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Whole Wheat Causes Cancer? - Need Nutrition Expert



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SLASALLE
SparkPoints: (164,873)
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Posts: 9,139
11/5/12 6:44 P

Thanks to everybody, including our nutrition expert, for all of the information and links. For now, I'm just continuing what I'm doing - moderation in all things. What Becky says makes total sense about the AMOUNT of wheat people are eating.

I will be checking out more info, but I'm not making any changes at this point.



FP4HLOSER
Posts: 968
11/5/12 5:52 P

I certainly would not change doctors since you said you've been going to her for years and she is a great doctor and always up-to-speed on medical research. Since you seem to trust her then I would talk to her further and ask for details. I had an ER doc tell me that there is wayyyy much more we don't know yet about the human body and the information changes constantly.

Anarie---I don't think the OP said her doctor had not read the book, only that she had not. I could have missed that though.



ANARIE
Posts: 12,375
11/5/12 3:18 P

I think it's time for a new doctor. Think about it:

1)she wants you to make changes for no good reason: when you told her what was WORKING for you, she didn't even listen.

2) she's giving you advice based on a mass-market popular-press book that she didn't even READ!!!! Listening to a book on tape is not the same as reading it, and credible medical books aren't the ones that come out on tape.

Davis is not a credible source. He never even bothered to find out the history of the "mutant short wheat" he's villifying. He says "wheat changed, maybe 5000 years ago or maybe 50 years ago."

Um. If you're writing a book, don't you think you should narrow that down?

The "short wheat" he's talking about isn't a mutant or a GMO or a hybrid or anything like that. It's an heirloom variety that had almost died out because it wasn't pretty. It doesn't wave in the wind and it's kind of a pain to harvest because the stalks are short and tough, and it doesn't have the greatest yields. But not too long ago, farmers were losing crops of regular wheat to hailstorms, which have become more frequent recently. It occurred to them that a shorter variety would stand up to that better. Someone found this short variety still being grown in Central Europe, and revived/recovered it. Some farmers still grow the taller, prettier kind, but others are sacrificing a little bit of beauty and a little bit of yield for greater durability.

That's all. The stem is different, but the part you eat is the same, and the dwarf wheat is an OLDER, more "natural" variety, not some new mutant.

So the whole wheatbelly thing is based on a made-up premise, that somehow some kinds of wheat must be mysteriously evil, and he never even bothered to ask an agriculture expert about what varieties are being grown, where they came from, and why they're chosen. That's half a day's research, a couple of phone calls, and Davis couldn't be bothered. That's not the kind of person I want to take health advice from.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,528
11/5/12 1:08 P

It is not that wheat is the enemy---it is the amounts that many people are consuming....which brings about too many calories consumed, too many carbs consumed and resulting in one being overweight and or obese.
Think of those extremely large bagels and buns, piles of pasta...plus the intake of pastries, cake, cookies, etc.

If you divide your plate in fourths; only 1/4 is to be covered by your grain serving...that's only 1/2 cup pasta, a small dinner roll, a small slice of bread. This is how to do wheat and whole wheat correctly!!
Dietitian Becky





SRANDALL381
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Posts: 13
11/5/12 11:51 A

Wow! I always thought that eating wheat was healthy, vs white. Guess it's something to think about.



FITZAME81
SparkPoints: (116)
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Posts: 31
11/5/12 9:42 A

I've read a lot of things about wheat not being good for people and I think they might be on to something. I no longer eat wheat or other grain products (pasta, cereal, etc.) or simple sugars and I must say I don't really miss them. I fill up on meats, fats, vegetables, fruits and some dairy and feel great. An old knee injury that has plagued me for 15 years (at all weights) no longer hurts and I've dropped over 30 pounds in 3 months. Whether my dietary changes will help me avoid cancer, I don't know. But I do know that I feel better and don't have the joint pain that I used to, so I will continue on this path.



RUSSELL_40
Posts: 16,826
11/2/12 10:54 A

I don't eat wheat , since I eat low carb, but I have to wonder at a claim that it causes cancer. Anyone give any though to what else we put into a loaf of bread? I do believe that wheat can cause weight gain in some people, because it is a trigger food, and they binge. Weight gain could cause cancer over time.

