So you’ve decided to start eating healthy. You’re sick of that muffin top and ready to get back your figure and reclaim your health, but before you rush to whole foods and start buying whole wheat everything to replace the over processed white flour or bread, consider this. Is it really that much healthier to replace your Sam Adams with an MGD 64, or would your health and weight benefit much more from cutting the beer out completely. By switching to whole wheat you are essentially moving from an unhealthy diet to a slightly less unhealthy one. What’s the problem with wheat you ask? Tons! Dr Williams Davis, author of Wheat Belly, explains that today’s wheat is the results of years and years of cross-breeding and hybridization designed to make our agricultural products resistant to drought and better performing. “We’ve created thousands of what I call Frankengrains over the past 50 years, using pretty extreme techniques and their safety for human consumption has never been tested or even questioned”.
This article will explore 5 compounds in wheat that can and usually does wreak havoc on our health and wellness. These compounds are; Gluten, Gliadin, WGA (wheat Germ Agglutinin), amylopectin A. and Exorphins.
Let the shock and awe begin
Gluten: First and foremost, you should avoid wheat because of this nasty protein and here are a few reasons why. First off gluten has glue-like properties that allows breads and cakes to adhere together more readily. This glue like nature inhibits the body from absorbing any nutrients from any meal that consists of gluten. Wheat is the only grain to contain true gluten. Because these proteins are hard to digest it can lead to gluten sensitivity in many. Basically undigested gluten proteins in your intestines irritate the gut and lead to malabsorption of nutrients and a host of other issues as well.
- IBS-like symptoms, which ar the most common
- Diarrhea and stomach ache
Dr Rodne Ford, author of The Gluten Syndrome, states “It’s very clear that with gluten, one of it’s main target organs is neural tissue”. with that statement the following symptems can be explained
- Brain fog
- Gluten-related attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
If this list alone isn’t enough for you to steer clear from this poisonous protien, then here are a few more possible outcomes from indulging in your morning whole wheat bagel
- Thyroid disease
- Joint Pain
- Tingling/numbness in the extremities
To be diagnosed as having a gluten sensitivity can be a bit difficult. There is no blood test that can be administered to confirm any suspicions of it and is basically accomplished through the process of elimination. It is usually recommended that you first get tested for wheat allergy and for celiac disease. If these are both negative than eliminating gluten out of your diet and seeing if symptoms disappear is the next step.
The second major issue that gluten poses to many, is celiac disease. While the symptoms between gluten sensitivity/ intolerance and celiac disease mirror each other, they are 2 different gluten caused disorders. In a nutshell, gluten sensitivity mostly causes gastrointestinal symptoms, but not limited to, and celiac sufferers experience an autoimmune reaction when gluten is consumed. When an individual with the disease eats gluten, the autoimmune reaction that is triggered damages parts of the small intestines. Most people with the disease experience Intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating. According to the Mayo Clinic “Symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn’s disease, parasite infections and anemia” Less obvious symptoms include
- irritability or depression
- stomach upset
- joint pain
- muscle cramps
- skin rash
- mouth sores
- dental and bone disorders like osteoporosis
- leg and feet tingling
To make matters worse, if left untreated it may lead to increased risk of associated disorders like lupus, turner syndrome, insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes, liver disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and williams syndrome. Holy fazoly! Sounds like rat poison right?
Diagnosing celiac disease is usually done by a blood test. Treating celiac disease is the same as gluten sensitivity. Consuming a gluten free diet indefinitely.
Gliadin: In modern wheat their is a protein called gliadin. In the wheat our grandparents consumed it did not exist, but with the discovery of it’s assistance to producing higher yields, it is unlikely you will see varieties without it anytime soon. Everyone is susceptible to this protein, unlike gluten, where only people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are at risk. Gliadin is an opiate that binds to opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite. When people cut wheat out of their diet completely, the average person will loose a pound a day the first 10 days and then 25-30 lbs over the next 3-6 months.
Another detrimental health risk of gliadin is a substance called gliadomorphin. This compound does not normally exist in wheat, but is derived from the digestion of gliadin in the body. Some studies have suggested that gliadomorphin is absorbed in children with autism and may cause brain damage. Yep! Rat poison.
