A wheaty problem for the diet conscious or a grain of hope for glutens?
It’s a hugely debated case across the world as this widely available food source stands in the bootcamp dock accused of endangering weightloss.
There are of course a vast variety of foods containing wheat including white bread, bran or brown flour. Breaded and battered Foods encompassing Cakes, cookies, pastries or other baked products are all made from ingredients containing wheat. Canned Soups and commercially prepared sauces, such as soy sauce, Worcestershire, teriyaki, and horseradish sauce, should be assumed to contain wheat unless otherwise stated. Most thickening agents such as starches also contain wheat. In terms of Condiments. Ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard will almost certainly contain some form of wheat. In short, the list is endless.
In the case for the prosecution grains are a relatively new food to the human race, posing the question? Were we really meant to eat it? Humankind only started eating them about 10’000 years ago. If its history was based on a 24 hour scale, we would have been eating grains for the last 6 minutes. Thanks to advances in DNA research we now know humans shrank in height when we embarked on a grain eating diet. Our hunter gatherer ancestors, living on meat, fish and seafood were 5-6 inches taller and had 11 percent larger brains. All this history is encoded in our genes and it’s recently been discovered gluten allergic people have a genetic tag called DQ2 and DQ8 increasingly common in societies who introduced grains late including North West Europe, Western Ireland and Scandinavia where grain growing isn’t easy and individual bodies haven’t adapted to accepting gluten grains.
The problem seems to be wheat based foods contain a substance called Gliadin (Gluten to you and I), and this causes many problems for the digestive tract. For those who have problems digesting, gliadorphins can be retained in the blood. These are wheat based opiods making you crave wheat products you are actually allergic to according to the research of Dr Paul Shattock of Sunderland University
Gliadin inhibits the livers ability to detoxify and as a consequence the organ’s function is impaired. Toxins are then stored in the liver and fat cells. To make matters worse the liver’s ability to activate vitamins and minerals is reduced along with its fat burning process.
When foods such as wheat cannot be digested they can pass through the wall of the gut into the blood stream, if allergic the immune system will treat wheat as a toxic invader and send antibodies to bind themselves to them forming what is called an ‘immune complex’. Once this happens, the liver is tied up detoxifying and not dealing with other toxins in the blood stream. This can cause multiple problems as the Liver is the chemical brain of the body responsible for recycling, regenerating and detoxifying, in order to maintain optimum health. Given Gliadin irritates just about anyone’s gut if you have enough of it, this provides a good enough reason to avoid it. For those most reactive to wheat their digestive tract will be flat as a pancake because the tiny protrusions, called villi will be destroyed. These create the massive surface area of your insides and once damaged Coelic disease effecting approx 1 in 100 people will result.
In its defence wheat germ, a health-food basic, is the embryo of the wheat kernel. It is one portion of the wheat kernel removed when processed into refined flour. Wheat germ certainly deserves its reputation for being a powerhouse of nutrients, as its profile strikingly illustrates. It’s one of the best sources of folic acid. It’s recommended all women of childbearing age get sufficient amounts of this nutrient to prevent neural-tube birth defects. Folic acid reduces a compound in your body called homocysteine. Lower levels of homocysteine have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis bone fractures, and dementia. Wheat germ also contains a phytonutrient called L-ergothioneine, which is a powerful antioxidant not destroyed by cooking. The fibre boost you get from wheat germ is enormous.
If you decide to pursue a wheat-free diet for weightloss, you need to be careful not to replace all your wheat-containing foods, such as breads and pastas, with wheat-free or gluten-free substitutes. Many substitute foods on the market contain far more calories, simple carbohydrates and sugars than the wheat-containing foods they’re replacing, which could cause weight gain, not loss. For some people of course anything wheat orientated is just a no no.
The scary truth is that about 1 in 3 of people tested for food allergies will react to wheat, those who suffer allergic effects to wheat will know symptoms that can include sniffling and sinus problems as well as fatigue and mouth ulcers. Anaemia, diarrhoea and constipation, can all be caused by wheat. abdominal bloating, crohns disease, depression, poor concentration and brain fog are all common symptoms.
A Simple way to find out if you’re allergic to wheat is to have a test at your local pharmacy or eliminate wheat for 7-10 days and see if any of your symptoms disappear.
It would seem Wheat is guilty of affecting any attempts at serious weightloss and as such is sentenced to be taken out of your diet – I rest my case m’lud!!
By North East Personal Trainer Darren Tyrie