Opponents Unfairly Target Gluten, Carver SaysMon, 08 Sep 2014 16:36:16 CDT
The gluten free craze continues to be a major concern for the US wheat industry. One of the key spokesman that has been utilized on a national level by wheat organizations is Oklahoma State University Wheat Breeder Dr. Brett Carver. Recently Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm News Director Ron Hays visited with Dr. Carver about the battle over gluten food products in the US. He said the hysteria over gluten free is based on myths. Carver said the primary myth being the gluten or protein that we eat that comes from wheat is not healthy or has been changed. Another myth is that wheat varieties today are gluten rich that it our diet's are overwhelmed with gluten.
"Nothing can be further from the truth," Carver said. "It's really a difficult proposition for us to improve yield and increase protein at the same time."
Carver said the gluten or protein content in wheat has not changed because they are trying to keep it at a certain level, but that has been one myth that has been difficult to dispel. Another myth is that the kind of gluten or protein present in wheat has changed.
"The kind of gluten that is present in our varieties is the same protein that has been present in the older varieties and in the ancestors that contributed to those older varieties,"
Carver said. "We haven't introduced anything new, its just a matter of rearranging, recombining putting different gene combinations together."
"It's the same genes, just different combinations," he said.
Often times supporters of gluten free diets will say that older wheat varieties were better for consumers than wheat varieties grown today. As a result some people are limiting their consumption of wheat products because they are convinced that going to a gluten free diet is better for them. Carver responded by saying varieties grown today in the US are no different in terms of nutrition than they were 40 years ago.
"Sometimes I wonder if the gluten tag falls under the processed food umbrella," Carver said. "For some reason that connection was made somewhere way sometime way back, I don't know how to break that connection....except to say this is how the protein ...gluten has come about in our wheat varieties and really hasn't changed much compared to the old ancestors."
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