Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Nov

Why Grains Are Unhealthy

grainsI find that grain bashing makes for a tasty, but ultimately unsatisfying meal.

You all know how much I love doing it, though. But no matter how often I sit down to dine on the stuff (and I’ve done it with great gusto in the past), I always leave the table feeling like I left something behind. Like maybe I wasn’t harsh enough about the danger of gluten, or I failed to really convey just how much I hated lectins. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the mere mention of grains was eliciting a crazy insulin-esque response and throwing my satiety hormones all out of whack. I was filling up on anti-grain talk, but I just couldn’t fill that void for long.

Well, I’ve got the hunger today, and this time I aim to stuff myself to the point of perpetual sickness. I don’t ever want to have to look at another anti-grain argument again (yeah, right). If things get a little disjointed, or if I descend into bullet points and sentence fragments, it’s only because the hunger has taken over and I’ve decided to dispense with the pleasantries in order to lay it all out at once.

So please, bear with me.

Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains. Believe me – I’ve searched far and wide and asked everyone I can for just one good reason to eat cereal grains, but no one can do it. They may have answers, but they just aren’t good enough. For fun, though, let’s see take a look at some of the assertions:

“You need the fiber!”

Okay, for one: no, I don’t. If you’re referring to its oft-touted ability to move things along in the inner sanctum, fiber has some unintended consequences. A few years back, scientists found that high-fiber foods “bang up against the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, rupturing their outer covering” which “increases the level of lubricating mucus.” Err, that sounds positively awful. Banging and tearing? Rupturing? These are not the words I like to hear. But wait! The study’s authors say, “It’s a good thing.” Fantastic! So when all those sticks and twigs rub up against my fleshy interior and literally rupture my intestinal lining, I’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s all part of the plan, right?

Somehow, I’m not convinced that a massive daily infusion of insoluble grain fiber is all that essential. And that “lubricating mucus” sounds an awful like the mucus people with irritable bowel syndrome complain about. From personal experience I can tell you that once I completed my exodus from grains, the IBS completely stopped. If you’re not yet convinced on the fiber issue I’ll refer you to Konstantin Monastyrsky’s Fiber Menace. Anyway, there’s plenty of fiber in the vegetables and fruit I eat. Which takes me to the next claim:

“You need the vitamins and minerals!”

You got me. I do need vitamins and minerals, like B1 and B2, magnesium and iron, zinc and potassium. But do I need to obtain them by eating a carb-heavy, bulky grain? No, no I don’t. You show me a serving of “healthy whole grains” that can compete – nutrient, vitamin, and mineral-wise – with a Big Ass Salad. What’s that? Can’t do it? Thought so.

“But it forms the foundation of the governmental food pyramid!”

You know, I should have just started the entire post with this one. I could have saved my fingers the trouble of typing and your eyes the trouble of reading. Governmental endorsements are not points in your favor, grain-eater; they are strikes against you. An appeal to authority (unless that “authority” is actually a preponderance of scientific evidence, of course) does not an effective argument make. Conventional Wisdom requires consistent, steady dissection and criticism if it is to be of any value.

There’s a reason grains are first and foremost on the list of foods to avoid when following the Primal Blueprint: they are completely and utterly pointless in the context of a healthy diet. In fact, if your average unhealthy person were to ask for the top three things to avoid in order to get healthy, I would tell them to stop smoking, to stop drinking their calories (as soda or juice), and to stop eating grains. Period. Full stop. They really are that bad.

I’ve mentioned this time and again, but the fundamental problem with grains is that they are a distinctly Neolithic food that the human animal has yet to adapt to consuming. In fact, cereal grains figured prominently in the commencement of the New Stone Age; grains were right there on the forefront of the agricultural revolution. Hell, they were the agricultural revolution – einkorn wheat, emmer, millet, and spelt formed the backbone of Neolithic farming. They could be stored for months at a time, they were easy enough to grow in massive enough quantities to support a burgeoning population, and they promoted the construction of permanent settlements. Oh, and they were easily hoarded, meaning they were probably an early form of currency (and, by extension, a potential source of income inequality). And here’s the kicker: they were harsh, tough things that probably didn’t even taste very good. It also took a ton of work just to make them edible, thanks to their toxic anti-nutrients.

Toxic anti-nutrients? Do tell.

Living things generally do not want to be consumed by other living things. Being digested, for the most part, tends to interrupt survival, procreation, propagation of the species – you know, standard stuff that fauna and flora consider pretty important. To avoid said consumption, living things employ various self defense mechanisms. Rabbits, for example, with their massive ears, considerable fast-twitch muscle fibers, and nasty claws, can usually hear a predator coming, outrun (out-hop?) nearly anything, and (in a pinch) slash a tender belly to shreds. Blue whales are too big to fit into your mouth, while porcupines are walking reverse pincushions. Point is, animals have active defense mechanisms. They run, fight, jump, climb, fly, sting, bite, and even appeal to our emotions (if you’ve ever seen a puppy beg for a treat with sad eyes, you know that isn’t just accidental cuteness) in order to survive. All the while, predators are constantly evolving and generating adaptations.

Plants, though, are passive organisms without the ability to move, think, and react (for the most part). They must employ different tactics to ensure propagation, and they generally have to rely on outside forces to spread their seed. And so various methods are “devised” to dissuade consumption long enough for the seed to get to where it’s going. Nuts have those tough shells, and grains have the toxic anti-nutrients, lectins, gluten, and phytates. (Of course there are some obvious exceptions. Fruits are tasty, nutritious, and delicious so that animals will eat them whole and poop out the seeds, preferably into some fertile soil. The seed stays intact throughout the digestive process; it is indigestible by design. No seed “wants” to be digested, because this would defeat the purpose. They “want” to be swallowed, or borne by the wind, or carried by a bee to the next flower, but they do not want to be digested.)

Some animals are clearly adapted to grain consumption. Birds, rodents, and some insects can deal with the anti-nutrients. Humans, however, cannot. Perhaps if grains represented a significant portion of our ancestral dietary history, things might be a bit different. Some of us can digest dairy, and we’ve got the amylase enzyme present in our saliva to break down starches if need be, but we simply do not have the wiring necessary to mitigate the harmful effects of lectins, gluten, and phytate.

Lectins are bad. They bind to insulin receptors, attack the stomach lining of insects, bind to human intestinal lining, and they seemingly cause leptin resistance. And leptin resistance predicts a “worsening of the features of the metabolic syndrome independently of obesity”. Fun stuff, huh?

Gluten might be even worse. Gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley, is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. Around 1% of the population are celiacs, people who are completely and utterly intolerant of any gluten. In celiacs, any gluten in the diet can be disastrous. We’re talking compromised calcium and vitamin D3 levels, hyperparathyroidism, bone defects. Really terrible stuff. And it gets worse: just because you’re not celiac doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible to the ravages of gluten. As Stephan highlights, one study showed that 29% of asymptomatic (read: not celiac) people nonetheless tested positive for anti-gliadin IgA in their stool. Anti-gliadin IgA is an antibody produced by the gut, and it remains there until it’s dispatched to ward off gliadin – a primary component of gluten. Basically, the only reason anti-gliadin IgA ends up in your stool is because your body sensed an impending threat – gluten. If gluten poses no threat, the anti-gliadin IgA stays in your gut. And to think, most Americans eat this stuff on a daily basis.

Phytates are a problem, too, because they make minerals bio-unavailable (so much for all those healthy vitamins and minerals we need from whole grains!), thus rendering null and void the last, remaining argument for cereal grain consumption.

What, then, is the point to all this grain madness? Is there a good reason for anyone (with access to meat, fruit, and vegetables, that is) to rely on cereal grains for a significant portion of their caloric intake?

The answer is unequivocally, undeniably no. We do not need grains to survive, let alone thrive. In fact, they are naturally selected to ward off pests, whether they be insects or hominids. I suggest we take the hint and stop eating them.

And with that, I’m done. I don’t think I could eat another bite.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Very timely, as I read this in my school’s buffet. I’m going to grab some more salad!

    Wyatt wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Sounds like a wonderful idea! There is nothing like a good ole primal salad :)

      I can’t believe I just read this article…

      It is a MUST READ for anyone who thinks grains are good for them! I will be passing this around the web like crazy :)

      Primal Toad wrote on June 3rd, 2010
      • While I feel it’s probably right, it surely isn’t a must read. That is, unless your must read criteria favors feelings and cute parenthetical usage over evidence and citations.

        R wrote on January 22nd, 2012
        • Thank you Mark Sisson for this article and everyone who commented. The Paleo diet is amazing and giving up grains was one of the best decisions I have made for my life and health.

          Iqra wrote on October 6th, 2012
        • @R: Actually if you look through the article Mark links to a bunch of studies to back up his key points.

          Personally I am very much against gluten grains, although I do eat healthier grains like rice once or twice a week. For pleasure, not for health.

          At the end of the day, grains are a food group that contains absolutely NO essential nutrients that you can’t get in MUCH greater amounts from animals and vegetables. Therefore, making them the foundation of the food pyramid (or food plate) just doesn’t make any sense at all.

          I think the evidence is overwhelming, especially from studies on carb restricted diets, that the majority of people who are overweight, diabetic, etc. would do best by avoiding or minimizing grains.

          Kris Gunnars wrote on January 7th, 2013
        • Agreed. These are some interesting assertions, and probably worth investigating, but where is the evidence? What sources can you cite? Are there any peer-reviewed studies that support your claims?

          It takes more than vitriol and big words to make me change my daily habits.

          Zac wrote on January 10th, 2013
        • Research paleo diet and you will see that it is greatly considered a bad idea based off inaccurate theory. Red meat and eggs high in cholesterol good cancer preventing grain bad? This is essentially a dairy free Atkins fad diet. It’s actually listed as one of the worst diets out of a list of 25 and is generally considered a fad diet. It’s based on a diet of people that didn’t live long and had horrible health. By the way fiber does a lot more than give you a solid shit. Oh we’ll have fun with your colon cancer dumb asses.

          J wrote on February 6th, 2013
        • Also the key is moderation. There is no need to cut anything completely out of your diet. Why punish yourself. Health is based on person to person. No one has the right answer. One person say eat it or prepare it like this and the next says dont. The key is to get the nutrients you need I’m a moderate and common sense diet.

          J wrote on February 6th, 2013
        • Of the links that he gives in the article, several of them lead to dud 404 error pages. One of them was done 40 years ago, and the one from 2006 that he linked to hadn’t even been published when he got the info from it.
          The only legit article I could see that he linked to had a p value of 0.036 for the variable he was interested in which, while statistically significant in some studies, is not an overwhelmingly positive result, and I couldn’t find any other articles to back this result up.
          Meanwhile, I look this up on Google Scholar and it is just full of published and peer reviewed articles from all over the place that say the exact opposite to this article.
          I’m not saying that this article isn’t true, but telling me about personal experience and linking to other articles telling me about personal experience simply doesn’t count as evidence for me. Can anyone please point me towards the scientific literature for this? I can’t seem to find it.

          Emma wrote on April 11th, 2013
        • HERE HERE!

          Julie wrote on December 10th, 2013
      • The thing here though is….is if you believe everything you read, there’s nothin’ left on the menu, so to speak. Most, if not all foods have some benefit, BUT….all things in moderation. And I don’t find this article a “must read”. Interesting yes. Must read, no way. The only foods I can think of off the top of my head to DEF stay away from, from bite one, is stuff like McDonalds, etc., but we’d be comparing oranges to apples. I’d hardly call McDonalds “food”…it just fills your gut and your arteries with crap you don’t want EVER! Trust me….I learned the hard way. I’ve already had a “light” heart attack, a stint in my right coronary artery, then a couple years later, total flat line cardiac arrest dead as a door nail, bit the dust kinda dead, and they had to do an emergency quad bypass, and a femoral aortal replacement. Not a lot o’ fun. Just shy of 3 days of it bein’ one year, I’m still recovering. And NONE of it was attributed to grains, but to fat and high cholesterol foods. It’s a proven fact that oats and oatmeal reduce cholesterol, and I do believe it’s a GRAIN. Isn’t that strange? They sure ain’t no fish, dairy product, veggie or meat. Again….all things in moderation, but just use your brain and stay away from fatty foods unless the fat is the Omega 3 fatty acid in fish and certain other “land foods”. Don’t let this, or any other site brain wash ya bro. Learn the good fats from the bad, read labels, and realize if grains were a death nell for the human species, we’d not have made it this far along the evolutionary chain anyway. Or…if you wanna look at it from a different point of view….”Give us this day our DAILY bread…” Just sayin’

        Arejaye wrote on July 23rd, 2012
        • Have you tried eliminating grains? I did and saw some amazing results. I lost forty lbs, saw my allergies almost disappear, and my asthma completely resolved. My allergist still refuses to believe that it has anything to do with grains, even though every time I have beer or some pizza I will wheeze for a day or more. To her, like you, it is simply too unlikely. There must be some other explanation. I.e. ‘That Tim guy is a crazy nut.’ (I won’t dispute that part.)

          I tried the conventional wisdom of eating ‘heart healthy whole grains’, bags of veggies and lean meats. It just made me sicker. I even went raw vegan for nearly a year, again sicker. Honestly, that was when I was the sickest with constant bronchitis, wheezing, virus after virus, etc. But after ditching the grains and switching to heart healthy saturated fat… never better. I haven’t been sick in over a year now. Not a sniffle. Maybe my allergist is right and maybe you’re right. Maybe it won’t work for you at all, but you’ll never know for sure unless you try (some green eggs and ham).

