Against The Grain
White rice, white bread and white pasta are all grains we know to avoid because they’re not part of a healthy lifestyle. These grains are basically nothing but sugar, leading to unstable blood sugar levels. They are refined, processed and without fiber. Whole grains and cereals are different though, because they are after all whole grains, right?
This is what we are led to believe for various reasons, some of them monetary. Whole grains are actually very similar to the more refined grains mentioned earlier. This is due to the way they are both processed. Steel roller mills grind all grains down to consistently small fragments, with the whole grain fragments not being much different than those produced from white flour.
We need to avoid any and all grains as they are associated with many health complications and diseases. Let’s take a look at the top twenty reasons why we should eliminate these foods right away.
Top Twenty Reasons
1. A High Glycemic Index
According to Dictionary.com the glycemic index is a system that ranks foods by the speeds at which their carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the body; or to put it more simply, a measure of the effects of foods on blood-sugar levels. All grains rank high on the index, meaning they raise blood sugar quickly as opposed to a slow sustained release of sugar. High blood sugar levels are linked to a multitude of chronic diseases.
Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by fungi which grow in yeast and mold. Grains contain mycotoxins and these toxins are linked to numerous diseases.
A proper essential fatty acid ratio is imperative to good health. Grains contain an improper balance of omegas-3s to omega-6s, leading to inflammation. This inflammation is further exacerbated by the fatty spreads we put on our grains.
Our body is naturally alkaline. To remain alkaline we require the majority of our foods to be alkaline-forming. Grains are acid-forming and acidifying to our body, leading to calcium loss in the urine and an increased risk of osteoporosis. When our body becomes too acid, acidosis sets in, bringing with it many health concerns.
5. Overgrowth of Unfriendly Bacteria in the Gut
An overabundance of sugar from consuming grains feeds the unfriendly bacteria in our intestinal tract. In the proper amounts these bacteria are necessary; however, in abundance they create illness.
6. Displaces other more nutrient-dense foods
Fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals which are lacking in grains.
7. Fiber Content
Fruits contain twice as much fiber as grains; non-starchy vegetables supply 8 times more fiber.
8.Poor Source of Vitamins
Grains contain no vitamin C or B12 and contain only trace amounts of folate and biotin, another B vitamin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and low levels of B12 and folate lead to increased levels of the amino acid homocysteine, increasing the risk of heart disease.
9. Provides No Calcium
Grains contain no calcium and form an insoluble complex with calcium. Along with grain’s high levels of phosphorus this leads to a low calcium/phosphorus ratio. High levels of phosphorus speed up bone loss.
Antinutrients (Antinutrients are chemicals that prevent absorption of nutrients, damage the gastrointestinal tract and affect immune system function.)
10. Inhibits Vitamin Absorption
Pyridoxine glucosides block the absorption of B vitamins in the intestines, including B6, which is also related to increased levels of homocysteine. Vitamin D metabolism is inhibited by the consumption of grains, reducing calcium absorption.
11. Inhibits Mineral Absorption
Phytates chemically bond the iron, zinc, copper and calcium within grains, blocking their absorption during the digestion process.
12. Enzyme Inhibitors
Enzyme inhibitors suppress the enzymes you need to digest food, compromising, digestion and placing stress on the pancreas.
A chemical created in some foods, usually starches, when using high heat or extended cooking times. Baking bread is a good example.
Diseases and Disorders
14. Glutinous proteins
Glutinous proteins are found in grains. These are responsible for food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities.
15. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease affecting the small intestine. It may be triggered by eating too many grains early in life or a traumatic event creating stress in the body. Celiac disease causes great distress to the immune system and can be life-threatening. The only “cure” for celiac disease is to completely avoid gluten.
16. Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin form of celiac disease. Avoiding gluten completely applies here too.
17. Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s disease is also an auto-immune disorder. It affects the thyroid. Gluten must be avoided.
18. Lectins and Leaky Gut Syndrome
Lectins are proteins in grains which are indigestible. Instead of being absorbed, these proteins attach to cells in the intestines, increasing intestinal permeability and allowing partially undigested food proteins and undesirable bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This is a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. A leaky gut confuses the immune system, causing it to attack the body’s own tissues.
This condition sees significant improvement on a gluten-free diet.
Wheat may contain a narcotic-like substance that affects behavior. Removing gluten-containing grains decreases schizophrenic episodes.
Some of the health complications already mentioned and others associated with consuming grains are:
- Heart Disease
- Certain cancers
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of kidney stones
- Aggravated asthma
- Vitamin/mineral deficiencies
- Adult-onset diabetes
- Weight gain
- Increased triglycerides
- Epilepsy attacks
Eliminating grains and replacing them with more low sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables will lead to better health. This can sometimes leave a void where grains used to be. Are there any alternatives?
Alternative grains are foods thought of and used as grains, but are actually seeds. These substitutions are healthy, nutritious and gluten-free.
These can be enjoyed in recipes you currently make with grains. Get creative with these new foods and they will open up a whole new world of flavors and foods.
- Eliminate all grains
- Increase fruits and non-starchy vegetables
- Replace grains and experiment with alternative grains
That’s it! Live long and be grain free!.