Despite what the ill informed Canadian Food Guide believes there is actually no good reason to eat grains. Nope, not even for fibre so don’t even ask, “But what about Fibre?” Sure we all have been disillusioned to believe we need fibre from grains to keep things moving along but that is not exactly true. Scientists found that high-fibre food bumps against cells lining the gastrointestinal tract which can rupture their outer covering and cause holes in your intestine. Umm holes? I personally don’t want anything my body is digesting leaking out!
Oh but now you are thinking, “But what about all the important vitamins and minerals?” True we need vitamins and minerals, no argument there. But we don’t need to source them from grains which now are genetically modified, and usually found in processed foods full of synthetics, sugar, and carbs to mention a few illness causing culprits. Let’s be honest here, there is no amount of grains that can give you a vitamin and mineral punch like a giant salad full of different leafy greens, and veggies.
This is the biggest reason of all why grains are not what everyone has been fooled into thinking; they are nutrient robbers! They are considered by those in the know, Anti-Nutrient. So all that fibre, those vitamins and minerals they apparently contain are being taken with them as opposed to being absorbed by your body. So then what’s the point of eating them if what we thought was the reason for eating them is, well, a big fat lie! So what makes grains anti-nutrients? Well they contain these pesky little things called lectins, gluten and phytates. Most of you are probably familiar with the word gluten but may have never heard of the other two. So let’s look into all three.
Lectins: The scientific wording is that these lectins bind to insulin receptors causing leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full and without it will lead to over eating and ultimately weight gain, obesity and for a lot of individuals also diabetes. You know what happens on the inside when you eat Lectins? Your body actually views them as dangerous invaders, which puts your immune system in overdrive trying to get rid of them. So our bodies are saying NO! Perhaps we should listen. Living things generally do not want to be eaten by other living things. Grains are no exception. Grains actually produce a life preserving mechanism of being indigestible so when birds, for example eat them, they will not be digested and can pass through spreading the seed and discouraging other pests from eating them because it messes with their digestion. Unfortunately most of us have yet to take the hint.
Gluten: We hear this word a lot now due to more and more people having an allergy to gluten. This is a sticky water soluble protein that breaks down your small intestine allowing food to enter your blood stream. Again with the holes in my intestine, no thank you! This is what causes “leaky gut syndrome”, allergies, digestive upset and autoimmune problems. This is your body’s way of telling you it is not happy with the food you are feeding it. Gluten is worse than lectins! You may be thinking, “Well I don’t have a gluten allergy.” Or have never been diagnosed as celiac but this does not mean your digestive system is not incredibly angry with you. No one is immune to gluten damage! When you eat gluten your body suspects a threat and attempts to flush it out. Again, we are not absorbing any nutrients from the grains and our body views their components such as gluten as major toxic threats.
Phytates: These make minerals bio-unavailable meaning they are unable to be absorbed by our bodies preventing the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc by binding to them and taking them out! A diet high in grains can lead to bone loss and serious mineral deficiencies along with irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut and many other long term effects. Once again, the vitamins and minerals contained in the grains are NOT actually available to our bodies and therefore our bodies reject them. So just remember when you are reading about how healthy and nutrient rich grains are, while that is true, our bodies cannot absorb the nutrients in the first place.
Grains are highlighted as being a major food group. WHAT?! Seriously?! Any research will show you a major increase in weight gain, diabetes, chronic illness and cancer since the early 90’s as the food guide recommended 5-10 servings per day of grains. Coincidence?
The most recent food guide has changed since then, (guess somebody put two and two together) and now fruits and vegetables are the first category but there are still some major changes needed. The hype about grains is just that, hype. Did you know cereal has the highest price mark up margin of any product in the supermarket? Major profits are being made by cereal companies, promoting their “healthy” whole grain cereal. If the Canadian food guide radically changed there would be a lot of upset companies out there and who’s to say they don’t have a strong influence over the food guide in the first place?
Here’s the skinny folks, grains are making us fat and making us sick. Grains, generally found in processed foods like bread, chips, cereal, granola bars, cookies, crackers etc are also accompanied by empty carbohydrates, sugar, synthetic vitamins, chemicals, genetically modified ingredients and MSG. When carbs enter the body they are broken down into glucose (sugar) and the extra glucose we do not need for energy is stored as fat. If carbs are excessively consumed, (which they are by most people eating processed foods) our bodies use cortisol and adrenalin to handle this heavy load. This crazy dance of hormones causes inflammation in the body which more and more Dr’s are accepting as the leading cause of heart disease, cancer, infertility and many other common illnesses.
Non grain diets have been shown to:
Increase weight loss
Alleviate skin problems
End digestive disturbances
Improve heart health
You are probably wondering why your doctor or nutritionist never told you any of this about grains. Well most have no idea and zero knowledge on the subject of anti-nutrients or how they impair body function and promote many diseases. As you can see from the Canadian food guide, even agencies that determine and influence nutritional policy have not bothered to investigate these types of toxic recommendations. Do some of your own research and you will find the undeniable truth that eating grains increases your risk of digestive problems, heart disease, arthritis, infertility, obesity, diabetes, cancer etc. What a lovely cocktail of ways to serious shorten your life span. I assume that is not your goal. We all want to live long happy, healthy lives and die peacefully of old age. Right? So what are you doing? Stay away from the bread and processed foods and deny this lure into the whole grain hype.
Take the grain free challenge and you will see for yourself that there is an answer to better health. I dare you to go against the grain.
By: Nova Health Naturopathic Centre
The Paleo Answer by Loren Cordain