Hot Off the Press: A New “China Study” Links Wheat with Weight Gain

You’re going to hate me. This isn’t the wheat post, which means I’ve broken my “wheat is next” promise for the 80th time and should never be trusted with anything again ever. But during my nightly Pub(Med) crawl, I saw this nearly-new gem of a study glimmering in the dust and said to myself, “Wow. Wow! Wow.” By the third wow, a blog post was inevitable. So here it is. I promise this is truly interesting (not that me promising things matters anymore).

But first, some background.

A few years ago, a study hit the stands with the audacious title Vegetable-rich food pattern is related to obesity in China. The paper showed that among four diet patterns—“macho” (meat and alcohol), “sweet tooth” (sugary drinks and cake), “traditional” (rice, vegetables, pork, and fish), and “vegetable-rich” (vegetables, wheat, whole grains, and fruit)—only one had any relationship to obesity: the vegetable-rich pattern.

The study didn’t exactly receive a lot of press, probably because no one wants to think vegetables make people fat (including the researchers, who hummed and hawed their way to a half-baked conclusion—check out this post by Michael Eades). And as Stephan Guyenet explained, the study really showed a trend between wheat intake and weight gain, with the pounds rising as wheat replaced rice as a staple.

I mention this because the new study is actually a follow-up to the old one. It tracked changes in the participants’ weight over the span of five years, using the same method of divvying up food consumption into distinct diet patterns. In fact, here’s the table with their “factor loading” system, showing how various foods were weighted to determine adherence to each diet pattern. (Go ahead, click on it. You know you want to.)

I’m going to explain this study point-by-point before getting to the good stuff, because it’s a little complicated (but totally worth understanding).

Note that only two patterns use wheat as a factor: the “traditional” and “vegetable-rich” diets. The traditional pattern loaded inversely on wheat flour and positively on rice, whereas the vegetable-rich pattern loaded inversely on rice and positively on wheat. In simpler terms, that means the “traditional” pattern is rice based and the “vegetable-rich” pattern is wheat based. These two patterns are polar opposites in terms of their staple grain. The “macho” and “sweet tooth” patterns don’t take grain consumption into account.

After the researchers schemed up these diet patterns, they divided everyone into quartiles of adherence. Folks in the first quartile of any pattern had the lowest adherence to it, whereas folks in the fourth quartile ate diets most in line with that particular pattern. The paper only gives a detailed breakdown of the “traditional” diet quartiles and smaller summaries of the other three, but you can still see how food intake changes from quartile to quartile:

From the paper:

A clear increasing trend of the intake of fat was seen across quartiles of the ‘traditional’ pattern from low to high. Participants in the first quartile of this pattern had the highest intake of wheat flour and dietary fibre compared with the other groups. … There was a significant negative association between the ‘traditional’ pattern and energy density.

Darn right. The first quartile boasts an average wheat intake of 298 grams per day, versus only 21 grams in the fourth quartile. And fat intake rises from 75 to 87 grams per day from the first to fourth quartile. Energy density (calories per gram of food) also drops, although the researchers don’t mention that total energy intake (calories) is actually highest in the fourth quartile.

The researchers also note that “across quartiles of the ‘vegetable-rich’ pattern, the intake of energy, wheat flour and vegetable oil increased.” Most of that info didn’t make it into any tables, so we’ll just have to take their word for it.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

The following table shows the five-year weight change for the different quartiles of each diet pattern. Remember that the “traditional” and “vegetable-rich” diets are the only ones defined—at least in part—by wheat consumption (or lack thereof). (A) is the traditional pattern, (B) is the macho pattern, (C) is the sweet-tooth pattern, and (D) is the vegetable-rich pattern.

What stands out here? How about this:

After adjustment for age, sex and baseline weight, the ‘traditional’ dietary pattern was inversely associated with weight gain, while the ‘vegetable-rich’ pattern was positively associated with weight gain. … No significant associations of the ‘macho’ and ‘sweet tooth’ patterns with weight gain were found.

What interests me is that the largest change in weight out of any of the graphs—1.4 kilograms—occurs between the first and second quartile in the “traditional” pattern. This corresponds with a drop in average wheat intake from 298 to 40 grams per day. (Without knowing the actual per-quartile numbers for the “vegetable-rich” pattern, it’s impossible to say how changes in wheat consumption match up with that graph, although the researchers already stated that wheat consumption rises throughout the quartiles.)

The inverse relationship between the “traditional” pattern and weight (and therefore wheat and weight) doesn’t seem to be confounded by other factors, either:

In the stratified multivariate analyses, an inverse association between the ‘traditional’ dietary pattern and weight gain was present in subjects aged < 40 years and ≥ 40 years, in non-smokers and smokers, in overweight and normal-weight subjects, in alcohol drinkers and non-drinkers, and in men and women. There were no significant interactions between any of the above factors and the ‘traditional’ dietary pattern with weight gain.

The connection between wheat and weight was so prominent in this study that the researchers (who carefully tiptoed around the subject in their 2008 writeup) couldn’t beat around the bush any longer. They slammed the “discussion” section with a giant wall of wheat text. Since I’m not sure how long the study will be available for free, I’ll quote the relevant parts right here (interspersed with some commentary):

A large difference in the intake of rice and wheat flour was found across quartiles of the ‘traditional’ dietary pattern. It represented two different sub-patterns with two different staple foods in inverse proportions, i.e. rice and wheat.

(No quibbles there. But the next part is where they try painfully hard to rationalize the wheat-weight connection.)

Rice is a low-energy food that contributes to the bulk of the traditional diet. Compared with wheat, rice absorbs more water when cooked. In addition, different cooking methods are used in preparing these two staple foods. For instance, steamed rice contains twice the amount of water and half of the energy compared with steamed bread(17). Thus, the energy density of the rice staple diet is usually lower than the one based on wheat.

(Regardless of energy density, the fourth quartile for both diet patterns show that the rice-based pattern had a higher average calorie intake than the wheat-based pattern, yet lower five-year weight gain—0.0 kilograms versus 1.6 kilograms.)

Since the content of wheat was only predominant in the first quartile of this dietary pattern, this may partly explain the negative association between the ‘traditional’ pattern and weight gain in the present study.

(Ding, ding, ding. But is it because wheat has lower water content, as they suggest, or does our favorite grain somehow wreak metabolic havoc? The weight changes in the “traditional” pattern echo wheat consumption more consistently than total energy intake.)

Also, this association could not be explained by fat intake, since a higher intake of the ‘traditional’ pattern was associated with a higher intake of fat. Intake of fibre was the highest among people in the first quartile of the ‘traditional’ pattern. Thus, the benefit of weight maintenance of the traditional dietary pattern was not related to dietary fibre.

(Blasphemy! How did such nonsense pass peer-review?)

The reason I find this so fascinating is that it perfectly corresponds with the patterns in the Oxford-Cornell China Study, which showed that wheat was the single biggest contributor to BMI out of any diet variable. Calories didn’t matter. Fat didn’t matter. Weight followed the wheat.

