LIFESTYLE

Wheat Free Diet Is Not For Everyone: 98% Of People Could Benefit From Eating Bread And Cereal, Say Experts

20/11/2014 16:57 GMT | Updated 20/11/2014 16:59 GMT

In recent years wheat-free food has found its way onto supermarket shelves across the country.

Most of us know at least one person who is "avoiding bread", but is wheat really that bad for us?

Researchers from the University of Warwick have said there is "overwhelming evidence" that whole grain foods such as bread and cereal are actually beneficial for our health.

Despite the growing number of people turing to wheat-free diets, the study showed a whopping 98% of people could benefit from having some wheat in their life.

brown bread

Researchers from the university collated information from a collection of scientific papers on the topic of wheat and diet in order to draw their conclusions.

"Apart from the 2% of the population who suffer from coeliac disease or other sensitivities or intolerance to wheat, there is overwhelming evidence of clear health benefits of a whole grain based diets," Rob Lillywhite, senior research fellow at the crop centre at Warwick’s school of life sciences told The Telegraph.

"The evidence to suggest that consumption of whole grain wheat - which contains a higher amount of dietary fibre compared to oats - is good for individuals is overwhelmingly positive and consumption of whole grain will increase both health and help to maintain a healthy body weight."

The Warwick study, which was carried out on behalf of breakfast cereal manufacturer Weetabix, isn't the first to suggest we may be jumping to conclusions when it comes to food allergies and intolerances.

Last year Dr Stukus, an allergist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University, said allergies to gluten - the protein found in wheat products - do not exist.

"Gluten has been blamed for all that ails humanity. But there are only three disorders you can attribute to gluten on a scientific basis: coeliac disease, wheat allergies and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity," he said.

“Then there’s this claim about ‘gluten allergy,’ which really doesn’t exist. It’s not really a recognised allergy. Wheat is a recognised allergy - but a lot of people will misinterpret that as gluten.”

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According to the NHS, a feeling of being bloating after eating bread is rarely caused by a serious allergy to wheat.

Some people may find certain foods more difficult to digest, but it doesn't necessarily mean we should cut them out altogether.

"Wheat is one of our staple foods and lots of wheat products, such as breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamins and minerals," the NHS website states.

Eliminating wheat completely shouldn't harm your health seriously, but Alana MacDonald from The British Dietetic Association suggests we cut down on wheat, rather than forgetting it completely, if we feel our body is reacting negatively to it.

"I would be reluctant to advise someone to completely cut out wheat, as many wholegrain foods which are high in beneficial fibre, are also wheat based," she says.

"If someone had identified definite symptom elevation (bloating, diarhoea, abdominal pain, nausea etc) in correlation to wheat consumption, I would advise a trial of eliminating wheat and then re-introduce it in small amounts to assess tollerance."

MacDonald adds that wheat is contained in a large number of carbohydrate and whole grain foods which have a huge role to play in providing energy and fibre for growth, development and bowel health.

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