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Let Them Eat Wheat: Scientific Holes in the Wheat-Free Diet Craze

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Let Them Eat Wheat: Scientific Holes in the Wheat-Free Diet Craze

The wheat-free diet is being sold as the latest and greatest way to cure all our ills. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, though…

 

A decade ago “experts” everywhere were denouncing dietary fat as the metabolic miscreant to blame for the obesity epidemic, and now it’s the carbohydrate. And wheat and gluten in particular, we’re told, are the real nasty buggers of the lot.

If you listen to the mainstream hysteria, wheat gives you a big, fat “wheat belly,” a zombified “grain brain,” and type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a whole host of other diseases.

Well, before you say a very sad farewell to your favorite grain and condemn yourself to wheat austerity, read this article. A wheat-free diet isn’t likely to help you in any way…

Eating Wheat Won’t “Make You Fat” and Going Wheat-Free Won’t “Make You Lean”

We all know that for the last several decades, obesity rates here in America are on a rocket ride, and we’ve all heard that wheat (and carbohydrates in general) is contributing or even causing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This theory just doesn’t hold water, though.

Wheat consumption here in American has decreased by 16 pounds per capita since 1997, but our waistlines just keep getting bigger and bigger. Furthermore, recent research found that central obesity was lowest among people eating five servings of grains per day, including two servings of refined grains.

How, then, could our decreasing intake of a food associated with lower body fat levels be the cause of our increasing obesity rates? Simple: it can’t.

What could be the cause, though? What about eating more and more food over time and moving less and less?

Well, that’s exactly what the research shows: for decades now, both calorie consumption and sedentary behavior has been on the rise. Simply put, we’re more gluttonous and lazy than ever, and we have the flabby physiques to prove it.

You see, the real problem here is that people love simple answers and easy solutions. Most overweight people don’t want to hear that they’re just eating too damn much and moving too damn little–the simplest recipe for obesity you can whip up.

Try to tell them that they’ll plug their ears and close their eyes and chant “nanananana.” Tell them that the US government spirited away Nazi scientists at the end of the war to develop Frankenwheat products to make them fat and sick, though, and they’ll hang on every word.

What can I say–we humans love to blame others for our mistakes and suffering, and inanimate food products make easy scapegoats. The wheat made me fat. The meat made me sick. The GMO made me dumb.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “what about all those people that went on wheat-free diets and lost a bunch of weight?”

Well, as much as I love whole-grain products, I do have a gripe: they’re so damn calorie dense. 2 ounces of pasta contains about 40 grams of carbohydrate and 200 calories. A single measly slice of whole-wheat bread is about half that.

If someone has been eating several servings of wheat and other grains per day and then replaces them with something like lean meat or vegetables of any kind, they’re going to dramatically increase their protein and decrease their calorie intake. And that’s a simple recipe for weight loss success.

That said, if someone drops wheat but replaces it with too many calorie-dense high-fat foods like nuts and oils,  he’s not going to lose any weight. In fact, he may gain instead.

The bottom line is this: if you want to lose weight, you need to regulate HOW MUCH you eat much more than WHAT.

You can eat wheat every day or avoid it like the plague and get the job done equally effectively, but you have to properly utilize the principles of energy balance and macronutrient optimization.

Eating Wheat Won’t Give You Type-2 Diabetes

First comes the wheat then comes the fat and then comes the type-2 diabetes, the wheat-free advocates say.

Why, then, has study after study after study associated increased intake of whole grains with decreased risk of type-2 diabetes?

To quote researchers from the University of Minnesota:

“In summary, dietary patterns characterized by refined carbohydrates may adversely affect metabolic intermediates and such a diet may increase the risk of vascular diseases, such as diabetes and CHD, especially among individuals prone to insulin resistance.

“To lower disease risk and improve vascular health outcomes, it is imperative to replace refined grains with whole grains to improve glucose homeostasis.”