If I were to get cancer while eating wheat bread though.. I would be looking at all the sugar we add in nowadays for preservation, and taste. Even if you were eating wheat straight from a field like a cow, cancer could be caused by pollution, and environmental factors.

I don't like bread, or think it is healthy, but not sure it is the wheat part that is the unhealthy part. Will cutting out bread offset cancer, when Americans average 150 + lbs of sugar ingested yearly?

I think that cancer has risen because of all the bad food we eat, and singling out wheat is silly. If you want to clean up your diet, cut all these poor foods out, and eat lean meats, plenty of fruits/vegetables, oils, cheeses, eggs, beans etc. Foods at their most basic.

You still might get cancer though.



SEALIONGIRL
Posts: 300
11/2/12 9:35 A

I'm not a nutritionist or a cancer survivor or a doctor, but I AM a scientist. I did a literature search, and I turned up a bunch of studies showing that whole wheat has some preventative effects with relation to the onset of cancer. I would encourage you to see if you can find the scientific sources referenced and interpret them yourself. Often when scientific literature is interpreted for the general public it is either over-exaggerated, grossly oversimplified, or taken to mean that just because a CORRELATION exists there must be causation (i.e. I could tell you that people who eat more vegetables tend to weigh less; but it could be that Y causes X and people who weigh less choose more vegetables, or variable Z interacts with the relationship and people who make healthy choices tend to eat more vegetables and weigh less). If you can find the original papers that your doctor is referring to, I'd be happy to help you get through them if you like.

This sums it up pretty nicely:
www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comic
id=1174




MISSRUTH
Posts: 3,363
11/2/12 6:57 A

There are studies cited in Wheat Belly, used to support his claims, where he has totally distorted the findings and/or outright claimed the reverse of what actually happened. It all sounds so good, because he cites these studies etc-- so people don't bother to check to see if that's what the studies actually said. They "assume" he's citing the actual results. After all, he's a doctor. BUT...

IMO if you have to distort the facts or outright, shall I say, LIE to support your theory-- then you've lost ALL credibility.



SALONKITTY
SparkPoints: (12,064)
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Posts: 672
11/2/12 6:41 A

I thought the Wheat Belly book was a real eye-opener. I definitely recommend giving it a read if you're curious about what your doctor was talking about. Dr. Davis also has a Wheat Belly blog that is great.

I stopped eating wheat at the beginning of July, as I am one of those who does not have Celiac Disease, but does indeed have an intolerance. Since dropping wheat from my diet, I've found it so much easier to lose weight, and have decreased the inflammation throughout my body that was aggravating all sorts of stuff including arthritis and plantar fasciitis. My skin has never looked better and my moods are nice and stable due to my blood sugar being much more even. I stopped with sugar and all processed foods at the same time, and also started exercising. It's pretty amazing that I can feel and look so much healthier when I'm eating my carbs from veggies and some fruits.





MMEEAAGGX3
SparkPoints: (1,281)
Fitness Minutes: (1,876)
Posts: 1,049
11/2/12 2:58 A

I agree with A Perkins. Cancer scares the crap out of people, especially since there's no cure, so they try to come up with what you should *avoid* to steer clear of it. Stay away from microwaves, don't eat broccoli, minimal use of cell phones, stay away from artificial sweeteners...I have no doubt they could SOMEHOW contribute maybe a MILLIMETER's worth to what actually causes cancer...But in reality, if you get it, you get it. It sucks, but it's life. The best way to stay prepared is to know your family history and see your physician regularly.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,528
11/1/12 7:43 P

If you suspect that the wheat-cancer connection made by your physician is coming from the Wheat Belly book...then please take time to read this complete and scientifically based analysis of the claims made in the book. It is a real eye-opener! There is some factual info in the book...and there is some fear tactics, and down right lies. Which professionally, I find extremely disturbing!!

This analysis does come from the AACC (which is an organization to promote grains/cereals). But if you do check the research references used, you will find it to be very scientifically sound.
I hope this helps to answer some of your questions.

www.aaccnet.org/publications/plexus/cfw/pa
stissues/2012/Pages/CFW-57-4-0177.aspx


SP Registered Dietitian Becky

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 11/1/2012 (19:46)


A_PERKINS_6925
Posts: 5
11/1/12 12:25 P

I am an oncology RN and EVERYONE has a DIFFERENT opinion on EVERYTHING that can cause cancer. It is not one thing vs. another. Every single body is different on the way things are processed and some people have a bad genetic make up of cells. There is nothing you can do to prevent cancer 100%. There are things, on the other hand, that people can do to decrease thier RISK for getting cancer. But nothing is every guaranteed.



