I avoid eating grains, and I am often questioned as to why.
Why don’t you eat bread? Isn’t bread a part of a balanced diet? How do you get your fiber? Aren’t we supposed to have nine servings of grains (remember that food pyramid thing we used to have)?
In the United States, we have severe misconceptions about grains
Grains are touted as a source of fiber, part of a balanced diet, and low in fat. Even the food pyramid (which is now defunct by the way) sets grains as the foundation of a healthy diet.
There’s also the idea that people have always eaten grains. The Bible talks about breaking bread, so grains must be good, right?
Scientific and archaeological research has shown that humans have not always eaten grains, and that the human body is not designed to function on grains.
Regular grain consumption began around 10,000 years ago. Before the agricultural revolution, humans went for several hundred thousand years without consuming grains.
Studies show that human brain function and physical ability peaked just prior to the agricultural revolution as well. Since then, there has been a gradual but steady decline in human strength.
Modern grains are devoid of nutrients
The invention of the roller mill in 1872 made flour accessible to nearly everyone.
The bran and germ were stripped out, leaving very little nutritional value from the original grain. Grains do not have the nutritional profile that commercials of late make them out to have.
When ground into flour, the surface area of a grain is increased to 10,000 times the surface area of the grain itself, resulting in a high-starch food that is biologically similar to consuming pure table sugar.
It is much better to get nutrients from vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats which have dense nutrient profiles.
The danger of phytic acid
Grains contain phytic acid, a mineral blocker that prevents absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. This phytic acid is found in the bran of all grains as well as the outer coating of seeds and nuts.
Even after grains became more mainstream during the agricultural revolution, grains were allowed to sit in the fields for several weeks before thrashing. This allowed the grains to be exposed to the elements and sprout. Sprouting increases the content of many important vitamins, and breaks down the phytic acid.
Grains today are not sprouted, leaving behind high levels of phytic acid. The presence of phytic acid blocks the absorption of calcium, a risk factor for osteoporosis and other bone-related problems.
Despite this, many doctors prescribe a low-fat, high-fiber diet and a calcium supplement for those with osteoporosis but the calcium isn’t being absorbed anyway because the phytic acid block its uptake.
Grains spike insulin and damage our endocrine and immune systems
Besides the phytic acid which strips your body of nutrients, grain consumption results in a spike in insulin production. Insulin production is an important process for storing nutrients and processing glucose in the bloodstream, but our bodies simply can’t handle the insulin requirements we throw at them with the carb load we consume these days.
When carbohydrates enter the body, they are broken down into glucose. Any extra glucose we are not able to immediately use is stored as fat.
This natural response to store energy and use it for later use has allowed humans to survive for thousands of years. But, we are not commonly faced with famine, and we don’t use up the stores, so the fat accumulates.
If carbohydrate consumption is excessive, the body kicks in cortisol and adrenaline production to handle the extra load. This extra load on the endocrine and immune systems creates inflammation in the body.
And then there’s gluten and lectins
If this isn’t bad enough, there’s the danger posed by gluten and lectins.
Gluten is a sticky, water soluble protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley,and rye.
Grains including corn, rice and oats have similar proteins that cause problems over time.
Gluten and similar grain-based proteins work to break down the microvilli in your small intestine, eventually letting particles of your food leak into your bloodstream (called “leaky gut syndrome”) causing allergies, digestive disturbances or autoimmune problems.
Lectins are toxins that inhibit the repair of the GI tract. Lectins are not broken down in the digestive process and bind to receptors in the intestine, also causing leaky gut syndrome.
The body views these lectins and the food they bring with them as dangerous invaders and initiates an immune response to get rid of them. This immune response to particles of common foods explains the allergy creating potential of grains.
Gluten and lectin then move to the gallbladder. The gallbladder releases bile salts that help break down and properly digest foods. When the intestines are damaged, the chemical responsible for starting this bile secretion is not released. Bile backs up in the gall bladder, and cholesterol that is left there crystallizes into stones that are usually surgically removed with the rest of the gall bladder.
Grains increase the risk of chronic diseases
In the last 130 years, as grain consumption increased, chronic disease rates increased along with it. The average weight of the population has risen and fertility rates have fallen.
Chronic disease rates are directly correlated to grain consumption.
The United States is facing an epidemic involving insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, obesity, pre-diabetic conditions, and Type-2 Diabetes
Heavy grain consumption has been shown to increase your risk of:
Pancreatic, colon, stomach and lymphoma cancers
Depression, Anxiety and Schizophrenia
Our bodies can’t handle grains or function optimally when consuming grains
As you can see, grains are not healthy and are toxic to the body. Non-digestible grain-based proteins wreak havoc on our systems.
A grain-free diet can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, promote weight loss, end digestive issues, and dramatically increase energy levels.
From my own experience and work with patients, I can tell you that you will feel exponentially better when you don’t eat grains.
You probably really like grains, and the thought of giving them up sounds like it will be too difficult. It will be difficult at first, but you’ll start to notice a massive improvement in your health.
Giving up grains is one of the best things you can do for your health, especially if you suffer from a chronic condition or want to lose weight.
Try cutting grains out of your diet for two weeks and see how your body responds. You will need to cut out wheat, barley, oats, rye, millet and corn as well as limit consumption of beans and legumes.
What’s right for you?
If you suffer from chronic disease such as low-thyroid or type-2 diabetes, your condition may be partly caused or enhanced by grain consumption.
Everyone is different, so the foods you eat and avoid should be individualized to you. Certain lab tests can help customize the right diet for you. We offer health evaluations to work through your unique case and develop a recommendation individualized to you.
Schedule a consultation today and start the process of getting your life back from chronic disease.