Wellness through Nutrition & Nature

Gluten-Free: Why You Should Be – Published in Beverly Hills Times Magazine

January 28, 2014 2:46 am Published by Leave your thoughts


What’s wrong with wheat? I get asked that question all the time. The problem is not the wheat. The problem is what we have done to the wheat …and I’m not referring to the refining process—making white flour out of whole wheat.

I’m referring to what we have done to the wheat itself. Modern varieties of wheat contain up to 40 times more gluten than ancient wheat. They also contain less protein and fewer nutrients.

So, “wheat” is not really wheat anymore; it is a man-made grain created to produce high yields despite deficient soil and pesticide-infested agricultural practices. The other problem is that while we have been breeding wheat to meet our agricultural needs (and ignoring its nutritional content) we have also been phasing out other grains. Wheat is in everything. If you are not a label reader, just pick up a few boxes at the grocery store. Your chances of finding “wheat” as one of the main ingredients are pretty high. Not only is wheat not really wheat anymore, our excessive consumption of it is affecting our health.

The latest figures indicate that nearly one in three Americans have either been diagnosed with gluten intolerance or they suspect they may be intolerant. Symptoms range from celiac disease and other digestive disorders to diabetes, heart disease, allergies, arthritis, rashes, and an assortment of neurological problems. Our modern wheat, with its high gluten, high carbohydrate and low nutrient content, is accountable for exaggerated blood sugar surges; it is responsible for accelerated glycation (the process called Advanced Glycation End-products, acronymed AGE); for inflammation that erodes cartilage; and for many immune disorders. That’s a pretty heavy indictment for a grain we have been told is the mainstay of life. But it gets worse.

Beverly Hills Times

The glycemic index ( i.e., the comparative blood sugar effects of different foods) for whole wheat bread is higher than table sugar. It’s true. Whole wheat bread has an index of 72 while sucrose comes in at 59. This has serious implications for those with diabetes and weight issues.

The higher the glycemic index, the higher the blood glucose after consumption and the greater the insulin required to balance blood sugar. Two slices of whole wheat bread dramatically increase blood glucose, triggering insulin and an increase in abdominal fat.

High blood sugar levels over sustained periods of time, result in deep visceral (abdominal) fat. This is what prompted Dr. William Davis, M.D. to write the New York Times bestselling book, Wheat Belly, a well-documented review of the connection between modern wheat, gluten intolerance and disease. The bigger your wheat belly, the poorer your response to insulin—a situation that cultivates weight gain and diabetes. The bigger your wheat belly, the more inflammatory responses that are triggered and the greater your risk of heart disease and cancer.

From the skillet into the frying pan. Even if you don’t’ have symptoms of gluten sensitivity, you ought to temper your consumption of wheat. Many experts believe that 97 % of gluten intolerant individuals remain undiagnosed. Even more may be affected by a subclinical gluten sensitivity. There are plenty of other grains that don’t contain gluten. (Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Oats, Rice, Sorghum and Wild rice). It’s just a matter of learning how to substitute. Gluten-intolerant individuals, using the gluten-free grains above along with foods like nuts, arrowroot, beans, chestnuts, mesquite, and tapioca, all of which are gluten-free, can create delicious breakfast cereals and side dishes. But don’t jump from the skillet into the frying pan. One mistake many people make when trying to move to a gluten-free diet is to substitute with corn and/or soy. Neither of these foods contains gluten but neither are in your best interest.

More than 75% percent of processed, packaged foods, including many gluten-free products, contain corn or soy ingredients. They are in nearly all fast foods. Many individuals have sub-clinical sensitivities to corn and soy too. One reason may be that, similar to wheat, both of these foods have been the subject of intensive genetic modification. Nearly all corn and soy products on the market today (unless specifically labeled non-GMO) have been genetically altered. They cause allergy-type reactions that build up over time. They will be our next “wheat.” Keep reading the labels and steer clear of wheat, corn and soy—unless they are organic and non-GMO. Your best option is always a diet of fresh, whole foods. Let vegetables and fruits be your mainstay, rather than wheat, corn or soy.

Sharyn Wynters is a naturopath with over 30 years experience in health and wellness. She is author of the book, The Pure Cure: A Guide to Freeing your Life from Dangerous Toxins. She is also Director of Clinical Services for NORI (Nutritional Oncology Research Institute) and host of the TV/Radio show called “Get Healthy the Wynters Way with The Pure Cure!” (Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Visit her website: www.wyntersway.com

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