          -Tim

          -Tim

          Tim wrote on July 23rd, 2012
        • For the sake of your health I would suggest you reconsider your position on this subject. Besides corn there are no grain foods that we eat today that are unprocessed. I challenge you to find a grain (other than corn) and try to eat it in its natural state. you’ll either swallow it whole in which case it will go straight through you like fiber or you’ll be booking yourself into the dentist to get your chipped teeth fixed after trying to chew it. even if you did get to the contents within the grains shell you would not enjoy the taste. Should we really be eating something that we can only tolerate eating following it being processed and combined with sugar or flavors? you say none of it was attributed to grains but do you actually have any idea of the physiological processes within the body for the progression of heart disease??? do you know what roles cholesterol play within the body?? Do you know why they’ve attributed atherosclerosis and heart disease to high cholesterol?? Cholesterol is vital for human function. It is a structure of cells it ensures correct hormone production and function and plays a vital role in digestion. We need cholesterol. High cholesterol does not predict your risk of heart disease and nor does fat intake as long as its natural animal or plant based fat. just like sugar grain intake leads to systemic inflammation leading to the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and the dysfunction of HDL cholesterol. When LDL-C is oxidized it is attracted into the intima of artery walls thus causing atherosclerosis and heart disease.They made assumptions about cholesterol purely based on its role in transporting fat and got it all wrong but now that they’re making billions and billions of dollars selling cholesterol lowering drugs noone is whiling to correct the misconceptions of cholesterol. Cholesterol is only bad when your body is in an inflamed state. Go to your doctor and ask him to measure your levels of C-reactive protein which is a marker of inflammation then go on a no grain diet high fat and high protein diet (meats, fish, nuts, seeds, vegetables, salads) for a month or so and get it retested. You will see a decrease in C-reactive protein levels thus meaning you will have reduce the systemic inflammation in your body in turn reducing your risk of further complications associated with heart disease. Cholesterol lowering meds work to decrease risk of complications associated with heart disease but not by lowering cholesterol. Studies show that cholesterol lowering tablets slow the progression of atherosclerosis before its taken any affect to lower cholesterol levels. The fact that cholesterol lowering drugs reduces systemic inflammation is the true mechanism behind how they work however cholesterol lowering drugs increase cancer proportionally to the decrease in heart disease complications. also you do realize that the studies and articles you read about oats and every other product claiming to reduce cholesterol are all reported by people with invested interest in their sales?? they are the ones doing the brain washing. Fat intake has decreased and grain intake has increased and yet we are seeing a continual rise in heart disease, diabetes obesity (especially in children) and many other conditions and our life expectancy is beginning to decrease … go figure.. I could go on and on about the relationship between grain intake and many other health conditions.

          Do not eat grains wrote on August 9th, 2012
        • Arejay, Congratulations on making it through what sounds like an awfully scary and traumatic experience! I’m happy you’ve chosen to pay attention to your diet. It’s definitely smart to avoid McDonald’s.

          However, it sounds like you’re informed by old recommendations. Saturated fat has not been proven unequivocally to raise cholesterol and clog arteries. Your body produces almost all the cholesterol it needs, and you actually absorb <10% cholesterol from foods. Chronic inflammation promotes arterial plaques, and this is something you must address with a good diet. The only true "bad fats" out there are hydrogentated oils. Stress and healthy social connections that promote happiness and physical connection are also shown in many studies to reduce cardiac events.

          Here is one source of many regarding the saturated fat confusion.
          http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believe-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

          also, check out "The Great Fat Debate", where expert researchers culminated their lessons and made recommendations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21515107

          As a Registered Dietitian, I've been reading research about fats for years. I'm amazed that we still continue to tell people to eat low-fat, high-carb diets when this is not well supported in our scientific evidence. In fact, our evidence shows this advice to be harmful: as people have reduced fat in their diets, their sugar & carb intake has increased. So has waistlines, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

          Good luck. And please keep looking for good research to draw conclusions to help you in your healing efforts.

          Frances Arnold wrote on August 15th, 2012
        • Watch this 6 part video. About 45 minutes altogether. See if this new information changes your mind.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VklT8uL8yo&feature=player_embedded

          Don Loffray wrote on August 28th, 2012
        • A popular book “wheat belly”, refers to evidence the wheat plant has been re-engineered in order to produce more in a shorter time in short in the name of profits. This may partially explain why for centuries we did not have issues eating grains and now we do.

          Vincent Jackson wrote on September 9th, 2012
        • Oh dear! Whose bible have you been reading? Even my doctor is telling his patients to ditch the bread. But if you ARE intent on having bread, perhaps read ‘Nourishing Traditions’ by Sally Fallon.

          Maria wrote on September 30th, 2012
        • You might be ok with a few oats now and again. Be sure to by the organic gluten free ones. You can actually pick oat and eat it raw, so it would qualify in the sphere of “what we used to eat.” I think you really need to find a good “health” practitioner where you live. I don’t mean a “sickness” practitioner. Sickness practitioners (otherwise known as doctors) make their money when your sick. They have no financial incentive to keep you well. I beg you to take more responsibility for your health and become informed.

          Bob wrote on January 9th, 2013
        • I eliminated grains about 6 weeks ago after reading Wheat Belly. All my cravings are gone and this is the best i have felt in years!

          ROBERT wrote on February 2nd, 2013
        • I say your asthma is a result of you believing from the get go the grains would help. In other words placebo. Just listened to an asthma study were placebo and medicated patients felt same exact results. In other words I don’t believe you either.

          J wrote on February 6th, 2013
        • To the comment posted by “J” (Feb. 6, 2012) in response to “Tim’s” comment about his allergy disappearing and that being the placebo effect – that’s untrue. I went off gluten last year because I had been tested years earlier only to discover, after an 8-week detox/reintroduction of nearly everything, that I am wheat sensitive, but had, sadly, fallen back off the wagon with my pregnancies. Within a few years I was diagnosed with asthma, experienced itchy, flaking ears, was chronically bloated, and felt an overall lethargy, not to mention the severe mood swings and bouts of depression. Thus, I realized I had to do something proactive. I had no idea at the time that going off gluten would have any effect on my asthma, nor was it suggested by my naturopath – I was merely doing this for the ear flaking; however, I went from inhalation of a daily cortico-steroid and occasional need for an inhaler, to being drug- and asthma-free. In fact, this past winter I didn’t even get my usual bout of bronchitis, nor did I get sick! So all I want to contribute to this discussion is that if you can’t believe in the tangible results that people post here, what can you believe in? Certainly not the doctors! When I told my allergist about the asthma going away and asked if he ever saw this in connection with gluten elimination, he answered in the affirmative. When I asked him why then he didn’t tell his asthma patients to try a gluten detox, he answered that he’d have no more patients! I got my kids off gluten, as well, and my son’s eczema disappeared, in addition to my daughter’s ADHD reversing and the school taking her off her IEP. You can negate this all you like, but at some point you have to recognize the truth in personal human trials/results. By the way, happily, I haven’t had a bout of depression since!

          Tina wrote on May 8th, 2013
        • Give us this day our DAILY bread? Like you said, you can’t believe everything you read.

          Sandra wrote on June 6th, 2013
        • Paul wrote on July 7th, 2013
        • Do Not Eat Grains…knows what he/she is talking about; sounds like Dr. Jason Fung, an internist in Toronto, Canada who has done an extensive review of most of the published scientific evidence in the last 50+ years. See his 6-part YouTube Video Lecture series “Aetiology of Obesity.” He is having great success treating his Type 2 Diabetes patients with a combination of intermittent fasting and the paleo diet principles of cutting out processed carbohydrates and vegetable oils.

          Marie Minton wrote on February 7th, 2014
    • Hello all,
      I recently discovered this blog and have found it very interesting. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a link between grain consumption and chronic degenerative diseases. I’m interested in the link between lectins from grains (specifically legumes) and neurodegenrative diseases such as dystonia and other movement disorders. Does anyone out there have information about this or know of anyone who has successfully treated their dystonia by adopting a Paleo-diet? Thanks….

      Rob wrote on May 24th, 2011
      • Ah, grains, ie. cereal grains, are not legumes. Peas, beans, alfalfa, carob, soy, peanuts. They are plants in the Fabaceae family. Cereal grains are grasses in the monocat family Poaceae.

        Lynda wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • My husband and I recently embarked on a “healthier” alternative lifestyle just over a month ago…and when I say alternative, it’s due to the fact that it is not your average American diet including cereal, pasta, bread and “whole grains.” In fact, we eliminated grains completely and have been enjoying lean protein, vegetables and some fruits. In this past month, I have lost 11 lbs. (that I have been trying to lose the past two years) and my husband has lost 18 lbs. Now, I’m not promoting this as a “diet plan” because while that certainly was a nice side affect it was not our goal. I used to have serious gastrointestinal issues and migraines on a weekly basis. My husband used to have cravings where he would get up in the middle of the night, go to the kitchen and eat half a loaf of bread, not able to able to stop himself. After purging our bodies from the wheat/gluten, my problems have literally disappeared and my husbands cravings are gone. It sounds miraculous, I know…but this little scientific experiment that we tried on ourselves has definitely convinced us. We love our new Paleo-lifestyle and will never go back!

        Lindsey wrote on February 18th, 2012
        • It really is amazing to me that our government pushes everyone to eat something so bad for you just so they can make billions of dollars a year. They know its bad for us, they just dont care. I am a veteran and after 1 particular tour in Iraq i all of a sudden had asthma. I was sent for tons of tests that came up inconclusive and they ended up giving me an inhaler an advair neither of which helped. After 2 years of using meds that didnt work and all types of tests nothing worked and i felt awful whenever i worked out. Fastforward to Crossfit….i started doing it with Seal Team 5 on a deployment and it was great, but i still felt like crap during workouts. I started going to and actual Crossfit gym and they taught me about eating Paleo. Within 4 weeks of being grain, dairy, and sugar free my asthma was GONE!!! Not only that but my energy levels increased, and i was sleeping more soundly through the night, and now ill be 40 next year and i am one of the top performing athletes in our gym. So good for you guys going Paleo and tell the world about it like i do. Everyone i meet and will give me a chance i tell them about the Paleo diet.

          Mike C wrote on March 2nd, 2012
        • Gave up gluten because daughter gets rashes and who knows what else internally and have noticed improvements in my health as well. For instance, with my last pregnancy i didn’t gain as much weight or get swollen ankles and stuff. But i also don’t eat meat, except wildcaught seafood and eggs. and i don’t eat dairy. also don’t eat HFCS. so i’m questioning if it’s the gluten free that is responsible for me being healthy. Also i eat a lot of rice and corn because it doesn’t have gluten. Is rice and corn restricted in this diet? what about beans? we eat lots of beans (too much).

          Shake wrote on May 6th, 2012
        • What if you are a vegetarian? How do you fill up? On vegetables? I read an article on how soy has been transformed and we should not eat it?

          piedade wrote on August 28th, 2012
      • Hi Rob, I have dystonia. I read on one dystonia forum of a forum member adopting this diet and seeing significant changes.

        Ashwin wrote on August 26th, 2012
      • You are right, I discovered it couple of days ago and Mark changed my life!

        About paleo diet treatment and proof that it can cure is myself! It changed me, I feel more energized a lot better since I started it.

        Valentina wrote on March 3rd, 2014
    • Arrepientanse hippies, todo lo que comen les hace da~o porque viven en una vida llena de pecado y por eso tienen miedo de comer lo que Dios creo para nuestro bien….ustedes le dicen malo a lo que Dios dice bueno. Estan enfermos por pecadores NO por comer gluten o granos. Arrepientanse!

      Arrepentios!!!! wrote on October 1st, 2011
      • LOL

        cálmate wey

        Martine wrote on November 19th, 2011
        • Bien dicho Martine. Jaja!

          Chris wrote on April 3rd, 2014
      • god didn’t create modern grains, people did by taking entirely inedible grasses and turning them into edible, albeit indigestible grains like wheat etc.

        Marion wrote on January 20th, 2012
        • I have been learning more about the paleo diet from a friend of mine. My experience is in veganism and macrobiotics, and as I am learning more about our excess grain consumption as a society, what you say Marion really makes sense to me. You can pick an apple or pluck a lettuce leaf and it is ready to eat, but wheat or rice pulled from the ground are certainly not!

          Kuwanna wrote on February 16th, 2012
        • while I am on the fence about the whole grain issue I have to say Jesus Christ did eat bread did he not? I mean cavemen didn’t eat “salads” they didn’t eat fruit salads either. They didn’t eat nearly many of the things we eat today. They just weren’t available. So should we assume eating chinese, italian are bad too? I think the problem with the whole grains is that they are “bulking” up too much of most peoples meals. too many carbs and fiber. Instead of a bowl of cereal maybe some eggs and a piece of toast? Or a cup of cereal and some eggs? I have to admit that i haven’t eaten any cereal within a couple days and I don’t feel normal either… Should I eat more yogurt for that? how about those nuts that are bad for you too? maybe we shouldn’t eat anything because too much veggies and fruit are bad too? i think our modern day human life style completely strips us of our natural instinct for survival. If caveman saw a wheat field and he was hungry I bet he’d try and eat it if a nice buffalo wasn’t available. Why do Possums and rats snack on our food garbage? survival!

          Joy wrote on February 25th, 2012
        • god didnt make the computer you’re sitting at.
          or the polyester your wearing.

          oh, and if it’s cotton you’re wearing, well remember, just like grains, cotton plants were harvested too.

          this article is bogus.

          frenzy wrote on May 21st, 2012
      • and honestly, calling us hippy sinners? and that we’re only sick because we’re sinners? i can only presume you’re joking, otherwise take your zeal and stuff it where the sun don’t shine!

