Yesterday the CBC documentary show The Fifth Estate was about a medical doctor who wrote a best-seller about zomg wheat is poison stop eating it right this second and you will live forever.
Millions of people are joining the anti-wheat revolution.
Kellogg’s, the world’s largest cereal maker, has seen its biggest drop in sales since the 1970s. Food companies are selling off their struggling bread divisions. It’s all because best-selling health evangelists say that wheat is causing everything from fat bellies to schizophrenia. But do they have science on their side? Mark Kelley takes a hard look at what’s driving a movement that is dramatically changing the way we eat.
There were a couple of women on it, Rachel and Rachel, who are very devout about their hostility to the dreaded Wheat.They didn’t come across as particularly credulous or sappy, but then when they started explaining how they knew Wheat was so very very bad for humans…oh dear. It was both depressing and annoying.
Critics say the anti-wheat claims made by leading health crusader Dr. William Davis are based on shaky science, an investigation by the fifth estate has found.
Davis is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book Wheat Belly, considered the bible of the wheat-free movement. He argues wheat has killed more people than all wars combined, and that it is responsible for an astonishing array of diseases — diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease and autoimmune disease, among many others.
He also claims the wheat we eat now is not what it used to be. Rather, it’s a genetically modified monster he calls “Frankenwheat” — and he says it’s killing us.
I think there’s a rule there – if there’s a “Franken” prefix on it then it’s bullshit.
But the fifth estate’s investigation found that experts in the scientific community say scientific claims made by the anti-wheat movement are questionable at best.
Joe Schwarcz, a chemist at McGill University dedicated to demystifying science and debunking big claims, says, “This is one of these arguments that has one smidgen of scientific fact to it, which is then exploded into a whole blob of nonsense.”
Schwarcz says he hasn’t seen any evidence that wheat has addictive properties, as Davis claims in his book. Schwarcz also says “opioid peptides” are produced when some foods are digested. But just because they can bind to opiate receptors in the brain doesn’t mean they produce a morphine-like effect.
“If we’re going to say that wheat is addictive,” Schwarcz explains, “it’s along the line that people like foods that have wheat in them. It’s not a physical addiction.”
But it’s so much more attention-grabby to say it’s an addiction.
The Canadian Celiac Association, the American Heart Association, the Obesity Society and the American College of Cardiology all refuse to endorse gluten-free diets for anyone who does not have celiac disease.
They must all be on the payroll of
Big Pharma Big Wheat.
Yoni Freedhoff, a family doctor and diet expert who runs a nutrition clinic in Ottawa, says the eating guidelines touted in Wheat Belly are similar to other carb-free diets that get results by dramatically reducing the carbohydrates and calories people eat.
But just reducing carbohydrates and calories is boring. Cutting out Wheat is exciting, because you get that whole purity – eliminate the toxins thing. It’s like learning ballet, or calculus.