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I came across SLD last weekend on the Freakonomics site. I decided to try it and WOW. I have never known anything like the AS effect I get from 2 x 20ml canola oil (known as rapeseed oil in the UK). I've tried various prescription drugs and non-prescription supplements for AS in the past - nothing comes close to this. I can turn down junk food even when it's literally handed to me on a plate - for me that is HUGE. -- sld uk

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Author Topic: How toxic is wheat?  (Read 15785 times)

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Pip

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How toxic is wheat?
« on: March 11, 2010, 10:01:22 am »

A review of some studies on wheat:

http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-toxic-is-wheat-well-first-point-is.html

[edit]
I'm adding a short summary of the article here that I wrote down below:

In the post Peter points to various studies that show that Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) mimics insulin and enhances the rate of glucose transport.

My interpretation =  if you are trying to lose weight by stabilizing/reducing insulin levels, then eating wheat, especially whole wheat, may be counter-productive.


WGA was shown to increase the permeability of cells lining the intestines.

Intestinal Permeability is a bad thing because it allows molecules that shouldn't cross the intestinal lining to do so, provoking an immune response and inflammation.

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/healthconditionsdisease/a/TestLeakyGut.htm

So far as I can tell there are no studies that disprove WGAs ability to increase the permeability of intestinal cells or mimic insulin.

In fact, WGA is so good at binding to cells and enhancing insulin absorption in the gut, that scientists are considering using it as a delivery system for oral insulin. Good news for diabetics perhaps, but not necessary for the rest of us.

These factors are why I think that if someone is having trouble losing weight, having GI or autoimmune problems, eliminating wheat from your diet is very worthwhile to try.

So, yes, there may be other very problematic substances out there, but the risk/reward profile of wheat is poor in my opinion. On it's own, wheat flour does not provide any nutrients that one can't get elsewhere.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 02:42:03 pm by Pip »
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An Alchemist

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 05:48:41 pm »

Probably not too toxic, considering how long people have been eating it. Mostly without trouble until celiac disease became better known and people started to self-diagnose.

I'm more worried about heavy metals in fish, hormones in meat and dairy, and e coli from farmers spreading liquid manure on their fields as 'fertilizer'. Can't forget the negative impact the liquid manure has on groundwater too.
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nougat

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 09:43:58 am »

alchemist you are right - those are all things to worry about.

true we have been eating wheat for a long time but why is diabetes on the rise??  and obesity?? and heart disease??   but these illness have continued to rise even after the hi-carb lo-fat brainwashing.  could it possibly be the result of our huge consumption of wheat ? 
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Pip

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 10:36:31 am »

Dr. Harris wrote a really informative article on cereal grains today. He talks about fats in relation to cereal grains, as well.

This is really worth reading.

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2010/3/12/the-argument-against-cereal-grains-ii.html

(edit) Seriously. Read this.

(edit) I'm going to quote the most critical bit of info:

"Excess PUFA can cause damage to the liver, may damage gut integrity and contribute to leaky gut with all of those consequences, and may contribute either directly or via activation of inflammatory cytokines to atherosclerosis with resulting coronary artery disease and strokes.

So you really have two reasons to keep total PUFA low:

1)   Total PUFA of any kind is bad. The EM2 is less than 4%

2)   You need to keep your dietary intake in the range of the EM2, which is around a ratio of 1:2 to 4:1 of n-6:n-3.

If you try to accomplish #2 via megadoses of fish oil to balance eating “healthy oils” like flax and even olive, to get to a 4:1 ratio you will be consuming well over 10% of calories as PUFA, which totally blows out goal #1. We want less than 4%. Hence we first eat ruminants and fish, favor ghee butter coconut and cream as sources of fat, go easy on the nuts, and never eat or cook with extracted plant oils other than coconut.

Ever.

Don’t cook with non-coconut plant oils, don’t eat fried food in restaurants and don’t eat “food” that comes in a box. Ever.

It is better to eat potatoes, corn and white rice than vegetable oil."

EM2 is Dr. Harris' shorthand for "evolutionary metabolic milieu" - i.e. the energy sources human beings evolved on. PUFA is polyunsaturated fat.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 11:59:13 am by Pip »
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An Alchemist

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 05:16:53 pm »

alchemist you are right - those are all things to worry about.

true we have been eating wheat for a long time but why is diabetes on the rise??  and obesity?? and heart disease??   but these illness have continued to rise even after the hi-carb lo-fat brainwashing.  could it possibly be the result of our huge consumption of wheat ? 

So many causes, not a single one. But inactivity and increased consumption do pop to the front of the line. We're not an overly enthusiastic crowd 'bout manual labour or movement and all about automation. Pop a pill and it'll all be fine. Stick a band aid on it and all...

It's way too simple to blame a single food.
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nougat

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 10:03:39 pm »

true but why are we so ready to defend it at all costs?  blame everything else except good old wheat!

pip  i will read your link later but i suspect its going to be way too scientific for me!
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Pinkmug

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2010, 04:08:00 am »

An Alchemist I agree with you totally! Anyway I don't think wheat is to blame, but face it, bread is still a non-expensive food - and very filling - and so it becomes a staple for many many families. Economy rules!!

