For the last 10,000 years wheat has been a staple part of our diet and today even more so. The problem with modern wheat is that it is very different from the wheat of pre-1950. Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis has written an excellent book called Wheat Belly and in it he describes this new wheat as 'Frankenwheat'.
He explains that since the Second World War wheat has gone through genetic modification to make it disease and drought resistant and to massively increase its yield. The modern wheat plant is half the height and produces a much higher yield than 'old' wheat. It contains more gluten and the gluten has a changed biochemical structure.
There is emerging research that genetic modification of wheat may be responsible for its effect on inflammation, the immune system, imbalanced hormones and weight gain.
Wheat contains a protein called gluten, which is what gives bread its elasticity. The more springy the bread, the more gluten it contains and many bread manufacturers add additional gluten to the flour. Gluten is extremely difficult for the human digestive system to break down and the longterm effect can mean health issues of the digestive system, anaemia, brain fog, depression and fatigue.
So is avoiding wheat better for your health?
Eating less wheat inevitably means eating less cakes, biscuits, bread and pasta which is good for insulin balance. All carbohydrates are converted to sugar in the body. Eating large amounts of wheat means the body produces more insulin in response in order to lower blood sugar. Any carbohydrate eaten to excess will be converted to fat by insulin and laid down in the body cells, causing weight gain, usually around the abdomen.
It is possible to have imbalanced insulin without being diabetic. The result is fluctuating blood sugar levels and the associated symptoms of food cravings, irritability and weight gain.
So in conclusion; reducing carbohydrates from wheat, reduces the production of the insulin hormone which in turn reduces the amount of fat stored.
So, What are the Alternatives to Wheat?
Going wheat free is much easier than it was 10 years ago as there is a much greater choice of wheat free foods. Here are some suggestions for wheat free foods:
Oatcakes: rice: millet: porridge: buckwheat pasta: quinoa: wheatfree pasta: corn pasta : brown rice noodles:
Spelt is an ancient species of wheat which contains gluten that is more easily digested than modern wheat. Many people who don't do well on ordinary wheat, find they can eat spelt bread and pasta.
If a food is labelled gluten free, then it is wheat free. A gluten free diet excludes all other forms of gluten in addition to wheat gluten, namely rye, barley and often oats, although unless you have a condition, such as Coeliac Disease, oats have a minimal gluten content. It is also possible to buy gluten free oats.