Food .. and Industry. Two words that have built civilizations and brought great prosperity to countries like the US. Unfortunately, the industrialization of food has also led to imbalanced diets, surprising health repercussions, and conflicting information about what is healthy, beneficial, and natural.
Wheat has moved to the top of the list of offenders for many Americans. Here are the top five reasons to avoid it.
1. The battle of the bulge
William Davis, MD, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly, says wheat products are not only addictive, they are toxic. Genetic modifications and processing have turned our ancestors’ grain into an unrecognizable “super carbohydrate.”
Manufacturers have modified gluten content for products that require more elasticity, like pizza dough, and the result is unnaturally high gluten content that’s hard on our gut. While consumers may not recognize those side effects immediately, a growing waistline is hard to ignore.
Wheat products drive dramatic elevation in blood sugar levels, which in turn causes the body to generate high amounts of insulin. These spikes are linked to excess belly fat and chronic inflammation.
2. Compromising long-term health
Beyond too-tight jeans, heavy wheat consumption correlates with a host of serious health problems: diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and even dementia.
Autoimmune diseases, like the well-publicized Celiac disease, pose another realm of negative effects. Because autoimmune diseases are often associated with one another, the progression from a mild case of psoriasis to rheumatoid arthritis is not to be taken lightly. These risks can be mitigated by removing wheat from the diet.
3. Potential addiction
Ever heard of gliatin? It may be an unfamiliar term, but it is the protein in wheat that makes it so addictive. The gut-wrenching goodbye to pasta, bagels, and pastries is not due to your lack of willpower; it’s because these foods contain gliatin. This protein flares up the same pleasure centers of the brain as opium. Like heroin, it also stimulates the user’s brain to crave more and to stimulate the appetite. A vicious cycle is born.
4. Weak bones
Calcium intake is all well and good, but when you’re missing vitamin D, bones are in trouble. Wheat germ has been shown to block the absorption of vitamin D, which is yet another blow to the immune system. That aside, in the fight against weakening bones, vitamin D is imperative. Skipping the wheat is one way to make the most of calcium consumption and strength training.
5. Brain drain
The biological response to wheat is not limited to the gut. The brain takes a hit over time as well. Wheat consumption contributes to blockages in the brain, so some researchers have linked it to dementia, and even schizophrenia. Because scientists are still learning about the underlying causes of the latter disease, the issue of wheat’s culpability is as yet unknown. However, real-world studies suggest that its elimination from the diet dramatically decreases the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Food for thought
For those that don’t suffer the dramatic and immediate effects of Celiac disease, there is still a strong case to remove “Frankenwheat” from the menu. The scientific and anecdotal evidence is well worth considering, in the interests of improved health.