Wheat can also exacerbate symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and autism.
Modern wheat, during its digestion, generates peptides (combinations of amino acids) that mimic opioids (heroin and morphine are opioids) called gluteomorphins, which occupy the same receptors in the brain as heroin.2 Gluteomorphins are commonly found in the urine of children diagnosed with autism.
The effect of these gluteomorphins, created when you digest modern wheat, is that you want more. Wheat literally becomes addictive. Combined with the sugar load created by yeast-activated bakery products, and the subsequent blood sugar low, which stimulates appetite, modern wheat is literally an appetite stimulant. This is, of course, great news for the food industry and one of the reasons why wheat-eating nations have a big problem with ever-increasing belly fat.
I have had so many clients who have reported massive weight loss, and a cessation of abdominal bloating, by excluding modern wheat.
WHEAT PROMOTES INFLAMMATION
When you gain abdominal fat, visceral fat, it triggers part of the body’s inflammatory response mechanism. This, in turn, makes you both more likely to become intolerant or allergic and to develop inflammatory symptoms, the classics being headaches, eczema or dermatitis, asthma, irritable bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, rhinitis, arthritis – and just about any other ‘-itis’.
Although the general view is that gluten is the culprit, I am beginning to revise this simplistic opinion after a series of experiments that have been carried out on Kamut khorasan wheat.3 Technically, Kamut does contain gluten proteins and, as such, should promote inflammation; however, it doesn’t.
A series of well-conducted studies have shown that Kamut grain is not only anti-inflammatory but it also has a powerful antioxidant effect. In addition, although regular wheat causes atrophy (damage) to the villi in the digestive tract, the Kamut does not.
ANCIENT KAMUT BRAND WHEAT IS ANTI- INFLAMMATORY
I am starting to think that the main problem with wheat is not gluten or gliadin per se, but the fact that we are eating a food that is considerably different genetically and chemically to that which we may have become adapted to eat in reasonable quantities. The solution for wheat-intolerant people might not always be strict avoidance of wheat or other gluten or gliadin grains, but rather the avoidance of modern wheat.
Gluten is present in wheat, rye, barley and oats, although, as we have seen, oats contain no gliadin. Spelt is probably a less adulterated form of modern wheat, but it is quite different and genetically much more complex than the original ancient grain, such as Kamut. Spelt is a hexaploid wheat, as is modern wheat.
Kamut is higher than modern wheat in anti- oxidants and polyphenols, which are generally anti-inflammatory, as well as magnesium, potassium, selenium, iron, zinc and other important minerals. Kamut is only grown organically.
Although it is clear that many people react differently to ancient wheat than to modern wheat, for those with coeliac disease it is wise to avoid all gluten-containing grains and choose gluten-free grains instead, as shown below:
- Gluten-free grains
- Corn (maize)
- Gram (chickpea flour)
Often, as part of the digestive healing programme, it is wise to go on a no-wheat, low-gluten diet for a month. Fortunately, there are many wheat-free and gluten-free options to choose from in health-food shops and supermarkets these days:
- Breads: Cornbread, rice cakes, oatcakes
- Pasta: Buckwheat spaghetti, soba noodles (buckwheat), rice noodles, quinoa pasta, corn pasta, polenta (cornmeal)
- Cereals: Cornflakes, oatmeal, rice cereal, millet flakes.
If you do not have coeliac disease, however, it is well worth experimenting with Kamut khorasan breads, pastas and bulgar.
Generally speaking, to avoid the problems discussed:
- Don’t eat wheat every day; choose gluten-free, Kamut khorasan or low-gluten grains instead. Also choose wholegrain.
- When you eat breads, choose heavier, lower-gluten breads.
- Vary the grains you eat – have rye, oats, rice, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, corn.
- Limit grains to no more than a quarter of your total dietary intake.
- If you have a digestive problem or inflammatory bowel problem, investigate whether you are wheat- or gluten-sensitive with an IgG food intolerance test and a coeliac test to measure IgATT.