Pauline read the recent Wheat Belly Blog post, the Top 5 Reasons You Still Have Cravings and shared her perspective:
“Everything you say is true, Dr. Davis. I’ve been following your advice for the last 18 months and it’s taken this long to get my gut right.
“I always know when I’ve inadvertently eaten something containing wheat, generally when I’m eating out with friends. It’s an almost instantaneous increase in hunger, making me go looking for something carb/sugary to eat a few hours later. It also causes gut and joint pain that comes within 24 hours.
“Other than that, I can go all day without food and no sugar crashes. I eat because food tastes so good now. I made a yummy chicken and vegetable curry with cauliflower ‘rice’ last night, so good and I had a second small serving. I’m still not hungry 14 hours later and will now wait until I get hungry before I eat again.
“Before Wheat Belly, I used to eat compulsively every few hours—bread, cracker biscuits, cakes. etc. I was hungry all the time. Now that the wheat and other grains are gone, I get hungry normally—when my stomach is empty, and not the gliadin-driven mess I was before.”
Wheat and closely related grains trigger hunger, often to extreme degrees, because:
- Gliadin-derived peptides act as opiates on the human brain–It’s been known for over a century that opiate drugs like morphine increase appetite, an effect shared by gliadin-derived peptides that, like opiate drugs, bind to the opiate receptors of the brain. Susceptibility to this effect varies from individual to individual, but can be responsible for massive increases in appetite in some people. People with a tendency towards bulimia and binge-eating disorder are especially susceptible, experiencing 24-hour-a-day food obsessions.
- Gliadin-derived peptides block leptin–Leptin is the hormone of satiety that tells you that you’ve had enough to eat. Gliadin-derived peptides, in addition to their opiate effects, also block leptin, thereby disabling the fullness signal. Wheat germ agglutinin, the lectin protein of wheat, rye, barley, and rice, is also suspected to exert a similar effect.
- Amylopectin A raises blood sugar to high levels–Because of its highly digestible nature (unlike the indigestible or only partially digestible proteins from grains), amylopectin A starch of wheat and grains is a potent trigger for high blood sugar and insulin. High blood sugar and insulin are followed by low blood sugars, accompanied by mental “fog,” fatigue, anxiety, and a desperate feeling of hunger occurring in 90-120 minute cycles.
Put it all together: wheat and related grains are potent appetite stimulants and obesogens–foods that make you fat. To make matters worse, we are advised by “official” sources of dietary information to include grains in every meal and food manufacturers put wheat into nearly all processed foods from licorice to chicken soup. Wheat and grains for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for snacks–is it any wonder Americans consume more food per capita than any other nation on this planet and are now the fattest population in the history of the world?
The bright side of all this is that, if you recognize these essential facts, you are set free from the incessant hunger and quest for food of the wheat/grain-eater, enjoying extended periods with no thought of food whatsoever just like Pauline, hunger just a soft reminder that you should eat for sustenance.