Foods based on wheat and its grains are all around us. We all love buns, pasta, bread and breakfast cereals. For many, the thought of removing these from their diet seems completely irrational, if not ridiculous. But a growing number of people are now removing wheat from their diet – and for a very good reason. As science is increasingly showing, eating wheat increases the likelihood of a very large number of health problems.
For example, some people, such as those with celiac disease, need to stay away from wheat. The problem is that their small intestine is not able to properly digest gluten, a protein found in grain.
What's the problem
Wheat is increasingly blamed for the appearance of various ailments, such as obesity, heart disease and a number of digestive problems, including the dramatic increase in celiac-like disorders.
So what’s going on? And why do everyone suddenly blame the wheat?
The answer, it seems, has to do with a whole malignancy that exists in foods based on grains of wheat. Wheat increases blood sugar levels, causes immune problems, inhibits the absorption of important minerals and worsens the functioning of our intestines.
And many of these problems come from the fact that wheat is simply not what it was a few hundred years ago when production habits were different.
In earlier times cereals were harvested. The ear stayed in the fields for several weeks. During this period of weather in the field, the grain seeds were exposed to rain and dew. The grain could get this moisture and, with the heat from the sun, the conditions were ideal to favour a degree of germination and multiplication of enzymes in the granule. Germination and fermentation of granules leads to many beneficial effects. It increases lysine, reduces antinutrients (such as phytic acid and lectins), enzyme inhibitors and makes nutrients more accessible.
Later the production of flour was made using all parts of the grain. The germ and bran remained so with the endosperm and this meant that the flour had a shelf life of six months to a year before it broke down.
But in the industrial age there was a need for mass production and a long service life.
It was discovered that the removal of the microbe (which is full of fatty acids) extended the lifespan of the flour indefinitely. This led to an obvious decrease in nutrient density and gave refined wheat the ability to increase blood sugar very quickly.
By the 1930s, nutrients were artificially added back to flour to replace those lost from the dehumidification and removal of bran. It was called flour enrichment (with iron, folic acids, B vitamins, and so on).
Then things evolved, as the bleaching process began to achieve different goals (e.g. crust or soft bread). Bleaching or ripening flour is achieved by adding chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, calcium peroxide (E930 on the label), etc. Each of these factors either increases or decreases protein and, therefore, gluten.
This is how you can find cake flour, plain flour, all-purpose flour, and bread flour on your grocery shelf. Each flour has a different percentage of protein with cake flour being the lowest with about 7 percent and bread flour the highest with about 13 percent. This means that modern wheat may contain new “foreign” gluten proteins that the human digestive system has not adapted to digest them easily.
Today the grain milling means threshing (removal of the bark) and then removal of the bran (outer layer of the berry) and the germ (reproductive seed) that leaves the endosperm (protective tissue around the seed). The endosperm is ground into the usable flour that we all know.
- Today wheat is difficult to digest since the way it is prepared is completely different from the older times.
- Now wheat is harmful and has no nutritional value. This means that we eat “empty food”, that is, food from which the body cannot really absorb some nutrients, and this is the main cause behind nutritional deficiency.
Flour contains a protein called gluten, which no one can digest properly. Because the human body does not have the appropriate enzymes to break it down. It all depends on how well our intestinal walls close after consuming gluten and how our immune system reacts to it. The protein of gluten, which is abundant in the endosperm of the barley, rye and wheat, triggers a reaction in our intestine.
In particular, gluten, unlike fruits, which are intended to be eaten, creates an immune response that increases intestinal permeability, thereby causing systemic inflammation in the immune system, which can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and so on. And this applies to people who do not already suffer from celiac disease (celiac)!
The difference is that in a normal and healthy person, the intestinal walls are closed back, the small intestine becomes normal again, and the peptides remain in the intestinal tract and are simply excreted before the immune system notices them. In a person who reacts to gluten, the walls remain open as long as there is a consumption of gluten.
The effects of gluten clearly differ from person to person. But unfortunately many have celiac disease and may not even know it.
- Gluten is a protein that many people do not have the necessary enzymes to digest.
Lectins and phytic acid
Lectins, which are a type of molecules, can be found in beans, cereal seeds, nuts and potatoes. And when they are consumed excessively or when they are not cooked properly, they can be harmful. Now, most lectins are actually quite benign, and in some cases can even be therapeutic. But the problem with some lectins, such as those found in whole grains, is that they increase inflammation and contribute to autoimmune disease and insulin resistance. They also facilitate the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
Phytic acid is also a problem, a compound found within nuts, grains and grains of wheat. Phytic acid can not be digested by humans. And worst of all, it is negatively associated with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron, because these minerals can not be properly absorbed after eating.
Consequently, any metals that could be absorbed by eating food are not metabolized well. Thus, phytic acid, in combination with gluten, make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, and this can lead to anaemia and osteoporosis.
- Flour contains other ingredients that are harmful to the body.
The myth of fibers
Finally, a common argument in favour of eating whole grains is that they provide the necessary fiber. Unfortunately, due to the processing of wheat, flour has very few fibers. We can get sufficient amounts of fiber simply by eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.
What to look out for
Many people are surprised to see how their whole body benefits from the simple avoidance of the following, especially inflammatory, grains:
Also pay attention to the labels, “Gluten-free” in the following products, because behind them are hidden many ingredients that cause diseases and / or weight gain.
- Corn flour
- Potato starch
- Rice starch
- Processed grain grains do not necessarily contain nutrients.
- Processed grains can have many side effects as production has changed significantly in the last two hundred years and are no longer sufficient sources of energy, but cause inflammation and high insulin levels.
After all this, I hope it is an easy decision that flour can have no place in our daily lives.