Hybrid Wheat is Not the Same as GM Wheat

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist April 21, 2012

hybrid wheat

The recently published book Wheat Belly has caused a number of folks to mistakenly believe that genetically modified wheat has already invaded our food supply.  While it is true that GM wheat is currently being tested in the UK (not for commercial production supposedly), it has not become part of the human or animal food supply as of now.

The warnings against wheat in Wheat Belly are in reference to hybrid wheat strains which is a very different thing from genetic modification or GM wheat which, as of this writing, does not exist in the consumer marketplace.

When a plant is hybridized, the basic plant DNA is not mixed with the DNA of another, completely unrelated plant species or even the DNA of animals or bacteria which is what happens with genetic modification.

The Difference Between Hybrid Wheat and GM Wheat

Hybridization of plants has been practiced for centuries and the truth is that most of the plant foods we consume everyday are hybridized in some form or fashion.   Hybridization typically occurs through selection of desirable and inheritable characteristics that are either dominant or recessive genetic traits.

In the case of wheat, strains that are high in gluten have been favored in recent decades given that they are more desirable in food processing with the result that modern wheat is much higher in gluten than nonhybridized (wild) strains such as einkorn wheat.

In other words, hybrid wheat is not GM wheat.  Does this mean that hybridized wheat is bad for your health?

Not at all.  I personally have no problem eating high gluten hybrid wheat and don’t feel this is the reason for the big belly problem that many Westerners suffer from today as claimed in Wheat Belly.

The real crux of the problem is the complete mess that the vast majority of Westerners have made of their gut environment with all the processed foods, sugar, rancid vegetable oils, antibiotics and other pharmaceutical use.   An imbalanced gut environment will most assuredly not be able to digest wheat that is high in gluten and undigested food rots in the gut producing excess gas, bloating, growth of pathogens, and breakdown of the gut wall that results in – you guessed it, “wheat belly” as well as autoimmune symptoms such as food allergies or gluten sensitivity.

However,  is wheat the real problem?

No it’s not.

Fix the gut and hybrid wheat digests just fine in most cases .. particularly if you prepare the wheat properly by sprouting, soaking or sour leavening as practiced by traditional societies which breaks down gluten into more digestible form.

So if you want to avoid modern strains of wheat because you don’t digest it well, that is fine.  Just know that it really isn’t hybrid wheat that is the problem.   Getting gut health in order is the real key to solving any food digestion or sensitivity problems over the long term!

For more information about how to reverse gluten sensitivity and other food intolerance issues which go a long way toward flattening that “wheat” belly, check out these previous posts on the GAPS Diet.

Now, if and when GM wheat is introduced into the marketplace, that is a whole new ballgame as it is unknown what effect this would have on human physiology and digestion in particular.

Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now

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Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Source: GM Wheat that Repels Aphids Grown by British Scientists

Picture Credit

 

Comments (71)

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  2. I agree that the gut is the problem, but trying to separate modern hybridized wheat from that problem is absolutely wrong.
    Wheat changed in the ’50s for no reason other than greed. Wheat was perfectly fine the way it was before. Food producers wanted it to be fluffier, more moldable for cooking and, more than anything, the Monsantos of the world wanted wheat that would YIELD MORE. More yield, more money. Simple as that.
    The reason we have gut problems is because all of this garbage processed food is highly subsidized and pushed on us. And if you check a loaf of bread these days you will most likely find GLUTEN as it’s own ingredient and if they didn’t add that extra gluten the bread would look drastically different. Our stomachs haven’t evolved to deal with such a sudden drastic increase in gluten. So much for companies creating products that are suited to their customers needs.
    Oh, and a-gliadin, the wonderful side effect of the most recent hybridization, also binds to opioid receptors. Yay for cravings.
    In essence, hybridized wheat may as well have been the catalyst to the whole processed food movement.

    Reply
  3. I believe latest research is showing that the hybridisation of wheat has largely increased the gliadin component and it is the Gliadin that can lead to leaky gut and contribute to auto immune health problems. There seems to be a strong correlation also between this and how it negatively impacts the brain leading to alzheimers.

