Wheat is the primary source of carbohydrates in many of our diets, and the average American consumes a whopping 55 pounds of wheat flour per year! Many of us our well aware that a diet full of refined wheat products such as croissants and bagels is not exactly conductive to good health. However, recent research suggests that whole wheat isn’t much better and consuming any type of wheat can lead to a multitude of ill health effects – one of which is weight gain. So if you’re counting calories in attempt to lose weight, or you simply want to maintain a slim waistline and good health, you may want to consider the following before you reach for that next slice of bread.
It Causes Blood Sugar Imbalances
Although all sugars and carbohydrates will lead to a rise in blood sugar, wheat has been found to cause the greatest rise, due to a substance called amylopectin. In fact, Dr. William Davis argues in his book “Wheat Belly,” that consuming just two slices of whole wheat bread will increase your blood sugar levels more dramatically than table sugar or candy bars.
So what’s the problem with high blood sugar levels you may ask? The problem is that you will experience a dramatic crash in blood sugar levels approximately 2 hours after your blood sugar initially rises, and this will leave your brain foggy, your body shaky and your stomach hungry. When you experience blood sugar crashes, your body’s natural response will be to reach for more carbohydrate dense wheat foods, in order to get that next boost. So essentially, you end up experiencing a series of highs and lows throughout your day, and relentless cravings along with them. Even worse, is the fact that overtime, elevated blood sugar levels will lead to the formation of abdominal fat, which is not only unsightly but also increases your risk for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
It Increases Hunger
Since wheat leads to blood sugar crashes, every time you consume it, you are left feeling hungry again two hours later. If you consume wheat regularly, you are likely to always feel hungry and constantly be eating. If you are counting calories and trying to lose weight, you should eliminate wheat altogether because doing so will effectively remove the appetite stimulant that causes hunger pangs between meals, states Dr. Davis. Without those hunger pangs, your calorie intake will naturally be reduced and you will lose weight quite rapidly, once you no longer have to battle wheat induced cravings.
A study conducted by The National Institute of Health and published on Macleans.ca (2011) found that amino acid molecules derived from the gluten in wheat cross the blood brain barrier and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors. When anything binds to your opiate receptors, you experience a feeling of euphoria and as soon as that feeling is gone, your body will naturally strive to get it back. Morphine and heroine are opiates and that is why they are so addictive. Although wheat’s pleasurable effects are less intense than those drugs, it is still there and it is what drives you to eat it again.
So if you want to experience weight loss and good health, stop wasting your time fighting food cravings and counting calories. Instead, remove wheat from your diet and replace it with healthier carbohydrates such as beans, lentils and brown rice. In so doing, you will eliminate the blood sugar imbalances that cause insatiable hunger and the weight should fall of naturally.