Should You Eat Bread? – Part 1

This fascinating video featuring Dr. Joseph Murray of the Mayo Clinic should help you decide.

Dr. Murray and the rest of the team took blood samples drawn between 1948 and 1954 and checked them for signs of celiac using modern tests. They then compared the results to blood samples they recently tested from a similar group of people. The results were published in 2009 in Gastroenterology.

Two very important fact were discovered:

1. Celiac is five times more common today than it was 60 years ago.

2. Undiagnosed celiac was associated with a nearly four-fold increase in death of all causes.


Why the increase in celiac?
In the video, Dr. Murray seems puzzled about how to account for the increase in celiac. Let’s see if we can make an intelligent guess as to what’s behind the increase.

Clue #1: As Dr. Murray states, “obviously, human genes haven’t changed, but something has changed in our environment to make this disease more common.”

Clue #2: According to the Mayo Clinic Website, “Celiac (SEE-lee-ak) disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is primarily found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. [1]” (emphasis mine)

Clue #3: The way bread products are prepared has changed a great deal in the years since the original samples were taken.

Most bread today is produced in in factories and purchased in supermarkets, not local bakeries. It contains a wide variety of preservatives and additives. More importantly, today’s bread rises quickly, for only five or so hours. Traditional sourdough bread is left to rise for about 12-48 hours, during which time the gluten and anti-nutrients decrease significantly.

Might the 5-fold increase in the incidence of celiac be due to changes in the way modern bread is prepared?


7 comments:

The Table of Promise said...

I wrote a post on my confusion about this just this week. I would like to add this post in my article because I hadn't really considered traditional yeast rising as being "soaking".
Interesting...

http://thetableofpromise.blogspot.com/2011/08/do-i-really-need-to-soak-my-grains.html

Lori @ Laurel of Leaves said...

Wow-five times more common. That's crazy! I wrote a post on bread a while back, as well, talking about the ridiculous amount of processing that commercially produced bread goes through (http://www.laurelofleaves.com/2011/03/is-bread-bad/)

Ruth @ Ruth's Real Food said...

It doesn't surprise me at all. He is talking about 1 in 100 with celiac. I'm sure many more are directly suffering from bread and other sources of gluten, but it doesn't fall under the heading of celiac. There are so many people who feel a difference when they go off grains.

meegosh said...

It was a suggestion put forward in the British media probably a couple of years ago. But mostly either on shows like River Cottage (who advocate cooking for scratch for everyone) or Countryfile, which is a farminm/countryside show, so preaching to the converted or ready to be converted.

And it's a big part of why I ditched my breadmaker. Commercial bread is often made in only a couple of hours and breadmakers typically three. I don't (yet) make sourdough bread but will start experimenting soon because I think it'll be better for us and because it'll be more accurate for iron age reenactment (which I'm involved in).

Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures said...

Thanks for leaving your post here as part of the Living Well link-up! We appreciate the contribution!

PERMANENT POSIES said...

I noticed that you left a post entry on Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits for wings. They look delicious. But then I started doing a little looking around and found that you have a lot of good info. My daughter is a Celiac and though I have done the genetic testing to see if I am too (and I am not), I would not be surprised if I didn't have issues with gluten. I did have two gluten sensitivity genes but I so addicted to grains. It is such a battle for me. I need to "take the plunge" but yet I don't. I am trying to cut it way down as a start. Anyway, I am glad you joined and hope you will come back. We have several that have similar eating and cooking styles as you.

ValerieAnne said...

I finished reading Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. He says that wheat has changed dramatically in the last 40-60 years. That could be part of the explanation for the question.

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