        Marion wrote on January 20th, 2012
        • I think you have missed the fact that humans has been around for more than 100 000 years. Jesus christ was born 2012 years ago.

          Anyone who believes in the christian god please explain why god was slacking at least 98000 of those years before he decided to sacrifice his son?

          Erik wrote on April 25th, 2012
      • Quién dice que dios existe? Edúcate, por favor.

        Pancho wrote on June 11th, 2012
        • Jesus Christ never existed.

          Rich wrote on July 24th, 2012
        • @rich You’re wrong, there’s evidence that He did, in fact exist.

          Twicenow wrote on August 16th, 2013
      • hahahaha your comment is hilarius.

        Marck wrote on August 21st, 2012
        • He seems to have had an impact, nonetheless. “AD” and all that…

          diogenes wrote on September 15th, 2012
    • Ok. Grains are bad, too much sugar is bad, a bit of sugar is bad, salt is bad, milk is bad, gluten is bad, egg is bad, meat is bad (acoording to some people), being vegetarian is bad (according to other people), everything you like is bad and what you don’t like, but got used to them, became bad.

      The problem is not what we eat but how we eat. How we mentally accept food as a good thing – or not. How we don’t feel guilty when we eat some things, how we start creating all kind of illness just after eating something we think is bad. Ten years ago we used to believe eggs were good for us, now the called modern science tell us they are bad. Everything can be bad if you trully believe they are bad.

      I am not saying we should go and eat all the unhealthy food we can find. Of course we want to leave more and more, being able to share life with our grandchildren and, if is possible, with their kids too. But we cannot feel guity for everything people say is bad for you. What is bad for you may be good for me. It’s just the way we think, which way more powerfull than any diet you can find.

      Or how would you explain that French people smoke more and still live longer than Americans? or that Italians and Germans drink more and also live longer?
      (http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/assets/uploads/file/quiz_answers_only.pdf)

      Again, lets pay attention to the way we see things, the way we believe something is bad or not to us. We don’t need to get totally crazy eating junk food, but also there is no point of liiving life when you can’t enjoy an amazing pasta full of grains and a beautiful grass of wine full of sugar. Life is just meant to be enjoyed.

      Digo wrote on March 9th, 2012
      • I think we were meant to eat meat, veggies, and fruit, and even some dairy. I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating eggs (mainly because I don’t believe modern science is on our side, and anything approved by the government is a sham and a lie and a way to put more money in their pockets).

        Life IS enjoyable without grains. My life is a living HELL with grains.

        If you have never felt the feeling of a thousand hot burning sharp razor blades traveling slowly through your intestines, and the sudden diarrhea at the worst possible times, the migraines, the stomach cramping worse than any menstrual cramp I’ve ever had, and constantly feeling nauseated….then you shouldn’t say or assume that life with no grain is not enjoyable, because for some of us it feels like a painful, slow death.

        ediddy wrote on March 30th, 2012
        • I don’t think we were MEANT for eating anything specific. We have evolved and so our bodies has had more time to adapt to eating meat, veggies and fruit.

          Erik wrote on April 25th, 2012
        • What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

          mick wrote on May 1st, 2012
        • Very good points;

          John wrote on May 26th, 2012
        • “ediddy”, there were better, less flamey ways of putting that. Really, though, the fact that the debate is so vitriolic is ridiculous to begin with.

          Different people have different dietary tolerances for different things. For instance, I’m apparently one of those 70% or more of people who can tolerate at least small amounts of cereal grain. (Remember: only 1% have celiac and 29% of that study were non-celiac with the signs of resistance showing up; that sounds soooo scary, doesn’t it? Until you realize this means 70% of people don’t have any problem at least passing gluten!)

          This doesn’t mean I would force you to eat cereal grain, which you obviously don’t have tolerance for, any more than I would force a Chinese or Japanese person (who are generally lactose-intolerant) to drink a glass of milk.

          Likewise, I wouldn’t force my mother to eat the raw tomatoes she gets mouth sores from! The trick is learning the diet that works for YOU, as in individual, to keep you fairly healthy and happy.

          For me, a diet low in meat (and usually lean meat at that, since I don’t even LIKE the taste of fat or grease), with some eggs and fish, no white sugar and rare brown sugar (with honey usually as a preferred sweetener if I want it), occasional dairy (mostly in the form of cheese), mostly veggies, fruits, mushrooms and -yes – grains like bread and pasta, while using olive oil or butter for cooking instead of canola oil or margarine (which was NEVER invented for health reasons, you know, it was purely invented as a butter substitute that you could take on sea voyages without spoiling!)… seems to work just fine. For me.

          With rare exceptions, I don’t get bowel issues; even without significant exercise (third floor walkup and working on my feet all day makes that difficult to work up to) I’m a healthy weight for my height – about 130 lbs for a female of 5’3″ (used to be about 120-125, but gained some lately because of too much fast food, which is why I’m back to cooking mushroom sautees at home with said olive oil this week :P).

          And you know what? Obviously this diet wouldn’t work for you. And that is fine. For you.

          But some of us are capable of eating grains on occasion without significant health issues – just like some people are able to eat occasional sweets without gaining ten pounds, or some people can digest false morels (which are, ahem, not good to eat if you don’t have a tolerance).

          Nutrition is very often treated as if there’s gotta be a secret to unlock that will magically work for absolutely everyone, when the truth is, it’s EXTREMELY unique to the individual, in part because of the variety of environments humans have evolved in. Everything from food allergies (which can vary by region! French are more likely to have apple allergies, Greeks to have melon allergies, etc.) to diabetes, to metabolic rates, addictive vs. non-addictive personalities, exercise or lack thereof, and immune conditions like celiac, can impact what a person can safely, healthily eat in at least small portions.

          This is not surprising, people. Stop acting surprised, or offended, on either end; this is just how evolution WORKS. Some people get the lucky mutations that allow them to take advantage of a new food source, and others don’t. There’s nothing wrong with having it, or with not having it. Either way is normal!

          All we do know that can apply to “everyone”, is that too much of anything is going to throw it out of whack (and that “too much” can be a tricky thing to define), processed sugar is a bad idea, and some kind of veggie is probably good to include somewhere.

          That’s not a very long list.

          JW wrote on June 13th, 2012
        • Actually, when it comes to eggs, modern science is on our side. It’s been nearly 3 decades since eggs were shown to at least not be harmful to us. Unfortunately they have not been able to break through the propaganda against them, even though the propaganda has long since stopped. I see eggs as beneficial because when people eat eggs for breakfast, they are not eating a bowl of cereal. Now if we could get them to not have toast with those eggs.

          Joe Cushing wrote on May 22nd, 2013
        • How you feel when you eat grains is the way some people, myself included, feel when they eat meat.

          Without meat it’s pretty difficult to eat a reasonable amount of calories unless you also consume grains and/or legumes.

          Also, last I heard modern science was saying that eggs -are- healthy.

          anon wrote on August 19th, 2013
      • I love your comment

        elisa wrote on April 28th, 2012
      • Great( and very valid) comment!

        Kim wrote on June 15th, 2012
      • I see this differently.

        I don’t care how bad you BELIEVE something is for your body. If the substance in question isn’t bad for the human body, it won’t hurt you.

        The power of your MIND is hurting you in such a case. PLACEBO effect!

        The proof to all this is in the results. I am going to give up grains and see what the results are. I will see how my body changes in it’s appearance. I will see if I feel better.

        I know my father ate tons of candy and tons of bread. He also smoked and didn’t exercise. He is on his deathbed now, ravaged with all kinds of diseases like diabetes, failing kidneys, etc.

        I am determined NOT to die suffereing as badly with all that as he is.

        Rich wrote on July 24th, 2012
      • I do have to say that the toxic ingredients that are in our processed foods here in the US are not allowed in Europe. The same companies that make our everyday American processed crap foods, make a less processed, non toxic version in Europe. I suspect the cigarette industry does something similar. Why would they do this? They are socialist and their government is responsible for their healthcare. Prevent illness, save money. Here in the “land of the free”, our government and their agencies approved those very same ingredients that are banned in Europe. Everyone gets sick, big corporations such as everyone in the “healthcare” industry, insurance companies, the FDA, etc benefit greatly. Here is just one of several articles that have been written on the subject. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/02/11/food-companies-exploit-americans-with-ingredients-banned-in-other-countries/

        Lisa P wrote on February 21st, 2013
        • I love your comment!

          Valentina wrote on March 3rd, 2014
      • Yes, we live a stressful life but folks in Japan aren’t exactly stress free and according to the article you linked to they live a lot longer than we do. I have to believe the difference is in what we’re eating.

        Many people think European and Mediterranean diets are pastry, pasta and pizza, but those things form a very small part of their meals. With fish, meat and vegetables forming the largest part and grains composing a much smaller part. In the US, thanks to the USDA, for most people, grains compose the major part of their diet.

        Scientists have recently stated that in the US, the current generation’s children will be the first to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. That seems incredible with all the medical advances. Heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes is increasing at a phenomenal rate. It has to be diet related.

        To all of you naysayers, no one has to take the word of someone else. Check your fasting glucose. Do blood tests. See what your insulin levels are, your mineral levels, your homeocystine, your cholesterol level (or are you already on a stain drug). How’s your blood pressure. Then eat Paleo for 3 months, 6 months is better. Then go get those tests done again. Prove it for yourself that this way of eating doesn’t make sense. Those of us who eat this way have already proven it to ourselves that it does make sense. If you haven’t tried it, knocking it doesn’t mean a thing.

        Sandra wrote on June 6th, 2013
        • Hey, if you have not tried jumping off a cliff from 300 feet without a parachute, “If you haven’t tried it, knocking it doesn’t mean a thing.”

          Patrick wrote on June 6th, 2013
    • What are we going to do, which most of the people we know and love would probably throw stones as if we tell them not only should they not eat grains, but no nuts and no seeds.

      I, fortunately, met Wil Spencer of Body Electrician and I learned from him most of what you share here. I was having unbelievable digestion problems, IBS etc. Spent $1,000s on all manner of probiotics, but when I eliminated the grains etc., with days I saw immediate improvement.

      Now I a working on repopulating my gut and restoring it after all the damage I have done for so long.

      thanks

      Yvonne wrote on April 16th, 2012
    • I can see where the real problem is.We have very limited choices in an industrial society.Everyone is time starved and grains like corn,rice,potatoes and noodles give us the necessary boost.I still eat fruit,but that is usually for breakfast.I would think expanding the variety of what you’re eating would lead to a healthier life.Problem is most everything is refined and put in bright packages for long life.Real food seems harder to come by everyday.

      matthew gibb wrote on June 13th, 2012
    • “Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains.”

      This is a presumption based upon the authors (limited) knowledge in relation to all of the effects, energetic and in terms of process that eating a grain has on the body. He just doesnt know all of the reasons TO eat grain. This doesnt mean that he is correct in his presumptions. I will look at each though.

      “You need the fiber!”

      his retort amounts to because I feel like it and because I said so. One study cited that shows that “high fiber foods (which ones?) cause “banging on the inner lining” This is very abstract to extrapolate that grains must cause “banging” in the intestines because some food classified as “high fibre” (im betting not grains in the study) caused damage in what amounts ? in humans or rats? etc… Flimsy and not a true argument.

      His next two assertions are straw men arguments. Sure its possible to eat other food sources. This doesnt mean that its by default more healthy or less especially based upon one persons experience although this does set a good start for a study.

      The study would merely reveal the effects of the different diets not weather one is better or worse though as each will have strengths to the others weaknesses. It is the way of things.

      Next we have “Toxic anti-nutrients? Do tell.”

      Phytic acid is released when soaking grains. So… eating whole soaked grains has not yet been shown in any way to be harmful. There is one suggestion that its possibly harmful to some individuals who may have compromised digestive systems.

      He does cite one of my favorite arguments for moving towards fruit based diets for ethical reasons

      “Fruits are tasty, nutritious, and delicious so that animals will eat them whole and poop out the seeds, preferably into some fertile soil”

      Absolutely.

      “Some animals are clearly adapted to grain consumption. Birds, rodents, and some insects can deal with the anti-nutrients. Humans, however, cannot.”

      Hmm… I dont know that this suggestion is actually true.

      “Lectins are bad. They bind to insulin receptors, attack the stomach lining of insects, bind to human intestinal lining, and they seemingly cause leptin resistance. And leptin resistance predicts a “worsening of the features of the metabolic syndrome independently of obesity”.

      What else do they do I wonder? Also are lectins released with soaking? How long does it take for lectins to be released or processed through? But ok on this I will now need to see his studies and how they were conducted and what they really show.

      “Gluten may be even worse!”

      His reasoning is that there are people who have trouble processing them which leads us back to cause of the weakness as the true focus that needs to be explored. You dont try to dim the sun when you get a sun burn right?

      “Phytates are a problem, too, because they make minerals bio-unavailable (so much for all those healthy vitamins and minerals we need from whole grains!), thus rendering null and void the last, remaining argument for cereal grain consumption.”

      What else do Phytates do? I am sure if we look more carefully we will find that all of these useless “poisons” have a ntural activities and reasons for their being in the process. I trust mother earth and my own experience over these suggestions based upon really weak scientific cause and effect explanations.

      I dont know what anyone would have to gain from framing grains in this manner but my feeling is that this is being planted so to speak.

      Genghis wrote on January 10th, 2013
      • Is there reason why you would recommend eating grains?

