August 20, 2011

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#6 Acne and Inflammation and Joint Pain Oh My!

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Grains and wheat have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our digestive system, from causing intestinal damage to blocking nutrient absorption.

Last time we introduced the concept of insulin and high amounts (like typical servings of wheat based products) can cause excess fat, especially around your midsection.

Insulin production (and excessive insulin production) brings along some other friends into the picture. We are going to look at Prostaglandins and IGF-1 (don’t worry; I’ll explain in easy to understand terms and there won’t be a quiz).

Inflammation: This has been in the spotlight and headlines of late; so what’s the big deal?

First off, inflammation isn’t all bad or evil. It is a part of life and is involved with healing and growth. However, too much inflammation, and constant or chronic inflammation is a big problem.

Insulin triggers inflammation through a few pathways, on of which involves the production of prostaglandins. These pro-inflammatory can interfere with normal cell activity (in excess) like reducing the insulin sensitivity of cells creating a negative feedback loop of more blood sugar, insulin, inflammation etc. Inflammation is connected to accelerated aging, fat gain, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and arthritis (just to name a few).

Also recall from countdown #1 and countdown #2 that wheat and grains can damage the gut lining, allowing food particles to go where they shouldn’t. Our immune system sees something out of place and attacks, but now it might attach a protein sequence elsewhere in our body, like our joints.

Plus, the higher the circulating blood sugar the more these can come into contact with proteins and alter their structure (glycation). When proteins are glycated they basically create free radicals which leads to more inflammation; and this can damage the collagen of joints and lead to arthritis.

So wheat can lead to pain and inflammation in a lot of ways!

Excessive carbs (which are easy to come by with wheat) not only signal the production of insulin but insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 is linked with the increased production of keratinocytes which contribute to acne.

High insulin levels also lead to a hormonal response that active the sebum producing glands in your skin which encourages them to produce more oil.


By now you are probably banging your computer and hopefully not closing this blog page versus the thought of giving up bread. Don’t fret! Although this blog deals with wheat and grains, certain grains can be tolerated a little in moderation. Different types are becoming more and more available (recall from an earlier intro that I promised an alternative at the end; stick around for some commercially available wheat free cookies).

You can always load up on more steak or a shrimp cocktail too.

Why does the thought of going without wheat trigger such a response? Well it is normal; not good, but normal.

Tune in a couple of days and discover a few surprising reasons why wheat and grains cause addictive responses – and know that we don’t have to accept this! Take the Power Back with YML Health & Fitness Solutions.