Friday - - Fashion -

Q Is gluten re­ally bad for you? Should ev­ery­one be avoid­ing it, or just those who have al­ler­gies?

A When you pour water into a bowl of wheat­flour, the rea­son it sticks to­gether is gluten.

Gluten is a fam­ily of pro­teins and the two main ones are glutenin and glaidin. Glaidin is the protein re­spon­si­ble for the neg­a­tive health ef­fects of grains.

To­day, most gluten comes from sources of wheat. If you took a mod­ern-day strain of wheat and com­pared it to a strain that was avail­able to us 30 years ago (be­fore agri­cul­ture took off as a busi­ness), you would be sur­prised. It is bi­o­log­i­cally and ge­net­i­cally dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal wheat grain, as it is a com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent plants com­pared to the old wheat.

There are many dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of wheat. Years ago, we con­sumed va­ri­eties such as ka­mut and em­mer, but al­most all the wheat eaten to­day is from high-yield dwarf wheat, which is de­vel­oped by ge­netic ma­nip­u­la­tion and cross-breed­ing. Dwarf wheat is much cheaper. It also has some dif­fer­ences in nu­tri­tional prop­er­ties such as protein con­tent, and lesser amounts of nu­tri­ents such as mag­ne­sium, zinc, cop­per and iron than found in, for ex­am­ple, ka­mut wheat.

Many stud­ies show mod­ern wheat va­ri­eties tend to raise our sugar lev­els at a much faster rate. Two slices of brown bread, for in­stance, raise your sugar lev­els as much as a bar of choco­late would – a rea­son we see a spike in the num­ber of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from type 2 di­a­betes, in­sulin re­sis­tance, im­paired glu­cose tol­er­ance and so on.

Wheat also causes gut in­flam­ma­tion. If you are strug­gling with di­a­betes, acne or el­e­vated fast­ing in­sulin lev­els, try to cut back on wheat to see if there are any pos­i­tive changes.

RASHI CHOWDHARY is a nu­tri­tion­ist, di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor and cre­ator of The Protein Bake Shop

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