It’s convenience and “comfort” food engrained in most of us since childhood. Unfortunately the wheat and grains we consume these days have been heavily modified for capitalism. With these genetic modifications over the last 50 years came a plethora of health issues which now has a culminating massive effect on our healthcare.
Let’s begin in the 1950’s during an era when obesity and diabetes wasn’t as much of an issue and the average woman without the help of Keto diets and lifting weights typically weighted in at under 130 pounds. It was however, very soon after the hippy days that wheat began its transformation into what we call modern wheat. Cardiologist Dr. William Davis makes a compelling argument in his Wheat Belly book that the “world’s most popular grain is also the world’s most destructive dietary ingredient.” In the past 50 years agricultural scientists have hybridized and crossbred to make the plant resistant to environmental conditions and to increase growth, this has required the plant to go through drastic changes in its genetic code. No one really knows if this genetic code is actually compatible with human health.
In his book he makes the connection between grains and the lack of appetite control and therefore the growth of what we refer to as “beer belly.” This belly is visceral fat which is the accumulation of fat from years of foods which trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage. This particular fat provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin response, and gives abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of your body which produce effects such as man breasts since visceral fat also produces estrogen. It really isn’t your fault that you can’t drop pounds even if following the government food guide because it’s saturated with grain suggestions.
Around 1985 the food industry began making billions on wheat consumption and around that same time obesity began to rise in North America. I mean have you seen the amount of products in the bread aisle, cereal aisle, pasta aisle, snack aisle. Yes all made with wheat, all processed and ready to fuck with your system. Let’s dive into the science for a second. Whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 72 out of 100 and it increases blood sugar as much or even more than table sugar whose glycemic index is 59. If you followed that simple fact then it should only make sense that if you eliminate wheat even more than sugar it’s actually healthier for you. I know your mind is blown because most doctors won’t make you aware of this glaring dietary fact. This also doesn’t mean that you should be upping your sugar intake or for that matter further sugary and processed “Gluten Free” options. Gluten Free is a buzz word. Wheat and grains are appetite stimulants and they work more like a drug than a healthy breakfast, keep reading we’ll get to that.
It’s fascinating and horrifying what occurs in your brain when you eat wheat because this isn’t just about controlling your belly. The effects of wheat on your brain are similar to the chemical reaction which occurs when you consume opioid drugs. Wheat can dictate food choice, calorie consumption, timing of meals and snacks. Davis says he has witnessed his patients go through withdrawal symptoms after dropping wheat which include extreme fatigue, mental fog, irritability, depression after the first several days or even weeks following the removal of wheat. He stated that for some complete relief from these symptoms was achieved by consuming a bagel or muffin. If you’ve been a recovering wheat junkie like me you know that feeling of wheat remorse the next day. It’s a vicious cycle which parallels addiction. Here is why.
Dr. Christine Ziourdrou subjected gluten, the main protein in wheat, to a stimulated digestive process to mimic what happens after we eat wheat. When exposed to pepsin ( a stomach enzyme) and hydrochloric acid(stomach acid) gluten is degraded to a mix of polypeptides. Dr. Ziourdrou isolated the polypeptides and administered them to rats. These polypeptides were able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The barrier is there for a reason since the brain is highly sensitive to a wide variety of substances which gain entry to blood. Once the polypeptides gained access to the brain they bind to the brain’s morphine receptor, the very same receptor to which opiate drugs bind. What’s even more crazy is that the brain effect of gluten derived polypeptides is blocked by administering naloxone, the very same drug given to opioid overdose patients.
Producing addictive like behaviour is not all wheat has done to our brain. Wheat also effects the cerebrum, cerebellum and other nervous structures which have been linked to dementia. In a Mayo clinic study of 13 patients with celiac disease, dementia was also diagnosed. Of those 13 frontal lobe biopsy or post mortem of the brain failed to identify any other pathology beyond that associated with wheat gluten exposure.
Ah but we’re not done yet in fact far from it and when you really dive into the science and studies behind wheat it’s easy and jarring to see the negative effects on our health including aging. Wheat is responsible for the uptick in diabetes and diabetes is proven ground for accelerated aging. Advanced glycation end products AGE, the name given to the stuff that stiffens your arteries, is responsible for your deteriorating eye sight and neural connections of the brain. Evidence of AGE effects can also be seen in saggy skin, wrinkles and arthritis, the older we get the more AGE’s we have. While some AGE’s enter the body directly because they are found in various foods, they are also a by-product of high blood sugar, a defining marker of diabetes. Once AGE’s form they are irreversible and the higher the blood glucose the more AGE’s will accumulate and the faster the decay of aging will proceed. Are the words you are what you eat flashing in your brain right now. They should be if you’d like to remain somewhat youthful.
Oh and gentleman AGE’s impair erectile capacity. AGE’s are deposited in the portion of penile tissue responsible for the erectile response, disabling the penis’ ability to engorge with blood, the process that derives penile erections. So ladies perhaps encourage your man to grab an apple and drop the muffin.
Gluten is a big issue for women’s hormones. An endocrine disruptor is a substance that can mimic your hormones and lead to imbalances, dysfunction, and disease. For instance, they can bind to hormone receptors on your cells and trigger a response. Sometimes the response may be too strong, not strong enough, or different than desired.
Gluten itself can act as an endocrine disruptor. More specifically, gluten proteins may cross-react with antigens on your cells and trigger an inflammatory immune response. This helps explain why several common abnormalities among those with celiac disease are hormonal in nature, including delayed puberty, type 1 diabetes, low thyroid, and low cortisol.
Wheat is also sprayed with an herbicide known as glyphosate before harvesting to help speed up the drying process. And glyphosate is a known hormone disruptor in human cells. Plus, it’s toxic effects can also damage your
In addition, some pesticides used to grow grains can also have endocrine-disrupting effects. And studies have shown they can alter the synthesis or action of a wide range of hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormone, cortisol, progesterone, and prolactin. If you are looking to balance your hormones reduce or drop the wheat ladies.
If you haven’t had enough reasons why to avoid wheat your joints are yet another. When a person with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity eats gluten the immune system jumps into action, causing inflammation. This inflammation can affect the body’s organs and soft tissue. A person may not notice external signs of inflammation, such as redness and swelling, but feel other symptoms, such as joint pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation refined carbs like white rice for example can stimulate inflammation. If you have joint pain remove wheat from your diet and observe if the pain alleviates.
The negative health issues associated with wheat and it’s myriad of products are more than I can explain in one blog, there are many books, articles and research papers written and dedicated to this topic. It’s up to you individually to discern how important your health and longevity is to you and conduct your own research to make the best choice for you. I am currently at an age at which I’d like complete control of my blood sugar and my hormones. I’m not interested in the express train to menopause, pre-menopause or aging so with the knowledge I have accumulated from the research I’ve done I have completely dropped wheat and grain. I’ve done this before with alcohol and coffee because sometimes it’s good to give your system a rest from a substance or food so you are fully aware of it’s effects. You have this one vessel it’s up to you how well you want to preserve it.