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Wheat and Grains Controversy...


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I always thought that whole grains were an important part of a healthy diet. However, I recently read that wheat, even whole wheat, is actually really unhealthy. Even if you are not gluten sensitive. The article was saying something about the way wheat is made (apparently it's been modified so greatly people have been calling it "Frankenwheat") nowadays in the US. I Googled it a bunch afterward. Apparently a lot of people now are disclaiming the idea that wheat and other grains, even, are healthy foods. My questions are:

-Would buying organic wheat or sprouted wheat eliminate the concerns?

-Do health food brands like Kashi use this compromised wheat as well? (I really love their shredded wheat cereals.)

-Do other countries' wheat have the same unhealthy properties?

-Are ALL grains unhealthy? Or is wheat the only one with a cause for concern?

Thanks for helping. 

 

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- better options but your body will still digest wheat in the same way. Sprouted grains are probably the best bet and will be easiest to digest

- Kashi is marketed as "health food" but I have my doubts about the quality of their products. If you like it and it doesn't negatively affect your digestion, continue to eat it

- I don't think many other countries's wheat supply is genetically modified and mass produced like the US supply but I'm not an expert

- not totally unhealthy but not as nutrient dense as organic fruits & vegetables.

bottom line: There are controversies for every single food in existance. Eat wheat if you don't have a known problem with gluten digestion. But there are more nutritious foods out there.

There's no controversy, it's just William Davies with the irresponsible scaremongering based on cherry-picking of bad research published in ****-tier journals trying to sell you a diet book based on "facts" he pulled out of his ass.

 There is NO genetically modified wheat in the food supply, although Davies' careful parsing of his sentences and graphics are crafted to leave you with the false impression that hybridized wheat strains created through cross-pollination and cultivation of two or more standard strains of wheat are the same thing as genetically modified organisms where copies of foreign genes are inserted into the genome of the organism.

 There are a lot of other irresponsible jerkwads with diet books to sell who're throwing themselves on the "food culprit of the month" band wagon based on their need for a marketing hook to scare you into buying their books and supplements, but there is exactly zero science behind the marketing that has led to the current situation where approximately 1% of the population have celiac disease, another 4-5% have some degree of non-allergenic sensitivity to gluten, and 25% of the population are going gluten free because they have been conned by "diet gurus" into believing the high-quality vegetable protein known as gluten is dangerous to people who aren't allergic to it.

Transferring over an answer from the duplicate thread in Health And Support:

Original Post by lilpixie:

For every food controversy article out there, there's another one spouting that it's the greatest health-food you could eat/drink. 

This applies to everything from wheat and dairy to red wine. 

Wholewheat and whole grains are significantly less processed than their white cousins which, in the case of wheat has gone through the process of having all the husk removed and is then bleached to give us the very white white bread in shops and bakeries. 

You can tell when white flour hasn't been bleached because it makes a more yellow/grey loaf of bread. It looks dirty compared to it's starched white cousin. 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there are so many food fads out there that if we listened to them all (and some of us, me included, have and ended up fighting an eating disorder for half our lives) we'd eat literally nothing. 

Wholegrains are more healthy than processed grains but neither are excessively bad for you and for some people - if you have some forms of IBS for example - processed are far better purely because they don't make them ill. For people in recovery from anorexia and other conditions that lead to excessive weight loss, they can be AWESOME simply because they are made so easy to digest. 

Don't listen to controversy. The basic rules of healthy eating don't change - fruit and veg, lean meat, , healthy fats, wholegrain carbohydrates, and treats in moderation (but even they're important). Generally, the less processed the food you eat, the better it is for you. 

p.s. the frankenwheat statement comes from the genetic cross breeding that has taken place to create food crops that are sustainable, reliable and disease resistant. It's done more good than bad, simply because it means that we have enough to eat and removing parasites and diseases that would otherwise enter the food chain. 

 

Honest to goodness, I don't understand the hysteria over crossbreeding as "genetic modification". Okay, yes it is, but people have been doing this for thousands of years.  Does anyone here think that any of our domesticated agricultural species--animal or plant--in any way resemble wild types?  Do you know what wild-type corn looked like?  People have been selectively breeding things for as long as there has been even rudimentary farming.  Ever eaten a nectarine?  A Meyer lemon?

Creating plants that are pest-resistant means we can use fewer pesticides.  Creating plants and animals that are drought-resistant means feeding more people worldwide, because the entire planet is not temperate, fertile, Iowa.  Think before you go nuts and condemn.

Sometimes, plants and animals crossbreed on their own.  In the wild. 

thhq
Jan 28 2013 19:07
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#5  
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Hmmmm....I eat all grains and have high HDL, low triglycerides, low blood pressure and normal weight. I had problems with all four in the past, but since I started calorie counting (less eating - more activity) I've become much more healthy. Maybe you should try that instead of obsessing over whether a healthy food is unhealthy.

