Dwarf Wheat, Another Arrow in the Backs of Americans

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If you haven’t heard about “Dwarf Wheat” you may be interested in learning more.  This form of wheat is a genetically modified staple food taking heat for creating inflammation, illness and obesity.  Why is the wheat in our food genetically modified?dwarf wheat and celiac disease, wheat intolerance

I picture little gnomes in a large field of height challenged wheat.  Yes, this is kind of what is happening here folks.  The idea of a short, stubby wheat plant nicknamed “FrankenWheat“- high in gluten and starch was created to help mitigate world hunger and starvation.  It was incredibly successful in these endeavors but forever changed the constitution of the wheat we once ate.

Unfortunately, this new variety of dwarf wheat has evolved with twice as many chromosomes as traditional wheat.  Dwarf wheat is also blessed with a greater amount of gluten and triggers for celiac disease.  Is this why it is so hard to get an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterologist these days? (all kidding aside it takes months)

The humanitarian vision of dwarf wheat was quite incredible and its accomplishments are far reaching across the globe.  This genetically modified wheat plant garnered a noble prize to its creator.

Fast forward to the average size of the American today- who didn’t need dwarf wheat and its adaptations in their daily food supply.  Take a seat on a bench and look at the obesity epidemic pass you by.  It’s no secret many Americans are eating themselves to death on a daily basis, while others across the globe are starving to death.  It is a troublesome situation at best.  The numbers of chronically ill and obese are escalating along to the sounds of a Las Vegas slot machine unloading its change-
CHING, CHING, CHING …

Bread is well loved and so is wheat, which is literally in nearly every processed food.  It has been engrained into our minds that wheat is good, wheat is healthy, the more wheat the better, right?  Wheat is found in things you may not think of, especially if you don’t have exposure to a friend or loved one with celiac disease.  It lives in wooden spatulas, toothpaste, tea bags, lotions, shampoos, make up, double dipped condiments, toasters and so many other places.  Your house is infested by these creepy little crumbs, I know it is.

 

According to Dr. Hyman in the Huffington Post:

“The history of wheat parallels the history of chronic disease and obesity across the world. Supermarkets today contain walls of wheat and corn disguised in literally hundreds of thousands of different food-like products, or FrankenFoods. Each American now consumes about 55 pounds of wheat flour every year. ”

 

Dr. Hyman points out that these changes have occurred to one of our primary food sources over the past 50 years.  Wheat is now a different grain than it was for our ancestors- who were much healthier in many respects than today’s population.  It is no surprise then to see the increase in diagnosis of wheat intolerance, wheat allergies and celiac disease.  Nor is it a surprise to see increases in a plethora of autoimmune diseases, obesity and diabetes.

 

Dr. Hyman outlines these three important points about the dwarf wheat we currently consume:

  1. It contains a Super Starch — amylopectin A that is super fattening.
  2. It contains a form of Super Gluten that is super-inflammatory.
  3. It contains forms of a Super Drug that is super-addictive and makes you crave and eat more.

 

If that hasn’t sold you on a self analysis of your diet, what will?  All of this leads us back to the basics- a diet rich in whole foods.

 

 

Comments

  1. Kitti says:

    So how do we avoid it? I love baking and would gladly make my own bread but can’t seem to find out if the wheat used for the better flours (King Arthur, Red Mill, etc) is the dwarf variety. Help!

  2. L Welton says:

    I wouldn’t be able to fit in this box all the things I find disgusting about this article. Suffice it to say that the invention of Dwarf Wheat was one of the great acheivements in human history and its inventor Norman Borlaug quite rightly won a Nobel Peace Prize for it as it is credited with saving over A BILLION LIVES – 1/7th of the worlds population.

    • Alex says:

      I agree with you. This article makes dwarf wheat seem DESIGNED to cause health problems, when it was actually created to save humanity from the mass starvation that was supposed to happen in the 80′s. Without it, India would have, like, five million people. They were already starving when Norman Borlaug arrived, and when he created dwarf wheat, the government complained about too much wheat. The poor farmers could suddenly afford luxuries like real houses, electricity and running water, and the other basic stuff only rich countries like America owned. So if you ever go anywhere in South Asia, keep in mind the grandparents of the people you see would have starved to death long ago if hadn’t been for the “evil” dwarf wheat.

    • D. Richards says:

      Agreed! It is because of Dwarf Wheat that India is running out of storage facility’s for the huge harvests and physically has the problem of how too export the surplus. Norman Borlaug quite literally fed the world and far out shadows Mother Teresa.

