Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat
by Mark Hyman, MD
How Wheat (and Gluten) Triggers Weight Gain, Prediabetes, Diabetes and More
This new modern wheat may look like wheat, but it is different in three important ways that all drive obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.
- It contains a Super Starch – amylopectin A that is super fattening.
- It contains a form of Super Gluten that is super-inflammatory.
- It contains forms of a Super Drug that is super-addictive and makes you crave and eat more.
The Super Starch
The Bible says, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Eating bread is nearly a religious commandment. But the Einkorn, heirloom, Biblical wheat of our ancestors is something modern humans never eat.
Instead, we eat dwarf wheat, the product of genetic manipulation and hybridization that created short, stubby, hardy, high yielding wheat plants with much higher amounts of starch and gluten and many more chromosomes coding for all sorts of new odd proteins. The man who engineered this modern wheat won the Nobel Prize – it promised to feed millions of starving around the world. Well, it has, and it has made them fat and sick.
The first major difference of this dwarf wheat is that it contains very high levels of a super starch called amylopectin A. This is how we get big fluffy Wonder Bread and Cinnabons.
Here’s the downside. Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar.
There is no difference between whole wheat and white flour here. The biggest scam perpetrated on the unsuspecting public is the inclusion of “whole grains” in many processed foods full of sugar and wheat giving the food a virtuous glow. The best way to avoid foods that are bad for you is to stay away from foods with health claims on the label. They are usually hiding something bad.
In people with diabetes, both white and whole grain bread raises blood sugar levels 70 to 120 mg/dl over starting levels. We know that foods with a high glycemic index make people store belly fat, trigger hidden fires of inflammation in the body, and give you a fatty liver leading the whole cascade of obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
This problem now affects every other American and is the major driver of nearly all chronic disease and most our health care costs. Diabetes now sucks up one in three Medicare dollars.
The Super Gluten
Not only does this dwarf, FrankenWheat, contain the super starch, but it also contains super gluten which is much more likely to create inflammation in the body. And in addition to a host of inflammatory and chronic diseases caused by gluten, it causes obesity and diabetes.
Gluten is that sticky protein in wheat that holds bread together and makes it rise. The old fourteen chromosome containing Einkorn wheat codes for the small number of gluten proteins and those that it does produce are the least likely to trigger celiac disease and inflammation.
The new dwarf wheat contains twenty-eight or twice as many chromosomes and produces a large variety of gluten proteins, including the ones most likely to cause celiac disease.
The Super Drug
Not only does wheat contain super starch and super gluten – making it super fattening and super inflammatory, but it also contains a super drug that makes you crazy, hungry and addicted.
When processed by your digestion, the proteins in wheat are converted into shorter proteins, “polypeptides”, called “exorphins”. They are like the endorphins you get from a runner’s high and bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, making you high, and addicted just like a heroin addict.
These wheat polypeptides are absorbed into the bloodstream and get right across the blood brain barrier. They are called “gluteomorphins” after “gluten” and “morphine”.
These super drugs can cause multiple problems including schizophrenia and autism. But they also cause addictive eating behavior including cravings and bingeing. No one binges on broccoli, but they binge on cookies or cake.
Even more alarming is the fact that you can block these food cravings and addictive eating behaviors and reduce calorie intake by giving the same drug we use in the emergency room to block heroin or morphine in an overdose called naloxone. Binge eaters ate nearly 30% less food when given this drug.