Dreamfields pasta is wheat

An active question on the blogosphere and elsewhere is whether Dreamfields pasta is truly low-carb. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt of Diet Doctor detailed his high blood glucose experience with it. Jimmy Moore of Livin' La Vida Low Carb had a similar experience, observing virtually no difference when compared to conventional pasta.

The Dreamfields people make the claim that "Dreamfields' patent-pending recipe and manufacturing process protects all but 5 grams of the carbohydrates per serving from being digested and therefore lessens post-meal blood glucose rise as compared to traditional pasta." They call the modified carbohydrates "protected" carbs.

In other words, they are making the claim that they've somehow modified the amylopectin A and amylose molecules in durum wheat flour to inhibit conversion to glucose.

I'd like to add something to the conversation: Dreamfields pasta is wheat. It is a graphic demonstration that, no matter how you cut it, press it, sauce it up, "protect" it, it's all the same thing: wheat. (It reminds me of a bad girlfriend I had in my 20s: She'd put on makeup, a pretty dress, I'd take her out someplace nice . . . She was still an annoying person who whined about everything.)

Wheat is more than a carbohydrate. It is also a collection of over 1000 proteins, including gliadins, glutens, and glutenins. Gliadins, for instance, are degraded to polypeptide exorphins that underlie the addictive potential of wheat, as well as its withdrawal phenomenon on halting consumption. Gliadin-derived exorphins are also the triggers of auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions in schizophrenia, as well as behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism.

Wheat is a source of lectins that have the curious effect of "unlocking" the proteins of the intestinal lining, the oddly-named "zonulin" proteins, that protect you from ingested foreign molecules. Ingest wheat lectins and all manner of foreign molecules gain entry into your bloodstream. Cholera works by a similar mechanism. (How about a love story: Bread in the time of cholera?)

Glutens, of course, are responsible for triggering celiac disease, the devastating small intestinal disease that now afflicts 3 million Americans, although 2.7 million don't even know it. Glutens are also responsible for neurologic conditions like cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, and dementia ("gluten encephalopathy") and the skin condition, dermatitis herpetiformis.

Then there are the conditions for which the active wheat components have not been identified, including acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma (excepting "bakers' asthma), rheumatoid arthritis, edema and fluid retention, and a long list of skin conditions from alopecia to gangrene.

My point: Yeah, Dreamfields pastas, from these instructive experiences, acts a lot like conventional durum wheat pasta. But, even if Dreamfields or somebody else perfects the low-carb aspect of it, it's still wheat. Modern wheat is the genetically tarted-up version of Triticum aestivum, the product of genetic shenanigans from the 1960s and 1970s.

Comments (11) -

  • Andrés

    5/28/2011 4:21:50 PM |

    Thanks for your work!

    I am not enrolled yet on track-your-plaque but I have read thoroughly your blog.

    I know you felt a different reaction to einkorn (diploid) to triticum (hexaploid), hence I wonder: have you (or any one around here, by the way) done some check yourself on durum (tetraploid)?

    I confess I am trying to cut back carbohydrates and pumping up fat, focusing specially on reducing triticum to a minimum (I favor a 60%-rye-40%-durum bread, since I "need" something to support my Gorgonsola and hard cheeses)  and am curious about the hardness about other branches of wheat (at least I found a paper about gluten seeming less aggressive on durum).


  • ceara sullivan

    5/29/2011 9:25:24 PM |

    Getting off wheat is very difficult for some of us. When we started a low-carb diet, we also eliminated wheat, rye, barley, and oats. And, of course, sugars in their various forms.

    My husband had no problems just quitting. I had to "step down" slowly or I became quite ill. From food.  Or rather, "food".

    We stil eat (very limitedly) legumes, rice (in the form of poha), and corn (as grits or as tacos). We don't have any of these in combination, however. IOW, on a day we have rice, we don't have the other two.

    If we cut those out entirely we'd lose weight more quickly I'm sure. However, this is working so far. Slow going but doable.

    A striking experience: after 25 years' smoking, being overweight, and a huge family history of vascular blockage in all my parents' sibs, I had the scan done a few years ago. The cardiologist who read my scan gave me a clean bill of health. My chances of a cardiac "incident" in the next five years was two percent. That was at age 65. I'm still amazed.

