So, while away on holiday I read a great book called 'Born to Run' by Chris McDougall, in which he makes quite a bit of a point about how native tribes in Mexico - specifically the ultra-marathon running Tamahura, have a diet that comprises a lot of grains. However, they suffer almost no western diesease ie. cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.
Now, these guys run extreme distances up until their nineties, which may have an epigenetic effect on their metabolism, but they also have a diet that is often greater than 60% grain based.
This is pretty anti-paleo (as I understand it), but got me thinking....
Does anyone know, or has anyone heard about people comparing modernly farmed grains with what I would call 'original' grains. By that, I mean, grains that have not been selectively bred to increase yield, resistance to disease, etc etc? Is there a notable difference in lectin content?
Maybe newly developed grains (I'm talking past 100,000 years) are different, and not as damaging as their fore-runners?
If anyone knows anything, I'd love to hear about it.
asked byRob_Beaumont (31)
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on December 09, 2012
at 02:40 PM
Question: ...has anyone heard about people comparing modernly farmed grains with what I would call 'original' grains.
First, lets look at the science. There are at least three scientific papers on this subject. In the first one,(1) The authors found that an ancient strain of wheat was not toxic to gut cells of celiac patients. In contrast, modern wheat was toxic.
In the second paper,(2) the authors found that newer cultivars of wheat are more likely than older ones to contain a celiac epitope. The authors conclude, "This suggests that modern wheat breeding practices may have led to an increased exposure to CD epitopes."
In the third paper,(3) which is the most recent, the authors compared the immunological effects of two lines of ancient wheat to those of modern wheat. The authors concluded that the ancient lines are probably "toxic to celiac patients. However, one of the two ancient lines is likely to be less effective in inducing CD [celiac disease] because of its inability to activate the innate immune pathways."
In addition, this editorial(4) from a peer reviewed journal is probably relevant, but I don't have access to it and there's no abstract.
William Davis, in his recent book Wheat Belly, argues at some length that ancient wheat may have been healthy but modern hybridized wheat is not.
You didn't ask about fermenting wheat to detoxify it, but this subject always comes up here in threads about wheat because of Weston Price, so let me also mention a paper about fermentation. The authors found that by fermenting wheat dough with a mixture of lactobacilli and treating it with fungal enzymes, the resulting bread was less toxic.(5)
And here's a review article about fermentation of wheat and rye in order to make it less toxic to celiac patients.(6)
Question: ...native tribes in Mexico - specifically the ultra-marathon running Tamahura, have a diet that comprises a lot of grains.
Traditionally, the grain eaten by Mexican Indians including the Tarahumara(7) was mainly corn (maize), and for the most part they ate it only after it was nixtamalized (boiled with an alkaline chemical; traditionally, wood ashes were used.) Nixtamalization changes corn's physical and chemical properties. This is what gives corn tortillas their distinctive aroma. Nixtamalized corn can be bought in modern supermarkets as masa harina (flour) or in cooked form as corn tortillas. Ray Peat reports that his students did experiments that showed that starch particles from nixtamalized corn, unlike those from untreated corn, do not pass whole into the blood stream. If true, this is a gigantic difference that has nothing to do with cultivars. He writes:
In 1979 some of my students in Mexico wanted a project to do in the lab. Since several traditional foods are made with corn that has been boiled in alkali, I thought it would be valuable to see whether this treatment reduced the ability of the starch grains to be persorbed. For breakfast one day, they ate only atole, tamales, and tortillas, all made from the alkali treated corn. None of the students could find any starch grains after centrifuging their blood and urine. That led me to substitute those foods whenever possible for other starches.(8)
Here's a picture of nixtamalized Mexican corn.(9) It is obviously quite different from North American sweet corn.
Here's a video of a Central American woman grinding nixtamalized corn into flour by hand. As you can see, it takes a lot of labor.
There turned out to be some interest in nixtamalized corn in comments, so here's a picture of nixtamalized corn flour (called masa or masa harina) that you can buy in American supermarkets. Quaker brand contains only corn, lime, and vitamins (ingredient list: "corn treated with lime water and specially ground, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin monoitrate, riboflavin, folic acid"). Maseca doesn't seem to publish an ingredient list, but they say their product is "100% natural."
Incidentally (I'm getting pretty far away from paleo here, but what the heck) it's very easy to make delicious fresh tortillas at home from this stuff. All you need is a cast iron skillet and either a tortilla press (cheap) or a rolling pin. Traditionally, Mexicans molded tortillas with their hands, but it's an acquired knack.
And by the way, the word "nixtamalized" comes from Nauhatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs in central Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest.
Pizzuti D, Buda A, D'Odorico A, D'Inc?? R, Chiarelli S, Curioni A, Martines D. Lack of intestinal mucosal toxicity of Triticum monococcum in celiac disease patients. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov;41(11):1305-11. PMID: 17060124
van den Broeck HC, de Jong HC, Salentijn EM, Dekking L, Bosch D, Hamer RJ, Gilissen LJ, van der Meer IM, Smulders MJ. Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Nov;121(8):1527-39. Epub 2010 Jul 28. Presence of celiac disease epitopes in modern and old hexaploid wheat varieties: wheat breeding may have contributed to increased prevalence of celiac disease. PMID: 20664999 PMCID: PMC2963738
Gianfrani C, Maglio M, Rotondi Aufiero V, Camarca A, Vocca I, Iaquinto G, Giardullo N, Pogna N, Troncone R, Auricchio S, Mazzarella G. Immunogenicity of monococcum wheat in celiac patients. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1339-45. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.040485. Epub 2012 Nov 7. PMID: 23134879
Marietta EV, Murray JA. Epub 2012 Nov 7. Testing the safety of alternative wheat species and cultivars for consumption by celiac patients. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1247-8. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.051425. PMID: 23134892
Rizzello CG, De Angelis M, Di Cagno R, Camarca A, Silano M, Losito I, De Vincenzi M, De Bari MD, Palmisano F, Maurano F, Gianfrani C, Gobbetti M. Highly efficient gluten degradation by lactobacilli and fungal proteases during food processing: new perspectives for celiac disease. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jul;73(14):4499-507. Epub 2007 May 18. PMID: 17513580
Gobbetti M, Giuseppe Rizzello C, Di Cagno R, De Angelis M.Sourdough lactobacilli and celiac disease. Food Microbiol. 2007 Apr;24(2):187-96. Epub 2006 Sep 12. Review. PMID: 17008163
Cerqueira MT, Fry MM, Connor WE. The food and nutrient intakes of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. Am J Clin Nutr. 1979 Apr;32(4):905-15. PMID: 433816. Free full text.
Picture from Wikipedia.
on December 09, 2012
at 05:21 PM
Nice post here explaining how modern hybrid wheat differs from ancient wheats:
I personally think small amounts of old wheats (spelt, emmer, einkorn, etc), properly prepared, can be part of a healthy diet.
on December 09, 2012
at 02:22 PM
Grains are grains.Earlier people ate fermented and soaked grains.Today grains are mainstream and it's mostly gluten-containing grains cause the problem,mostly wheat,oats,etc.Native Southern American tribes ate quinoa or amaranth or other grains in a form of wild grass.