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Author, William Davis, is a preventative cardiologist who is also diabetic. And using his glucose meter, he found that whole wheat bread spiked his sugars beyond expectations just as I was surprised to find. In fact it increased blood sugars more than table sugar did. Better to eat a Snickers bar. What set his discovery apart was that he decided to look into the composition of wheat itself and discovered that, after years of hybridization to create greater yields, wheat has changed and is now so stuffed with gluten that it is harmful to a large number of the population eating it. The tall graceful wheat of old is now a short stubby thing so that it can hold up the overloaded grain head.
To test this discovery, he goes in search of our ancestral grains and finds a woman at the Heritage Wheat Foundation who gives him Einkorn grain which he then grinds and makes into bread and compares with bread he makes from store bought whole grain flour. Testing his blood sugars after ingesting 4 ounces of both he got 110 mg/dl for the Einkorn and nothing unpleasant, but for the store bought grain he got 167 mg/dl plus 36 hours of discomfort due to his wheat sensitivity. I admire an author willing to go the distance.
Thus, he concludes the wheat of today has brought us the obesity epidemic and the dramatic rise in celiac disease and diabetes, also making the body more acidic which, as I’ve learned, is the cause of inflammation in the body which also encourages cancer growth. He explores the addictive properties of wheat, how it become an opiate in the brain. How it contributes to aging by creating Advanced Glycation End products (AGE) by keeping blood sugars high. So Diabetes is actually a state of accelerated aging. Also a chapter on the effects of wheat on the skin in the form of eczema and more acne for teenagers and baldness for men.
I was interested to learn about glucotoxicity which is actual damage to pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells that results from high blood sugars at just 100 mg/dl. Doctor’s don’t pay attention until it’s 140 mg/dl.
It is not just wheat, it is also other grains, but wheat made the best story because it is the most consumed in our food supply. And because he is a practicing doctor, he has had lots of opportunity to see changes in symptoms in his patients after they did their "wheat-ectomy". And tells some compelling anecdotes about various chronic and debilitating symptoms disappearing. He also warns not to go with gluten free products because the gluten is replaced with other starches and the results can be just as bad.
In the process of convincing people to get off wheat he offers them saturated fats. Thus he is one of the few doctors/authors who gets that we’ve been hoodwinked about fats and that carbohydrates are to blame for those dense LDL particles that cause damage to arteries. He does warn that eating meat can contribute to AGEs forming, but this is neutralized if eaten with vegetables and if the meat is cooked at lower temperatures for shorter times.
At 230 pages this is a quick read, particularly because the doctor can write and uses humor and cultural references to add interest to the narrative. He explains the science of insulin, lipids, celiac disease and related conditions like acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome so a lot can be learned just by reading this one book alone. It is a good follow up to Good Calories, Bad Calories without wading through all the politics of why fats were demonized. I’m very glad to see it was on the NYT bestseller list for so long.
His book is persuasive enough that people might actually try reducing their wheat intake, though in my experience people are incredibly reluctant to give up bread. Most people have to really be hurting to change their diet. And I mean at their wits end and desperate. Or maybe just a teen with acne or a balding man. Just remember wheat is an opiate and after two weeks off wheat, significant differences may very well be detected, including more clear headedness as I experienced. This helps a lot if you are on the ADD spectrum. Plus I see there is now a niche for Einkorn bread. And per the Western Price Foundation research, proper preparation of grains by soaking helps a lot. Sour dough is the bread they recommend.