Why avoid wheat? How?
Wheat (wheat flour) is found in bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, cakes, pastries, pizza, couscous, noodles, and many other packaged food products. Wheat flour is a white powder that has been milled from wheat (Triticum Aestivum). Farmers have bred and hybridized wheat over many, many years to satisfy the demands of commercial bakers for elasticity and shelf-life.
The milling process removes most, if not all, of the nutrients, such as zinc and B vitamins. So-called “whole grains” are often a marketing gimmick. The nutrients in “whole grains” are usually removed in the milling process. Some processors add synthetic vitamins and minerals to the processed grain, but what does this tell you about the processing? Some brown bread in supermarkets has been baked with caramel coloring or molasses to make it look healthy. Dr. William Davis, MD, describes the myths of healthy whole grains. A cardiologist, Dr. Davis describes his journey from conventional to natural methods in this podcast.
Of course, many people eat wheat at every meal, with cereal at breakfast, bread at lunch, and pasta at dinner, but does it nourish them? Another reason to avoid wheat is that it is the most heavily sprayed crop of all with synthetic pesticides, such as glyphosate. According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff, PhD, you can detoxify yourself of glyphosate.
It is not about “gluten-free”.
Wheat contains not only gluten but also gliadin and other things that can be chronically inflammatory to your digestive system. The current fad for “gluten-free” overlooks this fact. “Gluten-free” products usually substitute refined rice, potato, or corn flour for wheat flour. These other refined flours can inflame digestion as much as wheat.
Buckwheat or oats can be healthy substitutes for many people. Rye and barley also contain gluten, but may be easier for you to digest, if well fermented or gently processed. For me, sweet potatoes, oats, buckwheat, and millet are healthy substitutes for wheat.
Devoid of nutrients, processed wheat also can increase blood sugar (glucose) as rapidly as table sugar or soda. Most of the sugar (carbohydrate) in wheat is in the forrm of amylopectin A, which rapidly increases sugar in the blood. This makes the blood and tissues slightly acidic and tends to deplete you of nutrients, such as magnesium and vitamins C and B.
Baked wheat products contain carcinogenic chemicals called acrylamides that form in the browned portion of breads, cereals, muffins, and so on.
Wheat germ agglutinin
Wheat germ agglutinin is an inflammatory, immune-disrupting protein found in wheat. It is not the same thing as gluten. Wheat germ agglutinin can provoke an inflammatory response in gut cells. It can also disturb the natural immune barrier in the gut. This can make the gut more permeable to things that do not belong in your blood. Many people have a digestive system inflammed by wheat even without a formal diagnosis. Again, this is separate from the problem of gluten. Both gluten and wheat germ agglutinin are found in wheat. You can have trouble with wheat germ agglutinin, even if you have no reaction to a gluten elimination challenge. Simply abstaining from wheat can reduce or eliminate this digestive inflammation. Try it for a week and see how you feel.
Another reason to cut wheat from what you eat is that wheat may reduce blood flow to the brain.
Dr. Peter D’Adamo ND, in his book “Eat Right 4 Your Type“, advises avoiding wheat, particularly if you have blood type O. His advice is to skip bread, sandwiches, pasta, and all that contains wheat. Substitute vegetables, fruits, and oatmeal.
Grains, beans, and legumes contain phytic acid, which can interfere with absorption of zinc, manganese, iron, magnesium, and calcium in some people. Soaking, processing, or cooking may or may not remove these anti-nutrients. Some people are more sensitive to phytic acid than others. Buckwheat, millet, oats, and quinoa can be practical substitutes for wheat for some people. Others gain health by eliminating all grains.
You may be addicted to wheat, according to Dr. David Perlmutter MD in his book, “Grain Brain“. Wheat may be making you overweight and ill, according to Dr. William Davis in his book, “Wheat Belly“. According to Dr. Davis, if you cut wheat, you can gain health and lose your big belly. Instead of toast, bread, or a croissant with breakfast, why not try oatmeal or buckwheat porridge? Instead of a sandwich for lunch, why not try drinking more water before the meal, and then eating a vegetable salad, protein (meat, fish, chicken, turkey, quinoa, or tofu), and nuts or seeds? All of the recipes on this site are wheat-free.