        Martin wrote on February 2nd, 2013
      • The evidence is right here on this board. People are giving their testimonies and yes grains are not good for us.

        I have just been on this plan for the last four days and I can feel the difference (not eating at night, sleeping well, lost 1lb and just feel good).

        It works and they only way to know is to try it with:

        • No grain
        • No sugary drinks
        • No smoke

        All equal healthy weight loss.

        Albert wrote on April 11th, 2013
        • I have been doing this as well for about 4 days now. However, I can not say I feel good! I’ve had a dull headache the day after I started, sweaty and very tired. I suspect that it’s just my body rebelling from the lack of sugar, starch, wheat and grains, and that eventually I will start to feel better.
          I will say on a positive note though, I am not always hungry. Generally when I’d eat before I’d be hungry again in an hour. Now however, I eat and am satisfied for hours, sometimes I don’t even need to eat lunch. I am happy about that. I haven’t had any cravings either for sugars and the like.

          Jennifer wrote on June 7th, 2013
      • Those phytates and lectins DO have a purpose in grains. To keep them from being eaten or digested!

        Phytates: to make that grain INdigestible, so that when the grains are eaten by birds, they will be pooped out intact. We’d poop them out intact too, if we didn’t grind and cook them, but they will still bind to the minerals in our food and shut down production of pepsin, amylase, and trypsin, 3 different digestive enzymes. These things really don’t want to be digested!

        Lectins: Insecticides; they’re poisonous to everything except birds and rodents. While soaking and rinsing does remove some lectins, and more may be inactivated by cooking, much remains.

        What’s true for grains here is also true for most seeds and all legumes. They’re =meant= to be indigestible! Only processing makes them edible at all; nothing makes them optimal.

        * http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid

        But some of us do okay with grains in our diet; some of us even need some. Grains without gluten are considerably better for us, and wheat is the one to avoid above all. If you do eat it: sprout it, soak it, ferment it. It really makes the difference: if I eat grains I prepare, i don’t have problems. If I eat say, spaghetti, my face is itchy and peeling with red blotches the next morning.

        A good place to start: the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) and Nourishing Traditions (by Sally Fallon) practices with regard to grain. =All= grain-eating peoples soaked and/or fermented their grains to reduce the antinutrients. It’s not hard, here’s how:

        http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid

        Try cutting wheat out of your diet, since it’s by far the worst: lectins, phytates, gluten (which is made up of different proteins, any or all of which may induce reactions. When you stop wheat you will experience withdrawal for about a week, as one of the components of gluten (gliadin) literally acts as (no kidding) an opiate. It wasn’t even present in wheat before 1970; it was engineered into the grain. Modern wheat also has double the gluten of the wheat your grandparents ate; no wonder more people are having problems with it! Even if you’re not celiac, you can be intolerant to gluten.

        Just try it. Go a month without grains. Or without wheat, at least. See how you feel and go from there. I’ll bet you like the results and are very surprised by what a difference it makes in how you feel!

        thixotropic wrote on December 25th, 2013
      • I don’t follow blogs directed at vegans and try to convince them that they are all demented. I find it odd that so many people who are against the Primal or Paleo diet are skulking around on a blog that is written for those of us who are, or who are interested in living the Primal/Paleo lifestyle. For most of us, we eat this way because we benefit from it. It’s not a fad diet for us. From the comments I’m reading here, it seems like a lot of people must get all their information from blogs and then when they don’t like what they read they demand to see the scientific evidence. All you have to do is open yours eyes and ears. There is a lot of scientific evidence to back up eliminating grains. Dozens of books that have been written on the subject with hundreds of references to studies that have been done. It is true your doctor will not tell you about these studies, in fact will probably not even know about them because their “associations” tell them what to believe. The same is true with most licensed nutritionists. They didn’t earn their license by having unconventional beliefs and they are taught to not see the obvious links between the standard american diet and disease.

        Read: Nora Gedgaudis, Primal Body-Primal Mind ;Dr William Davis, Wheat Belly; Melissa Diane Smith, Going Against the Grain; Denise Minger, Death By Food Pyramid. The last one is a very open minded look at the pros and cons of several difference ways of eating. I came to the conclusion that Primal was right for me by doing a lot of reading, not because a blog told me to.

        Sandra wrote on March 4th, 2014
        • great comments, Sandra :)

          Wenona wrote on March 4th, 2014
    • Human adaptibility is why we as a species have been so successful. There seems to be a very wide genetic variation in what foods we can tolerate/thrive on so unfortunately the only way to find out what foods work best for a given individual is trial and error.
      I do best on proteins/veggies/moderate fat with some fruit (mostly berries) and Greek yogurt–makes sense given my northern European ancestry. As my ancestors moved north they would have found fewer plants and more animals to eat; adjusting to a higher-protein diet while their skin and eyes faded to adjust to the decreasing amounts of sunlight.
      My major grain problem is the hell they play w/my blood sugar; enough to be satisfying and my sugar goes up, up, up. Turns out I was diagnosed w/ a wheat allergy in toddlerhood (that my mother just blew off–she poured so much milk down us that a milk allergy probably would have been “oh, gee, too bad” fatal) and then nobody could figure out the weight problems, skin rashes, and fatigue that have plagued me most of my life. It’s not just gluten, either–tried a couple of things containing millet (a cereal and some baked goods) only to get even more sniffles, itches, rashes, and stomach problems than the wheat. So you never can tell until you try.
      So, off the grains for good—missing the legumes, though—my blood sugar liked those. Will see what Primal does for my weight and my blood sugars.

      shrimp4me wrote on May 5th, 2013
    • I think the best diet is to eat as many foods that are not processed at all. If they could not eat 20 000 years ago than we shouldn’t eat it. That in my opinion is the best diet.

      Jeremie wrote on December 23rd, 2013
  2. Very well said. When I spoke to one of fellow nurses about my dietary habits and explained that i don’t eat grains or potatoes legumes etc, she said “but how do you get your starches” like it was some sort of required food group. And this from a NURSE. She should know better, but many don’t because they just spit out what they are taught. And therein lies our problem…

    dave, RN wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • That’s because she’s learned it from the doctor. ;-)

      JulieD wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Well-we are subject to the media, government and big pharma(which has our gvt in its pocket)..I instruct nurses and med students..they are not physiologists. They are not given enough information on what is dietarily necessary. They are preprogramed before entering study to have the same adulterated view of what is “good” and “necessary” for existance. This includes some cancer meds and many medicines overall. Big pharma, plus government control of the FDA and media..hmm..what makes the world go around? Could it be money? Come on-

        Melissa wrote on January 18th, 2012
        • Thank you, Melissa!! You, for one, are a very aware of what’s going on around you and not hypnotized by our media, government and big industries that capitalize off of the bad health of the public. You also realize the the Federal Reserve is a private banking corporation, not part of the government at all? The Federal Reserve is the puppet master; all of the big industries and the government are far below them. I wonder what their agenda is??? Hmmm, you and I and a few others are well aware but most others are blind to their own demise.

          James wrote on February 20th, 2012
        • Hmm, like the “alternative” health industry isn’t worth billions of dollars also? Like that whole area isn’t full of quacks and scam artists trying to part the desperate and ignorant from their hard earned money? C’mon yourself.
          To be honest you sound a lot like my mum, who didn’t believe in getting pap smears because it’s all about “big pharma” playing on our fears. Hey, she eats all organic, is fit and meditates- what could possibly go wrong?
          Now she has stage 3 cervical cancer and wont do the chemo- apparently peroxide and mega vitamin C injections do the same job >:[
          People like you who bad mouth modern medicine make me so angry- go live in a third world country and watch your kid die of an infection that a good dose of antibiotics could have fixed, or watch your loved one die in childbirth or get cancer without any access to decent treatment and then whinge about how ~evil~ big pharma and modern medicine are.
          You bloody idiot.

          1st world problems wrote on May 7th, 2012
      • You are aware that a doctoral degrees require a compulsory 25hrs of nutrition in between 7-10 years of study. Surveys of American instutions found the majority manage less than 20hrs. Is the suggestion is that Doctors are some sort of authority on nutrition??

        Neil wrote on February 27th, 2012
      • Most doctors are non-thinking fools, who only know what they were told in medical school.

        Their teachers in medical school, in many cases, were non-thinking fools as well.

        Very, very FEW doctors are involved in research.

        Some doctors simply look at symptoms and prescribe what they see in a book somewhere.

        Doctors have killed more people than you care to count.

        Rich wrote on July 24th, 2012
        • Whoa, hold up there. Do you even know how hard it is to get into medical school to begin with? You can’t get in by memorizing things (although it helps) as they place heavy emphasis on critical thinking. Very few doctors are involved in research because a researchers rarely get above 6 figures while doctors get way more usually.

          Well how else would they know what disorder/disease you have if you don’t look at the symptoms? Those are the only available sources of information and the so called “books” are thoroughly researched to give the best possible guess with the current set of symptoms.

          Finally, yes doctors killed many people. But 99% of them were going to die anyway (1) and people can make mistakes (2). Doctors saved multiple orders of more people than killed them.

          I’m sorry, but as I aspire to be a doctor in the near future I will not stand by when I see comments of this nature.

          Nikki wrote on February 8th, 2014
    • Realize that a lot of these nurses are taking this from actual classes, real professionals and researchers, not reading it online where anybody can post anything quite obviously.

      Rachel wrote on December 17th, 2009
      • Ummm…well Doctors take about a days worth of nutritional classes in the 4-8 years of medical school. That really isn’t good. Look it up. My husband works at a hospital (security) and has been told how much nutrition classes they’ve had, and they’ve said about 8 hours while they were in medical school. Anything over and above that(for them personally has been little to none), they had to learn on their own. But let me ask you, if you’re not taught to learn about nutrition in school to be a doctor or nurse, then why would you think that’s important to study once out of medical school? You’d probably think, I’ve already been taught what I was suppose to know about the human body, now it’s my job to keep up with the newest drugs coming out, and diseases, not the cause. Because that’s what they teach you in school. They are symptom chasers. I do believe Doctors have they’re place, if you’re having a heart attack, please go see a doctor. But if you have cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, ect. please contact your local herbal doctor and talk to them about the problem. They will take care of it through natural remides. Also I do suggest coming to this site, and reading the blogs.

        How many more hospitals and ER rooms have to be filled, before we get the hint…they don’t know how to cure us. The know how to stick us with needles, and pump us full of drugs our bodies don’t know what to do with. It’s so sad to see. My heart goes out to everyone who takes the Dr.s advice and gets worse. Yes Dr.s have helped people, but if it wasn’t for the conventional wisdom of, you’re sick go see a Dr. we wouldn’t be in that position to be saved. If we just took the time to research, how much greater our lives would be. Yes we’ve had our share of ER visits, my son has a bowl problem, why? Because of his old diet. We’re on a new road, and it’s going to take time, but I’m certain this is the road to recovery. Thanks Mark for posting this, and all the others. Everyone has given me much food for thought.

        Esther Anders wrote on January 25th, 2010
        • Dr’s may only get about 8 hours of nutrition training but nurses get an entire semester, we know better.

          Stent wrote on April 27th, 2010
        • oh well said! I always trust the advice of security guards over a medical professional.
          Everyone! Relieve the global strain on health systems while solving the overpopulation issue, see security guards and herbal charlatans for all your ailments!

          LittleOne wrote on July 22nd, 2010
        • Cancer and ‘herbal remedies’ should *never* be used in the same sentence. Anybody recommending such tripe should be exorcised, for they surely have a demon living inside their noggin.

          Tyler wrote on September 27th, 2010
        • this isn’t so much a response to esther as it is to ‘littleone’ and ‘tyler’.
          it’s so disappointing to see such unenlightenment from people that have managed to stray so radically from the diet ‘prescribed’ by the government and health ‘authorities’ – the same people that want to prescribe you a drug for every ailment, needless to say those which include the ‘conventional’ cancer treatments.
          if you’ve got enough stomach to make it to the end, i think you’ll be Very surprised with what you find and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be the ones telling all Your family, friends, colleagues, teachers, acquaintances, and anybody you bump into on the street about Budwig, Hoxsey, Pauling, Gerson, Simoncini etc. Some of which happened to be awarded the Nobel Prize for their work, only to thereafter have their studies obstructed by the the major pharma-corps of their day.
          Aside from the fact that Esther did not say ‘herbal rememdies’, she said ‘NATURAL remedies’, if you had done any research on ‘natural cancer cures’ the way you had done on the paleo-diet, you’d know that these cures are based on diet, not ‘herbs’.
          Having said that, do not under estimate the value/power of ‘herbs’. I’m sure i read an article on here where Mark promotes the use of fresh ‘herbs’ and spices? Definitely better used as preventative medicine rather than remedies but even mushrooms have been shown, in actual Scientific studies, carried out with ‘licensed’ medical professionals and doctors, to suppress the growth of cancer.
          You have so much faith that we evolved to live on a certain diet, that this diet can reverse diseases which kill many and optimize how we function as animals, why is it so far fetched that we evolved to ‘heal’ ourselves with the [natural] medicines available to us directly from the environment around us as opposed to the medicines only available to us several hundred thousands years later, on the other side of an industrial revolution/pharma-cornucopia?

          sarabear wrote on January 17th, 2011
        • lol, with all my ranting, i forgot to post the link [that i hope Everyone will have the stomach, and the patience, to watch to the end - i.e. part 6]
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DW-twcOQcE
          of course, same applies here. don’t believe everything you read/hear/see. do the research yourself.

          sarabear wrote on January 17th, 2011
        • Stent: 8 hrs means 8 credit hours which is usually two semesters. One semester is 3 to 4 credit hrs.

