In the 1960s, agricultural scientists decided to tinker with the traditional wheat kernel to grow more of this grain per acre and shorten time from planting to harvest. Experiments with hybridization, inorganic fertilizers and modern pesticides gave birth to the high-yield semi-dwarf strain of wheat. Like many alterations in our natural food supply, it was all about the money: corporations selling baked goods wanted to distribute them more quickly and on a more massive scale. This new species of wheat was the "open sesame" for their dream come true.
A glut of gluten turned the tide
The new short-stalk wheat species was bred to yield ten times more per acre than its humble predecessor. Traditional "ancient" strains of wheat naturally contained lower gluten levels and did not typically upset the digestive systems of the general population. This is the type of wheat consumed for thousands of years without much ado. As a result of genetic manipulations, this purposely designed modern high-yield grain ended up a mere nutritional shadow of its robust ancestor grain and gluten content in the new wheat skyrocketed.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the "gluey" protein molecule in wheat that gives bread its chewy texture. In the 1970s and 1980s, the high gluten content in the modern semi-dwarf high yield wheat began challenging the human digestive system, and gluten allergies exploded in the aftermath. Ingestion of gluten in individuals sensitive to it can cause inflammatory flares that damage intestinal walls and cause the condition known as "leaky gut." This, in turn, can lead to many autoimmune disorders.
Two main protein fractions of gluten are the gliadins and glutenins. The food industry has especially monkeyed with gliadins, so they will mix better in breads and other flour-based commodities. In doing so, they have disturbed their native properties and--in concert with lectins--have helped produce a multitude of adverse symptoms attributed to gluten sensitivity.
Besides wheat, gluten is also found in rye and barley. Products containing certified gluten-free oats are acceptable on a gluten-free diet.
Most gluten-free processed foods are toxic
If you look closely at labels of most gluten-free commercial foods, they contain the very ingredients that contribute to gluten-sensitivity by causing inflammation and "leaky gut." Inflammatory toxins include genetically modified organisms (GMO ingredients), such as:
As you can see, it's not enough to just make sure the label says "gluten free." You also must look for other health-damaging ingredients. Sometimes the food contains other grains, just omitting wheat. But did you know that wheat gluten can hide in a myriad of other places?
Hidden time bombs
According to Food Allergy Research & Information, "Wheat has been found in some brands of ice cream, marinara sauce, potato chips, rice cakes, turkey patties and hot dogs. Wheat also may be found in ale, baking mixes, baked products, batter-fried foods, beer, breaded foods, breakfast cereals, candy, crackers, processed meats, salad dressings, sauces, soups, ...and soy sauce." Cross-contamination can occur in facilities where equipment that handles gluten-free foods also processes gluten-containing ingredients.
Even some medications such as prescription and over-the-counter drugs could possibly use wheat gluten as a binding agent. Natural dietary supplements that contain wheat must disclose it on the label.
A better choice
Most gluten-free packaged foods are low in nutrition. To make up for the gluten, manufacturers substitute low-fiber and high-sugar, starchy carbs from white rice flour or refined corn. These starches are often held together by food gums. Talk about high-glycemic and fattening choices!
You might be tempted to indulge in gluten-free candy, crackers, and other gluten-free junk foods. But a junk food is still a junk food and it won't do your body any good. You will feel much better if you stick to non- (or minimally) processed foods.
NOTE: The 30-Day Wellness Program is entirely gluten free and has helped thousands of people lose weight and experience better health.
Debbie Neumayer has dedicated her life to researching and writing about nutrition and natural medicine. She enjoys sharing this information and helping people discover paths to greater health and wealth.