Wheat Allergy Diet

General guidelines for wheat allergy

The key to an allergy-free diet is to stay away from all foods or products containing the food that you are allergic to. Wheat is found in many foods. To stay away from foods that contain wheat, you must read food labels.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) is a law that requires U.S. packaged foods to state clearly on the label if they contain wheat. Always read the entire ingredient label to look for wheat. Wheat ingredients may be in the ingredient list. Or wheat could be listed in a “contains wheat” statement beneath the ingredient list.

Note on gluten-free foods: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. People with celiac disease must stay away from all grains with gluten. People with wheat allergy often only need to stay away from wheat and can eat the other grains. So following a gluten-free diet may be limiting. But gluten-free foods should be safe for people with wheat allergy. Always read the ingredient list to double check.

Information for using wheat substitutes

One cup of wheat flour equals:

  • 1 cup tapioca flour

  • 7/8 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour

  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats

  • 7/8 cup rice flour

  • 3/4 cup potato starch

How to read a label for a wheat-free diet

Be sure to stay away from foods that contain any of the following ingredients:

  • Bran

  • Bread crumbs

  • Bulgur

  • Cereal extract

  • Couscous

  • Cracker meal

  • Durum

  • Einkorn

  • Emmer (also called farro)

  • Farina

  • Flour (all-purpose, bread, cake, enriched, graham, high-gluten, high-protein, whole-wheat)

  • Matzoh, matzoh meal 

  • Pasta

  • Seitan

  • Semolina

  • Spelt

  • Vital gluten

  • Wheat berries, bran, germ, gluten, grass, malt, sprouted, starch

Foods that don't contain wheat could be contaminated during manufacturing. Advisory statements are not regulated by the FDA. They are voluntary. These include labels such as "processed in a facility that also processed wheat." Or "made on shared equipment." Ask your healthcare provider if you can eat foods with these labels. Or if you should stay away from them.

Other possible sources of wheat or wheat products

Ingredients that may contain wheat:

  • Gluten

  • Gelatinized starch

  • Gum

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Kamut

  • Modified food starch

  • Modified starch

  • Natural flavoring

  • Soy sauce

  • Starch (Unless otherwise stated on the food label, the single word starch in an ingredient list means cornstarch. Starches from other sources should be noted by some term that won't be misleading that means the source of the starch, for example: wheat starch.)

  • Surimi

  • Vegetable starch

Some foods and products are not covered by the FALCPA. These include:

  • Foods that are not regulated by the FDA

  • Cosmetics and personal care items

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicines and supplements

  • Toys, crafts (Play-Doh), and pet foods

When you are eating out

  • Always carry 2 epinephrine autoinjectors. Make sure you and those close to you know how to use it.

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace with your allergy information.

  • If you don't have epinephrine autoinjectors, talk with your healthcare provider. Ask if you should carry them.

  • In a restaurant, food may be cross contaminated with wheat. Tell your server that you have an allergy.

  • Always read food labels. And always ask about ingredients at restaurants. Do this even if these are foods that you have eaten in the past.

  • Don't eat at buffets with wheat. This reduces your risk for cross-contaminated foods from shared utensils.

Online Medical Reviewer: Deborah Pedersen MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.