    Reply
  4. Hi Sarah, I wanted to chime in with an applause. I work to heal women with thyroid imbalance and I stand firm that wheat is not the issue and it’s the gut that needs healing. Today I was looking for a quick article to explain that wheat in fact is not a GMO but a hybrid version of itself and found your article. Seems Wheat Belly has distorted the minds of millions. Great work! Sara Ashe~ Holistic Nutrition and Thyroid Expert
    Sara Ashe\’s last post: Thyroid Loving Beef Nachos

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  5. Before condemning the Wheat Belly book, perhaps a few white pages should be included in the author’s reference so that other pov’s are added. While wheat has not been genetically modified (yet) it has been altered. So altered, in fact, that it is no longer recognizable as the Emmer, Einkorn, or Dinkel wheat of a 100 years ago. In fact, the number of chromosomes now contained in each has been altered numerous times and while not GMO, our dwarf-wheat not contains a protein member of the gluten family called Gliadin. Why is this a big deal? Because Gliadin activates the receptors in the human brain as an opiate would…so folks are eating more, taking in more calories a day and obviously, gaining more weight and experiencing more issues with their health. One has to wonder why ANY reputable scientist would add such a property into our wheat whose only purpose is to achieve the ‘more, more’ addictive process. Before you applaud…ask yourself “Why would this be needed in our food chain?”

    Reply
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  7. I’ve never read the book Wheat Belly, but after reading about hybridized wheat on a local news station web site I completely eliminated it from my diet. The effect was almost immediate and all positive. No more bloating, gas, diarrhea, or heartburn. Health issues that had bothered me for years and gradually gotten worse up until the diet change were all but gone.

    I had always wondered why my blood sugar tanked an hour later after eating a bowl of cereal. I am not talking sugar coated candy cereal which I despise, I am talking Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Cream of Wheat, etc. It turns out that hybridized wheat has more sugar in it than a candy bar, the wrong kind of sugar, and that was the reason.

    Not only do I get hungry less often but I eat less during meals, and the days of scarfing food when I get home from work are gone. I am simply not as hungry. I have more energy at age 47 than I did when I was a kid. I sleep better, can work or play longer, and feel great everyday. Before the diet, it was a mixed bag.

    I’ve never been much for junk food; don’t care for soda (water or tea please), rarely eat at fast food restaurants, and never cared for processed food. I’ve always tried to eat healthier because I thought I had a touchy stomach.

    After all these years I finally identified the problem, eliminating wheat from my diet worked and I will never go back.

    Reply
  8. Sorry to give you the bad news, but all American wheat is geneticly modified and really bad for us. It has been modified to produce 10 times the yield, so we will never be able to go back to “real” wheat. Check out several cardiologists who are finally speaking out. One of them is William Davis, but there are others. Just Google “is all wheat bad” and look for the real articles – not the articles that are promoting wheat bread as the “healthy” choice – it isn’t.

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  9. For those asking “Where is the research? Where are the stats?”, you may be interested to read this article: http://www.cimmyt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1549:wheat-improvement-the-truth-unveiled&catid=432:special-news

    This is a direct reponse to the wheat belly, with expert advice from leading scientists – these guys know what they’re talking about.

    For those who find that they have a severe reaction when they eat grains after cutting them out of their diet for a while, isn’t it obvious that your gut would be in shock if you eat a lot of something you aren’t used to eating? I have been a vegetarian for five years. There is no way I am allergic to meat, yet if I was to eat a steak now, I would feel really, really sick. Simply because my body is not used to it. Everything in moderation people. Please don’t complain when you eat no wheat for four months then feel bloated after eating an entire pizza. Try a daily slice of homemade, wholegrain bread for breakfast, and delight in its deliciousness.

