The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Believe it or not

jcking's picture

Believe it or not

Interesting point of view; does this Dr know what he's talking about? Or just trying to sell books.

The Dark Side of "Healthy" Wheat Modern wheat isn't really wheat, a
best-selling author explains
http://www.rodale. com/wheat- free-diet- 0


G-man's picture

The same can be said of any of the modern iterations of the brassica genus of vegetables. Brussels sprouts in no way resemble even their very close cousin, broccoli. Cauliflower and cabbage and kale and turnips and mustard all come from the same three progenitor plants.

Modern beef cattle are absolutely nothing like their progenitors from the mountains and valleys of Asia Minor, nor are wool sheep or modern hair sheep anything like the wild sheep they were bred from. Wool itself is in no way a natural feature on these sheep, it was a trait bred for by humans performing experiments with genetic engineering thousands of years before anyone had heard of DNA.

Ever seen the progenitor of corn? Neither has any other living person, though there are plants that biologists have proposed, none of which resemble corn in even the most rudimentary sense except perhaps for the fact that they are grasses.

I've seen it suggested that the move from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agrarian one was the worst mistake humanity ever made. I dunno. I like bread.

breadforfun's picture

...I had a teacher that drummed this into us: "All generalizations are untrue, including this one." 

There's undoubtedly truth in what the Doctor says.  What is much less clear is whether his conclusions are sound based on the information presented.  It seems very circumstantial at best, and I am wary of broad statements based on such evidence.  And anyway, is a cardiologist (even a preventive one) always a suitable expert on digestive disorders like celiacs disease?  Maybe, but gotta wonder.

I had another teacher that said "all things in moderation."



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that wheat is healthy.  So be wary.  One small portion per day is more than enough but many of us eat 6 times that amount and are encouraged to eat more through the FDA food pyramid and funding from multi-$$$ grain food producers.  Sugar combined with wheat is a real fat maker.  

I should add that bringing this topic up on a bread site is like bringing up the evils of exceeding posted speed limits on a motorcycle site.  While it is true that high speeds on a bike can end in horrific accidents and scare non-bikers into calling them organ donors, it won't keep a bike enthusiast from riding and feeling the wind.  The same goes for high starch foods like wheat.  Bread is so deeply ingrained in our society and various cultures (not all) that one is considered radical to question how healthy it really is.   Most wheat eaters will not pay much attention, others make changes and feel better because of it and join those who feel the same.  Just like there are bread enthusiasts, there are non-bread enthusiasts.  Investigate further.  

I find myself in the middle looking for those elusive tasty grains that contain more fiber and protein and try to keep the carbohydrate amounts down as much as I can.  That leads to less baking, a lot less and my family is better for it.  It shows.

The last time I visited my folks (they are healthy seniors in their 80's) Mom was encouraging me (using guilt) to eat bread,  "eat up, we don't normally buy it, we bought it for you."  I had to let her know that I don't buy it either and in case you're grinning, I don't bake much either.  She also observed  that I "eat like a diabetic" which isn't so hard to do at their home (although her spring scales drove me nuts!)  Mom was a diabetic but carefully pokes her fingers and controls her intake of carbohydrates & exercise so she does not need supplement insulin.  Dad gets the benefits of being ganged up upon.  We did a good job of picking menu food on our summer road trip without waste or being shy when ordering what we wanted for four adults.   

I figure if I eat like a diabetic now; watching what and amounts keeping carbohydrates low and variety high; I lessen my chances of diabetes and improve my eating habits to live longer and stay fit.  It does take a lot of effort to investigate food and calculate needs, ignore advertising, find information, avoid deficiencies and make choices.   

Another generalization:  all food is good food  

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

with a croissant in hand then live to be a hundred. Of course, bread is by no means my worst vice, either.

nicodvb's picture

and I'd be even willing to lower the threshold to 50!

hutchndi's picture

True story, within a year after my wife was told she could no longer eat wheat products, she lost close to 50 lbs. So part of this rings true. But the reason she lost so much weight had little to do with the issues this guy blames on  today's version of wheat. My wife lost so much weight because she was starving, she literally could not find enough to eat, she only ate the basics a the main meals, meat, and vegetables, and fruit inbetween. It seemed every thing she tried to pick up for herself in the store contained some form of wheat based ingredient, and what she could find was very expensive and mostly unpalatable. But, after a few years of living with this restriction, she has returned to a healthy weight, not regaining the whole 50 lbs but a healthy portion of it. This is because she found how to use other grains and non-wheat based substitutes for pasta and baking that she can now eat. So yes, take away the staple of anyones diet and they will lose weight, but only until they find a subtitute, people need to eat. Bread made from the most primitive grain imaginable would never be "natural" anyway, where in nature does anything exist that even remotely resembles bread? I like to fool myself into thinking using natural yeast leaven will turn my bread, Frankenstein wheat included, into something natural, but it is only an illusion.


ananda's picture

I find myself agreeing with all of Mini's points and am somewhat worried that anyone would be so quick as to reject the research quoted above.

I am afraid that it is a fact that more and more people are struggling in the UK to cope with coeliac-type symptoms, and that the root cause is generally accepted as being difficulty in coping with the gliadin fraction found in modern day bread wheat varieties.   As someone who has made a living from involvement with the baking industry in some shape or form for 25 years, you can imagine I find this alarming.   There is continued call for more research into this, particularly coming from Real Bread Campaign.

Out of interest, the local flour I buy in Northumberland, UK is milled from wheat which is untampered with, and is a single strain variety from many years ago.   As the man says, it grows well over a metre tall in the field.   Actually, what he is pointing out isn't that contraversial to me; modern wheat does have little in common with the old varieties, and, like it or not [and I really don't like it either], I'm afraid that eating food made using this type of wheat unfortunately does make some people very ill indeed.   I wouldn't wish coeliac diesease on anyone; it's horrible, and the diet restriction would seem unbearable to most people.

Best wishes


breadforfun's picture

I think I may have not been clear in my earlier comments.  Celiac's is a very real disease, and I do feel sorry for patients that suffer from it.  The point I am trying to make, as is G-man, is that it is difficult if not impossible to say with any certitude that changes in wheat is the cause Celiac's disease and other digestive ailments.  There have been so many changes in our diets over the past 50 years, one of which is the changes in wheat cultivation.  Perhaps just as prevalent, for example, it the increase in use of plastics for food packaging.  Additives to these plastics have properties that mimic hormones like estrogen, and are known to have significant effect on humans.  Just last year, after an uproar, BPA was removed from plastics because of these effects.  The rise in the use of plastics parallels the changes in wheat described in the article, but if anyone asserted that plastic is the cause of the increase in Celiac's, they would (correctly) be roundly criticized. 

I am glad that his patients experienced relief by eliminating wheat from their diets, and other sufferers should see if it works for them.  However, this does not prove that wheat cultivation is the cause of the disease, which is the premise of the article.  The theory is worthy of study.  There may be populations where wheat cultivation techniques have not changed to new varieties, and they can be compared for the prevalance of Celiac's.  Let's try to understand the connection.