How Healthy is Whole Wheat?
Could Gluten be Causing You Health Problems?
Take a good hard look around you, it seems everywhere we look people are now overweight. Research shows if you are not at your ideal weight, you can end up with health problems and chronic disease. Around half our country is on at least one prescription medication, yet it didn’t used to be this way. You don’t even have to go that far back. Just look at photos from the 30s or even the 60s, and you will see how much thinner everyone seemed to be then. What changed? We often point to two key elements, our diets and our sedative lifestyles, as the root cause of this change. Today, we’re going to focus on diet, and specifically the wheat in our diet, along with the affects of gluten.
Today’s Wheat is Different…
It’s Not Your Grandparents’ Wheat, or Even Your Parents’ Wheat
Since the 1970s, plant breeders have completely transformed wheat. We have gone from a wheat that was more than four-feet tall, to a stocky two-foot tall plant with a very large seed head, with a much higher yield. Dr. William Davis says that breeders were able to accomplish this by crossbreeding in non-wheat grasses that introduced new genes with techniques that included the irradiation of wheat embryos and seeds with gamma rays, chemicals and high-dose X-rays to deliberately induce mutations.
In the past 40 years, we have had a 400% increase in celiac disease, a disease involving gluten hypersensitivity and difficulty digesting foods. The significant changes to the amino acids in the gluten proteins in wheat are a potential cause for this massive increase. The gliadin class of proteins in gluten have undergone a radical change and are now a potent opiate, stimulating our appetites so much that we now consume 440 more calories per day.
In addition, today’s wheat has poor nutritional value. Between 1843 and the mid-1960s, the level of nutrients in wheat stayed constant, but coinciding with the introduction of today’s modern wheat plant the mineral content started to decrease. Today, most wheat is processed and bleached making white flour. The extraction process leaves 40% of the original grain behind. Yet, that unused 40% includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain — the most nutrient-rich parts. So, in the process of making flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, zinc, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, and fiber are lost. Some experts will claim that if you only eat the 100% whole wheat products (which contain the wheat germ and bran typically extracted) that you will get the health benefits. However, they are still promoting a wheat whose seeds and embryos have been exposed to chemicals, gamma rays, and mutations from high-dose X-rays! This is a wheat that cannot survive in the wild on its own and requires toxic fertilizers and pesticides to survive.
Wheat Raises Your Blood Sugar More Than Sugar
Today’s modern wheat is a type of complex carbohydrate known as amylopectin A. This type of carb digests so quickly in the body that it affects your blood sugar more than almost any other carb source.
Which of these raises your blood sugar the most?
1) Whole Grain Bread
2) Table Sugar
3) Kellogg’s Special K
4) Dove Dark Chocolate Bar
If you guessed whole grain bread, you are correct. But there is good news for chocolate lovers! In this list, the dark chocolate raised blood sugar levels the least!
According to the Glycemic Index (GI), the dark chocolate bar rated 23. Table sugar is 68, Special K is 69, and the whole wheat bread is rated 70.
Dr. William Davis, a preventative cardiologist, conducted a blood sugar test on himself, comparing bread made with an ancient wheat know as einkorn (still available from some health food sources today) with modern organic whole grain wheat. To conduct this test, he ground the two types of wheat and made bread — the only difference in ingredient being the wheat used. On two separate days, he ate 4 oz. of bread while in a fasted state.
Here are his results.
• Fasting blood sugar: 84 mg/dl
• Blood sugar after eating 4 oz. of the einkorn wheat bread: 110 mg/dl
This represents a typical response for the quantity of carb ingested.
• Fasting blood sugar: 84 mg/dl
• Blood sugar after eating 4 oz. of the organic, modern-day wheat bread: 167 md/dl
As you can see, the difference is huge. He might as well have eaten sugar!
Gluten is Linked to Diseases & Reduced Brain Function
You may of heard people talking about getting gluten out of their diets. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat. Rye, barley, and oats also contain gluten-like protein and share some of the same properties and problems as gluten. For this reason, some people even go on grain-free diets.
According to The New England Journal of Medicine, they have identified 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten. And the problem with gluten is you don’t even have to have celiac disease for it to affect you. Any sensitivity at all to gluten — most people have some — can lead to problems. Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, central nervous system, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. Gluten can be the single cause behind many different diseases.
Diseases linked to gluten include:
- Accelerated aging,
- Acid reflux,
- Addictive properties,
- Autoimmune diseases,
- Canker sores,
- Crohn’s disease,
- Heart disease,
- High blood sugar,
- Inflammatory bowel disease,
- Irritable bowel disease,
- Joint problems (including arthritis),
- Multiple sclerosis,
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
- Type 2 diabetes,
- Visceral fat in the abdomen.
Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including:
- Neuropathy (nerve damage).
- It has also been linked to autism.
Dr. Marcia Alvarez, a specialist in nutritional programs for obese patients, asserts that wheat is now responsible for more intolerances than almost any other food in the world. “In my practice of over two decades, we have documented that for every ten people with digestive problems, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, arthritis and even heart disease, eight out of ten have a problem with wheat. Once we remove wheat from their diets, most of their symptoms disappear within three to six months.”
Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist and president of the Perlmutter Health Center, believes that whole grains and other carbs are causing devastation to the brain. He points to growing research showing that wheat, carbs, and sugars are silent killers to our brains, leading to Alzheimer’s, dementia, headaches, depression, and epilepsy. Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that even mildly elevated levels of blood sugar — even at levels too low to register as Type 2 diabetes — brings with it a higher risk of developing dementia.
"Nutrition matters," Perlmutter says. "The brain is more responsive to diet and lifestyle than any other part of the body and until now it's been virtually ignored. We load up on medications when our mood is off, we hope for an Alzheimer's disease pill when we get older.” He points out that a diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil, wild fish, and grass-fed beef provides the life-sustaining fat that our brains need.
Gluten's Affect on Weight Gain and Visceral Fat
As we have already seen, wheat is higher on the glycemic index than sugar. Carbohydrates, such as wheat, that rapidly breakdown during digestion release glucose swiftly into the bloodstream. This, in turn, triggers the release of insulin to move sugar into cells. Over time, these spikes of insulin and blood sugar will lead to insulin resistance, and then ultimately to diabetes.
These insulin and sugar spikes also trigger your body to produce visceral fat. This fat accumulates in the liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, abdomen, and even in the heart. Visceral fat produces inflammatory signals throughout your body, and studies are connecting it to a growing list of health conditions such as dementia, colon cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. This is why waist circumference is being widely used as a predictor of all these conditions, as well as mortality.
The Case of Wendy
In his book, “Wheat Belly,” Dr. Davis tells the story of Wendy, a 36-year-old mother of three, who was living with constant cramping, diarrhea, and frequent bleeding that necessitated occasional blood transfusions. She endured several colonoscopies and was required to use three prescription medications to manage her disease, including the highly toxic methotrexate, a drug also used in cancer treatment and medical abortions.
Wendy actually went to see Dr. Davis for heart palpitations, but once Davis realized that her heart was okay, their conversation turned to Wendy’s other health issues. As it turns out, Wendy’s ulcerative colitis wasn’t responding to treatment, so her gastroenterologist was advising the removal of her colon. Even though Wendy had tested negative for celiac, Davis strongly suggested that she eliminate wheat from her diet. Wendy reluctantly agreed.
She returned three months later to say, “First I lost 38 pounds. And my ulcerative colitis is nearly gone. No more cramps or diarrhea. I’m off everything except my Asacol (an aspirin derivative). I really feel great.” After going a year without wheat and gluten, Wendy was completely off her meds and fully cured.
Despite ongoing research, Dr. Davis remains at a loss to explain Wendy’s condition and her remarkable improvement upon the elimination of wheat and gluten. He writes, “Wendy’s experience highlights the many unknowns in this world of wheat sensitivities, many of which are as devastating as the cure is simple.” Over the years, Dr. Davis has recommended a wheat-free diet to more than 2,000 patients for reasons as diverse as acid reflux, asthma, cyclic cramping, irritable bowel syndrome, lethargy, rashes, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis pain, and most commonly, obesity and diabetes. Why the wheat-free diet is so helpful remains unclear, but in the vast majority of cases, he says it is.
Impact of a Wheat-Free Diet
Dr. Davis tells us that taking wheat out of your diet will result in the following:
- Improved sleep
- Improved weight loss
- Improvement in cognitive function
- Increased energy
- Lowered blood sugar
- Reduced acid reflux
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced appetite
- Reduced constipation & diarrhea
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced food obsessions
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced joint pain
- Reduced triglycerides
Kempsville Chiropractic and Our Patients
As chiropractors our main focus is on your nervous system. So, although this article is related to the affects of wheat and gluten, we know that problems caused by gluten, such as inflammation, can affect your nervous system. Chemical stresses from eating foods that increase inflammation, such as a diet high in wheat consumption, will cause nervous system interference through subluxations (spinal misalignments) that need to be corrected.
Many of the diseases and conditions listed above, such as joint pain, arthritis, fatigue, headaches / migraines, and anxiety / stress are things we help our patients deal with on a regular basis. Our experience also shows us the subluxations caused by inflammation, if left untreated, will lead to other problems such as pinched nerves, decreased performance at work or play, spinal pain, and more. Your central nervous system is key to the proper functioning of every organ and muscle in your body. If you are experiencing inflammation in your body due to sensitivity from gluten in wheat, then your nervous system will be directly affected.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, and wonder if gluten in your diet can be a factor, please contact Kempsville Chiropractic at 757.467.5258 and ask for a consultation with one of our doctors. Please recommend this article to your friends, family, or co-workers to help them protect their health.
Is Gluten Affecting You?
While testing can help identify gluten sensitivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel.
The Elimination/Reintegration Diet
Get rid of the following foods:
Barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, wheat, triticale (See www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.)
Hidden sources of gluten:
Soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.
For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet — no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread.
Then, reintroduce gluten to your system a step at a time. Eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, and wonder if gluten in your diet can be a factor, please contact Kempsville Chiropractic at 757.467.5258 and ask for a consultation with one of our doctors.
© 2013-2016 Kempsville Chiropractic
These articles are the property of Kempsville Chiropractic. They may not be reused without permission. You are welcome to link to this article. Kempsville Chiropractic has been proudly serving Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia since 1996.
The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
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