And therein lies the big distinction that needs to be made when talking about eating wheat: whole grains versus refined grains.

You see, whole grains contain the entire kernel and are packed with nutrients. Examples of whole grains are whole-wheat flour, bulgur, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Refined grains, on the other hand, have been processed to remove the bran and germ, which gives a finer texture and increases shelf life, but which also removes the majority of the nutrition and turns the grain into a simpler carbohydrate.

While consumption of refined grains may not be as harmful as some people claim, your body is going to get more nutritional value out of whole grains, which is reason enough to ensure you’re getting at least 50% of your daily grains from whole-grain sources.

Eating Wheat Doesn’t Cause Chronic Inflammation in Most People

Wheat haters love to rant about how the grain is basically a Trojan horse of inflammation, carrying all kinds of scary “anti-nutrients” and other substances that slowly but surely break our immune systems down and kill us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, while it’s true that chronically elevated biomarkers of internal inflammation is associated with an increased risk for many types of diseasewheat doesn’t increase inflammation in most people’s bodies.

It does in people with celiac disease, which affects less than 1% of the population, but in the rest of us, research clearly shows it has no such effects.

For example, this study conducted by researchers at Newcastle University found that when people that infrequently ate grains increased whole-grain consumption (including wheat products), there was no significant change in biomarkers of inflammation.

There’s also evidence that whole grains, including wheat, can actually reduce inflammation in the body:

  • This study conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that C-reactive protein levels were lower in women that consumed more than 1 one-ounce serving per day of whole grains than those that consumed none.
  • This study conducted by researchers at Utah State University found the same: increased intake of whole grains was associated with lower C-reactive protein levels, not higher.

And this comprehensive meta-analysis of over 45 cohort studies and 21 randomized-controlled trials between 1966 and February 2012 found that whole grain intake reduced both the risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which are associated with chronic inflammation.

Unless you have celiac disease or a legitimate wheat intolerance or allergy, which are also very rare, research shows that whole grains aren’t going to increase inflammation in your body. In fact, a few one-ounce servings per day is likely to reduce it.

 Today’s Wheat Isn’t a Genetically Modified Monster Crop

Wheat-free dieters love to tell horror stories of genetic engineering to produce a poisonous modern wheat that is a mere shadow of the nourishing wheat of our ancestors.

This is pure fiction.

First, the hybridization event that gave us our common wheat occurred 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, so the ancestral wheat of a couple thousand years ago has the same genetic make-up as today’s.

Second, there is no genetically modified wheat in the current world food supply. Yes, none. What there is, however, is a grain that has changed through the natural process of selective breeding.

You see, just like people have been breeding race horses to make faster, stronger animals, farmers have been breeding plants to increase yield, food quality, and nutritional value. This is a perfectly natural, ongoing process that stretches back thousands of years and has positively impacted the food supply in many ways.

The biggest modern advance in wheat breeding came from Norman Borlaug, whose work with traditional plant breeding techniques resulted in wheat plants that could produce high yields in a variety of harsh conditions, and won him a Nobel Peace Prize.

Genetically and chemically speaking, wheat just hasn’t changed much in the last century and thus our modern variety can’t be blamed for our modern health problems.

Want to Be Lean, Healthy, and Vital? A Wheat-Free Diet Isn’t the Key

The majority of people subjecting themselves to a wheat-free diet just want to look and feel good and reduce the likelihood of dying an untimely, miserable, painful, diseased death.

Well, while cutting wheat out of your diet may help you inadvertently reduce your overall calorie intake and replace non-nutritious processed foods with healthier alternatives, it doesn’t guarantee much in the way of living a long, healthy life.

Here’s what does, though…

If that sounds like a lot of work or rules to follow…change your mind. It’s not. It’s rare these days, but that’s only because most people have the willpower of a lab rat and foresight of a nine-year-old. That list is just the basic ante-in if you want to live a long, vital, disease-free life.

