Wheat is sugar. Dessert. That’s what I’m taking away from Wheat Belly by William Davis.
Wheat is not what it used to be. The first wild wheat to be cultivated was einkorn with 14 chromosomes. Soon after einkorn naturally bred to produce emmer with 28 chromosomes. A few thousand years ago, emmer mated to produce Triticum tauschii, with 42 chromosomes. This sort of breeding between grasses was a relatively rare event. Relatively recently, humans started tinkering with the genetic structure of wheat, breeding it for higher yield and for resistance to disease and drought and heat. Modern strains cannot even survive without chemical support. There are now thousands of offsprings that are thousands of genes apart from the original einkorn.
Modern wheat can do all sorts of baking gymastics that einkorn could not do. Pastries, cakes, you name it. Wheat is yummy just like a Mars bar. A hit of wheat has a higher blood sugar response than white sugar. Besides fattening the belly, the insulin response causes a drop in blood sugar and a two-hour cycle of hunger. Wheat causes hunger. It is a vicious addictive cycle. It explains the carb addiction I have struggled with for years. Indeed, reducing my wheat consumption has helped me kick my habitual snacking. Carbs are not the worst of it. Wheat is about 10-15% protein, about 80% of which is gluten. For some people, gluten causes celiac disease, potentially a very serious immune response. Many people avoid gluten these days but the remaining proteins are also problematic, causing allergic and anaphylactic responses.
Davis recommends a complete elimination of wheat from one’s diet. This may be the right choice for some people, especially if they are suffering from obesity or the many other symptoms he documents in detail. My personal response is more moderate. I accept that wheat is essentially dessert, and I will handle it as such, not as a part of a healthy diet but as an occasional treat.