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Do you or a member of your family experience bloating after eating bread? If you answered yes, then it is possible that you are sensitive to foods made from wheat and wheat flour. Foods like bread (Indian Chapati and Naan included), pancakes, scones, baked foods – biscuits, cakes, pastries, pasta, pizza, and breakfast cereals like porridge. Don’t forget drinks like beer and root beer contain wheat too.

I know… you might be reading this in disbelief and thinking there’s a whole lot of your every day foods listed here, but it might just be easier than you think to do away with wheat based foods.

The simple sandwich is a staple for most families. It’s a “go-to” that you might mindlessly reach for with the only thought at breakfast or lunchtime being, what am I going to put on my sandwich (or wrap)

If you soon after eating bread feel uncomfortable, have wind, feel stomach pain in one specific spot , or get a swollen tummy, then wheat based products are more than likely the culprit. So, if you want the symptoms to stop, you have to eliminate the cause. You can either reduce your bread intake greatly or look for gluten-free) type products – which there are many available on supermarket shelves today.

If symptoms persist you may need to further limit or cease your intake of other wheat-based food also. As most bread is cooked from wheat flour a sensitivity to wheat will result in discomfort. An allergy may produce even harsher symptoms.

Wheat Allergy

Having a wheat allergy is different to having an intolerance to wheat based foods.

If you are allergic to wheat you may experience swelling, itching, or irritation of the mouth, throat or tongue, or rashes you might experience rashes, itching or hives on the skin. Usually side effects will show within minutes of eating wheat products.

You must consult your doctor right away if you experience symptoms this severe. A skin test will determine your condition.

Wheat Sensitivity

Now this is where a self-diagnosis can have you confused. Wheat sensitivity is different to wheat allergy and wheat intolerance however, the symptoms can be very similar to an intolerance.

If you are sensitive to wheat you may experience bloating, stomach cramps, or diarrhea several hours after eating wheat food products. In milder cases you may experience abdominal discomfort, especially after consuming a large serving.

Other Digestive Problems

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease occurs is an extreme form of gluten intolerance. This is a condition in which an individual’s intestine becomes damaged by a protein in the gluten.

So what is gluten?

Gluten is naturally found in wheat and it’s the protein that binds food together, much like a glue.

Wheat is a pretty complicated organism and people with celiac disease who continue to eat wheat based foods, will greatly inflame their body, and this will lead to health complications. When your body cannot properly absorb nutrients and excrete wastage from the intestines, your health will suffer.

Symptoms include, stomach bloating and cramping, diarrhoea or constipation, fatigue, anemia, nausea, vomiting or noticeable weight loss… or even weight gain.

If you suspect yourself to have celiac disease, consult a doctor and expect to undergo blood testing for an accurate diagnosis.

Avoiding wheat-based foods

Many people who are either sensitive or allergic to wheat products have made the choice to abstain from wheat-based foods and have found relief from their symptoms. Cases of wheat sensitivity are increasingly common especially as bread has now become part of a staple diet of many people and cultures.

What should you do if you are suffering from bloating and other stomach problems after eating food products that contain wheat? If your symptoms of wheat allergy persist for a lengthy period of time, or if blood is observed in your stool then you should seek medical help right away. Any other serious symptoms such as vomiting and severe stomach cramps should also be referred to a doctor.

If your symptoms are mild or if you are suffering from a bloated stomach after eating bread or wheat based foods, you can try an elimination diet. You can do this by avoiding foods made from wheat for at least a month. If your symptoms cease, then wheat is almost certainly the culprit. Gradually start to reintroduce wheat products into your daily diet in small quantities to check if your symptoms reoccur. Do not start on bread immediately. Try pasta first for a couple of days before you choose to eat wheat bread again.

Monitor the after-effects of any food containing wheat. Do not overload your system. If you have a wheat sensitivity rather than an allergy you may be able to continue to eat wheat products in moderation. If this is the case, overloading your digestive system with wheat foods will cause any discomforting symptoms to return.

Make a point of reading food labels and always be mindful of your serve size.

If you choose to go on a wheat-free diet, alternatives are quinoa, buckwheat pasta, porridge, cornflakes and rice cereals.

Some people who are sensitive to wheat may find the FODMAP diet helpful.

FODMAP stands for the processes and make up of certain foods, and the impact on some people’s systems. Following FODMAP allowing people to cut out foods that their body may not be able to digest.

Fermentable This refers to the process through which gut bacteria degrade undigested carbohydrates to produce gases. FODMAPs pull more water into the gut to get broken down by bacteria in a process called ‘fermentation’. This produces more gas in your intestines and can cause discomfort.

Oligosaccharides Oligosaccharides are made of fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). Fructans are found in foods like wheat, rye, onion and garlic and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are found in legumes and pulses. They are poorly absorbed by people and can trigger gastrointestinal upset.

Disaccharides This refers to carbohydrates composed of two sugars (called ‘monosaccharides’). Lactose is a common disaccharide found in dairy products like milk, soft cheese and yoghurt. Many people are intolerant to lactose because they don’t have the lactase enzyme present in their gut to help break it down.

Monosaccharides Monosaccharides include simple sugars such as fructose and glucose. Fructose is absorbed optimally in the presence of enough glucose. Consuming foods that are high in fructose but low in glucose (for example, honey, apples and high-fructose corn syrups) can cause fructose malabsorption.

Polyols Polyols are sugar alcohols that are found in some fruits and vegetables. They are often extracted and used as artificial sweeteners.

This FODMAS information was taken from the Monash University Website

There are many food options available today for you if you suffer with an intolerance, sensitivity or disease to foods or the make-up of foods.

If in doubt, self trial or speak to your doctor to speed the process of a solution to your health. Because so many people require special diets, many food companies offer special products to make life easier for you.

I hope you found this read interesting, with tips and insights to assist you if you feel you have an intolerance, sensitivity or allergy to wheat or part of the wheat plant.

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