Put lipstick on a dwarf

Today, virtually all wheat products are produced from the Triticum aestivum dwarf mutant.

You might call it "multi-grain bread,""oat bread," or "flaxseed bread." You could call it "organic," "pesticide-free," "non-GMO," or "no preservatives." It might be shaped into a ciabatta, bruschetta, focaccia, or panini. It might be sourdough, unleavened, or sprouted. It could be brown, black, Pumpernickel, or white. It could be shaped into a roll, bun, bagel, pizza, loaf, pretzel, cracker, pancake, brioche, baguette, or pita. It could be matzah, challah, naan, or Communion wafers.

No matter what you call it, it's all the same. It's all from the dwarf mutant Triticum aestivum plant, the 18-inch tall product of hybridizations, backcrossings, and introgressions that emerged from genetics research during the 1960s and 70s.

According to Dr. Allan Fritz, Professor of Wheat Breeding at Kansas State University, and Dr. Gary Vocke at the USDA, over 99% of all wheat grown today is the dwarf variant of Triticum aestivum. (For you genetics types, Triticum aestivum is the hexaploid, i.e., 3 combined genomes, product of extensive hybridizations, while ancestral einkorn is a diploid, i.e., a single genome, grass. Hexaploid Triticum aestivum contains the especially hazardous "D" genome, the set of genes most commonly the recipient of genetic manipulations to modify the characteristics of flour, such as gluten content. Einkorn contains only the original "A" genome.)

No matter what you call it, add to it, how you shape it, etc., it's all the same. It's all the dwarf mutant product of tens of thousands of hybridizations.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. By the way, lipstick may contain wheat.

Comments (24) -

  • Anonymous

    12/2/2010 2:32:40 PM |

    lol, well written doc. i miss pizza and naan.

  • Chuck

    12/2/2010 3:02:22 PM |

    i have been grain free for almost 4 years now.  just got my LDL particle size tested and was surprised to see i was predominately small particle.  i eat pretty low carb with very little sugar.

  • Marie-Anne

    12/2/2010 3:43:40 PM |

    Hi, my name is Marie-Anne.  I am a carbivore - a whole grain junkie with a sweet tooth to boot.  Changing is hard but your blog is very helpful and informative, thank you!  Now if only I could get the rest of my household on board.

  • Vick

    12/2/2010 7:55:58 PM |

    We tested einkorn flour to see how it would elevate blood sugar.

    Einkorn wheat bread:

    Blood sugar pre: 154.8 mg/dl (8.6 mmol/L)

    Blood sugar post: 160.2 mg/dl (8.9 mmol/L)

    Convention wheat bread:

    Blood sugar pre: 149.4 mg/dl (8.3 mmol/L)

    Blood sugar post: 190.8 mg/dl (10.6 mmol/L)

    Post was based on 1 hour 15 minutes.  Quanity was about 1 oz.  (a slice of white bread)

  • Anonymous

    12/2/2010 8:06:53 PM |

    Has anyone tried using Einkorn in any of the other ways
    that wheat flour is commonly employed,
    like as a thickener for sauces or in making noodles?

    By the way, has Barley also gone through the mutations that wheat has?



  • Anonymous

    12/2/2010 8:14:17 PM |

    I would be curious if this were true of the "ancient" grains showing up in the bread aisle.

  • DogwoodTree05

    12/3/2010 12:20:30 AM |

    Thank you for cotinuing to remind us why wheat is not healthful.  I have been trying to give it up completely for about a year.  Gluten-free foods tasty gritty and chalky, not spongy and chewy like wheat, so wheat-free means no pastries or breads.  I picked the most challenging time, the month of December, to try again to banish wheat from my diet.  If I can get past Christmas without eating a cookie or cranberry-walnut scone, I'll have unacquired my acquired taste for wheat.  As an added bonus, my consumption of added sugars in any form will be zero since most of it came from pastries and sweet snacks.