The good news, however, is the longer you do something, the more comfortable it becomes. If you start incorporating those points into your life, one at a time, they’ll eventually become indispensable parts of your life.

And if you’re diligent about it, your grandchildren, and maybe even great grandchildren, will enjoy getting to know the real you one day, not the smelly weirdo hobbling around asking for latex gloves and Kleenex to clean the food.

 

What are your thoughts on the wheat-free diet? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Derek John

    right on Mike! Viva La Gluten!

    • Michael Matthews

      Amen! 🙂

  • I live in San Francisco, which is arguably the fad diet nucleus of the world. It’s funny, go into any boutique grocery store (they’re all over the place now), and you’ll see something like gluten free local organic fair trade cookies… for 12 bucks a box. It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on — there’s a major incentive to blow these dietary scares way out of proportion to make a buck or two.

    I’m personally a huge fan of grains, wheat especially. Not really because I love eating them so much, but more because they facilitated the development of modern civilization. If it weren’t for domesticated grain we might still be running around in the jungle getting chased by feral cats.

    • Michael Matthews

      Lol yup. GF is, for many food companies, nothing more than an easy way to make huge profits.

      Very true on the agriculture point.

  • Thomas

    Really good article. I have been fighting with this issue for a while because you hear so many terrible things about grains from the Paleo team. Specifically Matt Lalonde and Robb Wolfe. Who are both smart guys, I get their points, but the idea that wheat is so destructive (and even quinoa which they hate) doesn’t make sense to me. When you think about how many centuries people have relied on massive wheat and other grain diets. They put a huge emphasis on anti-nutrients and it feels a bit out of proportion. The part that interest me is about wheat is whether it causes GI damage or not. I’d be interested to hear them respond to this.

  • disqus_ZleGAVGvoN

    Seriously, though, why not just eat broccoli (or insert name of whole food here)? Whole grains aren’t superior to much (except refined grains) from a nutrients per calorie perspective, and they aren’t uniquely nutritious in any way.

    • Eric R

      What’s a “whole food”?

      • saveourskills

        It’s just a loose word that generally defines foods which are unprocessed or minimally processed. To what level you want to take it to is a personal choice.

        For example a some people might consider fresh ground peanut butter a processed food, which it technically is… while others would be OK with that on a “whole food” diet and instead would attempt to avoid things such as enriched white flour, high fructose corn syrup, chemical treats such as Twinkies and so on and so forth.

        At the end of the day it’s a personal choice as to how you define it based upon your own research and your own decision making skills

        • Michael Matthews

          Agreed. I mainly eat unprocessed foods but do enjoy some like low-fat dairy, whole-grain products, sauces for cooking, etc.

    • wayneo

      Because eating 2-3 lbs. of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, or whatever during a bulking phase makes me want to puke just thinking about it. If I have to hammer down 3200 + calories in a day without wheat, rice, or beans in my diet while still meeting my carbohydrate number I would have to spend a boatload of money and eat more food than I care to. In a cut or when I am hungry and overdid it on calories for the day, then I will revert to whole vegetables and less calorie dense substitutes, but when I am already miserably full just to hit my calorie goals I’m going to pick the foods that get me there fast, easy, and taste good. Turns out wheat, rice, and beans are all on that list.

      • Aaron Warren

        not to mention the fiber overload of eating that many “clean” calories. I’ve tried it, me and the toilet don’t like it haha!

      • Michael Matthews

        Great comment.

    • Michael Matthews

      Because wheat products can be delicious?

      And are especially useful if you need to eat a fair amount of carbs per day.

      They’re also a good source of dietary fiber.

      • disqus_ZleGAVGvoN

        I agree with what I think the principle of the article is – a gluten free diet isn’t a magic bullet that is going to make you look like Mike.

