While nearly all of you are no strangers to the ignorance exhibited by defenders of the dietary status quo, it occasionally helps to hear their arguments articulated. You are readily reminded just how many “holes” there are in their arguments to consume more “healthy whole grains.”
A Wheat Belly Blog reader passed this exchange between his father and a dietitian representing the Australian Diabetic Association onto me:
“My father was a very serious diabetic, but I slowly got him off the wheat last December. Now his diabetes is the best it’s been in 20 years! He was so disappointed with Diabetes Australia for all the false information given to him over the years, that he wrote to them. Here is his email and their response:”
MY FATHER’S EMAIL:
“Since I have give up eating bread and most wheat products, my sugar levels have never been so good. If you really want to help diabetics, could you please let people know not to eat bread?
Thank you for your email comment regarding avoiding bread and wheat products to better manage diabetes. It is great that you have been able to better manage your blood glucose levels lately and this approach is working for you.
Most people with diabetes are able to tolerate eating bread that has a low glycaemic index (GI) if it is eaten in appropriate portions (i.e. 2 slices). Examples of low GI breads include wholegrain and sourdough breads. Most low GI wheat based products are also generally tolerated when eaten in appropriate portions, such as 1 cup of cooked pasta or ¾ cup All Bran cereal. People diagnosed with coeliac disease do need to avoid all gluten containing foods, including all wheat based foods.
Ultimately, the most important factor affecting blood sugar levels is the total amount of carbohydrate eaten at a time and therefore portion sizes are important. This carbohydrate could come from wheat based products such as bread or pasta or non-wheat based products such as sweet potato, milk or oats.
All types of high fibre/low GI carbohydrate foods are recommended as part of a balanced diet, so long as portion sizes are appropriate. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel and they also provide us with essential B-group vitamins and are usually a significant source of fibre to help with lowering cholesterol and maintaining good bowel health.
However, we do recognise that everyone has different needs for amounts and types of carbohydrate foods. The advice that we provide to people with diabetes is general and a guide only and we encourage people to seek individual advice from a dietitian, based on their own individual needs.”
Alright, let’s tear apart this dietitian’s defense of the diabetic diet and “healthy whole grain” status quo.
By making arguments such as we “need” grains for their fiber and B vitamins and that eliminating a “whole food group” is unhealthy, she neglects to recognize a number of issues:
- All whole wheat products are high glycemic index foods.
- Foods such as multigrain bread, oatmeal, and millet bread raise blood sugars to very high levels, but lower than high-glycemic index foods like cornstarch and whole wheat. They are therefore designated “low-glycemic index” foods. There’s nothing wrong with the concept of glycemic index; but there is something desperately wrong with the cutoffs for high- vs. low-glycemic index. Low-glycemic index foods should more correctly be called “Less-high” glycemic index foods. Typical blood sugar 30-60 minutes after 6 teaspoons table sugar: 170 mg/dl. Typical blood sugar after 2 slices of whole wheat bread: 175 mg/dl. Typical blood sugar after bowl of oatmeal: 167 mg/dl–less high, but still awful.
- This is not just about the amylopectin A of grains. It’s also about gliadin derived peptides that act as opiates and stimulate appetite; it’s about intact gliadin, partially resistant to digestion, that initiates the first step in autoimmune diseases by increasing intestinal permeability; it’s about wheat germ agglutinin that blocks the cholecystokinin receptor and thereby leads to gallstones, pancreatic insufficiency, and dysbiosis; it’s about phytates that block absorption of iron, zinc, and magnesium.
- Grain consumption leads to poor dental health. This was the first experience of grain-consuming humans: explosive tooth decay, periodontitis, tooth loss, crooked teeth in children.
- Grain consumption changes oral and bowel flora. Changes in oral flora caused by grains contribute to the above changes in oral health. The implications of grain induced changes in bowel flora are only now coming to light.
- Diabetes is about blood sugar. If someone starts with a blood sugar prior to a meal of 100 mg/dl, then eats a big piece of pork chop: blood sugar 100 mg/dl. If they eat a piece of multigrain bread: blood sugar 163 mg/dl or somewhere in that range, higher the more insulin-resistant and beta cell-challenged they are. In other words, eat foods that don’t raise blood sugar and you likely no longer need drugs to reduce blood sugar. Why would any diabetic association tell people to eat foods that raise blood sugars to such high levels? Could this have something to do with generous support from Cadbury Schweppes (the world’s largest soft drink and candy maker), AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, or Sanofi Aventis, manufacturers of diabetes drugs and insulin preparations?
In my view, the various diabetes associations of the world have made substantial contributions to the epidemic of overweight, obesity, and worsening diabetes in millions of people, all while helping grow billions of dollars in revenues and profits for the food and diabetes industries.
I say thumb your nose or make some other meaningful gesture in their direction. Then go have a 3-egg spinach mushroom omelet oozing with olive oil.