Grain Train

You have been told countless times to steer clear of the bread basket at dinner because it can pack on a lot of extra calories. Have you ever been told to not eat the rolls because the grains are harmful to your bodies?

A variety of foods made from wheat.

A variety of foods made from wheat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz going on about wheat and gluten grains (like barley and rye) actually being NOT GOOD for our bodies, beyond providing  extra calories. This was first brought to my attention this summer when some friends of mine told me that, in addition to being vegan, they were going to begin cutting out all grains from their diet. (For the record I am NOT vegan… I love my ice cream and eggs way too much)

One neurologist states “Carbohydrates are awful for the brain. Eating carbohydrate foods increases blood sugar levels, which causes inflammation and can lead to dementia.” (note he says CARBOHYDRATES, not grain… big difference)

Interesting.

Did you know that glucose, which is predominant in carbohydrates such as grains, is the preferred fuel source for the brain? In my opinion the brain is kind of an important part of the body, just sayin’. It has also been shown that low-glycemic index foods (Grains are included in this category, these are foods that will raise blood glucose levels slowly i.e. no super rapid sugar spike) can actually reduce inflammation.

A registered dietitian for the Wheat Foods Council gave the statement: “He can’t connect the increase in obesity rates and incidence of brain health problems with the consumption of wheat. We are actually eating less wheat today than we were one hundred years ago.

There are people that SHOULD avoid gluten, such as those with Celiac Disease (this is when the body produces and immune response to gluten).  Those with this disease have damage to their small intestines which causes this sensitivity. Therefor, they need to avoid it. However, if you don’t have a sensitivity to gluten there is no evidence that gluten will lead to widespread illness.

What could happen if you cut-out grains?

  • Low folic acid
  • Low iron
  • Low B-vitamins

An article on Marksdailyapple.com discussed this diet. He is all for it. I was really drawn to when he addressed “moderation” (one of my favorites, you all know). I actually laughed. (Sorry!)

“Everything in moderation, I say. I don’t like to deprive myself of anything.”

Ah, yes, the eminent voice of reason. “Everything in moderation”, they say. Trans-fat? Bring it on, or else it’s deprivation! Margarine? Slather it on my veggies! Must not deprive! Arsenic? Sure, I’ll have a bite! Why not? That said, I’m just not seeing where the deprivation comes in. I fail to see how not eating a food that leads to poor health, digestive upset, and bloating is somehow deprivation. You could say that I’m technically depriving myself of feeling like crap by not eating grains, but that’s a good kind of deprivation. If you want to be quite literal, eating grains deprives you of a full, healthy existence.

Response: “When I eat grains, I feel terrible, bloated, and not like myself. The way I see it, I’d be depriving myself of a full, rich, healthy, happy life if I were to eat grains in moderation. Besides, do a rib-eye, some buttered broccoli, and a glass of red wine sound like deprivation to you?”

MY RESPONSE: If you are feeling terrible, bloated and not like yourself after eating grains.. you probably aren’t using moderation…. Red wine can make you vomit and have a really bad headache, but not when you have it in moderation now does it?

Bread

Bread (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Also, as we age we naturally lose the enzyme lactase which helps us break down milk. Does this mean we should not be putting that butter on the broccoli either(butter contains some lactose unless it is fermented to produce cultured butter)? We have slowly adapted and can digest it (unless you are lactose intolerant, in that case you don’t have this enzyme, in which case you should avoid it), just like he says our bodies weren’t made for grains, but we have adapted.

My personal opinion is that there is no way in heck I would cut out grains because they “supposedly” might make me sick.

  1. There is no good evidence
  2. They provide a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients
  3. They taste good and I enjoy them in the appropriate amounts

I think that a lot of people sometimes view nutrition as a person challenge. How far can I push this? The more restrictive I am the healthier I will be. I can show people how much control I have. A lot of times these other motives get in the way of the most important one: Our health.
What do you think about this topic?

Sources

http://www.buffalonews.com/life-arts/recipes/controversy-grows-over-health-benefits-of-grains-20131030

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/top-8-most-common-reactions-to-your-grain-free-diet-and-how-to-respond/#axzz2jOowBaEn

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/celiac-disease/DS00319

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