    Reply
  10. I love the article. The only thing I would disagree with is the concern over high gluten wheat. My daughter has a severe allergy to wheat. It started as a gluten intolerance. As with all allergies, being exposed over and over to the gluten in wheat, her body began to build antibodies against wheat and gluten. The reactions were more and more intense. Now, when she accidently eats anything with wheat, she has antiphalaxis reaction. Her face, lips, nose eyes swell and angioedema is very present. High gluten has been attributed to autoimmune illnesses and numerous other conditions. My daughter was diagnosed with IBS for years. She suffered through it. As a nurse, I tried everything to help her to feel better. It wasn’t until I removed wheat/gluten totally from her diet for 3 weeks that I realized it was the wheat/gluten making her sick. She now must avoid all wheat/gluten. Antibody testing showed high antibodies that attack the ingested wheat or gluten. Thus, causing the severe allergic reaction. I don’t agree with our government adding high levels of gluten. If you think of how many carbs americans consume, those carbs contain the wheat with high levels of gluten. This is proof in itself that Americans are getting sick from wheat/gluten not just bad oils. Hydrogenated oils, High fructose coin syrup and malt have have traces of wheat in them as they are processed with this. Mayo Clinic has a wonderful article on things to avoid if you are allergic to wheat/gluten. These are included. Thus, the wheat/gluten appears to be a main culprit here. We are a family of four and have gone gluten/wheat free. It has made a huge difference in how we feel physically, emotionally and mentally. No more brain fog for me. I encourage others to research and rule out wheat/gluten as a culprit to illnesses. I only wish I would have learned this years ago, when my daughter was a toddler.

    Reply
  11. Sarah, Love your blog and most information you share, but oh my how I disagree. I apologize if you’ve since researched modern wheat a bit more in depth by this time. I know accepting the fact that wheat is unhealthy is difficult. I was in disbelief myself when I was properly preparing soaked grains and sourdough breads for my family and discovered my 3-year old was severely intolerant. So intolerant it screwed up his mitochondrial and looks as if he will be on treatment everyday for the rest of his life. Now I’ve realized that 90% of those with Celiac have no idea they have any ill effects from eating one of the most inflammatory foods available. The number of those with gluten-intolerance is much higher. Intolerance of the glue can be every bit as bad as Celiac. As we’ve seen with Monosanto, BASF (biggest producer of GE crops sold in US) is only playing with words and this post sadly supports their unethical behavior. I don’t think it was intentional on your part, I think you’ve been duped just like the rest of us by BASF – one of the world’s largest chemical giants. As I naively bought my non-GMO wheat flour for my love of sourdough, the thought never occurred to me I may be buying GE grains. BASF wheat may not be genetically MODIFIED, per se, but it is without a doubt genetically ENGINEERED. As with all of the Monosanto franken-foods, BASF’s Clearfield wheat is also BASF herbicide tolerant. How do you suppose that happened? Was it modified? Was it engineered? It was altered, same difference. That chemical engineering disrupts my sweet boy’s endocrine system. It disrupts mine. You belong to the same species as us so I feel confident in saying it disrupts yours too. Celiac is not called the silent killer for nothing. Did you know BASF was booted out of Germany by its citizens’ intolerance of these toxins and concern for these bio-engineered foods. BASF’s headquarters has relocated to a more GMO/GE friendly location, Raleigh, NC! Off to research more about the other BASF Clearfield GE crops like non-GMO rice…

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Wheat Free for a Month :: the unprocess

  13. Folks, Ladies
    don’t waste your time here. This is an industry-sponsored Fake Blog to confuse the public from waking up to the fact of toxic, addictive, modified and health- destructive wheat.

    Reply
  14. i disagree with your review; i believe it is too harsh.

