“Wheat-Free” Doesn’t Mean “Gluten-Free”

Just because you see “wheat-free” on the label, don’t be lulled into automatically┬áthinking that this “wheat-free” food is safely gluten-free. There are several of different sources of gluten and wheat is only one of them. (Rye, barley and oats are the other sources of gluten. Here’s a list of Unacceptable Ingredients that details some ways they may be listed.)

The term “gluten-free” is currently unregulated by the FDA. So just about anyone can put “gluten-free” on their labels with no legal consequences. (Well, until the FDA finally decides to put a legal definition to the term “gluten-free” which you can read about in this post.) But since wheat is one of the eight major allergens, the term “wheat-free” is carefully monitored.┬áSo while you still have to look for rye, barley and oats, at least you know that foods labeled “wheat-free” are free from one of the main sources of gluten, wheat.

2 Responses to ““Wheat-Free” Doesn’t Mean “Gluten-Free””

  1. Lisa 11/13/2012 at 3:50 AM #

    I agree that gluten and wheat aren’t exactly the same, but should a celiac stay away from both?

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    • noi 12/06/2012 at 9:09 AM #

      Yeah, Lisa, unfortunately Celiacs do have to avoid both. Wheat is just one form of gluten we must avoid (rye and barley are the other that round out the Big Three that have the protein “gluten” in the grain – and oats should be avoided because they’re most often contaminated with gluten from one of the Big Three). So while it’s great that a food is “wheat free,” when you’re a Celiac you still have to be watchful for rye, barely and oats.

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