What Is Gluten?
Gluten refers to the proteins found in a cereal grain’s endosperm. The endosperm is the tissue produced inside seeds that is ground to make flour. Gluten both nourishes plant embryos during germination and later affects the elasticity of dough, which in turn affects the chewiness of baked products. It is actually composed of two different proteins: gliadin (a prolamin protein) and glutenin (a glutelin protein). “True gluten” is sometimes defined as being specific to wheat, but gluten is also found in barley, rye and triticale which is a cross between wheat and rye.
Reactions To Gluten?
Because we are all unique, gluten does not affect everyone the same. Those who are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant, produce an abnormal immune response when breaking down gluten during digestion. Reactions can result in skin, respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms.
Those with celiac disease trigger an immune response that damages their intestines, preventing them from absorbing vital nutrients when they consume gluten. In addition, gluten can increase reactions such as arthritis, acid reflux, or schizophrenia. These conditions can be either caused or made worse by wheat.
Gluten Is Addictive
Wheat does not make us high like heroine, morphine, or Oxycontin. When consuming gluten the opiate-like compounds bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Instead of feeling ‘high’ we feel hungry and become flooded with ‘happy’ hormones.
This is caused by gliadin, the protein in wheat that was inadvertently altered by geneticists in the 1970s during efforts to increase yield. By altering amino acids and gliadin in modern high-yield semidwarf wheat, it became a potent appetite stimulant. Gluten addiction can be very confusing for those who grew up on wheat before 1970 because modern wheat is cultivated differently.Gluten is addictive in the sense that: It dominates our thoughts and behaviors.
If you don’t have any for several hours, you start to get nervous, foggy, tremulous, and start desperately seeking another “hit” of crackers, bagels, or bread, even if it’s the few 3-month old stale crackers at the bottom of the box. There is a distinct withdrawal syndrome characterized by overwhelming fatigue, mental “fog,” inability to exercise, even depression that lasts several days, occasionally several weeks. The withdrawal process can be provoked by administering an opiate-blocking drug (naloxone or naltrexone). This is used by doctors to treat those with obesity and reduce appetite.
Wheat & Gluten Stimulates Your Appetite
Ever wonder why restaurants supply you with bread at a restaurant? Their goal is to increase your appetite so you will purchase more to eat. Just in case that was not enough, you are also offered alcohol, which is usually another form of gluten designed to relax you while also increasing your desire to eat more. Wheat stimulates calorie consumption by 440 calories/day, for every man, woman, and child. 440 calories per person per day is the average. It may not seem like much, but scale that over 1-year and you have eaten an extra 160,600 calories.
Many of these people are actually trying very hard to control impulse, appetite, portion control, and weight, but are losing the battle with this appetite-stimulating opiate in wheat. You may eat a ‘wellbalanced diet’, settle for smaller portions, and increase exercise, while continuing to gain weight. Ask your friends and neighbours who try to include more “healthy whole grains” in their diet. Did they gain 10, 20, 30, 70 lb. over the past several years? You can accuse your friends of drinking too much Coca Cola, or being gluttonous at the all-you-can-eat buffet but you may have better luck accusing them of their gluten consumption.
The Food Industry Profits From Gluten Free
The food industry has created many products designed to substitute for losses like bread. This has only confused the issue as people are giving up wheat and reaching to replace it with something else called “gluten-free”, which usually contains a long-ingredient list that includes sugar and preservatives. The reaction may not be the same as opiates however the thrill of having a substitute can cause us to over indulge and remain in a vicious cycle. We are also encouraged to consume 6-8 servings of grain products per day by the Canada Food Guide.
Other Harmful Effects Not Previously Mentioned:
- Intestinal disruption and leakiness generated by wheat lectins
- High blood sugars and insulin of the amylopectin of wheat
- New allergies being generated by alpha amylases found in modern wheat