I recommend reading the full study before the Powers That Be shove it behind a pay wall (or before the wheat industry files a lawsuit). And I’d say my real wheat/heart disease post is coming up next, but I don’t want to jinx myself. It’s on the way, though. I promise (?).


  1. Wow, thank you for the in depth analysis. I always find it a challenge to decide between high quality carbs for diet, and lower quality for fuel in training.. I have personally had ground breaking health gains since getting rid of wheat due to other health issues. Thanks again!

  2. Hi Jane,

    I wasn’t referring to the Hunza of today.

    I was actually referring to the documented data about Hunza health from 1950-1951 recorded by John Clark, the officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers that stayed with the Hunza for 20 months. He treated the Hunza medically while he stayed there and documented the experience well. His book Hunza Lost Kingdom of the Himalayas published in 1956 is available online. The following is from that book:

    “On my fourth morning in Hunza we faced sixty-two patients, the most
    I ever had in one day. They came chiefly from Baltit and Altit, but some
    were from Hasanabad, five miles west, and one family had walked all the
    way from Ghumessar, twelve miles east. Beg and Hayat worked right at
    my side. Both of them were fastidious about touching oozing sores, but cleansing of ringworm and impetigo sores was the only time-consuming
    job they could do for me. One boy would be soaking the gooey mess off
    the face of an impetiginous baby with potassium permanganate, while the
    other translated for me with the next patient. Beg was much more
    distressed than Hayat, both by revulsion at the sores and by horror at the
    pain he was causing. Twice I heard him mutter, “I’m sick myself!” but he
    went on. We developed our own medical vocabulary. Iodine was
    “Iodeen,” merthiolate was Shaitan’ka dawai—”devil’s medicine”—and
    magnesia tablets were pet dawai—stomach medicine.”

    I suspect it appealed greatly to people decades ago to believe there was a Shangri La existence in the Himalayas and that we’d stumbled on the way of life that was the true fountain of youth. We so love to romanticize faraway people and places. (Many people are doing that same thing right now with people of the Paleolithic age.) I believe 100% that Dr Wrench believed everything he stated in Wheel of Health. I simply believe his enthusiasm blinded him to the point that he was unable to differentiate between what the Hunza wanted him to believe–what he himself dearly wanted to believe–and what was scientifically true.

    The age that the documented royalty of Hunza have achieved has been low with the exception of Mir Sir Muhammed Nazim Khan who reached 77 years.

    I am still waiting for the Centre on Aging to reply to my query because they apparently have a more definitive document about the true longevity of the Hunza people, but the fact remains that the Hunza’s reputation for great health and long lifespan appears based on wishful thinking. Please understand I’m not saying Dr Wrench was lying, merely that he was caught up in something he passionately believed and wanted to share with the world. He meant well.

    I state again: we need rigorous, unflinching research on the topic of wheat and human health. I confess that it is possible wheat may be benign. The accumulating evidence does not suggest this to me, but confounding variables we haven’t considered could be distorting the picture. The quicker science deals with this, the sooner the answers will come.

  3. Liss,

    Following contact with the West, the Hunza population doubled, and their health deteriorated due to food shortages.

    ‘ … the fact remains that the Hunza’s reputation for great health and long lifespan appears based on wishful thinking. … ‘

    Was McCarrison’s work wishful thinking?

    ‘ … I state again: we need rigorous, unflinching research on the topic of wheat and human health. …’

    Yes, indeed we do. First we must find a population of people who eat a lot of whole wheat and no refined wheat. Then we must study them, preferably by acting as their physician for 7 years. Finally, we must do extensive and well-designed animal experiments.

    This is what McCarrison did.


  4. Jane,

    I can find no reference to the Hunza population doubling so quickly. Perhaps you could help me find that data?

    While I do believe food shortages could explain some of the discrepancies between earlier claims of the Hunza’s great health and John Clark’s experiences with them in 1950-51, it does nothing to address the issue of longevity. That detail is a long-term variable. Multi-generation living family lines should have been common and easily documented at the time of John Clark’s stay with this Hunza if the Hunza truly lived as long as they lead earlier western visitors to believe. I can find no good evidence–beyond the words of the Hunza–that they attained great lifespans.

    Rat studies are not useful in determining a healthful diet for humans.

    Different subsets of mammals require and naturally eat different diets. According to a website on rats: ” Wild rats eat nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits, insects, worms, eggs, dead animals, and even frogs, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals that they catch and kill.” Seeds and grains are a natural part of the rat diet. Since the nutritional element most in dispute with regards to the healthfulness of the Hunza diet in this thread is a grain–wheat–testing its effects on an animal for which there is zero doubt grains are appropriate yields no data that can helpfully be applied to humans.

    In general, with regard to rat studies and diet, I do believe they can be helpful in uncovering substances that are concretely toxic to all/most mammals, but they do not allow us to discover the diet that Homo sapiens will best thrive eating.

    McCarrison’s work was not wishful thinking. It applies well to rats. It cannot logically be assumed that it applies to humans.

    Jane, I do not believe it is sufficient to find a single population and study it, although I do think it is a start. Observations of these populations can generate good hypotheses, but variables that we may not have considered could influence the health of people in a specific population both positively and negatively and give us a false impression that the diet is the cause.

    I state again that research is needed, but I must be more clear: studies done with human beings will be required. This is a difficult thing, yes, but it must be done.

    1. great back-and-forth Liss and Jane – i must put in a plug here for one bit of info that increasingly irks me when i see it endlessly quoted – experiments on rats – of course our favorite icon Dr Campbell uses rats for studies –

      how can these researchers use animals that have specific adaptations/differences in the very arena that is being studied and get away with it??

      if i understand correctly – rats have 30X the phytase in their digestive systems than we do – don’t these researchers know this and if they do – how can they extrapolate from rat guts to human guts especially in the area of grains?

      just askin…

  5. Liss,

    ‘Rat studies are not useful in determining a healthful diet for humans. … Seeds and grains are a natural part of the rat diet.’

    How do you know seeds and grains are not a natural part of the human diet?

    ‘I can find no reference to the Hunza population doubling so quickly. Perhaps you could help me find that data?’

    Nice try.

    1. Jane,

      I apologize if you felt my words were sarcastic in tone or disingenuous. I would truly like to be looking at the same data that you are so that we can, as near as possible, understand each other’s point of view. I honestly tried to find reference to the Hunza population information on Google for around 10 minutes and uncovered nothing. Since I thought further effort would be wasting time I felt it best to abandon the search and tell you I could not find a reference. I had hoped you would offer one, but I should have been straightforward and asked. I actually thought that would have felt rude to you, but now I see it worked out the opposite of my intentions.

      Text doesn’t carry point of view well. I fear that you’re interpreting my words as hostile when that is the furthest from my intention. I strive not to mix emotion with science, but maybe that’s making me seem uncaring.

      You are a 67-year old female who is a scientist, Jane, so you automatically get my respect to some degree. Universities have not always been accommodating to women entering scientific fields. I salute you for the challenges you undoubtedly faced and I thank you for (most likely) making it a little easier for other females to follow in your footsteps.

