Tag Archives: wheat

Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat

Wheat and grain-based foods are all around us. We love our bagels, pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals. For many, the thought of eliminating these staples from our diets seems wholly unreasonable, if not ludicrous. But a growing number of people are switching to wheat-free diets — and for very good reason. As science is increasingly showing, eating wheat increases the potential for a surprising number of health problems. Here’s why you should probably stop eating wheat.

Without a doubt, wheat plays a major role in our diets. It supplies about 20% of the total food calories worldwide, and is a national staple in most countries.

But as is well known, some people, like those with celiac disease, need to stay away from it. The problem is that their small intestine is unable to properly digest gluten, a protein that’s found in grains. But wheat is being increasingly blamed for the onset of other health conditions, like obesity, heart disease, and a host of digestive problems — including the dramatic rise in celiac-like disorders.

So what’s going on? And why is everybody suddenly blaming wheat?

The answer, it appears, has to do with a whole lot of nastiness thats present in grain-based foods. Wheat raises blood sugar levels, causes immunoreactive problems, inhibits the absorption of important minerals, and aggravates our intestines.

And much of this may stem from the fact that wheat simply ain’t what it used to be.

Hybridized wheat

Indeed, today’s wheat is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago.

Why you should probably stop eating wheat

Back in the 1950s, scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it hardier, shorter, and better-growing. This work, which was the basis for the Green Revolution — and one that won U.S. plant scientist Norman Borlaug the Nobel Prize — introduced some compounds to wheat that aren’t entirely human friendly.

As cardiologist Dr. William Davis noted in his book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, today’s hybridized wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin. It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing.

But as Davis also points out, today’s hybridized wheat contains novel proteins that aren’t typically found in either the parent or the plant — some of which are difficult for us to properly digest. Consequently, some scientists now suspect that the gluten and other compounds found in today’s modern wheat is what’s responsible for the rising prevalence of celiac disease, “gluten sensitivity,” and other problems.

Gluten and Gliadin

No doubt, gluten is a growing concern — and it’s starting to have a serious impact on our health, and as a result, our dietary choices.

Gluten is a protein composite of gliadin and glutenin that appears in wheat as well as other grains like rye, barley, and spelt. It’s also what gives certain foods that wonderful, chewy texture. Gluten also helps dough to rise and keep its shape.

Why you should probably stop eating wheat

The problem, however, is in how it’s metabolized. According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, no one can properly digest gluten.

“We do not have the enzymes to break it down,” he said in a recent interview withTenderFoodie. “It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.” His concern is that the gluten protein, which is abundant in the endosperm of barley, rye, and wheat kernels, is setting off an aberrant immune response.

Specifically, the gliadin and glutenin are acting as immunogenic anti-nutrients. Unlike fruits, which are meant to be eaten, grains have a way of fighting back. They create an immunogenic response which increases intestinal permeability, thus triggering systemic inflammation by the immune system — what can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases, including celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and so on. And this holds true for people who don’t have celiac disease.

Davis also believes that gliadin degrades to a morphine-like compound after eating, what creates an appetite for more wheat; his claim, therefore, is that wheat actually has an addictive quality to it.

Gliadin, what scientists call the “toxic fraction of gluten,” has also been implicated in gut permeability. When someone has an adverse reaction, it’s because gliadin cross talks with our cells — what causes confusion and a leak in the small intestines. Fasano explains:

Why you should probably stop eating wheat

Gliadin is a strange protein that our enzymes can’t break down from the amino acids (glutamine and proline) into elements small enough for us to digest. Our enzymes can only break down the gliadin into peptides. Peptides are too large to be absorbed properly through the small intestine. Our intestinal walls or gates, then, have to separate in order to let the larger peptide through. The immune system sees the peptide as an enemy and begins to attack.

The difference is that in a normal person, the intestinal walls close back up, the small intestine becomes normal again, and the peptides remain in the intestinal tract and are simply excreted before the immune system notices them. In a person who reacts to gluten, the walls stay open as long as you are consuming gluten. How your body reacts (with a gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy or Celiac Disease) depends upon how long the gates stay open, the number of “enemies” let through and the number of soldiers that our immune system sends to defend our bodies. For someone with Celiac Disease, the soldiers get confused and start shooting at the intestinal walls.

