat.
Do Alcoholic Beverages Contain Wheat?
Brewed alcoholic beverages can contain wheat. It is believed that distillation does not allow the proteins to survive intact into the finished product of bourbons, whiskeys and vodkas made wholly or partly from wheat grain. However, fragments of proteins can trigger a reaction or symptoms in those who are extremely sensitive. Also consider manufacturing processes that add coloring after distillation. Caramel coloring can be derived from wheat.
What Should I Avoid on a Wheat-Free Diet?
Most breads and pastas are made from wheat. It is important to read ingredient labels because there are many products in daily use that may not be considered to contain wheat. Most brands of soy sauce contain wheat. Fortunately the labeling laws help us to discover which products contain wheat. However, there may be issues with companies who do not advise consumers about the possibility of cross-contamination with other products made on the same equipment.
What Are Some Terms that May Indicate Wheat?
Whole grain, multi-grain, durum, spelt, wheat germ, malt, kamut, textured Vegetable Protein (TVP normally from soy but may contain wheat), semolina, vegetable starch, flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy sauce and miso.