The gluten-free trend keeps growing. But is it all just hype? Does gluten sensitivity really exist? Are more people being diagnosed with celiac disease? Is modern wheat the problem or could it be genetic engineering? Here we unravel!
This story was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, a non-profit investigative journalism organization.
A few years ago, when I began writing a book about grains and bread, the first question I usually got when I mentioned the project was: “Why are so many people having problems with wheat?” In many ways, the question encapsulated the current anxiety around bread and wheat, which has gyrated from a source of sustenance for humanity into a toxic pariah.
Wheat—and the main protein it contains, gluten—has been cited as a cause of weight gain, “brain fog,” skin rashes, joint pain, headaches, tiredness, allergies, gas, intestinal distress, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and, in the case of celiac disease—where the immune system goes haywire and attacks the body—even death. Yet wheat, which is found not only in bread and pasta, but also in beer and numerous processed foods, makes up one-fifth of all food eaten worldwide and is the number-one source of protein in developing countries. Humans have been eating wheat for around 10,000 years, starting with domestication of wild grasses in the Near East, at the dawn of agriculture.....To Read More....