A year ago I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy and low iron stores (ferritin). Since then I have read many books and discovered the two issues may be related. The book I liked the best is “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, M.D. The basic information below is what I derived from his book. For further details and explanations, please read the book!
For years we have been told to eat more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and less of the simple carbohydrates found in candy or soft drinks, but studies have now shown that modern wheat is the culprit, making us fat and unhealthy!
This is because amylopectin, the glucose units found in wheat, is easily digested and quickly absorbed into our bloodstreams, increasing blood sugar levels. Gram for gram, wheat increases blood sugar faster than all other simple and complex carbohydrate foods. The insulin we produce naturally in our bodies converts the glucose to fat. The higher the blood glucose level after a meal or snack, the greater the insulin level, the more fat deposited. The fat is deposited in our abdomens, encasing our livers, kidneys, pancreas, intestines, and stomachs. This is called visceral fat and is uniquely capable of causing many inflammatory processes and health conditions.
For the past 50 years, wheat has been genetically altered to increase farmers’ yield by making the grain heat and drought tolerant, as well as disease resistant. Changes have also been made to modify its properties making the wheat more suitable for the baking industry. These changes have made wheat very popular in our lives, but have also had tremendous consequences on humans ingesting the wheat: increased blood sugar levels, inflammatory processes, pH changes, activated immune responses, neurological disorders, heart disease, cancer, skin rashes, and obesity. It is no wonder many people have developed a wheat allergy.
Wheat consumption can affect almost every organ of your body; the liver, lungs, pancreas, skin, heart, brain, stomach and intestine, thyroid gland etc. Wheat converts quickly to blood sugar, not only causing us to gain weight but also leading to many debilitating conditions not just associated with excess weight. Wheat has also been proven to worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia, autism, and ADHD.
In patients diagnosed with celiac disease, the most common wheat related illness, gluten protein causes an immune response that inflames the small intestine resulting in stomach cramps and diarrhea. Gluten is the component of wheat that makes baked products doughy and able to rise in the baking process. Wheat is the main source of gluten in our diet. Other less common sources of gluten include Kamut, tricale, rye, bulgur, and barley. Gluten, however, is not the only villain in wheat flour, there are also thousands of other strains of proteins, enzymes, and starches. These ingredients cause allergic reactions triggering rashes, asthma and even anaphylaxis.
Unfortunately wheat is not so easy to remove from your diet. Wheat products are convenient, readily available and satisfying to eat. To avoid wheat, be sure to read the ingredients list on food labels keeping in mind that wheat is in many items other than just bread. Fill the gap in your diet left by wheat with meats (not processed), vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs, avocados, olives, and cheese. You can actually eat larger portions of these items.
Whether or not you have a wheat allergy, eliminating wheat can be beneficial. Your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as B6, B12, folic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium, and thiamine will improve. Your fiber intake will also increase. Eliminating wheat from your diet may be inconvenient, but I guarantee you will notice a difference in as little as one week! You will have more energy, sleep better, feel more alert and look trimmer.
If substantial weight loss is your goal, please read my next post…