The Low Down on Wheat

Reduce Your Wheat

Editors Note: Chuck Garcia today comments on the concerns we have over the excessive intake of wheat products, as part of the  January 2012 collection of daily blog entries for the “31 Days of Wellness”. This is our annual celebration of the New Year, and the opportunity to start anew as we ring in the New Year. Enjoy, visit us daily, and send us your feedback.
Dr. Joe Galati

As if you don’t have enough to read, I highly recommend one more book to help support your new year’s revolution.  This book had a profound effect on me and one of my kids.

My son Garrett, an otherwise healthy 17 year old, developed a skin rash last year on his neck and jaw that wouldn’t go away.  He tried cream after cream to solve the problem.  Since it never went away, he went to a dermatologist who gave him more cream; albeit medicated.  The rash went away for a few days only to return.  The creams merely treated the symptom but never addressed the problem.

When I analyzed his diet, I helped him come to the conclusion that his outside is determined by how he nourishes his inside.  Garrett’s diet was the traditional teenage diet laced with sandwiches, pizza, French fries, etc; the standard American diet (SAD) for teenagers and adults.   The common thread among all the garbage the typical American consumes:  wheat.  The USDA Food pyramid tells us to eat a lot of it….wrong!  It was easy to conclude that Garret developed a gluten allergy.  Gluten is a protein composite found in goods processed from wheat and related grains, helping it to rise and giving the food its fluffiness, shape, and chewy texture.

Once he eliminated grains from his diet, guess what went away??  While Garrett’s gluten allergy was isolated to the skin, the body’s largest organ, there are many who suffer far worse complications from consumption of food types based on wheat.

A great book that puts wheat and grains into perspective is Wheat Belly:  Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find your Path back to Health by William Davis.  Dr Davis is a Milwaukee based cardiologist who noticed the growing tide of obesity in his patients with one common thread:  Most of his patients were consuming large quantities of wheat based food.  His prescription:  Eliminate wheat and grains from your diet and watch your health return.

The book explores the proposition that the health problems of Americans, from fatigue to arthritis to gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes, obesity, etc, originate with the innocent looking bagel and muffin sitting in your kitchen.  He states that “the increased consumption of grains – or more accurately, the increased consumption of this genetically altered thing called modern wheat – explains the contrast between slender, sedentary people of the fifties and overweight twenty first century people.  A complex range of diseases results from consumption of wheat, from celiac disease – the devastating intestinal disease that develops from wheat gluten – to an assortment of neurological disorders, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and rashes.”

He further communicates “you will see what we are eating, cleverly disguised as a bran muffin or onion ciabatta, is not really wheat at all but the transformed product of genetic research conducted during the latter half of the twentieth century.  Modern wheat is no more real wheat than a chimpanzee is an approximation of a human.”

In a recent interview  he states:  “We’ve created thousands of what I call Frankengrains over the past 50 years, using pretty extreme techniques, and their safety for human consumption has never been tested or even questioned.”

According to Loren Cordian, Ph.D. a biochemist at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Answer, “Another piece of the whole-grain story that the USDA’s MYPyramid/MyPlate doesn’t mention is nutrient availability.  It may seem as if whole grains are great sources of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.  Not true.  All whole grains contain an antinutrient called PHYTATE or phytic acid, which binds these minerals and makes the unavailable for absorption in our gastrointestinal tracts.  Phytate binds these nutrients in a dose-dependent manner, meaning that the more whole grains you eat, the more likely you will become deficient in those minerals.”  See his Paleo Diet website for more advice on nutrition.

Here’s a scary thought:  “Two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar does. And then, after about two hours, your blood sugar plunges and you get shaky, your brain feels foggy, you’re hungry.”

Dr. Davis’ thesis is that the elimination of wheat, part of human culture for centuries, will make you smarter, thinner, healthier, and happier.  Read this book and his blog.

Action items:

  1.  Stop eating grains
  2. Substitute the white processed flour you normally use with almond flour, a low carb, gluten-free baking alternative to standard wheat flour.  A great online source for alternative flours and gluten free products is right here.

2 Responses to “The Low Down on Wheat”

  1. Joe Santos 01/07/2012 at 10:18 am #

    This is great information…more should read this. Keep up the good work Chuck.

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