The modern day gluten-free mania and marketing is creating a
People who are sick of it fall back on "inconclusive"
studies or dismiss gluten concerns altogether. Unfortunately,
gluten-free fare is often filled with junk ingredients, which
creates more distrust.
Many trending diets have cut grains altogether; others say
that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
cuts out the whole food group, organizations like Weston A.
recommend avoiding all refined products and
using traditional methods of fermentation and soaking.
Wheat Belly and
Grain Brain aptly scrutinized the genetic engineering
and other issues - via radiation - that mutates the product
willy-nilly. It's true, most of today's grain products bear
decreasing resemblance to our great-grandfather's food.
Still others point to the pesticides involved as the real
culprit for ill health. And then there are added dough
conditioners and bromides which block the uptake of iodine to
the thyroid. But most people find it difficult to remove one of
America's favorite staples.
Is there a way to
enjoy bread - real bread today? One wheat-breeder
Philpott of Mother Jones
Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder at Washington State
University, suspects that we've been scapegoating the grain
when we should be blaming the oven.
Before I explain why,
let me make clear that Jones is no apologist for Big Wheat.
Back in 2003, the industry-dominated Washington Grain
Commission threatened to stop funding his program after he
refused to work with genetically modified varieties owned by
the agrichemical giant BASF.
He eschews conventional
breeding - which he believes is all about generating bland
strains tailored to the needs of corporate producers - for his
own method, which prioritizes flavor.
Even so, Jones doesn't buy the notion that the modern
breeding he shuns is causing bad reactions to bread.
not wheat itself," he says, pointing to a
2013 study by the US Department of Agriculture that
found "no evidence" of increasing levels of gluten in wheat
over the decades.
Rather, Jones believes that the true
problem with bread is how we make it. In commercial
bakeries, rising time has been winnowed from hours or even
days down to mere minutes, thanks to fast-acting yeasts and
By contrast, the team in Jones' laboratory,
located in a rural stretch along Puget Sound, lets dough
rise for as long as 12 hours - and they've found that the
longer it rises, the less potent the gluten that remains in
the finished bread.
While Stephen Jones, being a wheat-breeder, supports the actual wheat,
which may or may not be irradiated/sprayed with pesticides - by
not using the additives and letting the dough do its thing, the
more the bread resembles original bread.
Jones told Philpott of the gratuitous amounts of gluten that are added to modern commercial bread on top of the amounts
present in the finished, rush-baked product. Truly unnatural
He says to look for "vital wheat gluten" among other
gluten additives on the label.
Allegedly, the nation's vital
gluten intake per capita has tripled in nearly 40 years. Jones
firmly believes it is the baking process causing the problems,
not the wheat - what do you think?
For what it's worth Philpott became a believer in Jones' method
when he made a slow-fermented whole-wheat bread with one of
Jones' sourdough starters. Afterward, he did not feel bloated,
but instead felt great.
The good news if you wish to continue eating bread? You can
make your own traditional bread - let the dough do its
Speaking of business, more bakeries are falling back
traditional methods as a way to streamline the process for
bread with few ingredients, without adding the gluten-free junk
You can opt to buy from these bakeries for
Hopefully, they remember to tell you to freeze what
you aren't using - a testament to their traditional, natural
state - they get moldy fast!