While wheat is one of the major gluten-containing grains, it is important to remember that "wheat free" does not mean the same thing as "gluten free." Learn more about:
Some people are allergic to gluten, a mixture of protein fragments found in common cereal grains. Most people who need to avoid gluten have celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder in which individuals who ingest gluten experience a toxic immune response. Learn more about following a gluten-free diet in our separate guide.
However, others are actually allergic to the protein in wheat itself, including wheat albumin and wheat globulins. People allergic to wheat will want to avoid wheat and its by-products, including:
In addition, many foods you might not suspect contain wheat or wheat by-products, including ale and beer, salad dressing and even ice cream. (Culprits often include hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified starch and "natural flavoring.") This is by no means an exhaustive list, so be sure to consult your doctor or allergist for advice about navigating a wheat allergy. You can also read more about wheat allergy causes and symptoms at the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.
In general, products that are labeled "gluten free" will be safe for those avoiding wheat. Check our gluten-free specialty aisle and look for a gluten-free label on items throughout the store. As always, arm yourself with as much information as you can and check ingredient labels.