1

votes

Does the existence of a population ...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 08, 2013 at 9:13 PM

... that consumes large quantities of wheat while remaining lean and healthy "prove" that wheat is harmless?

If not, why not?

How about the existence of one individual thriving on a high-wheat diet?

Again, if not why not?

(Also, if you think that wheat is a bad example, feel free to substitute any food that you consider incompatible with good health.)

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on January 09, 2013
at 11:44 AM

Actually, Sam, it is. Whether it is a carbohydrate-rich, or carbohydrate-poor diet, small populations who thrive at either extreme cannot be used to extrapolate an overall level of 'ideal' carbohydrate consumption for everyone. Too, like the above examples, it cannot address -future- issues, only here and now. An individual's macronutrient needs will certainly vary over time. You'll find that, among those who follow the evidentiary curve regarding the fitness of grains for human consumption, there are a wide range of macronutrient profiles.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 09, 2013
at 04:21 AM

We've got to keep epigenetics/nutrigenetics in mind here. Plenty of people seem to have no problems with peanuts. Does that mean they're fine for everyone, across the board, to eat? The more we learn about the interaction of genotypes, lipid metabolism, and carbohydrate tolerance, the more these blanket dietary recommendations will go away. (I hope.) Just because certain foods are okay for *some* people doesn't mean they're okay for *everyone.*

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 09, 2013
at 04:18 AM

I'm still not sure where I stand on wheat, but I lean toward agreeing with you. Partially for the reason you gave, but much more because it might not be the gluten, per se, but the gluten added to diets loaded with sugar, seed oils, and wacky preservatives, and eaten by people whose digestion and immune systems are compromised literally from birth because of the modern food environment (not to mention their in-utero nutrition). So we take something that otherwise might not be quite so bad, but put it into the diets of people in whom it's the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 09, 2013
at 04:10 AM

Firestorm, this sounds like something Mat Lalonde would say. (I mean that as a big compliment!)

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on January 09, 2013
at 02:47 AM

Why do you ask? If it's a philosophical question then I suggest it's suffering from a "problem of induction". If you want to explore the biological aspects then one should be asking about the efficacy of wheat, its safety and perform a double-blind controlled trial to draw any meaningful conclusions. Or perhaps you're just setting a hare/jackrabbit loose for a good chase (I hear they're quite tasty!).

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on January 09, 2013
at 02:08 AM

Jonas, you clearly aren't lactose intolerant. It is a serious issue to anybody who is and has been "lactosed." Not fun.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Kinda with Kurt Harris on this: if I was looking for a neolithic agent of disease, wheat would be a strong contender. That's good enough for me not to bother looking at it at all.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Nope. I was just saying that you can never prove anything is harmless.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:01 AM

You suggest that instead of living a paleo lifestyle we should spend our time looking for the dietary boogerman? Over-thinking is just another Neolithic disease.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:57 AM

Mass quantities of most anything are bad, and wheat tends to show up in the worst processed foods.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:53 AM

OK. France. Land of bread and pastry. Big enough? Healthy enough?

4303a65967884e68bfae59817c227351

(1881)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:39 AM

If you asked me this 100 years ago, I'd say that I'd give wheat the benefit of the doubt. Since the advent of GMO's in any and all plants, I would most definitely disagree.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on January 08, 2013
at 10:47 PM

@Jonas- tell that to the poor sap running for the toilet with there intestines churning.

383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on January 08, 2013
at 10:35 PM

lactose intolerance isn't a serious issue

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:46 PM

Same answer. "No evidence of harm" usually means you aren't looking hard enough.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:44 PM

In this case, "harmless" means "no evidence of harm".

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:35 PM

Now, substitute "carbohydrate" for "wheat". Is your assessment the same?

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:19 PM

Is there such a population? And do they sprout/ferment their wheat?i

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7 Answers

6
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:36 PM

I'll use this old joke as an example:

An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician are on a train in Scotland. The astronomer looks out of the window, sees a black sheep standing in a field, and remarks, "How odd. All the sheep in Scotland are black!" "No, no, no!" says the physicist. "Only some Scottish sheep are black." The mathematician rolls his eyes at his companions' muddled thinking and says, "In Scotland, there is at least one sheep, at least one side of which appears to be black from here some of the time."

In your hypothetical population or person, the only thing you can say is that wheat is not bad for them at this time.

3
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:28 PM

The only thing that it proves is that for THOSE people, it may be less harmful. (You can't prove a negative -- so it is impossible to prove that it is not harmful at all). Extrapolations from small populations cannot be made to the larger population, and even if it is completely innocuous under Situation A, that does not mean that it is not dangerous under Situation B.

There is some evidence that "traditionally prepared" wheats and grains may be less reactive, even in sensitive individuals. However, traditional preparation is time-consuming and is not used for even 1% of the commercially prepared grain foods on the market today. Traditional preparation, which includes both the sprouting of the wheat AND long fermenting (most of these cultures make their 'breads' and noodle dishes from a 'mother culture' that may have been fermenting for decades or longer -- almost none of the traditional cultures that make wide use of grain use "rapidly risen" breads through direct application of yeast to flour and sugar... a technique that is shown, in vitro and in vivo, to cause inflammatory proteins to be released) has, however, been shown to reduce the inflammatory response individuals may have to eating wheat.

