Pass the Rolls: How Wheat has Changed


So far we’ve learned about how addictive wheat that may be propped up for nefarious reasons can increase risk for heart damage, and even affect every cell in our bodies. Fun stuff, right?

One of the most common objections to why eating bread and wheat is ok is it’s long history. Agriculture and the production of bread were essential to the rise of many societies around the world.

The Bible is one of the biggest sources of bread references. Those who study scripture will often reference these passages as a reason to eat bread.

But it’s not the same. The bread eaten by our ancestors, the people of biblical times and even the pioneers that colonized the west is very different from the bread you eat. And these are not just superficial changes, they affect the very compounds that create all of the problems outlined throughout this series.

In the beginning…

Common wheat developed as a hybrid from several of the naturally occurring grasses all across the world. Common wheat was a much hardier plant than the wheat we have today as it was forced to survive in the wild without the help of modern humans.

Proportionately, there was much less seed and much more husk in the early forms of wheat such as einkorn wheat, which is still grown today in many parts of the world. It was hardy and could be grown almost anywhere, making it a favorite of settlers around the world.

However, as the economy progress with the agricultural and industrial revolutions, the production of wheat shifted from a decentralized model of homesteaders producing what they needed for their families and communities to larger, consolidated agrobusiness operations. The hardy wheat that had been around since biblical times was not good enough anymore.

Changes and motivation

Driven by profit, larger farms needed to produce a greater yield on the wheat they were grown. As the limiting factor was often land, so the more seed that could be harvested in a given area, the better. Ancient wheat, once four feet tall, began to be replaced with semi-dwarf wheat which was shorter but had more seeds. This started as early as 1873 with the crossbreeding of different strains.

As technology developed, so did the ability to bend natural wheat into a vehicle for production. Using genetic modification, exposure to toxins and radiation wheat was transformed into the current popular form of dwarf wheat. Standing 2 feet tall, it is laden with seeds which make it incredibly profitable per square foot. But at what cost?

The effects – your body on the new wheat

The manipulations of wheat’s genetic structure were not without their consequences. The new wheat was less hardy and is

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almost impossible to grow without heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. (Fortunately, there was no shortage of money to be made on this by agrobusiness companies).

But the worst changes for consumers were the changes to wheat protein. DNA codes for protein and the gliadin of today’s dwarf wheat has been dramatically altered. The negative affects of wheat; inflammation,weight gain and heart disease are all made worse with the modified gliadin which is rampant through the modern wheat supply.

For example, the wheat protein most damaging to celiacs, glia-α9, has been shown to be absent from the strains of wheat cultivated before 1960. Coincidence?

Who to trust?

If someone wants to quote scripture while buttering their toast, they should make sure the bread wasn’t purchased at the supermarket. The wheat you see today likely comes from dwarf wheat which is grown worldwide.

If you don’t know where it came from, you must assume it contains the inflammatory proteins that cause so much damage.

Conversely, if you grow yourself a hearty strain of einkorn wheat, you will probably be less affected by it. But know

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by JP Martin