    So-called 'pre'-diabetes has reared its ugly head. I insisted on an (hb)A1c test last year and it came back at 5.8, much to my doc's surprise (but not mine). The next test, six months later, was 5.6 . I'll be interested to see if my weight loss has made a difference when it's time for the third one.

    It's great to be rid of wheat, but what a crime they have perpetrated on all of us. My grandson died at age 28, "heart problems". He was obese and addicted to wheat.

  • Alec

    5/31/2011 2:37:40 PM |

    This reminds me of the "Molecularly Baked" products they used to sell on the Zone Diet website. Absolute crap- lots of wheat combined with wheat protein (gluten?) and processed soy crap. Blah!

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/31/2011 4:07:29 PM |

    Hi, Andres--

    For all practical purposes, pasta made with durum wheat is still wheat. Semolina, durum, spelt, whole grain, multigrain, etc., it still remains essentially wheat. Pasta from durum, for instance, triggers sustained high blood sugars after consumption with all of the undesirable consequences that brings.

  • Abhi

    5/31/2011 5:45:57 PM |

    Dear Dr Davis,
    I love your blog!
    How do you compare this with the "Einkorn" (Jovial) pasta that you had tried and even blogged about.

  • Alan D

    5/31/2011 8:42:43 PM |

    My experience with Einkorn pasta was a very small rise in blood sugar tested an hour and two hours after eating. I cooked the spaghetti and also the penne with tomato and garlic and olive oil. With regular wheat pasta my bg is 130-180. With Einkorn Jovial brand  it was barely over 100. I suspect everyone is a bit different though and some may have different results.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/31/2011 11:17:49 PM |

    Abhi and Alan raise an important point: Einkorn is wheat, but it, I believe, far less destructive than modern Triticum aestivum, especially the dwarf variant product of genetics research.

    Einkorn is not entirely benign. After all, celiac disease was described even in the 1st century A.D. However, given a choice between modern low-carb Triticum aestivum or durum equivalents and einkorn, I would choose the einkorn, hands down.

  • Andrés

    6/2/2011 10:58:01 AM |

    Thanks for your answer!

    Well, I will try to reduce my durum intake also, then. I am now experimenting with breakfast without bread: I do an omelet with two eggs (three was a little too much a company to my white coffee), Gorgonzola and butter (I am still not convinced about the AGE issue).


  • Ingrown Toenail Remedies

    6/2/2011 11:08:07 AM |

    I’m a new reader and have been very impressed with your recent posts and thought to drop a friendly note. It is really a great information indeed. Waiting for more posts, is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email?

  • JT

    6/12/2011 5:12:58 PM |

    just tried a plate full of Dreamfield pasta with chicken cachitori sauce and it raised my BG to only 104 after an hour.

    I wonder it Dreamfield affects people differnetly

  • Nancy

    12/21/2011 9:27:07 PM |

    How the pasta is prepared is important to its effect on BG.  It can't be sitting around very long in a sauce, especially tomato, before the "protective coating" disintegrates.  Boil in water, drain, then put on sauce and eat.  Do not cook the pasta with sauce.  Do not store leftover pasta mixed with sauce.  Or just don't eat it at all.

America: The world’s diet laboratory

America: The world’s diet laboratory

Low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, Pritikin, Ornish, Atkins, South Beach, Sonoma, Sugar-Busters, Weight Watchers, vegetarian . . . Have Americans tried them all?

We’ve witnessed the relative success of diet habits in selected regions world-wide: the longevity of the Japanese on a spare soy and fish-based diet; the reduced heart disease incidence of the French despite an indulgent food-centered culture; the extreme heart disease-free lives of the Cretan Greeks.

Contrast this with the startling failure of the American diet experiment: We’re all (speaking for the collective whole) fat, diabetic, and miserably mired in the diseases of obesity. We’ve experimented with every possible iteration of diet from grapefruit or cabbage only, to calorie deprivation (a al Weight Watchers), to restricting this or that element of diet. The “official” organizations have made their contributions, as well: the American Heart Association’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (formerly Step I and II diets), a program eerily similar to what Americans are already eating and resulting in failure; the American Diabetes Association diet, incomprehensibly embracing carbohydrates when they are the root of the nutrition-habit-gone-wrong that caused the disease in the first place; the USDA and their Food Pyramid, encompassing a design that contains the germ of wisdom but is so heavily overweighted in grains that it is a sure-fire way to increase weight and heart disease were you to follow their recommendations.

