The few of you who have chosen to undertake our very first challenge by going wheat-free, certainly deserve a pat on the back. Considering wheat is ubiquitous and in almost all packaged, processed foods, fully eliminating wheat from one’s diet is no easy task. Amidst the multitude of wheat-free recipes and wheat-free tips, here’s a short blog to get you thinking a little more about wheat and it’s effects on weight gain!
Gluten, a protein component of many grains (in particular, wheat) if consumed by a sufferer of Celiac’s disease, will result in obvious repercussions. However, gluten has now been shown to possibly contribute to a whole slew of health problems ranging from autoimmune diseases to digestive problems and neurological issues.
In a recent study, mice were fed a gluten-containing diet vs no gluten at all. What was found in the gluten-free group was a reduction in body weight and adiposity (body fat), better blood-sugar balance, as well as a decrease in inflammatory markers commonly associated with many diseases. A similar finding in grain-fed vs grass-fed cattle has been reported where the grain-fed cattle are noticeably heavier than their grass-fed counterparts.
Wheat lectins, protein components in wheat, are basically the plant’s natural immunity much like how we have antibodies and white blood cells to fight off bacteria, viruses etc. The problem is, these wheat lectins are incredibly hard to degrade and destroy despite methods like fermentation, sprouting or cooking.
What’s worse is the selective breeding, hybridization, genetic modification of these grains which has severely altered their natural structure. These grain proteins possibly disrupt and alter our human metabolism and gene expression. After all, food is a source of information, interacting with our bodies in ways which science has not been able to fully grasp.
What we see now are the symptoms of disease. A poor diet and lifestyle aside, could wheat and gluten be partly responsible for the obesity epidemic in North America? For more information, be sure to check out ‘Wheat Belly‘ written by a cardioloigst, Dr William Davis, M.D.
Gluten-free diet reduces adiposity, inflammation and insulin resistance associated with the induction of PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma expression. J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Dec 17. Epub 2012 Dec 17. PMID: 23253599
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