          Niki wrote on May 6th, 2011
        • Chiropractors take an entire year of nutrition courses… Not all Dr’s are created equal…

          Aaron wrote on May 16th, 2011
        • Just so you know, speaking from experience, doctors aren’t stupid. There are definitely some bad ones, but most of them really are trying to help. I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of true professionals. Yes, they have stuck me with needles, and yes they prescribe medicine, but it all has a legitimate purpose. I’m diabetic, and without my doctor I’d be dead. I wouldn’t trust anyone else (outside myself and my family) more with my life. I know you are probably coming from a valid history of bad experience with doctors, but I just wanted to defend them a little bit. You just have to find the good ones.

          Courtney wrote on September 8th, 2011
        • I agree. Dr.’s are scaling their patients so they have to return, its all about the money now..

          Walter wrote on November 19th, 2011
        • your so stupid

          nicole wrote on December 5th, 2011
        • I agree with what you share about food. I am eating a paleo diet and feel great. Please don’t direct people to “herbal doctors” stating they will “take care of it” for serious medical and health issues. Sometimes they can, my friend died foregoing traditional western medicine treatments for herbs. Sometimes herbs work; great! You can’t deny that chemo has saved thousands of lives. It’s a delicate choice; herbal doctors are a great source toward recovery from treatments such as chemo.

          Terin wrote on January 28th, 2012
        • My dad died just over a year ago from cancer ALL THANKS to the “dr’s” for killing him. We found out to late he could have naturally been cured. I am 32 and both parents are dead from cancer. I have learned a great lesson though, and I know my parents are happy about that. But to know the could have been saved is such a sad thing and I try to tell as many as I can that not all doctors are there to “help” you, and to do your research first. Anything you want is right here online or get a natural doc. Cancer docs are a scam EAT more milkshakes, high fat food, and here eat this candy while you get your chemo and don’t forget to grab a free soda while your at it. I know its not my fault but I listened to the doc when he said those things to my dad and I gave them to him not knowing it was only feeding his cancer. After chemo sometimes he would need a $6,000 shot to bring his immune system back up. WONDER WHY??? I sure do feel bad I did not look into it further on my own before it was to late. It has changed my husband and my life big time though and I am very thankful for that. One of the best things I learned is about the ozone machine and everyone should get one and use it!

          Thanks for your post Esther:)

          Stacey wrote on February 26th, 2012
        • WELL SAID SARABEAR!

          MISS wrote on June 13th, 2012
        • You are correct. In many cases, doctors treat SYMPTOMS, not the cause.

          You’d be surprised that in Cuba, there is more emphasis on the causes of things than just treating a sympton. Being they are a 3rd world country, we here in the U.S. could do much better if politics and PROFIT$ weren’t an issue!

          Rich wrote on July 24th, 2012
        • Haha… :) Research? From what!?! Websites like this? Written from the biased and close-minded view of one person. Research is going out into the field and finding your OWN results, with logical and scientific backgrounds, not copying it off cheap crappy websites like this.

          Sarah wrote on March 18th, 2013
        • “training” or “indoctrination by the meat and dairy industry”
          We’ve done the studies, we’ve seen the evidence.

          Patrick wrote on May 24th, 2013
      • Perhaps it was an older nurse? or doctor? do you really think that once they graduated 20-30 years ago they kept up on the research?

        I have a B.Sc. Neuroscience, and M.Sc. Physical Therapy… yes, I’m a health professional. And I did LOTS of study on nutrition, biochemistry, exercise physiology. And this post makes sense.

        So…. I guess I didn’t pay attention to those “real” professionals and researchers, right?

        toniolio wrote on June 16th, 2010
        • The YouTube video above has been removed by the user. Why is that?

          Loren wrote on September 17th, 2011
        • Dear Melissa, miss registered dietitian,

          I am also one of those who have read tons of studies/books on the subject of nutrition, though I am not as fancy as a “registered dietitian”. Despite that, I will now do my best to obliterate your naive comments about paleo and grains.

          You say there’s no evidence that those without gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Dr. Fasano says you’re wrong. http://chriskresser.com/pioneering-researcher-alessio-fasano-m-d-on-gluten-autoimmunity-leaky-gut

          Now, this is an interview, however Dr. Fasano is the one who discovered that no matter who you are, 100% of human beings release zonulin in response to gluten, specifically the gliadin component of the protein. Zonulin regulates intestinal permeability, so that when it is released by your enterocytes it allows particles through your intestines and into the bloodstream. Not only gluten ends up in there, but also foreign and undigested molecules (especially hard-to-digest proteins like prolamines that are highly present in wheat). Your body then has a brief immune response, creates antibodies, and mops up the invading molecules. A few minutes, no harm done. But what if you consume gluten hundreds, thousands of times? Multiple times a day? Chronic zonulin release will build up the immune response to these foreign molecules. If the foreign molecule has a piece of it that looks like the beta cells in your pancreas, your body will mistakenly attack your pancreas. You now have type 1 diabetes. If it looks like the myelin sheath in your brain, you will develop multiple sclerosis. If you get cat saliva or flower pollen in your bloodstream, you will develop allergies.

          So, miss registered dietitian, how do you like autoimmune diseases? Oh, and all of this is on top of the fact that grains suck nutritionally compared to meat and vegetables. You said something like oh of course a salad is more nutritious than grains – how about 8oz of steak? Look it up and do some real research, eh?

          What is this, amateur hour? Mark isn’t a genius, he just compiles information from the few doctors and PhDs who know what they’re talking about. If you think I’m wrong, show me the studies, and I’ll show you why you’re incredibly wrong. As always, have nice day.

          Adam wrote on September 15th, 2012
      • I am new so be gentle but I read some of this stuff and wonder why you people instantly buy into what is said. A lot of crap is out on the market. You can not believe everything you read. You should do your own research and find 3 reliable trusted sources to back up anything that Mark or anyone else says before you but into it. Just my opinion. How do you know what he says is true? Just because he read or conducted a study you do not know the confines of the study etc… spend some time before you make rash statements.

        sara wrote on July 3rd, 2010
        • I’ve done the research. I’ve also applied it. You can’t deny the evidence I have – a more than 90 pound weight loss with no effort, cravings, or hunger; cessation of migraines, IBS and arthritis; normalization of blood sugars and cholesterol levels; increased energy; better sleep – the list goes on and on. I didn’t “instantly buy into” anything.

          3 reliable trusted sources? Let me introduce you to the shelf of about thirty books on diet and nutrition that I’ve read (and I know there’s thirty or so, because I just unpacked them from moving boxes in my new place). I’m not an idiot and neither are the other folks who’ve taken up Mark’s way of eating. We’re the smart ones, and we’ll live longer and healthier than anyone else on the planet.

          My statements are founded in science and my own experience over the last eleven months. They’re the farthest thing from “rash.”

          Griff wrote on July 3rd, 2010
        • Completely unwarranted attack, Griff. Your anecdote isn’t a counterargument to what sara suggested. You don’t represent the people she’s talking about; you’ve done your research. Are you everyone that has read, is reading, and will read this article? No.

          “We’re the smart ones, and we’ll live longer and healthier than anyone else on the planet.”

          Congratulations.

          “My statements are founded in science and my own experience over the last eleven months.” As Erin writes below, a lot of the science on nutrition takes a long time to pan out. I bet a lot of your 30 books were based one epidemiological studies, most of which do anything but provide proof contributing to the efficacy of a particular way of eating.

          empty wrote on November 1st, 2010
        • *shrug* Whatever, “empty”. In addition to the science, I’ve also got the proof of my own experience – so if you choose to eat things that will poison you, that is so beyond “not my problem” that it’s not even in this solar system.

          The scientific experiment of the last sixty years – of low-fat high-carb eating and health – has FAILED. The science of the last sixty years shows this conclusively. Our grandparents and their parents and their grandparents, all the way back to Grok, ate the way that Primal people do now, and they all lived into their 80s and 90s, usually in at least decent health. Our parents, on the other hand, ate the low-fat high-carb way, and started dropping like flies in their 40s and 50s from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Hmmm. I see a connection there.

          There is zero proof that this newfangled low-fat high-carb method of eating works, and a metric asston of proof that it doesn’t, if you’ll open your eyes and LOOK.

          Griff wrote on November 2nd, 2010
        • And if you want non-epidemiological studies, start with the Eades’ Protein Power, Anthony Colpo’s The Great Cholesterol Con, and Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories. All of them are chock-full of peer-reviewed, non-epidemiological studies. That should cheer you up.

          Griff wrote on November 2nd, 2010
        • Woah, Mark, sorry; did I catch you on the wrong day?

          I’m not sure what you’re arguing here. I never criticized what was written above, nor did sara. She just said this: be a little critical before you just accept it as truth.

          Despite your inability to properly read my posts, I’ll bite.

          -”Primal” people? Can you define what this means?
          - 3 books, out of 30, that’s 10% of your books.

          empty wrote on November 2nd, 2010
        • “Our grandparents and their parents and their grandparents, all the way back to Grok, ate the way that Primal people do now, and they all lived into their 80s and 90s, usually in at least decent health. Our parents, on the other hand, ate the low-fat high-carb way, and started dropping like flies in their 40s and 50s from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Hmmm. I see a connection there.”

          You think the life expectancy of our parents was 40 YEARS LOWER than that of our grandparents? lol wut? Crazy much?

          gwen wrote on December 12th, 2010
        • “Our grandparents and their parents and their grandparents, all the way back to Grok, ate the way that Primal people do now, and they all lived into their 80s and 90s, usually in at least decent health. Our parents, on the other hand, ate the low-fat high-carb way, and started dropping like flies in their 40s and 50s from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Hmmm. I see a connection there.”

          Primal, schmimal. The primal diets may have been great for people who were active on the farm or the factory all day, but these days most people are anything but. The other consideration is the fact that everything is heavily processed. Even produce for goodness sake! For every healthy new diet that becomes trendy (in the sense of eating better—not losing weight) there’s five-gazillion different processed foods out there and most of the population in the US is living it.

          And as far as that low-fat/high-carb diet goes, my father-in-law is ALIVE, because his once “primal” diet (high protein, high fat) got changed when he hit his 40s/50s to the low-fat, high carb diet you are speaking of. His father has a heavy-duty heart attack at 65. FIL had a very mild one at 62 and is doing great now at 70 (granted he needs to get out of the house, but that’s a whole other issue).

          I don’t agree grains are evil. However, I bet they are very overused in diets. Anything can be horrible for you if that’s *all* you eat. Balance is important.

          That said, I plan to be switching our bread to Trader Joe’s Quinoa bread this year. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to the higher quality breads (like Pepperidge Farm or Arnold), it’s packed with nutrients, and it’s quiet tasty and soft.

          Dotcom wrote on December 11th, 2011
        • Thank you! The internet is a good place to get random ideas to make you think. HOwever, it should not be a source of hard and fast rules for anything. Go to the sources, whether diet, history, religion or politics~ick, for your information. And by the by, doctors, nurses & all people in general are characterized both by the diligent and the slackers. It’s our~sick~ so called ‘health’care reimbursement system that waits until people get ill in order to recieve funding to treat. See: Congress subcommittees. The system need to change to a true HEALTHcare system that promotes health~not just treat the illness that errupts from our poor uninformed eating & lifestyle choices.

          Denise wrote on February 5th, 2012
        • Listen to this person – do your own research before buying into what anyone else tells you. I am a dietitian and there is absolutely NO research out there from any real source that supports or can even give you a reason not to eat gluten or grains unless you have a gluten intolerance or allergy. Yes, of course a salad full of veggies will have more vitamins, minerals, and even fiber (though it will have different vitamins and minerals), but that just proves this guy couldn’t find a better argument so he wrote something that is obviously true. Also, how far out of date is this guy? The government does not even use a pyramid any more. It’s now a plate because the government did not want people eating so many grains and the pyramid sent the wrong message. Search REAL nutrition journals, such as the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or Food and Nutrition for answers to his questions. Do your own research and talk to a Registered Dietitian yourself!

          Melissa wrote on March 17th, 2012
        • Well, one of the things I think about is how sick we are today. We’ve got all these government recommendations that are supposed to keep a person healthy and they don’t work.

          Don’t even mention FDA, which is a throughly corrupt organization.

          I will see what benefit I get from avoiding grains. That will be proof or no proof to me.

          Rich wrote on July 24th, 2012
      • I follow a food plan free of grains and other “conventional” starches. I’m a nurse practitioner and have a dietician friend that eats the same way. My husband is a physician and sees no need for grains in the diet either. NOTHING I was taught in “actual classes” said that grains were needed for good health; it was just part of the goverment generated food pyramid. Many things we were taught in school were based on tradition, not hard science.

        Marla D wrote on May 22nd, 2011
        • I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject lately. So far, I think the Gary Taubes books are the best for presenting the actual science and a great discussion of the history and the evolution politically of the “low-fat, high carb” diet being supposedly healthy. It is quite eye-opening of an indictment of public health policies being controlled by a few powerful researchers, supported by pharma and big food industries. Biologically humans should be eating meat and vegetables, and perhaps a few fruits. The biochemical reactions that digest food and produce energy and fat in our bodies are based on it. Yes, our bodies do adapt to higher levels of carbs, but at a great cost.

