If you’re just getting started on your gluten-free journey, it’s easy to get confused by all the nomenclature: gluten-free, wheat-free, grain-free, etc.
Of course, while you’re browsing the aisles in your local supermarket, you can just read the list of ingredients, but knowing what’s in your food (or more accurately, what’s not in your food) and understanding why are two very different things. And if you’re Celiac or have a wheat allergy, understanding the difference between wheat free and gluten-free is of tantamount importance – for what will soon be obvious reasons.
Gluten = Protein, Wheat = Grain
If you’re left wondering what the difference between wheat-free and gluten-free is, we’re here to set you straight.
Gluten is one category of many proteins found in many grains we eat everyday – most notably wheat, barley, and rye, but also processed foods like bread, beer, and pasta made from these grains. These gluten proteins (known as gliadin and glutenin) provide the elasticity that allows bread to rise and gives it that mouth-watering chewiness. Gluten acts like the glue holding the bread together (hence the name).
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where your body’s immune systems mistakes the gluten proteins as a dangerous allergen and attacks your small intestine in response. Celiac is a chronic, life-long disease that – if left untreated – can lead to serious problems like Type 1 diabetes, MS, migraines, and intestinal cancers. Currently, the only treatment is simply avoiding foods containing gluten, including wheat and other grains.
Wheat, on the other hand, is simply a grain, just like barley, oats, and rice. A wheat allergy is an immune response to the non-gluten proteins found in wheat. Just like with Celiac disease, with a wheat allergy, your body mistakes the wheat proteins as a dangerous intruder and attacks the wheat, causing serious, but more familiar allergy symptoms like rashes, hives, headaches, and even asthma. What’s the best medicine for wheat allergies? You guessed it. Stop eating wheat.
So what’s the difference between a gluten-free and wheat-free diet? A gluten-free diet is also intrinsically wheat-free, but a wheat-free diet doesn’t necessarily mean gluten-free as well. In other words:
- If a product is gluten-free, it should be okay for both Celiac and wheat allergies.
- If a product is wheat-free, it’s not necessarily okay for Celiac, but those with wheat allergies are obviously good to go.
Is Magnolia Mixes Gluten-free or Wheat-free?
All Magnolia Mixes products are both gluten-free and wheat-free, so no matter what your needs are, we’ve got you covered. All our mixes are made in a dedicated gluten-free and wheat-free facility.
On top of that, each of our mixes is nut-free as well and most are soy- and corn-free. Here’s the rundown for each mix:
- Lemon Pound Cake Mix: No gluten, wheat, soy, nut, or corn
- Banana Bread Mix: No gluten, wheat, soy, nut, or corn
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix: No gluten, wheat, nut, or corn (There is soy in the chocolate chips)
- Cornbread Mix: No gluten, wheat, soy, or nut
- High Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix: No gluten, wheat, or nut
Knowing the difference between gluten-free and wheat-free can set you on right path towards a healthier life, but always talk to a specialist before making any health decisions!
Interested in what gluten-free grains we use in our own mixes? Check out our article What Healthy Gluten-Free Flours Do We Use?
Have a question about our gluten-free mixes? Ask away in the comments below!