Let’s talk about our daily Bread Wheat

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Did you ever know that the wheat used today for our foods including bread, cakes and pies is not the same wheat used by our ancestors? The old wheat grain was called Triticum monococcum (Einkorn). It had a chromosome count of 14. Farmers as far as 10,000 years ago cultivated wheat. It was extra healthy and very tasty

During the sixties and increasingly in the 1990’s, scientists and plant breeders decided to find methods of increasing the production for the demands of the growing world population, and also improve disease resistant yields. The scientists found that by a process of hybridisation the wheat grain can be modified to achieve the need. The crops were shorter, hardier and better-growing and better yield. Do not mix up hybridisation with genetic modification. In genetic modification the DNA is mixed with the DNA of plant species, animals or bacteria. Hybridization occurs through breeding selection.

So, the modern hybrid variety is named Tricum aestivum and has a chromosome count three times of the previous variant.

So the new variant became the dietary staple next to rice, but no studies have been done on finding out whether there would be toxic implications and other side effects

It is now known that this new hybrid variety of wheat is creating health issues, such as autoimmune diseases, gluten intolerances, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and Coeliac disease to name a few.

Did wheat hybridization cause Coeliac Disease?
Gluten protein in wheat caused coeliac disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Specific gluten peptides can present as antigens in susceptible people causing sensitive T-cell lymphocytes to form antibodies and the reaction seems to lead to CD.

There is reason to believe that hybridization of wheat during the recent pst may be an underlying cause for the outbreak of CD. If that is the reason reversing to the ancient wheat einkorn may be the answer.

Many farmers worldwide are working to restore einkorn wheat to our modern diets to reduce the incidence of CD and to other health benefits.

Einkorn toxicity is supposed to be less than modern wheat. On the same token CD patients should not reverse back to einkorn wheat, as they may be sensitive to the old wheat, too On the other hand gluten sensitive CD patients having reversed to the old wheat consumption have found that einkorn diminished symptoms or had no reaction.

Gluten and Gliadin
Gluten is a protein composite of gliadin and glutenin that is found in wheat and in other grains like rye, barley, and spelt. It is the gluten that makes the dough to be sticky, elastic, putty and helps to rise and keep its shape.

White rice is gluten-free and one could switch over to rice for the daily calorie and energy requirements. No one knows how gluten is metabolised, and as Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for the University of Maryland’s Centre for Celiac Research states that nobody can digest gluten.

Our glands in the gut have no enzymes to break it down. Those people who are sensitive to gluten, the immune system seems to react to it and damage the inner lining of the gut.

Wheat free diets
All of us eat wheat and grain based foods in our diet daily, such as pasta, bread breakfast cereals rice among others. There is a growing number of people avoiding wheat products and switching to wheat free diets, to avoid stomach disturbances, chronic diseases like diabetes and other health problems. Some seems to think pesticides and food allergies are linked. They claim that they feel much more comfortable in the stomach and in the general wellbeing when eating wheat freefood.

Cardiologist Dr William Davis noted in his book-Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, lose the weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, that hybridized wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin. It also goes through and resistant to the gamma irradiation process wheat has to go through during manufacturing.

High Glycaemic Index
The GI of wheat is very high. It contains amylopectin A, which converts the starch into blood sugar fast. It is observed that two slices of whole wheat bread will increase the blood sugar levels higher than a single candy bar. Most of our visceral fat in protuberant bellies is due to eating products with wheat flour like bread. Eating too much of wheat can cause atherosclerosis of arteries, causing heart disease and stroke.

It is generally best to avoid wheat products, more so among diabetic patients. Controlling diabetes is much easier on a wheat free diet.

Increase LDL cholesterol
It is observed that there is an increase in small low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles in the blood on eating a high carbohydrate diet. So one could understand why there is an increase incidence of heart disease and stroke in most bread consuming countries. It is not fat that causes heart disease, but it is the sugar converted into fat in the body that causes it.

Contamination issues
It is important to keep your kitchen totally wheat-free. Purchase grains like rice that contains no gluten. There could be cross contamination between the gluten-free grain you have purchased and gluten bearing grain. That problem will occur when you purchase oats, which is grown alongside wheat and processed in facilities that manufacture wheat flour.

There is no contamination of wheat products with rice, because rice is grown in warmer climates and in muddy watery fields.

Be aware that soy sauce made with a wheat-based starter. You can make your own teriyaki or any other sauce if you suspect of contamination-(ref: Healthy eating by Fred Decker, Demand Media)

In conclusion –there are no medications for coeliac disease and other gluten sensitive situations. You should schedule a meeting with a dietitian to help you learn the basics of a gluten-free diet.

There are many people who avoid gluten containing foods as a lifestyle for better health and well-being

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