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Are wheat-free diets beneficial for weight loss?

Food intolerances play havoc with your digestive system and in turn, this could also prevent you from losing weight. Most people who have extreme allergies to certain foods have been diagnosed and are aware of their allergies, however food intolerances can go left undiagnosed for long periods of time as the symptoms are not always as obvious as an outright allergy.

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If you are struggling to lose weight and you are following a healthy eating program, exercising regularly and being honest about your food intake, then perhaps one suggestion would be for you to try a wheat-free diet for 2-3 weeks; a wheat free diet is an effective weight loss strategy for many people. 

The reason wheat-free diets can be effective for weight loss is that wheat flour is one of the most common food allergies and intolerances found in people today; even a slight wheat intolerance could be sabotaging your weight loss results. By going on a wheat-free diet for a few weeks, if wheat intolerance is at the core of your weight loss plateau, you will quickly find yourself starting to shed those unwanted kilos and also feel a sense of renewed energy levels.

What is a wheat-free diet?
A wheat-free diet is when you cut out all products that are made from wheat (and wheat flour) including many breads, cereals, pasta and pastries. A wheat-free diet is not the same as a gluten-free diet as wheat-free diets only require that you cut out wheat products, however gluten-free diets require that you cut out all wheat, spelt, rye, oats, and barley, because these foods all contain gluten.

It is not easy to completely eliminate wheat from the diet, but it is easier than eliminating gluten as there is a much larger range of wheat-free foods available. Any foods which are labeled gluten-free are also able to be consumed on a wheat-free diet but not vice versa.

What are the benefits?
The benefits of cutting wheat out of your diet, particularly if you do have even a mild intolerance, is that it can have a huge impact on your weight and the way that you feel. There are different reported reasons for this, but the biggest one is because wheat is so prevalent in Western foods that we tend to eat way too much of it. When we consume too much of any particular type of food we are in danger of developing a food intolerance as our bodies are unable to cope with this over-consumption; this is why wheat and dairy are the most common triggers for food intolerances.

The reason intolerances can occur when eating a particular type of food too often is that it can cause the digestive enzymes to be overwhelmed which in turn causes that particular type of food to no longer be digested properly. This happens most commonly with foods that are not particularly easy to digest, which is the category of foods that wheat and dairy fall in to.

So, how does cutting out wheat help you to lose weight?
If we continue to eat a food that we have become intolerant to, such as wheat, it causes bloating and water retention and therefore makes us appear as though we have extra weight, particularly around our stomach area. However, when we then cut out that food the bloating and water retention subsides, we lose the appearance of having that 'added weight' and our body begins to function normally.

Another reason that cutting out wheat can assist with weight loss is that eating foods we are intolerant to affects our ability to digest foods properly and poor digestion causes constipation (which means we are not getting rid of waste products). Prolonged constipation and the inability to effectively rid waste products causes the toxin levels in our body to rise and the liver is then forced to store these toxins in our fat cells. As these toxin levels continue to rise, extra fat cells are created and maintained to assist with storage of these toxins. So by cutting out the food that we are intolerant to, our toxin levels fall and are no longer required to be stored in the fat cells.

Going wheat-free for a few weeks may also be a great suggestion as a general 'detox' if you are feeling tired and lethargic; going wheat-free for even a few weeks may help to relieve the digestive system of the heavy demands our Western diet places on it and rid any toxins that may be building up.

When trying a wheat-free diet, make sure you give it a few weeks and note your results in a food journal; if you find that you have fewer signs of gas and bloating and increased signs of energy levels and weight loss then this could be a clear indication that wheat may be an issue for you.

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This Article appears in:
Eating strategies
General Health
wheat free, gluten free, diet, nutrition, weight loss, health eating, intolerance, allergy, allergies
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