Types of Wheat

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Golden Wheat in June

Out of the three gluten containing grains, wheat, rye, and barley, wheat is the one most commonly found in foods.  But did you know that there are several types of wheat?

Thanks to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, all forms of wheat have to be listed as wheat.  That makes label reading much easier for us.  However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t see the types of wheat listed by their lesser known names or get questions from family or friends about them.

When I was diagnosed 11 years ago, it was common for health food store employees to tell you that you could eat spelt.  While that form of wheat might be easier for some people to digest, if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it is off limits.

Here is a list of types of wheat or other names for wheat.  They all contain gluten.

Name Description
Bulgar A form of wheat that has been parboiled, dried, and cracked
Couscous Dried granules of semolina (see below)
Durum A type of wheat
Einkorn A type of wheat
Emmer A type of wheat
Farro A type of wheat
Kamut A type of wheat
Semolina A granular product of durum wheat
Spelt A type of wheat
Triticale A hybrid cross between wheat and rye
Triticum The Latin name for wheat

As I said, in the United States these forms of wheat have to be declared on food labels as wheat.  That means you might see something like this on a box of pasta: “Durum (Wheat) Semolina.”  Or it might have a list of ingredients, then a statement that says, “Contains wheat ingredients.”

I think it is helpful to be familiar with these types of wheat, though.  That way when someone says, “You can eat spelt.”  You can answer them, “No, I can’t.  Spelt it a type of wheat and contains gluten.”

question markCan you think of any names for wheat that I have missed?

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  1. says

    Great info, thx. I find a lot of well meaning friends/family members that say, “I used white flour, so you can eat this.” Umm no, where do you think white flour comes from? One response, “White flowers?” LOL

  2. Blue says

    Thanks for sharing. Although I knew some of these gluten grains, I didn’t know that all of them were related to wheat and labelled as such.

  3. says

    Here is a list I have used and laminated, I take it shopping with me.
    Questionable Ingredients
    Natural Flavors/Flavorings (can contain malt,made from barley)
    Soy Sauce (most are brewed from/with wheat)
    Modified Food Starch (will be labeled if the source is wheat;it is a law as of 2006)
    Spices (100% spices are fine,some spice mixes or combinations may contain gluten;always check if you are not sure)
    Now,onto the Unsafe List:
    Amp-Isostearoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
    Barley Grass (can contain seeds)
    Barley Hordeum vulgare
    Barley Malt
    Bleached Flour
    Blue Cheese (made with bread ~ some are safe,I have never investigated it b/c I hate it!)
    Bread Flour
    Brewers Yeast
    Brown Flour
    Bulgur (Bulgar Wheat/Nuts)
    Bulgur Wheat
    Cereal Binding
    Club Wheat
    Common Wheat
    Durum wheat (Triticum durum)
    Edible Starch
    Farina Graham
    Flour (normally this is wheat)
    Fu (dried wheat gluten)
    Graham Flour
    Granary Flour
    Groats (barley,wheat)
    Hard Wheat
    Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
    Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
    Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Pg-Propyl Silanetriol
    Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
    Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
    Malt Extract
    Malt Syrup
    Malt Flavoring
    Malt Vinegar
    Macha Wheat
    Matzo Semolina
    Oriental Wheat
    Pearl Barley
    Persian Wheat
    Poulard Wheat
    Polish Wheat
    Rice Malt (if barley or Koji are used)
    Semolina Triticum
    Shot Wheat
    Small Spelt
    Sprouted Wheat or Barley
    Strong Flour
    Suet in Packets
    Teriyaki Sauce (La Choy is GF)
    Textured Vegetable Protein –TVP
    Timopheevi Wheat
    Triticale X triticosecale
    Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Lipids
    Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
    Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil
    Udon (wheat noodles)
    Unbleached Flour
    Vavilovi Wheat
    Vegetable Starch
    Wheat,Abyssinian Hard triticum durum
    Wheat amino acids
    Wheat Bran Extract
    Wheat Durum Triticum
    Wheat Germ Extract
    Wheat Germ Glycerides
    Wheat Germ Oil
    Wheat Grass (can contain seeds)
    Wheat Nuts
    Wheat Protein
    Wheat Triticum aestivum
    Wheat Triticum Monococcum
    Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Bran Extract
    Whole-Meal Flour
    Wild Einkorn
    Wild Emmer

    The sad things is that barley and rye do not have to appear in the ingredient list, since they are not in the 8 allergeans :O(
    Modified food starch can be wheat and I have seen that on cans of soup and it’s not on the label that it contains wheat, I have called the companies in the past and they act as though it’s nothing, even though they tell me it contains wheat. Other brands contain corn and it’s nice when they list it.

