WHEAT is in so many foods we eat. Some of us – especially our children – are eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
A typical Aussie day may include Wheat Bix, cereals, toast, crumpets, pancakes, muffins, biscuits, crackers, cakes, sandwiches, rolls, wraps, pies, pastries, pasta, pizzas and noodles. The thought of excluding these foods for most people seems impossible. But many people are now choosing a wheat-free diet. Scientific research is now giving us many good reasons to avoid wheat containing products, as they are increasing the potential for a surprising number of health problems.
People with Coeliac’s disease avoid wheat because it contains gluten, a protein present in grains. Their small intestines are unable to digest gluten, which leads to many painful and distressing digestive issues along with other symptoms.
Wheat is being blamed for promoting many health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, Coeliac’s Disease and systemic inflammation of the immune system. Autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are other Autoimmune disorders caused by wheat. Wheat increases blood sugar, aggravates and inflames our intestines and inhibits the absorption of important minerals. It causes digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and flatulence and psychological symptoms such as irritability, behaviour and concentration problems.
Wheat promotes “leaky gut” which allows bacteria and food toxins to cross the gut wall and cause and immune response including inflammation and antibody formation.
Wheat is not what it used to be
Since the 1950’s, wheat has been genetically altered and hybridized to make it hardier, shorter and better growing. Wheat now contains Sodium Azine, which is a known toxin. It also goes through a Gamma Irradiation process during manufacturing. Wheat now contains novel proteins and compounds such as gluten, lectins and phytates that are difficult or impossible for us to effectively digest.
Gluten is a protein composite of gliadin and glutenin and is present in wheat and other grains such as rye, barley and spelt. Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland’s Center for Coeliac Research believes that no one can properly digest gluten. He believes that we do not have the enzymes to break it down. You don’t have to experience any gut symptoms at all to be having an adverse reaction to gluten.
Lectins are a protein that are contained in high amounts in wheat and other grains, legumes, dairy and nightshade vegetables. It is important to eat Lectin containing foods in small amounts. Lectins bind to and disrupt nerve cell membrane integrity – causing nerves not to fire appropriately. Lectins damage intestinal microvilli, increase gut permeability and decrease protein digestion.
Once across the intestine they attach to other tissues – bladder, connective tissues – and cause immune dysfunction and systemic inflammation. This contributes to food sensitivities and allergies and aggravates existing inflammatory conditions including auto immune diseases eg. thyroiditis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and fibromyalgia.
Phytates are found in all plants and are high in Wheat and other grains, legumes, nuts and potatoes. Phytates bind to nutrients causing low absorption. Preparing foods high in phytates by soaking, peeling and pre boiling can reduce their effects.