If you have a wheat allergy, you must eliminate foods that contain gluten. Yogurt and other dairy foods are naturally gluten-free and are rich in essential nutrients. However, some types of yogurt may contain thickeners or flavorings that are made from wheat products. So check food labels.
If you have a wheat allergy, you actually have an immune reaction to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley. Celiac.com advises that it is very important to check all food ingredients carefully; the only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid gluten. Most foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, fruits and dairy products are naturally gluten-free. However, many processed and packaged foods, including yogurt, may have added ingredients that contain or are contaminated by gluten.
Gluten in Yogurt
Yogurt is a dairy food that contains many of the essential nutrients you need to get from your daily diet. While you don't have to eliminate yogurt if you have a gluten allergy, you must check for added ingredients. Some yogurts may contain thickening agents, such as modified food starch, that might contain gluten. Additionally, if your yogurt contains added oats, granola or other toppings, these grains may be contaminated with gluten. Check ingredient labels on all yogurts and, if in doubt, call or email the manufacturer. If you are eating out, ask the cooking staff whether any yogurt they serve has any ingredients that may contain gluten.
If you have a wheat allergy, its important to include gluten-free yogurt in your diet. Like other dairy foods, yogurt is high in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium, which are essential for heart health, strong bones and muscle function. It also contains some minerals that your body only needs in trace amounts such as zinc, magnesium and iron. The USDA Nutrient Database notes that yogurt contains 113 milligrams of sodium per cup, which adds to your daily sodium intake. Additionally, yogurt is rich in vitamin A, one cup will give you 243 IU, as well as smaller amounts folate, thiamine, niacin, and vitamins B6, B12, C, E, D and K. Many yogurts also contain "good" bacteria, which may help to promote the growth of healthy bacteria and reduce levels of harmful organisms in your gut.
Look for yogurt that is wheat-free and low in fat. Different types of yogurt have varying textures, tastes and amounts of fat. According to USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of plain, regular yogurt, which is made from whole-fat milk, contains approximately 8 grams of total fats. This includes almost 5 grams of saturated fats that in excess can contribute to high cholesterol in your body. In comparison, if you eat low-fat or skim-milk yogurt, you will get only 0.44 grams of total fat, including only about 0.28 grams of saturated fat. Greek yogurt is a thick, creamy yogurt and has a higher fat content than other types. Choose a low-fat variety of yogurt when possible and add fiber with fresh or dried fruit.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.