Most Americans consume buckwheat flour mainly in pancakes, if they consume it at all. However, you shouldn't overlook buckwheat. Its amino acid composition surpasses that of all other cereals, according to the University of Wisconsin Extension's "Alternative Field Crops Manual." In addition, buckwheat offers people with celiac disease a gluten-free alternative source of whole grains. Though buckwheat is a healthy dietary addition for most people, it may cause unwanted side effects in certain individuals.
If you are allergic to buckwheat, eating or inhaling it can cause severe reactions such as nausea, vomiting, hives, dizziness, shortness of breath, speech loss and the sensation of your throat closing. If you are allergic to buckwheat, you should avoid exposure because potential allergic reactions can be severe and may include life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
Buckwheat flour contains 3 grams of dietary fiber per 1/4-cup serving. This amount of dietary fiber can cause gastrointenstinal symptoms like gas and cramping in sensitive individuals, particularly people with Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Determining whether buckwheat flour exacerbates your condition requires experimentation on your part, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Some people with IBS find that increasing dietary fiber intake helps quell symptoms, while it can worsen symptoms in others, according to the Mayo Clinic website.
To avoid unwanted calories and weight gain from eating buckwheat flour, watch your portion size. Dry buckwheat pancake mix contains 104 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per 1/4 cup. If the mix calls for extra ingredients like eggs and milk, this increases your caloric intake. Be careful how your top your pancakes, too; replace maple syrup and butter with fresh fruit for fewer calories and less fat.
Buckwheat flour has the potential to become rancid quickly due to its relatively high fat content, according to the University of Wisconsin Extension's "Alternative Field Crops Manual." This tendency towards rancidity becomes more marked in hot summer months. Though you're not likely to get sick as an immediate consequence of eating rancid buckwheat, long-term or regular ingestion of rancid foods may damage your cells and promote clogged arteries, according to the Colorado State University Extension.
- "University of Wisconsin Extension Alternative Field Crops Manual"; Buckwheat; E.S. Oplinger, et al.; September 2011
- "Allergy and Asthma Proceedings"; Buckwheat Allergy; R.H. Stember; July/August 2006
- Cleveland Clinic: Gas
- MayoClinic: Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
- Colorado State University Extension; Flavored Vinegars and Oils; P. Kendall, et al.; December 2006
- MayoClinic.com; Celiac Disease Diet -- How Do I Get Enough Grains?; Michael F. Picco, M.D.; May 2010
- "American Journal of the Medical Sciences"; Seven Chinese Patients With Buckwheat Allergy; T. Rui, et al.; January 2010
- MayoClinic.com: Recipe: Buckwheat Pancakes