Claim that modern hybrid wheat is lacking in nutrition--True or bunk?

Cairenn

Senior Member.
ttp://www.realfarmacy.com/why-80-of-people-worldwide-will-soon-stop-eating-wheat/

I can use some help on this one. I don't really know the history of the hybridization of wheat enough. This is the part I don't know enough about.

I cannot find any one place their 'evidence' comes from. I wonder if they have linked some things together?

This is what I have found.

http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/q...the-cause-of-numerous-serious-health-problems

and so other sites questioning that idea.

I can't find any studies or research papers, It seems a lot of that comes from "The Wheat Belly' book by William Davis

Checking a bunch of reviews on it on Amazon seems to show that anyone that disagreed with the premise of the book seem to get their reviews downchecked. Seems a little odd to me.


This showed up on my wall today. Did I ever mention that I have entirely too many friends that are in 'quack' medicine?

I added my favorite post on 'the cause of auto immune diseases'---the evidence that a lack of intestinal parasites may the problem..
 
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Cairenn

Senior Member.
I was having computer problems today and only posted part of it, is that more in line with the posting guidelines?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Still needs to identify what the claim of evidence is (not just a claim). And needs a better thread title.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Looks you you figured out the thread title change?

I see a claim, but what exactly is the claimed evidence?
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Found a study that compared wheat's effect on LDL with oats, but that's not what the claim about wheat is.
Most of the talk on the internet is of the benefit of whole grains versus refined grains.

There's a pretty in-depth overview of wheat here...

This part may be the more relevant one...
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I guess this is the statement that can be looked at...

"All nutrient content of modern wheat depreciated more than 30% in its natural unrefined state compared to its ancestral genetic line."

And maybe this one...


"Whether you consume 10% or 100% of wheat is irrelevant since you’re still consuming a health damaging grain that will not benefit, advance or even maintain your health in any way."

So they're saying if you eat wheat it has no ability to positively contribute to your health or nutrition at all. So wheat given to famine-struck populations will not keep them alive.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Ah... Here's an analysis.
 

Mat

Member
The book Wheatbelly gives a plausible overview of modern wheat, as opposed to old. As I recall, it doesn't mention any nutritional difference, rather modern wheat contains significantly more anti-nutrients and well being deminishers.

(Anecdote) I've given up all wheat since reading this and the wellbeing changes are profound. I've just come back from holiday where I had lots of wheat as an experiment, and found it negitavising. More bloat, more lethargy, more craving, more abdominal lard(that could have been the beer too!).

I'm now back to Wheatfree.
 

Mat

Member
What is his explanation for this? I need hard facts.
I'm writing off the top of my head but as I recall:

In the fifties they bred a wheat strain that was shorter and with a bigger yield.
This strain is what is used in nigh on all the worlds wheat production.
This strain has some differences to traditional what:
It contains a type of protein (gliadin?) that seems to act like an opiate.
It contains something else that makes you eat more, or something.

I hope that's hard fact enough! If not there is a good interview on YouTube where he summarises his book and a good summary of his book on his blog. I borrowed a copy and then bought the hardback....


Note that it's stressed in the book that all wheat is not great, even spelt, it's just not as bad as modern wheat.

Anyhoooos...
 

Mat

Member
Davis's claims are explored here: Should You Worry About Wheat? (UC Berkeley)

His book is bunk-tastic.
Maybe.... Though on his blog he answers those claims on the wheat belly blog; I think satisfactorily.

Have you read the book to make the claim you made, or are you just repeating?

I would be very happy for a clear debunking of this book.(edit: actually I'd be miffed a bit as it cost me 17 quid!)

Even so, I think I would remain wheat free because the benefits I experience so far are clear. I'm only 3 months in, mind you...
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
The book Wheatbelly gives a plausible overview of modern wheat, as opposed to old. As I recall, it doesn't mention any nutritional difference, rather modern wheat contains significantly more anti-nutrients and well being deminishers.

(Anecdote) I've given up all wheat since reading this and the wellbeing changes are profound. I've just come back from holiday where I had lots of wheat as an experiment, and found it negitavising. More bloat, more lethargy, more craving, more abdominal lard(that could have been the beer too!).

