Nutrition

Wheat: Bad Beyond Gluten

If I told you bread – more specifically wheat – was addictive, you would most likely agree. Anyone who has ever eaten a breadstick, biscuit, or roll knows that feeling. But here’s what you don’t know – science backs up the claim that bread is addictive! There is a substance in wheat that binds to the brain’s opiate receptors and it stimulates your appetite – causing you to eat more! Read on to find out why you should cut the wheat once and for all. (Hint: It’s not about gluten!)

At House Of Strength, we want (and get) results. Period. And we want to be as healthy as possible while losing fat, gaining muscle, or training our bodies to play sports at the collegiate level. No matter the physical goal, it all starts with nutrition.

We live by this statement from Jack Lalanne, “If man made it, don’t eat it.” And since bread doesn’t grow on trees, that means no bread! But what about wheat? In our quest to leave no health and nutritional stone unturned, we try to eliminate all wheat as quickly as possible. Most assume this is to cut gluten from the diet. That is partially true – gluten can cause bloating, digestive disruption, joint pain, and more – but not the whole story on why we avoid wheat products.

Bread_and_grains

Gliadin

Gliadin is a peptide chain (protein) found in wheat that binds to the opiate receptors in your brain. Instead of providing pain relief or feelings of euphoria like actual opiates (morphine, opium, heroin), it simply stimulates appetite. The average increase in calories attributed to this effect is 400 calories per day. In people prone to overeating, this effect can approach 1000 calories per day!

Let’s stick with the average of 400 calories per day. It takes 3500 calories to gain (or lose) a pound. So to lose 1 pound a week, one would shoot to reduce 500 calories per day x 7 days a week = 3500 calories/week. As you can see those 400 additional calories per day from gliadin-induced overeating add up to 2800 calories per week. Over the course of a year that is 2800 calories/week x 52 weeks/year = 145,600 calories in a year. Or 41.6 pounds.

Oh yeah, if you think you can resist the brain’s urging to eat more bread, there’s this: Gliadin also increases intestinal permeability. This leads to a disruption in nutrient absorption from the good foods you eat. Basically all the stuff you want to absorb form your good diet is having a hard time getting to your muscles because your gut is leaking. This condition is an underlying cause of some autoimmune syndromes, including rheumatoid arthritis, and also leads to water retention (more weight gain!).

Insulin Response

According to William Davis M.D., author of Wheat Belly, 2 slices of bread will raise blood sugar higher and faster than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. Sounds scary by itself, doesn’t it? But wait, it gets worse.

Elevated levels of blood sugar lead to the body releasing insulin to clear that sugar OUT of the blood. Insulin, as we’ve mentioned before, is a storage hormone. It’s like the honey badger – it doesn’t give a shit where that sugar goes, as long as it is OUT of the bloodstream. If you haven’t been exercising, guess where that sugar goes? Yep, fat cells! Fat cells, or adipose tissue, are simply storage of excess energy for use at a later time. Problem is, the typical American continues to overeat and never taps into those energy reserves. Even worse, they actually continue to BUILD those energy reserves – aka gaining fat.

Not only does elevated blood sugar & insulin lead to fat storage, it also increases appetite. Ever eaten a candy bar and then been starving 1 hour later. A better example is the kid who drink a soda, runs around like a hummingbird for 30 minutes, then has a “sugar crash” and sleeps for the next 30 minutes. That sudden rise, and subsequent bottoming-out leads to overconsumption of more sugar and other energy nutrients.

Couple the blood sugar-insulin response, with the insulin cravings and the opiate receptor induced appetite stimulation and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm for a vicious cycle that never ends. Unless you stop introducing wheat into your mouth!

References:

Davis, William. Wheat Belly.

Davis, William. It’s Not About Gluten, WheatBellyBlog. http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/04/earth-to-jillian-its-not-about-gluten/

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