What happened to Gluten?
Gluten comes from wheat and other grains. It is the protein that makes food made with wheat "sticky". In the 1950's food companies and governments wanted to produce more wheat to feed starving peoples around the world. With that goal in mind, they began to modify wheat with chemicals that would modify it genetically. It turns out that the wheat of the old days grew very tall and thin and had a low yield. Since it grew tall and thin, it was easily ruined when a storm blew through the field. The goal of the genetic modification was to create a crop that was short and thicker and had a higher yield. This was achieved by the 1960's.
The law of unintended consequences.
Now farmers had a crop more resistant to weather and could yield more per acre. However, right around this time, the 1970's, food companies started using large panels of people to sample their food and determine what was the the most tasty version of their creation to sell to the public. During these group samplings(couple thousand people), the food companies noticed that most people liked and preferred food that had some wheat mixed in. The clincher was that people also ate more of the food with the wheat in it. With that knowledge, the food companies started putting wheat as a filler in many foods. They also started modifying the wheat further to make it less coarse. It turns out heirloom wheat is coarse and the bread made from it is coarse. They modified the wheat to create the fluffy bread we have now.
Why did people like wheat in their foods?
Some researchers wanted to know why people liked wheat, so much, to the extent that they craved it. They identified the culprit as the gluten molecule. It turns out that the gluten molecule attaches to the same receptor in the brain as narcotics. Initially, it was a weak attachment, but with the genetically modified gluten, the attachment became stronger to the point of slight withdrawal effects when removing the gluten. In other words a mild addiction.
1: Gluten modified genetically.
2: Gluten foods are preferred and eaten more.
3: Gluten attaches to the narcotic receptor in the brain causing mild addiction and withdrawal.
But there is more?
Why can people go to other countries and eat pizza and donuts and not have the severe affects they experience in the U.S?
The gluten issue was relatively innocuous until the early 2000's when it hit front and center stage. People had issues before but not as severe and not as many people.
Several factors are at play here:
1: The gluten as it became modified, became more inflammatory over time. It seems to inflame mucous membranes and skin. These mucous membranes are found in the lungs and sinuses and the GI tract.
2: In the early 2000's wheat was harvested using glyphosate(the highly toxic weed killer). Several days before harvest, the wheat is sprayed with glyphosate. This causes the wheat to die over the next days. The response of the wheat is to release more wheat germ in a sense of self propagation. It also makes it easier for the columbines to strip the germ off the stalk, so the harvest overall is larger. Supposedly, the glyphosate is washed out from the wheat before is is used in food processing. But, studies have shown glyphosate present in cereals. The glyphosate is highly disruptive to our health.
3: The flour we use is very devoid of nutrients. It needs to be fortified. One of the vitamins used to fortify wheat is folic acid. This is the synthetic folate which can block the methylation cycle, as discussed in the last email.
Other countries around the world do not use glyphosate or folic acid. That is why people can travel to other areas and not be affected when eating wheat based foods.
Why go Gluten-free?
A gluten-free diet can be helpful for people with asthma, chronic sinus allergies, chronic skin issues, and GI disturbances. I have seen this with many patients who have gone gluten-free and completely changed their health.
This happens because you get multiple factors working for you when you go gluten-free. You remove the inflammation caused by the gluten molecule. You don't ingest any trace of glyphosate that could be in the flour. You don't ingest the folic acid that could be blocking the methylation pathway. Finally, almost everyone who goes gluten-free, loses weight because they are eating less.
It is possible to find heirloom wheat to cook with and I have been told of restaurants using the same wheat or European flour for their meals. People also substitute with various flours other than wheat.