  • Judy

    12/3/2010 2:33:27 AM |

    Where do I find einkorn?  I've not been eating grains for about 3 months now, but I'd like to have something occasionally.

  • Stan (Heretic)

    12/3/2010 2:47:06 AM |

    Re:  According to Dr. Allan Fritz, Professor of Wheat Breeding at Kansas State University, and Dr. Gary Vocke at the USDA,...

    Have they got any hard data (and willing to make it public) that would allow statistically correlating the rate of coronary heart disease with the spread of this breed of wheat, historically and across various areas of the Earth?  

    I wonder if they use the same variety in France and in other low heart diase countries?

    If that dwarf variety of wheat is really more harmfull than the old wheat, that could perhaps explain the sudden onset of heart disease among the population of the UK and USA in the 1920-ties, and in other countries after 1945?

    Stan (Heretic)

  • Anonymous

    12/3/2010 3:53:31 PM |

    Would you add beer to this list?

  • Anonymous

    12/3/2010 3:54:56 PM |


    Thought you might have something to say about his "egg white and granola" diet.

  • Travis Culp

    12/3/2010 7:25:53 PM |

    Chuck...what were the specific test results that you received?

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/3/2010 10:44:55 PM |

    Hi, Vick--

    That's what I would have expected, though I'm a bit surprised that the standard wheat didn't send blood glucose even higher.

    Experiences like yours make me more hopeful that einkorn may indeed be a reasonable alternative for some people.

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/3/2010 10:46:51 PM |


    Try the Jovial brand pasta at Whole Foods.


    Great question, though I doubt it. We would probably have to perform the correlation ourselves, since their focus is not health, but agriculture.

  • Anonymous

    12/4/2010 2:49:55 AM |

    I have finally found a substitute for toast/ bread at breakfast--organic green beans with organic butter from grass-feed cows. So far, I am not missing the wheat and the beans are very satisfying.

  • First aid kits

    12/4/2010 12:22:04 PM |

    I will have unacquired my acquired taste for wheat. As an added bonus, my consumption of added sugars in any form will be zero since most of it came from pastries and sweet snacks.

  • Foodfreak

    12/4/2010 3:55:54 PM |

    some nit-picking: traditional pumpernickel is made from rye exclusively (at least in my part of the world where it originates). So, this has been dwarved, too, I am aware, but it ain't wheat. Period.

  • Anonymous

    12/4/2010 5:17:47 PM |

    I tried the jovial "spirals" last week. Starting blood sugar  86. 2 hours later blood sugar 91. Gluten destroys my digestion but several days later no noticeable change in digestion. I plan on testing it again this week. One year of grain free lowered my average blood sugar from 124 to 86. our blog was a great resource. Thanks Doc!

  • Steven

    12/5/2010 4:16:07 PM |

    I worked on a wheat farm in the early 70's. The shorter varieties raised the yield per acre because they put less energy into building stalk, and were less likely to fall over during high winds and become difficult or impossible to harvest. Nothing nefarious, just practical. Also around that time the Russians, who were huge importers of wheat, started paying for the protein content rather than just by volume. High protein yield became important as a result.

  • PoohBah

    12/8/2010 12:39:19 AM |

    Other than the dwarfing mutation, which seems to be a symptom rather than a cause, what changes have taken place in the dwarf mutant wheat, especially chemically and nutritionally?

  • Anonymous

    12/14/2010 2:23:57 AM |

    Speaking of costs ...
    my own CEO of my own HMO (I live in this quite stupid country now) "made" in 2007 over 1 BILLION and nobody investigated the deaths.

  • Anonymous

    12/14/2010 2:25:36 AM |

    Wow, a miraculous disappearance of intelligent posts.

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/14/2010 2:44:45 AM |


    I didn't think that penis enlargement ads were "intelligent." I can forward them to you if you'd like.

    Also, I think you meant "curious," not miraculous.

  • Anonymous

    4/13/2011 9:56:15 PM |

    Even organic whole wheat suffers from "genetic manipulations"? Really?