If you have been diagnosed with wheat allergy, you will need to avoid all wheat and wheat products completely. Because wheat forms a significant part of our daily diets, removing it can leave your diet low in kilojoules until nutritious alternatives are found. It is therefore very important to see a dietitian.
The good news is that children often outgrow wheat allergy by the age of two, and anaphylactic reactions are very rare.
A wheat and gluten-free diet can be low in fibre as many of the alternative flours are lower in fibre than wholemeal wheat varieties. Higher fibre alternatives include:
• flours from soy, buckwheat, chickpeas, rice bran
• grains such as amaranath, barley, buckwheat, millet, brown rice
• fruit and vegetables.
Wheat-free foods are available from health food stores, some specialty stores and supermarkets; however the range available can vary.
What is gluten?It is important to note that avoiding wheat is not the same as avoiding gluten. Gluten is a protein found mainly in wheat, barley, oat, triticale, spelt and rye. This means that wheat products labelled ‘wheat-free’ are not necessarily gluten-free, but products labelled ‘gluten-free’ are often wheat-free. There are, however, some ingredients derived from wheat (e.g. wheat glucose syrup, wheat maltodextrin) that contain no detectable gluten but still might contain other wheat proteins, so they are not suitable for a wheat-free diet.
Acknowledgements: Dr Jan Sinclair — Paediatric Immunologist, and Jennifer Heyward — Paediatric Dietitian, of Starship Children's Health