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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's so Bad About Grains?

Back Away
You hear much about grains being unhealthy these days, despite the fact that the popular notion has long been that whole grains are good for you.  You may be wondering what the problem is, or even if it's true that grains are not as healthy as you may have believed.  Here I'm  going to give you a brief overview of what the issues are and then you can decide for yourself if you want to include grains.  But before I get started I'm going to tell you straight up that everyone looking to lose body fat would do well to eliminate grains from their diet.  Yes, EVERYONE!

First, without getting too technical, if you look at a grain in its natural state you will quickly realize that it's not edible like say an apple.  In order for a grain to be at all edible it must be processed in some manner...that is unless you enjoy gnawing on something that resembles the consistency of cardboard.  With that said, all grains that you consume, regardless of whether the package says whole grain or not, are processed. 

You can't eat this

Ever tried buying steel cut oats?  That's about as unprocessed as you're going to get and they require about 20-30 minutes of cooking to be edible.  So we've established the fact that all edible grains must be refined and processed, which presents a number of issues.  For one, wheat bread (which is supposedly's really not healthy) has a glycemic index over 20 points higher than pure sugar.  In other words it's going to rapidly increase your blood sugar and cause a large insulin response that will lead to a crash in a couple hours - followed by extreme hunger.  This cycle of up and down blood sugar and the accompanying insulin response leads to fat gain...particularly visceral fat (fat around the organs) which creates an inflammatory environment that underlies many health issues.  Needless to say - you do not want visceral fat accumulation if you're interested in health.

You don't want this friend.

Now lets look at another reality with grains - the history of human consumption - at this you may be surprised.  It was only about 10,000 years ago when grains began appearing in people's diets...but the grain consumed back then was much different on a genetic level than the stuff people eat now.  BTW..10,000 years is extremely little time in terms of human history and in that time our bodies have not adapted to digest grains...particularly the modern forms of grain that are available today.  And to boot the modern grains produced have never been safety tested for human consumption.  Major efforts of hybridizing grains began in the early 40's to combat hunger - needless to say we still have hunger issues and while people eating all these highly manipulated grains may feel like they are getting what they need - they are likely getting more than they realize...and definitely not in a good way.  In particular, modern grain contains more gluten proteins which cause greater blood sugar spikes and more reactivity in the human body...not a good thing.  Couple these manipulations with the heavy promotion of a low fat whole grain diet beginning in the 80's and there you have a recipe for exactly what's been happening over the last 30 years - more and more people becoming overweight and sick with the follow along diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc.  And only enhancing the issues are the fact that avoiding grains is very difficult to do as they are in virtually every processed food...even things you wouldn't think such as salad dressings, soups and more.

Beyond the blood sugar issues and resulting inflammatory environment they create there are a host of other problems...not the least of which is the addictive nature of grains.  If you've tried to eliminate or even cut back on grains you know very well what I'm talking about - lethargy, fatigue, mood swings - all the hallmarks of drug withdrawal.    What happens when gluten is broken down is that it attaches to morphine receptors in the brain just like opiates...making you feel good.  Hence the reason getting away from the stuff is very difficult. 

Feel like this after eating?

Additionally, grains contain lectins and phytates which wreak havoc in the human body.  Lectins are proteins which contribute to intestinal damage, leptin resistance (you don't know when you're full), and impaired insulin sensitivity.  Phytates, which are also contained in grain, render minerals unavailable for absorption...certainly not something you need...considering most people are deficient in a variety of nutrients...particularly minerals like magnesium, zinc etc.

If you're thinking you need grains in order to get your you don't, there's plenty of fiber in probably need to start eating more of them.  In fact, fiber irritates and ruptures the outer layers of intestinal cells...this is not good or normal.  I don't know about you but do you think it makes sense to rupture any part of your body...I think not!

And oh what about the governmental guidelines to include grains as part of "your heart healthy diet"?  Ignore them...these are not at all based on science or what's healthy...instead they are based on money and incestuous agricultural industry relationships.  Just look at how big the grain subsidies are.  Not to mention Monsanto, and all the other governmental relationships with big food,  pharma and biotech companies.  If you'd like to believe what I'm saying is a bunch of nonsense, well that's up to you...however, based on the current state of government I'd bet it's highly unlikely you trust the government to say or do anything without twisted ulterior motives.

You won't look like this eating grains

Now you should certainly have an understanding of why staying away from grains is in your best interest, if you don't and believe grains are needed, well just take a look at yourself in the mirror...even without clothes if necessary...and ask yourself a question.  Has eating grain and grain based foods (if you're not consciously trying to avoid grain, you are eating it) really created a picture of health, well-being and energy?  I think you know the answer.  If you haven't already, eliminate them and see what happens...oh yes you may experience withdrawal at first...but long term you likely will experience weight loss, energy increase and many of the other health related outcomes you've been searching for.

Wheat Belly
Grain Brain:  The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar
Mark's Daily Apple

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