For a long time, I’ve realized that wheat is one of the worst things in the modern diet.
I’ve done my best to stay away from it and constantly recommended that others do so as well.
But I just finished reading a book called Wheat Belly.
While going through it and looking at some of the hundreds of scientific references in it, I have come to the opinion that wheat is much, much worse than I originally thought.
Wheat, either directly or indirectly, can contribute to various chronic, life-threatening diseases.
Here are 10 reasons not to eat wheat.
1. Wheat Raises Blood Sugar Rapidly
According to Dr. Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, wheat contains a type of starch called Amylopectin A which is digested a lot faster than the starches found in other foods like beans and rice.
The starches in wheat are readily broken down into glucose by digestive enzymes (1).
When starch is broken down into glucose in the digestive tract, next it goes in to the bloodstream to become blood sugar.
Wheat, even the “heart-healthy” whole wheat, has large amounts of this fast acting starch, which gives wheat a high glycemic index (2).
This can lead to various health problems down the line.
2. Wheat Can Give You Acne
Wheat, with its unique ability to elevate blood sugar rapidly, will therefore be particularly prone to exacerbate acne.
3. Wheat May Stimulate Opioid Receptors in The Brain
When gluten proteins are broken down by enzymes in the digestive tract, the small peptides they form are able to stimulate opiate receptors, just like morphine and heroin (5).
Taking an opiate blocking drug changes the response to gluten, another strong indicator of gluten having an activity similar to opiates (8).
4. Wheat is Addictive
There are many indicators that wheat may be downright addictive.
Ever crave a piece of bread? A slice of pizza? A muffin? Cravings that have nothing to do with hunger?
That’s not normal and is potentially caused by the addictive properties of wheat.
Time will tell whether wheat can be downright addictive. I personally think that it is.
5. Wheat Can Give You Heart Disease
Wheat, with its high carbohydrate content and rapid increase in blood sugar, can raise risk factors for heart disease like triglycerides and small, dense LDL.
In fact, whole wheat may raise small, dense LDL (really bad!) by as much as 60% in as little as 12 weeks (9). How’s that for a “heart-healthy” slice of whole wheat bread?
6. Wheat is an Appetite Stimulant
When blood sugar levels go up rapidly, they tend to go down rapidly as well. This leads to the constant cycles of hunger and cravings that occur when we eat refined carbs.
Add to that the potential for addictive opiate activity in the brain and you’ve got a monster on your hands.
7. Wheat is Horrible For Your Digestion
Wheat may be one of the worst things you could possibly do to your digestive system.
Those who have these disorders mount an immune response to gluten. When they eat wheat, their immune system attacks the walls of the digestive system.
The incredibly common ailment irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be improved on a gluten-free diet as well, but that has yet to be proven (13).
8. Wheat Can Make You Fat
Through it’s 400 cal/day appetite stimulating mechanisms, the opiate-like activity and blood sugar roller coaster, wheat can make you fat.
9. Wheat Can Make You Crazy
10. Wheat Can Make You Tired
Ever felt tired a few hours after having cereal for breakfast?
That’s the blood sugar roller coaster that you automatically take a ride with every time you eat a meal loaded with wheat.
Additionally, wheat and celiac disease have been associated with various other disorders like diabetes, cerebellar ataxia, autism, ADHD and premature ageing.