Wheat Intolerance

Wheat - Wheat Intolerance

Wheat is a grass cultivated for its seed, cereal grain, and a staple food throughout the world. The various species of wheat together make up the genus Triticum with the most widely grown species being the common wheat (T. aestivum).

As of 2016, the world production of wheat was 749 million tonnes which made it the second most-produced cereal after maize. As an important source of carbohydrates, it is the leading source of vegetal protein in food with a protein content of about 13%, which is high compared to other major cereals. Eaten as the whole grain, wheat is a source of multiple nutrients and dietary fibre.

Gluten the major part of wheat protein can trigger coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, and dermatitis herpetiformis in a small percentage of the population.

A wheat allergy which typically presents itself as a food allergy or through contact. Like all allergies responses, a wheat allergy involves immunoglobulin E and mast cell. Usually, the allergy is to the seed proteins of wheat.

Wheat intolerance/sensitivity

Wheat intolerance or sensitivity is where a person presents digestive symptoms after the consumption of products. A less severe condition than an allergy, this condition can still be uncomfortable and embarrassing for the individual.



Wheat is a nutritious grain containing vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, copper and iron. It is also rich in dietary fibre. Bleached (white) wheat flour involves as much as 40% of the original grain being removed, including the bran and germ of the wheat, which are the most nutrient-rich parts.

The wheat-free grains below are used in wheat-free products but can also be found in flour or flake form for home baking or cooking:

Wheat-free grains

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn (or maize)
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Rye
  • Sorghum

Wheat-free products include:

  • Flour
  • Almond
  • Arrowroot
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Potato
  • Coconut
  • Cornmeal (maize)
  • Garbanzo
  • Oat
  • Rye
  • Sorghum
  • Teff

Bread and bread products

  • Almond
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Rye
  • White rice
  • Buckwheat

Replacing key nutrients when eliminating wheat

It is important to use alternative items in your diet when undertaking either a short or long term elimination diet to maintain nutrient balance.

Below good examples or nutritional alternatives when eliminating wheat:

B Vitamins


Oats, rye, buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa


Brewer’s yeast, peanuts, mushrooms, soybean flour and soybeans, split peas, pecans, sunflower seeds, lentils, cashews, chickpeas, broccoli, hazelnuts, peppers

Vitamin E

Spinach, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards, avocado, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, sunflowers seeds, prawn/shrimp, crayfish, salmon, smoked salmon, swordfish, herring, trout, olive oil, sunflower oil, sweet potato, squashes, kiwi, mango, peach, nectarines, apricots, guava, raspberries, blackberries


Watercress, kale, broccoli, low-fat mozzarella, low-fat cheddar, yogurt, pak choi, tofu, sugar snap peas, almonds, tinned sardines in oil with bones, tinned pink salmon.



Buckwheat, rye, millet, brown rice, quinoa


Kelp, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts, tofu, coconut, soya beans, figs, apricots, dates, prawns, corn, avocado, spinach, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards



Rye, oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa


Mussels, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans, lima beans, chickpeas, aduki beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pineapple, spinach, kale, tofu, soybeans, sweet potato, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries





Spinach, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, pork, chicken, chickpeas, mushrooms



Rye, oats


Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chicken liver, oysters, mussels, clams, cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, beef, lamb, lentils, white beans, soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, dark chocolate



Brown rice, rye


Brazil nuts, mushrooms, shrimp, sardines, oysters, tuna, sunflower seeds, liver, eggs, beef, turkey, cottage cheese



Rye, oats


Sesame seeds, cashews, soybeans, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, tempeh, garbanzo beans, lentils, walnuts, lima beans, liver, spirulina, dark chocolate, collard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, kale



Brown rice, oats, rye, quinoa


Chicken, turkey, pork, liver, sardines, scallops, salmon, mackerel, crab, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews

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