After a series of gout attacks in Hilo five years ago, I now carefully avoid foods I know cause my gout. I do not eat canola oil because of its uric acid content; corn-fed and rape-seed fed meats and fish; and sugars because they are all highly acidic and can bring on gout attacks. I also make sure my drinking water is not acidic. So, I was really surprised when I had another gout attack a week ago, after not having problems for so long.
Surprisingly, my last two gout attacks followed eating a lot of bread. The first episode happened after I ate pizza and bread with olive oil at a restaurant. I assumed at the time that the olive oil had been substituted with canola oil and was the cause of the attack. However, my most recent gout attack happened after I ate a lot of English muffins and French bread. I normally do not eat much bread and prefer rice and rice pasta with my meals. However, I tend to eat wheat when I am restricting my calories. Even though bread has never shown up on any list as a cause for gout, I am beginning to think it may be another food that is contributing to my gout attacks.
When we started researching the negative health effects of bread, we found that there is a “modern” wheat controversy. We did not realize that wheat today is very different than what we ate as kids, the result of intensive crossbreeding to make it shorter and hardier. Doctor Davis, author of “Wheat Belly”, claims this new dwarf wheat has a different protein structure and contains the starch amylopectin A which is absorbed in the body like a super sugar. According to Doctor Davis, eating wheat products, even organic whole-grain wheat makes you hungry, fat, and results in other side effects like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
We are skeptical of miraculous health claims from diets, especially by doctors, however after reflecting on what we were eating during the times we felt really healthy over the past 30 years, it seems like it was when we had very little wheat in our diet. With the agony of my recent gout attack fresh in my mind, we were very willing to start on a no-wheat diet. Another motivation is that weight-loss, in particular belly fat, is a reported result of getting this starch and gluten out of the diet. Even on our restricted calorie diet, we have 10 stubborn pounds of fat that we can not keep off.
We found studies on the negative health effects of eating amylopectin starch. This type of starch is absorbed so rapidly into the blood stream that it causes a huge spike in insulin which causes calories to be stored as fat, even when eating a low calorie diet. This may explain why we are not losing weight eating low calorie breads and tortillas. Amylopectin also causes an increase in production of LDL cholesterol and inflammation in the body, similar to the effects of eating high fructose corn syrup.
We have been on a wheat-free diet for ten days now and we noticed right away that we felt much less hungry, but we haven’t had any weight loss yet. The relief from hunger may be due to taking gluten out of our diet, but since rice and potatoes have as much amylopectin starch as wheat, we may have to forego those foods to get the weight loss benefit. While contemplating that, we plan to remain wheat-free and see if we get some of the health benefits others are claiming just by removing wheat from their diet.