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Wheat-Free Guide

Always read ingredients and check with the manufacturer if you are not sure if something contains wheat, and avoid the food until you are sure. A wheat-free diet is almost the same as a gluten-free diet, except that it is less restrictive. If you are on a wheat-free diet and still having symptoms, you may want to learn more about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, which also eliminates the close relatives of wheat.

Foods that definitely contain wheat:

Wheat

  • Anything with the word “wheat” in it, except buckwheat (buckwheat is wheat-free)
  • Flour (unless it says gluten-free or wheat-free flour, or is made purely from a non-wheat source, like rice flour)
    • Baked goods including muffins, cookies, cakes, pies
    • Bread including wheat bread, white bread, “potato” bread
    • Pasta, pizza, bagels
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Bulgur
  • Matzoh
  • Cous-cous
  • Semolina
  • Emmer
  • Eikorn
  • Farro
  • Graham

Ingredients that may contain wheat:

  • Oats (due to cross-contamination with wheat)
  • Dextrin (usually made with corn, but sometimes made with wheat; maltodextrin is OK)
  • Mono and dyglycerides
  • Caramel color (most likely wheat-free if made in USA)
  • Modified food starch or modified starch (if it does not specify what kind of starch)
  • Hydrolyzed or textured plant or vegetable protein (if it does not specify a plant/vegetable that is gluten-free)
  • Vegetable gum (source is unknown, but carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia and xanthan gum are wheat-free)
  • Natural and artificial flavorings
  • Seasonings and seasoning mixes

Things to watch out for:

  • Soy sauce (although there are some that are wheat-free, most contain wheat), teriyaki sauce (contains soy sauce), oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, many marinades
  • Commercial cereals — most are made from wheat
  • Flavored coffees or teas
  • Imitation seafood (if ordering sushi, make sure that they use real crab)
  • Imitation bacon
  • Packaged bacon (some brands contain soy sauce, eg. Farmer John’s)
  • Processed meats
  • Mexican food (some places buy marinated meats that contain soy sauce; corn chips are sometimes cooked in same oil as fried flour tortillas)
  • Soups, stews, bisques, anything made from a “roux”
  • Anything breaded, floured or marinated
  • Blue cheese, gorgonzola cheese or any cheese with blue or green in it (the blue or green is often made with bread mold; some are made from a chemical starter, but you would have to call to find out)
  • Medicines — go to www.glutenfreedrugs.com for GF list
  • Lipstick and any other non-food items that are likely to be ingested by accident (babies and kids put hands in mouth), like playdough, lotion, paste, etc.

Foods that do not contain wheat (foods you can eat):

  • Corn, including polenta (but check on other ingredients that may have been added)
  • Rice, including risotto (but check on other ingredients that may have been added)
  • Potatoes
  • Oats (uncontaminated)
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat (kasha – not to be confused with Kashi brand cereals, which are not wheat-free)
  • Montina
  • Millet
  • Tapioca
  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Wheat’s close relatives (people allergic to wheat may be able to tolerate these)
    • Barley – found in beer, malt flavoring, and malt vinegar
    • Rye
    • Spelt
    • Kamut
    • Triticale
  • Anything labeled as “gluten-free”
  • Distilled vinegars* (including red, white and balsamic; malt vinegar is not ok)
  • Distilled alcohol* (unless wheat-containing flavorings are added)
    *Some people prefer to avoid vinegars and alcohol made from wheat-containing grains

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), mandates that foods labeled on or after January 2006 must declare wheat in plain language either on the ingredient list or by using the words “Contains wheat.” Foods that were labeled before January 2006 are not subject to this law, so read ingredients carefully.