The term gluten intolerance may refer to three types of human disorders: autoimmune celiac disease (CD), allergy to wheat and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Gluten is a mixture of proteins present mostly in wheat, but also in barley, rye and oat.
Celiac disease is an immune response to these proteins that results in various symptoms causing discomfort. It is believed that this occurs in genetically predisposed people.
Gluten allergy and sensitivity could also be as a result of being genetically predisposed, but scientists believe it is more likely due to environmental changes, higher protein (gluten) levels in modern wheats, the pesticides and herbicides used in food production and the changing methods of food production & processing.
What happened to sourdough?
An example of the changes in food production is the processing of bread – until very recently, in evolutionary terms, we would have been consuming different forms of Sourdough. A version of Sourdough dates back to the Egyptians. In producing sourdough, the process of fermentation breaks down certain proteins in the gluten like gliadin making it less toxic to the body. With modern production we now see yeasts and sugar added to make bread more rapidly and the process of gliadin breakdown is reduced.
There is also the modern practice of using Crop Desiccants. Pre-harvest crop desiccation refers to the application of an agent to a crop just before it is harvested to kill the leaves and/or plants so that the crop dries out from environmental conditions (“dry-down”) more quickly and evenly. In agriculture, the term desiccant is applied to an agent that promotes dry down, thus the agents used are herbicides like glyphosate (Round Up) and/or defoliants used to artificially accelerate the drying of plant tissues. Desiccation of crops through the use of herbicides is practiced worldwide on a variety of food and non-food crops.