5 Good Reasons To Give Up Wheat Even If You Don’t Have To

image: istock Getty images

image: istock Getty images

It’s taken me some time to get to a place where conventional wheat products are no longer a staple in my house.  But I am there. There are simply too many reasons NOT to eat wheat products.

The notion of wheat-free seemed at first to go against my grain. However, having worked in the processed food industry for many years,  I have long known that the processed food industry works to deliver the least expensive, fastest-produced, ultra-long lasting ‘belly-filler’ to our dining tables. And wheat products such as bread, pastries, cookies and breakfast cereals are no exception.

However,  it wasn’t until recently that I read the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and found out there were so many more reasons to avoid wheat than I had ever imagined. Some of these include:

1) ‘Franken Gluten’ When industry scientists created cheaper, high yield wheat, consumers got wheat with gluten proteins that mother nature had never intended. In fact the hybridization that created modern wheat, resulted in wheat gluten proteins undergoing considerable structural changes some of which are found in neither parent plant.  Scary. But compound this with the fact that tests confirming the affects of this franken-gluten on human health were never done. Super-scary.  Did any of us ask to be guinea pigs?

2) Diabetes. Modern wheat spikes blood sugar worse than does regular table sugar. The Glycemic Index was developed in the 1980’s by Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto (my alma mater). The higher the Glycemic Index foods cause a spike in blood sugar vs. low GI foods. Evidence is pointing to higher GI foods being linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Are you surprised to hear that whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than does table sugar? I was. This translates to ‘whole wheat bread raises blood sugar on a gram for gram basis the same or worse than does eating a candy bar or drinking a soda pop’. Higher blood sugar leads to the natural aftermath of low blood sugar. The body compensates with by wanting more food and you can easily overeat.

3) Heart Trouble. Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, confirms that wheat does trigger high blood sugar, increased visceral fat, and inflammation. As these are all contributing factors to diabetes, obesity, and inflammation.  And anyone of these issues, can go hand in hand with being seriously bad news for your heart.

4) Skin Afflictions. Wheat is to apparently to blame for advancing the telltale signs of time on our skin in the form of wrinkles and lost elasticity. And wheat is also linked to other skin problems, including psoriasis, and acne. And we thought chocolate and soda pop was solely responsible for the acne of our youth.

5) Osteoporosis. Wheat generates more sulphuric acidic when consumed than meat, apparently wreaking havoc on the acid/alkaline balance of the body.  Excess acid causes calcium to be drawn out of your bones. And where it used to be thought that osteoporosis was a problem of post-menopausal women due to lower estrogen levels, science now has evidence that calcium bone loss starts much earlier in life with a marked decline by age 40. And guess what is implicated..large quantities of wheat in our diets.

These are just some of the issues associated with wheat consumption that Wheat Belly outlines AND supports with scientific evidence. Of course everything in moderation but with wheat products being commonplace at breakfast, lunch and dinner, it becomes a potentially very serious problem. Who else thinks it’s time to re-think excessive wheat consumption?

Advertisements

Does Fast Food Make Sense in a Campaign to Have Kids Eat Healthier?

First Lady Michelle Obama orders a Subway sub during an event at a Subway restaurant to announce that Subway will work with the Partnership for a Healthier America to help advance the goals of "Let's Move!," in Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

First Lady Michelle Obama orders a Subway sub during an event at a Subway restaurant to announce that Subway will work with the Partnership for a Healthier America to help advance the goals of “Let’s Move!,” in Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

This week First Lady Michelle Obama took the next step in her Let’s Move! campaign.  This program was developed by the First Lady to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.  As a mom I admire Mrs. Obama’s initiative toward a very serious health issue but do find concern with her latest partner in the program toward getting kids to eat healthier; Subway Sandwich.

This week kicks off SUBWAY’s “Playtime, Powered by Veggies” marketing campaign which with Mrs. Obama’s endorsement and support will promote increased fruit and vegetable consumption. The campaign is designed to encourage kids to pile veggies on their Subway sandwiches and select fruit as their side of choice not chips. Additionally, SUBWAY agrees they will offer milk or water as a default beverage not soda pop. Nobody has said what happens if a child who goes into Subway must have a soda pop or chips and is shy with piling the veggies high? This past week, Mrs. Obama celebrated the move by hosting a group of children in a DC area Subway showing them the ‘healthy choices’ available on the subway menu. It is rumoured The First Lady ate a turkey sub showing her support for the ‘healthy fare’ at the fast food giant.

Increased consumption of fruits and veggies by children is a always good thing in my opinion.  In fact, a huge part of my day to day is cutting up apples, carrots, cucumber, peppers for my two daughters.  I see that veggies make it into every lunch box and most every dinner.  And fortunately my kids eat them raw, unadulterated, unprocessed, unpreserved and uncoloured.

When fruit and veggies are being promoted by a fast food chain they will undoubtedly be accompanied by synthetic colours and preservatives, there to help them get through ‘shelf life’. Not to mention they are accompaniments to a sandwich filled with highly processed meats and sauces. Who considers highly processed foods a healthy choice by simply adding some (preserved and/ or coloured) fruits and veggies with it? So I am stumped by this latest initiative of the Let’s Move! program.

A quick check of Subway’s ingredient list on their website gives detail of the oodles of additives included in their sandwiches.  So it is easy to see that by eating at Subway you will get a significant dose of not-so-good-for-you ingredients such as added sugars, salt, colours (ie tartrazine, caramel colour), nitrates, nitrites, carageenan, azodicarbonamide (oh my!) just to name a few.

So irregardless of Mrs. Obama’s seemingly well-intended endorsement of Subway as a way to eat healthier, I will still opt daily to have my kids eat fruits and veggies at home, taken out of the fridge then sliced AND without a side of any synthetic, processed fake foodstuffs. Now isn’t that the best way to promote healthier eating?