Monday, March 14, 2011

Wheat and Malnutrition

Healthy whole wheat, on the left.
From all my reading Melissa is spot-on with this post.  The better the diagnosis of wheat-related diseases in a population, the higher the frequency with which they're found.

"Testing found that 5.6% of them have celiac. Unfortunately wheat flour is their staple food (I wonder what that started?). Before celiac was diagnosed, people thought their children were merely dying from a malnourishing diet or GI illness. Researchers are now finding celiac hotspots across the Middle East, India, and Africa.

"This is interesting because so much government food aid contains gluten. How many of the children you see on those "save the children" campaign ads are really suffering from celiac like this child?? How many such starving children will be given gluten-containing food aid and will die as a result?"

5.6% of a population is celiac?  And that's likely only the tip of the iceberg.

As I mentioned in a comment a while ago, wheat is a proven cause of heart disease, cancer, and even schizophrenia, in humans.  Would you eat any other food about which that could be said?

P.S. Added excerpt from Melissa's post.

P.P.S. Wow, Melissa buried the lede on this one.  I got around to following the link (To Frontiers in Celiac Disease by Alessio Fasano, et al) in her post above, and found this:

"We have recently completed a screening project on school children in Cairo City, Egypt.  Blood samples were obtained from 1,500 children attending school in Cairo City between October 2001 and June 2004...  The prevalence of [celiac disease] in this sample of Egyptian students was 53% (95% CI 0.17-0.89).  This estimate may be low, as more CD cases could be diagnosed at the follow-up, e.g. in the group currently showing a positive tTG IgA and a negative EMA [partial CD symptoms]."

53% of the kids!?  That's incredible.  This is from the region where wheat cultivation has gone on the longest, mind you.  (Alessio Fasano is the leading researcher on celiac disease.)