Nougat I think if we treated bread like we do an exotic expensive steak or fish or delicacy, like caviar, i.e eat a bit very mindfully, to retain its flavor with the least possible quantity, there wouldn't be so much wheat sensitivity around.
I'm still not convinced that wheat is the devil food, at least not for the majority of the pop.

Pip before I read you article I already have doubts. You say megadoses of fish oil to balance eating “healthy oils” like flax and even olive, to get to a 4:1 ratio you will be consuming well over 10% of calories as PUFA but I thought fish oil is the same type of flax oil - mostly n3 - and  olive oil mostly MUFAs so I don't get what you say.
Please clarify - I may be just experiencing Monday morning fogginess in the brain :-)

As a side note I'm not experiencing weight loss after two weeks on coconut products.
Also I tried cooking with CO and the outcome was (((ditch most of it)))

Now remind me: all this vegetal-fats-healthier-than-animal-fats craze started many years ago when it was found out that the Scandinavian had more heart-circulatory diseases than the South of Europe, right?  The cause was assigned to more dairy/animal fats consumption in Scandinavia.
I know this might have been hasty but what other reasons are there?
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anacara

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2010, 06:00:19 am »


Now remind me: all this vegetal-fats-healthier-than-animal-fats craze started many years ago when it was found out that the Scandinavian had more heart-circulatory diseases than the South of Europe, right?  The cause was assigned to more dairy/animal fats consumption in Scandinavia.
I know this might have been hasty but what other reasons are there?

Hi Pinkmug,

I can't recall references at the moment but I think the heart problems you refer to were mainly in a particular part of eastern Finland. The eastern Finns actually had pretty much the same diet as the western Finns, although the western Finns did not have an exceptional rate of heart disease. I read somewhere that it has since been found that the problem was due to a genetic flaw - apparently, the area was quite isolated thereby limiting the genetic pool for a long time.

Anacarax
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Pip

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2010, 05:16:10 pm »

Hi Pinkmug,

Dr. Harris' argument is that excess PUFAs are bad for you because of their unstable chemical structure. Some people even argue that PUFAs are responsible for the diseases of civilization. Therefore you want to control the total amount that you are consuming. He and other paleo-type eaters also believe that saturated fats are the optimal energy sources for the body. This is non-conventional nutritional thinking. Their argument is that humans evolved before the dawn of agriculture and therefore are not completely adapted to grain consumption, but rather to a diet based mostly on animal protein and animal (saturated) fat. Further, they point out that many nutritional studies from the past 30 or 40 years were poorly designed and the advice that came from those studies to eat a low-fat diet, avoid saturated fat and red meat has produced the current obesity crisis for western societies. Scientists are busy arguing about which point of view is correct, so basically people have to decide for themselves.

Whichever way you feel about PUFAs vs. SFA, it's undeniable that the consumption of highly processed foods and vegetable oil has increased and the consumption of quality animal fats (grass-fed) has decreased in modern times with all the factory farming and laboratory-made foods that have polluted our food system nowadays. I don't believe that the rise of obesity that has happened at the same time is a coincidence, so I tend to think the paleo eaters are onto something.

Back to your question....
Omega 3 fats are PUFAs.  Fish Oils and Flax seed contain better ratios of n6:n3, but they are all PUFAs. So, by consuming fish oil or flaxseed oil to improved your ratio, you are also increasing the total amount of PUFAs in your diet. Olive oil has mostly MUFAs, but also has PUFAs, so consuming Oil Oil also increases your total intake of PUFAs, but by less. It only really matters if you believe that PUFAs are unhealthy. Does that answer your question?

The other part of the PUFA advice from Dr. Harris was to avoid cooking with them because PUFAs become oxidized when heated and oxidized fats have been linked to atherosclerosis, impaired glucose tolerance and thyroid function. SFAs are stable and do not oxidize with heat. MUFAs are less stable than SFAs but more stable than SFAs. Dr. Harris' advice is to avoid all vegetable oils for cooking and to use Olive Oil raw sparingly (i.e. salad dressing).

The other problem with wheat....
In addition to wheat having a high amount of n6 PUFAs, wheat (and other grains and beans) contain lectins (wheat germ agglutinin) that are toxic if consumed in excess in uncooked form. Cooking destroys most but not all lectins, so sensitive people may have problems with them. Researchers estimate that about 1% of the population has celiac disease, but up to 10%-30% have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

It is very difficult for doctors to diagnose celiac disease and very, very difficult to diagnose NCGS because blood tests for this always come back negative and because the symptoms are so varied. Wheat allergy tests also often come back with false negatives. The ONLY way to diagnose accurately is to eliminate wheat and/or other glutens from your diet, so Alchemist's implied criticism of self-diagnosis is mis-guided in respect to wheat and other food issues.

This is a nice summary of gluten intolerance & wheat allergies:
http://gluten-intolerance-symptoms.com/#a4

Gluten intolerance is associated with weight gain and Celiac disease is very common in Type 1 diabetics. Gluten messes with insulin and leptin in sensitive individuals. Sensitivity may be more widespread than previously thought.

