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Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free Diets

By Andrea Johnson

Wheat-free, gluten-free and sugar-free diets are followed for a variety of reasons as a means to improve some aspect of health. Diets aren't necessarily followed for the sole purpose of weight loss, but for other reasons which might include food sensitivities, food intolerances, food allergies, personal tastes and preferences, or for certain medical conditions. Each type of diet is different and comes with specific guidelines.

Wheat-Free Diet

A wheat-free diet is a diet in which no wheat, wheat flour or products made from wheat are eaten. A person following this diet may have an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to wheat that might be causing pain. The ingredients on labels will need to be read thoroughly to ensure no wheat is in various products. Grains that are still allowed on a wheat-free diet include oats, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, corn, rye and barley. The list of foods that potentially contain wheat is long since more foods are made with wheat than any other grain, according to the Wheat Foods Council. Foods that should not be consumed on a wheat-free diet include anything made with white or wheat flour and anything containing the word wheat as well as soy sauce, cookies, cakes, pastries, pizza, fried foods and wontons.

Gluten-Free Diet

A gluten-free diet removes all foods that contain the protein gluten. People who have an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to gluten might experience symptoms of neurological dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, skin rash, joint problems and fatigue. Celiac disease sufferers do not consume gluten since it damages the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in painful symptoms and potential nutritional deficiencies due to a lack of nutrient absorption. A gluten-free diet removes any foods that contain gluten, including wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, semolina, pumpernickel, triticale and farro. Oats are allowed on a gluten-free diet only if they are labeled gluten-free, according to RD411.com. Cross contamination is an issue with oats and they should not be eaten unless you are certain that they are gluten-free.

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Sugar-Free Diet

A sugar-free diet means foods that contain white sugar and white flour are removed. Diabetics and people attempting weight loss might follow a sugar-free diet in order to limit intake of refined sugars, which have a tendency to elevate your blood sugars and triglycerides. Additionally, diets high in refined sugar are stored as fat very easily. A completely sugar-free diet is difficult to do since most all food contains sugar, but limiting or reducing refined flour and sugar is the goal of the diet.

Diet Recommendation

Diets typically aren't recommended if they cut out entire food groups, explains "Contemporary Nutrition" by Gordon Wardlaw. Wheat-free diets and gluten-free diets are appropriate as long as grains and fiber are picked up in other foods as to prevent nutrient deficiencies and maintain fiber intake. Consulting a dietitian is a good idea when undertaking a diet of any kind.

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