There is no doubt that when it comes to affecting your physiology and creating a cascade of health problems for individuals, grains is the number one offender. Let’s be clear that the grains and grain products like pizza, bread, bagels, cereal, etc. that are produced today are nowhere near what was harvested and consumed over 2000 years ago. There were two major events that changed the course and quality of wheat that you eat today. The first was the Industrial milling in the 1870s which was the advent of white flour and the birth of the processed food industry. You could now separate the component parts, allowing the purest and finest of white flour to be easily produced at low cost, so every class of person could afford the new flour. Beyond being cheap and wildly popular, this new type of flour shipped and stored better, allowing for a long distribution chain. In fact, it kept almost indefinitely. So how about nutrient value? This excerpt from Wikipedia says it well: “From a human nutrition standpoint, it is ironic that wheat milling methods to produce white flour eliminate those portions of the wheat kernel (bran, germ, shorts, and red dog mill streams) that are richest in proteins, vitamins, lipids and minerals.” 15
The second major shift occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. Let’s call it the Green Revolution. For 10,000 plus years, we cultivated wheat, stored it, milled it and consumed it. It was a very calculated and practical process. The system worked and it nourished civilization with beneficial sources of sustenance. This all changed in the industrial era where we invented mechanical technologies to turn wheat into barren white flour. That was followed by introducing chemical and genetic technologies (GMO) to make it resistant to pests and drought while at the same time making it easier to harvest. The final negative intervention was figuring out how to increase glutens for better texture, appearance and to hold the wheat together. If you break the word gluten down, it stands for glue. From the modified seeds grown in poor soil, washed with chemicals and devoid of all nutrient value, the breads and grains we eat today are almost unrecognizable by the body. Your body was not meant to digest the grains and its variants that are sold today.
So what really is the problem with the breads, pastas, pizzas, bagels, cereals, etc? It is not just gluten, rather the opioids and amylopectin A. Let’s define what gluten is and where it can be found. “Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. “ 16 Most people think that gluten is only a problem for people who suffer from Celiac Disease (Celiac disease is an immune disorder in which people cannot tolerate gluten because it damages the inner lining of their small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients) or are gluten sensitive. Gluten sensitivity is harder to define but typically patients of mine experience symptoms such as brain fog, depression, mood disorders, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, headaches, malaise, and chronic fatigue when they have gluten. The difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is that gluten sensitive clients do not experience the small intestine damage or develop the auto-immune response where your body attacks your tissue (tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies). Another issue with eating gluten containing products is that even people without celiac or a sensitivity do not digest gluten properly. The structure of the gluten protein is not easily broken down or absorbed by the human body.
The second issue with the pizzas, bagels, bread, etc. are the chemicals within them that bind to opioid receptors in the nervous system. The peptides found in wheat are so powerful and addictive that they have been compared to heroin and other drugs. Described below is the structure of two of the most prominent food opiates that have had their amino acid structure slightly altered over time. “These “food opiates” are heavily concentrated in wheat and dairy products, especially cow’s milk. Wheat contains the following opioid peptides, known as gluten exorphins, alongside which are listed their amino acid structure:
- Gluten exorphin A5: H-Gly-Tyr-Tyr-Pro-Thr-OH
- Gluten exorphin B4: H-Tyr-Gly-Gly-Trp-OH
- Gluten exorphin B5: H-Tyr-Gly-Gly-Trp-Leu-OH
- Gluten exorphin C: H-Tyr-Pro-Ile-Ser-Leu-OH
- Gliadorphin: Tyr-Pro-Gln-Pro-Gln-Pro-Phe
Cow’s milk, depending on the milk variety (A1 or A2), contain a variety of combinations of the following casomorphin peptides:
- β-casomorphin 1-3: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-OH
- Bovine β-casomorphin 1-4: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-OH
- Bovine β-casomorphin 1-4, amide: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-NH2
- Bovine β-casomorphin 5: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-Gly-OH
- Bovine β-casomorphin 7: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-Gly-Pro-Ile-OH
- Bovine β-casomorphin 8: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-Gly-Pro-Ile-Pro-OH” 17
Dr. William Davis who is also the best-selling author of Wheat Belly says “the peptides in gliadin, the enzyme in wheat, mimic an opiate in the brain. The same way a drug addict needs another hit, wheat stimulates the appetite in an insatiable manner. They tend to stimulate appetite for junk carbohydrates. All compounded by this gliadin opiate affect.” 18 Another reference is made by gluten expert Dr. Tom O’Bryan. “No one on the planet is eating the same wheat Jesus Christ ate. Modern wheat today has 42 chromosomes, Emmer wheat in the Bible had 28 chromosomes, Einkhorn wheat which preceded Emmer had 14 chromosomes. Before we ate the seeds of grasses tooth decay was virtually unknown. “ 19 As you can see, the gluten and opioid effect on the human body is profound and a major reason why so many people feel the symptoms they do when consuming this food.
The third and final point when dealing with grains is the starch structure of wheat also called amylopectin A. This A structure is easily broken down by enzymes into glucose which elicits a higher glycemic index response. This spike in sugar in the blood is followed by insulin being released as described earlier in the book. The point I want to clearly articulate with grains is that they are not the beneficial food you have been led to believe they are. They will do much more harm to your body than good. In my experience, most people are simply unware of the research and data that we have provided above.