Sourced from: Infinite Health Blog, by Dr. Davis,
originally posted on the Wheat Belly Blog: 2012-02-19
Why do we eat more?
It’s a well-established fact:
Americans eat more.
Several large studies have documented the
increased calorie intake of Americans. This
study, for instance, calculated a 440-calorie increased intake per
day from 1977 to 2006 in 28,400 children and 36,800 adults.
Increased calorie intake came from eating more frequently, more
snacking, but not increased energy density of foods.
Dr. Barry Popkin
(The “p” rankings refer to
percentile ranks, e.g., 10th percentile, 25th percentile, etc.
of calorie intake. Data from the USDA Nationwide Food Consumption
Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES.)
You can see that calorie intake increased
across all groups, across all eating habits, along the three time
periods from 1977-78 to 2003-06.
But why? Many argue that it’s
the increased accessibility of foods, e.g., vending machines,
fast food restaurants on every corner, portable snack foods. Others
argue that it’s largely a problem of soft drinks sweetened with
high-fructose corn syrup that fail to induce satiety, since fructose
is metabolized differently than glucose, not provoking an immediate
insulin response. Still others argue that Americans are just plain
gluttonous and lazy, the habits of Homer Simpson personified, choosing
to eat more and exercise less just because they want to. Doh!
I think there’s merit to all of these
arguments, though to a variable degree in different age groups,
It’s odd, however, that the increase
in calorie intake got its beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s,
precisely when the genetically newly-reconfigured wheat was introduced,
complete with its new gliadin protein, differing from its
predecessors by several amino acids. Recall that gliadin has been
shown to exert opiate-like effects, able to bind to opiate receptors
in the brain, blocked by opiate-blocking drugs like naloxone and naltrexone.
We also know that, when people with celiac
disease remove all wheat/gluten from the diet, calorie intake goes down
400 calories per day. We know that normal volunteers administered
an opiate-blocking drug, such as naloxone or naltrexone, experience a
reduction in calories of around . . . 400 calories per
day. We also know that people with eating disorders, such as binge
eating disorder, reduce calorie intake, yup, 400 calories per day
when injected with an opiate-blocking drug. We also know that a drug
company files its FDA application in 2011 for naltrexone, a drug
already on the market for heroin addiction, for a weight loss
indication; in their clinical trials, overweight people taking
naltrexone reduced calorie intake by . . . 400 calories
per day, losing 22 pounds in the first 6 months.
Anecdotally, we also know that, if all wheat,
and thereby gliadin, is removed from the diet, appetite and desire for
food is much reduced. Calorie intake goes down, weight drops, visceral
fat stores shrink. Read the stories on this blog and its Facebook page and you
can see that this is not the exception; it is the rule
(with few exceptions).
The gliadin protein of wheat is an
appetite-stimulant: It increases desire for more wheat
products, it increases desire for other foods, a constant cycle
of hunger that drives increased consumption. It is responsible
for stomach rumblings at 9 am after a 7 am breakfast.
It’s responsible for the pattern of nocturnal grazing
that many people experience, a constant need to snack after
dinner. It’s responsible for midnight snacking,
eating in the middle of the night when you surely do not need it.
And most health-conscious adults are not drinking bottles and
bottles of soft drinks, nor eating the crap foods from vending
machines, or playing 4 hours of XBox every day. They are
exercising, cutting their fat, and . . . eating more
“healthy whole grains.”
What we don’t have is a
specific gliadin versus placebo feeding study that,
in a diet minus all wheat, is compared in calorie content.
That is something I believe I should do.