November 14, 2011
Whole Grains = Whole Lot of Hype!
We have been told over and over again that whole grains are an important and necessary part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case! No one needs grains to be healthy! And even worse, they actually make a lot of people unhealthy as opposed to the other way around!
The truth is that ALL grains have nutritional deficiencies. This may not be such a huge issue on its own but the fact is that as we consume more grain products, we tend to eliminate other nutritional items from our diet including fruits and vegetables. People have become so accustomed to consuming grains that these products now account for almost half the total caloric intake for the majority of us. That basically means a lot of consumption of nutritionally deficient food.
Just stop and reflect on your own grain intake for a minute. I bet the majority of you have had at least one grain product (if not many more) today alone. As a society, we are enundated with bread, cereal, pasta, muffins, crackers, rice, chips, bagels, and so on. What’s even worse is that most of these items are refined and contain few, if any, nutrients.
Grains may be an adequate source of phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium but contain virtually no sodium or calcium. Another problem is that whole grain cereals have a very high phytate content that actually interferes with the absorption of calcium, zinc, and iron. So even when you’re eating other products high in these nutrients, the grains aren’t allowing your body to fully absorb them. A high phytate content is actually linked to bone mineral pathologies in countries highly dependent on cereal grains as a food source. Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional concerns in modern day society. This is a serious problem as iron deficiencies have been associated with irreversible impairment of learning capabilities in children. Yet we are told to feed our infants a cereal mixture as their first food – how does that make sense?! If you’re thinking it doesn’t, you’re right.
Another very important concern is that grains can elevate our insulin levels. Since most Canadians typically have a hard time controlling their insulin levels as it is, this is the last thing we need to be consuming. It’s no secret that excessive grain consumption leads to eventual insulin resistance. Moving one step further, you should be aware that insulin resistance is the primary underlying factor of most chronic disease. I recommend a gluten free diet if you are one of the majority of Canadians suffering from the following conditions:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Excess Weight
The higher your insulin levels are, the more important grain elimination is for your diet. More than just the aforementioned conditions, insulin resistance is also the primary underlying factor for many different types of cancer. I strongly believe that you start to significantly increase your risk of cancer once your fasting blood sugar rises to high levels. Just in case you didn’t make the connection, I’m going to make it crystal clear – high blood sugar levels means increased risk of cancer and high grain consumption means high blood sugar levels.
We may be programmed to believe that grains, especially whole grains, are good for us but I personally feel that is misleading and biased information. In fact, some of the healthiest people out there consume very little grains at all. If you are serious about living a healthy lifestyle and serious about reducing your risk of dangerous illness/conditions, start making changes in your diet to reflect that. At the end of the day, your health is in your own hands and no magic pill can change that.