The influx of wheat allergies in the United States may not be gluten-related as many have thought, but instead could be attributed to Monsanto’s toxic weed killer known as Roundup. Used as a drying agent, Roundup contains glyphosate, a deadly herbicide that not only kills weeds, but binds to the soil it is sprayed on. It turns out that spraying Roundup on wheat crops at harvest time boosts production, as a result of which farmers are using it more liberally, and Americans are consuming trace amounts of the toxic chemical every time they eat wheat-based products.
Although it is a strong chemical, farmers turn to Roundup as a desiccant to ensure more wheat just before harvest. The glyphosate causes wheat to go to seed as it dies, creating a bigger bounty at harvest time, and ensuring the farmer to be successful for the season. But because of these results, farmers have also increased the use of Roundup during other times of the season, adding even more glyphosate to the wheat crop, which remains with the grain and can even be traced in bread made from it.
In 2013, a study published in the Journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology directly linked the rising presence of glyphosate on wheat with the increase of celiac disease, with an almost identical graph comparison. Studies have shown that Roundup affects helpful bacteria in the stomach and digestive system, preventing it from making important amino acids that aid in digestion (thus causing discomfort and celiac disease). Contrasting this study, many Americans who have claimed to developed celiac disease and gluten intolerance have noted that they did not suffer the same symptoms when ingesting wheat in countries like Italy when on vacation.
To avoid eating Roundup with their bread, consumers can purchase organic, unhybridized Einkorn wheat to satisfy their carb cravings.
Lead image ©Rafaele Tovar