          And then you can look at the flip side, the failure of these high carb, low fat diets to work – diabetes at an all time high, obesity at an all time high. Simply restricting calories but continuing to eat high carb, even supposedly healthy whole grain high carb, DOES NOT WORK. And the biochemical studies show us why. We were designed to be meat/flesh eaters. I wish it wasn’t true, I was veggie for a long time, but watching my blood sugar gradually rising, my BP gradually rising, my weight gradually rising despite eating healthy and exercising, made me look at it openly. And it is WORKING. I have lost 20 lbs and FEEL more energetic. And I was not sick before. Really, do the research with and open mind and you will be astonished and angry at what you find.

          Barbara Byers wrote on July 15th, 2012
      • I had the exact same thought.

        Yeppers wrote on July 11th, 2011
      • Because anything taught in “actual classes” is automatically true? And anything online is inherently untrustworthy? That’s a facile presumption. Are my free online classes from MIT educationally worthless because they’re free and online?

        As was pointed out elsewhere — medical professionals do get some nutritional information, but it (clearly!) isn’t good information. So much for the vaunted supremacy of the classroom.

        The internet is chock-full of scientific, medical, and educational goodness. You don’t have to go into horrible debt to educate yourself — any halfway decent autodidact will get twice the education of someone just sitting in a class, uncritically taking in and regurgitating the answers on demand.

        thixotropic wrote on December 31st, 2013
    • Well – did you see this article? – Most medical schools do not meet the min. 25 hrs of rec. nutrition training. http://bit.ly/9b9DLn

      Dawn Peters wrote on September 23rd, 2010
      • So, as a 2nd year medical student, I’d just like to say I had 2 months of clinical nutrition. And if you’re appalled at that, you should also be appalled by the fact that we covered immunology in 2 weeks, microbiology in a month and a half, and genetics in a month. (Although I’d also like to impress upon you the intensity and amount of material that is covered in every hour of class time. Undergrad this ain’t.) There is so much to learn in medical school that it’s impossible to sit in a classroom and absorb it all in the four years we have. That’s why a huge bulk of our learning takes place on the floors during our second two years of training. It’s unfair to say that just because it sounds like we haven’t had much class time spent in a particular field, doesn’t mean we come out unqualified boobs (though from the looks of these posts, I might find quite a few people who disagree with me on that).

        I will freely admit that doctors (as far as I’ve observed, and from what I’ve gathered talking to a close friend who is a clinical nutritionist) don’t consult nutritionists often enough and are, in fact, underinformed about the current research in nutrition. However, if you’ve ever looked at the peer-reviewed literature on nutrition, you would see that it is often conflicting, and most real, firm evidence takes a very long time to pan out. I would also point out that we’re taught time and again that that eating less, eating less junk (in general), and exercising are really the best ways to improve your health (and for the love of God, stop smoking!). So might I be so bold as to suggest that your health improvements are simply due to the fact that you’ve changed to a healthier lifestyle overall? (That it’s not just the grains?)

        Erin wrote on October 12th, 2010
        • Erin,
          Hi, I’m also a medical student and was wondering your thoughts on Primal Blueprint, if you’re doing it, and if so how it’s fit into the crazy schedules we have?
          Hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I just found this site yesterday and I wanted some input from someone who understands the demands of med school. Thanks! :)
          dhknobe@gmail.com

          Deirdre Knobeloch wrote on April 8th, 2011
        • I’m not an RN or a doctor.

          Having the letters MD, RN, etc after your name or being a nutritionist, or even being a doctor who is well-versed in nutrition is all fine and dandy. In order to truly understand nutrition, you have to be well versed in the digestive processes as well.

          Scenario:
          You have a plant-based diet, that is low/no fat and high carb, largely based around grains. This diet has been shown to reverse heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, yada, yada, yada.

          You have grain free diets (there are several versions, not just the one mentioned in this blog). These diets have been shown to reverse heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, auto-immune disorders, asthma, allergies (food and environmental), adhd, autism, yada, yada, yada.

          You have two diets, that are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, that have yielded similar results. Why is that?

          Because you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The body isn’t capable of digesting animal protein and grains at the same time. They require two completely different digestive processes, and your body will always go for the grains first because they’re the single most difficult food source to digest. Then your digestive system gets confused, because it has to switch gears to digest the animal protein. The typical American diet constantly mixes the two, which confuses and overloads the digestive system and it gets burned out. When you continually stress out your digestive system, it will then cause serious damage to your digestive tract(this damage can be fixed, if you can guess how…).

          You can’t have animal protein AND grains. You will kill yourself, eventually, if you do. This is why both types of diets yield the same results. Grain free diets are much more compatible with people who have gastrointestinal problems. In addition to that, grain free diets are much more compatible with people who’s health problems are *caused* by gastrointestinal problems. Yes, gastrointestinal problems can have very serious, very far reaching effects, including making you susceptible to things like cancer, heart disease, auto-immune diseases and even schizophrenia.

          Oh, one more thing. Fruit uses a third digestive process, so it should never be combined with animal protein and/or grains. And veggies require very little effort to digest, and they aid the digestive process, so you can eat them with anything.

          Raven wrote on April 12th, 2012
        • Raven, are you implying that your digestive tract can somehow figure out what it’s digesting, and change its chemistry accordingly? By what mechanism does it accomplish such a feat? Where did you hear all this business about gastrointestinal confusion? I’d like to hear what these different “digestive processes” are. Does your stomach have different acids that it secretes if it somehow knows it’s eating a vegetable, as opposed to a fruit? Does your intestinal lining change the way it absorbs nutrients based on what you’ve just eaten? I see many wild claims in your post without a shred of explanation or evidence. Please, correct me. If I’m wrong, I’d love to know. That’s what science is all about!

          TotalTripe wrote on July 14th, 2012
        • It is well established that carbohydrates push up insulin levels, some more than others, but they all do it, to a level where it is chronically high. This is not good for anyone. But because of genetic variation in people, some handle it better than others, so some appear not to have any issues with it. But over the course of a lifetime, it is cumulative damage and it is NEVER beneficial.

          Barbara Byers wrote on July 15th, 2012
        • Hi Mark!
          My family has been on paleo for some time now and I can’t begin to tell you how many amazing turnarounds in health we have all experienced, you know, those little irritating ‘things’ that you just tend to put up with!
          We turned to paleo after several years of research on my daughter’s health issue, an issue that was not addressed by any of the health professionals we visited here in Australia. We tried all sorts of dietary changes, but paleo was the one that effected the quickest and most amazing results.
          Just recently my husband had his annual medical check up (for no other reason than it’s something that he has always done!). His doctor told him that whatever he was doing, he should keep doing! Interestingly, when he told him that his diet was now grain-free and processed-food-free, his face lit up and he told him that he should spread the news. If only it were that easy!
          I am a teacher and I feel a certain despair as I watch children exist on pre-packaged junk! And let me tell you, their behaviour matches the amount of junk they eat! Some children have as many as six bars of chocolate in their lunch boxes, often in place of actual food. School canteens here in Australia are nothing short of a national disgrace. Time will prove that we are on the right track. Sadly, it may be too late for these kids!

          Maria wrote on August 25th, 2012
        • LOL Raven.

          You’re close, so close, but yet so so far. Grain and animal proteins all contain amino acids, of which there are 20 essentials, which are all the same. The only difference is the order, which control protein folding/morphology.

          You can eat grain/meat/fruit in the same meal, and digest them all. Well, by digest them all, I mean digest the meat and fruit because it’s hard to digest proline-rich amines and fiber in grains, so you won’t really be digesting much of that… But good try.

          Vegetables are one of the hardest food groups to digest, for all mammals. Herbivores have extremely long digestive tracts in order to extract all of the nutrients from the cellulose-rich vegetables, which are hard to break down.

          Meat is easy to digest, because it’s just animal tissue. Starchy vegetables like rice and potatoes are easy to digest as well.

          I applaud the effort, but please read some more before misleading innocent newbies about what their meal composition can and cannot consist of.

          Adam wrote on September 15th, 2012
    • You said it buddy. You’re a lobbyist.

      JL wrote on July 25th, 2011
    • I’m an RN. Here’s a little info for you. Take care.

      “Phytic acid, aka phytate, aka IP-6, is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in foods. Some nutritionally-oriented cancer researchers think that IP-6 is probably the most powerful natural anti-cancer sustances. IP-6 is found in grains, beans, nuts & seeds. Wheat is especially high in this cancer fighter.”

      “Phytic acid works differently than other antioxidants. Most antioxidants circulate in the bloood, stopping free radicals there. Phytate has the unique ability to work inside your cells, stopping free radicals that are formed duringthe normal process of cell metabolism.”

      G wrote on July 26th, 2011
      • I’m not an RN.

        I think ingested antioxidants don’t hold a candle to our endogenous antioxidants, and in fact researchers have shown shoveling in the plant stuff down-regulates production of the home-grown gold.

        Catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase are local antioxidant enzymes produced where they are needed, when they are needed by a cell which needs them to run its power plants safely.

        Additionally, I think it’s folly to broadly paint anti-oxidants as “good” and free radicals as “bad.”

        When mitochrondia get hit by enough free radicals it’s a signal to increase production of our own antioxidants.

        When poster G writes “Phytate has the unique ability to work inside your cells, stopping free radicals that are formed during the normal process of cell metabolism” — methinks that’s not a good thing

        mehitabel wrote on July 26th, 2011
        • Mehitabel is right, and House you’re usually so smart on your show…

          Free radicals are made every single time you consume food and process it. Carbohydrate metabolism actually increases free radical proliferation due to the ratio of NADH:FADH2 required for the electron transport chain. And yet the Okinawans of Japan have a high-carb diet and live quite awhile, without much free-radical induced aging, so it is possible that natural free-radical production from organic-style starchy vegetables is NOT an evil thing. That being said, I don’t think that it’s an issue if phytate works as an antioxidant against natural free radicals – it would just mean lower production of endogenous free radicals would be necessary. That being said….

          Phytic acid in grains sucks, but rocks in vegetables. See here: http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/10/06/phytic-acid-and-digestive-enzyme-blockade/

          There ARE some antioxidant properties, but you can get antioxidants from veggies without the metal-chelating effects of phytic acid in grains, which were already nutritionally sparse to begin with..

          So nope, paleo is still winning. Go fish.

          Adam wrote on September 15th, 2012
      • Yeah. We wouldn’t need to fight cancer if we didn’t digest grains.

        David wrote on December 12th, 2011
    • Todd, perhaps you should do a little research yourself. Start with Good Calories-Bad Calories by Gary Taubes…investigate the entire bibliography and substantiate your stand on grains point-by-point; a tip… you will NOT be able to do it. Historical scientific evidence supports that agricultural societies have steadily declined in health and increased in obesity and diseases of Western Culture. You, like so many other absolutely refuse to admit you have been hoodwinked by the government, Ancel Keyes….must I continue? I think not.

      Paul wrote on August 4th, 2011
      • People in Asia/Japan (where I live) eat rice/carbs at almost every meal, live the longest of anyone everywhere (Japan has the highest longevity rates) and seem to have very few health problems. Of course, lung and colon cancer are high, but generally, carbs/starches are a large part of their daily diet. So…..I’m just saying: this is all a bit confusing. How does anyone explain the discrepancy of an Asian diet with carbs still produce such long lifespans?

        Loren wrote on September 17th, 2011
        • Japan eats a lot of fish (omega-3), and eats many more natural forms of carbohydrates such as rice and sweet potatoes, which are starchy vegetables and are not toxic grains chock-full of antinutrients and gluten (which is an issue even if you’re not gluten sensitive due to zonulin increasing intestinal permeability).

          High carb diets inherently cause more free radical production during cellular metabolism which may explain the higher rates of lung/colon cancer (or maybe it’s smoking/pollution? I haven’t looked at that data or other factors). Asians therefore may eat similarly in terms of carbohydrate intake to Americans at the moment, but the QUALITY of the food is much different. The omega-3 rich seafood focus may be offsetting the overuse of omega-6 rich, inflammation-promoting vegetable oils (which both cultures use too often now).

          The more active and lean you are, the better your insulin sensitivity and therefore ability to adapt to high loads of carbohydrates. The combination of quality carbs (especially traditionally prepared by soaking which removes phytic acid) + lots of walking may be a uniquely healthful part of Japanese longevity.

          Adam wrote on September 15th, 2012
        • Japanese and Chinese also eat stripped rice and usually not brown rice. So in the context of phytic acid, it’s not the same as whole grains and brown rice which are pushed here in the US as the preferred types. Well, this is what I have heard- that the anti-nutrients are mostly found n the casing of the whole grains and brown rice. Funny I have a chart from a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and although brown rice produces less of an insulin spike, it’s really not much lower than white rice. So we have been told to prefer brown rice, but as far as I am concerned, it a load of bull. It really does not do much as far as insulin and is more restrictive in absorbing minerals- minerals being one of the main reasons to eat brown rice. I am not debating with anyone here, but since Asia and rice were brought up under a post that mentions the anti-nutrients in grains and rice I thought I would mention these things. As far as my diet I have a couple of main rules. Anything good for bones and teeth is good. Anything bad for teeth and bones cannot be good. I do Paleo but I add pastured butter and cheese. Before this, I was eating little meat and no eggs, no cheese, no fish, and no butter. My teeth feel a lot stronger now. I can tell the difference.