    Dr. Davis often overstates his case. some are only his conjectures with little proof. but his message is important. also by his book has helps many (albeit could be due to wrong reason – by eliminating wheat, most processed food stuff is eliminated), he has helps many more people than most MDs. so i think you’re being unfair.

    you’re correct that modern dwarf wheat is not GMO. but that does NOT make it a benign food stuff. the nutritious values are poor even if you prepare it properly.

    by being so negative on his book, you’re doing more harm as some who really need to eliminate wheat might dismiss it. (& no, i’m not celiac)

    i like Chris Masterjohn’s review, more fair & level headed.

    http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/10/wheat-belly-toll-of-hubris-on-human.html

    i also disagree that it is dangerous to eliminate grains for all people.

    also who said eliminating grain = low carb?

    i get plenty of starch from tubers, much more nutritious. easier on digestion for some.

    (having said that i do eat moderate amount of grains : white rice & properly prepared in the WAP tradition).

    regards,

    Reply
  15. Pingback: genetically modified foods: the truth about wheat, corn and soy

  16. Wheat causes Asthma in me and I do not eat modern foods or take any drugs. I lost 50 lbs when I was forced to go Gluten free and will never even touch a drop of wheat in any form as it makes me wheeze almost immediately. You need to look at biopsies that show wheat causing leaky gut syndrome. I think we should eat as our ancestors ate, nothing under the ground like potatoes and no grains. I have found that the medical mafia uses MULTIFACTORIAL arguments such as ” Oh its your Genes and enviroment” to confuse people and basically say that they dont have a clue about how to help you other than throw a steroid at you ( Doctors jobs are not to cure you, their job is to push drugs ) then give you a colostomy bag when the surgeon decides that will cure your IBS. Read the book, it will change your life.

    Reply
  17. if your goal is to restore gut health, you must eliminate wheat from your diet.

    the problem is the gliadin, increasing gut permeability. this isn’t a genetic issue, nor does it apply only to those with celiac disease. the problem is species-specific.

    as far as i can find, there is no method to prepare wheat which removes/reduces the gliadin content.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653457/
    “Gliadin Induces an Increase in Intestinal Permeability and Zonulin Release by Binding to the Chemokine Receptor CXCR3″

    Reply
  18. Sarah,
    Again I am asking you to tell us how you “know” the statements you have made about wheat specifically you said:

    “Switching to processed foods that don’t contain wheat is not going to move the ball forward to better health in the slightest”

    How do you know that – where is the evidence or are you just guessing. I’m not trying to be smart just want to know where the proof is?????

    Reply
    • Although I don’t agree with most of the article, I DO believe that “Switching to processed foods that don’t contain wheat is not going to move the ball forward to better health in the slightest”…. We should eliminate processed foods completely.
      I’ve been on the Dukan Diet for 8 months and there are no processed foods on that program. I can’t imagine going back on. “Gluten-Free” processed foods does not necessarily = Healthy.

      Reply
  19. I am discouraged by the negative side that Weston Pricers (for lack of a better word) have decided to take on the Paleo/Primal folks. I actually look for advice from both sides of the spectrum. I am discouraged by AnnMarie of Cheeseslave since she found Matt. I know that each of you has your side of the story. But what is right for you and Ann Marie is not right for me at this point. I agree that gut issues are a big part of the story. But until then grains are not working for me. I think we all need to be on the same page that there are two sides to every story. Paleo should NOT be coming down on Pricers and Pricers should not come down on Paleo. All of us want to help others heal. What works for one doesn’t work for another. You made very valid points but I think the tone turned folks off perhaps. You did make a valid point that GM wheat and hybrid wheat are two different things. And I thank you for that. I was not aware of that issue but that is not why I stopped eating wheat. I personally have blood sugar issues that I am hoping GAPS will address some because I really hope to be able to have a slice of sourdough every once in awhile without issues but for right now it ain’t happenin’! But the bigger thing is that you, Ann Marie and Paleo bloggers have taught me a bunch and I continue to grow and heal every day by the wisdom of both sides.

