What causes wheat gluten allergy
These foods are a grand alternative to wheat-based ones:
- porridge, Rice Krispies and cornflakes
- buckwheat pasta
Bread-related gut symptoms
«Probably a third of patients in my allergy clinic complain of digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain after eating bread,» says Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
She says allergy is unlikely to be the culprit, but bread-related symptoms are genuine, and wheat could be to blame.
«Some people discover certain foods are simply hard to digest, and wheat appears to be one of those,» she explains.
Read more about food intolerance.
The health problems caused by wheat
There are 3 key health problems caused by wheat:
- Wheat allergy – reactions generally start within minutes and include itching, sneezing and wheezing.
See your GP for referral to an NHS allergy clinic.
- Coeliac disease – a condition where the intestine lining can’t absorb and is damaged by gluten-containing foods including wheat, barley, oats and rye. See your GP for a blood test.
- Wheat sensitivity – symptoms love bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and sickness come on fairly slowly, generally hours after eating wheat.
There’s no diagnostic test.
Foods that contain wheat
Foods with wheat in them include:
- hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP)
- cakes and pastries
- soy sauce
What to do if wheat triggers digestive symptoms
If your symptoms are severe and long-lasting, especially if you own blood in your poo (stools), vomiting or painful stomach cramps, see your doctor to law out a medical condition.
If you own bloating or other minor symptoms after eating bread, Dr Skypala recommends trying an elimination diet.
This is where you completely cut out wheat from your diet for 4 weeks, then gradually bring it back in to see if symptoms reappear.
«When you bring wheat-based foods back in, I recommend trying Weetabix or pasta first for a few days before starting on bread. It’s better to start with wheat in a more pure form, as bread has so numerous other ingredients,» Dr Skypala says.
Is it wheat intolerance or sensitivity?
If your symptoms return, it confirms you’re sensitive to wheat and will also show you which foods are especially troublesome.
Some people may only own problems with pasta, for example, while others are fine until they eat bread.
If you are sensitive to wheat, or you own trouble digesting it, the main way to relieve your symptoms is to embark on a wheat-free or partially wheat-free diet.