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Wheat Free Diet Guidelines from Livestrong.com

Wheat ranks among the top eight food allergies in the United States. But before you give up your morning muffin, noon sandwich, dinner pasta and evening beer, or before you say no to cheese, pickles and pudding, it's important to know the difference between wheat, gluten and casein allergies. And you need to know which wheat-based food cautions apply to you.

Your diet may require serious, lifelong alternations, a few simple tweaks--or no change at all.


According to Wheat-Free.Org, the most common signs of signs of wheat intolerance or allergy are headaches, bloated stomach, diarrhea, tiredness and skin rash. Other common symptoms include arthritis, chest pain, depression or mood swings, eczema, dizziness, heart palpitations, sneezing, skin problems including eczema and psoriasis; sinus problems such as swollen throat, watery eyes, or unexplained cough; nausea or vomiting; joint and muscle aches and pains; and irritable bowel.

Allergies or Intolerance?

If you experience three or four of such symptoms, you may suffer from wheat intolerance. If you suffer from more than four, you may have a wheat allergy. If you are mildly wheat intolerant, reducing your intake of flour and other wheat products may provide sufficient relief.

If you are allergic to wheat, lifelong, permanent changes in diet will be necessary to alleviate your symptoms. Your degree of wheat sensitivity can be measured by your doctor through skin prick or blood tests.

Wheat-free Diets

Wheat-free diets take three forms: wheat-free, wheat and gluten-free, or wheat, gluten and casein-free.

Wheat allergies, like many allergies, range from mild to severe. You may be able to eliminate wheat flour from your diet by avoiding traditional breads, muffins, cakes, cookies and gravies and resolve your discomforts. But some foods that you wouldn't connect to wheat allergies, including cheese and pickles, can also cause symptoms.

Persons with celiac disease, for instance, are generally unable to tolerate gluten, a binding agent found in wheat, barley and rye, as well as wheat. And some people allergic to wheat are also intolerant of casein, a milk protein used to bind cheese and other foods. A diet free from wheat, gluten and casein may also alleviate some of the symptoms of autism, according to research conducted in England, Norway and the University of Florida.

Hidden Wheat

Wheat is commonly found in bread, pasta, crackers, couscous, semolina and bulgur. It can also be hidden in starches and flavorings. Since January 2006, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that food containing wheat and seven other common food allergies be labeled.

Reading Labels

Label-reading is trickier for gluten-free dieters. If a product contains wheat gluten, it must legally be labeled in the allergy-warning section of its label. But if the source of gluten is barley or rye, such a label is not required. If you need to avoid gluten, look specifically for the word "gluten" in the list of ingredients. Other ingredients that may include gluten but not be labeled as such include extracts, starches and dextrin.

Followers of a gluten-free diet may eat grains such as wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, oats, soybeans, almonds and sunflower seeds. Casein sources Casein is found in most products containing cow dairy, especially cheese. It can also be found in some other cheeses, such as those made from goat and sheep's milk, and in some non-dairy cheeses, including almond and soy. If a product contains casein, the "casein" should appear in the list of product ingredients.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/214841-wheat-free-diet-guidelines/#ixzz0yCyLrZ8a