Home > Intolerance & Sensitivity > Common Food Intolerances > Wheat and Gluten Intolerance

Wheat and Gluten Intolerance

Quick links

Wheat intolerance differs from coeliac disease.  Coeliac disease is a lifelong intolerance to gliaden, part of the gluten proteins that are a large part of the grain of wheat, rye and barley.  It causes damage to the small intestine and many other symptoms and tends to run in families.  Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet brings complete resolution of symptoms.

Those with wheat intolerance will still experience adverse symptoms from gluten free products, as the remaining part of the wheat will be affecting them.  They may, or may not, be able to eat rye, barley and oats, that are part of the wheat family. As with many other food intolerances, they may be able to reintroduce wheat back into the diet after a period of elimination.

Foods containing, or possibly containing, wheat

Bread and baked foods

All loaves, including pumpernickel, and rolls unless specifically stated.  Many "rye" and "corn" loaves contain some wheat.  Pitta,  crumpets, muffins, tortillas, and tacos (should be corn but mostly wheat in UK), doughnuts, cakes, cookies, biscuits, crackers, croutons, packet snacks, rusks, waffles, pancakes, crepes, pizzas, pretzels, breadsticks, communion wafers, pasta and pastry.  Also yorkshire pudding, suet pudding and many other puddings.


Most cereals will contain some wheat.  The exceptions are porridge oats, corn flakes, rice krispies and granola. Always read the labels.

Flour and pasta

All of these will contain some wheat unless stated to be wheat free or buckwheat, which is not from the wheat family.

Meat and Fish

Burgers, rissoles, salami, sausages, corned beef, luncheon meat, liver-sausage, continental sausages, pates, meat and fish pastes and spreads, ham, fish and scotch eggs coated with breadcrumbs.

Vegetable products

Vegetable pates and spreads, vegetables coated in breadcrumbs, e.g. onion rings, vegetables tempura, tinned beans, (also tinned spaghetti, often grouped with vegetables), soups and tinned and packet snack or ready prepared foods.

Sauces and condiments

Gravy, packet and jar and bottled sauces, casserole and ready-meal mixes, stock cubes and granules, ready prepared and powdered mustard, stuffing, baking powder, monosodium glutamate, some spice mixes (check label).


Most puddings, pastry, yogurts containing cereal, ice cream, pancakes, cheesecakes and others with a biscuit base.


Malted milk, chocolate, Ovaltine and other powered drinks.  Beer, ale, stout, larger, Pils lager, whisky, malt whisky, gin and most spirits.


Liquorice, chocolate, chocolate bars and most wrapped bars. Other sweets (check labels).


Many prescribed and over the counter drugs contain wheat.  Check with your pharmacist.  Do not stop prescribed medication without discussing with your doctor.


Glue on labels and postage stamps.

back to top

Alternatives to wheat

Cereal & grain

Maize (corn), maize (corn) flour, potato, potato flour, rice, rice flour, soya beans, soya flour, millet, buckwheat, sago, tapioca, quinoa, sorghum, arrowroot, gram (chickpea) flour and lentil flour. Chickpeas, beans and lentils are good fillers and can be added to soup.

Wheat-free pasta is available in large supermarkets and health food stores.

Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar.

Meat & fish

All fresh and frozen meats and fish without coatings.


Rice, sago or tapoca puddings, jellies, sorbets, gelatine or vege-gel based desserts.

Seasonings, sauces & condiments

Pure spices, salt, freshly ground pepper, french mustard. Home-made mayonnaise and dressings. Sauces prepared with cornflour or other alternative flour.

back to top

Additional Information on a Wheat – Free Diet

Other names for wheat products that may be listed on labels and should be avoided:

  • Durum wheat, spelt (triticum spelta), kamut (triticum poloncium)
  • Couscous
  • Bran, wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat gluten
  • Farina
  • Rusk
  • Semolina, durum wheat semolina
  • Flour, wholewheat flour, wheat flour, wheat starch
  • Starch, modified starch, hydrolysed starch, food starch, edible starch
  • Vegetable starch, vegetable gum, vegetable protein
  • Cereal filler, cereal binder, cereal protein.

back to top


Last updated: March 2012
Version 2