Well, you probably should. One of the biggest advocates of eliminating wheat from our diets is Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who wrote the book Wheat Belly. In his book, Davis outlines the many harmful effects of wheat; including its’ addictive-like qualities, high glycemic index, and ability to cause an inflammatory response. You may be thinking, ‘But people have been eating bread for centuries, why is it only now considered a problem?’ Answer: Hybridization.
The Hybridization of Wheat
In the 1950’s an effort was made to produce wheat is mass quantities. Scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it hardier, shorter, and faster-growing. This work won Norman Borlaug, a US Plant scientist a Nobel Prize; but also introduced compounds to wheat that aren’t human friendly. Today’s wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin; and also goes go through gamma irradiation during manufacturing. In addition, hybridized wheat contains proteins that aren’t found in either the parent or the plant. This new hybridized wheat was never tested before being released to the population, and thus many of the harmful effects are only now being discovered and investigated.
So what are the proteins that we can’t as humans digest? Gluten and gliadin. Gluten is a protein composite of gliadin and glutenin that appears in wheat and other grains. It’s what helps dough rise, keep it’s shape, and gives it a chewy texture. The problem is we don’t have enzymes to break it down. This can create an immunogenic response, triggering widespread inflammation throughout the body by the immune system; possibly leading to various autoimmune diseases including celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. And this holds true for people who don’t have celiac disease.
High Glycemic Index
Wheat also raises blood sugar. In fact, two slices of bread increases blood sugar more than a single candy bar! As Davis states, overdoing wheat can result in “deep visceral fat”, resulting in a big belly, or, as Davis has coined, a “wheat belly”. What’s the real problem with an increase in blood sugar? Foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar the quickest, causing a “sugar spike” (a surge then fall in blood-glucose). When you get a fast rush of sugar (glucose) in the blood, you get a huge release of insulin secreted from the pancreas. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscles and fat to take up glucose from the blood and convert it to glycogen for storage. What happens after a rush of sugar followed by a rush of insulin? Your blood sugar drops even faster after the insulin has picked it up, resulting in lethargy and a feeling of “hunger” triggered by your body’s low blood sugar. So when eating foods with a high glycemic index, you actually feel more hungry, more often.
Addicted to Wheat
Even with all this knowledge some people can’t seem to stop eating bread. Well, it appears there may be a physiologic reason for this. As Davis states and devotes a whole chapter to in his book, wheat can actually have addictive effects. Gliadin is believed to degrade into a morphine-like compound after eating. It crosses the blood brain barrier and attaches to opiate receptors. This actually creates an appetite for more wheat, giving it an addictive quality.
So, do you what to be addicted to a substance that causes weight gain, wide-spread inflammation throughout your body, sugar highs and lows creating periods of extreme fatigue, and possible intestinal irritability? As nutrition expert Mark Sisson noted, “Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains.”
Thank you to my many sources. Click below to see where I got my information, and to learn more.
Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat by George Dvorsky