Wheat aftermath

Following my 4 oz whole wheat misadventure that yielded the sky-high blood sugar of 167 mg/dl, compared to einkorn wheat's 110 mg/dl, I suffered through a 36-hour period of misery.

After I obtained the blood sugar of 167 mg/dl, I biked hard for one hour. This yielded a blood sugar back down in the 80s. I felt spacey in the ensuing few hours, as well as a little queasy. However, about 12 hours later, I awoke with overwhelming nausea along with that hypersalivating thing that happens just prior to vomiting. It did not come to that, but persisted all through the following day.

The next morning, I could barely concentrate. Trying to read a study (admittedly on the complex topic of agricultural genetics), I had to read each paragraph 4 or 5 times. Abdominal cramps and a bloated feeling also developed, though I was able to eat.

The 2nd night was filled with incredibly vivid dreams and intermittent sleeplessless. I awoke about 5 times through the night, but periods of sleep were filled with detailed, colorful dreams. I dreamt that a large corporation was secretly trying to gain control over the world's water supply, and I snuck onto a complex underwater vessel that was exploring and mapping the coastline of the Great Lakes in preparation. Weird.

I recognized these odd feelings as various facets of wheat intolerance, since they were all reminiscent of feelings I used to experience before I removed wheat from my diet. They were amplified and compressed, likely because I had been wheat-free for so long.

The odd thing is that, despite the modest blood sugar effect of my einkorn experience, none of the gastrointestinal or neurologic effects of wheat developed. So far, two other people with acute gastrointestinal wheat sensitivities have consumed our einkorn bread, also without reproduction of their usual symptoms.

Einkorn contains gluten, though the structure of the many gluten proteins of einkorn differs from that of the wheat bread I consumed, an example of modern Triticum aestivum. 14-chromosome einkorn carries what biologists call the "A" genome, while Triticum aestivum has the combines genomes of 3 plants, the combination of the A, B, and D genomes. It is the D genome that contains the genes coding for the most obnoxious, immunogenic forms of gluten.

So einkorn may not be entirely benign, but it is a good deal less obnoxious than modern Triticum aestivum.

I am awaiting the reports from a few other people on their experiences.

Comments (18) -

  • Dr. Anthony Hyatt

    6/16/2010 12:56:54 AM |

    I am available via teleconference to help you interpret these dreams. The cost for each 30-minute session is $375.

  • Thrasymachus

    6/16/2010 1:17:21 AM |

    Food is definitely a drug, although for most people it produces pleasant sensations. Our society needs to honestly address this if we want to make real changes in peoples' eating habits and health.

  • Jim Purdy

    6/16/2010 6:33:05 AM |

    I often feel bloated, often accompanied by chest (heart?) discomfort and rapid heartbeat after eating bread or any form of grains.

    I don't recall these problems years ago. I am guessing that  either the food ingredients have changed, and/or I have changed (I have developed type 2 diabetes).

    Jim Purdy
    The 50 Best Health Blogs

  • Felix Olschewski

    6/16/2010 7:09:48 AM |

    Dr. Williams, this is amazing. Thank you for sharing your Einkorn story.

  • Laili

    6/16/2010 11:00:59 AM |

    I'm new here. It feels strange reading other people's experience on heart disease. I used to think that I suffer more than the others ...

  • Kevin

    6/16/2010 2:55:45 PM |

    The hypersalivation is something I see regularly in my vet practice.  My guess is saliva has a high pH.  Dogs hypersalivate and swallow to help neutralize an overly acidic stomach.  


  • Anonymous

    6/16/2010 3:08:04 PM |

    Now I understand your abhorrence toward wheat and wheat products!

  • Anne

    6/16/2010 11:44:59 PM |

    How long did you wait between the two breads? I am very sensitive to gluten but my symptoms don't develop until 12-24 hours after ingestion. Could there have been an overlap of symptoms?

    I have been gluten free for the past 7 years and have never eaten gluten on purpose. I don't know how I would react to a piece of wheat bread and I really don't want to find out.

