What is the difference between American vs. European Wheat and its impact on digestion?

Introduction
When travelers from the US venture to Europe and consume wheat-based products, they often notice a surprising change: no bloating, fewer digestive problems, and even no weight gain. What makes European wheat so different from its American counterpart? In this blog post, we'll explore the fascinating contrast between "American wheat vs. European wheat" consumption and the profound implications it has on digestive health and overall well-being.

The Gluten Disparity: Understanding the Impact on Digestive Health
The primary distinction between American wheat and European wheat lies in their gluten content. American wheat, with its prominent red wheat variety, contains higher levels of gluten, which has been linked to gut-related issues like bloating, and inflammation. On the other hand, European countries predominantly use white wheat, which has significantly lower gluten levels, resulting in reduced digestive discomfort among consumers.

The lower gluten content in European wheat allows individuals with sensitivities to enjoy wheat-based foods without the usual unpleasant side effects experienced when consuming American wheat products.

Agricultural Practices: Glyphosate Exposure and Its Effects
Another crucial factor that sets American wheat apart from its European counterpart is the agricultural practices employed during wheat production. While American wheat is not genetically modified, it is often exposed to glyphosate, a chemical commonly used on genetically modified crops. Despite claims that glyphosate is safe for humans, it poses a threat to the delicate balance of our gut microbiome, potentially disrupting digestion and overall health.

European countries have adopted a more proactive approach by banning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and glyphosate. Prioritizing consumer well-being and environmental preservation, European wheat practices aim to offer wheat products with minimal disturbances to our digestive systems.

Red Wheat Characteristics: A Closer Look at this Prominent Wheat Variety
Delving deeper into the varieties themselves, red wheat is renowned for its bold color and nutrient-rich profile. Soft and fluffy, red wheat offers a longer shelf life, making it a staple in American wheat production. However, its higher gluten content can be problematic for those with gluten sensitivities or digestive issues.

In contrast, European white wheat exhibits a lighter color and a milder flavor profile. With less gluten and a more delicate texture, it provides a gentler option for individuals looking to enjoy wheat-based foods without digestive discomfort.

Fortification Matters: Iron Enrichment in American Wheat
Iron fortification is a common practice employed to enhance the nutritional value of refined grain products in the US. Unfortunately, the type of iron used in this process is not easily absorbed by our bodies, leading to its accumulation in the gut and the growth of undesirable pathogenic bacteria.

In contrast, European countries choose not to fortify their wheat products. This approach reflects a deeper understanding of the potential risks associated with nutrient enrichment, as they aim to preserve the delicate balance of the gut and promote overall digestive health.

Conclusion
The difference between American wheat and European wheat holds crucial insights into our digestive health and overall well-being. By being aware of these distinctions, you can make informed choices about your wheat consumption, regardless of whether you're traveling or enjoying familiar dishes at home.

Prioritizing your digestive health and understanding the impact of agricultural practices and fortification methods can lead to a more comfortable and enjoyable eating experience. Next time you indulge in wheat-based products, consider the source of your wheat.


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  • Scott Sossaman on

    David Thurston’s and Martin Cardozo’s comments are spot on. As a wheat grower in the American Southwest, we grow both ancient and modern varieties of hard red’s and soft white wheat for bread, pasta, and crackers. We also harvest, clean, process and mill all of our own flour and whole grains. We use Roundup (which contains Glysophate) on our fields as a preemergent and has no effect on humans because the Glysophates are gone by the time the grain is harvested. We also use good ’ole fashion cow manure as fertilizer. The use of Glysophates has been studied by the EPA for 40+ years and they have found no evidence that it is a carcinogen or endocrine inhibitor. This piece, while in some respects is generally true, it is fear inducing aimed at folks who are uniformed about farming and the food processing chain.

  • Ruth O. on

    I just recently came back from Spain and I ate more bread while there than I am used to, in part because it just tasted good to me and in part because I was not feeling inflated and with achy joints the way I feel when I eat too much bread here at home. So I think this article has some truth to it. It makes sense! Having just experienced European bread I can feel the difference. I don’t know anything about chemicals added to the bread here or the agricultural practices either here or Europe, but I know how I feel, and it makes me sad that here at home I feel bloated and generally not great after I eat bread.

  • Carol Louise Graham on

    I Europe they do not use roundup to kill the plant so they can harvest sooner!

  • David Thurston on

    I like your products but am disappointed by the misinformation listed above. Firstly, Europe imports about $200 million worth of US wheat annually while the US also imports from them. As for the differences in wheat varieties, Europe also grows more than just soft wheat. Southern Italy, for example, grows almost exclusively hard wheat for pasta. Then, the glyphosate issue is just fear-mongering. There exists no evidence that it has any bearing on human sensitivity. The reality of glyphosate usage on US wheat is that, though it is approved for all US wheat, it is only used on less that 3% of all wheat acres and exceedingly sparingly at that, leaving such trace amounts that they can only be measured in parts per billion. This piece on US vs European wheat has a very cut-and-paste-from-mommy-blog feel.

  • Rosemarie Gold on

    My comment is on Rye Bread:
    your Rye Bread is nothing like the Rye I’m used to!!



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