Getting and Staying Healthy Means Going Against the Grain
The title of this article is both literal and figurative. The literal element is the fact that if you want to get and stay healthy you have to give up eating grains.
The figurative side is that eating a diet that is grain-free here in America is definitely doing the opposite of what most people are doing and are being told to do by our government and the largest medical associations.
There is a growing consensus regarding inflammation and its negative role in our health and the development of common degenerative conditions. The harder question to answer is, "Where is all the inflammation coming from."
I would suggest that one of the biggest single contributing factors in the inflammatory level in Americans is the up downswing of blood glucose and insulin as a result of the standard American diet is its inclusion and dependency on grains,
This is especially true for processed grains. In my practice and teachings, we call grains, "Super Sugars," due to their ability to spike blood glucose and insulin. In some cases, grains can throw off our glucose more than refined sugars, and for a longer time.
An article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tested wheat in our diet against oats and found the following in a study that went on for 12 weeks measuring risk factors for heart disease:
While the oat group saw improvements in most markers, the wheat group saw severe harmful effects on the blood lipid profile:
- Increase in LDL by 12%.
- Increase in LDL particle number by 14.2%.
- Increase in small, dense LDL (very, very bad) by a whopping 60.4%!
This is a significant increase in one's risk of coronary heart disease. You may have noticed that the wheat group here was compared to a group eating oats, which did not have a negative effect, some even had an improvement in these factors.
Before you get on the oatmeal bandwagon, other tests have been run and repeated on individuals that showed that oatmeal spiked blood glucose in the same manner and degree as a 12 ounce Pepsi cola.
So why the apparent benefit in the wheat study for oats? The participants were eating diets with regular inclusion of wheat prior to changing to oats.....have to read the fine print. So, it was not the oats that produced the apparent benefit but rather the elimination of the wheat.
The bottom line, processed grains do damage to our systems. They are "Super Sugars" that will swing our blood sugar as out a whack as drinking straight processed, refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. NOT GOOD.
Not only does the major swings in our blood glucose affect our insulin levels creating systemic inflammation but the large swings in blood glucose lead to an intermittent hypo-glycemic state in the brain that can lead to excite-toxic brain cell death...brain damage!
The number one wheat or grain product in the country is flour. I would love to report here that alternative flours such as almond, coconut, or rice flour are any better but the preliminary research looks as if they are not.
Any refined "flour" type of product breaks down the original ingredient, isolates it, and processes it to the point where the body does not recognize it as a whole food any longer and this sort of blood sugar, insulin, brain damage can be the result.
What is the answer? For me and my family, it is about giving up the grains or at least making a conscious choice to cut them out drastically and make efforts to counter any of the negative effects they might play on us or our health.
Seem drastic? So is the disease that can come from continuing to consume them, the choice is yours.
Remember, we are here to support you in any choice you make, do not hesitate to talk through these options with your coach.