In the same way, for a single individual who is apparently thriving on a high-wheat diet, without the ability to analyze gut flora and inflammatory markers, there is no way to tell whether this person is actually -thriving-, or is, in fact, an inflammatory time-bomb just waiting to go off. IF, on the other hand, suitable controlled research were able to prove that this person is, indeed, thriving on that diet and is showing no signs of inflammatory markers or hepato-protein sensitization, all it would prove is that, for this person, wheat is not a source of inflammation at this time (and it does not rule out the fact that, at some later point, that same person might begin to react to wheat -- it can only address the here and now).

Hope this helps.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:35 PM

Now, substitute "carbohydrate" for "wheat". Is your assessment the same?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 09, 2013
at 04:10 AM

Firestorm, this sounds like something Mat Lalonde would say. (I mean that as a big compliment!)

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on January 09, 2013
at 11:44 AM

Actually, Sam, it is. Whether it is a carbohydrate-rich, or carbohydrate-poor diet, small populations who thrive at either extreme cannot be used to extrapolate an overall level of 'ideal' carbohydrate consumption for everyone. Too, like the above examples, it cannot address -future- issues, only here and now. An individual's macronutrient needs will certainly vary over time. You'll find that, among those who follow the evidentiary curve regarding the fitness of grains for human consumption, there are a wide range of macronutrient profiles.

3
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:21 PM

Does this population exist? or is this purely hypothetical?

Ok, I'll bite.

Raw milk has a lot of great and healthy benefits associated with it. And there are groups of people (like the people of the UK and the Nordic countries) that have a very low rate of lactose intolerance (estimates range between 5% and 10%).

So given that these people (1) Consume large quantities of milk; (2) Remain lean and healthy ; does that "prove" milk is harmless?

Go ask the East Asian, Indigenous Americans and African societies where estimates that 90%+ of the population is lactose intolerant.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:53 AM

OK. France. Land of bread and pastry. Big enough? Healthy enough?

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on January 09, 2013
at 02:08 AM

Jonas, you clearly aren't lactose intolerant. It is a serious issue to anybody who is and has been "lactosed." Not fun.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on January 08, 2013
at 10:47 PM

@Jonas- tell that to the poor sap running for the toilet with there intestines churning.

383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on January 08, 2013
at 10:35 PM

lactose intolerance isn't a serious issue

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 08, 2013
at 10:14 PM

Billions of person-years of wheat consumption suggests to me wheat isn't problematic for populations as a whole. To elaborate, wheat intolerance is more or less a new phenomenon. It's not the wheat that is toxic, per se. But rather when wheat displaces other important food stuffs from traditional diets, "problems with wheat" crop up.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:57 AM

Mass quantities of most anything are bad, and wheat tends to show up in the worst processed foods.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 09, 2013
at 04:18 AM

I'm still not sure where I stand on wheat, but I lean toward agreeing with you. Partially for the reason you gave, but much more because it might not be the gluten, per se, but the gluten added to diets loaded with sugar, seed oils, and wacky preservatives, and eaten by people whose digestion and immune systems are compromised literally from birth because of the modern food environment (not to mention their in-utero nutrition). So we take something that otherwise might not be quite so bad, but put it into the diets of people in whom it's the straw that breaks the camel's back.

1
5a21b66ef8ee09eeb0a5cfaefcac7b4a

on January 08, 2013
at 10:06 PM

i would like to say that modern wheat is bad for you, ancient wheat is better but very hard to come by, i avoid wheat and most grains after reading many different sources..there has been many improvements to my health, better gut health, no more sore joints, and i have lots about 30 pounds without being hungry..really..that has never happened before in my life..there are people that tolerate wheat better but it is not a necessary food by any stretch, just cheap and easy

0
366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:54 AM

The dwarf hybrid wheat that we eat, with its particular nutritional & gluten profile, has only been around since the 1970s...you couldn't really find any population that had eaten it long enough to say they were "healthy" in any long term way. On the contrary, the widespread use of that wheat has coincided with widespread growth of many health issues.

Frankly, I do think older wheats (emmer, einkorn, spelt, etc), properly prepared, can be part of a healthy diet, but I know that's not the paleo way.

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:39 PM

Cos you can never prove anything is harmless. Google "null hypothesis".

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:44 PM

In this case, "harmless" means "no evidence of harm".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:01 AM

You suggest that instead of living a paleo lifestyle we should spend our time looking for the dietary boogerman? Over-thinking is just another Neolithic disease.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Nope. I was just saying that you can never prove anything is harmless.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 08, 2013
at 09:46 PM

Same answer. "No evidence of harm" usually means you aren't looking hard enough.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 09, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Kinda with Kurt Harris on this: if I was looking for a neolithic agent of disease, wheat would be a strong contender. That's good enough for me not to bother looking at it at all.

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