I'm now back to Wheatfree.
Antinutrients are in all foods, hence with nutrition in general it is important to have a balanced diet.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Have you read the book to make the claim you made, or are you just repeating?
No, I haven't. I don't need to read the book to understand that the core claims he makes are unsupported. It's just another fad diet promoting irrational and unnecessary restrictions. (See: orthorexia)
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I am not seeing any real research, just a book that has been so heavily advertised on FB and elsewhere on the web.


http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/q...at-stimulate-appetite-to-the-point-of-obesity

I think the lack or parasites causing gluten problems has more research on it, than his does. I guess is easier to believe that 'modern wheat' is the problem, instead of not having worms-ehhhhhhhhh who wants intestinal worms? Our bodies it seems.
 

Mat

Member
No, I haven't. I don't need to read the book to understand that the core claims he makes are unsupported.
My opinion is that one cannot refute something one has not engaged with.
My opinion is that one should not take on the opinion of others just because they cohere with ones own opinion.
My opinion is that both of the above mistakes are fundamental mistakes of reason.


It's just another fad diet promoting irrational and unnecessary restrictions. (See: orthorexia)
1) I don't think it is a fad, it is one doctors conclusions based on his long term observations of his and others patients.
2) The book is very well referenced, which you would not know as you have never seen it.
3) The book does not promote as diet in as much as inform about the doctors conclusions about the negitavising effects of wheat.
4) To claim the restrictions are unnecessary is assuming your conclusion.


Methinks from experience that you would never ever dare to concede that yes, you had been more opinionated than skeptical in this short debate. What would be wise of you would be to say that, "actually, rather than relying on being a repeater, I will give wheat free a go for two weeks and see if I experience any change in my wellbeing." That would no doubt entail a significant change in your principles, which is what skepticism is all about, after all.

Dare ya!:)
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Since you have the book, can you give us some of the research studies he uses. He has been shown already to make major errors.

That book showed up as an ad on my FB feed for months, in spite of me downchecking it and saying not interested, and finally 'against by beliefs'. The doctor that wrote it is cardiologist, not a nutritionist. Doctor get almost no training in nutrition.

You may well feel better, but that can be easily explained with the placebo effect. Until some type of double or triple blind studies are done on folks like you, no one will know if it is real or a placebo. Going 'wheat free' is not a test, it is a trick. 'Feeling better' is subjective and not something that can be quantified.
 

Mat

Member
Since you have the book, can you give us some of the research studies he uses.
As said, I don't have the book with me. I lent it to a friend who has now gone Wheatfree and is finding the same benefits. Even if I did have the book, I have no role in trying to persuade you that it is correct. You are the one who attacked it without seeing it. Ie, my continuation in this discussion with you is based on looking at your poor methodology rather than trying to persuade you of the book ( though as said last post, I heartily recommend you try Wheatfree and see of it makes a difference).

He has been shown already to make major errors.
My opinion is that this is not the case. What is the most major error he has made based on your opinion of another's conclusions.

That book showed up as an ad on my FB feed for months, in spite of me downchecking it and saying not interested, and finally 'against by beliefs'.
So you have a demonstrated emotional negative connection to the book already. If you wish to be wise about this I think you need to loose this so you can engage as objectively as possible. As skeptics this is one of the hurdles we must cross with pretty much everything we engage with reasonably. Note that I have no positive attachment to the book, I would be happy with it being properly debunked.


The doctor that wrote it is cardiologist, not a nutritionist. Doctor get almost no training in nutrition.
Sure, if you had read the book, rather than rely on someone else's ad hominem, you would see this fact as an asset to his claim. You would understand that as a heart doctor he saw real issues that needed explanation and when he found the wheat issue he realised he needed to understand what was going on. To me the fact he is a cardiologist is supporting rather than the contrary.

You may well feel better, but that can be easily explained with the placebo effect.
Absolutely! And I was saying this from the first week. I still say it now. And when I ate wheat last weak and got the negatives I also said it, in reverse, as it were. Of course it may be a placebo effect, and if that Constance's to be an explanation for my weightless and higher energy etc, than keep it on. In my mind, if a year down the line I am still Wheatfree and still seeing benefits then personally I would feel confident thinking it was a physiological, neurological and metabolic change rather than the wonderful and mysterious placebo effect.



