So the facts are?
Many people and media overlap terms of different food reactions and self diagnose. We hope the above information has clarified what the real facts about gluten intolerance, wheat intolerance and wheat allergy are. So just to clarify here are a few answers to some commonly asked questions:
Q: Everyone I speak to seems to have an allergy to wheat…is it increasing?
A: In reality a wheat allergy is very uncommon in adults and although an allergy to wheat is more common in children the symptoms rarely occur much past infancy. Most people who avoid wheat actually suffer from Coeliac Disease, which is food intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat.
Q: So just to clarify what is the main difference between wheat intolerance and wheat allergy?
A: The main difference between food intolerance and a food allergy is that a food allergy is an immune system over-response to a food protein, which causes the body to trigger a reaction. A reaction can occur within minutes, or a few hours, after the food is ingested. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. In some cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms, called anaphylaxis, either by breathing difficulties and/or a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Q: What is the difference between Coeliac Disease and gluten sensitivity?
A: Coeliac Disease is a medically recognised condition which is diagnosed by biopsy. On the other hand Gluten sensitivity is not a medically recognised condition. Instead it is a term that has been created by the alternative health industry, and it is possible some people are on gluten-free diets unnecessarily because of this.