WSJ recently published an article about gluten. Read it and come back here.
[Try not to have any conniptions when they refer abstaining from wheat and dairy as "restricted".]
Anyhow, what jumped out at me was:
In a novel study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic tested blood samples taken from 9,133 young Air Force recruits in the 1950s and found that about 1 in 700 had undiagnosed celiac disease at that time. Tests on subjects exactly the same age now found that the rate was nearly five times as high today.
"Human genes haven't changed that much, so there has to be something pervasive in the environment that is making this disease more common," says Joseph Murray, a Mayo gastroenterologist who led the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology last year. It may be that people are more susceptible because we are eating much more wheat today—or that wheat is being processed or cultivated differently.
I think there is something to this argument. Namely, environmental factors have changed.
My totally-shoot-from-the-hip guess is that modern wheat has been bred for higher gluten content and therefore gluten's malicious effects are likely amplified.
Is there any evidence for this? If this is the case, why would this be?
Also, anyone know if there were/are substantive differences between European/American wheat? I have an inkling there is/was.
For bonus fun: Anyone have any data on differences in wheat between now and antiquity?