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the skinny on wheat

With all the hype these days about going wheat and gluten free, some may mistake this as a trend or new fad diet. But is it really? I am about to reveal three secrets about wheat and gluten that may change your life.

The wheat that makes it to our dinner table is not the same wheat of our ancestors. Modern wheat “has exploded to more than 25,000 varieties, virtually all of them the result of human intervention,” says William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly. In plain terms, today’s wheat comes from a genetically modified seed, is added to almost everything processed, and then sold in our stores and restaurants today.

Wheat increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose (table sugar). Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain wheat are made up of repeating chains of the simple sugar glucose. The type of glucose which makes up 75% of wheat is one of the most easily and quickly digested, and therefore responsible for increasing blood sugar levels quickly and to high levels. “Wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than virtually any other carbohydrate, from beans to candy bars,” says Davis. This brings me to my next fact: anytime there is an increase in blood glucose levels, insulin is released and more fat is deposited.  Inevitably then, wheat has a huge effect on body weight.

Gluten is a protein present in all forms of wheat, and is unique in that it has the ability to make our intestines permeable. Our intestines are not meant to be permeable. Our digestive system has a process of allowing only carefully selected components into our bloodstream, and if this process is tampered with, there are consequences. One example is autoimmunity, where the body is “tricked” into an immune response and begins to attack its own organs and tissues. This is why we are seeing a huge increase in gluten intolerance and celiac disease.

Here are some commonly asked questions about wheat and gluten:

Q:  How do I lighten the wheat load in my diet?

A:  Purchasing fresh fruits, veggies, and proteins, and avoiding processed foods are great ways to lessen wheat and gluten consumption, as well as add health benefits.

Q:  How do I know that what I am buying contains wheat and gluten?

A:  Most processed foods sold in a box, bag, or can contain wheat, even if it looks like it does not. Anything that contains wheat also contains gluten. Read all labels on processed foods to be sure you are buying a wheat and gluten free product.

Q:  Are there other gluten-free grains out there that I can substitute for wheat?

A:  Absolutely. My favorites are brown rice, quinoa, and millet. For more detailed information about the effects of wheat and gluten,

I recommend the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD.

Contributor: Andrea Mclaughlin – Hair Designer/Health Advocate