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Thread: Rice v. Potato v. Quinoa v. Whole Wheat Pasta page

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    Grokkette's Avatar
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    Question Rice v. Potato v. Quinoa v. Whole Wheat Pasta

    I was looking at the nutrition analyses for the food items mentioned above, and now I'm not sure what good reason I would have for avoiding wheat. I do believe I have a mild sensitivity to gluten (I tend to get stomach cramps after eating a meal with a high wheat content), but I can generally tolerate most wheat just fine in moderation. So what reason is there, if any, for those who can tolerate gluten to avoid wheat? From what I see here, whole wheat pasta has the lowest glycemic index, as well as a decent amount of protein and a fair amount of manganese, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The only competition as far as bang for your calorie seems to be quinoa, which is slightly higher in calories and glycemic load, but the elevated fat content may help keep one's appetite content for longer.

    Quinoa:
    Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Quinoa, cooked

    White rice:
    Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Rice, white, long-grain, regular, cooked

    Potato:
    Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Potatoes, boiled, cooked without skin, flesh, without salt

    Whole Wheat Pasta:
    Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked

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    Have you read the list of ingredients on your package of pasta? Is it just ground wheat, water and salt? The problem with processed pastas is that it get a lot of chemicals added to it in the process, removing it from actual grain form when it has those nutrients it advertises. In additions, the proteins/glutens in modern wheat has little to do with the atcual plant (kamut, spelt are closer to the real thing). Due to the alterations and processing it alters your response to food, including a significant increase in appetite. If you do chose to eat wheat, I would suggest you look at cracked wheat, burgulr (or buckwheat (my best pick for grains due to Magnesium), millet, barley etc,) i.e hot cereal, rather than any form of products that start with flour.

    On the whole though, I would not trust nutritional charts explicitly. I don't think they re-analyse foods reguraly, just copy the old stuff over. Sort of like folks in 17th century still had trouble believing that elephants have knees because Starbo said they did not.

    But form the things you listed, unless you have joint pains, I would chose potato as the most satiating option, and even if they are not in the running, properly prepared or canned beans/lentils.
    Last edited by Leida; 06-12-2013 at 06:38 AM.
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    If you get stomach cramps after eating wheat, you cannot tolerate it. You are kidding yourself. You are either gluten intolerant or celiac.

    Glycemic index is a useless measure for purpose of weight control.

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    I wish people didn't know about gluten . I really do, because people are so hyperfocused on it they ignore the other issues.

    I am not a gluten-intolerant person by the standard definition (although I believe every person is gluten-intolerant, just to varying degrees). If I consume an entire pound of pasta right now, I'll be absolutely fine. If I were to do it after a heavy workout I'd probably feel pretty good, actually. But gluten content is one of many reasons to avoid wheat.

    1.) WGA - wheat germ agglutinin - could be an even bigger problem than gluten. I'll leave it up to you to research this lectin, but WGA content is going to be much more prevalent in whole wheat pasta because the germ is removed in white flour.

    2.) Phytic acid content - whole wheat pasta has more whan white flour. Mark Sisson posted a study years ago that showed people that ate whole wheat pasta actually absorbed less nutrients than people that ate white flour pasta. It was interesting to say the least, though I don't have a link.

    3.) Nutrient density and bioavailability. Whole wheat pasta may look decent compared to other pastas, but compare it to potatoes, eggs, shrimp or broccoli. Grains in general are low-nutrient poverty foods. Then factor in the minerals that are there are generally bound to insoluble fibers that can't be digested by humans, paired with the phytic acid content that further blocks absorption...well, the real nutrients in potato or white rice flour you can actually use while the nutrients in wheat are a small fraction of what is actually shown.

    4.) Insoluble fiber. Fiber is popular in CW, but just like there are different types of fats, there are different types of fibers. Soluble fiber, found in roots, tubers and legumes, feed gut bacteria and promote healthy digestion. Some soluble fibers and resistant starches ferment in the large intestine and produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, which are beneficial. Insoluble grain fibers, however, are known to scar the colon and lead to colon cancer.

    I don't blindly do paleo. Just because something is neolithic doesn't make it bad and just because something is traditional or ancient doesn't make it good. I view food on a "nutrient density per calorie versus toxin load" basis. Because of this, I'm not opposed to white rice or nixtamalized non-GMO corn. I'm not a huge rice eater, but I eat a 12 pack of Whole Food's organic corn tortillas a week because they're delicious, somewhat nutritious and nearly toxin free thanks to the nixtamalization. Potatoes are in a whole different league. They are extremely nutritious, satiating and as long as you remove the skins, very low toxin. Most leafy greens contain higher toxin loads than potatoes.

    Because of this, I see no reason to logically eat wheat, and my avoidance of it for so long has taken away any taste I once had for it. The caloric content is high, the toxin load is high and the nutrient value is low. That makes it a poor quality food at best and a downright toxic food at worst. And remember, for 98% of us, wheat isn't going to be immediately toxic. It will happen over years or decades. Autoimmune conditions take a very long time to develop. Removing wheat from my diet has eliminated nearly all my outdoor allergies and really helped my tolerance to cat and dog dander. YMMV.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 06-12-2013 at 07:15 AM.
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    ^Excellent response.

    And seriously, if you are sensitive to something, you are not doing yourself any kindness by eating it. This isn't just about nutritional density.
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    The benefits of quinoa (my emphasis):

    " In the case of Quinoa, it contains soap-like molecules called saponins. Unlike gluten, which attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins simply punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Yes, that’s bad. Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture."

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    Quote Originally Posted by upupandaway View Post
    The benefits of quinoa (my emphasis):

    " In the case of Quinoa, it contains soap-like molecules called saponins. Unlike gluten, which attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins simply punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Yes, that’s bad. Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture."

    How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)
    Nuts contain things like this as well.

    Again, just because something is neolithic doesn't make it bad and just because something is ancient doesn't make it good. I consider organic masa harina to be healthier than almonds, and I consider molasses, maple syrup and honey to be healthier than fats like lard, tallow, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.

    I wouldn't eat quinoa. IMO if you're going to go for something grain-like, the best options are traditional corn tortillas and nixtamalized grits (known as hominy).
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    Because of this, I see no reason to logically eat wheat, and my avoidance of it for so long has taken away any taste I once had for it. The caloric content is high, the toxin load is high and the nutrient value is low. That makes it a poor quality food at best and a downright toxic food at worst. And remember, for 98% of us, wheat isn't going to be immediately toxic. It will happen over years or decades. Autoimmune conditions take a very long time to develop. Removing wheat from my diet has eliminated nearly all my outdoor allergies and really helped my tolerance to cat and dog dander. YMMV.
    100% right. I grew up in France eating baguettes and croissants and whatnot made of wheat. October 1st 2012 was the first day of my wheat free journey and I have not looked back once. Best move I made on the nutrition side of things.

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    I also wanted to add that after a long while, grains just don't appeal any more. I used to really miss millet and buckwheat, but now they are in the pantry, and I don't eat them by choice... I would much rather eat fruit and veggies. I am hoping to come to love meat well enough that I actually actively celebrate eating it, but so far apart from fish and shrimp, meat doesn't associate for me with pavlov's dog like food anticipation, and I often forgo supper in favor of a large fruit plate/nuts/cabbage. Though I have seen Choco's argument quite a few times now, and gotta work on that nut thing. Cocoa nibs seem to help. Fingers crossed they are good for you.
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