Wheat Belly: fact or fiction?

In today’s world, wheat seems to be under almost universal assault. If you’ve read “Wheat Belly” or “Grain Brain”, or have simply noticed the ever-increasing number of gluten-free choices in grocery stores and restaurants, you might be wondering … what’s going on?

Critics say alterations in the plant, driven by modern agriculture and genetic engineering, have wreaked havoc on our health. Others insist we are hunters and gatherers and were never meant to eat grains, so our consumption leads to obesity and even dementia.

To be as clear as possible, at Step One Foods, we think the anti-wheat hysteria is silly. Wheat has been an integral component of the human diet for centuries. The process of pollination naturally contributes to the changing characteristics of all plants. A grain of wheat, planted in soil, yields a plant. That seed contains all that is necessary for life. Add to that, the data supporting the health benefits a whole food plant based diet, which includes all whole grains, is voluminous and consistent.

What has changed is how we use wheat. We mill it, remove all the beneficial components–including the germ, the endosperm, and the fiber–and then combine this nutrient-poor remnant with all sorts of sugars, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors and other chemical additives. Is it any surprise, then, that when we stop eating these highly-processed foods that contain wheat we feel better?

That’s not to dismiss the serious nature of celiac disease and other gluten intolerances. But most people don’t have celiac disease and, under those circumstances, avoiding all wheat and other grains is excessive. 

Step One Food’s support of wheat probably leaves you scratching your head about our recent transition to gluten free. Our decision to move to a gluten-free offering was not based on market trends or any book touting wheat as evil. We moved to gluten-free because we are focused on supporting cardiovascular health. Celiac patients are at significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and we wanted to make sure we were helping them too.

Common sense is a great tool for sorting through all the confusing marketing messages about diet. Combine that with a healthy skepticism and you’ll do pretty well. And never hesitate to reach out to us. At Step One Foods we believe in the power of food to improve your health, and we’re always happy to help.

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