    Reply
  20. Really disagree with this article. If anyone reads Wheat Belly and thinks GM then they did not really read the book. The author makes it crystal clear what he is talking about. It is also a WONDERFUL book with hard data to back the claims and the info about why hybridization is so bad in wheat as opposed to other foods is very eye opening. This book was the last straw for me and I ended up cutting all grains out of my diet. NEVER felt better in my life. I attend CrossFit classes daily and I am bench pressing and squatting with the boys now – who also will not touch grains BTW. I am constantly amazed at how my body is changing for the better. I went from properly prepared grains and fermented to no grains. The first thing I noticed was I was no longer bloated. In fact I didn’t know what it felt like to NOT be bloated until 3-4 days off of grains.

    I see no reason on this planet to re-introduce them at any point… there would be no reason to (healthwise) in my mind unless I just wanted to taste/enjoy them again.

    Reply
    • This is a well-written article. I was once on Dr Davis’ blog and he and others were using GM and hybridized wheat terms in such a way that it would confuse a reader into thinking GM wheat IS the same as hybridized wheat. I have never read his book and I’m still looking for a review that doesn’t come from anyone who pushes Paleo. I think many people feel good on Paleo at first, but that it’s detrimental to health in the long run. I think being on Paleo and eating too low carb wrecked my health.

      I would rather do the GAPS diet for a short time and heal my gut, than have to cut wheat and all grains out of my diet.

      Reply
  21. I have to disagree with you on this one. The wheat we are eating today is killing us. Take it from someone who has lived it. I’ve lost 155 pounds in the past 26 months by putting wheat, sweeteners and starches out of my diet. I’ve seen what it can do. It killed my wife of 37 years and it’s killing all of us slowly. Dr. Davis was right and you are wrong.
    I tell my story on my blog.
    Dan Moffett\’s last post: FDA Says You Have No Right To The Food You Want

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    • I believe this is true also. Even too much fruit causes problems because of too much fructose. I also have gone off all grains, starches, and most sources of sugar or anything that is not low glycemic/low inflammation. My husband had a heart attack and had high blood pressure most of his life. He is now on this diet and is off all meds. The meds did not even help. He lost weight and is thrilled. I have RA and asthma. I find as soon as I eat the typical American diet I have incredible pain along with joint destruction, asthma, etc. We eat meats, fish, eggs, cheese, salads, green beans, tomatoes, things like that. Homemade keifer and he drinks good German beer. We drink coffee, use stevia, and do eat alot of fat such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil, animal fats. I bake with almonds I soak, dry, and grind, plus, coconut flour. If I go off this diet I know real fast and I also start gaining and do not sleep well. Older woman and men-are you puffy? You can tell you need to make diet changes if you are. I can look in the mirror and see by just looking at my eyes.
      Grains and starches raise blood sugar and cause inflammation. Inflammation, they are finding, causes disease. I know this is true from trial and error on myself and my husband.
      I am not meaning to cause issues but so much is involved and becomes evident as one gets older. We will always eat this way to keep our inflammation down. My doctor was shocked at how low my inflammation was (by blood tests) by eating this way. I am 57.

      Reply
  22. I haven’t yet read Wheat Belly (it’s on my list), but I am of the opinion that modern wheat strains definitely aren’t the same as they used to be, hybrid or not. And I think that’s a big issue for many people. One of the problems is that wheat has been changed to contain a much higher gluten content than its historical ancestor, and our bodies simply aren’t designed to deal with that much gluten – not to mention that it is found in many processed foods on the market. It’s true that some seem to do fine on grains, properly prepared – as I’ve heard this from various people. But I also agree that you certainly can’t digest anything well, including grains, if you don’t heal your gut properly first. I think that’s where many people want to take a short cut and not do a healing protocol like GAPS. They think if they just prepare them properly, they don’t have to worry about anything else.

