I got into a discussion with someone Saturday at the farmers market about wheat. This person was absolutely certain that every single thing that William Davis wrote in his book, "Wheat Belly", is without fault, the absolute truth and inerrant, almost godlike. Hmmm, my brother says the same thing about the bible, and he can't actually prove any of it either, he does have faith though. And I believe that Davis proponents have the same, faith. As did Jim Jones followers.
That might be a bit harsh, good ol' Jimmie actually told everyone the kool-aid would kill them.
Anyway, Mr. Davis in his book makes a lot of weird pronouncements and it seems that many people are taking what he is saying as actual scientific facts and that the conclusions that he draws have some sort of scientific reasoning to support them. In fact, they don't. Davis is just another in a long line of people that want desperately to be the ruler in their own perfect vision of their little world. The fact that he is a doctor of cardiology gives no credibility to his rantings. The man makes conclusions that are outside the scientific process and when one looks at the truth, and even the actual math of his conclusions; he is shown as the charlatan that he really is.
Davis states that one of the constituents of gluten, a protein called gliadin, passes through the blood brain barrier and stimulates the opiate receptors of the brain giving humans a sort of high and causing us to over eat and on average to consume an extra 440 calories a day, every day. Yicks, getting high on food might be a reality, well, except that isn't possible. Gliadin is a huge chain of 22 glutamine molecules and it isn't possible for it to even make it into the bloodstream without it being broken down by the digestive system let alone make it to a opiate receptor in the brain. Even in the "Leaky Gut Syndrome" gliadin can't pass into the blood, other compounds leak in, smaller compounds, not the actual protein complex. Anyway, in the six hours I spent researching this stuff, I found one cool scientific paper about the role of gluten in schizophrenia. (English study) the study has a lot of info, and gives some interesting info about how autoantibodies develop for many compounds like tryptophans, glutamines and dopamines as well as gluten and it is possible that some of those are able to cause specific mental changes in some people depending on their individual body capabilities to handle such compounds. But there is nothing available, other than the Davis conclusion, showing that gluten connects to any opiate receptors of the brain. And then there is just his extraordinary claim that eating wheat makes a human eat 440 extra calories. Simple math, if you ate an extra 440 calories a day for a year, you would gain an extra 40 (that's FORTY) pounds each and every year. So after 5 years, you would begin to look like my ex-wife. After ten years, you would be pretty damn big.
So how come we aren't all hugely grotesquely fat? Well, it goes back to that thing about wanting to rule your own world. www.wheatbellyblog.com/ is a part of the Davis world of fantasy. I looked through some of the posts, not a single one there with any sort of negative opinion. I print my comments whether they support or oppose me. But then I know that I am not any sort of demigod in my little island of the internet, just a visitor with opinions.
Anyway, Davis talks a lot about how wheat is not like ancient wheat, that it now has 42 chromosomes instead of 22 like ancient varieties and plant developers have added in 14 new gluten proteins via a process called somatic cell fusion hybridization. What Davis doesn't say is that the seed development using the technique of fusing cell protoplasts into the callus tissues is EXPERIMENTAL, and is not used at this time to develop any actual plant cultivars for commercial use. Wheat is one of those crops that has had EXTENSIVE cross breeding for several thousand years now, and yes, there are many variations in the chromosomal structures as a result. Many older varieties are still diploidal with many newer varieties being tetraploidal or greater. This doesn't mean that the wheat makes significant numbers of proteins that scientists have no idea what their function is. It means that the strains of grasses and wheat cultivars that make up that specific strain had a certain number of chromosomes and were diploidal in a specific manner and that by cross breeding the strains, new plants with new chromosomal counts and diploid varieties came into existence. And yes, the whole purpose of doing all that was to make wheats that had larger seed heads, more seeds and with the chaff easier to break loose from the seed and a whole host of characteristics that are desirable. Having more chromosomes and being multiploidal are not inherently toxic characteristics.
I think that this last line here is documented by these simple facts. Wheat currently provides 21 percent of all food calories produced in the world. For about 4.5 billion people, it makes up about 20 percent of daily intake of food. In Japan, where daily consumption of wheat is twice that of the US, obesity rates are significantly lower than in the US. In fact, according to the WHO and the CDC, it is Japan, 3.2% and the US 35.7%. I think that is significant, what does doc Davis think? How does that fit into his wheat belly world? And I didn't make those number up and draw conclusions from imaginary numbers. (CDC info) (WHO info)
To me the big thing about the Davis book is his claim that wheat today is a genetically modified version of wheat from the past. Wow, I am the one person that would dispute this and be as vocal as possible if it were in any way true. It isn't, Monsanto did in fact attempt to make some Roundup Ready wheat along with some Bt Toxin wheat. They grew it on some farms in Six states to test it out. But the world opinion of GM wheat is not good, and so 8 years ago they dropped plans to market the stuff and removed it from test plots. It did however show up growing on the side of a road in Oregon earlier this year. Monsanto denied it is responsible for the introduction of the genome into the wild, they still to this day claim it to be sabotage. If the stuff spreads into the general population of wheat in the world then most of the rest of the world will stop buying US wheat, which will be an economic disaster for American farmers, and a whole lot of the world as the US still grows more wheat than any other country. But so far, it appears the contamination has not spread. And it is just another myth in the book by Davis that is pure hokum.
Anyway, I personally write about the degradation of the US food supply all the time. Look at any other entry on this blog and read about how the feds have failed to protect us, the citizens, to the exclusion of those that make money making, growing and selling poorly tested and in many cases completely toxic additives, crops, drugs and food products. All for money. And make no mistake, it is all about money.
Oh yeah, the Davis website, sells a whole lot of crap, and has a whole lot of ads on it. Hmmmm, maybe it is all about money.