Food sensitivities are more complex than we first give them credit to. It is certainly more common to have one or more food sensitivities these days. Often, people will experience digestive discomfort, which pulls them away from a specific food(s). Others may experience a slight change in overall vitality – poor concentration, interference in thought, lethargy. All changes beg the question, “Is it the food or compromised digestion?”
There are several reasons we become sensitive to foods: We’ve eaten them in excess, we have a compromised digestive system and/or the foods have been modified. One experience can certainly lead to another. For example, let’s use the highly publicized gluten sensitivity to make sense of this. It’s key to note that gluten sensitivity is different from Celiac Disease in which the person has a measurable autoimmune reaction.
Gluten is simply a protein found in grains. However, it is what makes the finished good soft and pliable. Gluten is what gives bread its bouncy texture (drop a loaf of bread on the floor and it absorbs the impact, bouncing slightly). Gluten has always been a part of the plant. However, never has the American public eaten gluten in such excess. Not only is it now used in thousands of processed foods (meats, sauces, soups, condiments) but the majority of wheat grown has been hybridized to contain more gluten. Bread used to be a health food, sustaining civilizations for generations. Now, all we get is a loaf that makes us feel full but has little to no health benefits whatsoever.
Because our digestive system is constantly bombarded with such, it itself begins to break down. The food negatively affects the pH of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, detrimentally changing the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines and overtime changing enzyme production. This, in turn, can have a profound impact on the lining of our GI tract eventually affecting nutrient absorption. And to think that’s not all!
Wheat, which contains gluten, has been hybridized (crossing different strains to generate new characteristics), backcrossed (repeated crossing to winnow out a specific trait) and hybridized with non-wheat plants. This is different than genetic modification but just as unpredictable and difficult to control. Hybridizing wheat with non-wheat plants introduces entirely unique genes. As we’ve seen with genetic modification, a change in genetic code within the food has been shown to cause organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated ageing and infertility, to name a few. The change in structure of the food alone creates digestive distress.
- Davis, William. “Wheat is not genetically modified.” Wheat Belly Blog, 14 Feb. 2012. www.wheatbellyblog.com
- Smith, Jeffrey. “GMOs in Food.” Institute for Responsible Technology. www.responsibletechnology.org
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