What if I said: “Eliminate all wheat from your diet and replace it with all the jelly beans and ice cream you want.”
That would be stupid, wouldn’t it? Eliminate one rotten thing in diet–modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat products that stimulate appetite (via gliadin), send blood sugar through the roof (via amylopectin A), and disrupt the normal intestinal barriers to foreign substances (via the lectin, wheat germ agglutinin)–and replace it with something else that has its own set of problems, in this case sugary foods. How about a few other stupid replacements: Replace your drunken, foul-mouthed binges with wife beating? Replace cigarette smoking with excessive bourbon?
Sugary carbohydrate-rich foods like jelly beans and ice cream are not good for us because:
1) High blood sugar causes endogenous glycation, i.e, glucose modification of long-lived proteins in the body. Glycate the proteins in the lenses of your eyes, you get cataracts. Glycate cartilage proteins in the cartilage of your hips and knees, you get brittle cartilage that erodes and causes arthritis. Glycate structural proteins in your arteries and you get hypertension (stiff arteries) and atherosclerosis.
2) High blood sugar is inevitably accompanied by high blood insulin. Repetitive surges in insulin lead to insulin resistance, i.e., muscles, liver, and fat cells unresponsive to insulin. This forces your poor tired pancreas to produce even more insulin, which causes even more insulin resistance, and round and round in a vicious cycle. This leads to visceral fat accumulation (Jelly Bean Belly!), which is highly inflammatory, further worsening insulin resistance via various inflammatory mediators like tumor necrosis factor.
3) Sugary foods, i.e., sucrose- or high-fructose corn syrup-sweetened, are sources of fructose, a truly very, very bad sugar that is metabolized via a completely separate pathway from glucose. Fructose is 10-fold more likely to induce glycation of proteins than glucose. It also provokes a (delayed) rise in insulin resistance, accumulation of triglycerides, marked increase in formation of small LDL particles, and delayed postprandial (after-eating) clearance of the lipoprotein byproducts of meals, all of which leads to diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
I think we can all agree that replacing wheat with jelly beans and ice cream is not a good solution. And, no, we shouldn’t have drunken binges, wife beating, smoking or bourbon to excess. So why does the “gluten-free” community advocate replacing wheat with products made with:
rice starch, tapioca starch, potato starch, and cornstarch?
These powdered starches are among the few foods that increase blood sugar (and thereby provoke glycation and insulin) higher than even the amylopectin A of wheat! For instance, two slices of whole wheat bread typically increase blood sugar in a slender, non-diabetic person to around 170 mg/dl. Two slices of gluten-free, multigrain bread will increase blood sugar typically to 180-190 mg/dl.
The fatal flaw in thinking surrounding gluten-free junk carbohydrates is this: If a food lacks some undesirable ingredient, then it must be good. This is the same fatally flawed thinking that led people to believe, for instance, that Snack Well low-fat cookies were healthy: because they lacked fat. Or processed foods made with hydrogenated oils were healthy because they lacked saturated fat.
So gluten-free foods made with junk carbohydrates are good because they lack gluten? No. Gluten-free foods made with rice starch, tapioca starch, potato starch, and cornstarch are destructive foods that NOBODY should be eating.
This is why the recipes for muffins, cupcakes, cookies, etc. in the Wheat Belly book and in this blog are wheat- and gluten-free and free of gluten-free junk carbohydrates. And put that bottle of Jim Beam down!