Smoke more low-tar cigarettes!

Flawed Logic Nutrition Advice

Just kidding, of course.

But followers of the Wheat Belly discussion understand why we often repeat this message: Just because something bad is reduced or eliminated in cigarettes, it does not follow that cigarettes must now be good. Low-tar cigarettes still contain heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium, as well as nicotine, naphthalene, arsenic, formaldehyde, ammonia and other toxic compounds. Low- or no-tar does NOT mean healthy.

This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how many people — physicians and dietitians included — fall for such flawed logic when applied to nutrition.

So it goes with gluten in wheat, as well as secalin in rye, hordein in barley, zein in corn, and avenin in oats. If it were possible to reduce or eliminate gluten and related proteins in grains, could we declare that grains are now healthy?

No, not even close. Wheat and related grains still contain:

  • Phytates — that disturb digestion and block iron and zinc absorption by 90%.This is why grain consuming societies experience so much iron deficiency anemia, impaired immunity, and skin rashes.
  • Lectins — Wheat germ agglutinin is indigestible. It is thereby free to exert disruptive effects in the gastrointesinal tract and gain access to the bloodstream, where it yields potent inflammatory effects.
  • D-amino acids — Humans, as well as other mammals, have the digestive apparatus to break proteins down in to L-amino acids. But many of the amino acids in grains are the mirror image D-versions. The implications of this peculiar clash between incompatible species–non-ruminant humans and the seeds of grasses–are just starting to be appreciated.
  • Amylopectin A — The carbohydrate of grains that is responsible for its extravagant potential to raise blood sugar.

GlutenCutterIn other words, wheat and related grains are still quite terrible for health, with or without gluten. I highlight this issue because of this awful product: Gluten Cutter, a preparation that contains several enzymes that they purport digests gluten. They even go so far as to suggest–not overtly claim, as that would likely cross some FDA barriers–that even people with celiac disease can consume gluten if they take this supplement.

This is blatantly irresponsible. Don’t fall for it.

Even if gluten digestion were complete (they have no data to prove it one way or another), there are all the other issues in wheat and other grains to contend with. And the price of even minor exposures to undigested gluten in people with celiac disease can be intestinal lymphoma, autoimmune diseases, and dysbiosis. The only reasonable use of this product would be to take it in case there is inadvertent gluten exposure that may be minimized by digestion.

There is more to wheat than gluten, more to rye than secalin, more to barley than hordein, more to oats than avenin. This is because Homo sapiens and seeds from the grasses in the family Poaceae are incompatible.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Tyrannocaster

    Wow, when I first saw that photo of the box I smiled because I thought “Cool, he’s put up a satire on his site” but then I got to the part that says it’s a real product. You really can’t make this stuff up; truth *is* stranger than fiction. Thanks for mentioning this “interesting” marketing approach.

  2. Why Dr. Davis, it sounds like you might be advocating a Paleo approach to diet these days. Good job! :)
    You make me SO happy!
    GiGi

    • Neicee

      GiGi, I don’t believe Dr. Davis has ever not supported the rudimentary evidence of eating a paleo diet. As for me, Primal is more down my alley. Loves me some heavy whipping cream in my coffee and a quick run-to meal of cottage cheese. Yummm.

        • Neicee

          I’ve got both so come on over……just kicked the hubby out the door to play golf. Perhaps a virtual coffee klatch? ;)

  3. Uncle Roscoe

    Most humans are initially capable of digesting gluten. Gluten is normally digested, or broken apart, by the action of DPPIV in the small intestine. This is a slow process. Unfortunately gluten is highly inflammatory. It sets off autoimmune responses in the small intestine. One of these responses is to release zonulin. Zonulin makes the small intestine walls porous. Zonulin passes the intestinal lumen into the bloodstream before DPPIV has a chance to break down gluten.

    So the problem is not that humans lack the ability to digest gluten. We already have this ability. We don’t need an artificial product to digest gluten. The problem is that the immune system releases zonulin before anything is capable of digesting gluten.

    Most of the problems discussed on these pages …….overweight, diabetes, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, even schizophrenia and cancer, have zonulin release in their causal pathway. Even the passage of lectins, such as WGA, into the bloodstream depends on zonulin release. The ONLY thing which has the possibility of mitigating these problems is to prevent the release of zonulin. If someone can develop a drug, then great. The only other way to prevent wheat related release of zonulin is to stop ingesting wheat.

  4. Does rye have an equivalent to agglutinin? Relative percentages in wheat and rye?
    Amylopectin A Does rye have an equivalent to this in wheat? If so the relative percentages pls.

    • > Does rye have an equivalent to agglutinin?

      Yes, even heirloom rye:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1158215/

      Modern ryes have been crossed with modern wheat so much that the numbers may be higher now, and it’s apt to be full-blast WGA. You’d need to have your rye analyzed to know for sure. Seems like a waste of effort for something that’s 55% net carbs, and a gluten-bearing grain, right out of the gate. It also is second only to wheat in fructans content, which presents a real risk for those already overweight, because they commonly have a gut bacterium that metabolizes normally harmless fructans to free fructose, which is a fat magnet.

  5. John Es

    Even before reading anything by Dr. Davis, I had read enough about wheat to strictly avoid it. I had been on a Paleo diet, and noticed some symptoms go away, but, can’t really point the finger directly at wheat, or even grains, since I also gave up legumes, sugar, and dairy.

