WHEAT DIET KILLS CATTLE
Cattle exclusively fed wheat often die from a bloating disorder known as wheat pasture bloat, feedlot bloat, free-gas bloat or frothy bloat. Wheat and barley are fed to cattle because they are a cheap source of high protein grains. These grains result in rapid weight gain for finishing cattle off for slaughter. However, if too much wheat or barley is fed to cattle, especially high gluten containing wheat, the cattle can die. Therefore, the cattle industry knows to mix the feed with other grains.
WHAT IS PASTURE BLOAT AND DO WE EXPERIENCE SOMETHING SIMILAR?
In pasture bloat, the stomach or rumen as it is called in cattle, accumulates excessive gas putting pressure on the heart and lungs leading to death. I have patients who tell me that they feel like they are dying because of the pain and bloating they experience. Some have even said they wish someone could puncture their stomach to let all their gas out. Most no longer feel that way after starting a gluten-free or wheat-free diet. Their bloating is gone.
A PERSONAL STORY ABOUT PASTURE BLOAT
My wife grew up in rural Missouri. Her family had cattle. When I asked her if she had ever heard of pasture bloat she told me a story of trying to help the local veterinarian save one of their cows that developed pasture bloat. Despite puncturing the cow's stomach letting the gas escape, the cow died anyway.
GASSY HORSES FED BARLEY HOPS
Recently, while horseback riding with my daughter, the guide complained about how the horses kept stopping to pass gas and loose green stools, blurting out "we think it's the hops". The ranch gets discarded hops from the local beer brewery that they feed to their horses. Gluten containing hops are giving the horses gas and loose stools!
DIFFICULTY LOSING WEIGHT LINKED TO WHEAT GLUTEN IN DIET
Many of my patients also complain about being unable to lose weight. Yet a diet history reveals that, like most Americans now, they are getting more than 20% of their daily calories from carbohydrates containing gluten. If the cattle industry knows that wheat and barley grains rapidly fatten cattle we should not be surprised at the obesity epidemic in our grain and carbohydrate heavy diet. In contrast, overweight and obese people on a gluten-free diet frequently lose weight.
CAN YOU BE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE AND HAVE CELIAC DISEASE?
Many people who have Celiac disease are overweight or obese. Unfortunately their diagnosis is usually missed because of the misperception that you can't have celiac disease if you are overweight. This is false. Many people with undiagnosed celiac disease are overweight as well as constipated. They usually do have severe bloating symptoms though.
THE MYSTERY OF THE SUCCESS OF THE LOW CARBOHYDRATE OR ATKIN'S DIET EXPLAINED
The low carbohydrate diet, by nature a low gluten diet, is so successful because people lose weight and they note that their headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, brain fog and bloating are better. They lose weight and they feel better. They are therefore motivated to continue. However, reintroduction of carbohydrates, especially those that are high in gluten, results in weight gain and feeling well. However, giving up gluten can be difficult. There are cultural issues, increased cost, and other inconveniences that have to be overcome.
THE ADDICTIVE NATURE OF GLUTEN CONTAINING CARBOHYDRATES
Also, gluten has addictive properties. Gluten is broken down into morphine like proteins called gliadomorphins or gluten exorphins. These well-characterized chemicals have many effects including addictive properties and function impairment.
WHY INCREASED FIBER IN DIET MAY WORSEN YOUR SYMPTOMS ESPECIALLY GAS AND BLOATING
My GI training led me for years to advise people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis, to eat plenty of whole grains and to take fiber supplements. This is also the recommendation of the U.S. government in our Food Pyramid. I eventually stopped pushing whole grains and some fiber supplements because so many patients complained of increased bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort. As an expert on celiac disease, I realize that recommendations of whole grains and gluten containing fiber supplements are not only unhelpful to but also harmful to many people.
SLIMY MUCUS IN YOUR STOOLS, FEELING BLOATED? JOIN THE CATTLE INDUSTRY
Feedlot bloat usually results in a slimy frothy coating of the cattle stomach (rumen). I frequently see this mucus or slimy coating on the surface of the small intestine of my patients when doing endoscopy. I suspect this may be due to excess carbohydrates in the diet. The accumulation of intestinal gas in cattle is due to their inability to eructate (burp). Some cattle become some ill they must be slaughtered early. Increased bacteria production has been implicated. Fermentation of these grains is also believed to be involved. Excess protein content of some wheat like winter wheat high gluten, is also to blame. Wheat is fermented faster and much more than barley, sorghum or corn.
WHAT THE CATTLE INDUSTRY WON'T TELL YOU BUT NEITHER DID YOUR DOCTOR
So, why is wheat given to cattle? It is inexpensive. It produces very fast weight gain and more weight gain than other grains. However, great care must be exercised in using wheat for fattening cattle. Supplements are required because wheat alone can result in low calcium levels that can cause grass tetany, a form of muscle spasms or paralysis. An exclusive or very high wheat diet can cause a ruminant acidosis (high levels of acid in the blood) that is also fatal to cattle.
Is your diet consisting of large amounts of calories derived from wheat and gluten containing carbohydrates? Are you overweight and constantly feeling bloated, experiencing unexplained muscle cramps and aches, headaches, balance difficulties, and abdominal pain? Maybe you should learn from the cattle industry since the doctors are not likely to tell you the truth about the dangers of a grain-based diet.
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A review of bloat in feedlot cattle. Cheng KJ et al. J Anim. Sci 1998. 76:299-308. The Food Doc, Dr. Scot Lewey, is an expert medical doctor specializing in digestive diseases and food related illness, especially food allergies, celiac disease and colitis. Dr. Lewey's is an expert gastroenterologist (specialist in diseases of the digestive tract) and has personal and family experience with gluten and milk sensitivity. For over two decades he has been a practicing physician, clinical researcher, author and speaker. thefooddoc.com - The Food Doc, "Healthy Gut, Healthy Life"
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