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Grains: NOT The Evil They're Made Out To Be!

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  • Grains: NOT The Evil They're Made Out To Be!

    This post has been A LONG TIME COMING for me.

    Okay, you got me. Sensational title alert! But now that I have your attention, I stand by that statement. I honestly do think that grains are not the evil they are made out to be by Primal/Paleo books and websites, and here's the reason why:

    Grains are made to be the #1 evil, and people act as if eliminating grains is the biggest step you can take to better your health. I disagree, and I believe that grain elimination is more like #4 or #5 on that list. I think people are so zealous regarding grain elimination because of how counter-culture it is today. Most principles of the Primal/Paleo lifestyles are simple to follow, but HOW AM I GOING TO NOT EAT BREAD? I LOVE BREAD! I think it's the counter-culture aspect of grain elimination driving the hatred towards grains as the ultimate baddie when the facts actually suggest differently. Maybe you'll think differently after this post, too.



    We're all familiar with the Food Pyramid. It's the Standard American Diet - heavy on grains, moderate on fruits and vegetables, low on protein and low on fats. Especially arterycloggingsaturatedfats! The Food Pyramid was adopted in 1980 in an attempt to make America healthier. But how did that REALLY work out?



    Does anyone see anything strange, here? Where does obesity take off? 1980 you say?! WHOA! It's almost as if the government gave us BAD ADVICE! Even more interesting is how our food consumption habits have changed over the course of the 1900's.



    And how has heart disease changed?



    Here is what we know: heart attacks are a recent phenomena. In the 1800's and early 1900's, they were a rarity. Heart disease became a problem post-WWII and they've ever since grown into the epidemic they are today. So what has changed in the American diet from 1900 to 2000? Well, the data may surprise you. Let's analyze the graphs.

    The first thing that jumps out is that grain consumption has actually DECREASED in the past 100 years! In 1900, when heart attacks were a rare disease, grains were a larger staple in the American diet than they are today!

    So what dietary statistics actually correlate with the rise of heart disease?

    1.) Increased consumption of shortening.
    2.) Increased consumption of soy oil.
    3.) Increased consumption of poultry.
    4.) Decreased consumption of (animal) fats.
    5.) Increased sugar consumption (to a lesser extent).

    And what do these all have in common? VAST INCREASES OF OMEGA 6 POLYUNSATURATED FATS IN THE AMERICAN DIET.

    Here is my personal theory:

    We know over half of the cell membrane is comprised of saturated fats. The cell membrane is what protects our cells (i.e. DNA) from damage. It's our protective wall - our shield. Saturated fats make the cell membrane firm and strong. Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are highly unstable. When dietary polyunsaturated fat increases and saturated fat decreases, our cell membranes become more porous and lipid. In essence, polyunsaturated fats cause "cracks" in the shield. These "cracks" allow free radicals to penetrate the cell membrane and damage our DNA. This leads to the diseases we have now known to become common. While we had a diet even higher in grain consumption 100 years ago, much higher levels of saturated fats and much lower levels of polyunsaturated fats in the diet kept our cell membranes strong and protected against these grain toxins. Now, with the ridiculous amount of PUFA's in the American diet, the grain toxins easily penetrate our cells and damage our DNA, leading to the modern diseases we've all come to know.

    So based on this, what are MY recommendations in terms of importance for health and longevity?

    1.) Remove all PUFA-based vegetable and seed oils from the diet.
    2.) Lower polyunsaturated fats to 4% of total daily calories or less (eat more beef and lamb, less pork and poultry).
    3.) Increase consumption of saturated fats.
    4.) Drop refined sugars from the diet.
    5.) Drop grains from the diet.

    Yes, I put grain removal as #5 on list of importance for health. Clearly, we were eating grain 100 years ago and it wasn't giving us the diseases of today. I believe that the most important thing to do is make our cells strong, and to do that, we need to remove the PUFA's from our diet, increase the saturated fats, then drop sugars to lower total systemic inflammation. Of course, we should still avoid grains and clearly not make them any sort of staple in the diet, but with our cellular defenses running at maximum strength from a low PUFA/high natural SFA diet, occasional grain consumption appears to be less problematic. Sure, it's less flashy and gives us a lot less attention, but it's what I believe based on my research.

    So next time you're at a restaurant and you say "no" to that slice of bread or throw away your hamburger bun yet eat those chicken wings deep fried in soybean oil, you may want to think twice which is really doing more harm to your health.

    Discuss.