 

#6  
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Thanks so much to everyone who has responded so far. I've always tried to be healthy in a general sense, but lately I've taken a greater interest in being more specifically so. Nutrition, however, is a confusing subject. I often feel like I have to make my way through a labyrinth of bogus opinions and "facts" before ever reaching a conclusion about what's healthy and what isn't. 

As far as most fad diets and sensationalism goes, I usually ignore it and eat in the way that I've been taught was healthy. But for some things, such as the wheat debate, there seems to be an overwhelming amount of people who are genuine proponents of the argument, with seemingly credible sources and support. And my brother has Celiacs, which has prompted me to really consider this one.

Unfortunately, I haven't been lucky enough to have any kind of nutritional training. I'm 18, and can only rely on the information that is available to me through friends and research (generally conducted on the internet) - neither of which are infallible. Like I said, nutrition is a difficult subject and I can rarely find two people that agree on the same principle.

@thhq : Like I said, I'm a healthy person. I exercise every day for several hours. I'm a ballet dancer, so I take daily classes and do supplementary cross-training in addition to those. I try to pay attention to my food, because I know that what goes into my body will affect my body's output in equal proportion. Calorie counting (especially for ballet dancers, who worry enough about things like calories and weight management) isn't always necessarily healthy, nor an effective method for achieving an overall healthy lifestyle. I would rather have four hundred calories in fruit than fifty calories in processed, artificial garbage. But thanks.

thhq
Jan 28 2013 22:08
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#7  
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Well....considering that this IS a calorie counting site....and that you're in good shape already....

The concerns about fructose-as-poison, wheat-as-belly-maker, etc. apply to people that are obese and have serious health issues. Under those circumstances, restricting or avoiding fruit, wheat, sugar, rice, processed foods, HFCS sodas, etc. can be very helpful for fixing the four health markers I mentioned earler. If you're fit you shouldn't have problems with those markers at all.

For people who are healthy the food avoidance strategies don't make as much sense, unless you're in a special class, like a bodybulder looking for definition or a wrestler trying to make weight. In contrast, I really was fat, sick and nearly dead from overeating rice and wheat-based breakfast cereals. Calorie counting eliminated the health problems without eliminating any foods, but by limiting my intake of them.

I have a lovely friend who is a nutritionist and believes that wheat and oats rough up the lining of your intestine and enable toxins to enter the blood stream. I don't believe this, as I have seen little genuine scientific evidence to back it up.

However, if your are receiving the majority of your carbohydrate intake from wheat products every day (cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta for dinner), that's not a very balanced diet. You are unlikely to eat so much of any one other type of food, so why wheat? Better to mix it up by eating legumes and other whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa for some meals, rather than wheat being the basis for every meal. Plus it keeps meal times more interesting.

Everything in moderation

Original Post by ootek:

Honest to goodness, I don't understand the hysteria over crossbreeding as "genetic modification". Okay, yes it is, but people have been doing this for thousands of years.  Does anyone here think that any of our domesticated agricultural species--animal or plant--in any way resemble wild types?  Do you know what wild-type corn looked like?  People have been selectively breeding things for as long as there has been even rudimentary farming.  Ever eaten a nectarine?  A Meyer lemon?

Creating plants that are pest-resistant means we can use fewer pesticides.  Creating plants and animals that are drought-resistant means feeding more people worldwide, because the entire planet is not temperate, fertile, Iowa.  Think before you go nuts and condemn.

Sometimes, plants and animals crossbreed on their own.  In the wild. 

Thank you! I completely agree.

Original Post by melkor:

There's no controversy, it's just William Davies with the irresponsible scaremongering based on cherry-picking of bad research published in ****-tier journals trying to sell you a diet book based on "facts" he pulled out of his ass.

 There is NO genetically modified wheat in the food supply, although Davies' careful parsing of his sentences and graphics are crafted to leave you with the false impression that hybridized wheat strains created through cross-pollination and cultivation of two or more standard strains of wheat are the same thing as genetically modified organisms where copies of foreign genes are inserted into the genome of the organism.

 There are a lot of other irresponsible jerkwads with diet books to sell who're throwing themselves on the "food culprit of the month" band wagon based on their need for a marketing hook to scare you into buying their books and supplements, but there is exactly zero science behind the marketing that has led to the current situation where approximately 1% of the population have celiac disease, another 4-5% have some degree of non-allergenic sensitivity to gluten, and 25% of the population are going gluten free because they have been conned by "diet gurus" into believing the high-quality vegetable protein known as gluten is dangerous to people who aren't allergic to it.

AMEN!

I agree with above posters, unless you're sensitive you don't need to avoid wheat. I just finished a six month trial to see if I was sensitive and thank goodness I'm not. I also think it should not make up 50 % or more of our daily calories as it often does in our culture. That's unbalanced.

