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WBB: The year the dough hit the fan

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Posted: 6/30/2015 12:00:00 PM

Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-06-30
on the Wheat Belly Blog, sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
PCM forum Index of WB Blog articles.

The year the dough hit the fan

Life Magazine photo from the period

Here is a thumbnail sketch of recent wheat history.

In 1985, the National Cholesterol Education Panel delivered its Adult Treatment Panel guidelines to Americans, advice to cut cholesterol intake, reduce saturated and total fat, and increase “healthy whole grains.” Congress followed suit with legislation requiring that the USDA provide dietary advice to the American public leading to the food pyramid and plate.

Per capita wheat consumption increased accordingly. Wheat consumption today is 26 lbs per year greater than in 1970 and now totals 133 lbs per person per year, or the equivalent of approximately 200 loaves of bread per year. Because infants and children are lumped together with adults, average adult consumption is likely much greater than 200 lbs per year, or the equivalent of approximately 300 loaves of bread per year. (Nobody, of course, eats 300 loaves of bread per year; tallying up the pretzels, pizza, bagels, focaccia, bruschetta, breading, rolls, etc., it all adds up to approximately 300 loaves-equivalent.)

Another twist: The mid- and late-1980s also marks the widespread adoption by U.S. farmers of the genetically-altered semi-dwarf variants of wheat to replace traditional wheat. (Not “genetically-modified,” but changed via other methods, including chemical and other forms of mutagenesis, the purposeful induction of mutations that is worse than genetic modification, as it introduces dozens to hundreds of changes, rather than the handful introduced by genetic modification.) While in 1980 the loaf of bread–or bagel, pretzel, pizza, bruschetta, ciabatta, or roll–likely came from 4½-foot tall traditional wheat, in 1988 it was almost certainly a product made from high-yield semi-dwarf wheat. No questions were asked about its appropriateness for human consumption, no questions asked about animal safety testing. Just grown, processed, and sold.

And that’s when the dough hit the fan.

The Centers for Disease Control has been tracking the number of people diagnosed with diabetes:

CDC: 1980-2020: diagnosed diabetes cases

From 1958 until 1985, the number of diabetics nationwide was climbing gradually. Products made with semidwarf wheat were then introduced, compounded with the proliferation of high-fructose corn syrup and a reduction in fat consumption and, after a few year lag that allowed Americans to gain substantial weight, the curve of number of diabetic Americans shifted sharply upward.

Eat more “healthy whole grains” . . . indeed.

D.D. Infinite Health icon