There is only one way to know for sure that you are not sensitive - and that is to drop wheat from your diet for at least 10 days and see how you feel and if you lose any weight. There is no risk or cost to dropping wheat for a short period of time and there may be some upside.

Is wheat the only cause behind obesity and other diseases of modern civilization? Probably not. Does it cause problems for some people? Definitely. Could the adverse affects of wheat consumption be more widespread than currently believed? Possibly. Does it hurt to explore non-conventional thinking on diet and nutrition? I would argue no. Over time non-conventional thinking often becomes conventional thinking.

Thanks for the good question, Pinkmug.


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An Alchemist

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 06:03:24 pm »

I think we need to look back more than 30-40 years to gauge the effect of wheat consumption on human obesity. Civilizations have been eating wheat much, much, MUCH longer than that, by some estimations for 10,000 years. Why would it take almost 10,000 years for obesity to begin arising from it?

I think you have a good point that factory farming has degraded the quality of the meat supply. This has been reported for a while now. And certainly choosing refined grain products (i.e. the evil Wonderbread) does not encourage a high degree of health. But it's truly a case of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' to claim that wheat, in general, is akin to a 'poison' to the body, for otherwise healthy individuals.

It cannot even be compared to other poisons, such as arsenic or other heavy metals, that actually DO harm all individuals who are exposed to it. Rather than a poison, whole grains are a source of fiber (known to reduce cancer incidence) and b vitamins (which support the nervous system). Without these, neither of which come from animal products, humans would suffer disease.

It's far too simplistic to blame obesity on wheat. Or any other non-meat food stuff.

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Pip

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2010, 09:04:42 pm »


Is wheat the only cause behind obesity and other diseases of modern civilization? Probably not. Does it cause problems for some people? Definitely. Could the adverse affects of wheat consumption be more widespread than currently believed? Possibly. Does it hurt to explore non-conventional thinking on diet and nutrition? I would argue no. Over time non-conventional thinking often becomes conventional thinking.


I'll just repeat myself here as it seems you missed my conclusions.
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anacara

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 12:44:51 am »

Agreed Pip, wheat is problematic. (Though I would take what Harris says iin general with a grain of salt - he is a extraordinarily narrow-minded, and also inconsistent in his thinking.)

But quite frankly though guys, the single most problematic substance that we have been increasingly consuming in modern times, is sugar. Sorry - don't have time to find details to back my statement, suffice to say there is plenty of epidemiological and biochemical evidence for it.
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Pinkmug

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 02:54:54 am »

Hi Anacara nice to see you around :-))

Hmmm what I heard - and some 20 or 30 years ago - related to Danish and more specifically the large amount of dairies consumed.
I couldn't find anything on this; OTOH there's a lot of studies and articles on the Mediterranean diet
- based on whole grains, PUFAS, MUFAS, fruit and vegs galore - is superior to the traditional Western diet chockfull of refined wheat, transfats, HFCS...

for example http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/9/9/869.full

just the conclusion:

" In conclusion, the Mediterranean diet could reduce the overall incidence of cancer in northern Europe and North America by up to 10%. It should be noted, however, that the most recognizable effects of the Mediterranean diet concern cardiovascular diseases (10) , a topic that is beyond the scope of this review. "
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Pinkmug

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 03:18:57 am »

Pip, thanks! I thought you were saying something like: To reach an optimal n6:n3 ratio people would tend to overdo it on fish oil (n3) to balance the n6 consumption (flxoil/olive oil) thus raising the overall PUFA. When actually flax and fish oils are mostly n3 and OO mostly  MUFA. So it made no sense to me but now you have re-written it so well it's all clear and I thank you!!

Walnut oil also has a good ratio BTW.

As to the rest, nothing new - most PUFAs have a low smoking point and should not be allowed to reach it. That's why we in Mediterranean diet area cook with olive oil. But peanut oil also has a high smoking point.

Wheat may be problematic for some. And fat for others. And sugar for many. (Strawberries, oranges, peanuts, seafood, etc for some.)
Did you look at the study on genetics affecting how we respond to diets?
For me the key lies in there and also on the word REFINED.
Maybe we should blame TRANSFAT and HFCS too. And Xeno Estrogens. And sitting on your butt all day.

As to the paleo diet it doesn't make sense to me since I heard that (at least some) paleo people ate cereals 100,000  years ago (90,000 earlier than thought).

In short I also agree with Alchemist's big picture and Anacara's distrust in sugar (esp in its refined forms!!)

Of course this is just MHO. There are so many individual variable involved! But I'm really convinced an ounce of good whole cereal bread would not cause any obesity plague (even eaten on a daily basis).
Just an ounce .just like an ounce of a fabulous expensive cheese...
(yum)



« Last Edit: March 16, 2010, 05:18:16 am by Pinkmug »
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anacara

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Re: How toxic is wheat?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2010, 09:11:56 am »

Hi Pinkmug, nice to see you too!  :D
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