For years, we’ve been taught that eating whole grain foods – from bread to pasta – is what’s best for building good health. And whole grain truly is better than the refined version of foods: more vitamins are retained, a lot more of the beneficial fibre is available. And many would say there is more flavour, as well.
But recently, it seems as though wheat has gone totally out of style. Everywhere you look, you see gluten free this or that.
And not just the gluten free aisle at the grocery store… Many restaurants now feature a no gluten section in their menus. Gluten free birthday parties for the kids, and gluten free snacks for soccer practice.
So what happened? How did we get from whole wheat to no wheat, and how did it happen so quickly?
Likely this move began a number of years back when it was discovered that there seems to be a connection between a child’s ADHD and their diet. And one of the villainous foods turned out to be wheat.
Typically this was a bit rough on both kids and parents, because it was so unusual not to be able to eat bread, or cake, or even that childhood staple, spaghetti. Having to eat differently can really set a kid apart, which is usually the last thing children want to happen. But gradually, this no- wheat requirement became better known, and much less a stigma. But knowledge spread slowly.
And then there was Paleo.
Ridiculed at first, eating like a caveman was touted as the perfect way to lose weight. You could eat red meat. And bacon. Don’t forget the bacon!
The business of weight loss is huge. More than 60 billion dollars spent in the U.S. in 2014 alone. That much money can make for some powerful momentum.
And the Paleo way of eating for weight loss really does work for most people. Especially when vegetables take up at least as much room on the plate as does that coveted meat.
Probably the biggest reason for its ability to help people take off those extra pounds is that sugar and most grains aren’t allowed on the diet.
Humans have likely been eating wheat in many forms for about 10,000 years, and will probably continue to do so. But I’ll wager that having the choice of eating wheat free won’t be going away any time soon.