      You generally express yourself calmly and–normally–without sarcasm or derision. I believe this is always the best way to handle topics of science.

      Please do not think that because I do not personally find the data you have presented to be persuasive that I do not respect that *you* believe it to be pertinent. It is regrettable that we cannot discuss this issue face-to-face because then you would understand that, as often as I may not find your arguments convincing, I have always been impressed by your posts. I suspect that in person we would like each other even if we did not in the end agree. I want to believe we could amicably agree to disagree. (In fact, if you happen to live anywhere near me, I would truly love to meet and discuss all this because I think I could learn a lot from you if you would be willing. I know the likelihood you live in the PNW is small, but nevertheless…)

      I ask, please, could you point me to Hunza population information. As I said in my prior post (and possibly too hastily because I was in a desperate hurry to get to work) I do think food shortage could affect health.

      And in the interest of (crossing fingers) letting you see I am not some contrary brat, I will get a bit personal. I have two dogs in this wheat fight. Dog #1: I live in a small farm town. Family and beloved friends make their living, however meager, working like crazy farming wheat. I love this life and these people. It’s become harder for them to make any sort of profit over the years. The only other crops that will grow around here make even less money than wheat. If wheat is shown to be harmful to health and people decrease their consumption of it, my life and the lives of those I love will be devastated.

      Dog #2: My sister and I suffered for years with abdominal pain and (sorry if TMI) out-of-nowhere uncontrollable diarrhea. Yes, we both went to more than one doctor looking for the cause, but the doctors were stumped and laid the blame on anxiety or irritable bowels so we were stuck hoping that we wouldn’t get sick anywhere we went. By luck we finally found it was a gluten intolerance. It changed my life. Suddenly I could stop living in fear of losing control of basic bodily functions at school and work. Looking at family history and seeing similar symptoms in mother and maternal grandmother, my sister and I began to suspect, as our understanding of gluten risks grew, that our mother’s Multiple Sclerosis might be due in part to consuming wheat when she was genetically unsuited for it. I do not want any other human being to suffer the humiliation that I have or the misery that my mother has.

      Those are my two dogs.

      To answer your question how do I know seeds and grains are not a natural part of the human diet: That is the very point of this thread. I do *not* know. No one knows. And we *need* to learn. I feel it is of utmost importance to throw every blazing light science has at this problem and uncover the truth–whatever it may be. I want it studied with full force!

      It is quite possible that some people are undamaged by wheat consumption. I dearly hope this is true. My wishing it, however, doesn’t make it so. My ignoring the potential risks may imperil my fellow human beings in ways that are utterly unacceptable to me.

      I will be candid and state that I fear wheat is not safe. My best hope at present is that it may be safe for many people while posing a risk for a small few. It would be wonderful if science could uncover a means to determine at birth (perhaps via a simple DNA test) whether wheat could be a safe choice in an individual’s diet.

      And a disclaimer: just as I do not find your N=1 experience of gaining health through a Hunza-style diet to be sufficient to recommend it, I do not find my own and my sister’s n=2 experiences to be sufficient to denounce wheat; nor can I definitively point to wheat as the cause of my Mom’s MS. These things can only justifiably support me urging others to be cautious. They are not proof.

      I am a broken record: I want serious, long-term, unflinching studies. I want them asap.

    2. Jane, from what we know, grains did not play a big part in our ancestral diet. Here is a study:

      “High fruit and vegetable intake and minimal grain and dairy consumption”

      So it’s hard to claim that seeds and grains are a natural part of human diets when for the past 200 000 years since the appearance of Homo Sapiens (2 million years for the homo genus), we only rely heavily on grains for the past 10 000 years. At most we adapted to them by using technology to make them less toxic, like removing the husks from the grains, fermentation..etc. So while i see no problem in eating white rice, i will think twice before eating whole wheat. I am more inclined to think the Hunza were healthy in spite of their whole wheat intake. But i also will admit that some studies have shown whole wheat to be superior when compared to refined wheat:

      From what i can gather, from your book(Wheel of Health) regarding meat intake: “It is more frequently eaten in winter. As with the Eskimo and others, the Hunza eat all that is edible of the carcase and not the meat only.” I presumed since you follow the Hunza diet, you eat meat once every 10 days during summer and more (including the offals) frequently during winter?

      I noticed that they consumed lots of fermented dairy and fruits. From all these variables, it is hard to make a case for whole wheat consumption. At most, we can hypothesize that whole wheat is better than refined wheat.

  6. Moksha,

    If you look up ‘phytate hydrolysis by germfree and conventional rats’, you will see that the phytase activity in rat gut comes from their bacteria.

    Our own gut bacteria also contain phytase (look up ‘human gut bacteria phytase’). This suggests that humans are just as adapted to eating phytate as rats are, and might have just as much phytase on the right diet.

  7. Dear Liss, (and Jane)

    I am sincerely touched, Liss, by your heartfelt candor and your story – I’ve had many discussions with my partner about just your kind of situation – that of finding that your backbreaking labor and/or life work that you deeply believed in (or were stuck with) turns out to have been seriously bad for yourself, your family and your fellow man (persons…). What would one do with that realization? (the farmers in india are committing suicide literally in the 1000’s per year over the failure of their horrific GMO crops foisted on them by the truly evil Monsanto).

    I have to support Liss on this Jane, and for the reasons that Ravi so effectively responded to Greg above – undoubtedly we are in the process of “adapting” (as we are constantly doing) to our 10,000 year stint with eating grain as a staple (or a bit more or less depending on the archeological findings/datings), but is that enough time? I don’t think so – because if it was enough time and we all could tolerate grains so well over long term consumption, then these negative findings would not be happening:

    (thanks to Ravi for that)

    Jane, your comment: “This suggests that humans are just as adapted to eating phytate as rats are, and might have just as much phytase on the right diet.”

    “suggests” ? “might just”? – those words are no more comforting or relevant than “doesn’t suggest for sure” or “might not”. All the references I have found do not say we have NO phytase in our guts, but that we have considerably LESS than rats for whatever reason. Rats in experiments can be fed a subsistence grain diet and do not develop the same negative effects (although they too, do not thrive)

    So let’s look at this from adaptation/evolution: how many generations of rats have accompanied humans in their grain-eating travels on this earth compared to the number of generations of humans? For argument, let’s say that SOME humans are STARTING to develop the ability to process grains and reduce the damage of all the nasties as you postulate (just as some humans can eat dairy with no effect but the ones who can’s suffer immensely). We know that rats DO have more phytase available in their digestive tracts, yes? I don’t care why it’s there (ie bacteria or…) – the fact that it is in considerably higher amounts indicates that rats have adapted more completely to eating grains. Let’s also postulate that rats in their “hunter-gatherer” state (pre-wide availability of grain from human ag) would also have not eaten so much grain since it was not so readily available – but their consumption increased dramatically with access to human grain storage.

    so back to the generation thing – human generations in 10,000 years – what? – maybe 150 to 200 for evolution to get the grain digestion right? even if it was 2x that – most evolutionary/genetic biologists would consider this not enough generations for a substantive population-wide change/adaptation. But the rats? in 10,000 years they have had 3000 to 5000 generations to adapt (10 times the generations!). now THAT many generations would assuredly be time enough for more substantive genetic adaptation with exposure to the same grain abundant consumption. So that is why i think rat/human comparisons in this case are bogus.

