Reference Number: 414
Intolerance & Sensitivity: Allergies
A number of studies have suggested that ancient wheats have health benefits compared with modern bread wheat. However, the mechanisms are unclear and limited numbers of genotypes have been studied, with a particular focus on Kamut® (Khorasan wheat). This is important because published analyses have shown wide variation in composition between genotypes, with further effects of growth conditions. The present article therefore critically reviews published comparisons of the health benefits of ancient and modern wheats, in relation to the selection and growth of the lines, including dietary interventions and comparisons of adverse effects (allergy, intolerance, sensitivity). It is concluded that further studies are urgently required, particularly from a wider range of research groups, but also on a wider range of genotypes of ancient and modern wheat species. Furthermore, although most published studies have made efforts to ensure the comparability of material in terms of growth conditions and processing, it is essential that these are standardised in future studies and this should perhaps be a condition of publication.
What does this mean for bakers?
“Given the limited number of human trials, it is not possible to definitely conclude that ancient wheat varieties are superior to all modern counterparts in reducing chronic disease”, but for some people with specific issues, they might find one grain easier to digest than another, but it is fun to bake with heritage gains and they bring different flavours and textures to the bread so it is worth experimenting.