Modern wheat is hazardous to your health due to its heavy genetic modification. For thousands of years, wheat has existed as a few strains of relatively genetically simple lines. However, since the 1960s the genetic make-up of wheat been altered. This has affected the formation of wheat gluten, whose significantly altered proteins can wreak havoc on the body.
In his book Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis discusses how research has tied this GMO modern wheat to a many health problems:
- Acid reflux
- Autoimmune diseases (such as MS, rehumatoid arthritis, Hashmoto’s thyroiditis)
- Celiac disease
- Connective tissue diseases (such as lupus)
- Crohn’s disease
- Heart attacks
- Increased infant mortality
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Liver disease
- Psychological impairments, such as schizophrenia.
- Reduction in lifespan
- Skin rashes
- Ulcerative colitis.
In addition to the problems with GMO wheat, there are more toxins added by bleaching, pesticides, and the replacement of beneficial iodide with toxic bromides. Ch**m tr**Is also add toxins to the plants and fields.
Ancient Wheat: Free of Genetic Modification
Ancient wheat, however, goes back thousands of years and has never been genetically mutilated. It does not spike glucose levels, and people allergic to wheat have been able to tolerate ancient wheat just fine.
Sunrise Mill in North Branch, Minnesota, sells ancient wheat. The owners are plant the wheat they sell. Sunrise Mill ships. Some of the coops in the Minneapolis area carry it (usually only white flour though). When I was at the Cambridge, MN coop, which is near Sunrise Mill, they carried the whole wheat variety.
Sprouted wheat minimizes the effects of the GMO problem with modern wheat. Sprouting wheat also produces enzymes and vitamins, and reduces phytic acid (which leeches minerals from your teeth and body). A family friend, who had a son with cystic fibrosis, bought sprouted wheat bread for her son. She had researched a variety of foods and found that this was the easiest on his body. Ezekiel bread is an example of sprouted wheat, it is good for sandwich bread.
Whole Grains Reduce Cancer
Starting in the early 1900s, refined wheat became affordable for the common man. Correlating with this increased refined wheat consumption was an increase many health conditions, including cancer and diverticulitis, which was unheard of prior to refining processes.
Scientists have observed that people consuming “primitive” diets, high in complex carbohydrates (including fiber), appeared to be spared a number of maladies that are common to populations consuming more refined diets. Ancient wheat fits in this category.
Modern science is finally discovering that many forms of cancer are reduced by whole grains, including:
- Colorectal (colon) cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer (in African Americans and European Americans)
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancers.
The whole grains keep things moving in your intestines, preventing toxins from being formed, absorbed, staying in contact with, or adhering to the intestinal wall.
GMO Wheat Spikes Sugar Levels in your Body
Dr. Davis had done studies on modern wheat and blood sugar levels, and found that modern wheat raises blood sugar more than table sugar. Wheat acts as an appetite stimulant, so if you have excess cravings or want to lose weight, consider omitting wheat from your diet and see what happens. Dr. Davis has routinely seen how people who eliminate wheat tend to lose weight. He mentions that many gluten-free wheat substitutes, such as cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, or tapioca starch, have the same appetite-stimulant effect as modern wheat gluten. So replacing wheat with gluten-free options won’t necessarily help decrease your appetite.
Visceral Fat — “Wheat Belly”
Repeated cycles of high blood sugar and high blood insulin, as happens with wheat consumption, results in the growth of fat specifically in the abdominal organs. This is called visceral fat, and it results in a fat liver, fat kidneys, fat pancreas, fat large and small intestines, even a fat heart, as well as the familiar “wheat belly.” This visceral fat functions much like a very large unhealthy endocrine gland. It produces inflammatory signals and abnormal cytokines (cell-to-cell hormone signal molecules, such as leptin, resistin, and temor necrosis factor). The more visceral fat present, the greater the amount of abnormal signals released into the bloodstream. Visceral fat triggers a variety of conditions by releasing these abnormal signals, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer, and dementia. (p. 61)
Studies on the Detrimental Effect of Modern Wheat
Researchers found that the introduction of GMO wheat to China correlated with increased heart attacks and other problems. It had been assumed that the increase in heart attacks was the result of the increase in red meat consumption, but this was disproved in the study. The below graph shows the correlation.
In celiac disease, there is an awry immune response that essentially destroys the small intestine. Celiac disease has increased fourfold in the past 50 years, and has been paralleled by an increase in type 1 diabetes, autoimmune disease such as MS, Crohn’s disease, and allergies. Dr. Davis says that the gluten proteins that trigger celiac disease are found in higher quantities in modern wheat than the ancient wheat (p. 82).
