At Frog End we have initiated "wheat-free Wednesday's". Like dairy products, wheat contains addictive opioid peptides that make you want to eat more and more and indeed that does seem to be the case with me. I love bread and could happily eat it with every meal. I am a bread addict - there I said it!
Unfortunately wheat isn't all that good for you for a number of reasons:
1) Firstly, wheat isn't colourful - generally the less colourful a food is the less nutritious it is (see What Colour Is Your Diet). Unfortunately most staple foods around the world lack colour (the only exception that I know of is sweet potatoes in Okinawa - one of the reasons that Okinawans are known for their incredible longevity and exceptional health in old age). There's a growing body of evidence that it's much healthier to get most of your calories from vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds than from grains and other sugary foods.
2) Wheat causes inflammation throughout the body. If you think of any of the medical conditions ending in the suffix "itis" then these are all related to inflammation of a particular organ - appendicitis, arthritis, dermatitis, meningitis, tonsillitis etc and wheat causes inflammation! It doesn't take a genius to realise that a diet full of wheat (even wholewheat) is going to cause a multitude of problems.
3) A substance contained in wheat called "phytic acid" can bind minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, thereby preventing them from being absorbed by the body.
4) Wheat consumption is associated with several brain diseases including autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia.
5) Gluten intolerance can lead to coeliac disease - a result of the body seeing gluten in the digestive tract as a foreign invader and attacking not only the gluten, but also the digestive tract itself.
6) Modern wheat is completely different to the wheat that we used to grow. Even ignoring all the chemicals used during the production process we have to take into account that modern wheat is genetically modified, less nutritious (lower in protein and in many essential minerals than it was only 100 years ago) and prepared in a completely different manner (i.e. no longer soaked and sprouted or baked with slow-rising yeast). I'll hopefully write another blog post on sprouting grains in the near future.
There are probably many more good reasons for reducing our wheat consumption, but grains are an area that I'm very much still researching. In fact whilst finding information for this blog I've just read that it's best to cut out wheat altogether rather than reducing the amount that you eat because of the withdrawal symptoms. All I can say is that I will think about it. I do love my bread!