Thiel: Nutritious value of modern day wheat questioned

In his book, Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis claims the obesity epidemic in North America is caused by years of consuming wheat-laden foods.

A few months ago, I read a book entitled Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.

Davis is a practicing cardiologist in Milwaukee. Although I didn’t find the book particularly well-written, his information and research was excellent.

This book concerns itself with the effects of the ingestion of wheat and our health.

He claims the obesity epidemic is affecting us in North America as a result of years of consuming wheat-laden foods that trigger the production of insulin and ergo fat storage.

In addition, he illustrates how wheat provokes an inflammatory process and induces abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of our body.

Many people will say, in frustration, “I don’t understand. I exercise. I reduce my fat intake and increase healthy whole grains, yet I can’t seem to lose the weight.”

This is due to the fact that every single meal and snack contains foods made from wheat flour.

It is the most dominant gluten protein in the human diet comprising 20 per cent of our daily caloric intake.

Would it surprise you to understand that whole wheat bread increases our blood sugar more than table sugar?

In his study, Davis took his diabetic and overweight patients and removed grains for three months.

The diabetics became non-diabetics and most of them subsequently lost between 20 and 40 pounds.

In addition, acid reflux disappeared, diarrhea ceased, energy improved, sleep improved, rashes disappeared, arthritis pain improved and asthma symptoms were alleviated.

He stipulates that the wheat of today is not the same grain as our forebears ground into their daily bread.

It has changed dramatically in the last 50 years under the influence of agriculture scientists.

It simply and genetically is not the same, changed solely for the purpose of increasing the yield per acre.

In fact, the wheat of today has been modified to such an extent that modern strains are unable to survive in the wild without human intervention.

In his research, Davis stated that no animal or human safety testing was conducted on the new genetic strains of wheat that were created.

The sole intent was to increase yields.

Glycemic Indexes are used to measure the body’s response to the sugar in food.

For instance, table sugar has a GI of 59. A Snickers bar has a GI a 41. White bread has a GI of 69 and whole grain breads a GI of 72. Surprising?

In fact, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is worse than drinking a can of sugar sweetened soda or a candy bar.

Where there is glucose, or sugar, there is sure to be an accompaniment of insulin, the hormone that allows the entry of sugar into the cells of the body converting the sugar to fat. That’s why we are fat.

The higher the glucose of the food, the higher the insulin level, the higher the fat produced.

There is a strong addiction component to wheat. Let’s face it, we have all craved this what we conveniently call ‘comfort food.’

Wheat is the largest culprit as it is in most everything in our pantry, restaurants and daily selection of foods.

In his study, Davis found that when people participating in his research project stopped ingesting wheat products, 30 per cent experienced something that would be considered withdrawal—fatigue, mental fog, irritability, inability to function at work or school and depression.

Food and the biological reaction within our body, as a response, can induce or influence certain moods and behaviours and dominate thoughts. This sounds like addiction to me.

Gluten, one of wheat’s main constituents, is broken down into a mosaic of polypeptides.

Once these polypeptides enter the brain, they bind to the brains morphine receptor sites, the exact same receptor site in which opiate drugs bind as well.

Obesity in North America is believed to have accelerated in the mid-1980s.

This was during the time when all the nutritional directives were saying to eat more healthy whole grains.

The extremes in blood sugar and insulin are largely responsible for the growth of fat in our society. This fat produces inflammatory signals throughout the body responsible for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer.

I was curious about this new approach by Davis to this information.

His reasoning, though radical, made sense to me as a health care practitioner. So I thought I would try it.

I removed all forms of wheat from my diet for a period of six weeks.

The cravings for me were enormous in the beginning, only to wane two weeks after I started.

I slept better, my mood was calmer, I had much fewer aches and pains throughout my body and I lost 16 pounds.

The energy that I had was enormous. In discussion with one of my diabetic patients today, he said that he had also read Davis’ book and implemented its guidelines.

And to his great surprise, he had decreased his need for insulin by as much as 60 per cent.

His energy was excellent and he had lost 18 pounds.

To date, I have 17 patients who have removed wheat from their diet and they unanimously agreed that they will never eat it again, based on their newfound wellness.

In light of this new information, I think the dogmatic approach of five to seven servings of grains a day may seem a little antiquated and in need of further investigation.

Wheat is not what it used to be and it makes us take a look at our daily bread in a different light.

Any arguments that are based on the food guide need not apply.



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