    References:

    http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/hea...ur-government/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21367944
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/123/4/e18.full
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/...expansion.html
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-09-2011, 11:18 AM.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

  • #2
    I agree that O6 polys are probably worse for many people than grains. However, you ignore the modification of the wheat plant over that time- it's not the same as it was.
    Lifting Journal

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    • #3
      Interesting post! Will take me a while to sift through the data but I do welcome opposing viewpoints.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great post and good ideas which nutritionally make alot of sense and would reccomend but from a mathematical standpoint its all just "noise". My biggest takeaway is that grains aren't a huge factor in obesity but just overall health and focusing on better o6-o3 ratios and unprocessed food is best in terms of weight and potentially health. The 1980 shift is statistically significant however
        "The mountains are calling me, I must go"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Apex Predator View Post
          I agree that O6 polys are probably worse for many people than grains. However, you ignore the modification of the wheat plant over that time- it's not the same as it was.
          Unfortunately, the quality of all food has decreased over the past 100 years. The biggest decreases in quality may be the animal sources! I haven't seen a study comparing wheat 100 years ago to the wheat of today in terms of nutrition, however. If you can find one, I'd love to read it, but I doubt it exists. I also doubt that any differences in the grains of today is enough to overshadow the rest of the data. I stand by my original statement.
          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
            Unfortunately, the quality of all food has decreased over the past 100 years. The biggest decreases in quality may be the animal sources! I haven't seen a study comparing wheat 100 years ago to the wheat of today in terms of nutrition, however. If you can find one, I'd love to read it, but I doubt it exists. I also doubt that any differences in the grains of today is enough to overshadow the rest of the data. I stand by my original statement.
            I think it's covered in Wheat Belly, just cut through the hyperboly- I think he cites at least some sources.

            While I agree on the diminished quality of animal foods, there are also still traditionally raised choices, less so with wheat, and animal foods are much less replaceable in the diet.
            Lifting Journal

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            • #7
              Hmm. Interesting. I always have felt that crap oils were a bigger issue than most people realize.

              But I think the focus on eliminating grains over something like oil is two-fold. First, the difference in your body (inflammation and general feelings of health) are nearly instantaneous when you cut grains, especially wheat. You can see the results pretty quickly, and so the connection is easier to make in your brain and motivation is higher.

              Second, it's a lot easier to avoid grains when you're eating out. Sure, you can forget meatballs probably have bread crumbs or not see that wheat products have been used as fillers. But crap oils, especially soybean oil, is near to impossible to avoid if you eat anywhere but at home. Even if you go to a friend's house, odds are very high that they're cooking with soybean oil and don't even know it. Most people think vegetable oils are made with, well... vegetables. But they're almost all soybean oil.

              As much as I would love to cook all of my meals at home, the sad truth is that I'm working a crapload of overtime hours at a manual labor job and I'm just beat by the time I get home most days. I can usually manage 3, maybe 4 dinners a week and The Boyfriend handles dinner on his days off. But we're still going out once or twice a week for dinner and once again for breakfast on Sunday mornings (his concession to the fact that I don't eat his amazing biscuits with sausage gravy anymore).
              Durp.

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              • #8
                i agree with you on the krap oils. They're in everything! And i think they did become much more prevalent starting in the 80's. I remember when hostess fried pies & oreo cookies and all that krap food was at least made w/ lard. Now it's all soy oil. I think my brother was allergic to soy for a while when he was a kid. We could not eat anything from a restaurant for at least a year, or so it seemed to me, as a kid. My mother had to cook everything from scratch, which we all pretty much hated but it was better for us. Altho she's always been a big fan of margarine, so i guess we were never really free from the krap oils.

                anyway, from my own experience, i've lost bloat that i never thought i could just by not eating grains, so my n=1 experiment tells me that grains are bad. At least for me.

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                • #9
                  Good information. So should the primary focus be to cut down on Omega-6 or to try keep the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in check? I guess the obvious answer is both, but I am wondering if the advice really is to eat less chicken, turkey, eggs and bacon or to make sure you supplement Omega 3 fish oils if you do eat a lot of these foods.
                  5-24-10 ................ 5-24-11
                  Weight: 281.......... Weight: 203

                  10-11-10
                  Weight: 259
                  Total Cholesterol: 243
                  LDL: 188
                  HDL: 40
                  Trig: 96

                  2-18-11
                  Weight: 228
                  Total Cholesterol: 239
                  LDL: 183 (calc), 138 (actual)
                  HDL: 46
                  Trig: 49

                  6-23-11
                  Weight: 197.2
                  Total Cholesterol: 225
                  LDL: 161 (calc), 120 (actual)
                  HDL: 56
                  Trig: 38

