Wheat allergy or wheat intolerance, just to clear things up are NOT the same complaint. Wheat allergy is a sudden allergic reaction to a protein in wheat, where as wheat intolerance can be mild in it’s form and easily treated.
Wheat allergy is an auto immune response of the body. Symptoms include immediate coughing, asthma attacks, breathing difficulties and vomiting, it can be life threatening in allergic people. Luckily true wheat allergies are rare, however people with a true wheat allergy must adhere to a strict wheat free diet to live a normal healthy life.
Wheat intolerance is when people have difficulty digesting wheat or foods that contain wheat. A protein in wheat known as gluten is the culprit, wheat or gluten intolerance can cause gastro-intestinal problems, flatulence, depression, eczema and a host of other symptoms. This condition is rarely life threatening except in very severe cases.
Gluten can be found in wheat and wheat products such as flour, it’s also found in rye, barley and oats. Other foods that contain gluten but are not as commonly linked with gluten are cereals, licorice and natural flavourings. It is advisable to read labels on food packaging thoroughly to be sure of the contents.
Diagnosis of both complaints can be challenging and time consuming as elimination tests need to be carried out, by that I mean foods are eliminated out of your diet one by one until the foods that trigger the allergic response or intolerance are found.
Skin and blood test are done along with detailed medical and dietary history, once the triggers are eliminated your health will improve dramatically. In some cases it will mean a total gluten free lifestyle, but the benefits of a wheat free / gluten free diet are immense. You will feel better than you have for years.