What are wheat avoiders missing out on?

The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council of Australia have funded research looking at which key nutrients are inadequate in the diets of those who avoid wheat due to unexplained gastro‐intestinal symptoms.

The study, published by the Dietitians Association of Australia, focussed on 34 self‐identified symptomatic avoiders of wheat‐based products who did not have a diagnosis of coeliac disease or wheat allergy. Almost 90 per cent of participants were women. They were aged 33 to 83 years and had been avoiding wheat for a mean of six years. Their dietary intake was assessed via a three‐day weighed food record, with the nutrient intakes compared with Nutrient Reference Values.

The study authors note that dietary intake patterns and resulting nutrient imbalances in this group are cause for concern. Inadequate intakes of key protective nutrients such as fibre and calcium were common, as many participants reported avoiding dairy as well as wheat. Intakes of total and saturated fat exceeded recommendations.

The authors consider medical practitioners and dietitians can improve their support strategies for people with unexplained gastro‐intestinal symptoms in order to prevent the longer‐term health consequences of nutritional inadequacies.

Reference: Golley et al. 2019. Nutrition & Dietetics. DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12521.