Posted by: r.m. | May 4, 2011

what did they do to our wheat?

An excerpt from Anita Khalek’s beautiful blog on cooking and health

We’ve all read and heard a lot about gluten.  A protein found in wheat, barley, kamut, spelt and rye which is hard to completely digest.  It has the potential to damage the intestinal lining and/or pass through to the blood stream causing a cascade of health issues from arthritis to autoimmune diseases.   Over the past five decades, wheat has been hybridized several times to create a super grain with a higher protein (gluten) content in order to achieve better yielding crops and improve pest/pesticide resistance. This increase in gluten coupled with the daily high consumption of wheat products has bombarded our bodies with more gluten than ever before.  Gluten gives bread that wonderful fluffy texture and its elasticity.  It is also added to many commercial products like dressings, sauces, vegan proteins.  This leaves one heck of a digesting job for our body to undertake, leaving much of the gluten partially digested and able to cause major issues. Some researchers believe that gliadin (a lectin) in gluten is responsible for the offense.


Responses

  1. It is strange how man wants to defy laws of nature. Nature had put restrictions on our bodies but man enjoys defying rules!
    Talking about gluten, here some tips about how to avoid gluten diet:
    Raw vegetables and fruits are gluten free, in their normal state. however, cooking habits may add gluten especially if we use gluten containing- products (wheat- oat-rye- barley…). Dairy products are also safe so consuming butter, eggs, cheese and yogurt free of food additives is safe. Managing the diet is important to avoid gluten intolerance.

  2. But it’s a double edged sword, we cannot decrease the production of wheat since it is the principle food for billions. The idea is this: is there any research conducted that aims to find alternative solutions to the gluten problem? Or is it that the life of people does not really matter?

  3. well, come on, not everything has a bad intention ! When they were trying to solve the problem of hunger and the productivity of wheat, am sure they did not aim to cause bigger problems !! Well gluten can be pejorative to some people’s health, but the market is FULL of gluten free products !!
    Thousands of people dying out of hunger VS a dozen dying of digestion problems?
    And as future scientists, instead of attacking the ones who tried helping as much as they could, we can figure out a solution.. let’s say a protein, an enzyme or a catalyst that will digest gluten.. Maybe a bacteria or a bacteria’s waste/end product can do the trick !!
    We should try seeing things differently, every solution to any problem is either written in the same page,at the end of the chapter or in the end of the book !! It’s never farther than this !!

    • But it doesn’t have to be that way rami, even if there were only a dozen (which isn’t the case) dying or having indigestion problems, this is avoidable. And add to that, the wheat now is there, but is the hunger less? Not at all. Hunger can be solved by an appropriate distribution of goods.

  4. The number of people with gluten intolerance is increasing.
    Now there’s Gluten Free Labeling laws, because not all the products labeled as Gluten Free are free from gluten. A new EU Directive for gluten-free foods will be effective in 2012. What means that there will be a limit of 20ppm gluten (20mg/kg) for all foods labelled as GLUTEN FREE (http://www.finax.com/en/display/gluten-free.aspx). The most effective law is in Australia; it allows only 5 ppm Gluten in food, and they even have equipments to test this low degree (http://glutenfreerecipebox.com/gluten-free-labeling-laws)

  5. Wheat is the main source of food for most human beings and its consumption is increasing daily, so i think what the scientists did over the past five decades was the only available mean to increase the production of wheat. I agree with rami that its the duty of future scientists to find a solution for the high gluten content of wheat without affecting the production yield.

  6. Today, consumers require products with excellent appearance, flavor, nutrition and price-value. If gluten is the key, why we should worry! At least it’s a natural extracted protein! Well not all people are gluten intolerant, and if we would like to care about our health we should shift our interest more toward unnatural chemicals and additives and trans fats ! Moreover, if we consider gluten unhealthy on the long term, i think FDA should oblige gluten to be mentioned in nutrition facts of every product or simply find a substitute for gluten that imitates its characteristics that makes it preferably used in food products such as salad dressings etc…

  7. with respect to gluten different individuals react differently to it, some have gluten intolerance while others have wheat allergy.An allergic response — a real histamine response — will be almost immediate. Gluten intolerance, on the hand, manifests its symptoms over time.

    For instance, if you eat something with wheat in it and have an immediate reaction, then you have a wheat allergy but you are not necessarily gluten intolerant. Gluten intolerance symptoms include strong cramping in the abdomen and severe constipation, although the symptoms can vary, as there are actually different kinds of gluten intolerance, which is why it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.


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