        I don’t believe, however that short term results from a nutrition/exercise program = longevity. Sure you can eat a low calorie diet exclusively from Twinkies and lose weight, but lets see your bloodwork after a few months of that. The A1c would be off the charts. I’m not a fan of general nutritional dogmatism, but I think there is a section of the paleo community who is doing great work right now in trying to find the optimal way to maximize nutrients and minimize the bad stuff for a specific caloric goal. We aren’t that far off from learning what an optimal diet is for longevity, and the safest way to build athletic performance into that framework. Rolling around with sky high blood glucose is going to catch up with anybody eventually, and it seems to be the one thing that all of the progressive doc’s I follow agree with for example. Sure you can get lean, strong, and awesome on the outside, but that isn’t the end of the story.

        Sweet potatoes, followed by rice and then beans can easily be used in bulking and provide a much better nutrient profile for the caloric buck. Go compare the nutritional profile of sweet potatoes vs whole wheat bread when adjusted to match calories. Its not even close.

        Maybe the whole anti-nutrient thing with paleo is overblown, maybe it isn’t. Proper soaking techniques are shown to reduce phytic acid in beans/rice up to 96%, and it’s such an easy step it would seem silly not to do it. White rice and “enriched” grain products add low quality folate to put vitamins removed during the hulling/polishing process back. This could be a big issue for the 60% of the population who have 1 or both MTFHR mutations. Again, maybe its all hysteric nonsense, but the price of avoiding gluten and other foods with a significant toxic load is so small.

        If it is an issue of compliance, as in you would lose your mind without having foods that are comforting to you (they aren’t to everyone), then sure knock yourself out on the waffles or whatever once in a while. Life without those cravings can be just as sweet, however.

        To the GMO part of the article, its ironic timing, as Monsanto just settled with US wheat farmers after experimental GMO wheat showed up in fields last year. (http://time.com/3582953/monsanto-wheat-farming-genetically-modified-settlement/).

        And of course, Mike – still love ya and all the great content you provide, just happen to disgree about gluten being benign!

        • Michael Matthews

          Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

          Regarding a junk food for weight loss, check this out:

          http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/

          Just goes to show how damn unhealthy being overweight is.

          That said, I’m with you on “playing it safe,” in a sense. I’m not a wheat-head, I limit my intake of sugar and other simple carbs, and I stick mainly to organic foods.

          Thanks for sharing the Monsanto article. One look at that company’s history is all you need to know that they’re a bunch of assholes.

        • Debbye S. Sparks

          agree. I will always take a sweet potato over a whet bread=)

  • Aaron Warren

    This is why I am such a big fan of your work Mike, science based logic! I was once one of the people you described and banned all wheat. Now I enjoy a flexible eating style approach and have been making great progress through manipulating my caloric intake and adjusting my macronutrient profile. Great site, great book. Thanks again. Oh yeah hurry up with that “One Pot Cooking” cook book, Im getting hungry! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Aaron! I’m glad to hear you’re doing well and yessir I’m working away on the next cookbook. 🙂 Hope to have it out next summer.

  • Scott K

    Very interesting article! Lots of good info. I did not know wheat is not GMO, but am happy to find that out.

    I like the idea of eating like our ancestors (like Paleo), but I need some grains and dairy. Also, I would rather model after our ancestors from 10,000 years ago rather than our supposed ancestors from millions of year ago. 10,000 years ago, they were eating lots of wheat and dairy products. I do think that it is better to eat sprouted grains (sprouted wheat bread, tortillas, etc.) and to have good dairy. Even thought wheat is not GMO, I worry about it having ill effects on us from it being over processed. Jordan Rubin, who wrote Makers Diet, has some fasinating information about why wheat and dairy bother us now and didn’t in the past.

    In a past podcast (from Jan 3 I believe), you said that you don’t eat much wheat because it bothers your stomach if you have too much. Do you still feel that way?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks!

      Monstano recently settled a suit for “leaking” GMO wheat into farmer’s fields, but you don’t find GMOs in wheat like you do with other foods, like soy, for instance.

