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Wheat Allergies and Low Carb
A lot of people go to a low carb diet because of wheat allergies. They are allergic to bread, pasta and the many other wheat products out there. Low carb with its focus on vegetables, dairy and protein to provide a full diet system provides a solution.
First, wheat allergies are NOT rare. In fact, they are one of the top allergies out there. This is incredibly hard for modern people because so many processed foods have wheat dumped into them.
Wheat allergies, like all allergies, come in a variety of types. First, you can have reactions that range from hardly noticeable to life threatening. You can have rashes, stomach problems, even trouble breathing. You might have it only as a child and "grow out" of it - or you can have it develop as an adult.
There are also different aspects of wheat allergies. Some people have an actual allergic reaction to the wheat itself, like you would to poison ivy. They would react to any part of the wheat.
Some people are allergic to the gluten within the wheat. Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. It is at higher levels in wheat. So these people would be fine with gluten-free products. This is known as celiac disease. If you're actually allergic to gluten you might have mild reactions, like bloating and constipation - or you could have severe ones which cause skin issues, depression and headaches.
Yet other people aren't allergic to gluten - but they can't digest it. So they have a gluten intolerance. This is like if you can't digest milk, you have lactose intolerance. You tend to just have digestive issues - bloating, gas, that sort of thing. The gluten isn't being broken down properly.
So what you can eat or not eat depends on what TYPE of allergy or reaction you're having to wheat. Your doctor can do tests to figure it out. If you're just having very mild problems with wheat, and your doctor OKs it, you can also try the elimination approach. Cut out all wheat products and then try something gluten-free. If that seems OK, then it's probably one of the two gluten issues you're facing.
Scarily, about 1% of the population is thought to have one of these issues, but most go undiagnosed. Most people in this situation think it's "normal" that they are bloaty, gassy, run down, depressed or whatever else is being caused by this medical condition. I have had MANY people who go on low carb and suddenly feel much better - and it turns out it's because they are now avoiding wheat products!
So it's a VERY good thing for any person to go for a week without wheat products, just to see what happens. If you're not having wheat problems, no great loss, you start eating them again if you want. If you ARE having wheat problems, you might be surprised at how much better you feel after that week!
NOTE: From a visitor: "I appreciate your article with regard to "wheat" issues. However, Celiac is an autoimmune disease with many serious ramifications, and should clearly be labeled as such, not another "allergy" There is a definite blood test for this. I read Bellonline and love the recipes, and would love to see more gluten free entries. Thanks"
Point well taken! Whatever the reason you react to wheat, be sure to figure out if you DO react to wheat and take steps to avoid it.
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books
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