Do You Need Additional Nutrients on a Wheat-Free Diet? - dummies

Do You Need Additional Nutrients on a Wheat-Free Diet?

By Rusty Gregory, Alan Chasen

Replacing the wheat, grains, processed sugar, and vegetable oils in your diet with high-quality, nutrient-dense foods ups your vitamin content tremendously. Packaged food is so highly processed that manufacturers enrich many products to add back lost nutrients.

The amount of a particular vitamin in a given food isn’t the only factor to consider. You should get as many of your nutrients as you can from real food. You can’t continue to eat poorly and supplement your way to good health.

Nature has naturally packaged foods in ways that let the human body more easily absorb their nutrients. Research has continually shown that isolating a nutrient and putting it in supplement form isn’t the most effective system for the body to use.

Deciding whether to take supplements involves several issues aside from food choices. Why might you may need to enhance your diet with supplements?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for nutrients; this figure is the minimum amount of a particular nutrient needed daily to prevent deficiency diseases, such as scurvy, rickets, and night blindness. However, taking just the minimum amount of a nutrient may not optimize your health and well-being.

Having too much of a nutrient may not be wise, either. For best health, you and your doctor need to find the amount that works best in your system and balances with other nutrients.

Although you eliminate less-nutritious foods and eat more healthfully on a wheat-free diet, the food available to you may not be as rich in nutrients as it should be. Food may be less nutritious because

  • Crops are raised in soil that has been depleted of nutrients.

  • Plants are treated with pesticides and other chemicals.

  • Crops have been genetically modified to the point that their nutritional content is lower.

  • Animals are raised in unhealthy conditions, fed corn rather than grass, and given growth hormones and antibiotics to fix the associated problems of their poor diets. These toxins then pass to the people who eat meat or dairy products from these animals.

Supplements can help adjust for these shortcomings in food. However, you may need to add supplements to your diet for other reasons, including

  • An increase in exposure to environmental toxins

  • The overuse of antibiotics, birth control, and other medications that can harm the gut and liver

  • Too much stress

  • Not enough sleep

  • Not enough exercise and too much sitting for prolonged periods of time

All these factors place great demands on your nutritional requirements and can lead to inflammation and chronic illnesses. Cutting wheat, added sugar, and vegetable oils are a great start to combatting these hurdles to good health, but you likely still need a few extra vitamins.

In addition, you may need to take specific supplements for a limited time to fix a particular condition. In those situations, make sure to work with your doctor and get tested.