Book Review by Dr Susan Steeves: Wheat Bellies

After reading this book even those who vehemently deny wheat could be causing any of their current health concerns, may consider modern wheat to be the culprit. The author connects the consumption of modern wheat all the way from  day-to-day aches and pains, to diabetes, heart disease, dementia and arthritis. Many of us have grown up thinking only those unfortunate enough to have Celiac’s disease expressed ill-effects from wheat but that thinking is out-dated. Over the past fifty years, wheat crops have been hybridized to produce a heartier plant with a greater yield; a change from a 14 chromosome to 42 chromosomes. This new wheat strain shares 95% of its proteins common to older wheat strains but 5% of its proteins have never been found in wheat. Could these 5% new proteins be contributing to the increasing frequency of wheat sensitive individuals?

Dr William Davis, MD has mapped out various mechanisms by which wheat may be harming susceptible individuals. Here are few of these:

  • Amylopectin A- this is the predominant starch or carbohydrate in wheat that is digested easily by us; spiking our blood glucose (even more than table sugar) causing our insulin to soar resulting in short-term effects including headaches, carbohydrate cravings and moodiness. Long-term consumption of wheat with ever-spiking insulin levels leads to increased belly fat (metabolically active fat) and therefore increasing our risk of Type 2 diabetes, dementia, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
  • Gluten (gliadins and glutenins)- alpha, gamma and omega gliadins are responsible for Celiac’s disease. Modern wheat with the greatest gluten variety due to chromosomal changes include even more gluten than those mention above and may be responsible many of our current symptoms.
  • Non glutens -enzymes, albumins, and other proteins make up to 20% of other proteins in flour. These non-gluten proteins may protect the plant and yield better baking results but may be responsible for allergy symptoms including rashes and asthma or even anaphylactic reactions.
  • Gluten exorphins- The breakdown of wheat yields a substance called “gluteomorphin” which works within in the brain at the same sites at which opiates attach. This action may explain why many of us reach for carbs when stressed or tired and experience withdrawal symptoms such as moodiness, headaches and increased appetite when we abruptly stop consuming wheat.

We have over the past decades been encouraged to follow various diets endorsed by reputable societies including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Diabetes Association (Canadian and American) and even the Food Pyramid. These groups suggested lower fat diets with a higher reliance on whole grains (realistically speaking “wheat” in our convenience food society; not the intended wide variety of grains including teff, amaranth, quinoa, etc.). Has this way of life inadvertently shifted us to a society of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease; the very thing we were trying to avoid? Perhaps we should be following a diet with a focus on quality fats, nuts, non-wheat grains, vegetables, fruits and meat/poultry/fish in moderation; closer to the Mediterranean diet without all the pasta.

If you are suffering from acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, headaches/migraines, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, numbness of the hands or feet, weight gain or belly fat– removing wheat is a DRUG-FREE solution!

If you are interested in following a doctor-supervised Wheat-free program or doing a food sensitivity lab panel to determine your susceptibility, please contact the clinic for an appointment.

In health,
Dr Susan Steeves, BSc Dietetics, ND.
Phone 604-514-8555 to book your appointment today!!