Posted on Fri, 14 Mar 14
If you have digestive problems, switching to an ancient wheat variety may help reduce symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and tiredness according to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
It has been controversially suggested that modern wheat varieties may have been bred for hardiness and pest resistance at the expense of becoming “toxic” to humans. A fascinating new study lends support to this idea.
The study set out to see if symptoms improved when people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were switched from modern wheat to an ancient wheat variety Triticum turgidum subsp. turanicum that is also commonly called "Kamut."
Over 6-weeks a group of people with IBS received products (bread, pasta, biscuits and crackers) made either from ancient or modern wheat and where then assessed for changes in their symptoms and level of inflammation.
Those who switched to the ancient wheat products had significant reductions in IBS symptom including abdominal pain, bloating, improvements in stool consistency and less tiredness. Symptoms didn't change in those eating modern wheat.
Interestingly, the group eating ancient wheat also had a significant reduction in the circulating levels of several pro-inflammatory markers, which may in part explain the improvement in digestive symptoms. Inflammation has been suggested to be related to the development of IBS.
So, if you find wheat is a problem for you, you could try switching to an ancient or old heritage wheat variety like Kamut or Spelt before you embark on a more strict gluten free diet.
Sofi F, Whittaker A, Gori AM, et al. Effect of Triticum turgidum subsp. turanicum wheat on irritable bowel syndrome: a double-blinded randomised dietary intervention trial. Br J Nutr. 2014 Feb 13:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]