      I also eat semi-Paleo. I stick mainly to unprocessed foods that I cook myself but do enjoy grains and dairy.

      I agree that sprouted grains are a good idea. I like Ezekiel bread a lot.

      Yeah I limit my intake of wheat and dairy because too much too regularly will upset my stomach. I do a a serving of each per day, on average.

  • Jim

    Hey Mike. I’m not. Celiac but I’d be happy to send you a pre wheat and post wheat pic of my gut. It’s bad. I go from flat to pregnant after any type of bread. Even a single light beer will do it. Gluten intolerance is real. My pants don’t fit after a sandwich. I eat real clean and am not fat.

    • saveourskills

      that doesn’t make it universally true though. I think everyone needs to do some N=1 experimentation and use their brains instead of hype to make decisions. Sounds like, for you personally there are some compelling reasons to avoid gluten.

      • Michael Matthews

        Agreed.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment Jim. Gluten alone isn’t likely the issue–it’s more likely FODMAPs.

      Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/why-gluten-free-diet/

  • Greg

    Hi Mike,
    I enjoy reading your articles and have read a couple of your books. Thanks for bringing this stuff down to my level to understand. Just one question from the article above on gluten. You mention that whole grains are much better for you than refined and I have always thought so as well. Recently I took a look at the nutritional value of white rice vs. brown and there was very little difference. Any thoughts?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Greg!

      Yeah not much of a difference but the GI value is a bit lower in brown rice and the nutritional value a bit higher. If you love white rice, though, go for it. I like the basmati variety a lot.

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  • Peter

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks as always for the information-packed article, but I have to quibble with your definition of current wheat as “not genetically modified”. It is not necessarily (see others’ comments above) GMO in the modern sense, where scientists pick and choose which genes to insert or remove, but it is a product of Mutation Breeding, where scientists expose seeds to radiation or mutagen-inducing chemicals in order to hopefully produce desirable traits (such as decreased stalk length and increased head size in the case of wheat), which are then enhanced with selective breeding. The problem with mutation breeding (and what makes it worse than GMO in my opinion) is that there could be other mutations that have harmful effects along for the ride, and this is one of the claims of the anti-wheat folks. They claim that, among other things, the lack of a single wheat strain with market dominance means that different varieties of wheat carry different proteins, so an individual might be allergic to a(n artificially included via mutation breeding) protein in one version of wheat but not in another, and when you buy a loaf of bread from the store, they don’t tell you which variety of wheat was used in that week’s batch of bread.

    Another claim the anti-wheat folks make that I didn’t see you address is the claim that the protein gliadin in modern wheat stimulates appetite. Now it is possible that, being super self disciplined, you don’t notice that in your own diet. I have personally noticed it though; even before I cared about nutrition I noticed that if I ate a huge plate of spaghetti I’d be hungry again 15 minutes later.

    I don’t let these claims about wheat affect my day to day life much (when cutting I already avoid eating huge quantities of pasta), but it would make me feel more comfortable about ignoring them to see them debunked. 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the information Peter!

      I appreciate the comment and hadn’t come across the mutation breeding in everything I read when researching this article. I’ll have to check it out.

      I’ll also have to look into the appetite claims of gliadin because satiety research I’ve looked at indicates that wheat is quite satiating. Personally a big bowl of pasta will keep me full for 4-5 hours.

