As we all know gluten sensitivity or intolerance is becoming more and more of a common health issue. A growing number of cafes and restaurants have gluten-free meals on their menus and there’s more gluten-free products available in the supermarkets. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye products, but is it just the gluten or are talking about wheat products in general too? Gluten is a protein in wheat but wheat also contains some other questionable culprits. Either way, the big baddie here has to be the nations favourite, bread. Have you ever tried cutting bread from your diet for a week or so to see the effects? Most people tend to lose weight. This doesn’t mean you have a gluten intolerance but it does make the effects of bread something to consider.
Obesity and weight gain have increased immensely in the population and a primary factor is wheat, the major source of gluten in our diets. The problem is it’s in so many products! Wheat has many disguises and is added to everything which makes avoiding it difficult without analysing labels and even then it’s not always possible to avoid. That’s why it’s best to avoid processed and packaged foods all together. It’s not just the amount of wheat we eat, it’s the components of wheat that cause weight and health issues. Wheat is not what it used to be and is in fact a far cry from the wheat that our great grandparents made bread with.
Today’s wheat contains a starch known as amylopectin A which is highly fattening, a form of gluten that is extremely pro-inflammatory and some other ‘interesting’ ingredients that keep you coming back for more. The high levels of amylopectin A and gluten in today’s wheat are due to the genetic modification and hybridisation of wheat to produce high yielding plants. This was engineered by a scientist who won the Noble Peace Prize to feed the starving in developing countries which it did but unfortunately, such high levels of starch and gluten also make people sick and fat and now this hybrid, high yielding wheat is everywhere.
Nowadays 2 slices of wholewheat bread raises your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of sugar does. This is due to the high levels of starch mentioned and the sugar added to bread and most foods with added wheat marketed as ‘whole grain’. Read more on blood sugar and how a continuous vicious cycle of high/low blood sugar causes weight gain here. Bread is considered a high glycemic load (GL) food, read more on GL here. Keep eating these kinds of ‘foods’ and yo-yoing your blood sugar, you could be facing diabetes as well as weight gain.
The gluten component of today’s wheat easily triggers inflammation inside the body and also increases your chances of weight gain and diabetes. Gluten is a sticky protein in wheat that holds bread together and makes it rise. The old type of gluten our great grandparents used to bake with contained 14 chromosomes that produce few gluten proteins and none that cause coeliac disease and inflammation. The new style wheat contains twice as many chromosomes and a large variety of gluten proteins including the ones most likely to cause coeliac disease. This type of gluten can cause low level inflammation and gut issues and/or auto-immunity and body-wide inflammation which triggers insulin resistance and causes weight, diabetes and a whole host of other chronic health issues. More on the effects on the brain here.This is because it damages the gut lining, leaks through to our immune systems and causes havoc. Increased inflammation in the body can also alter our hunger hormones making us want to eat more food which of course further hampers our attempts of losing weight!
So maybe now you are thinking to cut gluten out or reduce and try gluten-free. Be warned, it’s a jungle out there! If you go completely natural and whole food and ensure you buy uncontaminated food from reputable sources you should be able to avoid most of it but recent studies have confirmed that 50% of so-called gluten-free pizzas are contaminated with gluten and 30% of gluten-free restaurant food is too. Not only that, gluten-free replacement food is full of additives, fillers and sugar and is about as unhealthy a replacement you can get. I wouldn’t bother! For those that do have a serious issue with gluten, it really does mean avoiding gluten and wheat at all costs. There are also some supplements out there that help you to digest gluten before it can have an impact on the body. The most important thing you can do to support your health, is avoid wheat and gluten and heal your gut so that it can’t leak through to your immune system and make you sick and fat. Anyone for keto bread? Recipe here.