Wheat Free and Gluten Free Diets

Wheat causes more adverse food reactions than any of the other gluten containing grains.  Gluten sensitivity may trigger a host of symptoms including irritability, headaches, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, increased appetite, joint pain, mental fatigue, weight gain or loss of balance.


wheat-free-gluten-free.jpgYou've been asked to stop eating foods containing wheat, or worse gluten - what else is there you may ask? While changing over to a wheat-free or gluten-free diet does take some adjusting, it is becoming easier and easier to eat this way as most health food stores and major supermarkets are now stocking a large range of alternative products.

Wheat Intolerance

Wheat is the most widely cultivated cereal crop in the world. Foods made from wheat are staple foods for many populations around the world. In fact wheat has been called the 'staff of life' for hundreds of years because of its storability and versatility.

Wheat intolerance is a delayed onset reaction caused by gluten that affects 1 in 7 people. Symptoms may include headaches, digestive bloating, diarrhoea, skin rash, fatigue, constipation, gas, weight gain, poor immune function, hormonal imbalance and even behavioral problems in children.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, oats and rye. Wheat however is significantly higher in gluten than any other grain, with refined wheat having a gluten content of around 45%. For this reason wheat causes more adverse food reactions than any of the other gluten containing grains.  Many people who cannot tolerate the high amounts of gluten found in wheat and wheat products are able to tolerate small amounts of other gluten containing grains such as oats, barley, spelt and rye.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is becoming more and more common. Eating it may trigger a host of symptoms including irritability, headaches, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, increased appetite, joint pain, mental fatigue, weight gain or loss of balance. When gluten sensitivity goes untreated, malnutrition and chronic inflammation is often the result. Eventually this can lead to various autoimmune and neurological disorders. One well known autoimmune disorder caused by gluten intolerance is called coeliac disease. This disorder causes the villi of the small intestine to become inflamed, thickened and finally flattened to the point that sufferers can no longer absorb nutrients from their food.

The good news is that much of the damage caused by gluten can usually be reversed by following a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet means completely avoiding foods that contain wheat, oats, rye, spelt and barley. Foods and products made from these grains must also be avoided including many pastas, cereals, beers and processed foods.

Despite these restrictions, people with gluten sensitivity can include a variety of foods in their diet. You can now buy gluten-free bread, pasta and even gluten-free beers. Fresh fruits, vegetables, potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are also allowed on a gluten free diet.

Your Naturopath can help you decide if a wheat or gluten free diet will improve your health.