Anne's Diary

Evil Wheat

Seven years ago, I wrote a diary called Evil Corn. Now I'm addressing Evil Wheat.

After I discovered I'm a Type II diabetic, I lost 100 pounds (took me 3 years!) on a low-carb diet, and I still treat wheat products the way other people treat alcohol or chocolate--I think carefully before I indulge.

Despite this, I used to scoff at all the people who suddenly seem to be allergic to wheat--or to "gluten," which is essentially the same thing. Gluten is the protein found in wheat grains, which gives wheat dough its elastic texture. Gluten is also found in cereal grains, especially wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. It causes digestive disorders such as celiac disease.

Since celiac disease is characterized by extreme bouts of diarrhea (and sometime vomiting), I always said to these folks, "If you had celiac disease, you'd KNOW it!" But I've just read a book called "Wheat Belly, " by a cardiologist named William Davis, and I'm starting to change my mind.

First of all, Evil Wheat is a modern invention--it's not the same grain our ancestors ate. I'm not talking about genetically-modified wheat here (although that's coming down the pike), I'm talking about wheat that's been hybridized and modified to make it easy to grow and harvest on vast, industrial farms. GM wheat will only be the final nail in the "wheat coffin."

Davis says that modern wheat raises our blood sugar levels, which makes us hungrier so we eat more, and even gives us a kind of "high," so we crave more of it. And it's hiding in all kinds of processed foods. It's almost impossible to eat breakfast without ingesting it, so almost all of us start out the day with a meal that makes us hungry and we continue the process with a sandwich or hamburger in a bun for lunch.

According to Davis, the calories from eating wheat tend to turn into "visceral fat," which is the worst kind of all, because it surrounds our organs. This results in a "paunch" in mean and a "wheat belly" in women. He blames wheat for the obesity epidemic in this country, and says we're given precisely the WRONG advice about what to eat--even by the government.

We're told to eat "healthy whole grains," but it turns out that these raise our blood sugar levels even more than foods made of white flour.

The first wild, then cultivated wheat, was "einkorn," eaten 5,000 years ago. Next came "emmer" wheat, which flourished in ancient Egypt. The "triticum" wheat of today is the product of breeding to generate greater yield and characteristics such as disease, drought and heat resistance.

There's a lot of flim-flam out there: I recently went into our local health food store and saw a big of chips labeled "low gluten potato chips." Since potato chips of any kind consist of potatoes, salt and fat--and no wheat of any kind--I found this ludicrous.

So what's left to eat? (Sigh) Not much--corn and oats are carbohydrates that are "out" too. But I figure I don't need to cut them out completely--I'll just cut down. After all, what's life for if you can't be at least A LITTLE evil?

Gluten and carbohydrates aren't the only bad things in modern wheat. It also contains a protein called Lectin, which the wheat plant produces to discourage insect attack. It's a digestive irritant. The problem is, it irritates humans as much as it irritates insects. The short, high-yield varieties of wheat bred in the 70s (during the "green revolution") have much higher lectin contents than earlier varieties; apparently lectin production is genetically linked to the shorter, stiffer stalks preferred in modern varieties.

I suffered from indigestion, heartburn, and esophageal reflux for years without much relief. One day last spring I heard a doctor interviewed on Red Ice Radio, speaking about the dangers of wheat. I gave it up right then, and my digestive maladies disappeared immediately. I have had no problems with hearburn or reflux since. I'm convinced that Lectin was to blame, since I have no problem digesting gluten.

Modern wheat should be eliminated from the diets of most people, as it induces multiple pathological conditions.

Also search google for a recent article on preventdisease dot com entitled "Why 80 Percent of People Worldwide Will Soon Stop Eating Wheat".

I recently found a way of eating that addresses not only wheat issues, but exactly what it is about the carbs in grains and other foods that have caused me serious digestive troubles for a very long time. After years of learning to avoid so many things (beginning with wheat and going on from there) because of the agony I experienced after eating them, I find that this diet, rather than restricting more, is opening some new territory for me.

It's called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and it's been around for a long time, certainly since the 50's, possibly earlier. It was originally devised to treat (and cure) celiac in children who would often die of it in early years. It's now used to address many bowel disorders, and it's been used by many to avoid serious surgery.

Check it out! The book about it is Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschal - there's a website. And because it's been around for so long there's a lot of support on the web (recipes and such).

Interesting article and comments. I'll have to look some of this up.

Here we are worrying about diet, calories, gluten, and carbohydrates, and evil wheat and corn. What's really evil is that so many in the world are starving while we fret about these things.

Here we are worrying about diet, calories, gluten, and carbohydrates, and evil wheat and corn. What's really evil is that so many in the world are starving while we fret about these things.

Here we are worrying about diet, calories, gluten, and carbohydrates, and evil wheat and corn. What's really evil is that so many in the world are starving while we fret about these things.

Anne - thanks for the mention of that book. I will definitely check it out.

Cosmic - point taken, but I believe that we're dumbing down our own North American population on food supply matters so much that we'll be of little help to ourselves very soon and therefore absolutely no help to anyone else. The areas of hope lie in the sustainable farming methods - not Big Ag.

I have 100% intolerance to modern wheat. I read labels obsessively, because quite often, a manufacturer changes their ingredient list.

That being said, I am totally fine eating other grains -spelt, kamut, rye, oats. Anything but wheat. Modern wheat is the result of a century of tampering with the plant. I think the human digestive system is going to take years to adjust to the hybridizations and GM tampering that have arisen in the past century (GM in the past 20 years). Once again, the lesson is "don't mess with Mother Nature!"

The Paleolithic diet plan is great, and I follow it as a vegetarian (I eat eggs). This means abstaining from: cereals, beans, refined sugars, milk products, squashes. I feel excellent.

If you think about it, grains are what are responsible for creating mass population on this planet. Grains are easy to grow, and they can be stored in dry bins. They can feed a lot of people. Most unfortunately, grains also create much of the disease among the population. These factors together create a large population, that is damaged.

If Aliens wanted to destroy us, slow and insidiously, they might have suggested that we eat grains 10,000 years ago.

imo, modern (last 5,000 years) wheat and corn are slave foods. They provide calories but little nutrition. Celiac disease is like the canary in the coal mine. People are living longer in a diverse and connected population. This has uncovered the truth about these foods. If we are to live longer, healthier lives, we need to invest in more studies involving nutrition and the importance of a nutrient rich diet and how we might best achieve it. Large corporate farms are either unwilling or incapable of providing us with nutrient rich foods. We may need to return to smaller and/or cooperative farming. Its better economics anyway.

"If Aliens wanted to destroy us, slow and insidiously, they might have suggested that we eat grains 10,000 years ago." wrote Mace. lol.

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