Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease

Perhaps because gastroenterology, immunology, toxicology, and the nutrition and
agricultural sciences are outside of their competence and responsibility, psychologists
and psychiatrists typically fail to appreciate the impact that food can have on their
patients’ condition. Here we attempt to help correct this situation by reviewing, in
non-technical, plain English, how cereal grains—the world’s most abundant food
source—can affect human behavior and mental health. We present the implications
for the psychological sciences of the findings that, in all of us, bread (1) makes
the gut more permeable and can thus encourage the migration of food particles to
sites where they are not expected, prompting the immune system to attack both
these particles and brain-relevant substances that resemble them, and (2) releases
opioid-like compounds, capable of causing mental derangement if they make it to the
brain. A grain-free diet, although difficult to maintain (especially for those that need
it the most), could improve the mental health of many and be a complete cure for

Read Journal Article By Paola Bressan and Peter Kramer