Does gluten free mean no wheat?
You might have heard some people say they are on a gluten free diet and others say they are on a wheat free diet. Does gluten free mean wheat free? We’ll clear up the confusion.
With the rising popularity of gluten free diets and the increasing number of individuals seeking wheat free options, it’s important to understand the distinctions between these two diets.
While gluten free and wheat free are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings and implications for those with specific dietary needs or preferences.
What Does Wheat Free Mean?
When a product is labeled as “wheat free,” it means it does not contain any form of wheat. Forms of wheat would be:
- bread wheat
People who follow a wheat free diet typically avoid these grains due to specific allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities to wheat proteins.
Wheat free diets are primarily adopted by individuals with conditions like wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, or non-celiac wheat sensitivity.
These individuals must strictly avoid wheat in all its forms to prevent issues like digestive discomfort, skin rashes, respiratory issues, or even anaphylaxis in severe cases.
It is important to note that while a wheat free diet excludes wheat, it may still include other gluten-containing grains like barley and rye.
Is Gluten Free and Wheat Free the Same?
No, gluten free and wheat free are not the same. Although both terms mean they avoid wheat, they differ in scope and the range of foods they exclude.
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives. While wheat is seen as the main source of gluten, there are other grains that also contain gluten.
The difference between wheat free and gluten free is that gluten free diets go beyond eliminating wheat and require avoiding all sources of gluten, including barley and rye.
Gluten Free vs. Wheat Free
To better understand the differences between these two dietary approaches, let’s outline the key distinctions:
- Inclusion of Other Grains: A wheat free diet strictly avoids wheat and all of its varieties, but it may still allow other gluten-containing grains like barley and rye. On the other hand, a gluten-free diet excludes all sources of gluten, including wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives.
- Health Conditions: Individuals with wheat allergies, people eating the Paleo diet, or people wanting to eat lower carb, usually adopt a wheat free diet. Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance follow a gluten free diet to manage their condition effectively.
- Cross-Contamination: Both gluten free and wheat free diets require careful attention to cross-contamination. Foods labeled gluten free should also avoid cross-contact with gluten-containing grains during processing, storage, or preparation. Similarly, wheat free foods must be produced in facilities that minimize the risk of cross-contamination with wheat.
A wheat free diet removes all forms of wheat, whereas a gluten-free diet goes beyond wheat and requires the elimination of gluten from all sources, such as barley and rye. I hope this clears up any confusion over the two diets.DISCLOSURE: Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader. Ditch the Wheat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only endorse products that I believe in.
Carol Lovett is the founder of Ditch the Wheat and a Globe and Mail bestselling author of the cookbook, Ditch the Wheat. She has been eating gluten free since 2010. She loves all things food, natural living, and spiritual. She’s also a reiki master and crystal healer.