I used to get really upset when I was wrong.
I’m not sure how I thought I should always be right, and I bet I put my poor parents through a lot with this tendency.
A lot of people recognize that teenagers’ lack of life experience gives them that “invincible” mentality that makes them blind to the dangers of reckless driving and other death-defying behavior. For me, I was invincible in judgment, even though I was far too young and inexperienced to have any sort of good judgment!
Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that I’m wrong a lot. Like all the time.
And you know what?
It still upsets me.
I just have learned a bit better to either do something about it, fix the fallacy, or let it go and improve next time.
In this case, I get to fix the fallacy.
I’ve been saying, in person and online, that one of the reasons gluten sensitivity is on the rise is that wheat has been altered so that it has higher gluten content.
The article linked above will explain much better than I can how wheat has changed and why it causes our digestive systems to react poorly. (And yes, I said our, as in everyone’s, according to Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly.)
I’ve also been gently and lovingly corrected (the beautiful part about writing about stewardship and food through the eyes of faith is that my readers will forgive me as sisters in Christ when I mess up!) when I mistakenly wrote a few weeks back that wheat’s problems originated because wheat is genetically modified (GMO).
There is no genetically modified wheat on the market in 2013.
The post containing my mistake, Does Satan Hate Bread? is a pretty interesting read, including the comments, if you missed it. I edited it for factual correctness as soon as I realized my mistake.
Wheat is in the process of experimentation for genetic modification, which is never a good thing. Learn more and take action against it here.
That said, wheat is already quite a mess and causing a health crisis that few are even aware of. It’s not GMO, but it has been altered, including at the genetic level, which is why I made the mistake of using the (very) wrong terminology.
UPDATE 5/2013: Uh oh. They’ve found rogue GM wheat from the trials still hanging out in Oregon after 12 years. Read more HERE. Nobody really knows what is going on…
No “Round Up Ready” Wheat, BUT…
There IS wheat on the market that is herbicide-resistant. It is not genetically modified but altered through a process called chemical mutagenesis, which sounds pretty scary (and rightfully so).
It involves exposing the seed to a super-poisonous chemical as well as radiation, with the intent of introducing a mutation. This is all unregulated and does not need labeling because it still counts as “traditional breeding methods” or “hybridization” rather than genetic modification, which is more highly regulated. No safety testing is required. Read more here.
Modern Wheat has been Unrecognizably Hybridized
Dr. William Davis has a lot of bad things to say about wheat, but he generally starts by explaining why “wheat” of today shouldn’t even be called wheat anymore:
Modern wheat is the product of 40 years of genetics research, intensive efforts aimed at increasing yield-per-acre. The result: a genetically unique plant that stands 18-24 inches tall, a “semi-dwarf” strain, not the 4 1/2-foot tall “amber waves of grain” we all remember. Traditional wheat is long gone, a product that has not been on store shelves since around 1985. Today, virtually all products made with wheat flour, regardless of whether it is organic, sprouted, multigrain, etc., originates from this high-yield, semi-dwarf creation of genetics research.
The genetic distance modern wheat has drifted from its ancient origins exceeds the difference between chimpanzees and humans. Chimps and humans genes differ by only a few percent, sharing at least 90%—but what a difference a few percent can make! But that’s more than modern wheat is genetically removed from its ancestors.
Read more here from Dr. Davis.
Dr. Davis tackles the “Wheat is not GMO” issue head on, saying that he believes the methods used to create modern wheat are “worse than genetic-modification” and like mating a human with an orangutan…and then worse.
Is Wheat Worse Than Sugar?
I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, even people who eat a Standard American Diet of junk food and convenience quickies, who would honestly say that sugar is good for you. Many say it’s “okay in moderation,” but no one is touting the health benefits of sugar. (I think. I hope! I could be wrong again; it’s happened before.)
As a doctor treating many patients with diabetes and heart disease, Dr. Davis was shocked by the fact that “two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar.” He began investigating and learned many disturbing facts about wheat and how it reacts in our bodies.
Wheat is not genetically modified…but it may be worse for you than sugar.
Does Wheat Wage War on the Intestines?
One of the parts of wheat altered by all the “hybridization” is called wheat germ agglutinin. It’s a lectin protein that functions as the defense system for the plant to battle mold, fungus, and insects, much like our immune system battles viruses and bacteria for us.
The “new” wheat lectin now wreaks havoc on the digestive system of lab animals (when administered by itself) and in humans, it “disables the normal discriminatory capacity of the human intestinal tract that helps it determine what should remain in the intestine and what should be allowed entry into the bloodstream,” causing many forms of digestive distress including heartburn, acid reflux, and IBS. (source) (Seriously, how many infants do you know of who are on prescription medication for reflux??? That scares me…)
Wheat is not genetically modified…but it is darn right modified.
Does Wheat Act Like a Gluttony Drug?
The final major change in wheat that is NOT a result of genetic modification but is serious nonetheless is the way gliadin, a certain wheat protein, has been altered over the last half decade.
Gliadin has always been in wheat, but it now acts as an opiate. Yes, an opiate, the same class of drug as heroin or morphine. You won’t be free from pain when you eat wheat (far from it), but you might get the munchies. The “new” gliadin stimulates the appetite by suppressing the body’s system of telling you “I’m full.” Research shows that people who eat wheat eat an average of over 400 calories more, every day than people who don’t eat wheat. (more here)
Wheat is found in just about every processed food there is, so the majority of the country is eating lots of wheat, all the time. And we’re obese, in epic proportions.
Is wheat the culprit? Dr. Davis asks some scary questions that bring me back to MY original hypothesis, that perhaps Satan really does hate wheat, and he’s using our sinfulness – including greed and power, not just gluttony – to exploit what God created to be good.
Are you concerned yet?
I am. I don’t want to jump on any “hype” bandwagons, but our changing wheat is definitely an issue I’ll be following closely over the next few years to see what happens.
What About GMOs?
If wheat becomes genetically modified, my heart tells me, without doing a speck of research, that only bad things will come of it. Humans don’t seem to have the foresight to interfere with God’s creation without screwing things up royally.
You can learn about what foods are currently GMO in this Non GMO Shopping Guide that a reader shared in the “bread” post.
There are also tools to find and avoid GMOs and other health threats in The New Health Paradigm by Anthony Gucciardi, as well as many resources for gluten-free living and healthy eating in the Extreme Health Library Sale, 53 resources bundled together for 95% off through next Thursday only. Read more about this unique deal HERE.
How about you? Does genetic modification play a role in deciding what you purchase and eat?