Healthy Families

To Ditch the Wheat or Not

October 5, 2020


Wheat is not only a staple in Kenya but among the most nutritious grains around. Moreover, wheat products are a favorite to many. Whether as chapatis, uji, mahamri, cakes, mandazi, roux, bread, or pasta, it is almost impossible to miss out on one of these dishes in most Kenyan homes. Regardless of the wide range of tasty products made from wheat and nutrients possessed, wheat has been blamed for many health conditions like weight gain, digestive problems, and cancer. Is ditching wheat the way to go?

Gluten is the underlying ‘enemy’ in all wheat products, barley, rye, and contaminated oats. It is the protein that improves the elastic nature of the mentioned products. A large population can tolerate gluten apart from the 1% who can’t because of the health implications that follow. Individuals with gluten insensitivity and celiac disease, which is a potentially life-threatening disease that causes intestinal damage and increases the risk of intestinal cancer, fail to digest gluten. In such situations, gluten-containing food products are avoided.

Around 2009-2010, the gluten-free diet was popularized by celebrities for its potentiality to promote weight loss. The majority of the non-affected population adopted it though only a handful pulled through and made it a lifestyle. The rest fell off the wagon. But was it a wise move? Is there any scientific evidence? Gluten and weight gain are a controversial topic. Those who adopt the diet give credit to its ability to improve the energy levels, reduce skin-related issues, and waist size.

With all the testaments revolving around weight loss and a gluten-free diet, there lacks enough scientific evidence. However, the weight-loss claims concur with the fact that major carbohydrates sources are eliminated from the diet and the individual can focus on more unprocessed foods, fruits, and vegetables. Instead of blatantly telling an individual to ditch the wheat, it is necessary to get the medical history of the client and if there is no repercussion as a result of gluten consumption, advise the client to eat in moderation.

When it comes to digestive problems, individuals with celiac disease exhibit symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and vomiting that result in nutrient loss. Celiac clients often lose weight due to nutrient malabsorption and end up being malnourished. In the case of gluten-sensitive individuals, constipation or bloating is experienced as well as weight gain due to hormonal interference. Hence the adoption of a gluten-free diet in both instances can be life-saving.

Should you chose to adopt a gluten-free there are several grains and pseudo-cereals that you can select these include: soya, gluten-free oats, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, rice, and buckwheat. As Winnie’s Pure Health, our range of gluten-free flours includes Terere Afya, Uji Afya, and Wimbi Afya all of which are readily available and very pocket friendly.

If considering a gluten-free diet for those experiencing any of the digestive issues, visit a physician for proper medical diagnosis and treatment. Whereas for those contemplating indulging in the diet to lose weight, well, if it makes you feel better and reduces the inches around your waist why not. However, in the long run, get to understand that the secret lies in portion control.