    What has not entered the discussion is the $ – that is, how every economic system in Amerika especially regarding the production of food, is utterly distorted by money. Dairy, sugar, corn, wheat, – every one of these industries (and more) are NOT driven in any way shape or form by concern for the ultimate health of the end product but rather by how much money in both subsidies and exports the industry giants can rake in after their unholy lobbying for laws that make their profits the law of the land.

    The individuals locked into this system (like Liss’s family) can be as sincere, well-meaning, hardworking as they can be – but the controlling political/industrial puppeteers don’t give a damn. That is a big part of why we have: destroyed milk (pasteurized – because big producers could NEVER distribute healthy raw milk effectively), HFCS (and highly inefficient production-wise ethanol) – Because govt subsidies drove so much excess production of corn that the big guys get paid to produce no matter what- the surplus corn had to be used for something (preferably something that further increases their profits once the lowly farmers are paid off) AND to protect these resulting sugar producing industries we’ve had imported sugar tariffs on much cheaper cane sugar from tropical countries in place for years, and then finally dear ol’ wheat, hybrid-ed and altered to produce like crazy with absolutely no science applied as to the ending health of it specifically or grains in general. (i haven’t even touched on the industrial grain paint oils being massively and shamelessly peddled as food when their usefulness as paint products was displaced by petrochemicals after WWII – and in doing so, displacing very healthy and cheap coconut and palm oils being imported – they were successfully villified so as to drive consumption of the more profitable and hugely less healthy corn and grain oils)

    Jane – we are not personally attacking you – that you have done your due-diligence and chosen the Hunza diet you believe to be healthy and thrived on it is, i am sure, a wonderful thing in your life. If you never suffer the ill effects of grain-consumption then perhaps YOUR gut and YOUR system does deal with it effectively. But why are so many studies – many very recent studies – linking gluten (often wheat gluten) and WGA to soooo many debilitating chronic symptoms and diseases? Schizophrenia, MS, Diabetes, IBS, neurological disorders, immune disorders, obesity, heart disease, and on and on?

    It’s going to be a tough nut for sincere, hardworking wheat farmers if more and serious data/analysis continues to indict wheat. Of course, like the HFCS industry – the battle to verify and legitimize such wheat-indicting data will be fierce if it hits the mainstream – see the disgusting website “Sweet Surprise” for example, and the evisceration of the british doc Wakefield for suggesting a link from one of the most profitable vaccines to autism. Big pharma is literally crucifying this guy via it’s influence on government agencies, paid-off medical journal editors and the like.

    It’s a nasty world out there and uncovering the “truth” is all-too-often the demise of he/she who uncovers- and i don’t just mean a ruined career.

    (be safe niesy…!)

    1. Great Hunza discussion, guys — this is really interesting. I’m only going to dip my toe in this conversation because my Hunza knowledge is pretty limited, but I have a few thoughts:

      1) How rigorously has the Hunza lifespan been documented? In a lot of cultures, age is an indicator of influence and authority, which is a good incentive for people to exaggerate how old they are. It’s also not uncommon for younger generations to adopt their parents’ or even grandparents’ birth certificates/birth records as their own. Age exaggeration has been found in other regions claiming great longevity, like Vilcabamba (see

      2) From what I’ve read and seen, the photographs of Hunza families and elders typically show no more than three generations of people. If the Hunza were routinely living to be 90 – 100+, we’d expect to see documentation of families with four or five generations (or more).

      This site has an interesting discussion of the Hunza. I can’t vouch for the website’s credibility, but the claims they make in the article should be verifiable elsewhere, if accurate: (scroll a bit down the page to get to the part on the Hunzas).

      Regardless, I think it’s relevant that the wheat the Hunzas were eating decades ago, pre-Green Revolution, is not the same wheat most Westerners are eating today. The changes that have occurred while breeding high-yielding, disease-resistant dwarf wheat might play an important role in disease etiology.

      That said, this is obviously a really complex issue, and there’s probably enough individual variation in reactions to wheat so that folks like Jane can eat it and be okay while another person’s body may react horribly.

      1. These are great points.

        For those who are interested and haven’t seen it yet, I recently made a post about wheat supporting the idea that many people should try going gluten-free to see if it helps, but slicing through some of the dogma created in anti-wheat circles based on a pretty popularized but pretty horrible study claiming to show wheat causes intestinal inflammation in non-celiacs:

        Wheat: In Search of Scientific Objectivity and New Year’s Resolutions

        I also just received word about a half hour ago from French Meadows, whose 100% rye sourdough I like to eat, that their sourdoughs are fermented for 24 hours:

        “Hello Chris,
        Thank you for contacting French Meadow Bakery.
        Our Yeast Free Sourdough Breads are made with a sourdough culture. When the flour is mixed with water and sourdough culture, the mixture is left to proof for about 24 hours. Then it is baked. Since no baking yeast is used in the process, it takes a lot longer for the bread to rise.”

        That might perhaps mean the 100% rye sourdough I like to eat is actually gluten-free, or very close to it.


        1. Hello Chris,

          After going lacto-paleo, my swiss partner (who is deeply attached to bread but willing to give it up for the “cause”) and i dug into our Nourishing Traditions cookbook and did exactly that – bought several sourdough cultures and spent a month practicing making truly soured 100% rye bread.

          Here’s the thing (in regards to your gluten-free comment) – we **do not” want to eat gluten and several of the recipes call for numerous “feedings” of the dough – some over a 3 day period – to get adequate souring and raising of the bread. however, several call for the addition of 1/3 or so more fresh rye just a few hours before baking OR just call for a total souring period of only 4 hours (that one is in NT).

          Chris, our BIG question for you is – what to you base your comment on that 24 hours of souring will process/eliminate all gluten from the bread? It would seem that a portion is changed by starch gelatinization that could perhaps impart some structure to hold the bread together in the absence of gluten –

          but is 24 hour soured rye bread really going to be “almost gluten free”?

          Thanks for your input!
          Discoveries for a Good Life

            1. I should note that the study selected certain strains from sourdough culture in order to boost the efficacy of gluten degradation, so we can’t make any assumptions about a particular bread just based on fermentation time. But given the right mix of microorganisms it’s possible to break down the gluten in 24 h.


    2. Moksha,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      And Monsanto is evil. Period. I’ve never seen a company operate with such ruthless disregard for decency.

  8. Liss,

    I see. You condemned Wrench in the strongest possible terms without having read a single word of his book.

    Chapter 1, paragraph 25 says the following.

