January 26/New York/Eat Drink Better -- Health expert Marion Nestle notes that foods containing whole-wheat, “which have been prepared in customary ways (such as baked or extruded), and eaten in recommended amounts, have been associated with significant reductions in risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a more favourable long term weight management.” This is whole grain wheat, rye, barley, or spelt that can all be part of a healthy diet.

Gluten allergies have only been diagnosed on a large scale in recent years, and those individuals afflicted can experience a higher than usual occurrence of gas, bloating and other common allergy symptoms. However, according to research published in the recent issue of the Journal of Cereal Science, people who are not allergic to wheat or gluten will not have those symptoms. The researchers concluded that “no data justifies a negative opinion about whole-wheat products in a healthy population."

According to the study authors, books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain did not take into consideration overall dietary habits, over-consumption and the activity level of individuals, all of which are important considerations. “These discussion fail to take into account that obesity has a multifactorial causation,” they wrote. “Whole-wheat consumption cannot be linked to increased prevalence of obesity in the general population.”

Wheat is one of the only major grains that is not genetically modified. It is mostly U.S.-grown and is an excellent source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Also as Nestle points out, there are myths about wheat’s impact on our health:

  • Proliferation of wheat products parallels obesity and is causally related.  No, it does not.
  • Wheat starch differs from starches in other foods in especially undesirable ways.  No, it does not.
  • Whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than sugar.  No, it does not.
  • Wheat contains opioids that make people addictive. No, they do not.