Is giving up wheat the answer to losing those extra pounds you just can't shift? We talk to expert nutritionists to find out the pros and cons of saying goodbye to bread and pasta. For good.
‘A wheat-free diet is nutritionally sound, provided that other whole grains are used instead. Oats, buckwheat, barley and rye all contain the same, if not more, minerals than wheat,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson
. ‘A wheat-free diet can help you lose weight if bread and pasta tend to form a large part of your diet in the first place. It is often the yeast in these breads that tend to create bloating too, so look out for soda-bread options instead.’
‘While carbohydrates are not necessarily the enemy in the fat-loss game, there is increasing evidence that, because wheat forms a major part of many people’s diets, we are quite simply eating too much of it and our digestive systems can’t cope. Take wheat out of your diet for just one week and you will likely see a number of positive effects – less bloating and a big improvement in energy levels,’ says nutritionist Fiona Kirk
, author of Eat Live & Lose Flab
‘Replacing wheat and wheat-based foods with nutritious alternatives can force you to try new foods, giving you a greater variety of nutrients,’ says The Nutri Centre’s
nutritionist Cassandra Barnes. ‘It can also mean that you do more home cooking and eat fewer processed or refined junk foods, such as white bread, cake, pastries and ready meals, which may have little nutritional value.’
1. ‘The main disadvantage of a wheat-free diet is having to look further for wheat-free alternatives, as most grab-and-go options are based on wheat in the first place,’ says Vicki Edgson. ‘Look for buckwheat wraps, and other yeast-free flatbreads, such as corn tortillas.’
2. ‘Many processed foods, including sauces, gravies, ready meals, and even sausages, contain wheat flour – so, unless you prepare all your meals from scratch, you have to look very carefully at the labels, and your options are often much more limited,’ says Cassandra Barnes.
3. ‘Another – perhaps more serious – problem can occur if you don’t replace the wheat with healthy alternatives: you can miss out on important calories and nutrients. This is why it is recommended to see a nutritional therapist if you decide to embark on an exclusion programme,’ adds Cassandra.
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