Until some type of double or triple blind studies are done on folks like you, no one will know if it is real or a placebo.
Yes yes. Don't forget we are talking about a very speculative area of science here, nobody really knows anything. Nobody knows if salt Is good or aspartame bad or if eating breakfast is better than skipping.


Going 'wheat free' is not a test, it is a trick.
This is your opinion, and one that I wager you are not applying the methods or using the evidence to make strongly, after all, you are just a repeater of a couple of blog posts. Be more skeptical!


'Feeling better' is subjective and not something that can be quantified.
Sure. But weightloss, drops in insulin and all these are things the book cites, which you criticise without engagement, are not subjective.

Be a skeptic not a repeater.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
My opinion is that one cannot refute something one has not engaged with.
My opinion is that one should not take on the opinion of others just because they cohere with ones own opinion.
My opinion is that both of the above mistakes are fundamental mistakes of reason.
It's not a matter of taking others' opinions at face value -- it's that the claims made by the author are outlandish and misleading, and do not withstand scrutiny when analyzed by those with expertise in nutrition. I don't need to waste the money or time on Wheat Belly any more than I need to pore over books on breatharianism to recognize that the promoted concepts are at odds with scientific literature or devoid of substantive evidence.

1) I don't think it is a fad, it is one doctors conclusions based on his long term observations of his and others patients.
2) The book is very well referenced, which you would not know as you have never seen it.
3) The book does not promote as diet in as much as inform about the doctors conclusions about the negitavising effects of wheat.
4) To claim the restrictions are unnecessary is assuming your conclusion.
Trying to pin the blame for such a wide array of health issues on one dietary component is unfounded. That approach is quite typical of fad diets and food woo. Unless a person has to contend with specific dietary restrictions due to existing medical conditions or allergies, there's no rational reason to completely exclude beneficial foods or ingredients. Not only is that behavior potentially detrimental to proper nutrition, it crosses into the territory of eating disorders.

Methinks from experience that you would never ever dare to concede that yes, you had been more opinionated than skeptical in this short debate. What would be wise of you would be to say that, "actually, rather than relying on being a repeater, I will give wheat free a go for two weeks and see if I experience any change in my wellbeing." That would no doubt entail a significant change in your principles, which is what skepticism is all about, after all.

Dare ya!:)
So I should see if I can duplicate some sort of vague "positive" results, by myself, without any controls or meaningful measure of assessing claimed benefits? What does that have to do with wisdom or skepticism?

Yes, I have a strong opinion about fad diets, not because I'm uninformed on the subject or unreasonably stubborn, rather that they're rife with specious arguments and unsound methods.
 
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Mat

Member
It's not a matter of taking others' opinions at face value -- it's that the claims made by the author are outlandish and misleading, and do not withstand scrutiny when analyzed by those with expertise in nutrition. I don't need to waste the money or time on Wheat Belly any more than I need to pore over books on breatharianism to recognize that the promoted concepts are at odds with scientific literature or devoid of substantive evidence.



Trying to pin the blame for such a wide array of health issues on one dietary component is unfounded. That approach is quite typical of fad diets and food woo. Unless a person has to contend with specific dietary restrictions due to existing medical conditions or allergies, there's no rational reason to completely exclude beneficial foods or ingredients. Not only is that behavior potentially detrimental to proper nutrition, it crosses into the territory of eating disorders.



So I should see if I can duplicate some sort of vague "positive" results, by myself, without any controls or meaningful measure of assessing claimed benefits? What does that have to do with wisdom or skepticism?

Yes, I have a strong opinion about fad diets, not because I'm uninformed on the subject or unreasonably stubborn, rather that they're rife with specious arguments and unsound methods.

