This post initiates a series of conversations about how to manage carbohydrates in the diet once you’ve eliminated the ugliest, smelliest, rottenest, most foul carbohydrate of all: wheat.
Wheat Belly, of course, exposes the disastrous effects of widespread consumption of this genetically-altered grain. Remove all modern wheat from the diet and weight plummets, blood sugar drops, arthritis reverses in many people, chronic sinus infections improve, asthma improves, acid reflux disappears, cramps and diarrhea of irritable bowel syndrome are gone . . . on and on.
So why bother to limit carbohydrates after wheat?
Because the overwhelming likelihood is that, if you live in the U.S., you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or what I call pre-pre-diabetic. That includes just about everybody. Only rare exceptions fall outside of this group . . . and they are mostly slender, pre-menopausal females who exercise at high levels.
This situation results from a lifetime of excessive carbohydrate consumption, wheat and otherwise. It leaves us with high blood sugars and HbA1cs (long-term blood sugar), small LDL particles, and high triglycerides. It also leaves us with beaten-up, tired pancreases that have reduced numbers of functioning, intact beta cells that produce insulin. It means the vast majority of us are heading straight for full-blown diabetes and a need for insulin injections. Surely you’ve seen the headlines: 1 in 2 Americans expected to be diabetic; 336 million diabetics worldwide. This is not the exception; it’s the rule.
The drug industry, of course, celebrates diabetes, since the diabetes drug market is enjoying double-digit annual growth. The American Diabetes Association advocates a high-carbohydrate diet. And the Board Members of wheat trade groups have very close ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
I limit carbohydrates because your burned-out, tired, overworked pancreas has limited life left before it poops out and you become diabetic. For many of us, all it takes is an apple or a banana and we have diabetic or near-diabetic range sugars.
But there’s more to it than that. Ask John Q. Primary Care doctor and he or she will tell you that, if your after-eating blood sugar is 200 mg/dl or less, you don’t “need” insulin or diabetes medications and you’re okay. Is that true?
No, it is the farthest thing from the truth. The truth of it is that any blood glucose of 90 mg/dl or more triggers glycation. (See the Dowager’s Hump chapter in Wheat Belly.) A blood glucose, say, of 153 mg/dl that results after a bowl of organic, stone ground oatmeal triggers accelerated glycation of the proteins in:
the lenses of your eyes–cataracts
the cartilage cells of your joints–brittle cartilage, then arthritis
the cells lining your arteries–atherosclerosis
the cells of skin–wrinkles
We live in The Age of Carbohydrate Excess, thanks to the revenue-seeking practices of Big Food seeking high markup foods (how else can you convert a nickel’s worth of wheat flour, cornstarch, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and food coloring into a $3.99 product, complete with sports figure, cartoon character, or “heart healthy” claim?) and to the misguided advice of “official” agencies all advising us to . . . eat more “healthy whole grains.” Elimination of wheat followed by limiting other carbohydrates allows us to enjoy more time as non-diabetics and non-pre-diabetics with better eyesight, healthier joints, fewer heart attacks, and smoother skin.