  • Dan Beck

    Mike, although I respect and agree with your argument that most people should not fear wheat (and other grains which contain gluten), I also feel like, with all due respect, you are doing a disservice here with this article. I have suffered with Celiac Disease for all of my life. Unfortunately, I was not diagnosed until about 7 months ago. Whenever I asked my doctor to have my blood drawn to check for Celiac Disease, I was told that it was unnecessary because if I had Celiac Disease I would be losing weight. In addition to being overweight my entire life (despite eating well and working out), I had many other symptoms- I had a severe lack of energy (it was suggested I was just lazy), intense and debilitating stomach pains and diarrhea (i was told I had IBS), my joints were constantly in pain (I was told it was because I was overweight), I had high levels of inflammation (they suspected that I might have cancer, which scared the shit out of me and lead to several months of tests and worry), severe vitamin D deficiency (I was told I needed to get more sun), severe Iron deficiency (unexplained) and about a year ago my blood sugar levels indicated I was borderline Diabetic (again, I was told I needed to lose weight). I finally cut gluten out of my diet and within weeks my health dramatically improved. The stomach pains and diarrhea disappeared, my joints stopped hurting, and my energy levels increased significantly. My blood sugar levels decreased and I am no longer considered pre-diabetic. And over the last six months I have lost 46 lbs (without changing my workout routine whatsoever).

    I might seem like an outlier, but everything I’ve read seems to suggest that gluten intolerance is much more widespread than most people think. Scientific research indicates that gluten intolerance affects at least 1 in 133 Americans. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risk of developing celiac disease.

    If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy (my mother has Celiac and has also suffered several seizures throughout her adult life) and migraines, and intestinal cancers.

    Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living gluten-free must avoid foods with wheat, rye and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger small intestine damage. I know that seems like an over-dramatic statement, but I can attest to it- since I’ve gone gluten free I’ve only been “glutenized” twice, once when a friend made me a gluten-free sandwich but toasted the bread in a toaster that normal bread is toasted in, and once at a restaurant when my gluten-free food was cooked in a pan that had been used to cook “regular” food.

    So, yes, if you do not have Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy, then by all means eat those healthy whole grains. But, please realize that many Americans do have some form of gluten intolerance (even if they don’t get the sh*ts whenever they eat wheat) and those people (1 in 133 Americans) really should avoid gluten.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment! And you’re absolutely right that if you have celiac disease, you’re going to need to stay far away from wheat and gluten.

      I talk about this here:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/why-gluten-free-diet/

    • Kristen

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I do not have celiac disease (although it runs in my family) but I still have to avoid it. Because it is such a fad, I don’t really even tell people because of the eye rolls. I tried going off of it to try to help my IBS when no doctor could suggest anything helpful. What I discovered was that my huge knuckles shrunk down to somewhat normal and they don’t get any flare ups of pain in them anymore and the cystic acne I had since teenage years (I was 40) stopped. And the panic-like attacks I was getting disappeared , as well as the IBS symptoms. I’ve “fallen off the wagon” 3 times in the last 4 years since going GF and each time I start eating it regularly I get all the above symptoms by the 2-3 month mark (the IBS symptoms happen quicker). Not being able to eat gluten sucks. The eye rolls just add salt to the wound.

  • saveourskills

    Sprouting grains increase nutrient uptake.. in the same vein soaking beans reduces the phytic acid content.

    There are techniques traditional societies used to increase the nutrition in the foods they ate and these skills are lost to the modern man in most cases.

    I’d take a look at the work of the Weston A Price Foundation for some good information on healthier ways to prepare whole grains and other foods as well.

    • Michael Matthews

      I like sprouted grain products. Ezekiel bread is delicious.

  • ktgibbs

    I have coeliac disease therefore do not eat wheat. Even if I could I wouldnt because these crops are sprayed wtih roundup or glyphosate 7-10 days before harvesting to make them die and not destroy the farm machinery so much– boo hoo. Did you want any wheat with that poison!! Just sayin’

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m definitely for avoiding glyphosphate. It’s one of the reasons I stick mainly to organic grains and produce.

      • Josh M

        Glyphosate use has skyrocketed in the U.S. since GMOs were introduced in 1996. But glyphosate is among the mildest herbicides available, with a toxicity 25 times less than caffeine. Its use has decreased reliance on more toxic alternatives, such as atrazine.

        Just sayin

        • Michael Matthews

          I will be doing more research on the subject for an upcoming article, but the more research I read on glyphosphate, the more I want to stay away from it.

