It’s a No Grainer.
Written by Katherine M. Coleman, M.N.T.
At The Healing Center many of our patients react poorly to grains. As a result, we support Cyrex Labs and have the ability to test for a range of dietary proteins beyond gluten. Also, we are now proud to offer ClearVite-PSF by APEX Energetics. Exactly the same as the rice protein ClearVite, however, instead of using a grain based protein, APEX is using pure pea protein. Additionally, it is half of the serving size and still yields the same nutrient dense active ingredients.
The benefits of a grain free diet are touted by Loren Cordain of the Paleo Diet and Jared Diamond of “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies.” The adoption of agriculture brought us immeasurably more carbohydrates than we ever consumed during our evolution as Paleolithic man.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) reflects that trend of abandoning a nutrient-dense diet and adopting the cheap carbohydrates of modern agriculture. Modern Americans tend to consume a diet low in fat, high in carbohydrates, with little or no animal protein. Since the implementation of this diet there are higher rates of diseases of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.
However, many people are surprised to hear about a life grain-free and the benefits that come along with it. Often questions arise about fiber and nutrient intake, and USDA food pyramid guidelines when, in actuality, individuals on SAD should be concerned with blood sugar imbalances and inflammation.
Fiber and Nutrient Intake:
Grains are generally touted as being high in fiber, minerals, and B vitamins. Fiber, both insoluble and soluble, can be obtained from fruits and vegetables, and, unlike grains, will actually improve your metabolic health. Since the bran in all grains are actually bound to phytic acid, a mineral blocker, the minerals in grains aren’t nearly as bioavailable as other food sources such as plants, fruits, and animals. Due to the phytic acid content in all grains, grains will actually prevent mineral absorption. Essentially, while your diet may be high in iron, calcium and other vital nutrients, if you eat processed grains, you won’t be fully absorbing nutrients from the other foods you eat. If you can find the nutrient in the grain, you can find the nutrient in better qualities in other foods.
For the better part of human existence grains did not comprise any notable portion of the human diet. Since the USDA food pyramid was released in 1992, the obesity rate is the highest it’s ever been and diabetes is on the rise. The Food Pyramid recommended 8-10 servings of grains per day per person and the new MyPlate recommends 6 servings per day for women and 8 servings per day for men. While correlation is certainly not causation, USDA recommendations have done nothing to stop the rise of diet-related illness. What has become the bulk of our modern diet (grains) was actually missing from the diet of our prehistoric ancestors. Due to high starch content, grains are inflammatory foods, and the more refined the grain, the more inflammatory it tends to be.
Compared to refined grains, whole grains are the healthier option. This is due to the high content of fiber beneficial for blood sugar, cholesterol regulation, and keeping the bowels moving…but that’s it. When compared to other whole foods, grains are unhealthy. The most pro-inflammatory substances in grains are gluten, lectins, and phytic acid. On a caloric basis, vegetables and fruits contain significantly more fiber than whole grains, and also promote an alkaline environment in the body which helps to maintain muscle and bone health as we age.
Grains are acidic, and consumption of them over a lifetime contributes to muscle and bone loss associated with aging. Accordingly, we should try to avoid eating grains. If you decide to try a grain-free lifestyle and are craving a starchy food, a better alternative are potatoes- sweet, red, purple, white, etc., and yams. If you’ve gone gluten-free and are still experiencing symptoms such as gas, bloating, fatigue, and brain fog, have seen limited improvements or are non-responsive on a gluten-free diet you may be having trouble with gluten-free grains or other cross-reactive foods.
Contact us today to get a jumpstart on your recovery health plan Using Cyrex Labs we’ll help you discover if you are sensitive to a broader range of dietary proteins beyond gluten and can provide you with ClearVite-PSF as we work on calming down inflammation in your gut.
Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999.Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. Washington: New Trends, 1999.Gedgaudas, Nora T. Primal Body, Primal Mind. Rochester: Primal Mind, 2009.Shanahan, Catherine. Deep Nutrition. Lawai: Big Box Books, 2009.