Apart from the estimated 1 percent of populations in Europe and the United States with celiac disease and an estimated 5 to 10 percent who have gluten sensitivity, wheat is safe and healthy to eat, according to the authors of “Does Wheat Make Us Fat and Sick?”, a study that appeared in the Journal of Cereal Science.
“In fact, the research shows that regularly eating whole grain products is healthy and associated with significantly less risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer, and it can also help with long-term weight management,” added Guzmán.
Guzmán works with scientists researching ancient grains and landraces, the predecessors to contemporary wheat that are estimated to be available in about 25,000 different forms. Bread wheat arose from the spontaneous, natural cross-pollination of a primitive wheat with a wild grass, rather than through any scientific intervention.
A recent study titled, “The contribution of wheat to human diet and health” argues that dietary fiber in wheat makes such a vital contribution to human health that research should focus on enhancing the characteristic through breeding.
Nutritionist Julie Miller Jones spoke at CIMMYT’s 50th anniversary conference in September 2016, adding clout to the arguments in favor of whole grain consumption, pointing out benefits and showing how wheat surpasses beef in protein levels. Miller Jones argues that the key to weight loss and good health is to eat a healthy, balanced diet featuring smaller portions and to exercise.
Julie Miller Jones discusses the myths and facts about the benefits of wheat and grain at CIMMYT 50.
Text: Julie Mollins
Contributor: Carlos Guzmán
Photos: Alfonso Cortés, Timothy Krupnik
Graphics: Gerardo Mejía
Editors: Bianca Beks, G. Michael Listman, Julie Mollins, Geneviève Renard