          David wrote on May 14th, 2013
    • Hmmm whell it seems that all the no-grainers are a bit sarcastic and cold. I knew guy who ate just like this and he was a pure Power Trip 24/7; he was a big and lean healthy-looking guy, but not mentally!! VERY anxious and Bipolar. I just want to say that grains actually increase and maintain seratoninn levels (the happy chemical) while meat will actually lower it somewhat. And everyone will die one day. I TRULY believe that eating bread will NOT poison you, trust me. ;) I have tried this no-grain diet and it made me VERY bipolar. But I’ve realised its not about how long you live, but HOW you live. I would rather focus on being happy and healthy so that I can help others do the same! Instead of obsessing about my diet. And btw I am a very healthy lady, have always been on the slim side, and very happily eat my way through the high whole grains and fruits, low meat diet ;) and I understand that what is not good for 1 percent of the population with celiac disease is pretty beneficial to the rest of the population

      Lauren wrote on August 8th, 2011
      • Bipolarism isn’t caused by not eating grains, it’s a genetic disorder…

        moosen wrote on December 15th, 2011
        • Bipolar disorder isn’t caused by genetics. It’s a MENTAL disorder and technically ANYONE is a risk to be diagnosed with it.
          Genetics do SUPPOSEDLY create a higher risk to develop in those whose families have known cases of mental illnesses. Results linking it to purely genetics have never been completely conclusive due to never being able to replicate results.
          It’s just one of the few items that can affect and cause the development in individuals. Others causes are psychological being from chemical imbalances to structural imperfections of the brain and could even include damage caused from drug use. The other being environmental(Where they grew up, parental style, traumatic events in past)

          The biggest thing one needs to learn to do when they are diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder is regulation. You learn to probably regulate everything. You get into a routine. Any rapid changes to these routines can cause a downward or upward spiral into mania or depression. Nutrition is one of most important factors! The fact that hunger and anxiety both cause the same exact symptoms on your bodies even shows this.
          So yes, food can in fact have an impact on someone who is living with bipolar disorder without the proper nutrition or a rather sudden diet change can cause you to have an episode.

          My knowledge comes from the fact that I, myself, am manic depressive and have taken classes to allow me to learn how to properly handle my situation. Through that learning and understanding, I am able to go without my medication, which is I’m highly against.
          Please, educate yourself before being a dick online or someone else may just come along correct you.

          Joe wrote on February 20th, 2012
      • Drugs like opium also make you feel good. gluten and some of the other proteins in wheat and grans can actually fit into the receptors in the brain for this. Perhaps not such a good “high” after all. There actually have been a few studies where schizophrenia symptoms were reduced by a gluten free diet. You should really look and understand the biochemistry of what happens when carbs are eaten at a high rate, and what chronically high insulin levels do to your body over a lifetime. It isn’t pretty and sometimes it is subtle so you don’t see it until you have diabetes or some other health damager.

        Barbara Byers wrote on July 15th, 2012
      • You bring up a very good point that is outside of the general discussion here. That’s ok, I will comment on it.

        We are ALL going to die one day. Whether you believe that is good or bad makes no difference.

        YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. I see that as a good thing, because I know there is a spirit inside us that lives forever. Death is the end of our Earthly existence, but not our endless existence.

        We are just so distracted by this modern sick society. We are taught to FEAR DEATH.

        The point is: Living healthy in this existence is better then being sick and suffering greatly in this existence.

        I have no clue if this approach to diet will lengthen my life. In my view that’s not the point. The point is making the best of this existence. Good health will make it better.

        Rich wrote on July 24th, 2012
      • Sigh.. will these people ever stop with these posts? I’ll try to be nice just for you Lauren…

        Carbohydrates do increase serotonin synthesis. This is fairly benign, ala Thanksgiving dinner sleepyness/contentment. Yet you forgot to mention that serotonin and dopamine are antagonistic, and that upping serotonin will lower your dopamine, which can cause depression and mobility issues. Sounds like a catch-22 of depression with low serotonin or dopamine, eh? But how about balancing the see-saw so that both are in moderate amounts so that you aren’t depressed?

        Bread WILL poison you, it’s just a matter of dose. A little bit of phytic acid can be beneficial (from vegetables), but a lot of it (from grains) is a definite negative. I don’t care what you believe, show me the double-blind placebo-controlled study that proves what you believe. I am focusing on being happy by not obsessing about diet beyond “grains, legumes, and most dairy sucks”. It’s not that much to ask.

        As for your bipolar response to the diet… I’d need to know details. There is a low-carb flu that can occur in the first 1-2 weeks due to metabolic down-regulation of carb metabolism (and up-reg of fat). There is anecdotal/almost-close-enough-to-be-true evidence of withdrawal symptoms from wheat restriction due to exorphins (see post: is wheat addictive).

        You may be slim, but people would be slimmer if they improved their insulin sensitivity and up-regulated their fat metablism by eating more fat and fewer carbs. 2/3 of america does not share your slimness, so please keep a much more open mind in the future and try to help people rather than touting your own results as beneficial for all. Lastly, you missed the part about gluten sensitivity in 30% of people and zonulin release potentially causing autoimmunity in 100% of people, didn’tcha?

        It’s fine if you aren’t as passionate about nutrition research as I am. But for your own sake, if you don’t want to look it all up, take my advice and follow the diet for your life, tweaking starchy carb intake with activity level and leanness. Good hunting.

        Adam wrote on September 15th, 2012
    • “BTW, paleolithic tribes did not live past 35 years of age and did not live long enough to develop heart disease and colon cancer.”

      Maybe because of the paleolithic tribes diet their bones appear to be 35 years old being compared to modern mans bones. Perhaps they lived much longer and healthier then we do today.

      Josi wrote on September 3rd, 2011
      • lol, That’s not how carbon-dating works.

        noxpass wrote on October 4th, 2011
        • Not even just carbon-dating; more like tree rings, IIRC. Your bones’ internal structure is something that changes over time, no? But you have a record of your whole life in there. For instance, calcium absorption gets more difficult as you age, leading to more brittle bones, and your inner bone structure is also impacted by early environment, leaving clues to it. Likewise, a rough guide is teeth; while there is some variance (both my 12yr molars and wisdom teeth were 3 years “late”), on average, certain teeth come in at certain ages. If some corpse still has baby teeth, or never developed wisdom teeth, it’s unlikely they died of old age.

          Another note: bones don’t “appear” younger than they are… they can appear OLDER, if you are nutritionally deficient or spend a lot of time in outer space (because they don’t build up well unless they have the stress of gravity playing on them), but not younger.

          It’s untrue that paleolithics NEVER lived past 35, but it’s also untrue that they had long life expectancies, even if you took out deaths at birth. Why? Because they didn’t know what we know about say, infectious diseases. They didn’t have antibiotics or immunizations to prevent or kill of pathogens; they didn’t recognize that regular bathing is a good thing; regular handwashing before meals or medical treatments wasn’t even thought of before the past few centuries. Hell, they didn’t even have toilet paper yet, or flush toilets, and in may cases probably didn’t realize the difference between potable and unpotable water; drank right out of rivers, which they also shat in.

          They DID lead a more active lifestyle though, with exercise but less back-breaking labor than farming, and more diverse foods; that’s just a given when the option is “put all your effort into farming for a handful of plants, or hunt and gather for anything you can find”.

          Another difference between hunters and gatherers and agriculturists; population and life stages. Hunters and gatherers, because of lower caloric intake, have fewer children, and more years in between them, whereas agricultural families tend to, between nutrition and necessity, pop out a massive number of children and then the mom ends up menopausal by 30, assuming she survived having a dozen babies.. which she may well not have, considering they didn’t even realize they should wash their hands before handling the newborn or the still-bleeding mama. All of which is pretty nasty, but not how modern developed countries work; most of the overpopulation issues are in countries like India or China, where there are large poor, rural segments of the population that pop out babies like crazy.

          It is true that there was a decline in height and a rise in problems with say, the spine, with transition to agriculture; but this has long since evened out in developed countries especially, as framing practices became more efficient, and was always more likely to effect the peon farmer than say, his chief. The main thing that’s reversing it now, adding obesity to our health problems among other things, is the rise of processed sugar in the general diet (which is also rotting the teeth at a much faster rate to boot).

          Really, ANY diet is going to be healthier if it just cuts out the nutritionally unnecessary sugar and adds some activity like gentle walking or swimming – things the more active of our ancestors did on a daily basis.

          JW wrote on June 13th, 2012
      • Longevity data tend to be distorted by factoring in infant mortality rates (and likely other things affecting these rates). Prehistoric people lived longer than 30-35 years, on average. They foraged and ate a wide variety of things, with little competition for resources. Agriculture was probably one of the worst things to happen to humans, especially women. Diet and life span took a nose dive after that.

        good villager wrote on November 11th, 2011
        • This is untrue. there was fierce competition among human ancestors, and if you read up on evolution, you can see that humans indeed had shorter life spans years ago.

          Cheryl wrote on November 13th, 2011
        • Little competition? Maybe during the population bottleneck period, but I assure you, there is PLENTY of evidence of prehistoric warfare; wounded bones tell no lies, particularly when they show markings suspiciously similar to the tool marks of the tribe next door…

          Old-school agriculture IS bad for women, though, but only because high calorie intake from grains lets their bodies fatten up and thus trigger more frequent estrus and less frequent miscarriages… they have more babies, in fewer years, than those leading hunter-gatherer or modern “western” lifestyles. In undeveloped regions (including prehistoric times), this led to a lot of deaths from childbirth or complications thereafter, as they in many cases didn’t understand what made for proper post-birth care of the mother, and it did leave women awfully haggard, as anyone who’s been through pregnancy even once could predict. Pregnancy is hard on the body as a general rule.

          Average lifespan in fact went down slightly with agriculture, but this is because they had more births; and without modern medicine, more infant mortality. Skews the average a little.

          JW wrote on June 13th, 2012
      • Yes, the anthropological studies look at the remains and can analyse things like height and weight, relative health of the bones, etc. Once agriculture was introduced, which was still thousands of years before medical advances, the stature of the people became much shorter, the bones are more lifely to have malnutritional deformities, the teeth to have cavities, and signs of heart disease start appearing, and these are in populations with similar lifespans.

        Barbara Byers wrote on July 15th, 2012
    • There’s plenty of nice data out there to support this stuff. In no particular order, here’s some nice data I just pulled off PubMed.

      UCSF – short term paleo intervention improving blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles.
      http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v63/n8/abs/ejcn20094a.html

      and another on glucose tolerance:
      http://www.springerlink.com/content/h7628r66r0552222/

      particularly important for type 2 diabetes:
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822307019281

      http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/242S.short (Harvard School of Public Health)

      high protein diets reducing risk of heart disease:
      http://www.ajcn.org/content/87/5/1571S.short

      no improvement, but no damage in terms of heart disease and risk markers for high protein:
      http://www.ajcn.org/content/87/1/23.short

      a bit of that ‘I’m fuller longer and don’t get energy dips’ data
      http://www.ajcn.org/content/87/1/44.short

      not a perfect study, but gluten in non-celiacs with gut compaints causing bloating, pain, tiredness…
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06653.x/full

      here’s a quick scatter of lots of nice new attention to the gut and immune system
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1920.short
      http://journals.lww.com/co-endocrinology/Abstract/2011/08000/The_gut_as_a_regulator_of_early_inflammation_in.3.aspx

      introducing gluten earlier in infant’s lives = more celiac disease
      http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/293/19/2343.short

      but hey, just as a proof we ‘do our research’ – this kind of stuff gives me pause, makes me look up more and make my own decisions about exactly how to go about doing my version of a paleo diet:
      http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/122/21_MeetingAbstracts/A20256

      (and hey, it’s affordable!)
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531711000960

      Cate wrote on October 3rd, 2011
    • Hope you like colon cancer.

      whoanelly wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  3. Thanks Mark – I have been slipping lately and this was the article that I needed to read.

    Alex wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Sometimes reminders like this and a little reinforcement are useful. Thanks for reading, Alex!

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • A reminder for me about how much I don’t miss them :)

        Grok wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Hey Mark, new to you, but like what you are saying about no grains, they have never made me feel good. What else to eat besides fruits a veggies, Maybe this brocitis will go away. see ya.

        Dan Lange wrote on November 8th, 2009
        • Dan: Try a steak.

          Griff wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • TRY A STEAK?

          Steak has never and will never be good for you and is NOT nutrient dense. Just like the dairy that Mark bashes, it also is full of chemicals and comes from the same factories. In addition, steak is high in saturated fats.
          Saturated fats = clogged arteries = heart attacks. That doesn’t change, but actually increases, from cutting out whole grains.

          How did that Atkins guy die?

          There’s a clue.

          Karen wrote on June 17th, 2010
        • Karen: Fail.

          I guess you never got to those parts of the blog explaining that grain-fed chemical-laden non-organic meat with unbalanced Omega 3:6 ratios and man-made trans fats wasn’t part of Grok’s meal plan, or the guides on Fats and Saturated Fats debunking your concerns – Paleolithic humans ate a lot of saturated fats since animal fats in their internal organs and fat reserves are mostly made of it. (our fat reserves are also made out of saturated fats – so… whener you force your body to take out and burn fat… OMG! that would mean weight loss causes heart disease, and to think I was planning on gradually releasing 30lbs of saturated fats into my system – that would have probably killed me I’m sure of it!

          True, Grok may have died at an average age of 35, but it wasn’t from a heart attack – by that logic, meat-eating cheetahs would also be dropping dead from heart attacks – those guys don’t watch their saturated fat intake nearly enough.

