THE DARK SIDE OF WHEAT

I am returning to the topic of the insidious role of wheat for many people because of some fascinating new information that further corroborates the negative side of wheat consumption for human health.

In a way, I was lucky at thirteen to have experience a period of severe ill health where I lacked energy, had serious skin problems, and felt emotionally unstable.  In fact, at one point I thought that if this is what life was all about, it sure was not much fun.  I felt horrible body and soul.  Until my mother figured out that I had hypoglycemia, and I changed my diet and undertook a mega vitamin regime.

I can still recall being told to give up not only sugar but also all wheat products.  I was a bread-aholic.  I could go through a loaf of bread a day.  It was hard to stop eating wheat, but within one to two days I felt so much better I knew it was well worth it.  In fact, within a week of not eating any bread or wheat products I almost was back to “normal.”

That was many years ago.  And while I have gradually relaxed some of my dietary restrictions, I still find that every time I eat bread or any wheat product I feel awful afterwards.  It is a groggy, fuzzy, dull and tired feeling that can take hours for me to get through.

In the last few years, more and more people seem to be finding that they do not feel good eating wheat.  And there are more and more food items being sold that are gluten free.

But I have always have had the hunch that, at least for my body, the problem I have digesting wheat has nothing to do with gluten.  In fact, when I read the symptoms of celiac disease, none of them resonate with me.  So it has always been a bit of a mystery why wheat and I just don’t seem to get along.

Until the other day, when a friend emailed me a fascinating article titled “The Dark Side of Wheat,” by Sayer Ji.  The article begins as follows, “Now that celiac disease has been allowed official entry into the pantheon of established medical conditions, and gluten intolerance is no longer entirely a fringe concept, the time has come to draw attention to the powerful little chemical in wheat known as ‘wheat germ agglutinin’ (WGA) which is largely responsible for many of wheat’s pervasive, and difficult to diagnose, ill effect.  Not only does WGA throw a monkey wrench into our assumptions about the primary cause of wheat intolerance, but due to the fact that WGA is found in highest concentrations in “whole wheat,” it also pulls the rug out from under of the health food industry’s favorite poster children.”

The author explains that WGA is the lectin in wheat that, as in all grains, are the plant’s “protection” mechanism.  However, due to the nature of the modern wheat seed created over thousands of years of selective wheat breeding by man to produce more protein, the wheat lectin has increased proportionally.  Nowadays, wheat is very complex, with six distinct sets of chromosomes that can product over 23,000 unique proteins.

WGA can have various effects upon our body, especially if we are experiencing any kind of infection or have a comprised immune system. To begin with, WGA stimulates the synthesis of pro-inflammatory chemical messengers.  WGA is rats induces thymus atrophy and may be both immunotoxic and neurotoxic for humans.   If this is not enough, WGA is thought to disrupt the endocrine function, and has been implicated in obesity and insulin resistance.  It can also adversely affect the gastrointestinal function.

As I read this article, I found scientific evidence that finally explains what my own body has been telling me for decades –that eating wheat is not good for my health.

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