What have we learned from our grand experiment, our nationwide misadventure in nutrition?

I believe that we’ve learned how not to eat: Processed snack foods, meals delivered in a fast-food setting with the offer to “super-size” your order, make-believe food ingested in your car eaten for the sake of staving off the inevitable hunger pangs. Few would argue that these are certain paths to obesity and poor health.

Certainly, if we’ve learned how not to eat, can we extrapolate just how to eat? And not just for weight loss, since most diets focus just on that, but on health, particularly heart health?

If Americans have so far failed to learn the lessons of the nutritional world, we certainly have not failed at talking about it. From books to blogs, websites, information gurus to infomercials, we certainly celebrate the capacity to share our experiences, our grief over our nutritional “misfortune,” despite a world of plenty.

Yet we swim in a sea of information. Can we sift through the chaff to discover the essential truth?

Let me articulate an extreme (extreme meaning closer to the truth, I hope) interpretation of nutritional wisdom:

--If it requires a label or nutritional analysis, reject it. The wondrous green pepper, or bottle of olive oil, for instance, require no such qualifications. Some exceptions: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese (unless, of course, you purchase straight from a local producer). I am always impressed with the contortions and frustrations people experience trying to decipher labels. Ironically, the healthiest foods don’t even require labels.

--If it is ingested in a rush, it’s likely to add to poor health. True food is meant to be consumed at leisure, not in haste to satisfy some irrational, unthinking impulse.

--Search for natural, whole foods. Natural, whole foods require no marketing. You pay a premium for a company to adorn a product with glitz, glamour, and appeal. Repackage Cocoa Puffs as chocolate flavored, round overly-processed wheat flour, sans marketing spin, and what is left? Processed foods are?intentionally?addictive. They are added to, modified, high-fructose corn syruped, etc. to increase desirability, but also create addiction. Eliminate them just as a smoker eliminates cigarettes.

--A corollary to the above issue: purchase foods that appear as if you had grown it or raised it yourself. If you were to grow corn in your backyard garden, you would eat it on the cob or some similar way. You would not grind it, pulverize, process it, nor serve it as cornstarch and add to a pile of chemicals to make breakfast cereal. Eat foods in their natural state, not the highly processed food-product that requires a colorful package and advertising to sell.

--Don’t keep bags of chips, boxes of breakfast cereal and crackers, frozen dinners, all “just in case.” Don’t allow yourself that opportunity because you will more than likely seize it. An alcoholic who keeps a secret bottle of gin hidden in the cabinet is well aware that it’s there and will eventually give in to impulse.

--When you eat meat, try to find free-range, organic products. Even better, purchase from a local producer who you trust.

--For anyone with patterns like low HDL, small LDL, high triglycerides, and blood sugar >100 mg/dl, following a diet that is as free of wheat products as possible will yield enormous benefits. Wheat is a part of all breads, virtually all breakfast cereals, pretzels, crackers, bagels, cookies, cupcakes, pancakes, waffles, etc. Going wheat-free is also a surprisingly effective weight loss strategy.

That’s just a few thoughts. The approach we use in the Track Your Plaque program helps achieve weight loss, but also helps correct lipoprotein patterns, often dramatically.

Many diets have failed to keep pace with the changing nutritional habits of Americans. In 1960, we ingested close to zero high-fructose corn syrup. We’re now approaching 80 lbs per year per American. Breakfast cereal in 1950 consisted of a handful of products, eaten intermittently; today, it is a staple with enough products to fill a modern supermarket’s entire aisle. Meats have changed, thanks to the factory farm phenomenon feeding its animals corn in inhumanely restricted conditions, a dietary shift for livestock that has modified the fat composition to something far different than 50 years ago, not to mention the antibiotics and other chemicals used to accelerate growth and fight off infection from the artificial, overcrowded conditions.

