Monday, March 10, 2014

Wheat-Free and Gluten-Free: Learn to Tell the Difference

With the recent buzz about gluten- and wheat-free diets, it’s good to know how they compare and if they’re right for everyone.

Bread

With the recent buzz about gluten- and wheat-free diets, it’s good to know how they compare and if they’re right for everyone. Experts estimate that one of every 133 people in the United States has celiac disease, a condition that damages the small intestine when gluten is eaten. Wheat is one of the eight most common known food allergens. It can cause wheezing, itching, rashes and other symptoms. Here is how wheat and gluten compare:

Gluten is a protein found in some grains, including wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and sometimes oats (if they have been in contact with glutinous grains). Gluten causes bread to rise, pasta to stretch and croissants to flake. Wheat is a grain that contains gluten. Wheat comes in various forms, including spelt, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur and semolina. It is a familiar ingredient used for breads, sauces and soups.

Are wheat- and gluten-free diets right for everyone? Many products, magazines, and books suggest dropping them to lose weight, cure diseases, and for other benefits. But replacing gluten and wheat with alternative products is not a magic bullet to health. For those who are allergic, intolerant, or who have celiac disease, removing one or both can greatly improve health. This is why it is important to discover an allergy or intolerance with the help of a doctor or nutritionist.

To recap, all types of wheat have gluten, but not all forms of gluten are wheat. Gluten is in wheat, barley, rye, triticale and gluten-contaminated oats. Wheat comes in many forms including spelt, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur, and semolina. The nutrition and naturopathic teams at Bastyr Center for Natural Health can help you determine if they are right for your body.

By DeeAnna VanReken, dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

FALL 2014
Have questions about a program?
Request information »

More Health Tips

Birth plans are a terrific way to communicate your wishes for your baby’s birth and immediate postpartum care.

Medical journal articles report solid evidence that our bodies can reduce chemical burden by safe, simple therapeutic activities.

At about $1 a piece, glass canning jars let you reduce your reliance on plastic without breaking the bank.

Here are some reasons to consider visiting an ayurvedic practitioner.

The quality of our sleep plays a big role in our physical and mental health.

Eat local. Eat seasonal. Eat organic. These messages can easily become confusing. Which one is best? Fortunately, they go hand in hand

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.