    ‘Here dwell the Hunza, whose numbers Major Biddulph in Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh (1880) roughly calculated as 6,000 people, but who have, since the census was instituted about 1911, it seems increased, to their detriment, to 14,000.’

    1. Jane,

      Thank you for the reference. That is helpful.

      I apologize again for causing misunderstanding. I state for the record here that merely because I refer to a work or even quote from it does not mean I have read it in entirety and with care. I have briefly skimmed very small portions of the writings of Wrench and Clark.

      I do not now and never have condemned G T Wrench. That he believed what he wrote was accurate and valuable I do not dispute for a single second. Here is what I wrote with regard to Wrench and his book:

      “I believe 100% that Dr Wrench believed everything he stated in Wheel of Health. I simply believe his enthusiasm blinded him to the point that he was unable to differentiate between what the Hunza wanted him to believe–what he himself dearly wanted to believe–and what was scientifically true.”

      I stand by that statement. And the reason why I wished to have the population information (thank you for offering it) was so I could decide for myself if the dates and figures would realistically account for the difference between early claims of Hunza health and the reality John Clark encountered in 1950-51.

      The passage you quote shows the doubling to have happened by 1911, but Wrench goes on to offer a positive second-hand account of the Hunza from 1927. Again, I will acknowledge that a population increase could lead to a food shortage that would compromise health. There are other factors that could also have altered health status.

      Jane, as you appear to be misunderstanding many of my statements and reading hostility (for example condemning Wrench in the strongest possible terms) where none exists, I believe we are likely wasting each other’s time.

      I respect that you have attained health with a Hunza-style diet. I am truly pleased for every individual who finds the nutritional path that helps him/her to heal and thrive. And I do suspect that some people can eat wheat without harm.

      I merely disagree that the Hunza diet creates optimal health and that wheat is universally benign.

      We shall have to agree to disagree. On my side I will do this with a continuing interest in your posts (particularly about manganese) and a positive sense of you as a person. You, of course, are free to dismiss me and my statements as you wish.

  9. Seems like the discussion is degenerating a tad…

    I would like to ask ANY readers of this blog to please comment on any substantive information they have on the Hunza and their diet/life stats etc. I believe that is what Liss has been most kindly begging for.

    I too am suspect of embracing a complete program of any culture – after all – we don’t live anything like any of these cultures, have a whole different set of resources and are probably considerably differently-predisposed genetically.

    Isn’t the value of these observations to extract what is realistically/potentially useful to our situations? To merely mimic the eating habits of an isolated account of a supposedly healthy tribe could be an interesting experiment for a time – but i would think a critical ongoing evaluation (in a longer term) of that diet would be prudent, especially when there is not much more information regarding that diet and it’s people.

    Discoveries for a Full Life

  10. Liss,

    ‘The passage you quote shows the doubling to have happened by 1911 …’

    The passage actually says ‘ … who have, SINCE the census was instituted about 1911, … increased … to 14,000.’

    I am sure you have no hostility towards me. I see no problem in continuing this discussion.

  11. Moksha, are you still there, or have we frightened you off? I would like to ask you something about evolution.

    ‘ … so back to the generation thing – human generations in 10,000 years – what? – maybe 150 to 200 for evolution to get the grain digestion right …’

    My question is, what is it about grains that humans need to be ‘more evolved’ to deal with? I don’t think you can mean gluten or lectins, because they’re proteins and nobody argues humans cannot break down proteins.

    So is it phytate? If you think it’s a problem that humans have less phytase than rats, and we really need to analyse Hunza poo to be sure of this, consider that phytate could actually be enormously beneficial to people eating a paleo-type diet. Phytate has the potential to correct the mineral imbalances that can be caused by a diet high in meat.

    Meat has a lot of highly-available iron and zinc, and it’s low in manganese. Except for organ meats, it’s also low in copper. Phytate-contaning foods, ie grains and legumes, are high in manganese and copper. Phytate binds iron and zinc better than copper or manganese, which means that whole grains and legumes will not only deliver the missing manganese and copper, but can also inhibit absorption of the iron and zinc. Iron is very difficult to excrete, so limiting its absorption is important.

    A recent paper has shown that the protein involved in Alzheimer’s, the Amyloid Precursor Protein, is needed for iron export from brain cells, and it’s poisoned by zinc. This is consistent with many other observations pointing to an important role for iron and zinc overload in Alzheimer’s. Here is an account of the paper, which I think everyone eating a paleo diet ought to read.

    Here too is a Klevay paper entitled ‘Alzheimer’s disease as copper deficiency’.

    Nobody has so far published a paper about manganese deficiency in Alzheimer’s, but there is much indirect evidence of an important role. Grains are arguably the best source of manganese. Anyone who is terrified of wheat should think about this.

    1. Jane, It would be nice if you can provide us some tightly controlled clinical studies demonstrating the health benefits of whole grains and legumes.

      In my honest opinion, as a scientist you should base your arguments on controlled clinical studies to demonstrate the benefits of whole grains instead on an old book or possible mechanisms. N=1 Experience is important but should not be used to make health recommendations to the public.

      I am very wary of wheat because of various studies like the ones below:

      1) Feeding wheat bran to healthy volunteers caused them to burn through their vitamin D reserves at a fast pace:

      2) Title: Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.
      Result: “Patients were significantly worse with gluten within 1 week for overall symptoms (P=0.047), pain (P=0.016), bloating (P=0.031), satisfaction with stool consistency (P=0.024), and tiredness (P=0.001)”

      3) “…researchers took gut biopsies from celiac patients and asymptomatic controls. Five out of six asymptomatic controls showed elevated interleukin-15, a marker of innate immune activation, upon exposure to gliadin. An activated innate immune system (commonly called ‘inflammation’) is associated with a wide array of chronic diseases, from obesity to cancer to cardiovascular disease”

      4) “Intolerance to cereals is not specific for coeliac disease.”

      5) After 6 months of gluten-free diet, stool frequency and gastrointestinal symptom score returned to normal values in 60% of d-IBS (Diagnosed with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome) patients

      6) The presence of gluten sensitivity by blood test is about 12% in the general population.

      Based on these studies, I would not readily claim that whole wheat and other grains are optimal for health before more researches are done.

  12. hi jane – naw – i don’t scare THAT easy… ;-)

    here’s the thing – i’m not a scientist or doctor or statistics analyst or probably even that bright (well maybe…) and i’m not convinced that micro-studies – that is studies in incredibly tight parameters or even bigger studies that don’t take into account all the factors – like factors that are largely impractical (see my poo post above about calorie counting studies) or impossible (like what was the stored age of the grains and flour that all of the chinese ate in all 64 china study data counties).

    I also see from our communications here, that i am coming here already partially convinced that wheat is problematic and you are coming here already pre-disposed that it is not. I’m in very active searching/learning time for both my not-so-young body and even more important for me – the developing body of my 3 year old. If i err on the side of caution about wheat at this point given my analysis of the increasing body of evidence as to wheat’s potential ills – it just means that I and my child and family have one utterly dispensable foodstuff less at our disposal. On the other hand, if i err on the side of consuming/feeding grains to myself, my child and my family and the data starts to gel against wheat in 5 or 10 years, well then, you can see what i mean.

