Report says anti-wheat fad diets threaten consumer health

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) recently shared a paper by Britain's University of Warwick (Lillywhite and Sarrouy 2014) that addresses the disturbing implication that wheat products cause health problems, resulting in an increasing consumer preference for grain- and wheat- free diets.

For many health professionals this is a worrying trend, the authors said, because wheat supplies 20 percent of the world's food calories and much of its protein. They say it also has important benefits beyond nutrition.

The Warwick paper scientifically assesses the benefits of whole grain consumption, information that the authors said seems to have been lost in media headlines and the reporting of "pseudo-science."

Commissioned by British cereal-maker Weetabix, the paper concludes that whole grain products are good for human health, apart from the 1 percent of the population who suffer from celiac disease and another 1 percent who suffer from sensitivity to wheat (Lillywhite and Sarrouy 2014). Eating whole grain wheat products is positive, improves health and can help maintain a healthy body weight, the authors report.

This wheat discussion paper serves as a foundation for further discussion and aims to highlight unsubstantiated nutritional claims about wheat and shine a spotlight on the important role of wheat and fiber in human diets. It also seeks to encourage conversation about how nonscientific claims about wheat could affect poor consumers and global food security.

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International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

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