    I’ll agree that Gluten Cutter, marketed as we see here is irresponsible, but, could this product be useful? As much as I would like to see wheat just disappear, that’s isn’t going to happen. Could enzymes be used in one’s diagnostic toolkit? Could it actually be used to show the gluten in one’s environment is causing a problem? In other words, it might be easier to give your patient a 21 day supply of the enzyme and track their symptoms over the following 42 days than to try to get gluten out of their environment.

    I had a similar idea as a way to troubleshoot other intolerances where the sources are hard to detect and/or quantify, for example, dietary histamine.

    • > I’ll agree that Gluten Cutter, marketed as we see here is
      > irresponsible, but, could this product be useful?

      Less so than nicotine patches and e-cigs. This is very much putting a filter on a Camel.

      > Could enzymes be used in one’s diagnostic toolkit?

      For anyone unwilling to simply quit gluten-bearing grains for a month and see what happens, there is already a test that seems to cover much of wheat reactivity (not just celiac), the Cyrex Array 3 test.

      > As much as I would like to see wheat just disappear, that’s isn’t going to happen.

      True, just as people still smoke despite it being a half century since the Surgeon General blew the whistle on tobacco.

  6. Culinary Adventurer

    It is just so typical for the corporate response to be a pill or a product for “that” – “that” being the debilitating condition their products caused in the first place! They are also likely to be the first out of the gate with the “solution”. Branding, controlling the “conversation” and most of all, profiting on misery/

    Wow – will we ever stop falling for it? — YES!
    Eat real food, support local organic farmers, grow your own, be selective on your own behalf, be open to learning from those who care about our health firs and foremost.
    Oh, and enjoy your life very much in the process.

    • Neicee

      CA, “selective” is the key to life. I’ve gone so far as to give all of my baking sheets/pans away. Also, the everyday dishes and such. I’m using the good stuff every single day….. Same with clothing. Enjoy every moment or don’t do it – do something else that is great.

  7. Culinary Adventurer

    Neicee,
    I agree!!! Wear your good clothes, use the good dishes, and dance the soles off your shoes!!!

    Before you give away all your baking pans… which I had started doing too… head over to Maria Emmerich’s site and check out her recipes. She, like Dr. Davis, comes up with amazing “Healthified” recipes for her family. She has two lovely children who she likes to keep well fed and happy. “Urban Poser” has recipe for French shortcake that is also freezeworthy.

    I have to admit, after trying some of her recipes I went out and bought… (are you sitting down?),
    donut pans!

    WHAT??? Are you kidding me???

    I’m serious here. She has a “Healthified” recipe for chocolate donuts that is pretty amazing! Things I never thought I would experience wheatless!

    I think that with good science, great chefs, and lots of practice, we will achieve amazing culinary heights without those horrible seeds of grasses.

    Love your posts Neicee!

    Best,
    CA

    • Neicee

      CA, love your posts too. How to be happy while navigating new food choices must be in the air today. Great article up on http://www.marksdailyapple.com. The takeaway line is “Does the life I’m living have room for the life I want?” It’s so easy, leave all of your assumptions about what makes us happy by the roadside and start doing your happy dance instead – wearing out those shoes. Check out http://www.elenaspantry.com or recommend to anyone that has MS. http://www.celiacs.com is another. Have to confess that when I start/restart using a lot of recommended flours I start to put back on the weight. Since I did donate all of my past clothing I simply cannot afford to start replacing them again. Yet, heavy cream in coffee with a TLBS. of coconut oil is my one big indulgence to start the day. Gets better after that! ;)

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Neicee and CA,

      I’m agreeing with both of you! I too went out and bought a doughnut pan for Maria’s recipes. I also just purchased a muffin top pan for Gourmet Girl Cooks sandwich/bun recipe she posted a few days ago.

      I’m learning how to properly cook grass fed meats. A Sous Vide (water oven) is terrific for this. Perfect medium rare every time. My only problem was to finish/sear the meat in a hot fry pan without setting off the fire alarm and have the fire department show up for dinner. I learned that avocado oil has the highest smoke point and this solved the problem. My wonderful kitchen torch didn’t work nearly as well! I’m happy that the weather has warmed enough to grill the grass fed beef.

      My meals have become really rather special looking and tasting, certainly worthy of a glam table setting. It sure is fun to be able to prepare meals like a 5 star chef! I realized I was smiling as I prepare food now. And the smells! NomNomPaleo has a crockpot kalua pork recipe that will have everyone drooling. Try baking chicken or pork chops in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar marinade. Cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips – who knew they can be lip smacking good?

      It sure is wonderful when you feel good again. Thank you Dr. Davis, you truely have made a difference!

      • Culinary Adventurer

        Barbara in New Jersey,
        Neicee too…
        Blog neighbors! I love YOUR posts too of course Barbara! Yes, agreed, it is such an enjoyable challenge to experiment, learn, and then Glam the good foods! It is so much fun!

        I’ll catch up with you soon – company coming… I will check out those sites meanwhile and try the A Sous Vide. You are really great at finding the best way forward! Not only is the fun in the search and trying to make these great dishes, but then… we dine!

        We all could put on one amazing Wheat Belly dinner party! Why would anyone ever want to go back and eat the old way?
        Wheatless forever!
        CA