What is wheat intolerance?
What does wheat intolerance mean?
If you have an intolerance to wheat (defined by YorkTest as a food-specific IgG reaction) this means that your body could be producing an inflammatory response to wheat proteins present in your diet.
A wheat intolerance, otherwise known as a wheat sensitivity, should not be confused with a gluten intolerance. The two are closely related but are not the same thing.
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What is the difference between a wheat intolerance and gluten intolerance?
Gluten proteins are found within wheat. That means that those who are gluten intolerant are also wheat intolerant. However, it doesn’t work the other way around.
Gluten is found in other grain substitutes such as barley and rye, so those with a wheat intolerance who do not react to gluten proteins, can still eat these foods without experiencing a reaction.
Supermarkets have continuously expanded their range of gluten and wheat-free produce in recent years to cater for those who are following a gluten-free diet or avoiding wheat.
What is the difference between wheat intolerance and coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is a lifelong intolerance to gluten, which is classed as an autoimmune disease. According to Coeliac UK, 1 in 100 people have the condition where the body’s immune system actively attacks its own tissues when gluten is consumed. It’s important to know that coeliac disease is neither a food allergy or food intolerance.
A wheat intolerance, on the other hand, could be reintroduced after eliminating the food trigger for a few months. If you feel that you might have coeliac disease, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your GP where they can take a simple blood test to check for antibodies which can indicate coeliac disease. YorkTest do not test for coeliac disease.
What are the symptoms of wheat intolerance?
Wheat intolerance symptoms do not present themselves immediately. It is thought that they can be delayed for up to 72 hours. The signs of a wheat intolerance may vary in severity and can affect a person both physically and mentally. Typical symptoms of a food intolerance could include:
- Digestive complaints – like IBS, stomach ache or bloating
- Neurological problems – such as severe headaches and migraines
- Skin issues – most commonly eczema, acne, itchiness and rashes
- Tiredness and fatigue – a lack of energy, “brain fog” or lethargy
- Joint pain – persistent aching or swelling of the joints
- Psychological problems – like anxiety or depression
- Respiratory complaints – e.g sinusitis or rhinitis
Can you outgrow wheat intolerances?
It is possible to no longer be intolerant to wheat by eliminating it from the diet and then reintroducing it later in life.
This task should always be carried out with the support of a nutritional professional, who can advise on healthy alternatives and ensure that your diet remains balanced.
Step one – Have you visited your doctor to discuss the symptoms you are experiencing? If not, you should consult with them so they can rule out any underlying medical conditions and coeliac disease.
Step two – Take a FirstStep test with YorkTest, which is a cost-effective indication of whether or not you are suffering from a food intolerance*. Should you test positive, proceed to a full YorkTest programme, which identifies the individual foods and/or drinks your body is reacting to (both wheat and gluten are tested for). Typically, those with intolerances* react to 4 or 5 ingredients. You should therefore be aware that wheat may be just one of your “trigger foods”.
Step three – With the help of a YorkTest nutritional therapist, carry out a 12-week elimination diet by cutting out your food intolerances* and substituting healthy alternatives into your diet.
Step four – If you wish to reintroduce your trigger food(s) back into your diet, we advise that this should be a gradual process in order to monitor how your body responds and to look out for a return of any symptoms.
* YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction.
What is the difference between a wheat intolerance and wheat allergy?
What are the symptoms of being allergic to wheat?
The symptoms experienced by those suffering with a wheat allergy are much more severe than wheat intolerance symptoms. In extreme cases, allergic reactions can even be life threatening. The most common wheat allergy symptoms could include:
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Skin problems such as swelling, rashes or hives
- Sneezing, a runny nose and watery eyes
- Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
- Anaphylaxis – a hypersensitive reaction, which can be life threatening
How long does it take for a wheat allergy to show?
Unlike symptoms associated with an intolerance, the effects of a wheat allergy present themselves very quickly after consumption of the food. In some cases, severe reactions can occur just by touching wheat.
Is there a test for wheat allergies?
Do you suspect that you are allergic to wheat? If so, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. They will most likely refer you to an allergy clinic. At the clinic they may perform a skin-prick test or carry out a blood test to assess the level of IgE antibodies when your sample is exposed to wheat.
Is there a test for wheat intolerance?
The symptoms of a wheat intolerance are much less extreme than those of an allergic reaction. However, they can still be very disruptive to a person’s life. After your doctor has ruled out any underlying medical conditions, you can get a food intolerance test* from YorkTest.
There are no specific wheat intolerance tests, and food intolerance tests in general are not currently available on the NHS. However, YorkTest have been offering food intolerance* tests directly to consumers for more than 35 years. These tests analyse your IgG antibody reactions to up to 208 food and drinks, including wheat and gluten.
With this simple home-to-laboratory finger-prick test, YorkTest can identify whether or not your body is producing IgG antibody reactions to elements of your diet.
Our reactions to food and drink varies a great deal from person to person and an ingredient that causes a problem for one individual could be completely okay for another. Fortunately, YorkTest’s team are on hand to identify your own personal “food fingerprint”.
It is thought that 45% of people have an intolerance of some kind and usually it is more than one ingredient that the body is reacting to. We find that the average person who is intolerant* reacts to 4 or 5 ingredients and it can often be an unexpected food or drink, which is causing an IgG reaction.
Real stories – True stories from people who came to YorkTest to identify their intolerance* and then optimised their diet.
Which foods contain wheat?
Wheat is a common ingredient in many baked products, as well as being present in flour as a thickening and bulking agent. It is also found in many processed foods from soups and sauces to processed meats. If you have a wheat intolerance, you should be careful to avoid the following foods:
- Wheat-based baked goods such as bread, pastries, doughnuts and pies
- Cereals and crackers
- Condiments, salad dressings, sauces and gravies
- Processed meats, deli meats, hot dogs etc
- Pasta, including couscous, gnocchi and filled pasta
- Fried, breaded chicken, fish or other deep-fried foods
What other names does wheat have on food labels?
On food packaging, wheat is often given other names which can make avoiding it difficult. If you have a wheat intolerance, you should also try to avoid products which contain the following ingredients:
- Enriched, white and whole wheat flour
- Flour (all purpose, cake, enriched, graham, high protein, pastry)
- Sprouted Wheat
- Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, grass, malt, starch)
What are wheat-free foods?
To ensure you maintain a balanced diet which provides you with the carbohydrates and fibres you need, you can supplement your meals with a variety of alternatives to wheat such as:
How is a person’s health affected by wheat intolerance?
Food intolerances can have a significant impact on a person’s health and, in turn, could affect their overall happiness, productivity and success in life.
Many YorkTest customers, who suffered from a wide range of symptoms, discovered that they had a wheat intolerance after using our services.
After consulting with our team of nutritional therapists, many have gone on to successfully eliminate the food from their diet and change their life.
Results from our 2017 customer survey showed that 4 out of 5 people who followed one of our full programmes told us that they saw an improvement in their symptoms. Amongst them were Sandra, Caroline and Lucinda.
8 out of 10 customers saw an improvement following a YorkTest programme
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