Unbeknownst to you for quite some time, your health has been slowly sabotaged by a seemingly harmless and very common food item. The culprit is wheat. Did you just say wheat? Yes, wheat is not only not as healthy as you thought, but is it really bad? Unfortunately, once wheat is consumed (such as that innocent-looking bagel or wheat hidden in soup or ketchup), it can wreak havoc on your digestive system, causing bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, weight gain, depression, and diarrhea. Many people may wonder “What is the real cause of my ongoing health problems?” If you regularly eat wheat, toxins from wheat may be eroding your sense of wellness with a whole laundry list of symptoms.
Hidden Toxins in Wheat
Worldwide research has shown that wheat contains a collection of toxins that are really unfit for human consumption. What? Really? But wheat is everywhere – in your bread, your cereal, your enchiladas – how can it be that bad? Unfortunately, wheat’s inherent toxins can cause inflammation in the bowels and compromise your gastrointestinal health, even alter your microbiome, gut health, and create brain fog. Its negative effects are cumulative and can deplete your health over time without you suspecting anything.
So what are these wheat toxins that we should be aware of?
A Very Bad Guy: Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA)
Wheat contains a nasty protein called wheat germ agglutinin, which has been increased in wheat by wheat breeders to enhance the resistance of wheat to pests. Resistance to pests sounds like a good idea, but it comes with the high cost of WGA’s effects that can create so much intestinal distress in humans. WGA is now known to be a toxin that can directly cause problematic GI effects. Direct contact of WGA with your intestinal lining can slowly result in denuding the surface of your intestines, exposing the raw tissue beneath the lining (such as a scrape when you fall and skin your knee) leading to sensitive, bleeding tissue. This also makes it more difficult to absorb nutrients.
How Did You Get Gallstones?
WGA also blocks cholecystokinin (CKK), an intestinal hormone that signals the release of bile and also blocks enzymes that help your digestive system break down food. This blockage can lead to bile stasis, which causes gallstones to form over time. This terrible combination of bile and digestive disruption impairs nutrient absorption and causes unhealthy alterations in bowel flora, leading to life-altering GI problems. With this in mind, the thought of eating hummus on crackers (wheat) or a sandwich rollup in a chapatti (wheat) becomes downright unappetizing.
Wait! There’s More!
Whole wheat bread and seven-grain muffins might seem to contain an impressive profile of fiber and B vitamins. However, wheat also contains a form of phosphorus called phytates that can block absorption of nutrients, especially minerals. As ads often advise us to eat “healthy whole grains,” we are finding they are far from the healthiest way to start your day, since these phytates can bind to minerals and cause many deficiencies such as iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
Unfortunately, grain breeders have selected strains of wheat that contain greater phytate content to enhance pest resistance. Enhanced pest resistance sounds good until you realize that these greater phytate levels have ended up creating a vast range of nutrient deficiencies in people eating this hybridized wheat. As little as 50 mg. of phytates can reduce iron absorption by up to 90%, making iron unavailable for absorption. Whole wheat contains as much as 800 mg. of phytates per 100 grams of flour. Yikes! You’ll never look at wheat (even organic) the same way again.
What nutrient deficiencies can be caused by eating wheat?
Iron deficiency has been noted throughout history when early humans first started consuming seeds of grasses such as wheat, researched by anthropologists as they observed the deformities of bone marrow in humans that resulted from insufficient iron. Iron deficiency can worsen the ability of humans to run, hunt, gather food, and tolerate extreme weather. Over time, this iron deficiency led to the appearance of a specialized gene for hemochromatosis, carried by 8 percent of people of northern European descent, that acts to help improve iron absorption by partially counteract the effects of eating wheat (and its phytate content). Unfortunately, having this gene is not sufficient to fully counteract the impaired iron absorption caused by eating wheat.
In the past, zinc deficiency was thought to be rare. However, in those who eat wheat-dominated diets (such as the Standard American Diet), zinc deficiencies are a widespread occurrence. The phytates in just two ounces of wheat (such as one muffin) are sufficient to nearly block zinc absorption in the intestines. The more wheat that is consumed, the more likely it is that zinc deficiency develops. Zinc is essential for hundreds of body processes and its deficiency can cause a wide range of problems, including skin rashes, diarrhea, and hair loss. Obviously, being zinc deficient is no fun.
Plummeting Levels of Magnesium and Calcium
Phytates can also cause a blockage of magnesium and calcium absorption. But aren’t calcium and magnesium minerals essential for a healthy body? Yes, they are. That’s why regular consumption of wheat hits hard at your core nutrient levels. Modern water filtration also removes magnesium from our water supply, and poor farming practices can create crops with reduced magnesium content as well, leading to widespread mineral deficiencies. Calcium metabolism can also be disrupted by eating wheat which can bind calcium in the intestines and make it unavailable. These deficiencies leave the door open for health problems to arrive, such as heart disease, migraines, and bone thinning.
The Real Bottom Line
Although many ads try to convince you that whole wheat and wheat-containing products are “healthy” and even “good” for you, these foods are now known to cause a whole variety of gastrointestinal distress and many other health problems, including weight gain and obesity.
To keep your gut happy and healthy, it’s best to eliminate wheat (including organic) and all wheat-containing foods in your pantry. Yes, it can be quite a challenge – but well worth the satisfaction when you realize your bloating is gone and your waistline is shrinking. Our advice: Take a pass on that dinner roll just served to you at a restaurant. Your gut will smile.