Two different diets that people often interchange is a wheat-free diet and a gluten-free diet. The big question is “are these two similar?” Of course not! But why do people mistake these two to be the same? Well, because wheat contains gluten. But this does not mean wheat is the only source of gluten. There are many other foods that contain gluten. That’s why a gluten-free diet is a bit wider than a wheat-free diet. In a wheat-free diet, all you have to do is get rid of foods that contain wheat. With that, you’re good to go.
Wheat happens to be one of the oldest cereal crops. It comes in different varieties. And is used in making a wide variety of foods. And because of this, it’s almost impossible that a person wouldn’t come in contact with wheat in a day. But the good news is that you can completely avoid wheat. But would it be safe and healthy to avoid wheat when it offers so many benefits? Well, you’ll find out later. Another big question is why do people opt for a wheat-free diet? Well, different people have different reasons. And we will be having a look at those reasons later on.
The wheat-free diet is very literal. It means a diet where you exclude anything that has to do with wheat. There are actually a lot of foods that have wheat in them. So you have to be very careful. That’s why it’s important to have a look at labels when you go shopping.
Here’s a list of other names used to replace wheat on labels:
- Durum wheat
- Modified starch
- Cereal binder
- Wheat germ
Once you see any of these names on the labeling section of whatever you want to buy then do not buy them. That’s because they are names used in place of wheat.
Foods to Eat
Foods to Avoid
|Rice, corn, rye, barley||Baking powder|
|Wheat free cakes and biscuits||Breadcrumbs|
|Wheat free pasta||Bottled sauces|
|Corn flour||Instant hot drinks|
|Fruits and vegetables||Waffles|
|Milk||Sauces and Gravies|
Never forget to always check labels before you buy food products. That’s because there some products stated as good here but the label can indicate it has wheat. While some foods to be avoided are actually labeled wheat free. So take your time while shopping.
Can Anyone Opt for a Wheat-Free Diet?
Generally, when people want to choose a diet plan they have different reasons. The motivation for some could be health related, personal or to lose weight. For wheat-free diet as well there are reasons why a person should opt for this diet.
The first reason is for people with a wheat allergy. Wheat is actually one out of the eight major allergens that you would see on food labels. You would commonly find this among children. And by the age of 3, they would normally outgrow this allergy.
Another reason is people with celiac disease. So there are about 3 million people that have celiac disease. And the celiac disease is a disease wherein a person is sensitive to gluten. And gluten can be found in wheat, rye, and barley. Once a person with celiac disease consumes food containing gluten there would be an immune-system response. And this can damage the immune system as well as interfere with the absorption of the nutrient.
For some, they choose just to simply cut out wheat. Simply because a wheat-free diet is a trending diet. With a wheat-free diet, you would be able to cut down on carbs. While for some, they just feel a lot better when they remove wheat from their diet. In this case, it’s more about how a person feels and not why a person is doing it.
So just about anyone can opt for this diet plan. But importantly, don’t just start a diet plan without informing your doctor or dietitian. It’s important that your doctor is aware of the journey you’re about to embark on.
Pros and Cons of a Wheat-Free Diet
Wheat diet seems quite enticing. Which is why people that don’t even have a wheat allergy still opt for it. Well, that could be a good decision or maybe not. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages you can get from a wheat-free diet.
- Improved digestion: So, wheat happens to be quite difficult to digest. It adds more stress to the intestines as they have to do more work in breaking it down. And this might result in digestive problems such as bloating, gas and water retention. By consuming little or no wheat you’re giving your digestive system a break.
- Blood glucose levels: Another advantage of a wheat-free diet is stabilizing glucose levels in the blood. Wheat is actually a big contributor when it comes to blood glucose levels. And this is particularly helpful for diabetics. They would be able to reduce glucose levels and insulin levels in the body.
- Possible weight loss: Even though dietitians advise not to use this diet plan for weight loss purposes, it could be a good one for losing weight. In a wheat-free diet, you get rid of a lot of refined carbohydrates that can make you gain a lot of weight. So there’s a possibility that when you stop consuming these foods you would be able to lose some weight.
- Vitamin B deficiency: Someone following a wheat-free diet is at risk of developing vitamin B deficiency. And vitamin B is very important in creating energy from food. Also, a deficiency in this vitamin would lead to other serious medical conditions.
- It’s time-consuming: A wheat-free diet requires you to cook most times from scratch. So if you’re the type that is quite busy this wouldn’t be an easy diet plan for you to follow.
- It’s difficult to maintain: Also, this diet plan is quite restrictive in terms of food choices. This is why it’s difficult to maintain. And if you’re doing it for medical reasons it might become a hassle. Because keeping up with it can be quite tiring.
- Costly: Usually foods that are wheat-free are specially made foods. And because of this, they can be quite expensive. So another discouraging factor is the cost when it comes to a wheat-free diet.