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Louisa on It may not be what's in the wheat but what's on it. :
Yes. This is not news to us. We live in a potato gro... »

It may not be what's in the wheat but what's on it.

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

Gut health - it's the on trend research subject that everyone is talking about. How do we maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria in our body? Diet is the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to gut health with many health practitioners recommending, amongst other things, removing wheat and gluten, found in other grain-based foods, from the diet. New research however attempts to pin the blame, not on the wheat itself, but glyphosate residue used to spray against weeds.

For many years we've understood the importance of gut health and its role in digestion, but we now know that a healthy balance of gut microbes extends way beyond breaking down food into vitamins and minerals. Gut bacteria - of which we have 10 times more than body cells -acts as a barrier of defence against predatory microorganisms which threaten the body and are central to maintaining a strong immune function and good physiological and psychological health.

If you watched the recent two part Catalyst TV show on ABC you would have seen Dr Joanna McMillan and her associates at Sydney University analyse the range of bacteria, good and bad, in a couple of subjects, one with debilitating IBS, the other with chronic obesity. The program showed that both tested had an imbalance of bad bacteria which over the time of filming improved with a change in diet. While we've known for some time that diet improves gut function, new science helps us to identify the types of gut bacteria in the body and specifically which bacteria are the good and which are bad.

As you would expect the dietary advice recommended is to increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, cut out junk food, and processed carbs, include lean protein and good fats and include fibre-rich wholegrains and legumes.

Yesterday, while driving and I caught the tail end of an interview on Radio National about glyphosate residue and its effect on gut bacteria. It's alarming, controversial and, if the interviewee is right, will trigger a class action as big as the tobacco industry faced all those years ago. Annoyingly I can't find a transcribe of the interview suffice to say it presented a compelling case for going 100% organic and could explain the increasing number of people suffering from impaired gut function and conditions such as celiac disease, IBS, food and other allergies, autism and depression.

Glyphosate herbicide, widely used in Australia under the brand name Roundup is a weed killer and is linked to an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria leading to the conditions listed above. Its use is prohibited in Australia during late harvest, just before the grain is harvested, however some grain producers are lobbying for this ban to be lifted and some farmers are spraying their crops regardless of the ban in an attempt to protect their crops from being overrun by weeds.

Today European farmers are heaving a sigh of relief as the decision to ban the use of glyphosates has been delayed once more. It has already been banned in countries such as Malta, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands and Argentina.
In Europe the decision to ban their use was halted because they can't conclusively say that glyphosates cause cancer or mutations however if this new research stacks up, the long term health effects may be just as debilitating. It's another nudge at farmers and industry to consider how Mother Nature can best nurture their plants.

Although my budget does not extend to going 100% organic I do buy organic sourdough bread - at great expense - and other organic grains - but not (until yesterday) for the reasons listed above.

I buy organic bread because it tastes better, doesn't give me wind like commercial bread does and I fill up on one or two (expensive) slices and don't overeat.

As a consequence I may also have spared my gut bacteria from a calamitous fate.


Oct 27 2017 12:06PM
Yes. This is not news to us. We live in a potato growing area & they use glyphosate to 'desiccate' (kill) the green potato plant tops just a couple of days prior to harvest. Apparently this is to control the crop size to comply with supermarket giant requirements, maybe to aid harvest. Needless to say, we only buy organic (there are organic local farmers), but eating out is not so reliable.
Comment by: Louisa

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