Is Too Much Wheat Bad for You?

Whole-wheat bread is an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients.
Whole-wheat bread is an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients. (Image: MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images)

With the rising popularity of gluten-free and low-carb products, the healthfulness of wheat is naturally called into question. While it's true that too much of anything can be bad for you, there is nothing inherently wrong with wheat unless you have a true allergy or intolerance. Choose wheat bread, pasta and cereal carefully to benefit from the nutrients found in whole grains.

White Versus Wheat

A diet rich in whole grains, including whole-wheat products, is associated with weight loss; reduced risk of diseases, including diabetes and stroke; and healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. However, refined wheat products such as white bread and pasta are linked to high cholesterol and other adverse effects, according to the University of California. The American Heart Association and other health agencies recommend a diet with 100 percent whole grains.

When Wheat Is Dangerous

For individuals with celiac disease, wheat and other grains containing a protein called gluten are harmful. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, their immune systems destroy the delicate lining of the digestive tract, leading to malabsorption and other symptoms. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse estimates that one in 133 people in the United States has the disease. People with a wheat allergy may experience symptoms ranging from hives to life-threatening anaphylaxis if they ingest wheat or wheat-containing foods, and should be under the care of a physician specializing in allergies.

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