Dietary Information

One of our aims when setting up the Wholesome Online website was to make navigation as easy as possible for people with food allergies or specific diets. You can use our filters in the left hand navigation bar to filter the products that you do or do not want by diet category.

If you think you have a food allergy or are considering a particular diet type such as Vegan or Organic the following information may help. You can also find more detailed information from these organisations.

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Wholesome Online stock a wide range of products suitable for all of these diet types View all products

Gluten Free

Information from Coeliac UK

If you have coeliac disease, your immune system reacts to gluten and leads to damage to the lining of your gut. This causes symptoms of coeliac disease, including bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, tiredness and headaches. This only happens if gluten is eaten.

By avoiding all gluten (some people also need to avoid oats), your gut can heal and your symptoms should improve.

The gluten-free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease.

On the gluten-free diet you can eat any naturally gluten-free foods, such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, rice, potatoes and lentils. You can also eat processed foods which don’t contain gluten Coeliac UK provide a Food and Drink Directory which lists thousands of these.

On the Wholesome Online website you are able to filter our product ranges to only show Gluten Free products.

The Gluten-free Checklist provided by Coeliac UK is also a great source of information, Download a copy here.

Vegan Diet

Definition provided by the Vegan Society

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

From ‘junk food vegans’ to raw food vegans, and everything in between, there’s a version of veganism to suit everyone. Yet one thing we all have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.

At Wholesome Online we stock a vast range of Vegan products both in our Wholesome own range and also in our hundreds of branded products.

Dairy Free

Information from Allergy UK

There are two very different types of condition that are often called dairy free.

Allergy – cow’s milk

Cow’s milk allergy is an immune response to one or more of the proteins (albumin, casein or whey) in cow’s milk.

Intolerance – lactose

An intolerance to dairy is less severe but may also bring about digestive, skin and inflammatory symptoms. Dairy intolerance may have various causes, the most common is an inability to digest lactose.

If you think you are either allergic to dairy products or intolerant you should go to your GP for a full diagnosis and advice.

Foods you can and can’t eat

A dairy free diet means avoiding cow’s milk and all products that contain cow’s milk, these include:

  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt Hydrolysed casein/whey
  • Casein/caseinates
  • Cheese
  • Whey Lactalbumin
  • Cream – all varieties
  • Fromage frais
  • Milk solids
  • Lactose
  • Ghee
  • Milk of all kinds
  • Lactic acid (E270)
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Ice cream
  • Whey protein/sugar

There is also a vast amount of products that use dairy products in their production. It is therefore always advisable to read food packaging labels carefully.

As an alternative to cow’s milk you could try:

  • Goat, sheep and buffalo milk.
  • Coconut milk.
  • Soya Milk.
  • Milk substitutes made from nuts, seeds and grains

There are also a number of alternative butters and spreads now available.

Egg Free Diet

Information from Allergy UK

Egg allergy is much more common in young children than in adults. Most children with egg allergy will outgrow it. This is just one important reason why a child with a food allergy should be seen by an Allergy Specialist.

Egg allergy can be:

  • to all forms of egg (well-cooked, loosely cooked and raw)
  • only to loosely cooked and raw egg

You only need to avoid the forms of egg that you react to.

Many people with egg allergy can eat baked foods containing well-cooked egg without a problem. In fact, research has demonstrated that 70-80% of children with an egg allergy can eat plain cakes and biscuits containing egg. However, in those who are allergic even to well-cooked egg, the reactions are often severe. It is therefore essential that any child with an egg allergy is first tested under specialist medical supervision (for example, in a hospital allergy clinic) before foods (such as cakes and biscuits) containing egg are given to them.

It is a now a requirement on all food labeling that egg is listed as an allergen however small the amount. Always read the labels on food products carefully before eating.

A number of egg replacements or egg free alternatives to things such as mayonnaise are now available.

Soya Free

Information from Allergy UK

The soya bean belongs to the legume family, which includes fresh and dried peas, beans, carob, liquorice and peanut. Research has shown that a symptomatic reaction to more than one member of the legume family is rare. It is therefore in most cases not necessary to avoid all foods from this plant family.

Soya is widely used in foods and is difficult to avoid. As many as 60% of manufactured foods contain soya. Soy comes from soybeans and immature soybeans are called edamame beans. Soya can be ingested as whole beans, soya flour, soya sauce or soya oil. Soya can also be used in foods as a texturiser (texturised vegetable protein), emulsifier (soya lecithin) or protein filler. Soya flour is widely used in foods including; breads, cakes, processed foods (ready meals, burgers and sausages) and baby foods.

Clearly, avoidance of all these products containing soya would make the diet very restricted. However, as with many other allergies, the level of avoidance required will depend on each individual case. Some people may need to avoid all these forms of soya, whereas others may be able to tolerate, for example, soy sauce and soya lecithin. In fact, most soy sauces contain very small amounts of soy, with most of the protein in the sauce being derived from fermented wheat.

In the EU soya is considered a major food allergen and as such all food packaging must be labelled to show that it contains Soya, always check the labels carefully.

Peanut & Nut Free

Information from Allergy UK

Allergy to peanut and tree nuts, nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts etc is the most common food allergy in adults and children. However, since most children start eating other foods first, allergies to other foods such as egg and cows’ milk protein typically present before nut allergies. While children often grow out of other allergies, only around 20% of children with nut allergies resolve. This means that 4 out of 5 children with nut allergies will continue to have these allergies as an adult. In some people, the allergy may become less severe with age, but in 20%, it can become worse with time.

Peanut allergy is becoming ever more commonplace, with recent studies showing that the rate of peanut allergy has doubled over a 5 year period both here in Europe and in the United States. Peanut allergy is estimated now to affect 1 in 50 young infants, and tree nut allergy also seems more common.

The majority of allergic reactions to peanut and tree nuts are mild. Hives (nettle rash), eczema and vomiting are the most common complaints in children. However, some allergic reactions to peanut or tree nuts can be severe, causing difficulty in breathing due to asthma or throat swelling, or a drop in blood pressure. This is known as anaphylaxis, and allergy to peanut or tree nuts is one of the most common triggers.

In any case where an allergic reaction to a nut is suspected, the patient should be referred by their General Practitioner to an NHS allergy clinic for testing to confirm the diagnosis. Testing can be done by Skin Prick Tests or blood tests.

A food challenge test may be performed if the diagnosis of nut allergy is in doubt. This is a safe procedure provided it is undertaken in a specialist allergy centre with experienced medical staff. Not only will this procedure confirm an allergic reaction, but it will also provide an opportunity to assess how severe an allergic reaction could occur if one accidentally came in contact with peanuts.

Any foods containing peanuts or tree nuts must be labelled as such, always check the labels on food packaging carefully.

Organic

Organic food can be labelled as such if it is produced using a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and feed additives.

Organic means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment – this means more wildlife!

Organic food production and processing in the UK is controlled by a number of regulatory bodies who ensure Organic standards are maintained.

Fairtrade

When you buy products with the FAIRTRADE Mark, you support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities.

The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Fairtrade works to benefit small-scale farmers and workers, who are amongst the most marginalised groups globally, through trade rather than aid to enable them to maintain their livelihoods and reach their potential.