8

votes

Any evidence that wheat is not harmful?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 15, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I was talking to a friend of mine about wheat and it being harmful. I told her there was a lot of evidence that it was, but she said that basically you can find evidence for every side of the story. That you could find studies saying it's healthy, too. She basically made it sound like I found some articles on the net that said wheat was unhealthy, and that I should read more because there are just as many saying it's healthy.

She said she just doesn't believe food affects us that much, and because you can find studies backing up any point of view, that she basically had to go with her opinion on the matter because no matter how much research I found saying wheat was unhealthy, there would be research saying it's healthy, too.

This actually got me pretty upset at first. Then I thought about the certain studies that I had disagreed with, because my 'gut' told me it wasn't right, or I thought it was funded by some company trying to sway their view, or that the research wasn't stable enough, etc.

But I need to know now ~ ARE there studies and evidence saying that wheat may not actually be harmful to humans? Especially the wheat that we have available nowadays. I'm all about finding the truth about things, but I also know that sometimes there is no absolute truth or that the answers are iffy and inconclusive, and that at a certain point we sometimes DO have to just go with our instincts and opinions since the definite answers aren't out there.

Is it like that with wheat? Is it some kind of grey area where everyone has some kind of "evidence" and therefore we just have to form our own opinions? Is there actual science backing up how it is unhealthy, and if so, could there be any backing up the fact that it's healthy (or not damaging) too?

I just don't want to sound like an idiot when I talk to people about health and nutrition and things like that.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 21, 2012
at 04:23 AM

what did wheat ever do to you?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 17, 2012
at 02:21 AM

If it floats your boat, do it, its your body, your call! I have some "vices" - tea, herbal teas and cacao. I cant be sure they are 100% healthy. There are some health promoting chemicals in beer, beleive it or not. The question of anti-nutrients was a genuine question, because it seems like they may be fermented out in part. Crappy about the hemochromatosis, my brother has that.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 17, 2012
at 01:21 AM

My position has evolved over time. My current thoughts on wheat are simply that leaky guts are the problem not wheat. Wheat can exasperate leaky gut, but not necessarily cause it in a healthy gut situation. Not to say that wheat is something to make a staple of in one's diet, but it can fit in without issue.

97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on June 16, 2012
at 10:25 PM

The "celiacs and folks with screwed up digestive systems" make up the majority. And obviously a lot of these people consider themselves healthy.

97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on June 16, 2012
at 10:12 PM

...I thought this was paleohacks? How do you have 17.7k xp and espouse these beliefs?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 16, 2012
at 05:40 PM

I agree that wheat contains beneficial nutrients. But it does not necessarily follow that wheat is therefore beneficial, especially if some of those nutrients (in this case the fiber and protein) are of arguably poor quality.

C3f9730405f7885f9ccaad364404c433

(412)

on June 16, 2012
at 05:22 PM

And how do I know if I am a "lucky" one? The effect is insidious and the dots, very hard to connect.

C3f9730405f7885f9ccaad364404c433

(412)

on June 16, 2012
at 05:22 PM

And how do I know if I am a "lucky" one? The effect is insidious and the dot, very hard to connect.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 04:13 PM

If you don't eat wheat you'll miss out on a good source of phytic acid: http://www.phytochemicals.info/abstracts/phytic-acid-benefits.php As well as b vitamins, protein and fiber. These can be gotten from other sources, but wheat is a way to get beneficial nutrients.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 03:24 PM

The China Study. I've spent a lot of time at HealthCorrelator looking at Ned Kock's statistical analysis. Wheat correlated with somewhat worse health in geriatrics, but it's hardly a smoking gun proving that wheat is the devil.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 16, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Word. Beer is awesome.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 16, 2012
at 02:49 PM

there are antinutrients in almost every food. Do you have to eat only "healthy" food? Can't you have neutral food sometimes? Also the antinutrients might not even be bad for me, they might be good for me since I have a hemochromatosis allele.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 16, 2012
at 12:45 PM

you can indeed find blogs and opinion articles in support of anything. You can also though find scientific studies that do show both sides of the story as well. Of course - that's why everyone disagrees! If it were really, truly spelled out anywhere we'd all agree!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 16, 2012
at 09:23 AM

If you can eat cardboard without digestive allergies I still wouldn't recommend it as healthy...... Hmmm...I wonder are there any anti-nutrients in beer? (not that there absence would make it a health drink)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 16, 2012
at 09:03 AM

Diet is like religion, dont talk about it with people because they have fixed beleifs, and beleifs are self-justifying...

