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Mind altering properties of wheat

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  • Mind altering properties of wheat

    I like to count myself as someone who doesn't really get health complications from eating wheat, any more than any other starchy carbohydrate. That didn't stop me putting on loads of weight by living off pasta for three decades. Nor did it stop me from losing a lot of weight once I gave up pasta and my delicious home made bread.

    So, I also found that its ok for me to have a bit of carbohydrate now and then, and not to excess. Sweet potatoes fried in deep lard and dripping, for example. Carrots and peas are also starchy veg. So far so good. For whatever reason I do not get a sugar high from them.

    But, two pieces of fried bread with my bacon yesterday should have had no effect. It is not a lot of starch, after all. 2oz? But today I ended up eating the bread bun that came with my cooked meat for lunch (instead of chucking it) and then having two bowls of the ever-present work ice-cream. I just wonder if the two slices of bread the day before, and the bread at lunchtime didn't have a mind altering effect and made me predisposed to eating more, along with a big slug of sugar. I've found that with tobacco - one cigarette can be all alone, but two or three rarely stay that way.

    I wondered if wheat flour didn't have a mind-altering effect over and above other carbohydrates. Maybe I should try avoiding all wheat products for a while instead of minimising them. See what happens.
    Last edited by billp; 01-30-2012, 03:50 PM. Reason: Minor typos

  • #2
    It likely has to do with elevated levels of insulin that you are not used to. Physiological, not psychological.

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    • #3
      billip - I believe in your premise.

      Bread and pasta are the only carbs I've found addictive after I cut down my sugar intake to occasional. This applies to rye bread as well as wheat bread. I only cooked my own bread once. I ate the whole loaf within a couple of hours. I found bread much more addictive than pasta.

      I am gluten intolerant. The yeast, histamine, and mold toxins in breads are other significant addictive and mind-altering factors. In the middle ages moldy rye bread causing ergot poisoning which was associated with madness.

      It has nothing to do with insulin in my case because eating white rice or ice-cream never has the same effect.
      F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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      • #4
        Both wheat and dairy proteins convert to opiate-like substances called exorphins in the human body which are thought to be responsible for their addictive qualities.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by paleo-bunny View Post
          billip - I believe in your premise.

          Bread and pasta are the only carbs I've found addictive after I cut down my sugar intake to occasional. This applies to rye bread as well as wheat bread. I only cooked my own bread once. I ate the whole loaf within a couple of hours. I found bread much more addictive than pasta.
          I definitely find it very hard not to finish up the leftover pasta and bread that my children eat.

          I am gluten intolerant. The yeast, histamine, and mold toxins in breads are other significant addictive and mind-altering factors. In the middle ages moldy rye bread causing ergot poisoning which was associated with madness.
          I have read about that. It is quite interesting. They think the Strasburg dancing fever might have been caused by a rye mould - people manically dancing themselves to death.
          It has nothing to do with insulin in my case because eating white rice or ice-cream never has the same effect.
          For some reason I feel no desire at all to eat white rice any more. Haven't had more than a spoonful for months. But I miss pasta and bread and still end up eating it (if a lot less). Today's ice-cream made me feel very strange, but I think that is due to not being used to the sugar any more. A six mile bike ride from office to station should burn it off.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dig62 View Post
            Both wheat and dairy proteins convert to opiate-like substances called exorphins in the human body which are thought to be responsible for their addictive qualities.
            That's interesting. I guess the appeal is a bit like the rare occasions when I was exposed to a bit of morphine. Like when I had my wisdom teeth out, and once when I had caline and morphine as a child with diarrhoea (big medical bottle, pasty liquid). On both occasions the morphine was very moreish.

            I don't know what I would do without dairy though. I have (full fat) milk in my tea and coffee, usually topped up with cream. And cream on anything or drunk form the pot. If I give them up it will mean giving up caffeine too. I think humans have milked animals for a lot longer than we've grown wheat though. Maybe the raw variety is ok and the processed/UHT type is more addictive.

