More on the problems with wheat

We haven’t talked much lately about the “yogi diet,” but I just saw a post at the appropriately named wheatbellyblog that breaks down the various problems with wheat.

The impetus? Apparently something written by Jillian Michaels. She is barely on my radar, so I can’t really say anything about her. Here’s the key thing, for me, from the wheatbellyblog post:

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.

The appetite stimulation is, for me, the most apparent “side effect” of eating wheat. I know I started eating less when we cut out wheat. It’s the one that makes me think the others might not just be in my head.

And, since I know so many Ashtanga practitioners love talking about their bowels, I’ll point out that there is a discussion of “bowel flora” at the post, as well. So enjoy that!

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

7 thoughts on “More on the problems with wheat”

  1. Wheat seems to be the culprit of the day. Why single out wheat when similar opioid receptor ligands are found in milk proteins, gluten, rice, albumin and hemoglobin (read constituents of meat), and a protein from spinach. Moreover, no bioactive effects have been demonstrated as yet upon oral or intragastric administration of these peptides or their precursor proteins.
    See for example:
    Teschemacher (2003) Current Pharmaceutical Design, 9: 1331-1344
    Abstract: During the last two decades a variety of food protein fragments has been demonstrated to elicit biological effects in various in vitro or in vivo test systems. A considerable part of these bioactive peptides are opioid receptor ligands , which may be regarded as exogenous supplements to the endogenous opioidergic systems of the human organism. Most of these foodderived opioid receptor ligands are fragments of the milk proteins alpha-, beta- or kappa-casein, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin or lactotransferrin; however, also wheat gluten, rice albumin, bovine serum albumin or hemoglobin, i.e. possible constituents of meat, and even a protein from spinach could be demonstrated to contain fragments behaving like opioid receptor ligands. Practically all of these compounds display opioid agonist activity; only very few of them behave like opioid antagonists. Bioactive food protein derivatives have been termed ” food hormones”, which implies that these compounds display their bioactivities when released from food constituents, i.e. from their precursor molecules due to the action of gastrointestinal enzymes. The critical point in case of food protein-derived opioid receptor ligands is that only a minority of their bioactive effects demonstrated as yet has been observed upon oral or intragastric administration of these peptides or their precursor proteins and that most of these studies have been performed in animals. Thus, in terms of “evidence-based dietary supplementation” more studies are needed to prove effects of food protein-derived opioid receptor ligands or their precursors after oral administration in humans and, moreover, to prove a benefit for the consumer’s organism.

    1. I’m no expert, but I would have thought that wheat gets singled out because it’s in practically everything! Governments, nutritionist and doctors all advocate “healthy whole grains” to combat the obesity problems. I have personally been advised to eat up to 6 serves a day. Yet, the best success I’ve had losing weight has been to remove them entirely. I’ve been asking everyone I can, but no one has been able to explain to me exactly WHY I should eat grains.

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