The paleo diet is a no wheat diet. If you ever read anything telling you that you can have wheat, or grains, on a paleo diet you can disregard it.
There are many reasons to avoid wheat and other cereal grains but one of the more popular reasons is gluten sensitivity.
Recent numbers from the Canadian Celiac Association says that people with a gluten sensitivity plus people with celiac disease make up around six percent of the population. The numbers also show that the gluten-free market in the US reached $1.3 billion US in sales in 2011 and is expected to grow 31 percent from 2011 to 2014.
But what if you're a person that doesn't have a sensitivity to wheat? This is where matters can get more complicated.
If you're not suffering from any discomfort from eating a food then you may be more apt to write it off as a fad or believe that going on a no wheat diet is not for you. But there is a lot of research that points to the idea that eating all this wheat, that is part of the Standard American Diet, is making us fat and ill.
I tend to agree with this idea that not eating wheat is better for my health than eating it. One of the main reasons for this is from my own experience of trying to lose weight and digestive problems caused by my sensitivity to gluten.
There was an informative article written called 7 Ways Gluten Makes You Fat, Sick and Tired. In the article the author mentions these big problems with gluten:
1. Leaky gut and accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, bloating and other symptoms that contribute to weight gain that is caused by the protein zonulin contained in gluten.
2. Inflammation within the body that is triggered by gluten which can lead to many diseases such as cancer. This also causes increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol which can make it extremely difficult to lose weight. This inflammation can also lead to fatigue and digestive issues.
3. Insulin resistance caused by the naturally high glycemic load of gluten-containing foods. Wheat has a glycemic load of 31.8 which is not too far behind a Mars Bar which has a glycemic load of 42.2. Compare those numbers to a peach which has a glycemic load of 3.1.
Glycemic load is defined as the glycemic index of a food multiplied by the carbohydrate content in a typical serving of that food. Glycemic load allows you to equally compare the effect any given food will have on your blood sugar levels. Go to www.glycemicindex.com to find the glycemic index and glycemic load of common foods.
4. Leptin resistance is caused by lectins found in wheat and cereal grains. Leptin is the hormone responsible for telling your body that you're full and to stop eating. If you become leptin resistant you are more likely to overeat and gain weight.
5. Cravings can be caused by wheat and gluten containing foods as well. These cravings are not a sign that the food is good for you. Rather, your body is creating addictive narcotics called opioid endorphins causing intense cravings for the food that is triggering the reaction.
6. Whole grains can inhibit nutrient absorption and they contain anti-nutrients called phytates.
7. Gluten messes with your thyroid performance which can really make it difficult to lose weight.
Where's the Evidence that Not Eating Wheat is Bad for You?
The bottom line is that there really is no evidence backing up people that say cutting out wheat will cause you to miss out on essential vitamins and minerals. However, there is a ton of evidence written about the health problems caused by cereal grains and gluten.
In fact, you can get more essential vitamins and nutrients into your diet by eating more fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and lean protein than you ever could by eating a bunch of whole grains all of the time.
If there is some sort of study that proves the opposite then I want to see it.
The next time someone accuses you of missing out on key nutrients because of your paleo diet then I suggest you ask them point blank which nutrients they're talking about. The response will make you laugh. Not with them... at them.
Going no wheat may seem difficult and time consuming at first but with a little planning you'll soon find it easy and satisfying.