Field of ancient grains known as Kamut wheat with a poppy by the Healthy RD

Is Kamut Gluten Different than Modern Gluten?

Is KAMUT gluten better for you than other kinds of wheat?  KAMUT® wheat, also known as khorasan wheat, is an ancient grain that has been eaten for thousands of years. 

Could this ancient wheat be the answer to having pasta again?  

If you are like me, you have come to realize that gluten-containing foods can be problematic for a number of reasons.  

Gluten sensitivity is real and really common.  In this post, learn about KAMUT wheat gluten and how it compares to modern wheat.

What is KAMUT?

Wheat is not one, but many species.  KAMUT wheat (Triticum turgidum or Triticum turanicum) is considered an ancient grain, along with einkorn, emmer, and spelt. 

KAMUT (khorasan wheat), is grown only on certified organic farms and is also genetically different from modern wheat.  

Genes matter: KAMUT is tetraploid grain, meaning it has 4 pairs of chromosomes, totaling 28.  In contrast, modern wheat is hexaploid or 6 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 42 chromosomes [R].  

KAMUT is derived from wild grasses.  In contrast, modern whole grain wheat has never been found in the wild because it has been hybridized. 

Believed to be cultivated for over 12,000 years, khorasan wheat is considered to be one of the first crops in the Neolithic period, perhaps even eaten in the Paleolithic period  [R].  In contrast, modern wheat of today has only been developed since the twentieth century.  

Khorasan wheat came back into popularity by an organic wheat farmer in Montana, who trademarked KAMUT so that it would always be grown in an ancient, sustainable and organic way. 

 

Modern Wheat Versus KAMUT Wheat

Modern wheat is far removed from the whole wheat that our ancestors ate. 

It is:

  • Genetically altered many times/over- hybridized
  • Often heavily sprayed
  • Gets treated with chemical fertilizers
  • Grown in less-than-sustainable ways
  • Contains 3 times more gluten than ancient grains

In contrast, KAMUT® wheat, also known as khorasan wheat, is one of the organic ancient grains that is an ancient durum wheat.  

Where modern wheat is hybridized many times over and sometimes sprayed with heavy chemicals, it is like comparing apples to oranges when compared to KAMUT wheat. 

KAMUT wheat is believed to come from a burial chamber from ancient Egypt, essentially unchanged from thousands of years ago [R].  

Trademarked as KAMUT®, you are guaranteed the right strain of khorasan wheat.  Under this trademark, you are also getting an organic grain that is certified USDA organic. 

Is KAMUT Gluten Free?

No.  While KAMUT is quite different than most wheat, it contains gluten.  People with celiac disease need to avoid KAMUT and all avoid gluten-containing grains and products [R]. 

If you have gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance, on the other hand, there is a chance you may tolerate KAMUT gluten flour products better than modern wheat, according to research [R]. 

KAMUT Nutrition

Rich in nutrients, KAMUT is nutritionally superior in most ways to modern crops of wheat.  For example, KAMUT is [R] [R]:

  • Better at reducing oxidative stress
  • Higher fiber 
  • Contains more minerals
    • Potassium
    • Magnesium
    • selenium 
    • Zinc
    • Iron
  • Higher in vitamin E
  • Has more antioxidants
    • Polyphenols
    • Flavonoids
    • Carotenoids
  • Has more protein

For a full breakdown of KAMUT nutrition facts, visit Kamut.com.

KAMUT Better for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

One study has shown that KAMUT grain products result in less irritable bowel syndrome symptoms than people eating modern wheat over a 6 week period [R]. 

They had:

  • Less intensity of pain 
  • Less frequency of pain
  • Less bloating
  • Better quality of life 
  • Less pro-inflammatory cytokines
    •  IL-6
    •  IL-17
    •  Interferon-γ
    •  vascular endothelial growth factor 

All told, KAMUT appears to be easier to digest than modern wheat.

Is KAMUT Gluten Different?

Ancient grains like KAMUT flour have a slightly different type of gluten than typical whole wheat products.  

The type of gluten in KAMUT may cause less immune reactions or allergies because there is less T-cell responsiveness to KAMUT gluten than modern wheat [R]. 

With less chromosomes, KAMUT is thought to have less potential to over-stimulate the immune system and may have less concern for people with autoimmune disorders than most wheat on the market today [R].  

