The experience of overindulging on pasta in Italy, baguettes in France, or pita in Greece without experiencing any of the ill effects they typically encounter at home seems to be shared by every overseas visitor who regularly follows a Primal style of eating. Even those who have been diagnosed as having a gluten sensitivity can eat wheat abroad. Even while I definitely get a response when I eat anything in the US, whenever I’m in Europe, I enjoy the local cuisine without caring too much. Even though I may not be eating entire baguettes or dishes of pasta, I don’t hesitate to spread raw brie on crusty bread whereas back home, I generally stay away from wheat.
What is happening here? Why does American wheat cause gluten responses in certain people but not European wheat?
There are numerous options available. It involves a number of factors. They are many.
American wheat is higher in gluten.
Without a doubt, this could be the main problem. Hard red wheat is the most common type of wheat farmed in America; it has a lot of protein and, consequently, gluten.
Most of the wheat produced in Europe is soft wheat, which contains less gluten.
Attempting to produce French-style bread with American flour was a common complaint of Julia Child. Because the American products had an excessive amount of gluten, she was unable to complete the task.
American wheat is covered in glyphosate.
Perhaps the most widely used pesticide in the world is glyphosate. Desiccation, though, is another intriguing application for it. American farmers frequently spray their wheat with glyphosate to “dry it out” in order to get it ready for harvest. Wheat that has been desiccated travels and keeps better than fresh wheat. The field can be sprayed with glyphosate considerably more quickly and profitably than it can be allowed to air dry. While in Europe, where some nations have outright prohibited or severely regulated the use of glyphosate, this approach is less common. The average wheat product in America is more likely to have glyphosate residues than the typical wheat product in Europe.
According to the official narrative, glyphosate is completely non-toxic to people and inert in them since it interferes with a biological mechanism essential to insects and other pests but absent in mammals. This is deceptive. The process, also known as the shikimate pathway, is crucial for bacteria. The trillions and billions of bacteria that live inside of us—despite the fact that we are not bacteria—modify our immune system, protect us from pathogens, produce nutrients and neurotransmitters, communicate with our brains via the gut-brain axis, and digest and eliminate problematic food ingredients like gluten.
Our gut microorganisms can be damaged by glyphosate or even eliminated. It has been demonstrated that certain of these bacteria, including those in the bifidobacterium genus, can digest whole gluten proteins. 1
The amino acid glycine serves as the building block of numerous proteins in the body, including trypsin, a protease (protein-digesting enzyme) that aids in the digestion of gluten. Glyphosate also has the capacity to mimic glycine. Trypsin doesn’t function as intended if glyphosate enters the glycine-normally-occupied region, which causes gluten digestion to deteriorate. 2
These are rational explanations for how glyphosate might interfere with the digestion of gluten. They are not established. But you have to wonder, don’t you?
American wheat is grown in sulfur-deficient soils.
As is well known, the majority of the allergic reaction to consuming wheat is caused by the gluten subfraction gliadin. 3 We don’t know, however, whether sulfur levels in the soil can affect how much gliadin is present in wheat. The quantity of allergenic gliadin proteins that wheat produces over the course of its life cycle is controlled by the sulfur content of the soil. 4 More gliadin in the gluten, less sulfur in the soil. Less gliadin in the gluten, more sulfur in the soil. A person will respond to eating wheat more strongly the more gliadin there is in the gluten.
Kansas, Washington, and North Dakota are the three states in America that produce the most wheat. All three of these states have either low or insufficient sulfur levels in their soils, which means the wheat they produce is likely to include more gliadin than is typical, as shown by the soil sulfur map in the lower right corner of the image.
Recall how gliadin is the part of gluten that causes celiac disease and gluten sensitivity? It turns out that the varieties of wheat flour most commonly used in European wheat products have lower gliadin and higher glutenin levels (the other component of gluten that has little to no allergenicity). Semolina, which is used to make pasta, and soft wheat flour, which is used in European breads, both contain less gliadin than hard wheat (used in the US). 5
You’re more likely to eat high-quality stuff on vacation.
You don’t eat the mass-produced bread from the grocery store when you’re traveling. Snack cakes are not sold at gas stations. You’re eating at the outstanding pizzeria Anthony Bourdain previously visited in a “No Reservations” episode. You’re purchasing baguettes from the renowned bakery that your traveling companions suggested you visit. And those establishments, the more traditional ones that serve products made from wheat, are more likely to use wheat and other ingredients of higher quality and undergo less processing. The usage of natural leavening, which aids in the digestion of the gluten, will be more prevalent.
You don’t dine out every night when you’re at home. You are not eating artisanal food; you are eating basic food. You specifically, perhaps, but my readers are a unique breed. However, the typical person who complains about gluten sensitivity at home rather than abroad is probably consuming typical grocery store wheat goods at home and is being exposed to all the glyphosate and fast-rising yeast that is ineffective at breaking down gluten.
