When wheat was genetically modified to address world hunger, it was fattened up and made into a short, stubby dwarf species, which is vastly different from the ancient einkorn wheat mentioned in the Bible. Fattened up wheat kernels are not just carbohydrates but super carbs that our bodies never evolved to work with.
Wheat has been shown to increase obesity around the world as much or more than it has increased crop yields. We think this picture says it all:
You see, modern wheat has a super starch, amylopectin A, that is rapidly digested and leads to insulin resistance in rats and humans alike. Wheat raises blood sugar faster than table sugar and leads to blood sugar swings that fuel food cravings versus weight loss.
Whole grain wheat does not help much as it is this super starch that drives insulin problems and willpower issues alike.
Here’s what Dr. Davis, author of Wheat Belly, has to say about wheat and weight loss:
“Typically, people who say goodbye to wheat lose a pound a day for the first 10 days. Weight loss then slows to yield 25-30 pounds over the subsequent 3-6 months… When you remove wheat from the diet, you’ve removed a food that leads to fat deposition in the abdomen. Factor in that the gliadin protein unique to wheat that is degraded to a morphine-like compound that stimulates appetite remove it and appetite shrinks. The average daily calorie intake drops 400 calories per day—with less hunger, less cravings and food is more satisfying. This all occurs without imposing calorie limits, cutting fat grams, or limiting portion size. It all happens just by eliminating this thing called wheat.”
If you have trouble with cravings, blood sugar management, and/or weight, you just might want to experiment with going gluten-free.
1 in 3 Americans are Going Gluten-Free
Going gluten-free is no longer an underground endeavor. According to a recent poll, 30% of Americans are trying to reduce their intake of gluten or go entirely gluten-free. Even gluten-free dating sites have popped up on the Internet! Our very own Director of Customer Service, Teri, reluctantly kicked gluten to the curb and immediately saw her sinuses and chronic ear infections improve.
Still, there’s more to learn, and the science behind the wheat conundrum is still unfolding.
Zonulin: Intestinal Regulator Key to “Leaky Gut?”
In May 2013, the Institute for Functional Medicine awarded Alessio Fasano with its highest honor, the Linus Pauling Award, for his groundbreaking discovery of why gluten-free diets often help people suffering from chronic diseases — even if they don’t exhibit visible symptoms of wheat protein intolerance.
Fasano and his team discovered zonulin, the only known regulator of tight junctions between intestinal cells. The study revealed that zonulin is released by gliadin, one of the main compounds found in gluten. When zonulin is released, the tight cellular junctions relax, allowing space to open in the gastrointestinal lining. When zonulin gets overexpressed (as in the case of people with autoimmune diseases), the gastrointestinal lining becomes too permeable and allows toxins, bad bacteria, and undigested food molecules to pass through into the blood stream (i.e., “leaky gut”).
Chronic Disease Associated with Undiagnosed Gluten Intolerance
According to the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease is rising dramatically, but not everyone shows the same symptoms, thus many people go undiagnosed. Mayo reports that untreated gluten intolerance is associated with cancer, osteoporosis, infertility, skin rashes, and joint pain.
If mysterious, seemingly unrelated chronic symptoms persist no matter what you do, it might be time to give a gluten-free diet a try. Need help getting started? Check out our gluten-free flour guide to start building your wheat-free kitchen staples.