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    very nice work choco as always. if ur not gluten-intolerant, having the rare occasion piece of bread is not bad. keeping ur pufas very low is very much the key to better health. i mean with all the nut consumption that takes place on here almond meal this and almond meal that, its quite redundant to say a piece of bread is all that bad, specially if u make the bread urself.
                    "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt." -- William Shakespeare

                    my weight loss story...
                    started @400+pounds
                    CW: 191lbs 15%BF
                    PB: 158lbs 10%BF 33in waist
                    UD2(6 weeks): 168lbs 9%BF 31in waist
                    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread39123.html

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                    • #11
                      Posts like this highlight that we seem no longer able, as a society, to just eat, without counting and balancing etc. I don't think our more healthy ancestors had the inclination or need to micro-manage every damn thing they put in their mouth. They ate to live and thrive. Nothing more and nothing less.

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                      • #12
                        The question is not whether or not grains are bad or not. Of course they are. The issue is that I don't believe grains are the #1 enemy here. I believe the vegetable oils are responsible for more diseases of modern society than grains are, mainly because they cause the inflammation and the cell membrane weaknesses that allow the grain toxins to do us harm.

                        Kvalhion, omega 3's are even more unstable than omega 6's as they are even longer chain. Yes, the ratio is important, but I believe an overall low PUFA diet is much better than a high PUFA diet where n3's are supplemented to achieve a 1:1 ratio. I believe that if we had high PUFA's where it was skewed highly toward n3's, we'd be in even worse shape, and the reason why there is so much contention between the optimal n3:n6 ratio is because n6 just isn't as bad - our body can handle more n6 than n3 better due to stability issues. Basically, spend less effort popping fish oil and concentrate more on keeping overall PUFA's low.
                        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                        • #13
                          Interesting post. I think I agree with it, but would like to point out that even though grains may not be as bad as we think, nowadays they are likely the most common vector for crap oils to enter our CW diet. Cookies, many breads, cakes, etc are all typically made with veggie oils or shortening. If you make your own bread with butter or lard it would be much more healthy to consume. I also wonder regarding the grain consumption what the ratios were 100 years ago of wheat:corn, verses today. Today, I imagine people consume a heck of a lot more corn (which has been genetically tinkered with so much more than wheat, IMO) than they did 100 years ago.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chochobo View Post
                            very nice work choco as always. if ur not gluten-intolerant, having the rare occasion piece of bread is not bad. keeping ur pufas very low is very much the key to better health. i mean with all the nut consumption that takes place on here almond meal this and almond meal that, its quite redundant to say a piece of bread is all that bad, specially if u make the bread urself.
                            This drives me CRAZY!!!

                            I believe we're doing more harm to our health with the ridiculous nut, nut meal and nut butter obsession around here! And wait, we're going to BAKE THEM and oxidize them to hell? Yes, gluten is bad, but if you're not intolerant, you can handle small quantities of it. The constant bombardment with nuts are harmful to ALL of us! You don't need an intolerance. Not to mention, they contain even higher levels of anti-nutrients than grains. They may have more minerals and anti-oxidants, but is it worth it?

                            I'd rather make sprouted wheat sourdough bread than eat almond meal cake. I think we'd all stand to be healthier if we started substituting white rice and tapioca flour for these stupid nut meals. Less calories, way less toxins, WAY less PUFA's. Your body was designed to handle carbs. It was even designed to handle the occasional massive insulin spike that puts you to sleep. It was never designed to handle a 1:30 n3:n6 ratio where PUFA's are making up 10+% dietary calories!

                            Coconut flour is great, though.
                            Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 11-09-2011, 12:03 PM.
                            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Grains are considered the #1 enemy because a lot of focus is placed on weight loss. A lot of the people first coming to MDA need to lose weight and eliminating refined sugars and grains goes a long way to helping people achieve that goal. That said, overall health is important as well so what to do once weight loss isn't a major issue is good to focus on.
                              5-24-10 ................ 5-24-11
                              Weight: 281.......... Weight: 203

                              10-11-10
                              Weight: 259
                              Total Cholesterol: 243
                              LDL: 188
                              HDL: 40
                              Trig: 96

                              2-18-11
                              Weight: 228
                              Total Cholesterol: 239
                              LDL: 183 (calc), 138 (actual)
                              HDL: 46
                              Trig: 49

                              6-23-11
                              Weight: 197.2
                              Total Cholesterol: 225
                              LDL: 161 (calc), 120 (actual)
                              HDL: 56
                              Trig: 38

                              Comment

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