Why? I’ll give you 6 great reasons
- Glyphosate- Because the commercial wheat supply is so extensively contaminated with glyphosate, it is my recommendation to avoid wheat products entirely. Life glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. Genetically modified wheat is actually called “Roundup ready wheat”, because it tolerates large amounts of this weed killer without destroying the wheat kernel. Therefore, farmers can spray copious amounts on their fields to kill weeds and accelerate the drying out of the crops without negatively impacting the yield for harvest. Unfortunately, significant amounts of glyphosate make it through processing and into the food that we consume.
Glyphosate has been implicated in many serious health conditions including kidney and liver damage and a variety of cancers including colon, pituitary, thyroid, thymus, mammary glands, testes, kidney, pancreas, liver, melanoma and lung cancer. It also is considered an endocrine disrupting chemical. It has estrogenic effects on the body, contributing to reproductive and fertility problems including low testosterone in men and hyper-estrogenic disorders in women. It also negatively affects the human microbiome especially bifidobacterial. The microbiome is the term used for the collective healthy bacterial organisms that live in our body. The incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis has paralleled the increase use of glyphosate in the U.S.
Glyphosate also binds to manganese, which is an important catalyst for making MnSOD, an important and powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, involved in protecting mitochondria from oxidative DNA damage. Mitochondria are the tiny organelles in all of our cells that produce the energy that drives cell functions.
As of August 2016, 26 countries have already banned Roundup and glyphosate containing herbicides. Unfortunately for Americans, special interest groups like the chemical industry (including Monsanto, the maker of Roundup), have much influence over our political process. The use of glyphosate has increased exponentially over the last 20 years.
For more on glyphosate, read my post found on my web site at https://www.wellnessdoc.com/2017/07/glyphosate-danger-lurking-pantry/
- Gluten- Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. It’s what gives bread and pasta its stickiness. Have you ever wondered why gluten free bread falls apart so easily? It’s lacking the glue (gluten), that helps it stick together. Gluten can cause celiac disease, the most extreme form of gluten reactivity by the body. Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction that can trigger severe inflammation throughout the body. Research has linked gluten to other autoimmune diseases, ADHD, mood disorders, autism, weight gain, schizophrenia, dementia, digestive disorders, nutritional deficiencies, insulin resistance, diabetes, cancer and more. Approximately 1% of the population have been diagnosed with celiac disease. But, according to the Beyond Celiac Organization, for every 1 person that has been diagnosed there are an estimated 5 people with the condition that have not been diagnosed.
Beyond celiac disease (pun intended), it is estimated that approximately 18 million Americans (approximately 8%), have what’s called Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). This is where the body’s immune system recognizes the gluten protein as foreign and mounts an antibody attack against it. The problem lies with the fact that because gluten is so prevalent in the standard American’s diet, it creates a relentless immune system response that can eventually go rogue. When the immune system recognizes a particular protein as foreign and mounts an attack against it, it can often begin to misidentify the proteins within normal body tissues as that same foreign protein it has been aggressively trying to destroy (gluten in this case). When this happens, it can trigger an autoimmune response against that particular part of the body.
- Gliadin- Another reason to just say no to wheat is gliadin. Gliadin is a component of wheat gluten that can activate inflammatory NF-kappa beta proteins, the ones involved in a myriad of acute and chronic inflammatory disorders, including autoimmunity and infectious diseases.
- Lectin- A third reason is the fact that the whole or shell of the wheat kernel contains a lectin called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Lectins such as WGA can cause a myriad of problems with health, including interfering with the production of leptin (not lectin). Leptin is the hormone secreted by fat cells that tells your brain when you are full, satisfied and to stop eating. It has been found that lectins can prevent leptins from binding to cell receptors, therefore the brain does not receive the signals to tell you to stop eating. This can cause us to keep eating leading to the extra calories being stored as body fat. Like when insulin receptors become resistant from too much insulin floating around in the blood, leptin receptors on cells can also become leptin resistant. Like insulin resistance, leptin resistance can be a primary contributing factor to obesity.
Another problem with lectins from grains, seeds and beans is that they can become a primary source of gastrointestinal irritation and food sensitivity reactions by the immune system because they bind to the cell walls of the intestinal lining. In binding to the cells lining the intestinal tract, lectins can interfere with absorption of vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Therefore, lectins are often coined “anti-nutrients”, because they can cause nutritional deficiencies.
One of the effects of genetically modifying crops, is that it raises lectin levels in shell of the seeds (like in wheat kernels, other seeds, bean and legumes), which is where the lectins are found. This is purposeful on the part of the scientists, because lectins naturally act as toxins to birds and insects that may want to eat those crops. As a result of the toxicity to birds and insects, those crops yield a higher return. That is great for the farmer. Unfortunately however, the increased lectins in GMO crops can also wreak havoc in the consumer’s gastrointestinal tract. As mentioned, this can result in a whole host of health problems, including immune and autoimmune conditions, nutitional deficiencies and increased systemic inflammation.
- Higher in sugar content- Wheat has been genetically modified to be higher in Amylopectin A, which has a very high glycemic response (it turns into large amounts of sugar very rapidly in the blood stream). Norman Borlaug PhD., was a highly acclaimed scientist and researcher who was instrumental in developing what is called the Agricultural Green Revolution. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 and is credited for saving millions from starvation worldwide. Dr. Borlaug, developed a strain of wheat that was capable of delivering more calories than its non-genetically modified version because it was high in the starch or carbohydrate amylopectin A. It is estimated that the amount of amylopectin A in two slices of wheat bread will raise your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of table sugar. For Third World countries facing drought and starvation on a large scale, it provided a lifeline for people in need. That lifeline was more calories per ounce eaten. The problem is, that this GMO strain of wheat is the same one that is being produced and utilized in industrialized countries over the last 50 years. And what is happened to the weight of the populations in the Western industrialized world over that period of time? That’s right, obesity has become epidemic! And, it is contributing to the major rise of diabetes, heart disease, dementia and certain forms of cancer.
- Highly addictive- Not only does today’s wheat contain toxins like glyphosate, lectin, high levels of gluten, gliadin, and the super starch amylopectin A, it also contains what are termed gluteomorphins, coined from the words gluten and morphine. When wheat is digested, it breaks the proteins down into shorter chains called polypeptides, AKA exorphins. Exorphans are highly addictive as they interact with the opiate receptors on the brain just like cocaine, heroin and the opioid pain drugs that are responsible for the opioid epidemic in our country. From Wikipedia, “Exorphins are exogenous opioid peptides, distinguished from endorphins (or endogenous opioid peptides). Exorphins include opioid food peptides like Gluten exorphin…” The term exogenous means from the outside…and endogenous means from the inside. Just like other addictive substances, it is always better to just say NO to wheat!
Over the past couple of years, I have really enjoyed the modified paleo diet I have been on. Cutting out the starches and simple carbs is one of the best things a person can do to lose weight, improve energy levels and reduce pain and inflammation throughout your body. Eating moderate levels of protein, higher levels of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates from low glycemic vegetables, gives you all of the energy and stamina you need to feel great and perform at your highest level!