Wheat Free vs Gluten Free
Wheat allergies and gluten and celiac intolerance are some of the most common food related allergies that prevail in the world today. Lack of knowledge with regards to these conditions as well as ignorance with regards to the food that are to be avoided for individuals with such conditions being the main cause for complications resulting from these issues, one must be very much aware of the true definitions of these terms.
What is Wheat Free?
When one says “wheat-free” it simply does not contain any grain wheat or any product derived from of any species of wheat. Wheat breads and pasta are some of the food items that contain wheat and other than that, it is important to read the list of ingredients in each product to see if they include ingredients such as wheat, couscous, bulgur, flour, semolina, farina, kamut, triticale and wheat germ in order to make sure that the product is indeed, completely wheat-free. Wheat-free food is the food that is recommended for individuals with wheat allergies involving immunoglobulin E and mast cell response to aspects such as seed storage proteins of wheat, wheat proteins, seed and plant tissues as well as other components of wheat. Wheat allergies can trigger attacks of asthma and other nasal allergies, skin conditions such as eczema, migraines as well as gastrointestinal problems causing great unease to the individuals, sometimes even resulting in death.
What is Gluten Free?
Gluten is an elastic protein that gives yeast based dough its elasticity. Gluten-free food does not contain protein gluten found in rye, grains wheat, triticale and barley because of which gluten-free food is also wheat-free. A gluten-free diet is recommended for those suffering from celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease that allows gluten to attack the small intestine. Dermatitis Herpetiformis is also a form of celiac disease in which the gluten prompts the immune system to attack the skin and a gluten-free diet is the recommended diet for this condition, as well. Gluten-sensitive individuals may display symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort or pain, constipation, headaches, muscular disturbances, migraines, bone or joint pain, severe acne and fatigue. Those with such conditions, as well as gluten sensitivity, are recommended a gluten-free diet. This may consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products and products made with cereals like rice, soy, corn, potato, beans, millet, tapioca, sorghum, quinoa, pure buckwheat, teff, arrowroot, amaranth, Montina, and nut flours. Any product involving wheat, rye, barley and related components, including durum, triticale, graham, semolina, kamut, spelt, malt, malt vinegar or malt flavouring is strictly prohibited in a gluten-free diet.
What is the difference between Gluten-free and Wheat-free?
• Wheat is a cereal. Gluten is an elastic protein. Gluten is just one component of wheat which is comprised of approximately 12% gluten.
• A wheat-free product would not include any ingredient that has been derived out of any kind of wheat. A gluten-free product would not include anything that contains gluten.
• People suffering from wheat allergies are advised to stay off food that contains wheat. Those with gluten sensitivity are advised to stay off any kind of food containing gluten including wheat.
Therefore, one may conclude that while a gluten-free product will always be wheat free, a wheat-free product will not always be gluten-free since there are other grains such as rye, barley, triticale, graham, semolina, kamut, spelt or malt that contain gluten.