Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2014-12-08
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
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are NOT an argument against grain-free: a rebuttal to Consumer Reports
A recent Consumer Reports article
has apparently raised skepticism that being gluten-free is really healthier.
So let’s clear the air on this awful, awful report and expose it
for the cheap shot it is.
First of all, those of you familiar with the Wheat
Belly message understand: Wheat Belly is NOT about being
gluten-free! Despite the popularity of the Wheat Belly message,
I still have to remind critics and people in media of this fact.
Nonetheless, let’s go through the arguments
that Consumers Reports makes and show why they drip thickly with
misinformation, one by one:
1. Gluten-free isn’t more nutritious (and may be less so)
It depends on what you replace gluten-containing foods, doesn’t
it? If you replace gluten-containing foods with gluten-free foods made
with cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato flour, then, yes,
they are absolutely right! Everyone following the Wheat Belly conversation
knows that gluten-free foods have about as much value as old bubble gum
picked up off the sidewalk.
In the Wheat Belly lifestyle, we do NOT replace
gluten-containing foods with processed gluten-free foods. We opt for real
foods, such as eggs, avocados, olives, meats, coconut oil, and
vegetables–surely Consumer Reports wouldn’t be so stupid as
to argue that our foods are less nutritious than gluten-containing foods!
2. You’ll probably increase your exposure to arsenic
They’re right again . . . if we resort to gluten-free
processed foods made with rice flour, which we do not. Rice has
indeed been found to contain inorganic arsenates of the sort that can exert
substantial toxic effects if enough is consumed, as can happen with
plentiful rice consumption. (Rice is a natural concentrator of arsenic; we
can blame agribusiness for lots of bad things, but not this.) The Wheat
Belly lifestyle is grain-free–rice is a grain, i.e., the
seed of a grass. Last I checked, there are no cows or other ruminants
reading the Wheat Belly Blog. So nobody here should be consuming the seeds
of grasses due to the multiple indigestible components in grasses,
including their seeds (a concept discussed at length in Wheat Belly Total Health.)
3. You might gain weight
Yes: if we resort to those awful gluten-free foods.
But if we eliminate gluten-containing
grains–wheat, rye, barley, and I would argue corn (because the zein
protein of corn overlaps substantially in structure with the gliadin of
wheat)–we lose weight, often substantial. This is because
we stop ingesting the gliadin protein that digests to peptides that act
as opiate appetite stimulants, increasing consumption of carbohydrates.
We rid ourselves of wheat germ agglutinin (in wheat, rye, barley, and
rice) that blocks leptin, the hormone of satiety. We also rid ourselves
of amylopectin A of grains responsible for extravagant blood sugar
highs that are accompanied by high blood insulin that causes weight gain.
Getting rid of all grains means substantial weight
loss for the majority, provided you don’t fall into the gluten-free
processed food trap. (The exceptions to weight loss on the Wheat Belly
grain-free lifestyle are nearly always due to idiosyncratic effects of
dairy whey, iodine deficiency or thyroid dysfunction, presence of
prescription drugs such as beta blockers, endocrine disruption from
overexposure to industrial compounds, and a few other factors–but
not due to failure of grain elimination.)
4. You’ll pay more
Once again, only if you buy the processed gluten-free foods. Those of us
on the wheat/grain-free Wheat Belly lifestyle who follow a budget know that,
due to the loss of appetite-stimulation, we either experience
no increase in food costs or a modest cost savings.
5. You might miss a serious health
This is the paternalistic doctor talking
. . . you know, the one who thinks that, despite the emerging
tools that empower people in health–information, categorical
search, smartphone health apps, social media, the astounding wisdom of
crowds phenomenon–people are helpless and stupid and must rely on
the healthcare system for all health decisions. Is this the same
healthcare system who told us to “cut your fats and eat more
healthy whole grains,” while also endorsing replacement of
saturated fats with hydrogenated margarines and polyunsaturates and
horse estrogens for menopausal symptoms that increase cancer risk,
along with countless other blunders and ineffective therapies? And
think of all the lost opportunities to do unnecessary colonoscopies and endoscopies!
In my view, grain elimination, because it
relieves SO many health conditions, should always be a default
solution before resorting to drugs and procedures.
6. You might still be eating gluten, anyway
Yet another indictment of gluten-free processed foods.
But since when is the sloppiness of the food industry a reason to
backpedal on a health argument? This one is plain silly.
Don’t feel bad if you initially fell for
this tripe from Consumers Reports, as even Dr. Alessio Fasano, who did
the brilliant work showing how the gliadin protein of wheat initiates
autoimmunity, put his foot in his mouth by saying “When you cut out
gluten completely, you can cut out foods that have valuable nutrients and
you may end up adding more calories and fat into your diet.” Wow. Being
smart about one aspect of diet does not necessarily mean you know much
about other aspects of diet. Lose the grains, lose the phytates that bind
nutrients and allow gastrointestinal healing to proceed. Grain-free people
experience increased iron levels, increased zinc levels,
increased magnesium levels, increased vitamin B12
levels, among others. Every doctor should also know by now that cutting
fat and saturated fat does not result in reduced cardiovascular risk.
Could Consumer Reports, a self-proclaimed protector
of the consumer, have bowed to industry and allowed what smells like
another grain industry paid placement? I don’t
know, but I know a skunk when I smell one.