|Regular wheat (left) and khorasan (right) look almost alike, well, if we go by the reputation of "lighter = unhealthier", the healthy "paleo wheat" would actually look like the worse choice, but studies show, it is the exact opposite.|
As Whittaker et al. point out in the prelude to their latest article in the Open Access journal nutrients, patients with ACS are at particularly high risk of both fatal and non-fatal recurrent cardiovascular events despite stringent medical therapies (Whittaker. 2015).
It is thus obvious that any dietary and/or lifestyle changes that could reduce the incidence of Acute Coronary Syndrome could be a literal lifesaver. In the experiment Anne Whittaker and her colleagues describe in the previously mentioned paper, the scientists from the University of Florence examined whether replacing regular wheat products with organic khorasan wheat (aka Kamut(R), which is a commercially available version of khorosan wheat), an ancient grain with previously reported health benefits in clinically healthy subjects, could be this lifesaver and can provide additive protective effects in reducing lipid, oxidative and inflammatory risk factors, in patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) in comparison to a similar replacement diet using products made from organic modern wheat.
The experiment was a randomized double-blinded crossover trial with two intervention phases that involved 22 ACS patients (9 F; 13 M) who were assigned to consume products (bread, pasta, biscuits and crackers) made either from organic semi-whole khorasan wheat or organic semi-whole control wheat for eight weeks in a random order.
|Figure 1: Rel. pre- vs. post-changes in markers of lipid and glucose metabolism (Whittaker. 2015).|
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"An eight-week washout period was implemented between the respective interventions. Blood analyses were performed both at the beginning and end of each intervention phase; thereby permitting a comparison of both the khorasan and control intervention phases, respectively, on circulatory risk factors for the same patient" (Whittaker. 2015).
The results of the study are - at least in my humble opinion - quite surprising: The consumption of the khorasan wheat products resulted in a significant reduction in total cholesterol (−6.8%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (−8.1%) glucose (−8%) and insulin (−24.6%) from baseline levels, independently of age, sex, traditional risk factors, medication and diet quality.
|Figure 2: Changes in markers of inflammation (L-, M-derived ROS, TNF-alpha), anti-oxidant defenses (TAC), and lipid oxidation (L-, M-lipoperox) after 8 weeks on the respective diets (Whittaker. 2015).|
- Carnevali, Andrea, et al. "Role of Kamut® brand khorasan wheat in the counteraction of non-celiac wheat sensitivity and oxidative damage." Food Research International 63 (2014): 218-226.
- Whittaker, Anne, et al. "An Organic Khorasan Wheat-Based Replacement Diet Improves Risk Profile of Patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome: A Randomized Crossover Trial." Nutrients 7.5 (2015): 3401-3415.