TMKW: Wheat - it's everywhere

The seasoning in potato chips usually contains wheat. Photo by Marcella Peyre-Ferry

Did you know that wheat is in almost all processed food? Iím not kidding.

You donít believe me? Ok then, list a few processed foods.

Potato chips? The seasonings on chips usually contain wheat.

Beer? Often made from malted wheat and barley. Cheap liqueur can also contain remnants of wheat.

French fries? Many fast food chains use wheat in their French fries.

Oatmeal? Oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat during growing and processing.

Candy? Gluten from wheat is added to candy to give it a stretchy elastic quality. Read the label on licorice.

Tomato soup? Wheat is added as a thickener to many canned soups.

Chinese take-out? Soy sauce is made from wheat, and soy sauce is prevalent in Asian cuisine.

Vitamins?! Wheat is often used as a binding agent in vitamins, medicines, and supplements.

Frozen veggies?!! Plain, unflavored veggies are fine, but if they are in a sauce itís guaranteed to contain wheat.

Tea?!!! The gluten from wheat is used to seal many tea bags.

Bacon?!!!! Bacon and many lunch meats have added flavorings that often contain wheat. An example is liquid smoke.

So now that you believe me, the remaining question is ďWhy care?Ē

The answer is gliadin. Gliadin is a protein found in wheat that acts as an appetite-stimulant. It is an exorphine or exogenous morphine-like compound. Once ingested, it heads straight to the brain and creates feelings of happiness and satisfaction when wheat is consumed.

When wheat is absent from the body, the gliadin creates feelings of need and desire, similar to those of a drug addict. People who remove wheat from their diet report withdrawal symptoms such as feeling an extreme need to eat wheat, as well as physical symptoms such as shaking, irritability and headaches for days following the removal of wheat. Gliadin remains in the body for several months following the consumption of wheat.

Itís important to understand the affect wheat has on your body. Your healthy whole wheat sandwich at lunch may be the reason you binge on doughnuts at 3pm.

Those two slices of whole wheat bread are causing other problems too. Did you know the glycemic index of whole wheat bread is among the highest of all food? Eating two slices of whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar as much as eating a Snickers bar, or 6 teaspoons of sugar.

In trying to combat ďbad cholesterolĒ many of us have cut fats from our diet and replaced them with whole grains. Wheat contains a carbohydrate called amylopectin A that triggers the formation of bad cholesterol more than any other common food. It seems weíve replaced bad with worse.

Wheat is prevalent in our culture. Itís in our breads, our cakes, our cereals, our meats, our snacks and our drinks. It controls our diets (and subsequently our weightgain) more than we do.

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