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Living with a wheat allergy

If you are allergic to any wheat protein, strictly avoiding wheat and wheat products is the only way to prevent a reaction, which can include stomach upsets, eczema, hayfever, asthma and even anaphylaxis. But it is not always easy to avoid these foods since many unsuspecting products contain wheat.

In some cases, the reaction to wheat may only follow someone taking exercise, called exercise-induced anaphylaxis to wheat.

Some people who are sensitive to wheat may be OK eating it one day, but develop symptoms if they continue to consume wheat for several days.

Allergy to wheat may be diagnosed with skin prick testing. However, if this is inconclusive, an allergy specialist may recommend elimination of wheat from the diet for a period of time to see if symptoms go away. Another approach is eating wheat under medical supervision, known as food challenges.

Check the label

If you are concerned about wheat allergy, always check the label ingredients before you use a product. Many processed foods, including ice cream and tomato ketchup, may contain wheat flour. Manufacturers sometimes change recipes, and a trigger food may be added to the new recipe.

Examples of wheat products and foods that may contain wheat include:


Wheat Products

Wheat-Containing Ingredients

Wheat-Containing Food

Whole wheat or enriched flour

High gluten flour

High protein flour



Graham flour




Wheat malt

Wheat starch

Modified starch



Gelatinised starch

Hydrolysed vegetable protein

Vital gluten

Wheat bran

Wheat germ

Wheat gluten

Vegetable gum

Vegetable starch

Many breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods

Bread crumbs


Many cereals


Cracker meal





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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 22, 2016

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