  • Anonymous

    6/17/2010 12:10:11 AM |

    I had the same problem on this last weekend after eating an 8oz beef patty.  Sat in my stomach all night and i was so restless my wife went to the spare room. And let me tell you, I went outside the office frequently on Monday and I don't smoke !

    Of course, it was likely the bread or cheese or maybe the home-made beer which would have residual yeast; but that doesn't normally impact me when the burger veggie or soy based so my conclusion is I should forget trying to move back to being an omnivore.

  • Jim

    6/17/2010 12:24:08 PM |

    After months of a wheat-free diet, my wife and I decided to split a thin crust meats & veggies pizza. I had 2 of 6 slices. Next morning, the runny bowels that I had experienced for years of pasta and bread eating, had returned. Plus, I felt sluggish, listless, un-energetic, crummy. I guess that answered my question about whether I'm gluten sensitive.

  • Matt Stone

    6/17/2010 12:48:10 PM |

    Thanks Dr. Davis.  Truly an awesome and revealing experiment.  Helped to clear up some major cognitive dissonance I had about wheat bashing.

  • Ned Kock

    6/17/2010 2:22:42 PM |

    Dr. Davis.

    Endurance exercise after a meal reduces insulin levels, but not necessarily glucose levels, as the insulin/glucagon ratio is not usually affected.

    Only after an hour or so that glucose levels go down. They actually increase a bit right after the exercise.

    So, from an "area under the curve" perspective, it seems to me that exercising after a meal is counterproductive. The exception to this would be mild exercise, leisurely walking for instance, which would overall help reduce glucose by increasing muscle uptake without the other effects.

    I am also wondering if you did not make matters worse on you by biking after the whole bread meal?

  • Jeromie

    6/17/2010 11:32:25 PM |

    I ate a slice of chocolate cake after giving up wheat as my New Year's resolution. I woke up 5 or 6 times in the middle of the night with an aching stomach pain and the salivating/nauseated feeling you described. I thought it was the sushi, but it didn't get bad enough to throw up. I had forgotten i ate the cake. The next night I woke up a time or two with the same aches and nausea, but was better by the third night. Glad I could relate!

  • Eva

    6/20/2010 1:45:13 AM |

    I wonder if it would help to make a slow rise sourdough bread out of the whole wheat.  I've been looking into wholewheat sourdough as my mother wants to stay healthy but still eat a slice of bread once in a while.  So I want to find the healthiest bread possible for her.  My understanding is that in the old days, most bread was made slow rise style, which gave the starter culture more time to degrade the sugars and toxins in the wheat.  This probably made old style bread healthier than modern bread which is made with fast rising yeast.  But sourdough still has to be made as far as I know with a slow rise process in order to get that sour flavor.  Sourdough is also much lower on the glycemic index than most other breads.  If the sourdough was made with ancient whole grain wheat, it might be healthier yet!  Such a process might help both with blood sugar issues and with wheat toxins.  Such a bread may never be totally safe for the sensitive, but it might help many people enjoy moderate amounts of bread more safely and minimize risks of developing problems down the line.

  • Aromatherapy

    6/20/2010 4:36:47 AM |

    What are the restrictions applied for a person suffering from heart diseases.

  • Soul

    8/14/2011 12:42:17 PM |

    My father last night was having problems after eating wheat.  He, like me, has avoided the grain for many years.  Yesterday afternoon though he joined in the family celebration to eat a small piece of birthday cake for a grandson.  After that. he was complaining of having a headache, feeling tired, and overall was out of it.  I could tell he was a bit spacey.  Hopfully dad will be back to his energetic self soon.  He has several guests to entertain over the next couple days.

  • Dr. William Davis

    8/15/2011 12:50:12 PM |

    Yup. What I call wheat "re-exposure syndromes." Your father's reaction was typical; others experience a food poisoning-like GI distress and diarrhea, asthma, joint pains and swelling, and emotional effects.

  • Ashley

    8/13/2012 1:27:27 AM |

    @ Anonymous

    I would be interested to know if the beef you had was organic grass fed or grain fed. I myself have the same reactions to grain fed industrial chicken, beef, pork, etc as I do to bread

    grain fed beef may be just as bad as bread