Does wheat make us fat and sick?

After reviewing all available scientific literature researchers from the UK and Netherlands concluded that there is no substantial evidence that wheat is involved in the development of obesity or other health conditions.

Several popular dietary trends suggest that wheat consumption has adverse health effects. These alleged adverse effects include for example that wheat starch would be different to starch from other sources like bananas, potatoes and vegetables, and therefore easily converted to raise blood sugar, or that wheat would induce addiction-like eating behaviour, ultimately leading to obesity.

The researchers concluded from their review that the alleged adverse effects of wheat consumption on human health could not be substantiated. On the contrary, wheat-containing foods prepared in customary ways and eaten in recommended amounts have been associated with numerous health benefits, in particular, significant reductions in risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer as well as improved long term weight management.

They acknowledge that while individuals who have a genetic predisposition for developing coeliac disease or who are sensitive to gluten and/or allergic to wheat will benefit from avoiding wheat and other cereals containing related proteins, replacing refined wheat foods with an increased consumption of whole grain products should be recommended to the general public. Wheat is relatively rich in micronutrients, including minerals and B vitamins.

Eating well is important for all of us and a healthy, balanced diet can help us feel good, stay a healthy weight and reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. To eat a balanced diet you need to combine several different types of foods - from each of the main food groups - in the right amounts so your body gets all the nutrients it needs while maintaining a healthy weight. This means you should eat plenty of bread, rice potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods in addition to plenty of fruit and vegetables, some milk, cheese and yoghurt, some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein, very small amounts of fats/oils and very little food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt.

The Department of Health in Ireland (PDF 1MB) recommends that starchy foods (bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta and rice) should provide the main source of energy in the daily diet (6 servings + per day). They also recommend choosing whole-wheat and wholegrain options to increase fibre intake.

Posted: 15/01/2014 16:18:32 by Laura Keaver


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