According to Dr. Davis, various flours are healthy substitutes for wheat flour, including almond meal, almond flour, ground pecans, ground walnuts, coconut flour, ground flaxseed, pumpkin seed meal, sesame seed meal, garbanzo bean flour, and chia seed meal.
Do your own research.
Critics of this idea say people have been eating wheat since the beginning of agriculture almost ten thousand years ago. They further claim that there is no clinical evidence that wheat makes people overweight nor that it depletes minerals and vitamins. There are at least two hundred clinically confirmed reasons not to eat wheat, as compiled by greenmedinfo.com. Wheat can gradually damage your health. Do your own research, and then decide for yourself.
You may find that eating processed wheat began soon after the industrial revolution started. Biscuits with sugar were served to the workers with little time to prepare their own food. Unrelated to wheat, but related to processed food, is that canning food also began in the nineteenth century. Lead was used to seal the cans.
According to the Vancouver Naturopathic Clinic, besides wheat, the most common foods to trigger a reaction (in some people, not all) are corn, soy, yeast, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts. Some people are not allergic to some of these.
Other common allergens include rye, barley, oats, potatoes, paprika, MSG (monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer), tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, hot peppers, orange, beef, pea, bean, fish, sugar, plum, fowl, melon, carrot, sweet potato, grape, peanut, pineapple, beet, spinach, strawberry, cinnamon, garlic, black pepper, vanilla, and artificial sweeteners. Again, not everybody is sensitive to all of these.
Unrelated to wheat but related to food sensitivity, some people are sensitive to foods in the “nightshade” family, which includes eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and paprika.
One popular theory is that some people are sensitive to foods that are high in “oxalates“, which include raspberries, spinach, beets, almonds, and others. Alternatives are blueberries, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, and walnuts.
Unrelated to the risks of wheat and other food intolerances, be aware that many foods can be adulterated. The most commonly adulterated foods are seafood, olive oil, milk, honey, fruit juice, coffee, vanilla extract, wine, black pepper, and cinnamon. Buyer beware.
Davis MD, Dr. William, “Wheat Belly“, Rodale, 2011, presentation 1:06, related presentation :47
Perlmutter MD, Dr. David, “Grain Brain“, Little Brown, 2013, audiobook 9:51, interview :36
Osborne DC, Dr. Peter, “No Grain. No Pain.“, Atria, 2016, interview :49, Q&A :23
Mercola ND, Dr. Joe, “The No-Grain Diet: Conquer Carbohydrate Addiction“, Dutton, 2003, review
Gundry MD, Dr. Steven, “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods“, Harper Wave, 2017, interview
Mackarness MD, Dr. Richard, “Not All in the Mind“, Pan, 1976
Hall, Ross Hume, “Food for Nought: The Decline in Nutrition“, HarperCollins, 1974
Scott-Mumby MD, Dr. Keith, “Why is Bread Bad For You? The Hidden Death Factor“,article
Ji, Sayer, “Wheat: 200 Clinically Confirmed Reasons Not To Eat It“, GreenMedInfo LLC
GreenMedInfo on wheat
Hyman MD, Dr. Mark, and Ward MS, Maggie, “Is Gluten-Free A Fad Or Is Gluten A Real Threat To Our Health?“, :33 video
“Antinutritive effects of wheat-germ agglutinin and other N-acetylglucosamine-specific lectins“, The British Journal of Nutrition 1993 Jul;70(1):313-21. PMID: 8399111
Jackson JR, Eaton WW, Cascella NG, Fasano A, Kelly DL., “Neurologic and psychiatric manifestations of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.” Psychiatr Q. 2012;83(1):91-102. doi: 10.1007/s11126-011-9186-y
Vander Heiden M, Cantley C, Thompson B., “Understanding the Warburg Effect: The Metabolic Requirements of Cell Proliferation“, Science. 2009;324(5930):1029-1033.
Aubert A, et al. “Comparison of Plant Morphology, Yield and Nutritional Quality of Fagopyrum esculentum and Fagopyrum tataricum Grown under Field Conditions in Belgium“, Plants 2021;10(2):258, re: buckwheat
“What’s with Wheat?“, 1:19 video