I’ll bet you pride yourself on living a pretty clean life.
It’s doubtful that I’d stumble on you in some alley, track marks up your arms, lying in a puddle of your own urine, unconscious from a night of shooting up heroin, snorting coke, or smoking crack. And you probably have all or most of your teeth, unlike toothless addicts on methamphetamine.
Perhaps you even avoid or minimize your use of the softer recreational “drug” in alcoholic beverages. You likely adhere to healthy practices and keep such indulgences to a minimum.
But, if you have been consuming wheat and grains, the truth is that you’ve been doping it up for most of your life. You’ve been cleverly disguising your opiate of choice as muffins, bagels, breakfast cereals, and sandwiches. You’ve been doping it up with an opioid, not unlike heroin, Oxycontin, or morphine. You’ve been doping it up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. No tracks, no toothlessness, no pee stains on your trousers, no cardboard sign reading “I’m homeless and need help” . . . but you’ve still been doping it up. And you have been doping up your family. All of you have become addicts to an opioid, though different than Oxycontin, still shares some similar effects.
As with many of the dark and fascinating hidden issues surrounding modern wheat, this is the effect of the gliadin protein of wheat.
Gliadin is digested via stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes to a collection of polypeptides (small proteins) called exorphins, or exogenously-derived morphine-like compounds. The message to take from the research is clear: Wheat-derived exorphins bind to the opiate receptors of the brain (the delta class of opiate receptors, for you neuroscience people). Different wheat exorphins, such as the A5 fraction, differ in their binding potency, but as a whole, wheat exorphins exert an opioid effect.
For unclear reasons, wheat exorphins do not provide relief from pain, nor the “high” of other opiates. They “only” cause addictive behavior and appetite stimulation. People who consume wheat increase calorie consumption by around 440 calories per day, every day. There can also be other effects that vary depending on individual susceptibility. People with a tendency towards bulimia and binge eating disorder, for instance, experience 24-hour-a-day food obsessions. Kids with autistic spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, experience behavioral outbursts and abbreviated attention spans (on an already impaired capacity to concentrate). People with paranoid schizophrenia experience worse paranoia, hallucinations, and social disengagement. People prone to depression have more depression and suicidal thoughts. And, oh yes, gliadin-derived opioid peptides, just like Oxycontin, can cause constipation (though bowel inflammation and dysbiosis can convert this to diarrhea in others).
Just as the tobacco industry doped cigarettes for years with added nicotine to increase addictive potential, so Big Food has likewise been doping their foods by adding wheat to every conceivable processed food. Wheat is in nearly all breakfast cereals, granola bars, canned tomato soup, powdered instant soups, taco seasoning, and licorice. Show me a processed food product and I’ll show you something that contains wheat.
Just as the sleazy drug dealer selling you your next hit of crack or heroin profits from your continued addiction, so Big Food acts as your opiate dealer in the wheat exorphin world of addiction. And, just as the drug dealer knows you will be back, else you will suffer withdrawal, sweating, hallucinations, finally begging for your next hit, so Big Food knows you will be back within hours as you begin the exorphin withdrawal process—-tremulous, cranky, and foggy . . . until you get your next hit of a bite of pretzel or bread.