Here’s an excerpt from the Wheat Belly Cookbook about modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat, what I call the “Frankengrain” because of the extensive and bizarre changes introduced into this grass by geneticists and agribusiness. (Even though a cookbook, I tried to make the Wheat Belly Cookbook a standalone book that discusses the background on why and how the Wheat Belly lifestyle yields such unexpected and extravagant health and weight loss successes. For this reason, the first 90 pages of the cookbook reiterate many of the Wheat Belly basic concepts.)
From the Wheat Belly Cookbook:
Wheat encapsulates a fundamental dilemma of our technological age: How much should we permit modern agriculture to modify our food, change its genetics, alter its biochemistry—but not tell us what they did, how they did it, why they did it, and that there are potentially uncertain effects on us unwitting humans who consume it with our breakfast burrito?
If your hairdresser one day decided to give you a new hairdo and dye your curls red, surely she would discuss this with you first. If your spouse decided that life would be better in Anchorage, Alaska, wouldn’t it first come with a bit of discussion?
The production of our food does not seem to adhere to such common courtesies. Food crops and livestock are changed, you buy them, you eat them—no questions asked. The changes introduced are not just that of a new color, or an adaptation to grow under some unique condition. The food is, in many cases, fundamentally changed.
More than any other common foodstuff, wheat stands apart as the most changed. Selling bread, pretzels, or ciabattas to you under the guise of wheat is a deception that you would not tolerate in other areas of your life, certainly not from your hairdresser or spouse.
Modern wheat reflects the technological capabilities of agricultural geneticists that predate the age of genetic engineering and genetic modification, the use of gene-splicing technology to insert or delete a gene. Wheat is the brainchild of genetics manipulations that were employed before such technologies were developed. Wheat represents the product of genetic methods that were crude, often stumbling, less controllable, less predictable—far worse than genetic modification. Yes, believe it or not, modern genetic modification using gene-splicing technology to insert or delete single genes, as frightening as it may be in its implications to mess with natures’ design, represents a substantial improvement over what geneticists were doing previously.
Using breeding methods that predate genetic modification, geneticists were unable to precisely control which genes were changed, which genes were turned on or turned off, and whether entirely new and unique genetic traits were created by accident. They simply looked for the characteristics relevant to their own interests, such as shorter height or greater yield, but had no real interest in nor insight into what the total package did to humans. Why would they, since none of us ever asked?
And yet the products of these stumbling early efforts at creating “improved” genetic variations of your food are already on your store shelves. And you’ve been consuming them for something like 35 years.