Something happened to wheat in the 1970s during the
efforts to generate a high-yield strain that required
less fertilizer to make an 18- 24-inch, rather
than a 48-inch, stalk. Multiple other changes occurred,
including changes in the structure of wheat germ
agglutinin, changes in alpha amylase (responsible for
wheat allergy), increased phytate content
. . . to name a few.
But chief among the changes in wheat were changes in
the gliadin protein molecule. We know, for instance,
that the Glia-alpha 9 sequence, absent from
traditional wheat, can be found in virtually all modern
wheat. This is likely the explanation underlying the
four-fold increase in celiac disease over the
past 50 years, since Glia-alpha 9 predictably
triggers the immune reaction that leads to the
intestinal destruction characteristic of celiac disease.
But modern wheat also stimulates appetite
. . . not a little, but a lot. The
introduction of modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat
was accompanied by an abrupt increase in calorie
consumption of 440 calories per day, 365 days
per year. This is because modern gliadin in wheat is
an opiate. But this opiate doesn’t cause a
“high” like heroine or Oxycontin;
it causes appetite stimulation.
Big Food companies, commanding tens of billions (not
millions, but billions, or 1000 millions) of dollars
of revenues per year, employ some very smart food
scientists. Among their many responsibilities, food
scientists are charged with observing the eating
behavior of humans who eat their products, often
conducting taste tests and trials to observe eating
behavior. Surely food scientists noticed that,
somewhere around 1985, appetite was enormously
triggered by consumption of crackers, breads,
pretzels, bagels and the multitude of other test
products made of wheat making entry into the
marketplace. After all, the business of food
scientists is to observe eating behavior.
So why didn’t they sound the alarm? Why
didn’t we hear food scientists declare
“We think there’s something wrong in
some of the new foods we are creating.
Specifically, it appears that foods created
from the new high-yield strains of wheat are
triggering appetite substantially”?
Perhaps they couldn’t, being employed by Big
Food companies with a need to maintain proprietary
inside information. Or, perhaps they said something
like “Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anybody!
Let’s just put it in . . .
everything!” How else can we explain the fact
that, in the 1970s, wheat was only in primary
wheat-based foods like breads, cookies, and cakes.
But now, wheat is in everything:
It’s in canned and instant soups, salad
dressings, licorice, granola and candy bars,
virtually all fast food . . . you name
it, wheat’s there. (Remember: Big Tobacco
did precisely this kind of thing when they used
to dope their cigarettes with higher nicotine
content to increase addictive potential. As with
many things wheat, tobacco showed us in how many
ways big corporations can bend products and
issues to their own agenda, your health be damned.)
Unfortunately, this is just my speculation, given
the incredible and difficult-to-explain ubiquity
of wheat. So I’m hoping to identify a
whistleblower, someone from inside the walls of
Big Food, preferably back in the 1980s when
this phenomenon got underway. If you have such
insights, please post a comment here,
anonymously if you prefer.
In other words, it would be priceless to be able
to prove that, not only did food scientists in
Big Food know about the appetite-stimulating
effects of modern wheat, they used this knowledge
to increase sales of their products, making the
public the unwitting subjects of a massive