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:50 AM

(Note, the beer doesn't bother me *as long as* I keep having bone broth frequently.)

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:46 AM

What about non-traditional prepared wheat? Beer is fermented wheat. Beer also doesn't bother me anymore after having bone broth everyday; before it would make me bed-ridden, vomiting all day long. But I still think non-traditionally processed wheat is bad for everyone out there, I bet they have symptoms they don't attribute to wheat. Tossing around at night, bloating, and probably the most noticeable of all, gas!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Ask her that question and see if she thinks you're weird. This is like vegans asking if you feel bad about eating a dead animal.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:13 AM

Wheat hasn't been able to grow without human intervention for 10,000 years. Just like cows, which didn't even exist 10,000 years ago. Wheat is way more ancestral than bacon too.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on June 16, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Wow, Melissa, got enough xp?

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on June 16, 2012
at 12:10 AM

That book has had some bad reviews, even from Paleo Bloggers, for being unscientific and factually incorrect

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on June 15, 2012
at 08:28 PM

The grain lobby does indeed have piles of studies showing you how healthy wheat is. Oh yes, they certainly do. Why should I believe them? That's what I'd want to know.

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on June 15, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I could not agree more. Done the celiac test, negative, done a thorough gluten-free trial, feel no different, no auto-immune issues, and a lot more 'orthorexia' type stress in my life if I try to follow absolute rules about one or other food. That said, I also agree it is a poor staple and would never suggest those who are sure they have an issue to eat it.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 15, 2012
at 07:06 PM

for who? It's a very individual issue.

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12 Answers

11
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 15, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Hi, I eat wheat. I eat it a few days a week, well, actually, I drink it in the form of beer. I added it back into my diet after healing my gut. I have not gained weight back and my symptoms have not relapsed. Other people have had the same experience. I strongly believe anyone with gut problems should be screened for celiac and also try a gf diet to test for sensitivity. Also if you can, getting a DNA test can tell you whether your HLA is related to gluten-intolerance and if it is and you have autoimmune issues, I might avoid. However, I have 0/3 of those factors and while I believe it is a poor staple food, I do not worry about having a beer.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:50 AM

(Note, the beer doesn't bother me *as long as* I keep having bone broth frequently.)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 16, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Word. Beer is awesome.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:46 AM

What about non-traditional prepared wheat? Beer is fermented wheat. Beer also doesn't bother me anymore after having bone broth everyday; before it would make me bed-ridden, vomiting all day long. But I still think non-traditionally processed wheat is bad for everyone out there, I bet they have symptoms they don't attribute to wheat. Tossing around at night, bloating, and probably the most noticeable of all, gas!

F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

(367)

on June 15, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I could not agree more. Done the celiac test, negative, done a thorough gluten-free trial, feel no different, no auto-immune issues, and a lot more 'orthorexia' type stress in my life if I try to follow absolute rules about one or other food. That said, I also agree it is a poor staple and would never suggest those who are sure they have an issue to eat it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 16, 2012
at 09:23 AM

If you can eat cardboard without digestive allergies I still wouldn't recommend it as healthy...... Hmmm...I wonder are there any anti-nutrients in beer? (not that there absence would make it a health drink)

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on June 16, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Wow, Melissa, got enough xp?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 16, 2012
at 02:49 PM

there are antinutrients in almost every food. Do you have to eat only "healthy" food? Can't you have neutral food sometimes? Also the antinutrients might not even be bad for me, they might be good for me since I have a hemochromatosis allele.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 17, 2012
at 02:21 AM

If it floats your boat, do it, its your body, your call! I have some "vices" - tea, herbal teas and cacao. I cant be sure they are 100% healthy. There are some health promoting chemicals in beer, beleive it or not. The question of anti-nutrients was a genuine question, because it seems like they may be fermented out in part. Crappy about the hemochromatosis, my brother has that.