Dr. Davis recounts the remarkable results he has seen when taking people off wheat, clearing up diabetes and many other conditions. He himself was allergic to wheat, and diagnosed with celiac disease (which can cause cramps, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, migraines, arthritis, infertility, depression, chronic fatigue). After going off wheat and curing himself, he did an experiment where he made one loaf of bread from Einkorn (an ancient form of wheat) and one from modern organic flour. After he ate the Einkorn bread, he experienced no symptoms and was fine. After he ate the modern flour, his blood sugar doubled and he experienced symptoms of nausea, cramping, poor sleep, and brain fog. He says it took 36 hours before he was back to normal again.
Darrold and Marty Glanville, of the Sunrise Flour Mill, report similar success when changing from GMO to ancient wheat:
“Once very active, Darrold was becoming increasingly achy and lethargic with new symptoms every few months. He had sinus problems, headaches and a myriad of intestinal issues including gastric reflux so bad he slept nearly sitting upright for a year. He saw numerous doctors who prescribed and suggested numerous pills, but to not avail. Darrold’s symptoms became so debilitating that he was spending most of his time in bed… We began to consider that gluten intolerance might be the culprit. We went gluten-free that day and within two days Darrold felt better, and within two months he was back to his old self. I found that within a few months of into switching my joint pain subsided and I was able to stop taking a prescribed medication for joint pain. After five years of not being able to knit, I was also able to pick up my needles and resume this activity which had always brought me joy.”
Many times wheat allergies are in response to the genetic modification of wheat or the added toxins, not the original wheat that was farmed for thousands of years.
Joint Pain, Arthritis, and Wheat
The high blood sugars associated with wheat, coupled with the inflammatory activity of visceral fat cells, can also lead to damage of the cartilage tissue in joints and joint inflammation.
Dr. Davis cites studies that show that wheat can be directly linked to schizophrenia. During WWII, in Europe and the North America, there were fewer hospitalizations for schizophrenia when food shortages made bread unavailable. At that time, the wheat available hadn’t been heavily modernized, so apparently some people are sensitive to wheat whether it’s modern or ancient; although perhaps there are fungi or mold on the wheat that can also affect certain individuals.
In the 60s, experiments were done where wheat was removed from the diets of schizophrenics. A decrease in hallucinations, delusions, and social detachment was seen. When they reintroduced wheat, these behaviors increased.
In the 70s a study was done of the New Guinea hunter and gatherer culture, prior to the introduction of western eating habits (wheat, beer, corn, etc). At this time schizophrenia was virtually unknown. After western eating habits had been established, schizophrenia went up 65-fold.
Osteoporosis, Increased Infant Mortality, Reduction in Lifespan
Dr. Davis says the archaeological record shows that the introduction of grains in general into the human diet thousands of years ago resulted in a variety of health afflictions: “The adoption of grains into the human diet was followed by archaeological evidence of increased infections, bone diseases such as osteoporosis, increased infant mortality, reduction in lifespan, as well as diabetes.” (P. 98)
Wheat as Acidic Food
Grains and wheat in particular create an acidic environment in the body, which can result in a variety of health imbalances. In studies, it has been found that protein, beans, nut, vegetable, and fruit diet results in an alkaline state in the body, regardless of whether the protein is animal or plant protein. Once grains are added to the diet, the body tends to shift towards an acidic state and has a harder time returning to a natural alkaline state. Says Dr. Davis, “If wheat and other grains are responsible for tipping the pH balance towards acidic, what happens if you do nothing more than remove wheat from the modern diet and replace the lost calories with other plants such as vegetables, fruit, beans, and nuts? The balance shifts back into the alakaline range.” (p 123)
Alkaline-Forming Foods Can Reduce Many Health Issues
A diet of foods that create an alkaline environment in the body has the potential to reduce muscle atrophy, kidney stones, salt-sensitive hypertension, infertility, and kidney disease.
Osteoporosis and Wheat: Decreased Bone Density
The body neutralizes this acidic state by drawing upon the calcium stores in the bones. This results in increased fractures and osteoporosis. Dr. Davis says that studies have demonstrated this, such as one which showed a five-fold increase in fractures among high school girls who consumed carbonated sodas.
Another study found the elimination of wheat from the diets of celiac participants promptly improved bone density, without the use of osteoporosis drugs.
A diet with more plant protein and less animal protein is associated with fewer fractures. Research has shown that at the highest intake of vegetable protein, hip fractures are basically non-existent. Diets with a ratio of vegetable protein to animal protein being between 2:1 to 5:1 is associated with fewer than 10 hip fractures per 100,000. By comparison, diets with a vegetable to animal protein intake ratio of 1:1 is associated with as many as 200 hip fractures per 100,000 population.
The genetic modifications applied to the ancient wheat can wreak havoc on the human body, coupled with the modern diet geared towards acid-producing foods can. Also, there can be fungi or mold growing upon the grains in storage.
But you can enjoy wheat again by buying ancient wheat that has been well taken care of.