Ancient Grains vs Modern Grains

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Today, many people feel that by eating a diet rich in whole wheat bread, grains, and pasta, they are providing their bodies the essential nutrients it requires to remain healthy. So, many people may also be surprised to learn that the very grains they are encouraged to eat could also be making them sick.

The wheat available on the market today is much different from the ancient kind from long ago. The type of wheat that Americans are consuming today is a whole new breed. The latest research suggests that these particular new strains of wheat are not what they’re cracked up to be since they can lead to a rise in gluten sensitivities as well as other potential health issues.

Gluten-Free Grains

The Primary Role of Gluten

The radical changes in wheat are presenting a dramatic effect on many of the people who consume it. Crossbreeding programs have literally modified the basic structure of wheat’s proteins, offering a feasible explanation why gluten tolerance and celiac disease is so prevalent and has severely increased in the U.S. over the last 40 – 50 years. Today, nearly one in every 130 Americans has been diagnosed with celiac disease.

A rise in celiac disease diagnoses can in part be contributed to a heightened awareness of the condition itself. There’s also a possibility that the rate is somewhat exaggerated, as the occurrence hasn’t yet been noticed in other areas of the so-called developed world. But, as more and more cases of celiac disease have increased, so too has the frequency of gluten sensitivity. As of right now, there’s an obvious link between gluten and other health issues. However, researchers cannot say for sure that indeed gluten is the underlying cause.

Other Culprits

When it comes to today’s modern-day wheat, gluten is a prime suspect and considered a ‘protein’ of interest. But, the composition of wheat has been altered in other ways that are starting to raise eyebrows as well.

A few critics of modern-day wheat allude to certain health risks linked to its high levels of Amylopectin A, a starch that’s been associated with the development of insulin resistance (a known precursor to weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes) in lab rats. But, these key studies on starch are random at best and can’t be considered concrete proof.

The Takeaway

It’s still not entirely clear whether modern-day wheat’s exorphins and high starch content are of grave concern for the average consumer of wheat. What is certain though is that today’s wheat has markedly changed from its past, original composition and that the altered gluten protein could be the prime culprit in the alarming rise in both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

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