    We simply do not know everything – in fact hardly anything – about the ultimate effects of all the new foodstuffs, processed foods, new chemicals and new energies like EMF’s on our bodies and minds that have evolved in these things absence. I did study pre-med biology and basic genetics and with notable exceptions, genetic adaptation does not race along for widely dispersed populations. Perhaps small population groups have evolved – perhaps via rapid mutation – the ability to eat this or that which would be hazardous to another population – but **is this what has happened with grains**??

    fact is – i can get absolutely great nutrition from our basically lacto-paleo diet and, as Dr Eades advises, if, as a non-menstruating, not bleeding-injury-prone male, i have to give blood several times a year with a needle pinprick (and not a gash from a wild boar i was hunting) to control my iron buildup – well so be it.

    finally – after 3 years pretty exhaustive self-building of my house, greenhouse and having a child – i was really feeling my age as they say. hard to make it though the day, naps were almost obligatory and some minor chronic conditions were getting worse. Now – about 6 months into our new diet sans grains – my childs starting tooth decay has stopped and visibly re-mineralized, and i easily jog though my day, no nap, my chronic sinus is clearing, and my partner and i are enjoying each other again at previously-known frequent intervals… if you know what i mean ;-)

    … and i don’t miss bread a bit!

    1. and also – it was statistically clear from Weston Price’s actual tooth-examined, tooth-decay data that the native diets were much better, but among the native diets that also included grains (usually treated before consumption) – even those diets had noticeably more tooth decay than those that ate no grains at all (grain eating native diets being from 2-5% decay, non-grain native diets below 1% decay) and when either of these groups moved to eating “modern” processed flour and sugar diets – 30% to 50% decay!

      now it grains in the diet do that to teeth – the 1) WHY? and 2) I don’t give a damn, i’m NOT eating them or feedin’ them to my kid!

      1. correction:
        now IF grains in the diet do that to teeth – THEN 1) WHY? and 2) I don’t give a damn, i’m NOT eating them or feedin’ them to my kid!

      2. Moksha,

        I’m curious if you could provide a little more detail in what you are considering grain and non-grain, and in which groups you consider the grains improperly prepared.

        Mellanby did show that grains antagonized the curative effect of calcium and fat-soluble vitamins on tooth decay, most likely because of the phytate.

        However, Price states that in most cases among the Swiss where there was a cavity, they had gotten it while traveling out of the village and it had become inactive when they returned to the village.

        Also, some of the non-grain data is confounded by genetics. For example, the Inuit appear to be rather invulnerable to skeletal system loss of calcium, but appear to be unusually vulnerable to hypoglycemic tetany and the neurological manifestations, when they fall below the calcium requirement. That probably affects their tooth decay rate.


        1. Hey Chris,

          I think the data that i was remembering are exemplified in these 2 passages below from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (and i do remember his comment about the swiss going away and coming back with decay observations) :

          regarding the swiss who eat native diet WITH grain:

          “We left the mountain railroad, which makes many of the grades with the cog system, at the town of St. Nicholas, and climbed the mountain trail to an isolated settlement on the east bank of the Mattervisp River, called Grachen, a five-hour journey. The settlement is on a shelf high above the east side of the river where it is exposed to southern sunshine and enjoys a unique isolation because of its physical inaccessibility. An examination made of the children in this community showed that only 2.3 teeth out of every hundred had been attacked by tooth decay.” (please – note that these were children and would not have been the ones traveling out and back…)

          as opposed to the Rarotonga who apparently do not eat grain with their native diet:

          “The Cook Islands are British and under the direct guidance of the New Zealand Government. Rarotonga is the principal island. – snip- A large number were found in Rarotonga living almost entirely on native foods, and only 0.3 per cent of the teeth of these individuals have been attacked by dental caries. In the vicinity of Avarua, the principal port, however, the natives were living largely on trade foods, and among these 29.5 per cent of the teeth were found to have been attacked by dental caries. ”

          from an observational standpoint – this strongly implies to me that eating the native diets are best and they are so good that they even overcome most of the damaging effects of adding grain to the mix. The swiss soured their rye, so that assumed-ly would help the positive side of the equation.

          From my layman’s viewpoint, it seems to me that the indited components of grains/wheat are the gluten, the phytates and WGA and my distillation of the substantial number of “studies” i have read and understood as best i can, merged with Prices’ observations make me want to avoid any substantive amounts of those 3 stooge’s.

          As i have said, my swiss partner dearly loves bread having been weaned on it, and that is why we were inquiring about the gluten comments you made earlier. That study is certainly telling – however, it was only 30% gluten grain i think – and contained millet – and a comment from you in another one of your articles set me back from millet – something about it being splendid for causing gout?

          Anyway – i think we are still having our internal family debate about the soured rye (haven’t thrown out the flour yet!) We have concluded – for the moment- that rice is mostly benign, and buckwheat is actually beneficial – and we use both of those in moderation.

          as for preparation – i look also to both Price observations and research indicating that traditional souring, sprouting or at minimum soaking are possible “proper” treatments for grains prior to consumption. Since each of these procedures is time and/or resource consuming – and since the general public has lost all knowledge and connection to “traditional” grain preparations (that generation of grandmas are dead and long-gone…) – industry has just skipped or substituted with quick-rise and similar short-cut strategies that produce “apparently” safe edible products quick and cheaply.

          1. i will note that the Gaelic population observed was not indicative of this trend i’d pitching (Price quote below) – but their fermented grain was oats – and i believe that oats have quite a different profile regarding gluten, have no WGA of course, but are villains in the rickets arena–

            These people ate, in my view, exceptionally positive amounts of many different seafoods and i would be willing to postulate that their “compensatory” factors were huge – even much more than the swiss with their raw got milk and bone broth. seafood before the ocean was polluted is a brilliant and diverse nutrient source and they apparently ate loads of it.

            My grandmother who lived with my family growing up was a diminutive but hearty glasgow homey and the only ailment she ever fell to was B12 deficiency – she lived to be 96. I would now have advised her to eat a bit different upon arrival for her last 40 years in america as her first 50 was pretty much seafood, oats and tea in scotland.

            form Price:

            “Through the department of dental inspection for north Scotland, I learned of a place on the Isle of Skye, Airth of Sleat, in which only a few years ago there were thirty-six children in the school, and not one case of dental caries in the group. My examination of the children in this community disclosed two groups, one living exclusively on modern foods, and the other on primitive foods. Those living on primitive foods had only 0.7 carious teeth per hundred, while those in the group living on modern foods had 16.3, or twenty-three times as many.”

          2. Millet is apparently goitrogenic – it causes goiter, not gout. Goiter is the outward sign of your thyroid rolling over and dying. You kind of need the thyroid :) your thyroid and pituitary regulate almost all the hormonal activity in your body, and your metabolism.

            You might be interested in knowing that buckwheat is actually not wheat at all; it is the seed of a tree.