    I have been on GAPS since last May and I think it has done wonders for me, but I have also stopped most of my supplements besides FCLO and traded digestive enzymes and liquid minerals I was taking, which weren’t working, for the Loomis Enzymes and Best Process liquid Trace Minerals. I feel doubtful that I’ll personally ever be able to eat grains again the way I used to (3-5 times daily), and I don’t want to go back to eating them that often. From what I’ve read, I really do believe we can get all the nutrients found in grains from other foods such as legumes, nuts, animal products, and vegetables and fruits. I’m not necessarily an advocate of the Paleo or Primal diets, but I think those philosophies offer some important ideas about healthy eating. I think if Dr. Price were alive today, he wouldn’t be so keen on encouraging people to eat as many grains as we do today – even if they are sprouted, soaked, or fermented – due to the way grains are as compared to the historical past. The populations he visited definitely weren’t eating wheat with such high gluten content, and I think that’s a significant problem.

    My family doesn’t want to do GAPS, and so I have to just live with the fact that they aren’t digesting their food properly. My husband tried to do it at my suggestion, but only made it for a few weeks. So I do the best I can and when they want grains, I try to offer them soaked, sprouted, and fermented varieties as often as possible.
    Raine\’s last post: Industrial Meat & Pink Slime = More Recalls, Drug Resistance

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  23. I’m reading Wheat Belly now, and this post doesn’t really address the voluminous scientific evidence of problems caused by modern dwarf wheat strains documented in the book. I hope it’s clear to readers that Dr. Davis does *not* claim wheat is the product of high-tech gene splicing techniques and is therefore not GMO. He also says too many carbohydrates are a large part of the obesity problem, but this is independent of the problems caused by wheat specifically, and it’s not limited to gastrointestinal disturbances nor is it completely cured by soaking, sprouting, and culturing wheat or other gluten grains. It’s also not only about gluten. It’s not only about celiac disease. I won’t attempt to summarize the book’s contents here in a short comment, but I encourage those who are curious or have concerns to actually read Wheat Belly and not just blogposts dismissing it. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, borrow a copy and read chapters 6 and 7, which get into the science more than the earlier chapters. The book is written in a very accessible, sometimes humorous, popular style, but it is backed up by lots of references.
    Jeanmarie\’s last post: Keukenhof Gardens: The Place to Be in Springtime

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  24. I love the Wheat Belly book. It makes so much sense and has been my answer to finally getting rid of that little bit of excess fat in the waist area. Hormonal balance, thyroid issues, I have addressed them all, and finally this book made me see that even though I was eating low sugar, I was still spiking my blood sugar with wheat. Gluten free starches also spike the blood sugar like sucrose does, and having switched to making breads with those blends as of late, I had not realized that it was also doing my belly fat no good until I read this book. It was a total revelation. The pounds have come off fast. What seems to be the confusion here is that his point is that wheat is now so high in starch due to hybridization that it spikes the blood sugar which causes weight gain. Any amount of healing the gut will not solve the insulin spike that certain foods create, sugar and wheat being very high on the glycemic index. Healing the gut will help with digestive issues, but Wheat Belly addresses a totally different aspect of wheat and why it should be avoided. I just want to encourage everyone to read this book, b/c it has nothing to do with digestive or gut issues at all and is a book like no other, in my opinion. Also, anything that spikes the blood sugar creates addiction, so for me, getting off wheat and even GF starches has been easy since now I do not crave them anymore since I have avoided them for some time. So if you cannot imagine a world without grains, you may be surprised that you will not miss them over time since the insulin spike has vanished which creates addition. And coconut and almond flour is very fun and interesting to bake with. Wheat Belly is a very well written book.

    Nickole
    Nickole@savvyteasandherbs.com\’s last post: Headache Healer Herbal Blend

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  25. Do you still think the best way to eat wheat is soaked in water and whey or ACV? I am prepapring to teach a “Soaking Your Wheat” class and had remembered reading this on your blog a while back:

    “In addition, Rami told me that soaking whole or sprouted grains in buttermilk, clabbered milk, yogurt or kefir does not seem to reduce phytic acid content significantly.”

