Here's a newsflash that shouldn't shock you too much... carbs are addictive! Bread, cereal, pasta, pastries, pancakes... yes, all addictive. Your favorite macaroni and cheese dish from Ditka's and those homemade biscuits that your grandmother makes are called comfort foods for a reason... but these fav foods might be closer to a drug than you think.
We all know that we are much more likely to overeat on french bread and cheesecake than hard boiled eggs and brocolli, but why?
I'm deep into The Protein Power Plan by Dr. Michael Eades where he points out the significant research showing that cereal grains, especially wheat, barley, maize and even some dairy contain opioid substances called exorphins. I've heard of endorphins, they make us feel good right? Endorphins are those crazy little hormones that get released in our body when we laugh, cry, exercise, or have sex! But exorphins, let's look at those.
Exorphins: Opioid peptides derived from food proteins. Exorphins are primarily found in wheat gluten and casein and show morphine-like properties when digested in the body. This leads to a sense of well-being and a reduction of anxiety that makes us want to keep eating and can to a degree lead to addiction! Cookies and morphine, who knew? There is no doubt that carbohydrates are top dawgs on the list of foods that we crave and have a hard time saying no to even for the most disciplined of Paleo disciples. This is just one more reason that wheat should have no place in the diet of someone looking to improve both their body composition and their health.
Let's recap what we already know and have learned:
- Wheat consumption drives up insulin production, making us fat.
- Excess insulin can and most likely will increase your likelihood for developing diabetes.
- We eat wheat containing carbohydrates like bread, cookies, cake and pasta, supplying our body with peptides that have morphine-like addictive properties that make us want to keep doing it!
I always tell my athletes to treat their food as a drug. Though that daily dose of wheat-based goodness might not seem all that bad and will undoubtedly have less effect than some intravenous morphine, we have the power through our food choices to affect our hormones several times/day, everyday for the rest of our lives. Think about it.