JENG829
SparkPoints: (14,847)
Fitness Minutes: (14,574)
Posts: 756
11/1/12 12:24 P

I think the OP's Doctor may have oversimplified the wheat/cancer connection. There are studies in pubmed that show increased incidence of GI cancer among those with celiac disease & even those with gluten sensitivity. presumably this is due to constant irritation of the intestinal tract (many people have IBS-like symptoms from eating wheat, etc).

The statement that wheat causes cancer may be true for some of those people, but not others. Also, many folks have reactions to wheat, but do not know or are not willing to avoid it. We are told celiac disease only affects 1% of the population, but that does not include the large number of us with non-celiac gluten sensitivities.

I believe Dr Davis stated a theory and is trying to encourage more studies on the matter. The article linked below by Yachtsman is good to explain why Dr Davis feels that way. Like any other advice, read and decide if it is true for you.



YACHTSMAN
SparkPoints: (864)
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Posts: 288
11/1/12 11:53 A

Nutrition and the medical industry is a concensious field. Lots of opinions on what works and what doesn't. Here is an article I recall about wheat consumption and possible gastrointestinal cancer issues. It is one of the reasons why I avoid wheat.

"Nails in the coffin"

www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/12/nails-in-th
e-coffin/




SLASALLE
SparkPoints: (164,873)
Fitness Minutes: (67,432)
Posts: 9,139
11/1/12 11:48 A

Salonkitty is correct. The book/doctor my doctor was referring to is Dr. William Davis and his book about the wheatbelly. From what I can garner without reading the book, Dr. Davis is saying that the new way that whole wheat is grown (shorter wheat so it can be cultivated more quickly) is impacting our health, as well as promoting diabetes.

Algebragirl and Coach Becky - Thanks for your info. My doctor was the one who brought up the book/wheat issue. She was quite pleased with my weight and all of my blood results (I'd lost 10 pounds since my last annual physical; I lose slowly due to hypothyroidism and menopause). When I responded that what I'd been doing was based on moderation in all things, she responded that I should stop eating carbs. I told her that I couldn't do that because fruits and vegetables were carbs. She thought I was being a smart-aleck. She went on to tell me to stop eating pasta. I told her I ate whole wheat pasta in moderation. That's when it all began. She said she listened to the book on tape. She talked about the diabetes thing then made the leap using the exact words, "whole wheat causes cancer." I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. I'm also pretty sure I didn't take anything out of context.

So now I need to find out if the book is based on scientific studies or just this doctor's opinion. For now, all things in moderation has been working for me. It might just be that I don't want to fix what isn't broken.

Stephanie



ALGEBRAGIRL
Posts: 1,588
11/1/12 11:20 A

Perhaps you could meet with your doctor again and ask her directly to re-state what she told you about wheat and cancer. It sounds very strange to me - wheat products and grains are part of the food pyramid and that is not quickly or sloppily foisted on the public - there is a lot of research behind the results contributing to that food pyramid (it may not be a pyramid anymore, it may have a different design, but it a very basic visual guideline).

I've been dealing with a friend and her issues with doctors lately. I notice that what is said and what is heard are often not that close in true meaning. My doctor once told me that South Beach Diet was working well for some of his patients. There are people who would hear that and think it was a fabulous endorsement from a medical professional. In fact, he went on to tell me Weight Watchers is good, reliable, safe, and very effective. But, bottom line, he just wanted me to find the diet that worked for me and was reasonable in nutrition guidelines so it wouldn't hurt my health.

There are people who would have stopped at the first South Beach remark and thought it was the best diet for everyone because 'my doctor said so'!

Sometimes, just having a really good discussion with your doctor can put it all in perspective. Because you don't remember the name of the book, I'm guessing that there's more time to spent discussing the whole cancer topic.



SMANISMELL
SparkPoints: (61,912)
Fitness Minutes: (37,997)
Posts: 724
11/1/12 10:42 A

I also agree. There are too many people touting various nutritional claims about what to eat and what not to eat and there is not a lot of research behind their claims. I would stick with what information you can find in resource journals such as JAMA. These are well researched and peer reviewed.



