Adverse Reaction To Bread? Read On…

Constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, indigestion, flatulence and wind are all problems that can benefit from the removal of wheat from the diet. In severe cases of gluten sensitivity the villi, the tiny protrusion that make up the small intestine, get completely worn away. For those with gluten sensitivity, all foods containing gluten must be avoided.

Modern wheat is very different to the wheat that our ancestors ate. It is high in protein, and generous in fat, but it is lacking many amino acids and provides a relatively meagre vitamin and mineral content. All wheat undergoes a refining process which destroys the healthful live enzymes and between 25-75% of the nutrients, meaning that even whole-wheat flour is bereft of much of its original nutrition.

Gluten now constitutes 78% of the total protein in modern wheat, and in particular its smaller derivative gliadin, that is an intestinal irritant and causes allergic reactions. The body reacts to it as if it were an invader. When yeast reacts with sugar it produces bubbles of gas that expand more easily the more gluten there is in the dough. So the higher the gluten content, the ‘lighter’ the loaf, but the harder it is on our intestines. Adverse reactions to bread are far more common than to pasta, which is often made from ‘hard wheat’ with a lower gluten content.

Wheat can be found in all of the following products:

Bread, bagels, matzo, buns, bread stuffing, biscuits, pizza, breadcrumbs, croutons, crackers, bulgur, couscous, corn bread, dumplings, muffins, pancakes, pasta pies, pitta bread, waffles, breaded food, breakfast cereals, most sausages, pasta, semolina, beer, battered foods, many ready-made food and sauces

What to look out for on labels for hidden wheat

Flour, semolina, graham flour, durum semolina, vital wheat gluten, gluten, wheat starch, cracked wheat, farina, bran.

Wheat Substitutes

Alternative cereal grains: (contain gluten) – Barley, Rye, Oats, Spelt,

Non-cereal alternatives: Amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, bean flours (soy, chickpeas), corn, millet, rice, tapioca, kamut and sorghum.

Alternatives to gluten based breads (available from good health food shops and some supermarkets):

  • Rice cakes, Corn cakes, Millet bread, Kamut bread

  • Dietary Specials (sells many gluten free products – the Brown Multigrain Sliced Loaf is good). Available from large Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons and from

  • Artisan Bread Organic Sells some delicious gluten free breads such as quinoa, buckwheat or rice bread. Available from good health food shops and can also be bought online.

  • Biona do a range of gluten free breads available in most good supermarkets.

  • Or try making your own bread (see below for flours)

Alternatives to gluten based flours (available from good health food shops and some supermarkets):

  • Gram (chickpea flour), Lentil flour, Rice flour, Potato flour, Cornflour, Buckwheat flour, Quinoa flour, Doves Gluten free flour, Polenta, Chestnut and Maize

Alternatives to gluten based cereals: Quinoa flakes, Quinoa puffs, Rice puffs, Rice flakes, Buckwheat flakes, Sugar free cornflakes, Millet flakes. Try mixing quinoa, rice and millet flakes to make a delicious porridge (Sainsburys sells these flakes ready mixed in their Free From range)

Wheat Pasta Alternatives:

Regular” pasta is made of wheat. Do not let the names like ‘spinach fettuccine’ or ‘artichoke linguine’ fool you. These are all still made with durum semolina. Wheat-free pasta is available from health food stores and some of the bigger supermarkets.

Alternatives include: Corn, millet, spelt, buckwheat, kamut or vegetable varieties, rice vermicelli, bean thread noodles, and spaghetti squash. Try Mother Hemp Spelt and Hemp pasta, it tastes like regular pasta. do a great range of dried and fresh gluten free pasa.

Alternatives to wheat crackers:

Corn cakes, oat cakes, rice cakes, rye crackers or crispbreads, savoury biscuits.

Alternatives to sandwiches:

  • Jacket potato with a protein (cottage cheese, tuna, egg) filling and some salad

  • Soup (check the ingredients if not homemade), with crackers or wheat-free bread and tuna or beans for some protein and more substance

  • Mixed salad with nuts, seeds, apple and avocado

  • Bean salads with olive oil, lemon and herbs, try parsley, coriander or chives

  • Oat or rice cakes with hummus, nut butter, vegetables, fish pate (check for wheat content), avocado, cottage cheese

  • Bean burgers, tofu sausages (check the ingredients), grilled or poached fish with salad

Terms that mean the product DOES contain wheat protein:

Bran, gluten, bread crumbs, kamut, bulgur, matzoh, matzoh meal, cereal extract (also spelled as matzo), couscous, pasta, cracker, meal, seitan, durum semolina, durum wheat, graham, farina, spelt flour, wheat (bran, germ, high gluten, high protein, gluten, starch), pastry, soft wheat, whole wheat, wheat berries.

Terms that may mean the product contains wheat protein:

Flavouring (natural and starch (gelatinised, artificial) modified, modified food hydrolysed protein starch, vegetable) soy sauce, vegetable gum surimi

Suspect anything thickened such as:

Gravy, soup, puddings, bouillion & sauces, processed meat, barley malt, fast food hamburger, ice cream, ice cream cones, chocolate, cocoa, MSG, Ovaltine, Postum, most soy sauces and tamari, alcoholic beverages (beer, gin, whiskey), most medicines in tablet form and vitamins, hydrolysed vegetable protein, modified food starch

Some good places online where you can buy wheat and gluten free products,

Recommended Cookery Books:

Cooking without by Barbara Cousins

Any of the vegetarian cookery books by Rose Elliott

Antoinette Saville, The Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Cookbook

Wheat Belly by William Davis MD

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