It feels like I wrote this post once before for a similar article. This response will take a different angle.
Kamal Patel’s article 10 Awful Nutrition Myths Perpetuated by the Media The truth behind the lies is yet another attempt to ignore or dismiss the fact some people are sensitive to bread and that their health improves when they remove it from the diet.
Myth 1: Bread/Carbs are bad for you
Lumping the insulin carbohydrate argument in with the wheat gluten issue wasn’t appropriate. They are two distinct topics. I am pro-carb and anti-wheat. So I agree with the first half of the myth, just not the second. The reason I am anti-wheat is that I have first-hand experience removing it and experiencing improved health.
From the article:
While gluten gets all the attention, other compounds may be as or more important for people without celiac disease who suspect that they have gluten sensitivity. For example, some of the same researchers who discovered that gluten intolerance exists in people who don’t have celiac disease did a much more thorough follow-up study, and concluded that gluten was not necessarily to blame in those with irritable bowel syndrome. They suggested that compounds falling under the category of FODMAPs (which are present in a variety of plant foods) may be a greater issue.
OK, I’ll play along. What foods should I avoid if the real issue is FODMAPs? I looked at the FODMAP Wikipedia page and Wheat is one of the first things mentioned! It is also listed as a primary food to avoid in the FODMAP Dieting Guide. Let us follow the logic.
- bread isn’t bad for us.
- gluten issues may not exist
- the real problem is FODMAPs
- a big source of FODMAPs is wheat
- bread = wheat
Am I missing something here? If I avoid bread because of gluten, I am anti-science and neurotic. If I avoid bread, because it is a source of FODMAPs, then I am enlightened. I don’t know, nor do I care what is inside wheat that causes my skin to act up and give me headaches. I looked better and feel better when I stopped eating bread. I’m not alone.
Me and my skin during my bread years.
Me just months after removing bread from my diet.
I’ve said it before, the numbers of those experiencing issues with wheat/gluten/FODMAPs/whatever are simply too large to be this dismissive. I’m actually shocked at how little nutritionists think about risk assessment. Bread can be healthy or unhealthy or maybe it varies on a case-by-case basis. Maybe we don’t know enough. I don’t know the answer, so I am going to sit on the sidelines not eating bread as nutritionists tell everyone that their gluten issues “may not” exist.
From a risk assessment point of view, you can look at this issue in two ways.
- There is a lack of evidence that bread is bad for most.
- There is a lack of evidence explaining why so many people have issues with bread and why their health improves when the bread was removed.
Of course, I line up with #2. I think the hygiene hypothesis is the best explanation for the modern level of wheat/gluten sensitivities, but I don’t know. If we don’t fully understand why people are getting sensitivities to bread, is it such an awful myth to simply say that bread is unhealthy for some people? I don’t think so. We should be studying the causes instead of trying to explain them away by saying they may not exist.
Oct 23, 2014 — 11:06 am
@MAS, I have a question. I’ve read Wheat Belly. And I read the part where the author experimented with an “ancient grain”, sour-dough fermented emmer wheat bread. He said he had no reaction, even though other breads made him react right away.
I’ve believed for a while that the problems with wheat and grain are:
a) modern tampering with the wheat itself, via excessive hybridization
b) GMO tampering, which added “marker” proteins into the wheat which DO NOT exist in nature. This is debugging code that the scientists put into their targets so they can tell that a DNA implant “took”. Surely such unnatural proteins aren’t good for us?
c) the modern yeast process, which only existed since Louis Pasteur. All bread used to be sourdough. Yeast is a single organism, sourdough is an entire ecosystem, like kombucha and kefir.
Jack Bezian of Santa Monica takes wheat (modern wheat, it is true) and sour-dough ferments it for up to 30 days. He has testimonials from many Celiacs who find they can eat his bread without any reaction.
I am far away up here in Canada. And I know Santa Monica is an 8 hour drive for you. Is there any way you could get a loaf of Bezian bread and try it out yourself? I am a great believer in the tranformative and alchemical abilities of symbiotic bacteria colonies, especially colonies we humans have depended on and lived off of for thousands of years (sour-dough).
4725 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029, United States
Oct 23, 2014 — 11:09 am
Jack Bezian’s wife worked with the Berkely scientists while they were studying sourdough bacteria and all the rest of the chemistry of bread and its associated bacteria since the 1970’s. So, if you want to know anything about the bread process, they can tell you. From the sound of it, Jack put all that research to practical use, making a Celiac safe sour-dough wheat bread. Perhaps some of those scientists are still up in your area and could help out; Jack may be able to connect you up.
Oct 23, 2014 — 11:15 am
PS: I’m inclined to agree with your hygeine hypothesis as well; bacteria in the gut AND bacteria on the outside have large roles to play. By getting rid of long-fermented sourdough, we’ve dumped half the bacteria digestion equation.
If you have $1500, I know a doctor in Canada who can ensure you get a proper dose of all the gut bacteria you may be missing for wheat digestion. He doesn’t guarantee any specific outcome, just that what he is giving you is what is advertised; full spectrum bacteria from healthy donors.
Oct 23, 2014 — 11:15 am
@Mycroft – I’ve thought about this and to me going to great lengths to still eat eat bread isn’t worth the time and expense. I don’t miss bread at all.
I do suspect the ancient sourdough properly prepared is the best bread option. I’m glad there are people out there doing this, but it isn’t on my list of my food interests.
Oct 23, 2014 — 11:17 am
@Mycroft – I predict that $1500 price will plummet to $15 in a decade. I can wait. 🙂
Oct 23, 2014 — 12:30 pm
I’ll just chime in… that if we’re talking about store-bought bread, there’s a LOT more than just the wheat that can be causing problems. I grew up with what was labeled a “wheat allergy”… so I avoided wheat from an early age. It doesn’t seem to bother me now, but I do feel better when I don’t eat it every day.
I never did understand my grandparents who had to have white mungy wonder bread at EVERY meal. I never did like that stuff.
Oct 23, 2014 — 12:40 pm
@Tina – Well said.
The bread defenders are more concerned with attacking labels than figuring out the underlying causes of intolerance be it gluten, wheat, or something we aren’t focusing on such as type of grain and how that grain was prepared.
Whenever articles like this appear I think of a lifeguard telling everyone there is no shark in the water and it is safe to swim. When those at the beach point to blood in the water, he repeats there is no shark and therefore avoiding the water makes no sense.
Oct 24, 2014 — 11:01 am
Just to clarify – in no way are we doubting that people are allergic to grains/wheat/etc.
BUT – there are people who are allergic to eggs. To tomatoes. You won’t go run around saying “eggs are bad for you” or “tomatoes will kill you.”
That’s whats going on with carbs and bread. The FUD far exceeds its effects.
Oct 24, 2014 — 1:53 pm
@Sol – My response would be we aren’t seeing an outbreak in egg or tomato intolerance. Something else is going on with bread and I think we need to recognize we don’t know yet why.
Agree with you 100% about carbs.
Nov 2, 2014 — 6:13 pm
I too have my life change after cutting gluten from my diet. What came first… the undiagnosed gluten allergy or the autoimmune thyroid problem? I don’t really care because I have my life back. My thyroid problem didn’t improve in the least but I do know now that I don’t look like I’m on death’s doorstep. I looked and felt like I was on chemo at my worst and it was all due to gluten!
Nov 2, 2014 — 8:18 pm
@Imam – Glad to hear you took a zero cost solution to solve your health issue.