Is Bread Making You Sick? : The Modernization of Wheat
Wheat, in one form or another, has been around for thousands of years. It has been and continues to be a dietary staple around the world. More than 700 million tons of wheat are cultivated worldwide and it is grown on more land area than any other commercial crop.
It is important to recognize that there are many different breeds of wheat. However, almost all of the wheat eaten today is dwarf wheat which is a high yielding wheat variety. This form of wheat was developed by cross breeding and crude genetic manipulation in the 1960s.
Dwarf wheat can be described as short, stubby, hardy and high yielding - not exactly sounding like the amber waves of grain, right? Dwarf wheat contains more starches and glutens compared to ancient wheat and many more chromosomes (some sources say double) which may result in odd protein formations.
Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, claims the gliadin (wheat protein) in modern, high yield, semi-dwarf wheat acts as an opiate in the brain and actually causes hunger - making it a potent appetite stimulant.
Dr. Mark Hyman, New York Times bestselling author and Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine calls the wheat of today FrankenWheat and claims that it contains a Super Starch (which is fattening), a form of Super Gluten (which is inflammatory) and a Super Drug similar to what Dr. Davis describes in Wheat Belly. He professes that modern wheat contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and several other modern ailments.
Why Was Wheat Modernized?
Modern wheat was developed by Norman E Borlaug the leader of the 1960s Green Revolution in an effort to increase yields and "feed the world." The wheat variety he developed was resistant to rust and fungal disease but required a lot of fertilizer, pesticides and irrigation to get the high yields. Borlaug was also able to create dwarf wheat varieties that could grow in all parts of the world no matter what kind of weather conditions existed.
The math is pretty simple: High yields + Weather Resistance + Pest Resistance = Profit
Could the Modernization of Wheat Be Making Us Sick?
It depends on who you ask. According to the Doctors mentioned above - yes, modern wheat is making people sick. The thousands of people who stopped eating wheat after reading Wheat Belly claim to have more energy, to have lost significant weight and to simply feel better.
On the other side, we have government agencies swearing up, down and sideways that modern wheat is not a problem or a health concern.
It's hard to ignore the personal testimonies of thousands of people who feel better after dropping wheat but there might be more to this story than meets the eye. As we've discussed and as we'll continue to discuss in upcoming blogs - there is a larger picture here than just modernized wheat. From growing wheat to processing and "manufacturing" bread and baked goods - there are many other suspects to take a look at. However, modernized wheat should not be ignored as it certainly plays its part in this whole puzzle.
What to Know About Berlin Natural Bakery
Our products are made with an Ancient, Heirloom variety of Spelt that we have imported from Germany. Spelt is the third original grain following Emmer and Einkorn - so old it is even mentioned in the Bible.
Spelt originated in the Fertile Crescent region (Middle East) and over time it naturally migrated to Southern Germany. It flourishes there due to the medium altitude and the lack of heat stress. When immigrants brought Spelt with them to America they found it difficult to grow and work with since it didn't produce yields like other native grains and because it has tight outer hulls which require expensive equipment to remove.
In an effort to make it easier to grow, harvest and process - most domestically grown spelt has been crossbred with modern wheat(s) and other grains.
This is why we get our grain from Germany because it is pure 100% Genuine Heirloom Spelt.
As we've said all along - modern wheat (while very concerning) is one part of this puzzle. We've got many more facets of bread production to take a look at. Coming up next, we'll be discussing whole grain flour rancidity - a topic you will not want to miss.