First, the background…
But is the problem JUST the gluten part, or is the problem WHEAT overall?
Well, as you probably already know, the crops of today don't look anything like they used to in ancient times. They're bigger, more resilient…But are they BETTER?
Wheat cultivated and grown today is NOT the same as it was even 50 years ago, due to the modern desire to produce as high a crop yield as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, quality is lost in the process.
And I'm not talking about genetic modification, either. I'm talking about cross-breeding crops to keep the wheat that is the fastest and cheapest to create. And, wheat is now stripped and bleached to make bread, in a way that it wasn't 100 years ago.
So here it is: Basically, the thing that causes celiac problems (autoimmune problems triggered by eating gluten) is something called an "epitope." And there are more epitopes in modern wheat than there used to be in ancient wheat…and it just keeps increasing more and more.
Now, let me clarify that the study I read was done in Holland by Dr. van den Broeck so that nobody can accuse me of trying to take the U.S. grain industry down ;)…Doctors in Holland are saying the same thing. He and his team took many different strains of wheat (both modern wheat and older "heritage wheats") and figured out that modern cross-breeding has increased the number of epitope proteins. This causes extreme flare-ups for those with celiac disease.
The doctor says, NO.
This is because gluten proteins actually inflame your immune system no matter what. They make irreversible changes in your small intestine…changes that can cause everything from diarrhea, to actually making it harder for your body to absorb nutrients. AHH! That would of course be the worst case scenario!
Dr. van den Broeck calls this "latent celiac disease." Even if you don't have celiac disease, you can still get sick from modern wheat!!
Of course, what you do with this information is up to you. I'm not going to tell you not to eat any more bread, or anything like that. And on the bright side, Dr. van den Broeck said that he and his team are trying to figure out which strain(s) of wheat have the lowest amount of these dangerous, small-intestine-altering epitopes as possible.
So that's good. But, they don't know which strains are better than others, yet.
But I have another blog…what is the best bread to eat..that you might be interested in. I tell you about which bread results in the minimal amount of harm to your digestive tract. But you'll have to read it to find out! 😉