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, I soaked a big batch of waffles in filtered water and lemon juice just yesterday and made about 20 large waffles for breakfast this morning and will freeze the rest for fast breakfasts the rest of the week :) My husband who is most sensitive to gluten in our family finds that when I soak the wheat this way it produces no symptoms for him at all.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Hybrid Wheat NOT the Same as GM Wheat

      Reply
  26. I’m really considering GAPS for myself. I currently have to take thyroid replacement meds for hypothyroidism and inhaler for asthma. Do u know if I can keep doing that on GAPS until hopefully I don’t need it or will the meds “block” the healing?

    Reply
  27. Thanks to Wheat Belly, many people are seeing amazing benefits in their health simply due to eliminating wheat. Yes the GAPS diet might also see the same benefits but it’s not an easy diet and takes a lot of time and effort to implement. Wheat belly is a much simpler option for most people.

    You blame processed foods for people’s gut problems, most processed foods contain wheat. Coincidence? I think not.

    Also, the first stage of gaps eliminates wheat anyway.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Not true … all grains and disaccharrides are eliminated on GAPS not just wheat. Eliminating just wheat is a band-aid approach to health. It solves nothing. As gut imbalance continues to deteriorate, more and more and more foods will need to be eliminated over time … best to deal with the root of the problem and solve it with GAPS. I’m not into band-aid approaches to health myself. I like to just make the problem go away — permanently.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Hybrid Wheat NOT the Same as GM Wheat

      Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Processed foods are but ONE problem causing gut imbalance. Rampant overuse of sugar, antibiotics, and other meds is a HUGE part of it. Many processed foods do not contain any wheat and yet contribute to gut imbalance as well. Switching to processed foods that don’t contain wheat is not going to move the ball forward to better health in the slightest.
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Hybrid Wheat NOT the Same as GM Wheat

        Reply
  28. Great article. Thanks for thanks for the clarification! All of our foods have changes drastically over the years – another great example is the potato. Too many people are demonizing wheat as the root of all evil.

    Reply
  29. I see your point about gut health and the flaw you are pointing out in wheat belly. My question is: Are we really getting a lot from properly prepared grains? Like you commented on coffee ” It would still be wise to avoid coffee though as it has little to no redeeming value other than a few antioxidants which is no way overcomes the negative downside of this health robbing drink.” So if you have eliminated grains and are on working towards healing your gut, is there a huge benefit from adding properly prepared grains back into your diet? Could you not get the few nutrients that properly prepared grains has to offer from other foods?

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I feel that properly prepared grains are an integral part of the diet. Any woman who has breastfed knows that soaked oatmeal causes her milk supply to go through the roof. A baked potato doesn’t do the same thing by a longshot. If grains contributed nothing to health then traditional cultures would not have consumed them AND Dr. Price would not have observed that the cultures that consumed a balanced diet of animal foods and cereal grains were the BEST proportioned and the STRONGEST. It is the extremes in diet that produced the least desirable results with vegetarians being the unhealthiest and the grain free populations not equaling the health of the balanced cultures which ate cereal grains.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Hybrid Wheat NOT the Same as GM Wheat

      Reply
  30. I have prepared and eaten traditional foods for several years including fermenting, sprouting, soaking, good fats, raw milk, etc. I have learned so much from the NT book, their website, and various blogs and videos (love yours Sarah). I am grateful for such depth of resources. I have no digestive issues at all, but after reading Wheat Belly I gave up grains a few months ago. Although I sometimes miss my yummy sour dough bread with butter, I am glad (at least for now) that I gave up wheat and most other grains. I have lost the few pounds that I needed to; I’ve always had a small waist and I was beginning to get a bit “thick” around the middle. I had not eaten processed foods, vegetable oils, sugar, or taken any drugs of any kind in over 20 years. I also have lost almost all of my cellulite. The best benefit though has been that without an automatic “go to food” (bread), I have gained such an appreciation for winter squashes, lots of vegetables, beans, and even nuts. I have become much more creative in the kitchen. I won’t say that I will never go back to eating grains, but at least for now eating no wheat works for me. BTW, I am 60 years old.