The American nutritional shift, along with rampant obesity, have also caused a relatively new cause of coronary heart disease to explode: small LDL particles. The contribution of small LDL has been enormously underestimated, since most physicians don’t know what it is, don’t know how to check for it, and don’t know what to do with it. Yet it has emerged as the number one cause for heart attack and heart disease nationwide.

Stay tuned for our rewritten New Track Your Plaque diet to be released as a Special Report on the www.cureality.com website in future.

Comments (14) -

  • jpatti

    10/23/2007 2:34:00 AM |

    I agree wholeheartedly!

    I've been very heavily studying diet the past few months - reading widely from a lot of sources with a lot of different biases.

    The main conclusion I've come to is that hardly anyone one eats enough fresh low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables; they should be the bottom of everyone's food pyramid.  

    We eat so much junk that you can't tease out what the problems are.  For instance, people say if there were a problem with artificial sweeteners, we'd have discovered it by now.  Well, we *have* discovered increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  We can't know it's the artificial sweeteners specifically anymore than we can know that it's any of the other individual things that have changed in the diet in the past 50 years or so.  Maybe some are worst than others, who knows?  There's too many changes to be able to tell exactly what the problems are in detail.  But we do know that all these lifestyle diseases increased tremendously when we all began eating so many highly-processed foods.  

    I think a lot of the problems in the typical western diet are additive - lost good effect from an unknown micronutrient in real foods plus bad effects from highly-processed stuff.

    So... maybe aspartame is perfectly safe, but I quit the Diet Pepsi for stevia-sweetened lemonade and limeade anyway.  Cause I *do* know that real whole foods are healthy, so I don't have to know the ultimate truth about aspartame.

  • Anonymous

    10/23/2007 4:24:00 AM |

    Excellent post, and you are quite right about high-fructose corn syrup.

    Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivore Dilemma's" has quite a lot of information about corn in the US.

    --Michael G.R. / michaelgr.com

  • Sue

    10/23/2007 8:11:00 AM |

    I agree with all this food tips.

  • Peter

    10/23/2007 8:29:00 AM |

    Hi Dr Davis,

    The only information I have been able to find on soy intake in Japan estimates that in men it is 8.00 g/d and in women 6.88g/d. I realise that quoting two decimal places from a food frequency questionnaire is a bit silly. The standard deviation is around 5g/d. This does not seem like very much to me. To suggest that 8g per day is associated with longevity makes soy protein powerful stuff, literally beyond belief. Are there any better data than this?

    I got my info from the bottom line of table 1 in the results section of:

    Nagata C, Takatsuka N, Kurisu Y, Shimizu H (1998) Decreased serum total cholesterol concentration is associated with high intake of soy products in Japanese men and women. J Nutr. 128(2):209-13


  • Alan

    10/23/2007 10:18:00 AM |

    Thanks Doc.

    When choosing foods for purchase I use a fairly simple rule. I try to choose foods that owe more to the farmer than to the chemist for their production, and do as much of the processing as I can in my own kitchen rather than accept the results of a factory kitchen.

    As a diabetic I believe that cooking for oneself improves one's health. That way you get to choose exactly what you eat and there are no hidden surprises.

    You already know my thoughts on the AHA/ADA/USDA nutrition guidelines for cardiac and diabetic patients.

    Thanks for a marvellous post, which I will be passing on to many others.

    Cheers, Alan, Type 2 diabetes, Australia

  • Dr. Davis

    10/23/2007 11:52:00 AM |

    Actually, I'm referring to the epidemiologic data on length of life and incidence of cardiovascular events in Japanese. Obviously, pinpointing the aspect of diet--or other component of lifestyle or genetics--that confers longevity is not revealed by these observations. However, though I like soy products, I don't think they are responsible for the difference.

  • Anonymous

    10/23/2007 1:40:00 PM |

    I think you are a fan of the south beach diet except that he uses too much wheat. What do you think of his south beach diet
    "products" and why do you think he created them?
    Also- can you comment on the use of Splenda.

  • Dr. Davis

    10/23/2007 5:06:00 PM |

    Yes, the South Beach Diet is a reasonable way to lose weight and improve lipoprotein patterns, provided you don't proceed fully to phase 3, in which grains are added back in abundance. Many people regain their weight in phase 3.

