Deconstructing Wheat

Wheat is the worlds most popular grain and an iconic staple in almost every household. It is third in grain production behind corn and rice and the average consumption is 133 pounds, yikes! I have written articles on grains before here here and here, but this post delves into the specifics of wheat; what substances it possesses and why it is unmistakably the most destructive food you can eat.


It's hard to escape it: wheat is advertised constantly, added to thousands of foods, and the advice we've been given by the 'experts': the government, the diet industry, and health magazines to 'Eat Your Whole Grains!' leads us to believe it's healthy. It's not, and as you will read below, the facts of gluten and other antinutrients are directly linked to everything from simple allergies and  joint pain, to more serious conditions like Crohn's and Alzheimer's. Yes, wheat is that bad.

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Another issue is that the plant of years ago doesn't even resemble the one today. In the laboratory it has been systematically genetically modified, crossbred, and hybridized to resist drought and pests, and yield 10 times the amount per acre it used to. We pump it out to feed a lot of people cheaply.

If You Don't Remember anything else about wheat's destructive effects, remember these three things:
1) IT IS THE SAME AS SUGAR
Wheat is mostly starch, gets rapidly converted to glucose, and hits the bloodstream with Insulin chasing after it. It is no better than a can of soda.
2) LEAKY GUT EQUALS AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
Gluten causes severe disruption and permeability in the gut leading to almost every autoimmune condition and digestive disorder known.
3) INFLAMMATORY
Wheat is highly inflammatory leading to everything from arthritis, cataracts, atherosclerosis, and dementia.

Wasted Workouts
I see dedicated exercisers every day working out until they're blue in the face only to head home and grab a sandwich, a muffin, or a wrap. Their tireless efforts in the gym result in slow progress and a flabby midsection that just won't go away. Wheat, along with corn and rice, are the kingpins of hidden sugar and the resulting elevated Insulin. Most people eat way too much sugar on its own, but forget that wheat, and other cheap, refined, easily digestible carbohydrates all add to the tally eventually leading to Diabetes in many people. Living a diet that is carbohydrate dependent has led to the current health epidemic of obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

Deconstructing Wheat...The Key Players
- Wheat itself is about 70% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 15% fiber. The complex carbohydrate portion, otherwise known as Starch, is 75% Amylopectin and 25% Amylose. 

- Amylopectin is rapidly converted to glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Amylose is much more resistant to digestion and acts as a third type of fiber.
- 80% of the Protein portion in wheat is your unpopular friend Gluten. Gluten is subdivided Gliadin and Glutenin in roughly equal amounts.

- Gluten (Latin for glue, if you can believe that!) is responsible for a whole host of digestive and autoimmune disorders.
- Gliadin causes the release of an intestinal protein called Zonulin.
- Zonulin release modulates intestinal tight junctions between the cells of the digestive tract
- Excess Zonulin causes excessive gut permeability and unwanted proteins gain access to to the bloodstream. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome.
- Unwanted proteins and other unwanted goodies let into the bloodstream mount an autoimmune response
- Autoimmune responses can lead to Systemic Inflammation
- The list of diseases caused by low-grade Systemic Inflammation numbers over 100, but the major well-known ones include:

  • Alzheimer's
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis)
  • asthma
  • atherosclerosis
  • Crohn's disease
  • colitis
  • dermatitis
  • diverticulitis
  • fibromyalgia
  • hepatitis
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • systemic lupus erythematous (SLE)
  • nephritis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • ulcerative colitis


Antinutrients

Two other components of grain, Phytates and Lectins were written up here and here. Both substances, again, are worse and found in considerable more potency in wheat. Wheat germ agglutinin, or WGA, is the common Lectin in wheat that protects it from insects, yeast and bacteria, but it's job once inside the body is to be very effective at initiating gut permeability and disrupting digestion. Phytates do a fabulous job of binding to important minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium and hauling them out of the body rather than absorbing them for benefit.


Sources:

Wikipedia: Wheat, Gluten, Gliadin,  Adiponectin, Zonulin, Pytates, Lectins,

Wheat Belly by William Davis, md

Drago, Sandro; Asmar, Ramzi El; Di Pierro, Mariarosaria; Clemente, Maria Grazia; Sapone, Amit Tripathi Anna; Thakar, Manjusha; Iacono, Giuseppe; Carroccio, Antonio et al. (2006). "Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines". Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 41 (4): 408–419. PMID 16635908.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/7144746_Gliadin_zonulin_and_gut_permeability_Effects_on_celiac_and_non-celiac_intestinal_mucosa_and_intestinal_cell_lines/file/79e41506495e140c7d.pdf

Glutens and Lectins, a dangerous dietary duo

http://www.cpmedical.net/articles/glutens-and-lectins-a-dangerous-dietary-duo