Living Wheat-Free For Dummies
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You obviously avoid wheat-based products when you adopt a wheat-free lifestyle. Experts also recommend that you avoid processed foods containing sugar and vegetable oils. However, that runs counter to everything you've been taught about healthy eating. Since the early 1960s, conventional wisdom has been to eat a lowfat, high-carbohydrate diet. The recommendations morphed into adding more and more whole grains while keeping fat intake down. Despite a steady decrease in fat consumption, rates of diabetes and heart disease continue to rise, begging the question: Are the dietary guidelines correct?

Real-world results and science answers that question with a big, fat "no." Here's a list of 10 commonly recommended "healthy" foods that are anything but. Aside from wheat, notice how many of them contain sugar and vegetable oil.

Whole-wheat bread

It's no secret that diabetes is a direct result of blood sugar excesses. Did you know that whole-wheat bread, the type recommended for optimal health, raises blood sugar more than most candy bars?

Wheat's unhealthy blood sugar effects are the most obvious problem. Modern wheat also contains much higher gluten content than the wheat milled from tall, flowing grains that your grandparents ate. The modified version causes allergies and sensitivities that lead to joint pain, thyroid disease, diabetes, and heart disease.

Agave nectar

Agave nectar is commonly recommended as a substitute for sugar. Proponents claim it's healthier because, unlike sugar substitutes like aspartame, it's natural. Actually, only the plant it comes from appears in nature. The resulting sweetener is a product of rigorous processing and contains anywhere from 70 to 90 percent fructose. Even the much-maligned high fructose corn syrup only has 55 percent fructose. And unlike fruit, which has fiber to slow the effects of its minimal fructose content, agave is highly condensed.

Canola oil

Canola oil became popular in the mid-1990s when manufacturers tried to capitalize on its healthy monounsaturated properties (similar to those in olive oil). But this highly processed oil derived from the rapeseed bears little resemblance to the rapeseed oil used in traditional Asian cooking. Modern canola oil was actually granted "safe status" by the USDA in 1985 without any testing. In its current state, canola oil is derived from genetically modified crops that, once refined, become hydrogenated and produce extremely dangerous trans fatty acids.

Bran muffins

Staring you in the face in most delis and coffee shops are racks of bran muffins. Muffins seem like a great on-the-go meal because they're easy to eat and provide some fiber, but they're a no-no. Most bran muffins combine whole grains with loads of sugar and vegetable oils. Blood sugar spikes, inflammation, and gut irritants are the invisible side effects that can occur when you consume this food.

Fruit juice

Ounce for ounce, fruit juices (such as OJ) have as much sugar as a carbonated soda! Sugar is sugar when it comes to raising your blood glucose levels. Aside from a minimal amount of nutrients and fiber (which you can easily obtain from other foods), fruit juices have little to offer and are best avoided.

Granola bars

Much like OJ's similarity to a cola, the granola bar is simply a dressed up candy bar. Many times, the nutritional breakdown and the ingredients list of both bars are almost identical. Although you can find some bars that have a mix of nuts and perhaps coconut that limit the sugar content, most rely on added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Fat-free products

When creating "fat-free" or "diet" foods, manufacturers typically replace the fat with loads of sugar. Of course, steer clear of any unhealthy fats such as vegetable oils, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils.


Oats are a grain, so they can cause effects similar to those of wheat, especially for gluten-sensitive folks. And many commercial oatmeal products, such as instant flavored packets, contain all sorts of unhealthy additives and sugar.

Non-Greek yogurt

Most commercially marketed yogurt products are really full of milk from cows taking antibiotics and growth hormones; if that yogurt is flavored, it's typically also full of sugar (yes, even the fruit flavors). When you want some yogurt, choose a plain Greek yogurt that contains whole milk from pasture-raised cows. You can add your own fruit for taste.


Raisins and other dried fruits are problematic because the drying process concentrates the sugars. The high sugar content causes blood sugar spikes, raising your insulin levels and causing you to store fat.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Rusty Gregory has a master’s degree in kinesiology and runs a personal training studio. He is an active contributor to, an emerging leader in publishing health news for consumers, and is the author of Self-Care Reform: How to Discover Your Own Path to Good Health. Alan Chasen has a degree in kinesiology and has run a personal training studio since 1989. He advises his clients on exercise, proper nutrition, and general well-being.

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