Advertisement

What causes wheat allergies?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Certain foods prompt the body's immune system to react in abnormal ways. For people with wheat allergies, the body responds negatively to wheat proteins. The body treats wheat proteins that enter the body as a disease. The immune system creates antibodies that attack those proteins. Those antibodies, normally helpful for defending our bodies, cause the discomfort of allergies.

While wheat is a necessary ingredient in many breads and baked goods, it is also used in other less obvious food products. Some of these include soy sauce, beer, fish and meat substitutes (such as imitation crabmeat), hot dogs and ice cream. In Asian dishes, wheat flour can be flavored and shaped to mimic meat products. Food starches and flavorings also frequently contain wheat. With any product, be sure to read the food label closely since there are many hidden ingredients that may contain wheat.

Food allergies in general are very common and include allergies to wheat, peanuts, shellfish, eggs and milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that in the decade from 1997 to 2007 food allergies increased 18 percent in children under the age of 18. They also report that in 2007 about four percent of children reported a food or digestive allergy. Wheat allergies in particular are more common in children than adults.

Continue Learning about Food Allergies & Food Intolerance

How can I avoid foods I'm allergic to?
Dr. Daniel R. Spogen, MDDr. Daniel R. Spogen, MD
To avoid foods you're allergic to, it is important to pay close attention to food labels as it can o...
More Answers
What are wheat allergies?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Wheat allergies are an adverse reaction of your body's immune system to wheat proteins. Someone with...
More Answers
How can I tell if my baby is allergic to soy?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
A soy allergy is often diagnosed in infancy when a child has a reaction to a formula that contains s...
More Answers
What is a gluten allergy?
Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
Eighteen million people in the United States are sensitive or allergic to gluten, a protein found in...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.