    I doubt Arthur Agatston plays much of a role in developing his packaged products. Nearly all of these are outsourced or licensed products, with which I suspect he has just passing acquaintance. I don't think they are good products, at least the ones I've seen and tried.

  • Dr. Davis

    10/23/2007 7:16:00 PM |

    Also, so far I've not witnessed nor heard of any ill-effects specific to Splenda. So far, so good.

  • Anonymous

    10/23/2007 8:53:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis have you readf the excellent new book Good Calories Bad Calories? If so I would love to hear your oppinion.

  • Dr. Davis

    10/23/2007 9:06:00 PM |

    I'm several chapters into Gary Taubes' book and loving every page. I have to say that many studies I accepted as gospel do indeed appear suspect when recast in his skeptical light. After reading the entire book, I believe a re-examination of the old studies will be necessary.

  • Anonymous

    10/24/2007 5:39:00 AM |

    Is there a practical diet available today that a normal, average person in US can follow to maintain decent health without getting bogged down with the ever increasing "DO NOT EAT" list?

    I think that this is a very tough question to answer; I hope you can share your thoughts on this issue in a future article.

    I have realized lately that people   like me who are conscientious of following a healthy lifestyle, would not realize the impact of religiously following the common
    health options propounded by the food industry.  

    Examples of healthy choices we think we are making:
    - eat more whole wheat, multi grain instead of white bread
    - drink fruit juice (with vitamin attractions) instead of soda pop or other beverages
    - eat more cereals (with vitamin, mineral benefits) and whole wheat, raisin bagels instead of eggs, bacon and cream cheese.

    But thanks to Track the plague research program, we now know that even these cause issues to our health.

    As I read about your total grain elimination diet, I keep wondering - What CAN one *practically* eat from a preventative aspect to maintain decent health?

    If you walk into any cafe, there is an abundance of sandwiches, snacks, pastry etc. What does one do in such cases? It's a common situation that I think we all must be facing from time to time, and I wonder what acceptable choice can we make in such situations?

    I believe that's why there should a new diet approach/guideline that both follows the principles as outlined in Track Your Plague or your blog, and also emphasizes on being practical for an average person. These guidelines will empower the average health conscious public to make healthy  diet choices.

    I find this analogous to our fuel situation today - Everybody knows that ideally we must stop our fuel consumption and switch over to alternative energy sources.
    Since this is not a feasible option today, an alternative practical approach (eg: hybrid cars) comes into place to start the slow but gradual transition

    Some questions/options that I would expect that this practical diet approach to answer/provide: -

    Breakfast options
    Ideal: Avoid all cereals, grains (But again, what would one eat then instead?)
    Acceptable (while on the road): oats, water, peanut butter on multi-grain bread, cereals, fruit juice
    Avoid: bacon

    Brunch options:
    seeds, nuts

    Lunch options
    Ideal: have lean meat, whole fruit
    Acceptable: fruit juice, sandwitch on multi-grain bread
    Avoid: fried food


    If you know of any such guidelines that are published or available, I would be appreciate some pointers.

    Personally for a 28 year old person like me, just trying to stay on multi-grain and not trying any fried foods has been a major challenge for me to follow diet wise, but nevertheless I have still been able to maintain the discipline to continue on this.

    I am glad to know that elimination of all grains will bring a lot of health benefits; however it also reminds me on how gloomy the situation is for me when I have to eat outside; the choices then become extremely limited or in some cases the healthy options become non existent.

    thanks Doc. Keep up the good work!

  • Dr. Davis

    10/24/2007 11:59:00 AM |

    Thanks for the wonderful thoughts.

    The forthcoming new Track Your Plaque Diet will articulate many of the issues you discuss above. However, I need to emphasize that the diet is not meant for the average person to follow. It is meant to be part of an effort to seize control of heart disease risk, while providing an health effect. There is a difference.

    Also, I find it easier to understand food products offered in stores and restaurants when you see them as vehicles for profit, not health. Health claims often parrot the popular issue of the day, but the product is sold for profit.

  • Sue

    10/25/2007 11:59:00 PM |

    Good Calories, Bad Calories is brilliant - I hope a lot more professionals read it.