Ok, we seem to reason differently. I would imagine we both agree that to talk reasonably both parties need to use the same principles of reason, and, as we don't have this shared between us ( i am not saying my principles are better than yours, or vice versa) we cannot reasonably talk any more on this. I replied to he topic to impart some relevant information, I was nether dogmatic nor conclusive. Now I find myself getting into an ego-bout (this is my fault not yourself) over what are essentially our mere opinions. And so, with respect, I back down from the challenge of continuing this conversation with you:)
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Maybe you have the money to waste of useless books, I don't. Say I am interested on buying a book on "Clothing of 10th Century Ireland" (I have been looking for that information for about 25 years). Instead of whipping out the CC and ordering it, I am going to see if it is based on any solid evidence. Are there new finds or new translations that have increased the knowledge of that era in Ireland? Or is it a rehashing of Victorian sources with additions of the author's opinions? If it is the latter, I don't need to buy it and waste space on my bookshelves for it.

I apply the same to other books as well.
 

Mat

Member
Maybe you have the money to waste of useless books, I don't. Say I am interested on buying a book on "Clothing of 10th Century Ireland" (I have been looking for that information for about 25 years). Instead of whipping out the CC and ordering it, I am going to see if it is based on any solid evidence. Are there new finds or new translations that have increased the knowledge of that era in Ireland? Or is it a rehashing of Victorian sources with additions of the author's opinions? If it is the latter, I don't need to buy it and waste space on my bookshelves for it.

I apply the same to other books as well.

I am only stating this to show your mistakes.

You have assumed that this is just one health book in a Forrest of them. You're incorrect in this assumption, it is the only health book I have read this year.
You assume that I did not make an informed purchase, I informed myself about the book before reading.

Also, you should know, I had read the book once before I purchased the book. This demonstrates it was not bought frivolously or on a whim. It was expensive, too!

Finally, again you assume what you wish to conclude, namely that the book would be a waste of space one bookshelf. You have not read the book. Nor have you any real grasp on how it can be refuted. This is such a common mistake, but one I urge you to see and correct.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
If a book doesn't have facts and or science to back it up and it is an informative book, then it is 'trash' and waste of paper pulp. If a book is shown to have major mistakes in the basis for it, why would one expect the rest to not be riddled with serious errors?

Take my example, say that the author claimed that most clothing in 10th century Ireland were made from cotton. And while cotton was known, it was not in common use, due to problems in ginning it and spinning it. That mistake would call in question any other research presented especially if that research is not well documented by others.

He makes a major error in saying that "Gliadin is a ”new protein” " when it isn't. Then he fills the book with 'research' that doesn't appear anywhere else. The book is highly promoted on the web and he attracts a lot of 'converts' who then promote the book with a lot of anecdotal 'evidence'.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
The focus should be on the claims made by the author. A personal scouring of the book isn't a prerequisite when independent experts have already exposed those claims as invalid.

Even if we overlook Davis's most outlandish claims, the claimed benefits are at odds with established, successful dietary guidelines.

Again, this sort of exclusionary regimen popularized by fad diets is neither accepted nor recommended by health experts. It's quite typical in the cottage industry of low-carb diet promotion. If you don't suffer from Celiac disease or other issues which would require avoiding gluten, there's no justifiable basis for unnecessarily removing it from your diet.


When you strip away the anecdotes and testimonials, the crux of the issue is that under certain circumstances, lowering carbohydrate intake may be useful in achieving weight loss -- which, in and of itself, can help people feel better physically. Any such improvement or individual perception of "well being" cannot be definitively attributed to excluding wheat or wheat-based products from one's diet. That's simply a journey into thinly-veiled junk science, naturalistic fallacies and orthorexia.

You simply cannot hide behind the claims made in the book, charging that because people haven't read it they're in no position to challenge them. Ignoring widely available refutations of those claims simply makes you the "repeater".
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
We mustn't forget gluten intolerance is a real thing though. So health improvements when wheat is eliminated can be due to that factor. The claims of the book are not really about gluten intolerance though.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
We mustn't forget gluten intolerance is a real thing though. So health improvements when wheat is eliminated can be due to that factor. The claims of the book are not really about gluten intolerance though.
Indeed. A small percentage of the population is legitimately affected by such issues. The problem is that "gluten free" marketing has become a fad all its own, beyond CD or NCGS.
 
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