The effects of gluten and gliadin clearly vary from person to person. But as a recent studyshowed, nearly 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, and another 1.4 million are likely undiagnosed. And surprisingly, another 1.6 million have adopted a gluten-free diet despite having no diagnosis.

In addition, it’s estimated that about 18 million Americans have “non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” which results in cramps and diarrhea.

High glycemic index

Wheat also raises blood sugar. As Davis notes, the glycemic index of wheat is very high (check out this chart from Harvard to see how various foods rank). It contains amylopectin A, which is more efficiently converted to blood sugar than just about any other carbohydrate, including table sugar.

Why you should probably stop eating wheat

Consequently, two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood sugar levels higher than a single candy bar. Overdoing the wheat, says Davis, can result in “deep visceral fat.”

Wheat can also trigger effects that aren’t immediately noticeable. Small low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles form after eating lots of carbohydrates — which are responsible for atherosclerotic plaque, which in turn can trigger heart disease and stroke. And in fact, it has been shown that a wheat-free diet can improve glucose tolerance in individuals with ischaemic heart disease.

Lectins

Lectins, which are a class of molecules, can be found in beans, cereal grains, nuts, and potatoes. And when consumed in excess, or when not cooked properly, they can be harmful.

Now, most lectins are actually quite benign, and in some cases they can even be therapeutic —like fighting some forms of HIV.

But the problem with some lectins, like the ones found in whole grains, is that they bind to our insulin receptors and intestinal lining. This increases inflammation and contributes to autoimmune disease and insulin resistance. It also facilitates the symptoms of metabolic syndrome outside of obesity.

Phytic acid

Phytates are also a problem, a compound that’s found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. Phytic acid cannot be digested by humans. And worse, it binds to metal ions like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. In turn, these minerals cannot be properly absorbed after eating.

Consequently, any minerals that might be provided by consuming grain-based foods are not well metabolized. So phytates, combined with gluten, make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients — which can lead to anemia and osteoporosis.

The Fiber myth

Lastly, a common argument in favor of continuing to eat whole grains is that they provide necessary fiber. This is actually a bit of a myth. As nutrition expert Mark Sisson has noted, “Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains.”

And indeed, we can get adequate amounts of insoluble fiber simply by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Images: Top Morgan Lane Photography/Shutterstock. Inset: Zeljko Radojko/Shutterstock, JulijaSapic_Portfolio/Shutterstock, MedicineBulletin.

Wheat Threatens All Humans, New Research Shows

Very interesting information. Not really shocked, I must say.

Bun

 

by David Perlmutter, MD

Bread lovers beware! Gluten-free diets may not just be a trendy choice but something everyone should follow. New research reveals that proteins in wheat may be detrimental to all humans.
“Gluten-free” seems to be appearing just about everywhere these days, from restaurant menus to grocery store shelves and even on cosmetics labels. And with good reason. The gluten-free market is exploding. Packaged Facts, a market research company estimated that the gluten-free market in the United States was $4.2 billion last year and predicts an expansion to $6.6 billion by 2017.In a recent Time Magazine article entitled: “Why We’re Wasting Billions on Gluten-Free Foods,” business writer Martha C. White puzzled over this seemingly baseless trend, stating: “As food fads go, though, this one’s not only enormous: It’s enormously expensive—and many of us paying a premium to avoid gluten are doing so without any legitimate medical reason.”The article goes on to describe how less than 1% of Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten consumption and how as many as 1 in 16 Americans may have a significant sensitivity to gluten, a disease for which the term “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” was recently developed by anexpert panel of gluten researchers and clinicians.No doubt it is in the best interest of these two groups to avoid consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat as well as barley, rye, and spelt products. But is thestatistic that as many as 29% of Americans admit to trying to maintain a gluten-free diet simply an indication of their desire to remain trendy? If in fact only a small fraction of Americans actually have a medical condition exacerbated by gluten consumption, what could explain the overwhelming traction of the gluten-free movement?A Google search for gluten-free websites produces over 7.5 million returns with many of these sites populated by incredible testimonials of miraculous improvements following the adoption of a gluten-free diet in a wide range of medical issues including headaches, joint pain, skin disorders, epilepsy, depression, insomnia, and ADHD, to name a few. If we are to believe that only a small number of us should avoid gluten, does that relegate these personal triumphs from a dietary change to simply a placebo effect?

