Today's golden wheat fields differ from those cultivated by our ancestors. In the Huffington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman calls the modern grain "FrankenWheat," a crop scientifically engineered over the past 50 years to contain what Hyman labels a Super Starch, a Super Gluten and a Super Drug.
Genetic manipulation and hybridization have led to the creation of "dwarf wheat," Hyman explains. Designed to curb world hunger, these shorter, stubbier and higher yielding wheat plants are loaded with starch and gluten. The man who engineered the crop even won a Nobel Prize. But the invention was a double-edged sword. While it put food in the mouths of millions starving around the world, it also triggered obesity and a host of other diseases.
Now, eating two slices of whole wheat bread will spike your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of sugar, Hyman says.
One reason: dwarf wheat contains excessive levels of the super starch amylopectin A. "This is how we get big fluffy Wonder Bread and Cinnabons," Hyman writes.
Whole wheat and white flour are now health-wise equivalents. "The biggest scam perpetrated on the unsuspecting public is the inclusion of 'whole grains' in many processed foods full of sugar and wheat, giving the food a virtuous glow."
Eating this sugar-heavy wheat causes inflammation and the storage of belly fat—health risks for obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes, Hyman warns.
The Super Gluten
Dwarf wheat also contains super gluten—a chemical likely to set off body-wide inflammation. Eating too much can also lead to obesity and diabetes. (And eating too many wheat-based products is easy to do—read on about the addictive Super Drug.)
Is there any rationale behind the gluten-free movement for those who do not suffer from the autoimmune disorder celiac disease (an intolerance to gluten)? According to Hyman there is.
Gluten, he says, is the "sticky protein in wheat that holds bread together and makes it rise." With double the chromosomes (28) of pre-genetically modified wheat, it is increasingly likely to trigger inflammation and celiac disease, which incites insulin resistance. Thus, it can cause weight gain and diabetes, in addition to more than 55 conditions including autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, cancer, depression, osteoporosis and more.
According to the blog FitSugar.com, a gluten-free diet is famously responsible for helping supermodel Heidi Klum slim down post-baby. Celebrity trainer David Kirsch also calls the substance "awfully bloating."
Read about numerous other patients who shed weight by adopting a wheat- and gluten-free lifestyle.
The Super Drug
Eating wheat sparks hunger and causes addiction, Hyman says. This is because the food product is formulated with a "Super Drug" or proteins that, when digested in the body, create a drug-induced high.
“National Institutes of Health researchers showed that gluten-derived polypeptides can cross into the brain and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors,” Dr. William Davis, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based preventive cardiologist and author of the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, told the Canadian weekly Maclean’s. “So you get this mild euphoria after eating a product made with whole wheat."
According to Hyman, these super drugs solicit an addictive response, often including cravings and binge-eating. "No one binges on broccoli, but they binge on cookies or cake."
Hyman validates his point by noting that naloxone, the drug administered in the emergency room to block a heroin or morphine overdose, can also reduce food addiction. "Binge eaters ate nearly 30 percent less food when given this drug," he said.