In the last post in this series, I discussed how modern wheat is different from ancient wheat because of genetic modification due to the need for greater crop yields. Modern Triticum aestivum (wheat) is unable to survive without human intervention, fertilization and pest control. Kind of reminds me of Jurassic Park when the scientists made the dinosaurs in the movie all lysine dependent (trying to keep them dependent on humans to live) then the dinosaurs mutated and we all know how that story ended…ooops! The point is don’t screw with mother nature, she knows what she’s doing.
Due to genetic modification, modern wheat is about 70% carbohydrate and is lower in protein than ancient wheat (read more about ancient wheat at www.growseed.org). The carbohydrate in wheat is 75% amylopectin and 25% amylose. Amylopectin is very efficiently digested and easily turned into sugar. The specific type of amlyopectin in wheat is amylopectin A which has been called a “super carbohydrate” as it is the most readily turned into blood sugar of all the types of amylopectin.
In this study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants were given a diet of 70% amylose or 70% amylopectin. Those on the amylopectin diet had higher glucose and insulin responses after a meal. Due to the high amylopectin content, white bread has a higher glycemic response than table sugar (according to the glycemic index). So why does this matter for health?
The reason it matters is because of insulin. As I have discussed in previous posts, high blood sugar (from amylopectin and other refined carbohydrates), leads to increased insulin, which leads to increased inflammation, and then to chronic diseases (diabetes, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and even mental illnesses- more on that in a future post). Insulin is also a storage hormone and causes food to be stored…excess food leads to excess storage (ie FAT). The only way to get rid of fat is to allow insulin levels to decrease enough in the body so the fat can actually come OUT of the cells. So, due to its high amylopectin content, wheat elevates blood sugar leading to not only excess weight, but a whole myriad of other health problems. How is this a “safe” food again?
PS When I was writing this post, I came across this article from 2011 that basically says how great the genetic modification of wheat is. Ha! Enjoy!