Why Wheat is Killing YOU!
In today's edition of Food Freedom Friday I am going to discuss the deleterious effects of some food-like products on your long term health and wellness. My arrow is pointing towards a very specific pretend-food - the very controversial, highly misrepresented wheat.
Yes, even "whole wheat"
Here are my main reasons why I (and current research) believe wheat is a terrible ‘food’ for your body, doing way more harm than good:
1. Wheat spikes your blood sugar
This is a little-known fact often covered up by the massive marketing campaigns by giant food companies that want you to believe that whole wheat is a ‘heart healthy’ grain. Wheat contains a unique, unusual type of carbohydrate (found only in a few grains) called Amylopectin-A. This carbohydrate has been shown to raise your blood sugar both higher, and quicker than even table sugar.
In fact, Amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar more than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing in documented in studies.
This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, other baked goods often and many (or most) processed, packaged and manufactured foods cause significantly higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources. Looking at the glycemic index of wheat (this is the number associated with a food which determines its effect on your blood glucose – sugar – levels), a slice of white bread has a GI of 70 – 75, whole wheat bread (the ‘better’ choice) comes in between 70 and 85 and table sugar has a GI of 65. Yes, when it comes to spiking your blood sugar, whole wheat bread wins, hands down!
If you blood sugar spikes once in a while, your body is well equipped and more than capable to handle the situation. Consistently high blood sugar is not a desired, healthy or optimal situation for the body, which brings me to my second point:
2. Wheat increases aging, weight gain, and boosts Diabetes risk by stimulating the glycation of your cells
Before I tell you why wheat can actually speed up the aging process in your body, I want to explain some simple human biochemistry.
This deals with ‘glycation’ in your body, and particles called Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGEs (the irony of this term is clearly apparent). These nasty little compounds speed up the aging process in your body including, damage over time, to your organs, your joints, and of course, your skin.
One of the biggest factors in the increased production of AGEs in your body is, over time, consistently high blood sugar levels. This is one of the reasons why those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often appear to have aged poorly and may look older than they really are. This age-increasing effect is not just limited to diabetics.
I know you are wondering how our friend whole wheat relates to this
As you know now, the higher your average blood sugar levels are over time, the more AGEs are formed inside your body, which makes your body degenerate faster. We know that wheat, in any form, spikes blood sugar more than most other carbohydrates, even table sugar.
The high blood sugar spikes caused by our large consumption of wheat also makes your body pump out more insulin which promotes the storage of body fat.
These massive blood sugar spikes from eating wheat daily (our food guides encourage at least half of our 6 – 8 daily carbohydrate servings come from whole grains) also cause damage over time to your blood sugar regulation system, harming your pancreas, causing insulin resistance, and eventually causing type 2 Diabetes.
3. Wheat contains gluten and other gut-damaging compounds
Gluten seems to be a hot-button topic in the media lately. This has led to mass confusion as to whether gluten poses any real health risk for those not suffering from Celiac disease.
There are hundreds of documented, published studies indicating gluten can cause inflammation in the digestive system, even if you have not been officially diagnosed with an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Wheat gluten (most grains contain gluten, but the type found in wheat is particularly deleterious) has been directly linked to increased small intestinal permeability, which, in turn, leads to a condition we are hearing increased reports of, known as Leaky Gut. The increase in permeability of the small intestinal wall has also been associated with numerous digestive issues and autoimmune problems.
Researchers have theorized that the reason gluten is currently causing these digestive system problems is due to the excessive hybridization (not GMO – yet) of wheat over the last 50 years. This has created newly modified gluten molecules that are foreign to the human digestive system compared to the ancient wheat that humans historically ate for several thousand years. There is further debate that the increased volume of wheat our society is consuming plays an integral role in this alarming trend. Remember, you are advised to consume 3 – 4 servings a day, and this is before eating any processed foods, of which almost all contain some form of wheat or wheat by-product.
4. Wheat contains anti-nutrients and blocks mineral absorption
My last reason, for today, that wheat is terrible for you is that it contains anti-nutrients which are naturally occurring compounds in the wheat plant. One of these is known as phytates, which blocks the absorption certain minerals like zinc, iron, manganese, and calcium in your body with regular consumption.
Most people eat wheat with almost every meal. Think about it, cereal in the morning, sandwich, wrap or bagel at lunch, and pasta or bread at dinner. Over time, this can lead to a mineral deficiency in your body, creating further health conditions.
The body requires certain minerals in order to digest carbohydrates, and with the ability to absorb some of those blocked, your body is left with no choice but to use up its own reserves. Again, this can lead to further mineral deficiencies.
Another anti-nutrient and mineral blocker in wheat is known as lectins. This is another constituent of wheat that causes gut irritation. Just in case you needed another reason to minimize or eliminate wheat from your diet.
But what about the fiber in wheat you may ask. Isn’t that what makes it healthy?
Well, you can get all the fiber your body needs from eating whole, real vegetables, fruits and nuts. They contain way more than wheat, no matter which way it is prepared. Furthermore, you get this fiber without the extra baggage of blood sugar spikes and digestive distress caused by wheat.
I have covered my top reasons why I believe there is nothing essential about the inclusion of wheat in the human diet. Simply put, it does more harm than good!