You make yards of sense Melkor. It's really quite simple common sense. Lots of vegetables, reasonable amount of daily fruit and the modest use of whole grains pays huge health dividends. This country is too literally wrapped around buying food in boxes thinking it's sooo hard to cut up some vegetables and make a salad.

All these diet books are just focused on the next diet plan that plays into people's desperation, fears (of continuing to decline in mobility as they get older and fatter) and a need for the easy way out of having abused their bodies with "food" (like "cheese food" that's not cheese... funny & sad) for decades. The greatest majority of the food culture  in this country is just awful. Can't believe what people think is healthy eating. Enough ranting. Thanks for the wisdom Melkor. I for one totally believe. 

My drug of choice is processed carbs, specifically high quality breads--sour dough and crusty whole wheat and whole grain crackers.  The problem is the more I eat, the more I crave.  For the last week, I've gone cold turkey with the bread and crackers and find that I've been able to control my calories and cravings.  I have no doubt that once I lose the extra pounds and get out of the danger zone for diabetes, I will be able to add wheat back to my diet, in moderation.  But for now, it's eating all the other food groups, in moderation. I'm in total agreement that the gluten scare is just another ploy to make the latest diet guru rich and dupe us into buying the newest (and more expensive) product on the market.  Quinoa is a wonderful and delicious whole grain, high in protein and low glycemic.  I prepare it with low-sodium chicken or beef broth and mushrooms.

You also may have stumbled upon people who follow a diet plan known as Paleo. This emphasis is on eating as a hunter/gatherer would instead of farmed things like wheat. The paleo diet works for some people as they have reported better digestion and better feeling overall. It is true humans have only been eating grains for about 10% of their existence and some people think that means our bodies have not adapted to digest it. I think the adaptability of humans is a bit greater than this. However, it's a personal choice to eat wheat or not. All of the food you eat is "genetically modified" in that we've used selective breeding and cross breeding for thousands of years though since Gregor Mendel, we've been more intelligent about it, you shouldn't fret over it.

My point being that wheat is fine to eat, especially if you need calories and readily available energy for exercise.

I have no idea whether or not its good for you. All I know is that 2 yrs ago when I cut grains completely out of my diet I lost 40 lbs, my high cholesterol is now perfect, my high blood pressure 155/90 is now 110/70, my diabetes which was out of control is now perfectly in control and I feel better. Now if I try to eat any type of grain I feel bloated and sick. So from my perspective I dont think we are meant to have them in our diet.... 

My BF cut wheat out of his diet and he doesn't really feel the difference. I don't think he'll last for long.

I feel best when I eat all food groups in sensible portions. There's a controversy about every possible food today anyway.

European Union has stricter rules about GMO, so I usually check the labels and choose organic, bio, eco products if the difference in price is not too much.

Original Post by melkor:

There's no controversy, it's just William Davies with the irresponsible scaremongering based on cherry-picking of bad research published in ****-tier journals trying to sell you a diet book based on "facts" he pulled out of his ass.

 There is NO genetically modified wheat in the food supply, although Davies' careful parsing of his sentences and graphics are crafted to leave you with the false impression that hybridized wheat strains created through cross-pollination and cultivation of two or more standard strains of wheat are the same thing as genetically modified organisms where copies of foreign genes are inserted into the genome of the organism.

 There are a lot of other irresponsible jerkwads with diet books to sell who're throwing themselves on the "food culprit of the month" band wagon based on their need for a marketing hook to scare you into buying their books and supplements, but there is exactly zero science behind the marketing that has led to the current situation where approximately 1% of the population have celiac disease, another 4-5% have some degree of non-allergenic sensitivity to gluten, and 25% of the population are going gluten free because they have been conned by "diet gurus" into believing the high-quality vegetable protein known as gluten is dangerous to people who aren't allergic to it.

LOL. now, can you tell us how you really feel?

Thanks for the info.

If you followed every research study done, and every health recommendation made you would just stop breathing... as this too is proven detrimental to our health....

Original Post by basinga:

I have no idea whether or not its good for you. All I know is that 2 yrs ago when I cut grains completely out of my diet I lost 40 lbs, my high cholesterol is now perfect, my high blood pressure 155/90 is now 110/70, my diabetes which was out of control is now perfectly in control and I feel better. Now if I try to eat any type of grain I feel bloated and sick. So from my perspective I dont think we are meant to have them in our diet.... 

"I dont think we are meant to have them in our diet...."

Strike that

"I dont think I am meant to have them in my diet...."

to each his own...

Crossbreeding consists of interbreeding plants, which has been done for thousands of years with both plants and animals.

Genetic modification is different and includes changing the genes on a cellular level and reproducing those plants (for disease resistance, correction of a genetic weakness, etc.) 

Eating genetically modified produce is what has come into question lately.  It has been frequently done with wheat, among other crops.

I stand corrected. honestly i was only sharing my own experience. Dont feel the diessection of what i said was necessary. Just sharing. geez

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