The negatives of modern day wheat
Written by Bunmi. Monday, February 6th, 2012
Since it was first established we have seen many different forms of wheat develop in the modern world.Some examples of these are as follows: – Spelt, Durum wheat, Common wheat, Emmer wheat to name just a few.Despite the positivity of wheat when it was first developed, wheat has also seen some negative press in recent years.The most common of these negativities being intolerances and allergies that have now become more common place in many people around the world.
Wheat the modern day food
Foods made of or with wheat are a major part of the modern day society.As the worlds population has demanded more and more processed products so it has been created.Some of these foods include staples products such as Pasta, Bread and Pastry to treat foods such as Biscuits, Cakes and Crackers.As manufacturers continue to mass produce the foods that society has grown to love, so the importance of wheat has become more common place in the modern world.
Due to the fact that more and more of our foods are created with wheat, this also means that more gluten is present in our every day foods.Gluten is the protein that is present in wheat, barley and rye.This means that gluten is commonly found in many everyday processed foods from cereals to breads and more.Gluten can be removed from wheat (although traces are left so not fully), but this means that the process of manufacturing and production is not as easy or straight forward.For example ‘Glutenhelps make bread elastic, providing it with that chewy texture it has when eaten. For this reason, flour that has had most of itsglutenremoved produces sticky dough that feels much like chewing gum.Glutenprovides many additional important qualities to bread. For example,glutenkeeps the gases that are released during fermentation in the dough, so the bread is able to rise before it is baked. In addition,glutenfirms up when it is cooked and, with the help of starch, helps ensure the bread maintains its proper shape.’ (www.wisegeek.com, September 2010.) This is just one example of why wheat is used in modern day foods.
There are many ways that wheat can negatively affect the human body.Most common are coeliac disease, wheat allergy and wheat intolerance.The adverse effects of these can be seen in the descriptions below.
Some of the most negative effects of wheat and gluten include wheat and or gluten intolerance/allergy.Gluten and wheat allergy is more commonly known as coeliac (or celiac in America) disease.Coeliac disease is a condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine (Part of the gut.Please see diagram A).Coeliac disease isnota food allergy or a food intolerance. It is an autoimmune disease which means that the immune system (which normally protects the body from infections) mistakenly attacks itself.
The lining of the small intestine contains millions of tiny tube-shaped structures called villi. These help food and nutrients to be digested more effectively into the body.
In coeliac disease, these villi are flattened due to the inflammation of the lining of the gut. This then means that the food and nutrients can, not be so readily digested into the body.(www.patient.co.uk May 2009)
Diagram A (The Gut.)
People with coeliac disease make antibodies against gluten.These antibodies which are normally for the use of fighting off bacteria, germs and viruses, now see gluten as harmful to the body.It is the creation of these antibodies which then cause the development of inflammation in the small intestine.Coeliac disease can come about in anyone from babies to adults and male and female.
Wheat allergy is also an immunological response to wheat.Unlike coeliac disease, however, it includes allergic reactions to many different proteins found in wheat and related cereal grains.It can be gastrointestinal, but it can also be similar to hay fever, causing asthma-like respiratory symptoms, hives, rashes, contact dermatitis, cough, runny nose, and itchy eyes.Sometimes called “baker’s allergy”, wheat allergy may be exacerbated by exercising or taking aspirin, causing a very violent and dangerous- even life-threatening- allergic condition called anaphylaxis.Avoidance of wheat is key in such cases, although some wheat allergy sufferers are able to tolerate alternative gluten-containing grains such as barley and rye.
Wheat intolerance generally refers to a non-allergic negative reaction to eating wheat. Wheat intolerance is not usually as violent or acute as wheat allergy, and can be a lot harder to diagnose because the symptoms may manifest many hours after the consumption of wheat; even up to a couple of days later. Though poorly understood, it’s still an immune-related response, but one which affects a totally different part of the immune system than that which causes a ragweed sufferer to sneeze or someone with a peanut allergy to go into anaphylactic shock. Avoidance is still the main approach to solving the existing problem in individuals with wheat sensitivity, but there’s good news- with careful management, some people may be able to build up a tolerance for small amounts of wheat over time. (http://www.wheatintolerance.org/)
Symptoms of wheat problems
There are a range of symptoms that can occur when there is an adverse effect to wheat in the human body.Everyone is different and so the symptoms a person may have can be different to another.Some people suffer from as little as one symptom and others a few.These symptoms are also dependent on whether it is a wheat allergy, intolerance or coeliac disease.See symptom possibilities below.
- ·Depression and mood swings
- ·Sneezing, runny eyes, runny nose
- ·Bloating/Swollen stomach
- ·Stomach cramps
- ·Skin rashes, swollen stomach
- ·Weight loss
Despite the initial positivity of wheat when it was first introduced to the world, the modern day effects have shown that the body in some cases has begun to view it more as a negative. As wheat continues to be used in more and more foods it is highly likely that the increase in allergies and intolerances are set to continue.The more foods we consume with wheat the less variety we continue to have in our diets.More and more allergies and intolerances are caused due to a lack of diversity in the foods we eat and as we continue to have wheat throughout our day from breakfast (cereals), lunch (sandwich), dinner (pasta) and snacks (biscuits) it is unlikely that this will not continue to affect us as humans in the future.