The term ‘free from’ means that a product has been designed to exclude one or more ingredients that people can be intolerant or allergic to – it doesn’t mean free from taste.
Here at Holland and Barrett, we believe that everybody should have easy access to a healthy and varied diet – and free from treats are high up on our list too! That’s why we stock such an extensive range of free from foods and drinks – to make your life that little bit easier.
What foods can people be allergic or intolerant to?
There are a wide range of allergies and intolerances that people can have; with some people being born with them and others developing them at different stages of their life. The most prevalent have been identified by institutions like The Foods Standards Agency and rules have been put in place to help keep people safe and informed.
The Foods Standards Agency require that foods or drinks containing any of the following specific allergens must have that information highlighted on its product labelling:
Cereals containing gluten
Nuts (tree nuts)
Sulphur dioxide (If above 10mg/kg, or 10mg/litre)
What is the difference between allergies and intolerances?
An allergy causes a reaction in the immune system, which affects several organs in the body. This results in a range of symptoms, some being severe and even life threatening. Whereas an intolerance causes generally less serious (but still annoying) symptoms – often solely digestive problems.
How to get on with a gluten free diet
What is gluten? Gluten is the name for proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. It acts as a sort of glue and can be found in many types of food, including:
A gluten intolerance usually causes symptoms like an upset stomach, bloating, abdominal cramping, and other digestive issues. However, coeliac disease (an allergy to gluten) is a much more serious immune system disorder.
When people who have coeliac disease consume gluten, their immune system attacks the small intestine - causing damage that stops nutrients being absorbed into the body properly. These coeliac symptoms can lead to several serious health problems. So, it’s important to have foods that are gluten free available.
Use the filter on this page to find even more gluten free products.
How to deal with dairy free diets
Most people with a dairy intolerance are lactose intolerant - the sugar in milk. This means that the stomach and small intestine don’t digest lactose normally, and it gets broken down inside the colon instead, causing bloating and gas.
A dairy allergy, however, causes the body to attack dairy products as if they were highly dangerous. This makes the body produce substances that cause allergy symptoms from mild rashes to loss of breathing / consciousness.
Having an egg intolerance will usually, at most, cause gastrointestinal upset like diarrhoea and abdominal bloating, but those symptoms are definitely enough to want to avoid it. An egg allergy, however, is more serious and can cause symptoms ranging from itchy rashes to anaphylaxis.
**Our nut free refinement is free from products containing the following nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts and macadamia nuts. Coconuts, chestnuts and pine kernels are not classified as allergy causing nuts under EU legislation and so may still be present in the products within this category, however, if present they will be clearly declared in the product ingredients listing.