Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The Trouble with Bread

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The Trouble with Bread

Article excerpt

The Trouble With Bread By Maggie Beidelman. $195. Bullfrog Films. Oley, PA. 2013. ISBN: 9781941545130.

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Food advertisements, supermarket displays, and restaurant menus increasingly highlight foods, particularly bread, that are gluten-free. Gluten consists of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, which join to form a mesh that helps produce good bread. Since bakers prefer it, wheat is bred for high-gluten content. Several years ago, when Maggie Beidelman lived in France, she ate a lot of bread with no problems. Today, eating most kinds of bread makes her sick. For people like Maggie, eating bread can cause nausea, stomachache, and exhaustion. In this fascinating video, she relates her story while tracing the history of wheat cultivation and bread making.

The foundation of meals for 10,000 years, bread is a staple worldwide. Wheat, the main ingredient in bread, makes up about 20% of our diet. It is highly nutritious, providing fiber (bran), energy (endosperm), and oils (germ). But 95% of wheat is refined, and the healthiest parts, bran and germ (which help digest gluten), are removed, leaving unhealthy white flour. Because of higher gluten levels, wheat products have become more difficult to digest, and gluten intolerance has become a major health problem. Some who are glucose intolerant have celiac disease, an autoimmune condition where the intestinal villi attack each other, causing an inability to absorb materials. This condition is four times more common today than it was 60 years ago. Allergies have also increased over the years, leading to speculation that our immune systems just don't work as they once did. …

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