WGA(Wheat germ Aggultinin): This glycoprotien is what is called a lectin. It is basically a high level of defense for wheat. WGA goes into the small intestines and latches onto the border. It is then taken across and triggers antibodies to be created in response. These same antibodies created by the body thinking it needs to defend itself from the WGA will actually begin to attack your own body, which can lead to diabetes type 1, celliac disease, lupus and multiple sclerosis. WGA can damage the wall of your intestines leading to “Leaky gut”. This ultimately leads to your immune system becoming confused and attacking things randomly and then leading to symptoms such as migraines, psoriasis, depression, weight gain, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and halitosis. Several animal studies have linked lectins to an increase in the size of intestines, liver and pancreas. At this point you may be wondering “how on gods, not as green as it used to be, earth, can this stuff be legal”? Well it gets worse.
Amylopectin A: This carbohydrate digests very quickly leading to a spike in blood sugar levels higher than when table sugar , or a candy bar is consumed. Here is what happens when you get a blood sugar spike from wheat, your brain is signaled to store whatever you have eaten as fat. A few hours later your levels drop and you feel shaky, your brain is foggy and your hungry, so you eat and if you eat something with wheat, you get another blood sugar spike. Repeated blood sugar spikes in your body is the perfect storm for developing abdominal fat deposits, diabetes, cataracts, arthritis and heart disease.
Exorphins: William Davis, MD, presents data from clinical studies that show how wheat is addictive. Scientific research has identified the gluten producing, morphine-like compounds called “exorphins” can actually affect your central nervous system. These compounds bind to the same brain receptors opiate drugs bind to. They trigger feelings of euphoria, addictive behavior, and appetite stimulation. Dr. Davis’ own patients reported the withdrawal symptoms of irritability, inability to focus, extreme fatigue, and even depression on a wheat-free diet. The solution for some was to eat, not only more wheat, but more food! Some patients described, “wheat is my crack!” According to Dr. Davis, “Outside of intoxicants … wheat is one of the few foods that can alter behavior, induce pleasurable effects, and generate a withdrawal syndrome upon its removal.”
Other names for wheat
- Bulgur (bulghar)
- Durum, durum flour, durum wheat
- Enriched, white and whole-wheat flour
- Flour (all-purpose, cake, enriched, graham, high protein or high gluten, pastry)
- Graham flour
- Sprouted wheat
- Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
- Triticum aestivum
- Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, grass, malt, starch)
- Wheat berries
Ingredients that may be derived from wheat
Avoid foods containing these ingredients unless the label states they are not made from wheat.
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Modified food starch
- Vegetable starch or vegetable protein
- Gelatinized starch
- Natural flavoring
Foods that often contain wheat
- Baked goods such as pastries, doughnuts, pies, pretzels
- Baking mixes, powder and flour
- Bread or bread crumbs
- Chicken and beef broth (cans and bouillon cubes)
- Condiments, salad dressings, and sauces
- Deli meats
- Fried, breaded chicken, fish, or other deep-fried foods
- Host (communion, altar bread and wafers)
- Hot dogs
- Ice cream
- Imitation bacon
- Meatballs or meat loaf
- Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- Pasta, including couscous, gnocchi, spaetzle, chow mein, lo mein, and filled pastas
- Pie fillings and puddings
- Soy sauce or tamari (unless gluten-free)
While cutting out wheat would certainly lead to obvious health impovements like weight loss, mental clarity, improved asthma, and reduction of acid reflux, cutting out gluten as well if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is necessary as well. While wheat is a major food source of gluten, it is not the only. Here is a list of foods to avoid to cut gluten out of your diet.
- Barley, including barley malt
Most processed baked goods are made from wheat, so these contain gluten. Look for gluten free alternatives to these products:
- Sandwich buns
- Hotdog buns
- Pizza crust
Cereal made from rye, wheat, bran, and barley always contain gluten, but ones containing oats, corn, and rice are often processed on the same equipment as their gluteny counterparts. It is imperative that you look for the “gluten free” label on cereal.
Meat and Poultry
In its natural state, meat and poultry is gluten free. However, the processing and cooking of the meat often adds gluten. Be wary of any meat or poultry that is precooked or prepared, especially these types:
- Breaded meat or chicken
- Oven- or deep-fried meats
- Hot dogs and other meats processed with “natural flavors”
So now the question you may be asking yourself is “what in the wolrd is left for me to eat?” Well first let me say, DO NOT eat gluten free foods. Most of the ingredients in these foods are loaded with things that spike your blood sugar just as high as wheat, so you will be avoiding the health risks associated with gluten, but still creating the problems associated with spikes in ur blood sugar. Start by asking yourself this one question before you eat anything “was this food changed, created, or heated by man?” If not then chances are its a good choice. As much as possible, when contemplating food choices, think about what would benefit your body in regards to health and wellness. While the idea of eliminating wheat out of your diet completely may sound overwhelming, or down right impossible, just take it one meal at a time. I mean you are addicted so, why not 12 step it out?