Updated June 2022 by Serena Bansal Registered Dietitian BSc Hons
Wheat is a cereal grain used to make certain food products such as bread, pasta and pastry.
In the UK wheat based products traditionally make up a huge part of our diet. But, in recent years wheat has gotten a bad name – being blamed for everything from weight gain to digestive problems. But do we really need to be avoiding it and instead opting for the wheat free alternative?
Well, as long as you don’t have a diagnosed wheat intolerance then NO!!! In fact, if you are avoiding wheat unnecessarily then you may be missing out on some key nutrients.
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A few FACTS about wheat….
Wheat is packed full of nutrients
Fibre, vitamin E, protein, omega-3, selenium, copper, folate, zinc – the list goes on.
Wheat is actually good for the digestive system
The fibre content helps to bulk and move stools along the digestive system – meaning you are far less likely to get conditions such as bowel cancer and diverticulitis later in life.
Wheat is good for preventing other diseases too..
Having a regular intake of whole-grains, like wheat, in your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes.
Wheat free or gluten free products are more processed
Many products which are not naturally wheat free such as bread are more processed and tend to have additional additives.
You can read more about gluten free diet here.
Wheat based products are low in calories
Yes you heard it – they do not cause weight gain! The calorie content of wheat products for how much bulk you get is really quite low, meaning that you get filled up more quickly without having to eat additional calories.
Just be careful not to then go slapping butter/ oil or mayo all over them as then you really start to rack up the calories.
Feel bloated with wheat products?
Firstly, check your portion size as we often over indulge in wheat based products such as pasta and bread. If your portion size is OK, you must must must then go and ask your GP to test you for Coeliac Disease – DO NOT try to self manage first as this will prevent you getting a proper diagnosis and follow up care.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.
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