  13. Moksha,

    One day your 3-year-old will be going to school, and will be exposed to refined carbs whether you like it or not. If you forbid it, the child will eat it behind your back, and find out how delicious it is because of the sugar buzz.

    Much better that the child should find out how delicious wholemeal bread is, from you.

    1. … and by using such logic, Jane, i should be getting out a big platter and laying out the Big Mac’s, Whoppers, Double Downs, double pepperoni thick crust’s, toss on a couple large orders of fries (i *loved* them as a kid), a big gulp and finish it off with a maraschino cherry.

      my little girl is being well, and positively indoctrinated in eating REAL food – she munches carrots, and tomatoes hangin with me in the greenhouse, absolutely loves brussel sprouts and broccoli, and even to our amazement, eats steamed buttered chard with enthusiasm.

      as of now, she has no idea that these other garbage fake-foods exist and by the time she does, she will have had years of developing a palate for real whole foods and will be (she is already) learning the concept of ‘foods good for her body and food not’. what she does with that knowledge in her adult life is her bag – but i am willing to guess that if her whole childhood/young adulthood is filled with delicious real food – the concept will stay with her and serve her well.

      as for your example, well, she will have as much chance to land a MacDonalds as she will in a classroom – she will be home-schooled.

      I must be candid now Jane – i’ve continued to engage in discussions with you despite often feeling that logic was a pretty fluid concept for your thinking, and i’ve grown tired of the repeated tossing of incomplete arguments and edgy retorts.

      if you eat wheat for years and have suffered no ill effects that you can ascertain – good for you. My view of the discussion here was that it is trying to investigate the likely ills of wheat and grains for *most* persons, not to vindicate its consumption for the seemingly unaffected few. Considering your oft-curt responses (your unnecessary abruptness with a very sincere Liss), apparent lapses of logic and reasoning, and your continued comments here adding marginally related nay-say after nay-say, perhaps you should reconsider if, in fact, wheat perhaps has affected you in ways you have not realized.

      I AM seeking the smoking wheat gun and will continue to gather and discuss with those interested in the ballistic tests.

  14. Moksha,

    My purpose in mentioning your child was to highlight another evil of the modern food industry: the peddling of refined carbohydrate to children.

    You may have seen the chef Jamie Oliver on TV telling us how to prepare healthy meals for our children. He has received official endorsement from the UK government in this role. His meals are full of refined carbohydrate.

    In the late 1990s I wrote several letters to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair about food and disease. He did not believe me, and it was he who later endorsed Jamie Oliver.

    The problem was, and is, that Blair believed modern disease is caused by faulty genes, and that biotechnology and the human genome project were going to ‘cure half our diseases and prevent the other half’. We were going to have ‘a completely new world’. Britain would be great again, and rich from selling our cures abroad.

    This belief of Blair’s was so strong that he was prepared to go to war in Iraq in order to obtain cooperation in the biotech project from the Americans.

    The reason I know so much about this is because I know some of the scientists who told him these things. Obviously, I tried to tell them the truth about genes, food and disease a long time ago. Their response was to relieve me of my Oxford college fellowship.

    The biotech project and Tony Blair’s dream are now in tatters. Biotech drugs are no better and no less toxic than conventional drugs, and they are vastly more expensive. Gene therapy has failed, and public health is in crisis. The UK, rather than becoming rich from the biotech project, is drowning in unpayable debt.

    I rather think the scientists who refused to listen to me, and I should mention that they are all friends of mine now since I did not take revenge on them for destroying my career, had at the time much the same opinion of me that you have.

  15. Moksha,

    I should perhaps explain my ‘unnecessary abruptness’ with a ‘very sincere Liss’. I have had endless problems getting people to read about McCarrison’s work. They simply will not do it. Liss said Wrench is not to be trusted. Is anyone going to read his account of McCarrison’s work after that? No, of course not.

  16. Kudos to you Jane for making a stand and putting your career on the line. Now we’re in a new coalition government who are keen on evidence-based outcomes, maybe there’s a more practical way of pushing this message?

    I don’t share your views on Jamie Oliver incidentally – while he’s not averse to using white flour, pasta and sugar from time to time, his general approach of cooking whole foods from scratch seems sensible enough.

    Re McCarrison, really interesting work. I’d never heard of him till now, but for anyone who’s not come across him – he’s the British Weston Price, and there’s now a society dedicating to continuing his research:

  17. Hi Mike,

    Here in the UK, Jamie Oliver’s TV series featured exclusively white flour and white rice. There was no brown rice or wholemeal pasta/pizza at all. And he was in the school kitchens teaching the school cooks what to do. McCarrison would turn in his grave.

  18. I was not going to comment again on these exchanges with Jane but i want to thank Nigel **very** much for that link (so good i repeat it here: )

    with the patience of Job, Mr Colpa attempts to wrap some logic thinking and critical analysis around Jane’s (IMHO) sometimes incredibly absurd postulations –

    Sorry Jane – it seems like there is a giant chasm in your logical flow – your ideas on sat fats are so reasonable and seemingly well-thought through but the grains?? it’s amazing and incredible actually – and i appreciate that Mr Colpa was so amply qualified to so excellently attempt to answer your repeated and often amazing contentions given the evidence he was citing. You also became rather unfriendly with him as well when he called you on your illogic or lack of citing evidences – something we in this blog have also requested from you.

    Now – i DO NOT want to get in to any further exchange – and i am sure you will respond to this comment –

    I have never claimed to be anything more than a layman in these discussions – citing and speaking from the perspective that MOST common folk have to deal with – that is not being PhD’s or MD’s in this field – and so we do our best to gather and sift the information as intelligently as we can.

    I will admit, however, that i was strangely gratified to find Mr Colpa having the same difficulties with you as I wish not to think of myself as nuts as one might trying to understand you. I do wish you the best in your endeavors, but however hope, like Mr. Colpa stated, that you do not have much luck convincing people that grains are a perfectly healthy and wondrous foodstuff.

  19. Hi Nigel,

    Yes, it was indeed me.

    Hi Moksha,

    His name is Colpo, not Colpa. He is a great friend of mine.

    ‘ … i DO NOT want to get in to any further exchange …’

    Why not? If we continue this discussion I can clarify any ‘illogic’ and give you the ‘evidences’ you say I have not provided.

  20. Jane,

    I’ve never “flamed” anyone like this but you have raised my ire – and this WILL be the last i exchange with you.

    You are a provocateur and clearly a liar, or at least seriously imbalanced. How stupid do you think others are anyway? I read the WHOLE exchange between you and Anthony – it’s right there a click away ( )- and if you and he are “great friends” then i’m a qualified rocket scientist from mars. Below are a few choice comments from Anthony regarding your exchange – which, BTW, happened waaaaaay back LAST MONTH. He is patient beyond belief, brilliant, and informative and your responses are vapid.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to see that your association with Mr Colpo is hardly that of “great friend” and in fact – it seems to me he has never even heard of you before your exchange LAST MONTH.

