Gluten Sensitivity – Part 2

Wheat flour-why are you everywhere?!!  There are a couple of good books that I mentioned in the article. One is “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. Also a good book is “Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter.

A quote from Dr. William Davis:  “The world’s most popular grain is also the world’s most destructive ingredient.” A quote from Dr. David Perlmutter:  “gluten is our generation’s tobacco-addicting and potentially causing long term problems.” I think there’s some real truth to both of those statements.

Wheat has fed the world. It’s been around for a while. The proliferation of wheat products parallels the expansion of our waists. What truly raises blood sugar the most?? White sugar? Snickers bar? Banana? Whole wheat bread?  The answer is whole wheat bread. It raises blood sugar more than anything else out there. Wheat is the dominant source of gluten. It’s found in everything (cosmetics, shampoo, and more).  Wheat constitutes about 20% of all calories consumed worldwide.  How many aisles in the grocery store are actually dedicated to wheat/grain products at the grocery store? There’s the bread aisle, baking aisle, snack aisle, cereal aisle, pastry aisle.. Wheat is almost everything. You have to “let go” of a few myths:  Low fat, high carb diet is good. And, cholesterol is bad.

Wheat was first cultivated @330 BC and was Einkorn wheat. Wheat has dramatically changed over the past 50 years. It’s been over 2000 plus years now. Hybridized and crossbred to make it resistant to disease and drought is one reason it has changed. It means we can grow a lot more wheat. But it also means an increase in yield (10X from 50 years ago). It’s a good thing we can feed people. The problem is that modern wheat has been so modified that today’s strain could not survive in the wild without the fertilization/pest control. Unfortunately with all this modification it really hasn’t been tested that much to see if it’s actually safe. It’s just assumed that the new strains are going to be safe.  But there are a lot of assumptions out there that don’t prove to be correct.  So we don’t know if it’s true or not. We just assume these hybrids of wheat really are safe. Wheat gluten has undergone significant structural change with the hybridization. It’s a different thing now than when it was 2000 years ago.

I s wheat addictive? Obviously a lot of drugs are addictive. Exogenous drugs can supercharge or hijack the CNS. Examples of these drugs are: cocaine, tobacco, and heroin.  The endogenous opiod-like products are endorphins.  Endorphins give us some of those “highs” (exercise highs).  There are other exogenous opiod-like peptides that are found in wheat (gluten exorphins and gliadorphins-prominent part of the wheat). So there is some kind of “feel good” property when we first eat these things. It’s more than just a blood sugar rush. There are other things that are actually occurring.  Can they actually make you crave “another hit?” Certain people may be more susceptible just as people who are more susceptible to alcohol or heroine.

Wheat/carbs lead to increase blood sugar swings which then increases insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that turns on fat storage, especially in the abdominal area. Wheat also increases inflammatory markers. When inflammatory markers go up we also tend to gain weight in the abdominal area. Also, it reduces the production of Adiponectin (heart protective and aids in weight loss). If we reduce adiponectin, we’re going to have a harder time losing weight.

People with celiac disease have to avoid all aspects of gluten. It is a major problem.  Antibodies to wheat gliadin are found in the blood. It causes inflammation of the intestinal tract. Gluten also affects Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gastroesophageal reflux disease.  Reflux is probably one of the biggest problems that I see that wheat can cause.  Get rid of the grains. Gluten can cause bloating, cramping, gas, constipation ,diarrhea and more.

Wheat can increase blood sugar easier than most everything else. Diabetes was unseen in the hunter/gatherer societies until the introduction of cultivating wheat/grain. Wheat consumption parallels diabetes and obesity. The average weight consumption is about 133 pounds a year.

Does wheat make you age faster?? Wheat, carbs, and fructose all increase Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE). It causes stiff arteries, increases cataracts and slows neuronal connections (dementia).  So….wheat free is (potentially) anti-aging!

LDL is often referred to as “bad cholesterol.”  Actually only parts of LDL are bad. Diet influences this. Carbs/wheat will increase VLDL and triglyceride formation, and subsequently increase small LDL’s. Gluten can potentially make heart disease worse. Insulin turns on lipogenesis in the liver, therefore increasing production of small LDL and triglycerides.

AGE (advanced glycation end-products) causes the loss of skin elasticity (wrinkles). Wheat can cause acne. Foods that increase blood sugar and insulin will also increase acne.  Wheat definitely causes dermatitis herpetiformis (uncomfortable and unsightly patches on the skin). Wheat can also cause mouth ulcers, acanthosis nigricans (darkening of the skin), psoriasis, pyoderma gangrenosum (hair problems) and hair loss.

Thomas Edison said, “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” There’s a lot of truth to that statement. Dr. David Perlmutter said, “The origin of brain diseases is in many cases predominately dietary. Although several factors play into the genesis and progression of brain disorders, to a large extent numerous neurological afflictions often reflect the mistake of consuming too many carbs and too few healthy fats.” Our ancestors didn’t have sugar and wheat as available to them. Their diet consisted of 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat. The USDA diet is 60% carbs, 20% protein, and 20% fat. That’s a lot different. The problems with our health have evolved very quickly over the last 40 years with this recommended diet. Maybe we need to re-think this. Almost all degenerative conditions are associated with inflammation and the biggest instigators of inflammation are  carbohydrate and often gluten (both increase production of cytokines).   The assault on the brain is much harder to recognize until it’s too late. It’s also harder to measure. The real question is, “What if we are all sensitive to gluten from the perspective of the brain:” (Dr. David Perlmutter). If we got rid of gluten would we have a lot less brain disorders?

I already talked about the exorphins which are temporary. But inflammation affects everything including the brain. The following can be affected by wheat: worsening ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, worsening migraines, brain fog, and mood swings.

The bottom line is wheat is everywhere and it’s probably not helping you. What do you do? Going gluten free doesn’t mean eating gluten free! Many things that are labeled gluten free are just substituting one starch for another. Eating gluten free is not a bad idea but it doesn’t mean you need to eat the foods that are labeled as gluten free. Remember the “core” of your eating plan: hydration (water is best),  good protein sources, and colorful vegetable and salad. The best foods have no labels on them. There is no such thing as carbohydrate or wheat deficiency!

You can get those books just about anywhere. Wheat Belly is by Dr. William Davis and Grain Brain is by Dr. David Perlmutter.

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