Why would you stop eating wheat?
Updated: Feb 26
Want to reduce inflammation and maybe drop few pounds?
Consider dropping WHEAT from your diet.
Why Would You Want to Stop Eating Wheat?
Swapping white bread for whole-wheat bread is a tried-and-true healthy eating tip, so why wouldn’t someone want to eat whole-wheat bread — and why would you want to stop eating wheat entirely?
Those who follow a no-wheat diet generally fall into three camps according to many nutritionists. As with any diet, the motivation may be related to weight, health, or personal preference.
-First, there are people who have an actual wheat allergy. Wheat is one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on food labels, but it is most common in children and usually outgrown by age 3.
-Then there are the three million people who have celiac disease. When they consume gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and foods like soy sauce, salad dressings, beer, and more), it sparks an immune-system response that can damage the small intestine and interfere with nutrient absorption. Since gluten is a part of wheat, a gluten-free diet is also a no-wheat diet.
-The final group is composed of people who simply choose not to eat wheat. Is this interpretation of a wheat-free diet a trendy way to cut carbs? Perhaps, but many nutritionists caution against cutting out wheat just because it’s trendy, as that can backfire. You often end up eating less fiber, more carbohydrates, more refined carbohydrates, more sugar, and gaining weight.
Another leading nutritionist adds a fourth group to the no-wheat camp: “Some people just feel better overall when they eliminate wheat,” she says. “The ‘why’ may not be as important here — if you can eliminate wheat and maintain a healthy, balanced diet, I wouldn’t resist.”
In 2013, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a review of individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Researchers found that eliminating gluten (and thereby wheat), helped both the gastrointestinal system and other areas of health for these people.
What’s in Wheat? Gluten, Fructan, Phytic Acid and Phytates- Lets Break those down below.
This protein is off-limits to those with celiac disease. Otherwise, “there’s nothing wrong with gluten" says Paige Benté, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.
This is a polymer of fructose (sugar) molecules that can cause digestive issues in some people.
It’s considered off-limits in low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) diets. (A FODMAP diet is a very specific elimination diet that wouldn’t apply to most people.)
Phytic Acid and Phytates
Phytic acid and phytates, which are found in seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts, are sometimes called “anti-nutrients,” since they can inhibit the absorption of other nutrients. However, research shows that phytic acid may have antioxidant-like properties, and you can negate that anti-nutrient quality by adding garlic or onions. “In healthy amounts, they are not bad for you."
Here are some potential advantages and disadvantages of giving up wheat:
*You may eat more whole grains and fewer processed foods.
*You’ve seen all the places wheat can hide — it’s mostly processed foods. So if you’re replacing wheat products like frozen pizza with steamed quinoa and grilled chicken breasts, that’s healthier, says Benté.
*You probably read labels more closely. Since wheat can hide in prepared foods, you’ll need to have an eagle eye to keep it out of your diet. This might draw your attention to other areas of the ingredients list, like salt, sugar, and trans fats.
*You may lose weight. What do you eat on a wheat-free diet to lose weight? It’s similar to any healthy eating plan. When you cut wheat, you need to rely on more proteins, vegetables, legumes, and more nutritious sources of carbohydrates. So many people lose weight just by virtue of eliminating the calories and carbohydrates from all the bread and breaded products they consume
The potential disadvantages of a no-wheat diet:
*You may find it challenging. It can make your life a lot harder since wheat is the third-biggest crop in the U.S. and permeates our supermarkets and restaurants. Cutting out wheat (aside from health reasons) is “not dangerous, it’s not unhealthy, it’s fine” — but it may complicate your shopping, dining out, and cooking habits.
*You may eat less fiber — and more refined carbs. Whole wheat is a major source of fiber for many people and fiber can help with satiety and regularity, too. Since the gluten in wheat has a binding effect in foods like bread, many gluten-free counterparts rely on gums and sticky starches (aka simple carbs) that lack fiber, a key nutrient we’re often skimping on. “Gluten-free bread still has calories and carbohydrates,” she says. “Gluten-free cookies still have sugar.”
*You may find your diet is not really healthier. You can find a gluten-free or wheat-free version of just about every junk food imaginable. Benté says if you’re swapping a frozen pizza with a wheat flour crust for another frozen pizza with a wheat-free crust, “in my opinion, you’ve done nothing to improve your diet.”
Learn more and follow our motivation and clean eating Group coming up after the Holidays!