Why Wheat May Be Sabotaging Your Health

July 25, 2011

By johnmac

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recently read an article entitled ‘The Dark Side of Wheat – New Perspectives On Celiac Disease & Wheat Intolerance’ by Sayer Ji (www.greenmedinfo.com).  Stay with me on this one….it’s not just for people with Celiac disease or life threatening wheat allergies. If you eat wheat, or know someone who does, please keep reading!

Celiac disease (as definied by the Canadian Celiac Association) is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten (found in wheat and other grains such as . This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health.

This article shares some very interesting research that all of us can benefit from. It suggests that wheat is not exactly the ‘staff of life’ that many believe it to be. The article’s introductory paragraph states:

“A study of Celiac disease may help unlock the mystery of why modern man, who dines daily at the table of wheat, is the sickest animal yet to have arisen on this strange planet of ours.”

For those of you who aren’t aware of Celiac disease (CD), it was once considered a very rare ‘disease’; however, today a growing number of studies indicate that it affects 1 in every 133 North Americans – a much higher figure than ever estimated.

As many of you know, I believe that most of us would benefit from avoiding wheat and cutting back on our grain servings.  In my Mindful Weight Control webinars (www.MindfulWeightControl.com), I list wheat as one of the top 3 most common foods linked to food sensitivities – and food sensitivities are one of the major sources of inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been linked to serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and can also cause a whole host of daily aches, pains and problems that many people sadly resign to accept as their ‘norm’, when it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have seen many clients get relief from skin problems, joint pain, digestive issues (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea), headaches, irritability, allergy-type symptoms, sinus problems, repetitive throat clearing, blood sugar issues, water retention/edema, fatigue/lack of energy and an inability to lose weight when they eliminate or limit inflammatory foods – such as wheat – from their meals and snacks.

I have provided a link to the 2-part article in the References list at the end of this tip for those of you who would like to read it in full, but I would like to highlight what I found to be the most important message this article communicates and it is this:

 

“It is usually not our genes, but what we expose them to that creates disease. What we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression.”

 

The article states that “…diseases that result from errors in the nucleotide sequence of a single gene are exceedingly rare. Perhaps only 1% of all diseases fall within this category, and Celiac disease is not one of them. In fact, following the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) in 2003 it is no longer accurate to say that our genes ’cause’ disease….”

What this means is that there are factors outside of the control of our genes that play a role in determining how our genes will be expressed  – and this can affect how our health unfolds. These factors can be directly and indirectly influenced by numerous things, including chemicals, viruses, bacteria – and most interestingly to me of course – the presence or absence of key nutrients in the foods we eat.  So, we can’t completely blame our genes for causing diseases and health issues – what we choose to expose them to plays an important role.

Now, let’s link this back to Celiac disease and wheat. Could it be possible that the symptoms of Celiac disease aren’t unhealthy responses to a healthy food, but rather healthy responses to an unhealthy food? What if the symptoms of Celiac disease are actually a way of alerting the body that wheat is not healthy for us? Is it possible that people who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease may actually have an advantage over those of us who don’t have, or ignore, the ‘classical’ symptoms of Celiac disease, and instead our intolerance or sensitivity to wheat manifests itself in other ways that are perhaps equally as damaging to our health but expressed more subtly or indirectly? If so, what is it about wheat that causes problem?

Other than being starchy and acid-forming (as is the case for most grains), wheat contains two substances that are problematic. Gluten and gliadin. Let’s take a look at these.

Interestingly, gluten means ‘glue’ in Latin…so it’s not surprising to learn that wheat is often used as an industrial adhesive (I witnessed one example of this myself during a recent tour of a cigar factory in Cuba where they used a mixture of wheat and water to stick labels on cigars and cigar boxes). In fact, the words pastry and pasta are derived from the term ‘wheat paste’ (paste) – which was the term used to refer to a mixture of flour and water that was sometimes used as plaster. Does that sound like something you want to be putting into your body every day? For a list of gluten-containing foods, visit this link.

Gliadin is a component of gluten. Some research suggests that gliadin has a harmful effect on all of us as it ultimately causes damage to the intestines, including increased intestinal permeability. Increased intestinal permeability has been associated with a number of diseases including cardiovascular disease, liver disease and many autoimmune disorders.

There are also some reports that suggest that wheat is high in substances such as glutamic and aspartic acids, which may contribute to M.S., Alzheimer’s, ADD, migraines and other conditions related to the health and function of the brain and nervous system.

Wheat wasn’t always such a prominent part of our food system. In the big picture of our  time here on earth, it wasn’t that long ago that wheat and other cereal grains were a very small part of the human diet, if even a part of it at all, since the majority of grains came into popularity with modern agriculture. When you consider this, it isn’t hard to imagine that wheat is not a ‘necessary’ food.

If eliminating wheat seems too daunting, I encourage you to at least cut down on the amount of wheat and wheat products you eat. A great place to start is by cutting back on bread and pasta. There are also some great alternatives to wheat, including quinoa, buckwheat, millet and amaranth. Eating bread and pasta made from a variety of sprouted grains is also a great option. You can find these wheat alternatives, and numerous other products made with them, in health food stores and many grocery stores. I encourage you to start replacing wheat and other grain products with these healthier choices.  You’ll be surprised at how good they are – and possibly even how much better you will feel, which is so nicely stated in the closing paragraph of the article:

 

“When one eliminates wheat and fills the void left by its absence with fruits, vegetables, high quality meats and foods consistent with our biological needs we may begin to feel a sense of vitality that many would find hard to imagine.” 

If you need some suggestions on how to go about eliminating/limiting wheat and other inflammation-promoting foods from your meals and snacks, I encourage you to come and see me for a consultation. Note that I offer sensitivity testing that can help to determine what foods, chemicals and environmental substances may be stressing your health. Click on the ‘BioEnergetic Evaluation’ tab on the top left of this page to learn more about it.

Yours in Health,

Anna

References:

www.greenmedinfo.com/toxic-ingredient/wheat

www.celiac.ca

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