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            • #7
              billp, you will have it way easier if you just absolutely do not eat any wheat produts at all. Go cold turkey. I haven't had any wheat products since September or October and honestly it has not been much of a struggle. I don't even want it anymore. When we have pasta, my partner has the pasta and I pour the sauce over a burger patty or a sweet potato. Leftovers go in the fridge for him, not for me.

              I have made many dietary changes for this diet so it is hard to ascribe a single change to any particular result, but I honestly believe that the elimination of wheat has been one of the more important changes. Before, my life was a daily struggle against the muffins calling me from the coffeecart downstairs followed by self-hatred and hoping that a long walk at lunch would "burn it off", which of course it never does. It's not about the calories, anyway. It's about the struggle. Now I feel deeply happy and calm, at peace with myself, energetic and all those aches and pains are gone. I credit the lack of wheat for at least some of these results.

              When I think back to my childhood there was a time when I was around 4 years old where I was allergic to a lot of things. They said I was allergic to yeast so I was not allowed to eat bread. They fed me rye-crisp instead, which I loathed, and bisquick biscuits which I loved and could eat non-stop. I still remember how a big mouthful would form a thick dough-ball on the roof of my mouth. Anyway, I think buried in there somewhere is a suggestion that wheat is not good for me, neither physically nor psychologically. People should have childhood memories about their bicycles and dollhouses, not about thick doughballs on the roofs of their mouths, you know what I mean?
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dig62 View Post
                Both wheat and dairy proteins convert to opiate-like substances called exorphins in the human body which are thought to be responsible for their addictive qualities.
                That explains it! My ultimate addictive food used to be rye bread with cheddar cheese and mango chutney.
                F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                • #9
                  I firmly believe that wheat has mind-altering qualities as I've seen it with my 4 kids- especially my 2 girls. They get a little bit of a belly ache when they eat wheat, but the main effect is on their moods. They go crazy! Angry, rotten, whiny, sobbing messes! And they'll snarf it down any time they get the chance. (They are 2 and 4, so they haven't quite gotten the correlation between bread and crackers and feeling awful yet.) My boys are at least starting to make the connection and think about what goes in their mouths. Ever since I started cutting back on wheat last year (and then went cold turkey off grain in January) when I have it, I can feel it in my brain. Anyone else ever feel that? It's bizarre! Like this burning wave that washes over my head. No beuno. It doesn't even tempt me anymore.
                  I think the more we abstain, the more we can feel the damage it is doing to our bodies.
                  You don't have to be sick to get better.
                  Female, 31 years old, 5'8"
                  Primal start: 1/2/2012
                  My Primal Journal
                  Living, loving and learning.

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                  • #10
                    Have you read or heard of the book Wheat Belly? The author, Dr. William Davis, makes a very strong case that wheat does have neurological effects above and beyond even regular sugars and carbs. You can find more information on his blog here: Wheat Belly | Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight
                    "Since going primal, I've found that there are very few problems that cannot be solved with butter and/or bacon fat."

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                    • #11
                      Hey guys, I would LOVE if you could hook me up with studies about this. I'm currently taking psychology and may end up doing a paper on just this very thing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
                        Hey guys, I would LOVE if you could hook me up with studies about this. I'm currently taking psychology and may end up doing a paper on just this very thing.
                        I would love to read some studies about this as well. I am going to guess that none exist though.

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                        • #13
                          David Kessler says much the same in The End of Overeating, how mice get a dopamine response when eating wheat.
                          5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
                            Hey guys, I would LOVE if you could hook me up with studies about this. I'm currently taking psychology and may end up doing a paper on just this very thing.
                            My main google link endorphin effects of wheat - Google Scholar
                            Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science, Volume 13, Number 2 - SpringerLink
                            Demonstration of high opioid-like activity in isolated peptides from wheat gluten hydrolysates 10.1016/0196-9781(84)90180-3 : Peptides | ScienceDirect.com
                            The effect of wheat proteins on rat behaviour and the effect of naloxone hydrochloride on this response 10.1016/S0271-5317(81)80101-7 : Nutrition Research | ScienceDirect.com
                            http://www.modernherbalist.com/HLCMindlinx.pdf

                            I also seem to remember a lot of references in Wheat Belly
                            Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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                            • #15
                              Any human studies? I pretty much disregard rat studies.

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