    Reply
  31. I don’t think hybrids are bad in general, but in this case, the research suggests that our hybrid wheat isn’t what it used to be, not only in gluten content, but in overall nutrition. My family hasn’t gone off of wheat, but we eat a lot less and have been eating a wider variety of grains to get max nutrition. There are several ancient wheat varieties still available that are higher in nutrition. Spelt has become my new favorite, as it is closer to wheat, but much higher in nutrients.
    I do think Wheat Belly falsely claims that wheat is the “big” problem… we have so much more going on than wheat, but it is a clue into our food system that often, grains, vegetables, fruits are engineered for production purposes and not health purposes.

    Reply
  32. You lost me as a reader. Dr William Davis never claimed the wheat we eat was a GMO. He specifically reitterated that wheat has been hybridized with meathods that, in his opinion, were worse than GMO.

    Thanks to Wheat Belly I found that I am allergic (not intollerant or sensitive) to all grains. Wheat was the worst offender. Dr William Davis provides good reseach on wheat. The plant is different than it was 50 years ago and those changes are not suited to all people.

    I agree that unhealthy guts are a large reason why we have so many problems, but I think scientists fiddling with our food supply are doing much worse damage.

    Reply
        • Umm… What would you eat then? You *do* realize that all plant foods have some kind of natural toxin in them, right? Leafy greens, beets, apricots, figs, and others are high in oxalates. Avacodos, tomatoes, blueberries, honey, and peppers (among others) are all high in salicylates. Grapes, berries, and teas are high in tannins. Broccoli is goitrogenic. All these foods are still good, nourishing foods. You just have to prepare them properly in order to reduce the irritating effect of the toxins. And some of them can’t reduce these innate toxins no matter how you prepare them (like avocado or honey).

          Reply
          • @ Food Renegade, obviously it would take high doses for this to harm you, not how you prepare your food. The last time I checked none of the foods listed needs to be “prepared properly”.

    • Funny – she misreads your article, and states emphatically that you’ve lost her as a reader! Gotta be thick skinned to be a health blogger, I tell ya!

      Reply
    • Jana… I agree with you 100%… and cutting the wheat out of my diet in August has changed my life… no more heart burn, no more sore knees, no more vertigo or migraines, the list goes on and on.
      I didn’t read Dr. Davis’ book until months after I started the Dukan Diet, but it explained exactly why I questioned 3 weeks into my diet why those things had stopped.

      Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Why don’t you take it to the next level and heal your gut which is the reason for the problem with wheat in the first place (in most cases)? Cutting out the wheat is a short term band-aid approach. You will find over time that other foods cause the same problems as wheat did and you will have to cut those out as well … more and more and more foods cut out over time if you don’t address the root of the problem which is gut imbalance.
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Hybrid Wheat NOT the Same as GM Wheat

        Reply
        • Hi Sarah… thanks for the reply… I have cut out wheat, sugar and all processed foods, at this point. I don’t take antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals. I do, on occasion use homeopathics or herbs. I get regular chiropractic, massages and acupuncture.
          My gut is about as perfect as it could get, at this point :)
          I have had no bloating whatsoever since cutting out wheat in August… no IBS, no crampy diarrhea, happy tummy :)

          Reply
          • Sounds like elimination diets help for awhile, but then people can develop intolerances to more variety of foods as Sarah says, and also new symptoms surface. Wondering if eliminating foods creates nutritional deficiencies over time causing more problems. Healing the gut, the re-gaining food tolerance is a better approach long term than just food avoidance. Unfortunately, healing the gut can take sooooo loooong…….

    • I think you are correct. Davis cites hybredization and GM. The GM has just increased the problem. I will stick with the wheat free and make an effort to avoid gluten as much as possible.

      Reply
  33. Bravo!!! I applaud you for this article. I’ve been reading the anti-grain materials for the last year and it all comes back to traditional preparation. We have greatly cut down our grain consumption in the last few months but finding we don’t necessary enjoy the restriction.
    So now we are looking into learning traditional soaking methods. I failed miserably at sourdough but will definitely try again!

    Reply

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