The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Adverse health effects of wheat?

field of wheat being harvested by huge machinary

One interview hearing Dr William Davis talking about his new book "Wheat Belly" is all it took to convince me food with wheat in it is not worth the adverse health effects.

The guy makes his point in an easy to understand fashion and comes from years of experience as a cardiologist.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Image credit goes to a nameless employee working for the USDA back in 2004 during the normal course of his or her duties.
Comment by mark Sun Dec 18 14:49:57 2011

Watch the news enough and you're going to hear another doctor who has determined that some food source is responsible for causing harm in some form to our body. I am not a PhD, but my gut feeling here is that our obese nation with poor health has a lot to do with our level or activity, or lack thereof, and overall diet.

If I were to sit inside all day at work and at home, and eat a diet comprised primarily of a few items my chances of being over weight and being in poor health.

My plan is to eat sensibly, stay active and ENJOY life.

Comment by Heath Sun Dec 18 16:35:31 2011
I haven't listened to this particular take on the issue, but I'm pretty sold on grains in general needing to be minimized in our diets. I don't think I'd particularly vilify wheat over the others (if I had to pick the worst one, it might be corn just because it's so ubiquitous and even lower in protein than many others.) But grains seem to push our carb/protein ratios out of whack while not providing nearly as many vitamins and minerals as vegetables (which is what we usually replace them with.)
Comment by anna Sun Dec 18 18:24:43 2011
Thanks for the lead on this book and the work the good Doctor is doing. The statistic found in other literature that 1 in 133 have celiac disease is alarming and the culprit wheat and its modification logically lead to these conclusions. 1 in 133.... that is an epidemic and no one is doing anything about it.
Comment by Rosann Sun Dec 18 19:49:15 2011
While I think limiting carb intake, particularly grains, is sensible nutrition, I feel dirty after looking at that youtube link for a minute...just looks like some "Amazing Discoveries" level infomercial quackery. I'm not saying the information is wrong (didn't watch it) but presentation counts, and that link is skeevy.
Comment by Mike Sun Dec 18 23:34:54 2011

In its ever, and constant need to be repeated: All things in moderation! With that in mind, all those horrid foods about, shouldn't cause to much harm........

Today, it is unfortunately, very hard(impossible(?)to not be bombarded by "Experts", and all of their declarations of how healthy or deadly, everything we eat or do is.

Take it all with a grain of salt, O wait, maybe not......;) In the mean time, tell everyone you love, to get off their donkeys, and go start gardening!(<- I'm more inclined to throw wheat berries at the fact, that most people today are more than only willing to move the inch it takes to see what Kim K. and Lady Gaga are up to, Its all they're doing..........

Comment by T Mon Dec 19 01:47:42 2011

What are your feelings on other grains and cereals? I'm pretty sure we've been eating barley for tens of thousands of years... I'm thinking a variety of various grains, with a reduction in processed foods like white bread isn't so bad... but I don't really have much knowledge on the subject. I just ate a bowl of red lentils and some homemade naan made with unbleached flour. IMO, as long as I don't eat the naan every day, it's a healthy meal. shrug

What's your opinion on the most healthy grains in this list?

Wheat Barley Millet Oats Amaranth Quinoa Buckwheat

Comment by Shannon Mon Dec 19 02:01:58 2011

I only listened to the opening comments & heard so much BS, I didn't go any further. It's true we eat too many carbs. It makes no difference if it's wheat or otherwise. Celiac disease is much more common than most think and its prevalence goes up with aging, but that's a specific problem, not the general problem of too many carbs. And it's carbs, not the gliadin, that stimulates appetite. You know what they say about Chinese food. It's all carb and no gliadin.

Obesity is directly related to the action of insulin: it promotes lipogenesis & prevents lipolysis. This is why the Adkins diet really works for weight loss.

I've calculated that a diet of rice, beans & corn (all needed to provide the essential amino acids) would require an intake of ~6000 cal per day to provide 60gm of protein, a bare minimum for a healthy adult not working/excercising very vigorously. The same 60gm could be provided by 500cal worth of beef. In general, it takes ~10 cal per day to maintain each lb of body weight, so 6000c/d would push you up to a weight of 600lb, just to put that in perspective.

Your mother was right: eat a balanced diet.

ps/ I'm also tired of hearing how great "whole grain" is. True, most of the protein and vitamins are in the bran, removed in making white flour, but that amount is so small that it's useless anyways. Eat meat for protein, greens & citrus for vitamins and just use carbs if you want more cavities.

Comment by doc Mon Dec 19 06:23:03 2011

Sounds like you all have covered the waterfront pretty well. Just a couple of specific comments:

T --- Mark didn't say it in his post, but moderation is the decision we've come to as well. Because there are some very bad for you foods we love (brownies... :-) ). We've mostly been taking grains out of our meals, though, so we can have room for them now and then in desserts.

Shannon --- My take on other grains is about what Doc said below --- they're all nutritional filler.

Doc --- Thanks for the great comment! I have a tendency to agree with you about whole wheat, but I feel like a heretic saying it. :-) Glad you did it for me....

Comment by anna Mon Dec 19 08:01:47 2011
I think this doctor is right on. I did not hear any infomercials or BS whatsoever. It's no secret that people have been brainwashed for years to eat a low-fat diet and obesity has become an epidemic since then. There is a great deal of evidence that specific carbohydrates (i.e. grains, white sugar, corn and other starches) affect your gut negatively (not everyone, but a lot of people) and that this in turn can also affect you psychologically. Read, "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" to learn about this. People with autism have also been helped trememdously with diets without these elements. It's also nice to see a doctor who actually has done his research regarding high cholesterol, heart disease, statin drugs, etc. What a sham that has been for years. I find most people, even when presented with the facts and evidence, will find it takes too much work for them and therefore decide it's not true. I think it's called rationalizing. Thanks for the excellent link.
Comment by Heather Tue Dec 20 16:43:58 2011

Heather-Thanks for pointing out that there was no info-mercial or B.S. involved in the Dr Davis interview. Youtube can sometimes look a little less than perfect, but this information is new and like all new information needs to be scrutinized and driven around the block.

I think the issue is more relevant for those who have high sugar levels and are at risk of developing diabetes or similar health issues. It's easy enough to try....just delete all wheat for a few weeks and see if it helps you feel any better.

There's another recent interview with Dr. Davis that covers some additional items at Gnostic that I thought was informative and well done.

Comment by mark Tue Dec 20 18:55:08 2011

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