Sourced from: Infinite Health Blog, by Dr. Davis,
originally posted on the
Wheat Belly Blog: 2012-03-21
The Wheat Lobby Smokescreen
The Wheat Lobby has been busy.
The Grain Foods Foundation, the Whole Grain Council,
and other lobby/trade groups for the wheat industry are in panic mode. After
all, a recent 4.5% reduction in bread sales for the year were just reported.
While 4.5% is not a big percentage, it is a percentage of a huge number.
This is big. Food Business News comments:
According to SymphonyIRI Group (a Chicago-based
market research firm), unit sales of fresh bread declined 4.5% in the 52 weeks
ended Jan. 22  . . . The one-year volume
decline likely was the steepest in the history of sliced bread.
So the Wheat Lobby and trade groups have been organizing
behind several counterarguments to maintain the “healthy whole grain”
“Wheat is not genetically-modified.”
Dr. Glenn Gaesser of the Grain Foods Foundation recently offered this
“counterargument” on a TV interview I did. This statement has also
cropped up a number of times in various articles and reports that aim to counter
the claims I am making, suggesting that it is part of a concerted, planned defense.
They are correct: Wheat is not genetically-modified. In the
language of geneticists, “genetic modification” or genetic engineering
refers to the use of gene-splicing technology to insert or remove a gene. While wheat
has indeed been extensively genetically-modified in laboratory settings, no
genetically-modified strain of wheat is on the open market. And I never said it was.
But that does not mean that the genetics of wheat
have not been changed. Its genetics, in fact, have been extensively changed
using techniques that include hybridization, repeating backcrossing (to winnow out
specific characteristics like short height or seed head size), embryo rescue (to
rescue otherwise fatal mutations), and chemical, gamma ray, and x-ray mutagenesis
(induction of mutations, used for instance to create the popular Clearfield strain of wheat that is
herbicide-resistant). These techniques, as any geneticist will tell you, are
far less predictable, less controllable . . . far worse than
the act of inserting or removing just one gene. But that is conveniently left
out of the sound bites that come from the Wheat Lobby.
“Grains have been eaten by humans for
thousands of years.”
Well, humans have been enslaved for thousands of years, children put to
work and abused, the strong dominated the weak . . . but that
doesn’t justify any of it.
Whole grains of 2012 are also not the whole grains of 1950,
the 19th century, the Bible, or pre-biblical times. Modern wheat, in particular,
is genetically distant from its predecessors, thanks to the extreme genetic changes
(not genetic modification!) inflicted on wheat in the 1960s and 1970s
in the name of increased yield-per-acre.
“Healthy whole grains have repeatedly been
shown to reduce risk for diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer.”
That’s is true . . . if whole grains are compared to
processed white flour products. It is guilty of the kind of flawed logic that
dominates nutritional thinking:
If something bad for you is replaced by something
less bad and there is an apparent health benefit, then a whole bunch
of the less bad thing is good for you.
This flawed logic is used to justify replacing high-glycemic
index foods with low-glycemic index foods (more properly called less-high
glycemic index foods), hydrogenated fats with polyunsaturates.
If “healthy whole grains” are compared to
no grains, i.e, no wheat, then dramatic turnarounds in health
are witnessed. The 1% of people with celiac disease are not the exception;
they are the “canaries in the coal mine” telling us that wheat is
inappropriate for any human to consume . . . especially the
semi-dwarf strains made worse by geneticists.
Surely the experts know all this!
Nope. They are, to an incredible degree, ignorant.
I recently debated a PhD Professor of Nutrition at a major university, who was
also Director of Research at a major agricultural corporation, who offered up
the usual defenses of wheat, while accusing me of ignoring the evidence. So,
when I informed him that the wheat of today is a high-yield, semi-dwarf variant
that stands around 2-feet tall, with marked changes in its genetic code, he
answered with . . . silence. After a bit of hemming and hawing, he
finally blurted, “Well, the farmers did that so they could see over the
tops of the fields!” Farmers, of course, did not introduce these
changes to create the dwarf strain of wheat. In other words, the fact that
modern wheat is the markedly altered product of genetics research was entirely
new to this “expert.”