What is Gluten? What Are The Issues With Consuming Wheat?

What is Gluten? What Are The Issues With Consuming Wheat?

Does not everyone love to eat bread? Nothing, is better then the smell of a fresh loaf of bread baking in the oven. Who does not miss eating a good slice of pizza if you have given up gluten?

Occasionally, if your gastrointestinal system is in optimal shape, eating a slice of bread or pizza now and then might not hurt you.

But for a lot of people with gastrointestinal issues, continuous or even acute consumption of gluten does damage to their digestive tract.

But why?

Gluten is a binding protein that is found in wheat and other related grain species such as barley and rye. Gluten is what gives elasticity to dough and helps wheat products rise, keep shape, and is what gives wheat its chewy texture. 1 Gluten is the composite of two other proteins, gliadin and glutenin, which are eighty percent of the protein in wheat. Gluten is not destroyed by cooking or processing is present in all wheat products. 2

Gluten is in almost every meal the average American consumes. Make sure you always check nutrition and ingredient labels. If you eat out for your meals, check the restaurant’s ingredient list before dining. Gluten is found in bread; most cereals, cookies, muffins, pancakes, waffles, most fried foods are coated in wheat flour, pies, cakes, gravy, pizza, pasta, wheat flour tortillas, and other foods made with wheat flour. Remember, your food can be contaminated with gluten if it is fried in the same oil as food that contains gluten (like fries that are fried in the same oil that onion rings are fried in.) Gluten can even be added to food secretly, like McDonald’s French fries, where it is added as natural flavoring. Finally, gluten proteins are not destroyed by cooking, heating, or cooling in any food product. 3

Gluten Intolerance and celiac disease are becoming more prevalent all over the world because wheat was selectively bred in the 1960s to contain more gluten and gliadin. These new wheat plants were shorter and were quicker to harvest. The extra gluten and thicker gluten strands support higher grain yields. You can still purchase Einkorn Wheat (heirloom wheat) which has less gluten and gliadin than modern wheat. Einkorn Wheat tends to cause less of a reaction in your average person if they are sensitive to wheat (people with celiac disease still have to avoid it.) 4

Upon digestion, gliadin is reduced to a collection of five polypeptides, which bind to the opiate receptors of the brain. This makes eating wheat addictive. It also stimulates appetite and leads to wheat cravings. Gliadin also has been shown to increase small intestinal permeability leading to leaky gut syndrome. 5 Finally, giladin resembles closely some of the thyroid hormones in the body and may hinder optimal thyroid function and in some people cause hypothyroidism. 6

Glutenin has been shown to bind with the leptin receptor in your stomach causing hunger. This leads to less leptin being produced and circulating throughout the body. Leptin is the hormone of satiety, and it is what makes you feel full after eating a meal. Ingestion of glutenin makes you crave more food and often leads to overeating. 7

I know that you were taught to believe that whole wheat bread is better for you than standard white bread. The problem with whole wheat bread is that it contains more gluten and more amylopectin A which is the “complex” carbohydrate unique to wheat that is highly digestible by the enzyme amylase in your saliva and pancreatic secretions. Since amylopectin A is a carbohydrate that is easily digested, it causes elevated blood glucose levels. After eating, two slices of whole wheat bread, your blood glucose increases more than eating two tablespoons of sugar. 8

These are the issues I have with the everyday consumption of wheat for most people. Wheat is very hard to digest and effect the health of the whole body in some people that consume it.

  1. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/07/24/what-is-gluten-anyway
  2. Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Loose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Rodale, August 30, 2011.
  3. Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Loose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Rodale, August 30, 2011.
  4. Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Loose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Rodale, August 30, 2011.
  5. Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Loose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Rodale, August 30, 2011.
  6. http://chriskresser.com/the-gluten-thyroid-connection
  7. Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Loose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Rodale, August 30, 2011.
  8. Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Loose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, Rodale, August 30, 2011.
2 Comments
  1. Modern wheat was selectively bred to contain more gluten and giladin, this was confirmed true by the study. Therefore, any wheat association through ancient cultures (except maybe those who use Kamut), would be false since wheat is different.

    Is wheat bad for you? Probably. Can some people eat it and be fine, yes, but not optimal. It’s all personal preference.

  2. I´m not pro-gluten and have nothing against Dr.William Davis, however…
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0733521013000969

Leave a Reply