It’s Not about the Gluten!

From the official Wheat Belly blog:

Earth to Jillian: It’s NOT about gluten!

Posted on April 30, 2013 by Dr. Davis


Jillian Michaels made a major nutritional boo boo with this recent piece of hers: MYTH: If You Want To Slim Down, Go Gluten-Free.

“Only about one percent of the American population needs to be gluten-free because of an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Most people do not have to worry about gluten and should eat whole grains as part of a balanced diet.”

She makes the perennial mistake of the nutritionally ignorant: She equates wheat with gluten. As followers of the Wheat Belly message all understand, wheat does NOT equal gluten.

Wheat is the perfect obesogen, a food perfectly crafted to cause weight gain. That’s because wheat contains:

Gliadin–Upon digestion, gliadin is reduced to a collection of 5 polypeptides, each 4 or 5 amino acids long, that bind to the opiate receptors of the brain. Unlike opiates such as morphine and heroin, gliadin-derived polypeptides don’t provide pain relief nor euphoria, but only stimulate appetite. The power of the effect varies, but 400 more calories intake per day is common. In people susceptible to binge eating disorder or bulimia, the effect can be much greater, even dominating habit and mind, triggering intake of 1000 or more calories per day.

Gliadin has another effect: increased small intestinal permeability. This is the effect that underlies the start of autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, but also leads to water retention, adding further to weight gain.

Amylopectin A–Amylopectin A is the “complex” carbohydrate unique to wheat that is highly digestible by the enzyme amylase in saliva and stomach secretions. Amylopectin A’s highly digestible nature is responsible for the sky-high blood sugars that result after, say, two slices of whole wheat bread that increases blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar. (Doubt this is true? Test it yourself with an inexpensive glucose meter by checking blood sugars 1-hour after consuming each test food.)

High blood sugar obliges high blood insulin: This is the effect that leads to insulin resistance, followed by growth of deep visceral fat in the abdomen, inflammatory fat that continues the vicious cycle of insulin resistance.

Gliadin and amylopectin A are the biggies in weight gain. There are two additional effects that likely add, though are on somewhat less solid scientific ground:

Wheat germ agglutinin–Experimental animal data suggest that the lectin of wheat, wheat germ agglutinin, has the capacity to bind to the leptin receptor, the hormone of satiety. This potentially adds to the appetite amplifying effect of wheat. It means that you eat without triggering the feeling of satisfaction, but want more.

Disruptions of bowel flora–Eat wheat and you disrupt bowel flora, encouraging the proliferation of undesirable species while suppressing proliferation of desirable species. The composition–number, species, location–of bowel flora is proving to be among the most underappreciated phenomena relevant to health. Remove wheat and bowel flora is permitted to return to a more normal profile (though many people require a probiotic to do so).

Note that nowhere do I mention “gluten.” Ms. Michael’s focus on gluten as the only undesirable component of wheat is like fingering the need for matches as the only unhealthy aspect of cigarette smoking. She did get one thing right: NOBODY should be eating gluten-free processed foods made with wheat replacements cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, or potato starch. The excessive glucose-insulin provocation; protein glycation that leads to hypertension, diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and dementia; as well as the awful taste of these products make them foods that deserve NO place on anyone’s shelves.

Hey, Jillian! Stick to what you do best: entertainment. Leave the real thinking to other people, else you say really dopey things.