    “Recently, I received an email from one Jane Karlsson, PhD, vigorously asserting that whole grains were wonderfully healthy foods that could immensely benefit humankind.”

    …. from “one” Jane Karlsson? oh yea – that’s how i would refer to a “great friend” of mine.

    “Perhaps these types of exchanges are fun for you, but they really are a waste of time for me considering my current workload. Given your inability to supply the evidence requested and your inability to provide straight answers to my questions, I think we should end the exchange right here. All the best in your future endeavors and I do hope you consult the references I have cited”

    … seems if you and he were “great friends”, then he would know a bit more of what you were about, no?

    “It is obvious that you are unwilling or unable to provide any of this requested information, so once again, please respect my time and wishes and find someone else to converse with on the topic of whole grains.”

    …PS – Jane, it won’t be me….

    “I think we have clearly established by now you are unable to supply the evidence backing your pro-whole grain stance, but are intent on nevertheless arguing the point until the cows come home. Sorry, but I just don’t have the time for this – I entertained your antics up to this point in the vain hope I could get through to a PhD who is presumably in a position to influence others, but it appears your inculcation by mainstream propaganda has become far too ingrained.”

    … amazing the extended engagement that even an intelligent Mr. Colpo will tolerate with those 3 little letters behind an (anonymous) name. I think i’ll start posting as “Moksha, PhD, MD, EFGHI, JK, LM, NOP”

    “As for your stance on whole grains and celiac disease, that a supposed PhD would ignore the relationship between gluten and celiac disease (news flash: if you are celiac and eat gluten-containing grains, you are not going to experience good gut health!) is truly astounding. I sincerely hope you are not in a position where you are able to influence the eating habits of celiac individuals. Your ignorance at that point becomes dangerous.”

    On this last point i could not agree more. If you do not have anything of real substance other than a single book from 75 years ago on one tribe in the world’s diet to offer us as conclusive evidence that all of us concerned about grains are dead wrong, please go away and pick another place to play your provoking and un-informative games.

  21. Moksha,

    “Recently, I received an email from one Jane Karlsson, PhD, vigorously asserting that whole grains were wonderfully healthy foods that could immensely benefit humankind.”

    This is the one part of my conversation with Colpo that did not happen. He is ‘a great friend of mine’ because he reproduced the rest of the conversation accurately.

    He wanted to discuss something quite different from whole grains, and he thought I was not familiar with the topic he did want to discuss. I am.

    “that a supposed PhD would ignore the relationship between gluten and celiac disease…”

    Colpo does not understand the relationship between celiac disease and ‘oral tolerance’. The gut immune system is normally instructed not to react to dietary proteins such as gluten, and celiac disease can result when this process fails. Celiac has a strong genetic component, as expected from a disease involving failure of immune tolerance. Colpo needs to explain why there are people with genetic susceptibility for celiac who never get it.


    Were you the one who said you’d read The Wheel of Health? The support for my ‘unsupported conjectures’ is in that book.

  22. Here’s a little food for thought. Today while reviewing ScienceDaily blog entries, I encountered one that reminded me of the China Study data that connects eating wheat with weight gain in humans. This time, though, the weight gain is with horses kept for leisure. Could there be something in “course mix” horse feed that humans also eat? The blog entry is at

  23. The wheat used in India for chapati (the bread Mccarisson used on his rats) is low in gluten ( Apparently Monsanto was trying to patent the strain. Also note that the “Healthy Diet” of the Siks that Maccarisson used was rich in animal fat compared the Madras and Bengal diet that was high in grains and low in fat.
    Jane – If you insist on consuming gluten I suggest that you find a biploid (Eincorn) strain since recent hexaploid starins contain particularly toxic forms of gluten (

  24. After long hours doing my own internet research I found out that my hand eczema was caused by wheat and dairy*. Now that I don’t eat those two (or hardly ever, it’s very difficult to avoid these two) I have so much energy, I am losing weight without even trying (I still eat my normal dose of chocolates) and my digestion has improved a lot (no more smelly winds!).

    I only wish wheat wasn’t so popular. There’s rye flour that doesn’t taste that bad. It’s just a matter of getting used to it.

    *I still eat fresh mozarella cheese and kefir once in a while. They are good to my stomach.

  25. I don’t know … I think people knew a long time ago that bread and macaroni cause obesity. When I came to New York from a different world, I was stunned to see “sophisticated New Yorkers” eating in rather expensive places what they considered healthy food (pasta). I doubted that a change of a name would change the nature of “stuff.”

    1. I just had a thought. According to the above article wheat/gluten is toxic to all human bodies. The people with CD are only showing full blown symptoms. So what if there is a continuum of wheat intolerance sxs and we ALL show it in one way or another and to a lesser or greater degree?

      What is the most prevalent diagnosis among otherwise healthy person of all ages? Allergies. Seasonal allergies to GRASSES and other plants. Asthma being the worst case in this manifestation.

      I would love to see if there is a strong positive correlation between wheat consumption (cripes, how may kids are raised on sandwiches!!) and severe seasonal allergies and asthma.

      The real study would be to follow asthmatic kids who abstain from gluten for a good 6 months. What I wouldn’t give.

  26. Thanks for all your good work!


    A) The first mentioned study’s conclusion is, according to nature[1]:
    “The vegetable-rich food pattern was associated with higher risk of obesity/central obesity in Chinese adults in both genders. This association can be linked to the high intake of energy due to generous use of oil for stir-frying the vegetables.” Oil, not wheat. Does contradict your point. And “can be linked”, not “further research is needed whether it can be linked”.

    [1] =

    B) The second (newer) study is not accessible by the link provided. It could just be made up or contain a few words or numbers that totally contradict your point. Not that I believe that, but believing is not of much help in these issues, is it?! So for the sake of the health of all of us, can anyone point out how to get the study; or proof (not assure by “I saw it”) that this study is what is told on this page?

  27. Psh! Didn’t need a study to tell me that. I dropped a lot of weight when I went wheat (and dairy and corn and nut. . . Mostly soy) free. And not because I was “just eating less” like others said to me! I ate way more than before because I actually had an APPETITE (sign of health) for the first time in years, and wasn’t just eating to keep my blood sugar up. Friends were like, “ok, but how did you REALLY lose weight?”. Grrr. I hate the overall wheat ignorance. Sure, some people can have it, but a lot can’t! Plus, a typical Chinese (healthy- a la Traditional Chinese Medicine) diet doesn’t include wheat really: rice, steamed vegetables, fish, chicken, baked apples and sweet potatoes. . . Where’s the wheat? Oh wait, there isn’t any. Wheat is the devil. Ok it isn’t. But, to me, it is! I think the majority of people’s weight loss from going wheat-free is dropping all that digestive waste.(sorry, gross) that stays in your gut from eating wheat. Just my humble theory. Whatever the studies say, if it works for you, there’s no denying it.

    1. Northern Chinese eat way more wheat (wheat noodles, etc.) than southern Chinese, who eat way more rice and rice products. It would be interesting to study the two populations and compare their health.

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