          Here’s a good index of available research:

          http://www.greenmedinfo.com/toxic-ingredient/glyphosate

          (Website is a bit over-the-top, but I like their PubMed indexes.)

          Here’s an example of a new study on glyphosphate just published that makes me go “hmm…”:

          http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00284-014-0732-3

          • Brooke Mollohan Cook

            Mike … I’m a wheat farmer from a long line of other wheat farmers. We do not spray our wheat 7-10 days before harvest. Wheat is grown in arid climates. We just don’t get much rain! It dries down on its own before harvest. The general public knows very little about the crop and how it’s grown but the mass hysteria is mind blowing for those of us who are born into something and feel very strongly about protecting. Agriculture is our livelihood and why would we do anything to jeopardize that?

          • Thanks for the comment Brooke! I’m not anti-wheat at all. I just want to minimize my exposure to glyphosphate…

          • Brooke Mollohan Cook

            Thanks for researching this topic. I understand that your not pro chemical, it’s not something I would put in my coffee either 😉… I just would like to point out that the practice of spraying wheat pre-harvest is not accurate. And most wheat crops don’t ever have glyphosate sprayed on them, therefore the danger is averted. It is typically used post harvest to keep weeds out and therefore saving much needed moisture for the next crop rotation. 😊

          • Ohhh you’re referring to the previous comment. Thanks for clarifying. 🙂

            The problem as you know is it persists in the soil/environment.

          • C

            Actually it doesn’t. It has a short half life compared to other herbicides, which is why it’s been so popular. Roundup ready GMO crops have significantly improved water quality in rural areas, because glyphosate replaced more persistent herbicides. For wheat, its use before planting replaces tilling, and therefore reduces erosion, which has significant environmental effects too.

  • slippy

    Wheat is a complex topic. As a diabetic I do not eat refined or whole wheat due to it’s high glycemic load; it’s as simple as lancing oneself two hours after consuming wheat and measuring the effect it has on one’s glucose. I do include other whole grains such as oats, barley, brown rice and quinoa into the daily diet routine but only one or two servings per day. For me the key is can the whole grain be simply prepared using water? If it cannot be sprouted can it at least be boiled? Is the finished product nutrient rich, or an overly processed toxin your body isn’t going to know what the heck to do with.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment! Nothing wrong with what you’re doing.

  • Matthew Michael Crown

    There is a saying in trading the markets. When everyone is going one way, now is the time to go the other… Seems the same with nutrition. Alkaline diets, anti-wheat, anti-eggs, anti-salt…

    • Michael Matthews

      Ironically there are usually silver linings to these fat diets–healthy aspects–but the dogmatic stances for/against many types of foods are unjustified.

  • Steve Crook

    I stopped eating bread some years ago, not because I was worried about wheat, but all the calories in the stuff I was putting on the bread. For me it was more of a gateway to eat lots of high sugar or high fat stuff like jams and cheeses.

    These days I usually eat Pitta along with a salad and that’s about it. Once in a while I’ll treat myself to toast and Seville Orange Marmalade 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      I can definitely see that.

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  • Alex Onda

    Great article! I’m a busy college kid, so between work, school, and working out, making sandwiches is just the most convenient thing for me to do for my busy life style. I’ve actually been able to lose weight over the past year, and even have a 6-pack starting to emerge, and I eat starchy carbs on a daily basis. I just make sure I maintain the appropriate deficit, which, by being a 20 year old 170lb 6’1″ male is pretty easy to do considering how many calories I burn a day, especially on my training days. Most of my snacks are nutritious foods like almonds, fruits, and veggies. Most of my protein comes from lean sources like chicken, fish, and turkey. It all took a little tweaking over time, but once I figured it out, my success has been great! Also, I find it kind of funny how many products in the grocery store are trying to cash in on this whole “gluten free” thing.

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