Is Frankenwheat haunting your diet?

bagelAccording to some prominent physicians, monsters aren’t hiding under your bed—they’re lurking in your bread and crackers.

While many experts still believe there’s a place for whole wheat in a healthy diet, physicians like Mark Hyman, William Davis, and Frank Lipman caution against what they call “Frankenwheat.”

What is Frankenwheat?

Frankenwheat is a term used to describe the modern wheat Americans eat today. While our ancestors mostly consumed einkorn wheat, decades of cross-breeding and hybridization (to create high-yield crops) have created a shorter, stockier “dwarf wheat” that now makes up almost all of the wheat we consume.

According to Dr. Hyman, a leader in Functional Medicine and a four-time New York Times bestselling author of such books as The Blood Sugar Solution, this new wheat is a triple threat:

It contains twice the number of chromosomes. This means it codes for a much larger variety of gluten proteins, or “super gluten,” as Dr. Hyman likes to say.

It contains high levels of a “super starch” amylopectin A, which excels at making both Cinabons and bellies swell.

And it’s full of wheat polypeptides called gluteomorphins, which trigger an opiate-like response in the brain, so guess what? You’ll want more Frankenwheat.

Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman talks about the dangers of Frankenwheat at a recent event in New York City for gluten-free brand Mary’s Gone Crackers.

What does it mean for your health?

Dr. Hyman partially attributes the rise in Celiac disease to the consumption of Frankenwheat, but even for those who don’t have Celiac, he warns that super gluten causes inflammation. And you don’t want that because it’s the precursor for a very long list of chronic diseases.

Super starch is directly linked to obesity and diabetes. According to Dr. Davis, a cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly, amylopectin A “is more efficiently converted to blood sugar than just about any other carbohydrate, including table sugar. In fact, two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar does,” he told Maclean’s. (This interview is great read, actually.)

Finally, the gluteomorphins in Frankenwheat trigger an addictive neurological response that leads to food cravings and binge eating. “Bottom line: wheat is an addictive appetite stimulant,” Dr. Hyman says.

Should you ditch the gluten ghoul?

By eliminating wheat from patients’ diets, both Dr. Hyman and Dr. Davis have seen scores and scores of health problems alleviated, and their websites and books are chock full of examples.

That said, there’s still disagreement over the degree of danger posed by modern, dwarf wheat, and large-scale research studies have not conclusively demonstrated either its safety or long-term health effects.

And many star physicians like Mehmet Oz, Andrew Weil, and Neal Barnard still say that whole wheat can be part of a healthy diet if you’re not gluten-sensitive or intolerant.

But everyone agrees that a huge number of Americans suffer from gluten sensitivities and are unaware. So if you’re already feeling haunted by health problems—like digestive, weight, or skin issues—eliminating wheat from your diet is the best way to determine whether Frankenwheat may be causing them. —Lisa Elaine Held


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  1. November 7th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I think it’s a good idea to take a break from the foods you crave/eat daily. Even if your not allergic to wheat ~ it’s good to take a break. I like hemp bread by Fresh Meadow for breakfast. Toasted with organic butter, peanut butter, or ghee. It’s in the freezer at the health food store. Thanks for this informative article.

  2. November 8th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I went wheat free nearly a year ago after reading “Wheat Belly”. I went from 145 lbs to 121 lbs in about two months and have kept it off. The most incredible thing about going wheat free is that you LOSE YOUR CRAVINGS. I cannot believe how addicted I was to cakes, donuts, cookies, bread, pizza etc. Now, you can put a fresh box of Krispy Kremes in front of me and I’m not even tempted! Mind blowing. You have nothing to lose except weight and bad health, so give it a try. In this day of Celiac awareness, going wheat free is even easier than ever.

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  4. November 8th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    That was such a great informative post! Details are helpful.

  5. November 11th, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I think this is a new dimension in weight loss. I am currently following this site for suggestions about healthy dieting – http://howtoloseweight-tips.com/..
    Some suggestions are quite useful.

  6. November 12th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Wow. Nice to see a good article on wheat and what food it is in. It is scary how much food contains wheat.

    Great Post.xs

  7. November 14th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Great post, I am a serious carb lover who has been trying to eliminate carbs, including wheat, from my diet. This article is motivating me to try harder!

  8. January 18th, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    OMG this is so scarey!! I have cut wheat out of my diet and instantly I lost 7lbs!!

    Great article totally sharing this on my fb!

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