The difference won’t be as noticeable if you compare it to an artisanal loaf of sourdough from your local farmer’s market. However, it is obvious that you will fall short if you contrast the French baguette produced by the fifth generation artisan with a loaf of Wonderbread back home. There are apples and oranges.
Although there are many cheaper, mass-produced wheat goods accessible in Europe, you generally won’t run into them if you’re just taking a vacation.
You’re walking more.
The amount of walking you undertake when on vacation in Europe is underrated. You are staying in old towns that predate the invention of the automobile. They were made with pedestrians in mind. They are teeming with tiny lanes and winding streets studded with intriguing businesses that beckon strolls. They are lovely to just stroll through. I typically walk 8 to 10 miles a day when I’m in Europe. The actions just occur.
While it might not directly lessen wheat’s allergenicity, it does have an impact on how you react to it. You move more frequently and at a slower rate while you’re active, which helps your digestion. Walking regularly helps you control your blood sugar levels, which may have an impact on how wheat, a food that is clearly heavy in carbohydrates, affects your metabolism. Eating a baguette while sitting on your behind is very different than eating one while strolling for five kilometres admiring the stunning architecture.
You’re less stressed.
When you’re traveling, work is the last thing on your mind. The commute is absent. The youngsters don’t need to be hurried into getting ready for school. Bills are not a problem. Additionally, you likely took care of all that needed to be done before leaving on the trip in order to avoid having anything cloud the experience. Why is this significant for gluten sensitivity?
Which type of flour is used in Europe?
In Europe, durum wheat is primarily used to make semolina and pasta, while soft wheat is primarily used to make flour and bread.
Do European and American flours compare favorably?
However, in Europe, we define flour in more ways than only fineness. Additionally, European flours are labeled based on their protein level (AKA gluten).
It’s important to consider the gluten content, especially while baking. These proteins combine to form gooey, sticky elastic webs that may hold onto air and cause dough to rise. More water is absorbed by flour the higher the gluten content. More gluten proteins bind as a result of the water it takes in. The dough expands and rises more as a result of the proteins’ increased affinity. The gluten in flour is referred to as having “strength” in baking. More gluten in the wheat is seen as “stronger,” whereas less gluten in the flour is regarded as “weaker.”
A W-value is used to gauge the strength of flour. A weak flour typically only contains 89% protein, or a W-value between 90 and 180. Super strong (also known as super glutinous) flour has a maximum protein content of 1516%, or a W-value between W 350380.
Because of this, it is not sufficient to state that “All-Purpose Flour is similar to X flour in Italy.” Due to the possibility that two flours with the same fineness may not have the same strength (and vice versa). The fact that European bakers have more control over their flour’s composition and gluten content is another reason why their baking is more exact.
Naturally, there is a relationship between strength and refinement—more specifically, an inverse relationship. In other words, flour tends to be stronger the less refined it is. This is due to the bran and germ, which together make up 25% of the grain’s protein (the small germ contains 2435% protein). Therefore, whole-wheat flour, which contains the protein-rich germ, tends to have more protein than ultra-refined flour, which is virtually exclusively constituted of starchy endosperm.
The protein level, however, is not only a result of flour refinement. The type of wheat grown and the time of year it was grown are both significant considerations. Naturally, soft, white wheat has less protein than hard, red wheat. Additionally, wheat cultivated in winter has a tendency to be more robust than wheat planted in spring.
The ultra-refined “00 flour made from hard, red winter wheat can therefore have more protein than Type 2 (also known as Whole Wheat) flour made from white, soft spring wheat, even though refined flours generally have less protein.
American flour is often much stronger than European flour and has significantly higher levels of protein because the majority of it is made from hard, red wheat, and 70.8 percent of it is winter wheat (i.e. gluten).
What distinguishes German flour from American flour?
German flours are often categorized by their ash level, while American flours are typically categorized by their gluten concentration. The amount of minerals that are still present in the flour after combustion is known as the ash content. As a result, it is impossible to provide you with a precise substitute chart.
German cooking frequently uses the following types of wheat flour:
This information is based on measurements made by the Technical University of Munich on the gluten content of every kind of wheat, grain, and beer accessible in Germany. Ironically, the wheat flour with the lowest gluten level is German type 550 flour, which I typically refer to as robust bread flour on my site.
What is the alternative term for 00 flour?
Finely ground Italian flour known as double zero flour, often referred to as doppio zero or 00 flour, is frequently used to produce pasta and pizza dough. The range of grind sizes in Italy and the rest of Europe is from double zero to two. The finest grind is double zero, while the coarsest is two.