What is it with wheat? Why are so many of our patients now testing sensitive to wheat and wheat products? Wheat is by far the most common food sensitivity we encounter when testing patients. (Other very common food sensitivities are milk/dairy products, soy products, peanuts, and eggs.) By simply removing wheat products from the diet, we often see great clinical results, particularly with children.
Wheat probably couldn’t always have been so allergy inducing. Is it the way wheat is grown and processed in this country? I’ve had patients who were highly sensitive to wheat here, but who were able to go to Europe and eat the European bread while there with no problems. Was it just because they were less stressed when on vacation and therefore their digestion performed better? Or is there a difference in the wheat itself? When I went to India recently, the wheat there tasted much better than anything I remember having here. Their wheat was grown locally and probably freshly ground (they were harvesting while I was there); their method of preparation used hot steel and fire and this also probably helped counteract the “damp” producing effects of wheat. (Damp is a Chinese medical term roughly equivalent to congestion.)
I have read that the type of wheat we are mostly eating today is much higher in gluten than what was historically grown—in other words, the wheat has been bred to be much sticker and starchier than what we historically ate. The highly refined nature of the wheat and the possible presence of genetically modified wheat are not helpful either.
In addition to the way our USA wheat is grown, stored, and processed, there are probably other environmental stressors that we experience here. Our country has experienced a vast increase in asthma over the past twenty years. The same cofactors are probably creating the increase in wheat sensitivities that we see today. Our overall air quality is much better than in many parts of the world, and yet we are seeing an increase in allergies and asthma. Why is this?