Sourced from: Infinite Health Blog, by Dr. Davis,
originally posted on the Wheat Belly Blog: 2011-12-03
If modern high-yield semi-dwarf wheat is the
source of so many problems, just how bad are the older
forms of wheat?
Recall that modern wheat is a 2-foot tall
strain bred primarily for exceptional yield. It is the combination
of three unique genetic codes, the so-called A, B, and D genomes,
with the D genome the recipient of much of the recent genetic
manipulations and the source of unique glutens and gliadins that
make modern wheat such a nasty creature.
In other words, say you, me, and Sherman
accompany Mr. Peabody in the WayBack Machine and we sample
the wheat of bygone ages. If we go back in time, we would encounter:
Wheat of the early 20th
century–i.e., Triticum aestivum with
the ABD genome prior to the extreme breeding and
mutation-generating interventions of the latter 20th century,
with the D genome relatively untouched.
19th century and previous
landraces–These are the strains of wheat that
develop unique to specific climates and terrains, similar to
wine grapes’ terroir. Strains adapt to a
location’s humidity, temperatures, soil, and seasonal changes.
pre-Biblical times up until the Middle Ages that, like its
successors, contained the ABD genomes, but this
D genome predates genetic changes introduced by geneticists.
Spelt flour is higher in protein content than modern
Triticum aestivum flour.
contemporary of emmer wheat, kamut is an AB genome wheat.
cross between einkorn (A) and a wild grass (B), emmer
is likely the wheat of the Bible.
granddaddy of all wheat, the stuff first harvested wild, and the
source of the 14 chromosomes of the A genome.
Obviously, experience with the various forms
of wheat, particularly ancient wheats, (each of the above categories,
especially Triticum aestivum, contains thousands of subtypes) is
extremely limited. But we do know a few things:
Hunter gatherer humans who first began to
incorporate wild einkorn into their diet experienced a downtown in
health, including more dental caries, bone diseases, and probably
atherosclerosis and cancer. Likewise, modern hunter gatherer
cultures who do not consume wheat are spared these conditions.
We also know that celiac disease is not
unique to modern wheat, but has been described as early as
100 AD and many times since, meaning it likely occurred with
consumption of emmer, spelt, kamut, and Triticum aestivum
landraces, though the relative frequencies may have varied.
How much better does a wheat strain have to
be in order to be acceptable to most people: 50%, 70%, 80%
. . . 100%? What level of risk are you willing to accept
in order to consume foods made of this grain? If I had a cigarette
that posed 80% lower risk for lung cancer than conventional
cigarettes, would that be something you’d consider?
There are no right or wrong answers. It will
be something to consider in the coming years as information and
experience with the older forms of wheat grow. In the meantime, given
what we know (and don’t know) about these older forms of wheat,
my advice is to steer clear of all forms of wheat, new and old, and
be certain you have great health and nutrition.