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Gluten Free able to eat wheat in Italy. Better wheat there?

Hi Special Diet Hounds!
I have a friend (friend #1) who is Gluten free and Dairy free. She in turn has a friend (friend #2) who is also GF and recently traveled to Italy. While in Italy, friend #2 found that she could eat almost anything that had gluten in it and she was fine. So friend #1 asked me, the resident Italian, why this would be. I told her that I have no doubt the kind of wheat they use is much better than in the U.S. and certainly not GMO. I told her she could try using some "00" (double zero) flour imported from Italy in her cooking and see what happens.

What do you all think of that?

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  1. i'm no expert, but that would lead me to believe she has a sensitivity/allergy to something else related to the wheat products she's eating at home, and not gluten itself.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dinaofdoom

      Very good point, thank you. I never thought of that.

      1. re: pdxgastro

        the EU has a lot more restrictions on preservatives, colorings and flavors. my hunch tells me something like that is the culprit.

    2. I have a friend struggling with multiple allergies who found that she could eat many of her "sensitive" foods in Europe. After very extensive testing, it turned out that she cannot handle some of the substances that are put into our foods as enhancements--specifically some of the substances used as vitamins. Not that vitamins are bad, but she can't handle the commonly used substrate, which is not used in Europe.

      1. I think you're right about GMO vs. non-GMO, but, I've given up on food supply politics. I'm sure the politicians in Italy are a little more concerned with food quality than their U.S. counterparts.

        Two major sources of wheat sensitivity are wheat germ agglutinin and gluten. So, friend #1's specific problem may not be the same as friend #2's specific problem. They may be "an apple and an orange".

        Those same two sources of wheat sensitivity commonly coincide with a leaky gut. It might take years to develop a leaky gut to the point of having symptoms and taking actions, such as going gluten free. After being gluten free, the leaky gut is allowed to heal, and one might be able to eat wheat without symptoms, for a time. So, friend #2 was emboldened to take a risk with non-GMO wheat. She might have had the same, favorable results with GMO wheat. We don't know. Furthermore, we don't know whether the supposedly safe non-GMO wheat will make her gut permeable over the longer term, just as the GMO wheat had. Her symptoms might return.

        There are other confounding factors as well, such as the manner in which the wheat was processed and/or prepared.

        Genetic modification is often implicated as the cause of the increasing problems we are having with wheat. But, the hybridization is also commonly implicated. Maybe the wheat grown in Italy is not technically GMO, but, the dominant variety might still be the high yield dwarf that is of lesser quality than varieties available 50 years ago. You tell me.

        Based on the actions of the folks in charge of our food supply, I can see where one might assume that nobody knows what is going on. But, it seems like some pretty good research has been done.

        You might want to ignore the following articles if you would like to continue eating wheat. I think Paul Jaminet paints a particularly pessimistic picture.

        Mark Sisson's crash course in exactly why modern wheat in particular is a problem (Oct 18 2012):
        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-pr...

        Paul Jaminet's "Wheat is a Cause of Many Diseases" series part I (of three) (Oct 26 2010):
        http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/10/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: johnseberg

          the leaky gut and healing points make sense, too.

        2. I think GMOs having nothing to do with it.

          1. mind over matter?

            It could be the strain of wheat but ya right european wheat is not gmo.

            1. Also keep in mind that something on the order of 30 to 70% of the durum wheat used to make dried pasta in Italy is grown in the U.S. and Canada. Just because one eats it in Italy doesn't mean it was sourced there.

              1. Please excuse my belated interest in wheat sensitivity, but, I have also recently read the following, which may be of interest.

                Anson Mills "About Wheat" page (brief mention of gluten sensitivity at the bottom):
                http://ansonmills.com/grain_notes/14

                Sourdough is Magic thread from this forum:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892283

                1. I just noticed this post about a recent study of "ancient" vs. "modern" wheat - effects on IBS.

                  Looks like the bottom line is - IBS symptoms improved on the "ancient" wheat.

                  Further relevant to this thread, in that the authors were representative of Careggi University Hospital (Florence, Italy) and University of Florence.

                  http://freetheanimal.com/2014/02/will...

                  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24...