Does eating wheat lead to weight gain?

Wheat-free diets are endorsed by some celebrities and the focus of some dietary books; the premise being that wiping out wheat will whittle away unwanted pounds. No one food group, however, is the culprit for excess weight gain or the panacea for weight loss.

In fact, eating whole wheat items assists one in consuming whole grains and getting much needed fiber and a variety of key nutrients. What you need to watch out for is the type of wheat foods you’re eating as it is found in many foods that also are packed with calories and low in nutrients. Think baked goods, white bread, low-fiber/sugary cereals to name a few. Less of these foods will generally trim calories and ultimately lead to weight loss, providing one doesn’t add excess calories from other sources. For some individuals such as those with wheat allergies, celiac disease or gluten intolerance, limiting wheat is essential. For others, there’s no need to delete wheat unless you desire. Here are some suggestions for eating wheat in a healthy way:

  • Start your day with a cold cereal – look for whole wheat as the first ingredient.
  • Try whole wheat varieties of pancakes and waffles topped with fruit.
  • Use whole wheat pitas, breads or deli-flats when making sandwiches.
  • Switch to whole wheat pastas. Or as an introduction, mix some whole wheat into your regular pasta.
  • Try whole wheat couscous.
  • Substitute half whole wheat flour for recipes calling for flour
  • Top whole-wheat crackers with hummus, low-fat cheese, or nut butters
  • Wrap a whole wheat tortilla around peanut butter and banana or eggs and salsa

These whole wheat versions will be more likely to keep you fuller longer, a helpful aid in keeping calories in check. Consider preparing this healthy and delicious recipe that features whole wheat couscous: Greek Couscous Salad with Walnuts

Are You Allergic to Wheat?

If you are allergic to the protein found in wheat, it’s important to read food labels and learn more about wheat substitutes. Learn more about general guidelines and a wheat allergy diet.

– Linda Antinoro, RD, LDN, JD, CDE

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