SUNSHINESKYWAY
Posts: 546
11/1/12 8:19 A

I agree with Cortney-Lee. Just about everything causes cancer nowadays. Just listen to your body & trust your own instinct.



LOVE4KITTIES
Posts: 1,866
11/1/12 2:38 A

If your doctor had cited actual research studies, done at respected institutions, that were published in respected journals, that would have been one thing, but, just because someone is a doctor and writes a book does not mean that it is scientifically sound or to be trusted. I think that your doctor should know better than to give his patients advice based on a book that someone (doctor or not) has written.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,528
10/31/12 7:56 P

I used the term "leading" because it is more scientifically accurate.
If you eat a "bathtub full" of almost any food everyday---yes, you would probably find some connection to cancer. But this type of logic is irrational and not based on research evidence.

That is why I used the word "leading" .....what are the leading causes of cancer when it comes to ones' diet? This link will share the "facts". Notice that whole wheat is not mentioned as a cause.

www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/diet/


Hope it helps

SP Dietitian Becky

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 10/31/2012 (19:56)


SLASALLE
SparkPoints: (164,873)
Fitness Minutes: (67,432)
Posts: 9,139
10/31/12 6:30 P

Becky - Thanks, but my doctor didn't say it was the "leading" cause of cancer. She said whole wheat causes cancer.



CORTNEY-LEE
SparkPoints: (51,248)
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Posts: 3,036
10/31/12 6:01 P

Let's face it... pretty much everything gives you cancer, or so they say. If it isn't whole wheat, then it is your shampoo.

I would take this with a grain of salt until I read substantial research from more than one doctor. I was just at my RD and she encouraged me to eat more whole wheat!





FP4HLOSER
Posts: 968
10/31/12 5:53 P

I forgot to add that most studies show the opposite--that eating WHOLE wheat can help prevent cancers.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,528
10/31/12 5:29 P

I am not aware of 1 research study that implicates whole wheat as a leading cause of cancer.
I also work with 2 oncology dietitians and 3 oncologist---none of them give such advice.

SP Registered Dietitian Becky



FP4HLOSER
Posts: 968
10/31/12 4:55 P

Like MISSRUTH I am a cancer survivor and none of my trusted doctors have ever mentioned this. Having said that--I will say that there are many things we don't know yet about nutrition and our bodies. I know personally I feel better when I have cut down on my grain consumption (while still keeping up carb ratios) but that is just me. What works for one may not work for someone else. If I were you I would Google this and read as much as you can on it and call your doctor to ask the name of the Dr. and book and why she feels this is true. emoticon



TURTLESDOVE
Posts: 1,061
10/31/12 4:34 P

Oh great, now I can't have bread. I am gonna be so miserable.



SALONKITTY
SparkPoints: (12,064)
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Posts: 672
10/31/12 4:24 P

I'm guessing the book your doctor mentioned is Wheatbelly, by Dr. William Davis.



MANDIETERRIER1
Posts: 13,598
10/31/12 4:22 P

I am no expert but considering that wheat is in everything. I think there would be a lot more cancer if that was true.



MISSRUTH
Posts: 3,363
10/31/12 3:45 P

Well I'm not a nutrition expert but I AM a cancer survivor. I see an oncologist twice a year. (Just saw him last week as a matter of fact.) I respect and trust him completely. He has not told me to avoid whole wheat.



LUANN_IN_PA
Posts: 15,936
10/31/12 3:42 P

I'd be asking them to cite credible sources and studies!



SLASALLE
SparkPoints: (164,873)
Fitness Minutes: (67,432)
Posts: 9,139
10/31/12 3:30 P

I went last week to my annual physical. My doctor is a 40-something year old internist that I've been going to for years. Great doctor and always up-to-speed on medical research.

She told me that nutritional information that is put out to the public is lagging behind and that whole wheat is NOT good for you. She even went so far as to say that it causes cancer. I was so stunned that I was not even able to have an appropriate discussion with her about this.

She gave me the name of a specific doctor and the book he's written to read about it, but again, I was so caught off guard I can't even remember it. I've got a call in to find out the doctor's name.

Help!! What do I do? This goes against everything I've been doing for YEARS and it also goes against basic SparkPeople principles. Thanks.



 
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