Plantidote of the Day 2012-08-01
Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D.
Move over, high fructose corn syrup. Wheat is the new bad boy of the food world, and not just for people with celiac disease. Davis and other doctors are concerned about the fact that genetic modification created by decades of hybridization has turned wheat into a far less healthy food than most people realize. Example: Two slices of whole wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than pure sugar, making wheat a likely suspect in the ever-expanding obesity crisis.
But...but... whole grains are good for us, aren't they? Until I read this book, I thought so. Not any more. Fifty years (!!) of hybridization with no safety testing has altered wheat to the point that it no longer resembles the ancient einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum) that humans ate for centuries. The new wheat, known as dwarf or semi-dwarf wheat or Triticum aestivum, produces far more wheat per acre, which was one of the goals of hybridization. But it is also quite different from ancient wheat. Dwarf wheat not only contains more gluten than its predecessor, but also has new, never-before-seen gluten proteins that our bodies don't recognize. In addition, modern dwarf wheat must be cultivated by humans. Left to grow on its own in the wild, it dies.
And those are just a few things cited by Davis about what's wrong with wheat. Consider that more than 99 percent of all wheat grown on the planet is now the "new, improved" variety -- and that wheat is in everything, including pet food and cosmetics! -- and you can see why it could be a problem. On top of that, researchers are now discovering that there are far more people than originally thought with celiac disease (most of them undiagnosed), as well as millions of others with gluten intolerance and sensitivity.
What do you do about it? Well, you could grow your own old-school, einkorn wheat or buy flour made from it. Or you can go wheat-free, which is not as hard as it sounds. Some doctors are now recommending people give up wheat for a month and see how they feel without it. I've done it, and I would never go back. Something to think about ....
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