11
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 15, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Yes, those'll be the ones that are sponsored by the grain industry...

5
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 16, 2012
at 02:38 PM

Do we really need studies to tell us that wheat is healthy in healthy folks? Billions of people have been eating it for millennia. There are celiacs and folks with screwed up digestive systems that can't eat it successfully, but should we base our dietary decisions based upon aberrant biology?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 17, 2012
at 01:21 AM

My position has evolved over time. My current thoughts on wheat are simply that leaky guts are the problem not wheat. Wheat can exasperate leaky gut, but not necessarily cause it in a healthy gut situation. Not to say that wheat is something to make a staple of in one's diet, but it can fit in without issue.

97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on June 16, 2012
at 10:25 PM

The "celiacs and folks with screwed up digestive systems" make up the majority. And obviously a lot of these people consider themselves healthy.

97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on June 16, 2012
at 10:12 PM

...I thought this was paleohacks? How do you have 17.7k xp and espouse these beliefs?

5
429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on June 16, 2012
at 06:20 AM

I've never seen anything other than a food questionare study showing wheat in a positive light. But, honestly I don't think it's as bad as I once did. Lectins are destroyed by heat, phytates don't steal nutrients from you, etc. I still don't see it as a health food and there is no real reason to eat it, ever. I think for many people it's inflammatory and obesogenic, but if you are normal a pizza isn't going to kill you.

The china study data comparing the rice eaters to the wheat eaters is interesting, as is Alessio Fasanos work. Then theres that whole evolution thing.

Beer (most made with barley, actually) is probably the safest way to consume gluten grains. The brewing process probably eliminates some problematic FODMAPS, phytates, enzyme inhibitors, etc and partially denatures the prolamins. On top of that almost all of the protien(prolamins included) is filtered out. The hordein content of MOST barley beers is almost always around 100 parts per million or less, not safe for a Coeliac, but probably ok for most NORMAL people. Some normal beers, like Corona for instance, come in under 20 PPM making it legally "gluten-free."

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 03:24 PM

The China Study. I've spent a lot of time at HealthCorrelator looking at Ned Kock's statistical analysis. Wheat correlated with somewhat worse health in geriatrics, but it's hardly a smoking gun proving that wheat is the devil.

5
8d454fc50d6d58643d6f8b0d1e7ea8ea

on June 16, 2012
at 12:04 AM

Dr. Cate has a good post on this: http://drcate.com/is-wheat-gluten-bad-for-everyone/ -- basically the short answer is no, wheat is not inherently harmful for everyone, although certain treatments (sprouting, fermenting) will increase its digestibility. The article is more about gluten specifically than wheat, but I think it's quite pertinent.

C3f9730405f7885f9ccaad364404c433

(412)

on June 16, 2012
at 05:22 PM

And how do I know if I am a "lucky" one? The effect is insidious and the dot, very hard to connect.

C3f9730405f7885f9ccaad364404c433

(412)

on June 16, 2012
at 05:22 PM

And how do I know if I am a "lucky" one? The effect is insidious and the dots, very hard to connect.

5
C3f9730405f7885f9ccaad364404c433

(412)

on June 15, 2012
at 07:03 PM

Hi Morty,

Well... Your friend is musing on the fact that there are a million diets out there and endless debates. But I know of no evidence whatsoever that wheat is healthy. In fact, there's a mega amount of evidence supporting wheat abstention.

We have the fact that wheat proteins cause inflammation, gut permeability and are addictive (opioid peptides). They are linked to almost every disease out there including severe mental illnesses.

We also have a great piece of epidemiological evidence in the form of Denise Minger's analysis of The China Study which correlated wheat heavily with disease and early death.

