Maintaining Blood Sugar | The Gluten Connection

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That is a giant gummy bear in the picture. Consuming that would be 1 very bad way to regulate your blood sugar. Let’s talk about another…

You probably know that if you eat foods that spike your blood sugar, that’s not good. You may not totally “get” why, but you get the idea…high blood sugar means you ate something that was sugary, and at some level, you know that is not good for you. Right? ok. So did you know this?….

Whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar MORE than 2 Tablespoons of sugar.

It doesn’t matter if it’s fancy 9-grain or the weird wheat bread that is white (gotta trick those kiddies who only want white bread!) Whole wheat bread is a high glycemic index food, and was the main food cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, removed from his patients’ diets when he was trying to help them avoid obesity & its’ related diseases (namely, diabetes and heart disease).

The curious side effect of doing this? His patients reported back in the following months with not just normalized blood sugars (diabetics became NON-diabetics, no sign of the disease at all & no more need for medication!) but they also reported back with:
*major weight losses
*skin rashes they’d had for decades were suddenly gone
*acid reflux clearing up entirely, rheumatoid arthritis pain improved & disappeared
*asthma symptoms were eliminated
*deeper sleep & greater focus was reported
*athletes reported more consistent performance
*and even irritable bowel syndrome so severe a patient was looking at a colon removal – healed within 1 year

Many of his patients were NOT intolerant to gluten based on a blood or saliva test – yet they STILL improved their overall health by removing wheat/gluten from their diet.

Have I got your attention? Given the health stats of the US population, either you see yourself or someone you care about in the list above. This was NOT intended by Dr. Davis to be a study on the removal of wheat/gluten from the diet. He simply wanted to lower, then stabilize, their blood sugar by removing foods that severely raise blood sugar, wheat being one of the biggest influencers of blood sugar.

Once Dr. Davis started seeing consistent results like this, he began to investigate what exactly was going on here. If you look at every disease or condition above, they are ALL rooted in inflammation.

Wheat (and all products made using wheat and all of wheat’s by-products) contain gluten. What we know already is that people with gluten intolerance are highly affected by gluten. It cuts through the gut lining causing food particles to float around the body where they do not belong and set off immune responses that can cause cancer, PCOS, RA, IBS, allergies, reflux, and a list that is miles long of other symptoms.

What Dr. Davis was seeing, and explained so well in his book, Wheat Belly, is that “everyone, to some degree, is intolerant to gluten. Gliadin, the protein within gluten (which is within wheat) has the unique ability to make your intestine permeable. It triggers the release of a protein that handles intestinal permeability. This protein, called zonulin, unlocks the tight junctures of your gut wall & allow for food particles to pass through, making a “leaky gut”.”(1)

Think of it this way: Our stomach is billions of cells linked together by a seam, just like the seams in your clothing. Now remember, whether “intolerant” via a blood or saliva test or not, gluten comes along & once in the gut, zonulin realizes its time to party & comes out of the woodwork.

Zonulin is able to act like a needle and un-stitch the seam of cells in your gut. Breaking down food in your gut is an incredible process, & one that must be tightly controlled. And when the tight junctures of the gut are opened, that food can go anywhere in the body it wants. Once food escapes to other areas of the body, the immune system mounts a response, and if a particle of pizza is sitting near the ovaries, guess who’s under threat of developing some kind of fertility issue?

FYI – there are only a few other things in this world that share the ability to unlock those tight junctures of the gut lining. They include cholera & dysentery. Not the best company to be in, eh gluten?

So, it’s now established that gluten is a total douche canoe when it comes to your gut lining, whether you’re blood/saliva-tested as intolerant or not. But what about the blood sugar deal that started this whole blog post out?

Go back & look at the partial list of conditions above, that Dr. Davis saw improved in his patients. They are all rooted in inflammation. When your blood sugar is dis-regulated, inflammation runs rampant in your body. It will be very difficult to keep fat off your body (due to perpetual hormone imbalances) you will be slow to recover from workouts & athletic performances, & you will be incredibly susceptible to other diseases like heart disease & cancer, if left unchecked long enough.

While the process from high blood sugar to heart disease is a long one best saved for another blog post – understand this – when you ingest a food with a high glycemic index (like wheat bread, sugar, or processed snacks) a flurry of hormones are released to handle this. Because, you see, if that sugar was not managed out of your blood stream, you’d be dead before sunset. You cannot walk around with sugar coursing through your veins.

What foods have as high a glycemic index as wheat bread? Dried, sugar-rich fruits are higher, as are cornstarch, rice/potato/tapioca starch. That’s about it. For what it’s worth – salmon & vegetables have a glycemic index of, essentially, zero. (2)

So your body does what any good body should do – it uses hormones & metabolic responses to mitigate the blood sugar & get things “back to normal.” Well, sky-rocket your blood sugar enough times & you’ll permanently damage the system…enter type-II diabetes. When your blood sugar is dis-regulated, visceral fat (the stuff around your mid-section) starts showing up.

Visceral fat is a truly remarkable in that it deals double, triple, even quadruple blows upon the body.“Unlike fat in other areas of the body, visceral fat provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body, and in men, produces estrogen…hello man-boobs,” writes Dr. Davis.

Visceral fat not only produces abnormally high levels of inflammatory signals, but itself as a unit is also inflamed. It is filled with inflammatory molecules that empty directly into the liver, which in turn responds by producing yet another sequence of inflammatory signals. Visceral fat can almost be looked at like another organ…one you did not come with when you popped out of your Momma’s belly. You grew that sucker all by yourself, and it could very well be the organ that kills you (& will certainly be the organ that most disrupts the quality of your life).

So do yourself a favor & learn to manage your blood sugar. Eliminate the foods from your diet that have the highest glycemic index *it’s worth noting that foods on your grocers’ shelves that bear the label of “ADA [American Dietetic Association] Approved” are generally wheat-based & have some of the highest glycemic indices out there….oh what $$ can buy…* And for Gods’ sake, would you acknowledge that there are so many more foods out there that should hold a higher place in your life than gluten? It’s not good for anyone, whether you have the special “gluten intolerant” label on your medical chart or not. 

All I want is for you to live a high quality, optimally fit life – and for you to see that it is NOT HARD to do it without gluten. And if you can save yourself some diseases down the road, or lacking performance in the short-term, then you’re all the better for it. And PS – just because you are not clinically diagnosed as gluten intolerant now, does not mean you won’t develop it down the line. But that doesn’t matter anyways…because every person’s gut is intolerant to gluten regardless of clinical diagnosis.

Dr. Davis listed his resources in his index. Here are the ones I sited today:
(1)Drago S, El Asmar R, Di Pierro M et al. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: effects on celiac and nonceliac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scand J Gastroenterol 2006;41:408-19
(2)Glycemic Index_Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, University of Sydney:

2 thoughts on “Maintaining Blood Sugar | The Gluten Connection

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  2. jan says:

    why don’t all dr’s talk about wheat and high blood sugar…oh excuse me of course they like to push pills for the $$$$ kick backs….I’m going gluten free…thank you ,this was very informative and written in laymens terms…

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