Sunday, 8 July 2012

Why Follow a Wheat Free Diet?

Why follow a wheat free diet?

With the advent of agriculture, wheat has emerged as the most commonly eaten grain globally. Due to its unparalleled rise as a wholesome and nutritious food, wheat found a place as an ingredient in a vast majority of food products. However despite its exalted status wheat and wheat containing foods are a cause of allergies and irritation to many people across the globe. An increased prevalence of wheat allergy or wheat intolerance has created a sudden spurt in the demand of wheat free foods.

The difference between wheat free and gluten free

Gluten is an ingredient found in many grains including wheat. In fact the gluten found in wheat is called gliadin. Some individuals who are allergic to wheat, can eat foods which are wheat free but are made from gluten containing grains. Some such grains, which contain gluten and can be eaten as a part of wheat free diet are rye, barley, spelt and oats etc.

Why should you follow a wheat free diet?

Wheat allergy or wheat intolerance manifests itself in the form of various physical and emotional symptoms such as gastric disturbances similar to irritable bowel syndrome (diarrhea, bloating etc), mood swings, depression, fatigue, skin rashes, acne, eczema etc. The best way to treat these symptoms is to eliminate the allergen from your diet, i.e. wheat, hence, the need to follow wheat free diet.

What foods should be avoided on a wheat free diet?

You should always look for the ingredients list on the label before eating anything. When on a wheat free diet, you should avoid the following foods:

·         Any food product which has the word “wheat” on its ingredients list such wheat germ, wheat bran wheat flour etc. This list excludes buckwheat which is not related to wheat.

·         Avoid all food products which contain food and vegetable starch, gelatinized starch, soy sauce and any natural flavourings.

·         Wheat is a common ingredient in all types of baked goods due to its sticking properties. Hence, items such as bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits, pies etc. all contain wheat.

·         All types of soups, gravies and sauces usually utilize wheat flour as the thickening agent, hence should be avoided by individuals needing to follow a wheat free diet.

·         Snacks, salad dressings, pastas, macaroni, noodles etc. all contain wheat ingredients, unless specified as wheat free or gluten free.

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