“Wheat can make you sick in more ways than you can imagine” – for many people this statement can be a tough pill to swallow.
The above statement invokes a natural question – How can it be bad? Our ancestors have been cultivating and eating wheat for centuries.
True. Our society is heavily dependent on wheat. India is the leading producer and consumer of wheat.
But today, as a society, can we boast to be as healthy and robust as our ancestors were?
Nowadays, diseases like diabetes, hypertension, thyroidism, different types of cancers, ulcers, gout are a common occurrence which was rare a few generations ago. All these diseases are not happening because of some new kind of infections or viruses. They are completely related to our eating habits and our lifestyle.
The points that I’ll be sharing in this article are not my opinion but hard scientific facts.
You may not like it but this information is important for you to know if you care about your health.
Take this information like bitter medicine – hard to swallow but necessary for healing.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. It’s for information purpose only.
Here are 7 side effects of wheat that make you fat and sick :
1. Wheat is not natural
India has a 5000-year-old history of growing wheat. But today’s wheat is a far cry from the original wheat that our ancestors used to grow.
After India’s independence in 1947, our country didn’t have enough grains to feed its population and had to import from other countries.
The green revolution of 1960 pulled India out of hunger. It introduced new and ‘improved’ seeds to increase our agricultural production. This was a necessity at the time. But the wheat that came during the green revolution was not the same as the original wheat.
The plant scientist, Norman Borlaug, created this new strain of wheat known as ‘Mexican Dwarf Wheat’. Presently, 87% of the wheat grown in India is a variation of this wheat.
“Modern wheat was created through repetitive hybridizations, mating wheat with non-wheat grasses to introduce new genes and through mutagenesis, the use of high-dose x-rays, gamma rays, and chemicals to induce mutation.” – William Davis (Wheat Belly Total Health)
Does this modern wheat sound natural to you?
2. Wheat can increase your belly fat
The modern wheat contains a super starch called ‘Amylopectin A’. It makes the glycemic index of wheat higher than sugar.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale to measure how rapidly any food will increase your blood glucose levels within 2 hours of eating it. High GI foods can increase blood glucose levels very quickly. – Not Good
Glycemic Index –
- Table Sugar – 65
- Wheat – 72
This means that 2 slices of whole wheat bread will raise your blood glucose levels more than 6 tablespoons of sugar.
This surge in blood glucose causes a rapid increase in insulin levels. Insulin is a powerful fat-storing hormone. The high levels of insulin will transport and store excess glucose into the fat cells. This is known as the glucose-insulin cycle.
If you eat wheat every day, you will keep this glucose-insulin cycle going.
Over time, this can lead to a significant increase in body fat, especially belly fat in males and hip and thigh fat in females.
3. Wheat makes you hungry
As discussed above, wheat causes a sharp rise in the blood sugar level. To clean-up the excess blood sugar, the body releases a large flux of insulin. The high insulin level does not just take the extra sugar but a whole lot more.
Within 90 – 120 minutes of eating, you will experience a sharp drop in blood sugar. This low blood sugar signals the body that it is low on energy and needs to replenish the lost sugar.
To increase your blood sugar, you will start craving high carb food.
Thus, within just 2-3 hours of eating wheat, you will start feeling hungry again and start looking for some snacks.
4. Wheat causes overeating
You start eating when you feel hungry and you stop eating when you feel full. Nothing complicated about that. But how do you know that you are full?
The answer is ‘Leptin’ hormone – also known as the satiety hormone.
When we have eaten sufficient calories, our body releases the ‘leptin’ hormone. This hormone signals the brain to stop eating as the body has got enough calories.
The wheat tricks your body into eating a lot more calories by blocking this satiety hormone from signalling the brain to stop eating.
A wheat protein called ‘lectin’ binds with this hormone thus hindering its signal pathway. Thus, it becomes very easy to overeat as the body does not give the signal to stop.
Think about this…
Which one will you tend to overeat –
A bowl of salad or a bowl of atta noodles?
A bowl of salad contains a lot fewer calories than a bowl of noodles.
5. 80% of the protein in wheat is harmful
You must have heard that protein is good for you, but not the one present in modern wheat. 80% of the protein present in wheat is ‘Gluten’, and it can cause serious health issues.
Many people are allergic to gluten. They may be suffering from gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, and sadly they don’t even realize it.
Do you feel recharged and energetic after eating lunch with 4-5 Rotis (Indian bread) or do you feel sleepy and bloated?
Gluten allergy can manifest in different forms.
People suffering from gluten sensitivity and intolerance can experience the following symptoms – bloating, constipation, unexplained weight gain, skin problem, feeling tired all the time and, joint and muscle pain.
Gluten can be detrimental for people suffering from celiac disease. It’s an autoimmune disease where eating gluten damages the small intestine of the person.
The scary thing is that only 5% of the celiac diseases are reported. That means out of 100 people, 95 are unaware that they are suffering from this condition.
Here are some stats –
- 60 to 80 lakh Indians are suffering from celiac disease. It still largely goes undiagnosed or under-reported. That means that the above number is just the tip of the iceberg. Way more people are unknowingly suffering from it.
- Another fact is that North Indians suffer from celiac disease way more than the South Indian population. Do you know what is the main difference between these two regions? South is a rice-eating population and North is dominantly dependent on wheat.
6. Wheat can worsen your thyroid problem
Anyone suffering from hypothyroid knows what struggle and frustration it is to lose weight. Even with a dedicated workout and diet, you see little to no results.
On top of that, the doctor suggests you lose some weight to keep your thyroid problem under control. It’s like adding insult to the injury.
But you are not alone, 4.2 crore Indians are suffering from it. In 90% of cases, it’s an autoimmune disease. It means that your immune cells are attacking your own thyroid gland.
Thyroid hormone has a very similar structure to the gluten present in wheat. When you eat wheat, gluten can enter your bloodstream. Your immune cells detect these harmful foreign objects and attack them. As your thyroid hormone has a similar structure as gluten, it suffers the wrath of this immune attack.
There is a powerful association between hypothyroidism and celiac disease. People suffering from hypothyroidism are more vulnerable to celiac disease, and people who have celiac disease have an increased chance of getting hypothyroidism.
Avoid wheat if you have hypothyroid or you are sensitive to gluten. Wheat for hypothyroid is only going to make a bad situation worse.
7. Wheat can make your diabetes worse
Diabetes is a disease where your blood sugar is not under control and you have to take medication to keep it in check. Common sense says, if high blood sugar is the problem, then it’s wise to avoid food that will increase your blood sugar level.
What do you think is more sensible?
Eating wheat and spiking your blood sugar. And then increasing the dosage of medication to get it under control.
Keeping the medication low by cutting back on the food that raises your blood sugar.
If you are fine with the first approach, then as the years go by your diabetes will get worse and worse. It’s always best to depend on yourself to control your diabetes than depending on the medication.
Conclusion – Why suffer the side effects of wheat
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates.
The above quote by the father of modern medicine – Hippocrates, explains the importance of food to prevent and cure diseases. Food creates a great impact on our health. Good food choices give us health and vitality while poor choices destroy it. Treat food as your medicine; otherwise, you will end up taking medicine as your food.
Now ask yourself, what will happen if you stop eating wheat?
Will your health suffer because of it?
Is there any particular nutrient (vitamins/minerals) that no other food can provide?
The answer to both the questions is No. In fact, the only thing that’s going to happen is an improvement in your health.
So, why do you want to continue eating it and suffer the side effects of wheat if it doesn’t have any particular benefit and so many potential ill effects?
It’s much better to switch to other food options that are less harmful like Rice, Jowar, Bajra, Oats, Quinoa.