  3. jewels says:

    Yes, of course Mr. Borlaug quite rightly received a Nobel Peace prize as I mentioned in my article. However, I am addressing the ongoing health concerns with regards to genetically modified wheat in America in this article. I am in no way belittling his giant achievements and the lives that he has saved. This grain is not what we have historically eaten and many believe the health epidemic we face in the U.S. shares an important relationship to the sourcing of our wheat. More than 1/3 of adults are obese and 1:3 adults are predicted to have diabetes by 2050. One half of Pima Indians have diabetes. An attempt to make connections between disease, foods and lifestyles is pertinent. In America we are facing health problems of epidemic proportions, questioning our food sources is a necessity.

  4. Sue Becker says:

    I would also really love to see documentation as to the ” forms of a super drug that is found in wheat” that make you crave it. This nonsense is all coming from the same source – the Wheat Belly book – though a best seller loaded with much false information.

    • t says:

      I think the “drug” part of the wheat might be (quite reasonably) supposed to be glucose. As a highly preferred energy source, we could look at the body’s preference as an indicator of “addiction” and say no more. We could also argue any food is addictive, but let’s think about preference to make that have more meaning.
      If we really needed convincing on humans preferring / craving high-calorie foods, perhaps we might look at it in terms of glucose simply being a sugar, and perhaps the ‘drug’ comment, put in context, simply means an addictive substance. If we doubt that (any) sugar is addictive, perhaps a re-evaluation of the term used is required. Personally, I would consider the evolution of flowering plants and their (preferential) development of sugars, and in turn consider an obvious driver – the benefit of their distribution by attracted mammalian consumer distributing fruit seeds. But again, it comes down to whether we consider sugar an addictive substance. If it isn’t, why do so many people consume excess amounts of it? But that’s the question to debate yourself – the ‘drug’ comment is a perfectly reasonable interpretation given the situation; given the use of sugar in foods / the consumption of sugar.

      To your other point Sue. All sources might not be identified, but it’s not an academical article. However, as at the time of writing (this comment at least), it’s trivial to use google to find many academic and scientific papers identifying many (all actually, as I see it, but interpretations may differ) of these points. Also, there are also TED talks, studies of Kamut vs DW metabolism, etc, etc. It’s not terribly hard to find these.
      I didn’t see the Wheat Belly book sited (or implied) must have missed that, and I certainly can’t speak to it’s content’s veracity. In short, I believe the strong assertion (or at least association with) an article being misinformation (or “false information” as you put it) warrants some backing up itself, else it is as unaccountable (and nonconstructive) as the article it sets out to critique. As it happens, using the same methods as I have prescribed above, i cant’ find *any* credible information to exonerate DW from the comments made here, only the many to imply it.

  5. Richard Parker says:

    Celiac disease or problems from wheat were noted by the ancient ancient Greek physicians (according to Wikipedia). It’s nothing new. Some people can’t eat wheat, others peanuts, others tree nuts, and a host of other rare unfortunate food allergies. All very tragic and having nothing to do with dwarf wheat being polyploid, a naturally occurring condition in many plants. Starvation is the likely result of not having advanced food available. Perhaps headlong release into the wild is not the best policy, but we NEED the increased production.

    • lena jenkens says:

      First we can all be in deniale about the wheat we eat today. God created the beautiful flowing wheat that was good for us, now it’s now longer there for us to eat. Man will always try to alter food at the expense of our health. We have more over weight people in this country then anywhere else because of grocery stores filled with dry cereals, cookies, cakes, crackers,etc.. People with HBP, SD, heart attacks, why? To much gluten in our diets. My sister was hospitalized for several days because of gluten and she is a healthy vegan eater and teaches arobics. There are people who are suffering with different kinds of illness and don’t know why until they find out from someone else what they need to do to get healthy. Once they get off of gluten for a certain amount of time, the illness goes away and people who are over weight loss the fat. I’m not downing Mr. Borlaug for what he did for the billions of people. It’s altered wheat. We have to be responsible for our own health.

    • t says:

      Richard, your comments seem to indicate that because problems with previously existing wheat varieties were apparently noted in the ancient past, current problems that are epidemic which may likely be linked to a completely new variety of wheat (if you accept the contention) – are to be expected (or accepted)? That reasoning seems bizarre to me, as it seems to ignore the issue of scale completely. Aside from that, the arguments made in this article are consistent with others eg: (http://greatist.com/health/modern-wheat-health-gluten), that it’s precisely the qualitative differences between wheat varieties (old vs DW) that accounts for the new scale of the issue. ie: they are saying their are worse problems now because of the levels of irritants in modern wheat. It seems you’ve either missed the point or your argument ignores scale: spilling a cup of tea is the same as an earthquake. Problems with older wheat were not on the noted scale that is proposed here – but we don’t need ancient past to verify this, only to look at the rise of diabetes in the past 4 decades coincident with the prevalence of a new strain of wheat.

