October 22, 2013 - There has been a lot of talk about the dangers of wheat lately. A lot of it has been sparked by the book 'Wheat Belly" by William Davis, M.D. It has a lot of information that is presented in a very believable way.
Many experts are saying we are faced with an epidemic of gluten intolerance. There is a whole industry of gluten free products springing up. Many people are reading about gluten free lifestyles. Even if they aren't having the classic symptoms of gluten intolerance they are opting for this change in their lifestyle.
Other experts are saying that it isn't just the gluten we need to be aware of. One of the main health-harming culprits is found with wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), a category of lectins. Regardless if the wheat is soaked, sprouted or cooked, these compounds remain intact. Tiny and hard to digest, lectins can accumulate within the body and wreak havoc on physical and mental well-being. WGA is neurotoxic, crossing the blood brain barrier and attaching to the myelin sheath, consequentially inhibiting nerve growth - a serious consideration for those suffering from degenerative neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's. These and other aspects of wheat have also been linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The link between grains such as wheat and schizophrenia goes back over sixty years. During WWII grains were rationed, therefore people cut back on eating them. The documented incidence of schizophrenia dropped dramatically. Since then studies have shown that people with schizophrenia have a distinct chemical reaction when they eat grains. They just don't digest them the same way everyone else does. In addition to schizophrenia grains have also been linked to malaise, mania, addiction, and depression, among other neurological problems. The best way to tell is to get completely off grain products and see if the symptoms improve.
Many people are now saying that grains of all types contain anti-nutrients. One of these ant nutrients is phytic acid, which combines with magnesium, iron, copper, calcium and zinc in the intestinal tract when it's left untreated. This prevents the body from being able to absorb these nutrients. Therefore, consuming large amounts of our modernly prepared whole grains can cause the body to become mineral deficient.
Another scary link to grains is autism. No one is saying that grains are THE link to autism, but they are finding that if you take grains out of the diet of the autistic their 'symptoms' seem to improve. Autistic children tend to have a very narrow range of foods they will eat. If breads are on that list they may hesitate to take it away, fearing their child will starve. But, if doing away with the grain products decreases the child's autistic symptoms then in the long run they should be eating a wider variety of foods. This would in turn improve their overall health.
People with frequent headaches may also benefit from eliminating grains from their diets.
One of the more frightening diseases associated with grains is ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. This is a disease known by the white brain matter lesions. When patients known to have this disease were put on a grain free diet the symptoms of the disease diminished or vanished completely.
These are just the problems associated with conventionally grown and organically grown grains. You mix in genetically modified grains (and they are mixing in themselves in the fields) then you add a whole new depth of health problems associated with these foods. The safest way to eat would be to avoid grains all together.