Bread in essence should not be an unhealthy thing to eat.
For thousands of years people have eaten bread as a staple of their diet with absolutely no negative health benefits at all.
So....why then are people starting to see massive improvements in their body composition and overall health by cutting bread out of their diet?
The truth is that since the 1950's modern hybridisation methods have been used in order to cultivate strains of wheat which:
Give larger yields, are increasingly disease and weather proof, are a more uniform size which makes them easier to harvest and have larger seed heads and shorter stems which makes it a more efficient crop with less wastage.
This hybridisation and cross breeding involves the equivalent of stretching, cutting and sewing back together the seeds of two plants. This happens again and again which overtime results in significant changes in the cell structure of the wheat. The genetic traits of modern wheat therefore are very much different to the original wheat which had remained relatively the same for hundreds of years.
When the first evidence of increased wheat crop yields came about in the 1960's and 70's it was a cause for celebration. This was lauded as a huge step forward in mans ability to manipulate nature and the original pioneer of crossbreeding Norman Borlaug was quite rightly given the Nobel Peace Prize as his methods ensured that millions of people around the world who might otherwise have died of starvation would be saved. (As it turns out we have huge food wastage in the developed world while people still starve to death elsewhere!)
In the rush to increase yields and in celebration of our ability to influence nature for our own gains these new wheat were released into the animal and human diets in the US and UK with absolutely no testing to ascertain whether there was any health implications in eating these new strains. Wheat was wheat after all and we'd been eating it for hundreds of years.
Many scientists now think that we are seeing evidence of the health implications with wheat intolerance contributing to the onset of obesity, diabetes and celiac disease in record numbers for people of all ages, all nationalities, all shapes and sizes, in men and in women. Current estimates are that upwards of 80% of people may be intolerant of modern wheat and other heavily manipulated grains.
The significant changes in cell structure brought about by hybridisation of wheat strains, as explained above, have drastically changed how our bodies react when we eat anything containing wheat.
Symptoms include but are not limited to inflammation, bloating, digestive problems, migraine and fatigue.
As a marker of how different what we class as wheat these days is compared to the wheat of 200 years ago it is worth considering that wheat was originally popular because it was so hardy. However in chasing crop yield size over all other benefits and also repeated over-farming the same soils the current strains of wheat which we grow in the US and UK could not survive without pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other human interventions.
Another very important difference is that modern wheat has much higher gluten protein content than older strains of wheat. Gluten protein is what makes wheat flour different to rice flour or other wheat free flours. It's what makes it turn doughy, stretchy and more durable when water is added. It also is what makes it rise - bread 100 years ago was a much flatter product than it is nowadays. Think about what this does to your digestive system once your body adds stomach acid to it and try's to break it back down. The physical properties of modern wheat, with the higher gluten protein content, make it much more problematic to digest.
All of the problems noted above are obviously detrimental to optimum bodily function including your ability to burn fat. The bad news does not stop there however.
Because of the carbohydrate make up of modern wheat (amylopectin A if you're interested) 2 slices of modern whole wheat or white bread gives a similar insulin response to a can of pop and a worse insulin response than a mars bar. Without wanting to get too far into it (I'll save that for another email) a high insulin response will lead to sugar being removed from the blood and stored as fat, then a subsequent sharp drop in blood sugar leading to feelings of lethargy, food cravings and irritability which starts a cycle of unhealthy eating (more wheat anyone?) The worst time to spike your insulin levels like this is in the morning which is why 3 eggs for breakfast (eggs have a very low insulin response) is a hell of a lot better for you than two eggs and one slice of toast. Replacing the bread with an extra egg will lead to less fat storage, more stable blood sugar levels, more constant energy supply and you'll be fuller for longer.
Other foods containing wheat are cakes, biscuits, cookies, muffins etc - all the tasty stuff! Co-incidentally these are also the kind of foods which contain a lot of other simple sugars including the worst of the bunch which is man-made High Fructose Corn Syrup so you get a combination of the adverse reactions to wheat and a huge combined insulin response with the simple sugars.
This doesn't mean you have to miss out! It does mean that you have to bake your own cakes, bread, cookies etc. using gluten free flours and natural sweeteners and flavours such as fruit, cinnamon, coconut, 100% natural peanut butter - see below for some awesome websites with some awesome tasty recipes...