      Next, saying “it’s nothing new”: it simply ignores the new evidence, or seems to suggest the old and new problems are “the same”. This is called “having it both ways”. It’s reductive thinking, and fallacious. It has taken much time and debate in the medical / scientific communities to accept wheat presents more than one digestive issue. To say otherwise seems to imply you somehow know (and already knew) better. Please share! It’s more than possible of course that something slips-in-and-out of mainstreams science and understanding. But if we’re talking about a verifiable problem with demonstrable scientific study behind it, this seems new enough to me. “http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-9-23″

      Further, it seems that by following your implications from narrative (you make no direct argument until the last as far as I can see) that because there exist people with other food allergies, it’s reasonable to accept that any food allergy is possible with any particular food source. Well, again, that’s absolutely true on the surface of things – but for the proposed scale of the contention: that prevalent modern wheat in processed foods is to blame, again, it simply ignores the proportional increase in consumption (as contention) for the cause of the problem, without explaining why the thinking is fallacious.

      The final contention is perhaps the hardest to understand, although at first glance it seems to hide behind the pragmatism of the constraints of reality. You seem to say that processed foods are necessary to avoid starvation. Okay, well, the grain itself may have performed that role – at one stage – but how can we assert that only one “solution” to a problem is the only possible one? (You don’t do anything to show how this is the case. Personally, I can think of now many alternatives to producing a grain to solve world hunger – not to say these are my solutions of course, but solutions which clever people have devised which offer great potential. And incidentally, curing world hunger the grain did not do! – not unless we ignore problems of scale again and say a contribution to improvement is now equal to a solution.) Finally, how can we likewise assert a problem primarily of food distribution is solved by a single element of food (and an incomplete dietary element at that) becoming more prominent in the diet of every country? It’s not like DW was grown (and continued to be grown) exclusively to feed the so-called third world, and that’s all the grain was used for. So to be honest, arguing the need for DW in anyone’s diet seems on shaky ground to me – unless we’re proposing that it’s all that certain communities eat. And that’s also an argument for direct consumption, not, say, consumption via an animal. The need for the production argument seems also to be fuelled almost entirely by completely ignoring issues of distribution, and even new technologies for food production. It’s almost as if we have to reframe our perceptions of the need for the grain in modern times within the circumstances of the time of the green revolution, and not only ignore modern alternatives but GR contemporary alternatives as well. So I guess we can load up as many justifications for why a food exists or not as we like. But personally I’d rather first contend with the subject matter at hand which as far as I can see is trying to point out a problem with that food source, and focus on the veracity of that. And while your final comment seemed to be doing that, it seemed in isolation from the rest of your argument and didn’t provide reasoning behind that assertion. I would like to try to follow the reasoning behind your comments and their motivation, as it appears you’re saying (perhaps only by implication) that ‘the world needs DW and it’s both unavoidable and irreplaceable’. If so, some actual argument to support that statement would help in accepting your contention. Otherwise, I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say (or at least that what you’ve said makes any sense).

  6. cm says:

    dwarf wheat was created to (and succeeded in) bringing entire countries out of famine.

    • t says:

      cm I think you’ve either missed the point of the article entirely – or perhaps I’ve missed the point of your comment. What DW has or hasn’t done for sustaining populations isn’t the argument in the article at all as far as I can see – it’s primarily its potential / probable link to disease in place of older wheat varieties. Your comment sounds to me like a patient being told by their doctor, “well, at least your not dead!” – or at best, “hey, we need that poison to survive”. I can’t really understand how that contributes to identifying / verifying / solving a problem of food quality, or refuting / confirming the arguments made in the article.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 9. You are what you eat right?  We know about all of the drama surrounding wheat in America.  If you are unaware of the unhealthful aspects of the wheat we are eating today read She Sugar’s article: “Dwarf Wheat, Another Arrow in the Backs of Americans”. [...]

  2. [...] fact that the wheat we eat today is not the wheat our ancestors consumed.  See She Sugars article “Dwarf Wheat, Another Arrow in the Backs of Americans”.  Wheat is yet another genetically modified food with fingers pointing at its ability to cause [...]

  3. [...] with love handles and a double chin.  And don’t even get me started on the subject of Dwarf-Wheat, from which almost all modern bread is made.  Let’s just say it has nothing to do with JRR [...]

  4. [...] fact that the wheat we eat today is not the wheat our ancestors consumed.  See She Sugars article “Dwarf Wheat, Another Arrow in the Backs of Americans”.  Wheat is yet another genetically modified food with fingers pointing at its ability to cause [...]

  5. [...] And aha, she goes on to say that she did need to eliminate “grains” from her diet that came from junk and add in more “whole grains”.  For the sake of my gluten free writing I won’t  include her glutinous offerings because they do include wheat flour.  I have my own thoughts on that… See She Sugar’s previous article “Dwarf Wheat, Another Arrow in the Backs of Americans”. [...]

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