The main problem with refined carbohydrates like wheat (high GI/GL) and sugar is that they can alter the microflora (good bacteria) content in the digestive tract and that can lead to an increased energy extraction and fat deposition, change hormone secretions, cause leaky GUT and cause metabolic endotoxemia and the end results is a craving for more wheat and sugar and what follows is weight gain. The bad flora flora in the digestive tract and wheat is often the main culprit in the sugar/insulin rollercoaster that drives sugar-burners’ need to eat more wheat. Candida is normally the driving force behind these cravings for survival.
Wheat contains exorphins (exogenous morphine). It contains exorphins (gluten exorphins) from gluten and gliadorphins from gliadin. There’s also evidence that gluten exorphins do show up in the bloodstream after ingestion of wheat when the patient has celiac disease.
Wheat may be addictive, but not to everyone. If your gut is permeable enough to allow passage of opioid peptides into your blood, wheat can have an addictive potential. If your gut is healthy and intact – then addiction is highly unlikely.
Wheat is not the only food whose proteins are degraded into opioid peptides. Casein, a dairy protein, can also be cleaved to form exorphins. Human milk even contains a number of dairy exorphins, most notably beta-casomorphin (casein morphine). Beta-casomorphin levels are highest in colostrum, the highly nutritious “first milk” that infants get from their mothers. Hemorphins is a class of opioid peptides that come from hemoglobin, a protein found in the red blood cells of vertebrates. If you like your steak bloody rare, you are consuming hemoglobin, and your stomach is probably cleaving the hemoglobin up into hemorphins. Hemorphins already appear naturally in your cerebrospinal fluid, brain, and plasma.
Other food compounds can act as exorphins too. Flavonoids, those bioactive plant compounds with antioxidant properties, can interact with opioid receptors. Epicatechin, a flavonoid found in green tea and chocolate, can act like an exorphin. Its cardioprotective effects are even thought to be mediated through its opioid activity.
Spinach contains an exorphin which, along with a gluten exorphin variant, has actually been shown to improve the learning ability of rodents. It also does not mean that you should avoid chocolate and give your baby formula instead of breastmilk because you’re worried about addiction. It means that the effects of food exorphins aren’t clear-cut and they aren’t necessarily “bad.”
In conclusion – Wheat addiction YES in leaky GUT- wheat can cause addictive behaviour when the digestive system has become leaky (food intolerances / food allergies) because of candida overgrowth and their need for more wheat and sugar for survival.
If you are a refined carbohydrate addict and you cannot overcome the addiction, contact your Integrative Healthcare Professional.