Good science would mandate that we should consider the possibility that something else may happen when a person chooses to eliminate wheat that may have nothing to do with reactivity to gluten.

While gluten makes up the lion’s share of protein in wheat, research reveals that modern wheat is capable of producing more than 23,000 different proteins, any one of which could trigger a potentially damaging inflammatory response. One protein in particular is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). WGA is classified as alectin—a term for a protein produced by an organism to protect itself from predation.

All grains produce lectins, which selectively bind to unique proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and insects. These proteins are found throughout the animal kingdom. One protein in particular for which WGA has an extremely high affinity is N-Acetylglucosamine. N-Acetylglucosamine richly adorns the casing of insects and plays an important role in the structure of the cellular walls of bacteria. More importantly, it is a key structural component in humans in a variety of tissues, including tendons, joint surfaces, cartilage, the lining of the entire digestive tract, and even the lining of the hundreds of miles of blood vessels found within each of us.

Scientific research is now giving us yet another reason to reconsider the merits of our daily bread.

It is precisely the ability of WGA to bind to proteins lining the gut that raises concern amongst medical researchers. When WGA binds to these proteins, it may leave these cells less well protected against the harmful effects of the gut contents.

WGA may also have direct toxic effects on the heart, endocrine, and immune systems, and even the brain. In fact, so readily does WGA make its way into the brain that scientists are actually testing it as a possible means of delivering medicines in an attempt to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

And again, the concern here is not just for a small segment of the population who happened to inherit susceptibility for sensitivity to gluten. This is a concern as it relates to all humans. As medical researcher Sayer Ji stated, “What is unique about WGA is that it can do direct damage to the majority of tissues in the human body without requiring a specific set of genetic susceptibilities and/or immune-mediated articulations. This may explain why chronic inflammatory and degenerative conditions are endemic to wheat-consuming populations even when overt allergies or intolerances to wheat gluten appear exceedingly rare.”

The gluten issue is indeed very real and threatening. But it now seems clear that lectin proteins found in wheat may harbor the potential for even more detrimental effects on human health. It is particularly alarming to consider the fact that there is a move to actually genetically modify wheat to enhance its WGA content.

Scientific research is now giving us yet another reason to reconsider the merits of our daily bread. The story of WGA’s potential destructive effects on human health is just beginning to be told. We should embrace the notion that low levels of exposure to any toxin over an extended period can lead to serious health issues. And this may well characterize the under-recognized threat of wheat consumption for all humans.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/10/wheat-threatens-all-humans-new-research-shows.html

Health, a personal journey

As I was standing in the check-out lane at my daily grocery stop, I realized that we are all so quick to judge others. This definitely includes health and the choices that we make. I caught myself as I stood there, comparing my groceries to the other people in line. I may not be normal, but I know that we all do it to a certain degree.
What I realized above all of this is, when I started this journey to better health, I had very little knowledge of SCD, Gluten Free or Paleo diets. We all have to learn slowly(if at all) and gain our confidence with new information. I had a friend a couple of years ago that started a paleo diet and I didn’t quite get it at the time, but have come to understand that it is our best chance for health and healing in our family moving forward. It seemed so foreign at the time but now, I appreciate the lessons that I learned from hearing about his diet back then. Thank you, Trevor!
We can be so hard on other people.
Why do we expect other people to know what we know? Do what we do?
We are each on our own journey. I can’t help but think that fights, arguments and wars could be avoided if we understood this better, when dealing with people.
This article shows how even the food industry is on a learning to make better choices.

Wheat producers

Wheat threatens all humans

Another friend of mine confirms that she too, judges other people and their grocery choices. Vegecation!