That said, there is more total gluten in KAMUT than modern wheat. Some people need to avoid gluten altogether; people with celiac disease and those with severe gluten allergies need to follow a gluten free diet.  

Bottom line: People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also need to avoid KAMUT wheat products, but cautious trials of KAMUT may prove easier on the belly than modern wheat. 

Kamut Health Benefits Infographic by The Healthy RD

Allergies and Sensitivities to Other Compounds

Gluten is just part of the story when it comes to wheat and many types of grains. 

For people with difficulties tolerating wheat or wheat allergy, they can be sensitive to gluten and/or other aspects of wheat, including [R]:

  • FODMAPS like fructans
  • Wheat germ agglutinin
  • Amylase trypsin inhibitors
  • Lectins

These compounds, in varying ways, make it hard to digest foods well.  They can cause intestinal intolerance of grains, including KAMUT grain.  

Gluten-free grains don’t always fare better for GI irritants either: corn contains as much or more fructans than wheat!

Bottom line:  grains can cause belly issues in some individuals, including KAMUT whole grain.  You can soak and ferment your grains to reduce these hard-to-digest compounds. 

KAMUT Better for Diabetes?

Research shows that KAMUT may be better than modern wheat for diabetes.  

For example, people admitted to the hospital for heart issues were given modern wheat or Kamut wheat.  The group getting the KAMUT resulted in less spike in glucose (8% less) and insulin (25% less) [R]. 

This was a small study but points to the fact that KAMUT ancient grain is likely healthier than most wheat flour out there for diabetes. 

Is KAMUT Heart Healthy? 

KAMUT flour has been compared to your average wheat flour in regards to heart health as well.  Two small studies have found that KAMUT reduces the harmful LDL cholesterol better than whole wheat flour.  

Both studies showed that it reduced LDL by about 8% more than common whole wheat [R]. 

Antioxidant status was improved and markers of inflammation were also reduced in the Kamut group [R]. 

Personal Experience with KAMUT Gluten

Having a wheat sensitivity, I have been on a gluten-free diet for health reasons for over 5 years.  While I still try to be careful with eating KAMUT, I find that small amounts are typically ok and I enjoy having the ability to have some foods with wheat again.  

I can’t say for sure that you will have the same experience as me, but if you don’t have celiac disease or severe wheat allergy, adding KAMUT products may be worth a try.  Start slow and give your body a few days to see how you feel.   

Still, if you have any autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s, multiple sclerosis, or others, I would recommend sticking with a gluten free diet for at least 6 months before adding in KAMUT. 

*To help with digestion, I recommend soaking and fermenting KAMUT berries as a good way to introduce them into your diet. This helps to reduce the digestive distress of any grains. Following a mitochondria diet can also help digestion. 

Still, if you can’t tolerate KAMUT, a good option is fermented rice.

Learn More

It is important to learn where your food comes from.  The story of KAMUT khorasan wheat and how one farmer changed the health of his soil, started the grassroots effort of organic farming, and supported his community is written in the book called Grain by Grain.

Summary

KAMUT wheat is healthier than modern wheat because it has more antioxidants, nutrients, and it is raised organically. This is important because chemicals in foods are harmful for our health. In addition, KAMUT may reduce inflammation, be easier on the gut than most kinds of wheat, and may help reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Make sure to avoid all gluten, including KAMUT, if you have celiac disease or severe gluten allergy.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.  Make sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your health routine.

 

How to Find KAMUT?

Ancient grains are still relatively hard to find in most supermarkets today.  I have compiled a few of my favorite Kamut grain products here for you to review on Amazon.

{As an Amazon Affiliate, I make income on qualifying purchases}

Grain Place Foods Organic KAMUT Berries

*Whole grain KAMUT berries for sprouting, fermenting, and more.

Find on Amazon

Bob’s Red Mill Organic KAMUT khorasan wheat flour

*makes a great bread flour

Find on Amazon

Shiloh Farms KAMUT Flakes

*Great for a warm organic hot cereal

Find on Amazon

 

Nature’s Path Khorasan Wheat Puffs

*These KAMUT puffs remind me of being a kid again-we ate wheat puffs all of the time.

Find on Amazon

Eden Organic KAMUT Udon Pasta

*Great option for Asian pasta dishes

Find on Amazon

Eden Organic Pasta

*100% Whole Grain KAMUT Pasta, healthier than regular whole wheat pastas

Find on Amazon

 

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