Wheat Intolerance vs. Gluten Intolerance

Wheat intolerance and gluten intolerance are sometimes used as interchangeable terms but it is important to realise that this is incorrect. Avoiding wheat products gives a different and more expansive diet plan than those people required to avoid consuming gluten in the diet.

Therefore food products labelled ‘wheat-free’ are not necessarily gluten-free, but products labelled ‘gluten-free’ are often wheat-free. Although to confuse matters further there are ingredients derived from wheat (e.g. wheat glucose syrup, wheat maltodextrin) that contain no detectable gluten but still may contain other wheat proteins, making them unsuitable for a wheat-free diet.

Wheat intolerance also known as, wheat sensitivity, occurs in adults and requires the exclusion of wheat to tolerance but would not usually require the complete removal of Wheat from the diet. 

Although there are some people who are highly sensitive to wheat, so much so, that they show a cross reaction to related cereals, such as, oats, rye and barley. These people would need to follow a Coeliac diet which would mean the complete exclusion of gluten.

However the key difference is that a Gluten free diet is more restrictive than a wheat free diet as gluten is present in a variety of grains apart from wheat. So usually the confusion arises when someone is advised to follow a wheat free diet wrongly assumes that they must only consume gluten free products. Doing this is not only not required but it also means that person is missing out on including a range of cereals in their diet which provide variety and important vitamins and minerals. These include fibre, B vitamins, Vitamins A and E, Selenium, Zinc, Copper and Iron.