wheat hypersensitivity - wheat allergy and wheat intolerance
Wheat can either cause a severe allergic reaction or a less severe reaction but with unpleasant symptoms. For those with a wheat allergy, involving a particular antibody (Immunoglobulin E), total wheat exclusion may be required. For those with non-IgE mediated food allergy or those with wheat intolerance, partial exclusion of wheat may suffice. The sensitivity of individuals varies and some people will be able to experience symptom relief with a reduced wheat intake only.
In the majority of those with an adverse reaction to wheat, particularly with no IgE involvement, the mechanism for the reaction is not known and there is a lack of current diagnostic tests. (see: What to do if you think you have a food allergy or intolerance
NB: Many people report experiencing symptoms after eating wheat, which could be caused by an intolerance to wheat. However, this could also be an indication of gluten intolerance, more commonly referred to as coeliac disease, and so it is important that this is investigated by a healthcare professional. (see: Coeliac disease
section for more information)
Wheat is a major part of the Irish diet as it is found in most breads, cereals, pasta, dough and pastry. It is also commonly used in processed or manufactured foods such as sausages, ice cream etc.
Excluding wheat from your diet can considerably restrict the variety of foods you eat and, as a result, you could miss out on some important nutrients. This is why it’s important to get medical advice before altering your diet in any way.