The Arab Bedouins traditionally consumed the majority of energy from whole wheat bread
A recent large meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies predominantly carried out in countries where dietary fiber is derived largely from cereal fiber, in particular wheat, found that an increment of 10 grams of dietary fiber a day was associated with a 20-34%, 9% and 11% decreased risk of death from heart disease, cancer and all-causes combined, respectively.1 Similarly, recent meta-analyses have found that whole grain intake is associated with a significantly lower risk of type II diabetes, weight gain, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.23 This data casts significant doubt on the claims that the intake of whole-grains, including whole wheat are primary causes of these conditions and diseases.
Don Matesz, author of Powerd By Plants: Natural Selection & Human Nutrition has been releasing a series of informative videos where he challenges the claims about the modernization of wheat and it being a primary cause of multiple chronic diseases and conditions. In one notable video, Don provides strong evidence that there is actually less gluten content in modern wheat, and that the intake of gluten has decreased significantly in the United States over the last century. In another video Don describes the very high intake of wheat bread in the traditional Mediterranean diet, and how bread intake was correlated with a lower rate of mortality in the Seven Countries Study, consistent with the studies described above. He is a also doing 30 day challenge where he will be consuming one pound of whole-grain wheat products, and 2-3 serving of soy products for 30 days to see whether he develops a ‘wheat belly‘ or a ‘grain brain‘. Head over to his blog or YouTube channel to view his progress, or see some of the videos below.
Wheat Belly Grain Brain Challenge D5 & 6 | Wheat vs. Meat: The Mediterranean Evidence
Wheat Belly Grain Brain Challenge D7 | Does Modern Wheat Have More Gluten?
Wheat Belly Grain Brain Challenge D9 | Is Commercial Wheat Loaded With Toxic Pesticides?
While Don is only doing a 30 day challenge, a number of healthy populations have traditionally consumed similar or even greater quantities of wheat throughout their entire lives. One example described previously are the Arab Bedouins, who traditionally consumed the great majority of their dietary intake from whole wheat bread (approx. 750 grams in addition to other wheat products).45 Obesity, diabetes and heart disease were all exceptionally rare in this population when they adhered to their traditional whole wheat based diet, and have become far more common since the transition towards a westernized diet.46 It is past time to cast aside the unsubstantiated claims made by fad diet promoters about the adverse health effects of modern wheat and whole grains.