And of course, we have the "no-brainer" that we are more adapted to foods that are pre-agriculture, and the fact that grains are not edible without a lot of processing. They aren't human food, if you look at our evolution.

And then... traditionally grains were fermented most often to remove anti-nutrients... a sure sign that they are not human food.

Some agricultural foods we can argue about... like rice, which Denise showed positively correlates with health. But not wheat, no way, wheat... is... evil :-)

3
03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

on June 15, 2012
at 09:50 PM

I read a great book called Wheat Belly. It explains a lot. All wheat today is an unnatural, hybridized strain that contains unique proteins that neither parent strains ever had. That is scary. Today's wheat cannot even grow on it's own without nitrogen fertilizer and other help from humans.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on June 16, 2012
at 12:10 AM

That book has had some bad reviews, even from Paleo Bloggers, for being unscientific and factually incorrect

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:13 AM

Wheat hasn't been able to grow without human intervention for 10,000 years. Just like cows, which didn't even exist 10,000 years ago. Wheat is way more ancestral than bacon too.

2
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 15, 2012
at 07:56 PM

I've been looking pretty hard. As far as studies showing a benefit, I mostly just found a lot of epidemiological correlations and studies feeding subjects isolated nutrients from wheat. Neither of which I would consider convincing evidence.

I did find this study, in which consumption of whole grain wheat increased probiotic bacteria in the gut. I guess that's something.

But so far that's about it. I'm still on the hunt, but I can't say I'm expecting to find much.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 04:13 PM

If you don't eat wheat you'll miss out on a good source of phytic acid: http://www.phytochemicals.info/abstracts/phytic-acid-benefits.php As well as b vitamins, protein and fiber. These can be gotten from other sources, but wheat is a way to get beneficial nutrients.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 16, 2012
at 05:40 PM

I agree that wheat contains beneficial nutrients. But it does not necessarily follow that wheat is therefore beneficial, especially if some of those nutrients (in this case the fiber and protein) are of arguably poor quality.

1
E67b627506e7548650a4a0e8dc0e2846

on June 15, 2012
at 06:39 PM

I would say going with your "gut" instinct is right, literally. Ultimately, the truth will be found in how your choices about diet and nutrition affect you. If you feel healthier, I would say that is all the evidence you'd need. (As a side note, I doubt your friend has consciously abstained from grain consumption to know of any possible benefits, but through experimentation, you can and probably have.)

0
44d67fbf1194210a96ca5cabce1a6772

on July 13, 2012
at 05:24 PM

In my house hold our motto is "everything in moderation". Regardless of the food, whether it's organic, processed etc. anything and everything eaten excessivley is bad for you.

I too am on a journey of food exploration as I have a digestive condition that has destroyed my enzymes. This did not occur because of wheat but because of an inbalanced diet. EVERYTHING made me bloated and sickly. Regardless of the issues developed the one thing my doctor and nutritionist taught me was that moderation is key. Abstinence creates a quick fix but compounds the issue as you have again upset your dietary balance.

To blame wheat the grain for all your troubles it to look at the issue with a narrowed vision. Don't forget about all the other foods and what they contain and how they're grown and treated that you eat on a dialy basis. Many proteins contain growth hormones (not good for you), Soy contains it's own built-in pestiside (not good for you either), diets rich in high fructose corn syrup lead to the onset of diabetes as well as affects behaviour (not good for you), commercial breads are treated with dough conditioners, preservatives and additivies, (not good for you). As you can see it's not the grains fault but our own for allowing food corporations to create "super" foods. If you want to be healthy think about getting back to the roots of food, starting from scratch and taking the time to feed your body. Remember all good things take time.

0
954dbd7efe0e7653e8efd377d7776d38

(457)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:22 AM

F--k wheat !

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 21, 2012
at 04:23 AM

what did wheat ever do to you?

0
E55906cdb6839a23fd740ad85d160cc8

(1159)

on June 15, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Does your friend feel better when she eats wheat or when she doesn't? Sometimes it's just the baguette talking.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 16, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Ask her that question and see if she thinks you're weird. This is like vegans asking if you feel bad about eating a dead animal.

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