Most detox diets recommend that you exclude products made with wheat yet we are always being told that wheat fiber is good for the bowels. So why do you need to exclude it when on a detox diet?
Wheat is probably one of the most consumed foods. Many people eat wheat three times a day. Wheat cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta or pizza for dinner with snacks of muffins, cakes and cookies in between.
Wheat is a relatively new food for the human race. Ancient man, the hunter-gatherers, lived on meat from the animals they hunted, fish and wild vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds that they gathered. It was not until the agricultural period that began about 12,000 years ago that wheat and other grains were introduced.
Genetic testing has discovered that people have simply not adapted to the introduction of wheat into the diet.
With so much wheat in our diets it can become a toxin and the detox diet aims to reduce toxins.
2. Gluten allergy
Wheat contains gluten, a family of proteins, that as many as one in three people may be sensitive to. Gluten is also found in rye, barley and oats. The gluten in oats, however, is very different and can be tolerated by many people who react to the other gluten grains.
3. Gliadin & leaky gut
Researchers have detected gliadin, the principle type of wheat gluten, in the blood of 15% of people they tested.Your digestive system provides a barrier between the foods you eat and your blood stream but if this barrier breaks down gliadin gets into the blood stream.
Many things can cause the intestinal barrier to" leak". Drugs, alcohol, food allergies or sensitivities, constipation, gastric infections, aging, nutritional deficiencies are some of the things that can cause damage to the sensitive and delicate lining.
Once gliadin leaks across the barrier the immune system reacts to it and it becomes a toxin. Your detox system then has to deal with this particular toxin instead of the other toxins you want to get rid of. So all gluten grains including spelt, an ancient wheat, kamut and triticale as well as wheat rye and barley are best avoided on a detox diet.
4. Hard to digest
Wheat because of its complex structure is also hard to digest and almost all normal people fail to absorb a large amount of starch from wheat. These starches get fermented by the bacteria in the digestive system. Fermentation produces gases and acids that damage the lining.
People with many intestinal conditions like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's, diverticulitis, Celiac improve when they avoid wheat and other gluten grains. Many people are surprised to find that they do react to wheat or that it causes digestive problems when they start eating it again after being on a detox diet.
What to eat instead.
As so many people have wheat and gluten allergies or sensitivities it has become much easier to find products that do not contain them. Manufacturers have produced cereals, pasta and bread made with non-gluten grains.
Other grains or grain like seeds that can be eaten include brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, gram flour (garbanzo or chickpea flour) and maize.
The detox diet is high in fruit and vegetables, seeds and other grains which will provide enough fiber for the digestive system to function well.
So although excluding wheat when on a detox diet may take some planning you will still be able to eat tasty meals. It will be well worth it when you find that many niggling symptoms like gas and bloating disappear and you feel so much better.
Sandy Halliday is a nutritionist and health researcher who is passionate about detox and nutritional therapy for the prevention of disease and aging and the improvement of many health conditions.
Learn more at
The Detox Specialist