    • says

      Hi Moe. Thanks for sharing your list with us. Before the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was in effect I carried a list like this one as well as a safe ingredients list. With the change in food labeling it is so much easier, and I doubt that today you would find a company that doesn’t label wheat. If you do, I would contact FDA. Thankfully, barley and rye are usually easy to spot. Hopefully the FDA will pass a gluten free labeling law in 2012 which will help some, but will only apply to foods that are labeled “gluten-free” and still won’t require the labeling of barley and rye on other products.

      • says

        Hi Linda:

        I’ve just found your information and subscribed to the feed and updates. Is there a “good list” that I may find on your site/information (I’m still getting acquainted) that I may print along with the one here in the blog from Mo, (thanks Moe) I may carry as well?

        Good work…


  4. Pam says

    There is a newer grain that is supposedly gaining popularity called Freekeh (pronounced Free-ka). It is also known as farik or frikeh. It is made of young green duram wheat that has been harvested early while the grain is still soft and full of moisture. It is marketed as higher in protein and fiber than most grains, but it is still wheat and Not gluten free!

  5. says

    Linda, the main problem now is with natural flavors and flavorings. I talked with two companies yesterday that told me that they could not tell me what was in the natural flavorings, but that they could contain barley or rye and they did not have to label it as so. I have also run into a number of companies where I asked if the the item contained gluten and was told “Oh, all our X brands are GF.” Then I ask about the natural flavoring and find that it has malt barley in it. I actually had a guy argue on the phone with me that malt barley does not contain gluten. I finally just said “Thank you” and hung up. Now mind you the package DID NOT say Gluten Free, so it’s not like they were lying, they just did not have any idea. I’ve found this true with the cough drops I have been calling around about, they don’t seem to understand that gluten can be in other things besides wheat. Same with some soup broths I have called about I actually talked with a guy at Campbells last month on this, he told me that if a soup contained gluten it would be on the label as wheat, I then told him that barley and rye are also gluten and he told me that I was wrong and the only thing I need to look for on the label was wheat. LOL. Again, I just said “Thank you.” and hung up. I have also been calling this week (can you tell I did a big $300 stock up run to the store…….lol) and a few things looked safe with the exception of the natural flavorings, when I called about those I had a company tell me that they could not confirm what was in the natural flavorings due to the fact that they come from a separate supplier that does not disclose that information to them. That sounded like a load of baloney to me. So my son and husband will eat those foods that I could not confirm. I can’t call from the store to check on items since there is no cell phone service in that area.

    • says

      Calling companies is important to do, but sometimes you get someone who is knowledgeable and sometimes you don’t. That means you can end up with two different answers from the same company. You might consider calling a second time to see if you get better information or try asking to speak to a manager. That is sad that companies are so ignorant about what gluten free means. That is probably changing, though, as the gluten-free diet is being used by more and more people. Barley is definitely the ingredient to look out for. I have seen is in flavoring, but according to Gluten Free Living Magazine, “Flavors are rarely made from gluten-containing grains” and that information comes from speaking to the people who make flavors. However, when in doubt, it is best to go without. It is true that companies get ingredients from other suppliers and it is not surprising that they would get their natural flavoring from an outside source.

  6. says

    Just the info that I have been looking for!!! As a newbie to celiac, I have been struggling with knowing what the ingredients are when I read them. This helps me so much!!!!!!

  7. Bev Muirhead says

    I just bought faccasia bread with the label “Wheat free’ so I thought, no
    problem..I decided to look at the label and here it had Spelt flour..I was so mad.
    I called the baker and he assured me that it really doesn’t have enought gluten to hurt me but I said the label of Wheat Free contradicts the label of Spelt. He didn’t agree. How do you get through to people that think this.

    • says

      Wheat is one of the top 8 allergens, and according to FALCPA, the FDA considers spelt and kamut to be wheat. So legally, they cannot label it as wheat free. Also, under the new FDA law, they could not label their product as gluten free.

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