          Don’t believe me? Inuit tribes have been following the Primal/Caveman diet ever since they settled the Arctic. (apparently, gently heated seal blood tea tastes really good mixed with some raw seal flab, which can also be used as a cooking oil and lamp oil) They had no heart problems – until they began adopting Western-style grain/sugar diets…

          How did that Atkins guy die? Probably from following a low-carb diet that wasn’t strict enough with avoiding man-made trans fats, out-of-season and processed foods while ignoring a balanced intake of polyunsaturated fats… and does the Atkins diet even encourage proper, healthy forms of exercise such as occasional sprints to flex those arterial heart valve muscles?

          mm wrote on July 21st, 2010
        • Wait a minute…. a simple search reveals that Dr. Atkins did not even die of a heart attack like you say – he died in a similar way our healthy high-fat eating ancestors might have : slipped and fell on ice, got head trauma and died.

          mm wrote on July 21st, 2010
        • @mm: There has been debate as to whether Atkins actually had some heart problems, but even if he did, who says it had to be because of his diet? He may have cut carbs, but who’s also to say that the meat he ate was healthy? (I don’t think sausages and bacon, for example, or good with all their chemicals and salt. It’s just not natural meat as one would find in nature).

          Also, ‘average’ lifespan statistics are misleading. I think our modern lifespan is so high due to low birth mortality rates.. Grok’s babies may have died early, skewing our interpretation on how old they may have actually lived. Just a thought.

          Brian Kozmo wrote on December 12th, 2010
        • some people do fine with just fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. look up 80 / 10 / 10

          from reading up on it, it seems really healthy except for two things.

          1. they tend to report a reduced libido.that makes me wonder what else is going on hormonally.

          2. theyre all really skinny! i dont know if its hormonal, lack of protein or what, but ive never seen a skinnier bunch. Its great if thats what you want or if you dont care. they dont seem to suffer for it either, but it does make me wonder whats going on there.

          pixel wrote on December 28th, 2010
  4. For my Sustainability class my group is supposed to brainstorms ways we can cut back on food consumption on campus (ASU). One proposition will be to cut outs grains and sugars from campus. consuming only nutrient-dense food will derive undistorted satiation, and ultimately require less calories.

    Wyatt wrote on November 5th, 2009
  5. “if your average unhealthy person were to ask for the top three things to avoid in order to get healthy, I would tell them to stop smoking, to stop drinking their calories (as soda or juice), and to stop eating grains.”

    You wouldn’t have no added or processed sugar as a top 3?

    Shane U wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Which of Mark’s Top 3 would you have replaced with your suggestion?

      Kristin J wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Well the more I think about it, my suggestion, no sugar, pretty much covers the no soda suggestion, so I guess that one.

        You?

        Shane U wrote on November 5th, 2009
        • I like the way Mark presented his Top 3 because many people think they’re eating healthy even while they’re drinking juice. While some foods with added sugars may at least provide a tiny bit of nutrition, sugary drinks are really at the bottom of that list.

          While the avid readers of MDA already know this, I think it would be more helpful to newbies who still follow CW.

          Kristin J wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • There are plenty of unhealthy people who don’t smoke.

        JulieD wrote on November 5th, 2009
        • agreed but the statement was if I had to tell people three things to a healthier lifestyle. No one was suggesting that just because you don’t smoke it means your healthy.

          Shane U wrote on November 5th, 2009
        • “If you’re not a smoker, don’t start” — how’s that — {:~)

          Mick C wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • Any number of things could make it into the top 3 on any given day. Of course it depends on the audience, too. As Kristin J touched on above, for your average guy or gal on the street just cutting out soda would be a major step in the right direction. But, yes, of course, processed sugar is right up there (and soda sort of covers or implies that).

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Sugar is a grain! Right? So no grains covers it.

        Sheila wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • Well, no, it depends on where the sugar comes from. If it’s from corn syrup or sorghum, then OK. Sugarcane’s a whole different critter.

          I think it’d have to be a top four suggestions. Because sugar, no matter where it comes from, is more and more implicated in metabolic syndrome and diabetes due to its fructose content. It also operates as an antinutrient.

          Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
        • lmao no sugar is NOT a grain..

          Dan Mahoney wrote on January 20th, 2012
      • I only drink diet (but a lot of it). Am I going to die for different reasons?

        John wrote on November 13th, 2009
        • probably from a brain tumor or a neurological disease. Look up sweet misery

          joris wrote on July 18th, 2010
        • The artificial sweetners in “diet” sodas are just as bad or worse: they actually have been indicated in increasing your DESIRE for sugars and sweets, meaning you’ll consume more overall. Additionally, some of them have been correlated with higher cancer risk, though as with anything else relating to cancer, it’s difficult to pin it all on one thing, as environment as a whole plays into it, as does genetics.

          If you have to have something sweet and liquidy, I recommend a juicy piece of fruit. Lower fructose content, and no potential carcinogens. :)

          JW wrote on June 13th, 2012
      • You can not change your genetic makeup. Plain and simple. Show me the SCIENCE to back it up, I’ll show you the SCIENCE that you can not! If you could we would not have any health problems.

        sara wrote on July 3rd, 2010
        • Where did Mark ever say that you could change your genetic makeup? He’s talking about OPTIMIZING what you have – which means not eating things that we weren’t meant to eat, such as grains.

          Context, dear. Read for context.

          Griff wrote on July 3rd, 2010
        • You can change your genetic makeup. It’s called epigenetics.

          http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313,00.html

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

          The human metabolism changes all the time. Or more specifically, what your body does with food is much more variable than the ancient signals and cravings that drive eating patterns before you put anything in your mouth. It’s too simplistic to say we would have no health problems if we could change things.

          The body changes its own makeup with epigenetics, but we can take it even a step further with current genetic engineering. One example is the glow in the dark bunny with fluorescent jellyfish genes: http://www.ekac.org/gfpbunny.html#gfpbunnyanchor

          Some people treat paleo as a narrative habit for good health but don’t overlook other help from science, while others treat paleo as a religion that must not be questioned.

          J wrote on December 5th, 2011
      • Hey Mark – quick question. What’s worse in your opinion, grains or sugar? Can one rely compare?

        Brian Kozmo wrote on December 12th, 2010
        • Grains cause a much higher insulin spike than sugar would. Grains like sugar are carbs. Grains such as wheat, trump sugar.

          nezzy wrote on December 16th, 2010
        • I’m not sure if Primal Blueprint dieters believe in the glycemic index, because it is something produced by contemporary science, but it ranks all carbohydrate foods based on how fast they digest and absorb, which relates to how much insulin will be produced. I believe Nezzy is way off base; sugar will spike blood sugar and insulin quite quickly because it is a simple carbohydrate (high on the glycemic index) while whole grains will cause a slower rise in insulin. There’s more about it here: http://www.glycemicindex.com/ . I’d be interested to hear what a PBer has to say about this, since fruits are on the glycemic too.

          Sarah wrote on December 17th, 2010
        • The glycemic index is nonsense (see http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/22168291.php). There’s no scientific basis for it whatsoever.

          As for sugar vs. grains – in the long run, there’s no difference. Carbs are carbs – ALL carbs turn into sugar when your body processes them. Carbs are NOT GOOD for you. Grains and sugar – there’s no difference. They’re both bad. They both spike insulin and blood sugar levels. Avoid them both.

          Griff wrote on December 17th, 2010
        • Griff,

          If what you say, that “all carbs are carbs and are bad for you,” then you wouldn’t be able to eat the salad and fruits that the PB is so full of – they are mostly carbohydrate, but high in fiber and so digest more slowly and are easier on the pancreas as it produces insulin. The glycemic index is based in science – there are almost 4,000 articles that mention it in pubmed alone (and yes, I know some of them are probably swayed by funding from certain sources, but strongly doubt that every single one is). It is true that a PB-like diet can help control diabetes, and this is because it is low in simple carbohydrates like processed grains and added sugars. An insulin “spike” happens because simple sugars move to the blood faster, and it is true that x amount of sugar and x amount of a whole grain will take the same amount of insulin to cover, but the whole grain will not cause the insulin to be released as quickly and is therefore easier for the pancreas to deliver. I would be interested to hear your response to this concept.

          Also, that link didn’t work for me – do you have an alternate?

          Sarah wrote on December 18th, 2010
        • Sarah,

          I only eat leafy greens and other non-starchy carb vegetables. That means I rarely (if ever) eat fruit – it’s too high in sugar and it spikes me the same as candy does. I’m a type II diabetic, and my sugars remain under control only when I avoid starchy and sugary foods – including fruit and grains. I rarely ingest more than 50 grams of carbs (total, including fiber grams) per day.

          The glycemic index is nonsense. Try using the glycemic index test with ten different people, and you’ll get ten wildly different responses to the same food. If the glycemic index was correct, those ten different responses would fall within a small margin of variation. They don’t. Every time you test another group of ten people, you get another set of ten wildly different results. The glycemic hypothesis does not stand up to evidence, because it’s not repeatable (and therefore not reliable). Therefore, it’s NOT scientific.

          Also, it doesn’t matter how slowly or how quickly a carb turns into sugar in the body – it still turns into sugar and it still stimulates an insulin response. As long as there’s sugar in the bloodstream, the insulin response will continue to happen. Longer time periods for sugar release are actually MORE harmful in some ways.

          The glycemic index is bunk. The main idea behind the Primal Blueprint is to minimize having insulin running around in your body; it’s toxic to your system. The glycemic index ignores this very important fact. For more on this, get the original “Protein Power” book by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, and read the section on insulin. You’ll be shocked.

          The reason the link didn’t work is because the MDA comment form included the parenthesis on the end of the link for some reason. It doesn’t belong there. Go to your browser after you click on the link and delete the parenthesis at the end of the link, and then it should work fine.

          Griff wrote on December 18th, 2010
        • Thanks for your thoughtful and open response – I can tell you’re really passionate about this stuff, and have read a lot. The website you sent almost leaves me with more questions than before…

          I think we agree on several points (you, I and the article):
          -Americans eat too many carbs, especially refined ones and added sugars
          -Americans don’t think of their diet as the first place to look to address health concerns – I wish more would follow in your steps and look at what they eat before popping pills
          -Insulin has two purposes – to help us use, and to store, energy
          -The idea of tracking your own blood glucose levels after meals is great, just might be expensive and hard to access

          Some things you and the article mention lead me to more questions, however – I can get on board with not wanting too much insulin circulating for too long, but I don’t think you can go so far as to dub it “toxic.” Our bodies don’t make substances that are toxic; we just force them to make too much of some things based on our lifestyles. Our bodies need LDL cholesterol and triglycerides; the problem that comes is when they are too high or out of ratio. The article makes this point well, “No matter what anyone tells you about the healthfulness of a food, you can check it out yourself.” And I think – the more I read and learn – that this message is more important than any: some people just respond differently to different foods. Perhaps the variability blood glucose in the groups tested on the glycemic index (and I will have to take a closer look at the research before I concede that it is total “bunk”) means that eating low works for some people, but not others (for whatever reason; I am sure that genetics and probably activity level play in here).

          The last thing I’ll say that I think the author of the article doesn’t explain very well is why, if he doesn’t believe that sugar and grains are any different, “I would be the last person to argue that a diet rich in whole grains is worse for you than one made up mostly of Sugar Frosted Flakes and french fries.” He goes on to say “the fewer the carbohydrates eaten, the better the health outcome,” which implies that 0 would be the optimum amount of carbs to consume – even you would disagree with this (?) I think, since you said you try to stick around 50g/day. The author of the article, too, points out that people with diabetes process foods differently (I am curious to know, but you don’t have to feel obligated to share, what your diet was like before switching to PB).

          I grew up eating a lot of red meat from cows fed a mixture of grain and grass, vegetables from the garden, and grains. Because I never experienced ill health on this diet – quite the opposite – and because it works for me, I do not intend to give up grains. But I am assessing the source and amount more than I used to, and the conclusion I come to more and more is that any food that is highly processed (white bread, hotdogs, vegetables canned with lots of salt) is what should be avoided, not any one group in particular. I’ll also share that I have a “traditional” (perhaps you would say conventional) nutrition education, and I know that while some people with the same background tend to be close minded and parrot what they learn, I am trying to consider the idea that one diet doesn’t fit all and make sure I’m familiar with lots of different diet options – especially ones that do have scientific evidence in support, like the PB.

          Thanks for any other input you may have.

          Sarah wrote on December 19th, 2010
        • Sarah, here’s as much of a response as I can give to you at this point:

          First, when they can test the “glycemic index” on a range of people in variable levels of age, gender, health, and fitness and show that it still predicts blood sugar responses consistently and accurately (within a small range), then I’ll believe that it’s scientific. Until then, it’s just babble and not even worth looking at twice. This is a fundamental scientific flaw in the hypothesis, and those 4,000 articles you mention probably ALL overlook it. The raw number of articles published doesn’t mean the theory is supported.

          Many people who do PB do it entirely carnivorously and have for years. It’s a fact, much hidden by modern medicine, that you can get along just fine with no dietary carbohydrates at all. Our bodies produce carbohydrates from protein all the time; it’s called gluconeogenesis.

          About insulin – it *is* toxic to the body. Horribly so. I’ve unfortunately lent my copy of Protein Power to a friend, so I can’t cite the specifics here, but the Eades have demonstrated over thirty years of ongoing medical practice that high insulin levels are the real culprit in almost all “diseases of civilization,” including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. You will need to check their book (called “Protein Power”) out from the library and read up on this, but insulin absolutely is toxic to the body and the first goal is to minimize insulin production in order to minimize the damage your body gets from high and prolonged insulin levels. I can and do dub it “toxic.” Our bodies make all kinds of substances that are toxic (waste products, anyone?); so please don’t kid yourself about that.

          I’m a diabetic, so I MUST track my glucose levels, and frankly anyone who’s dumb enough to eat processed carbohydrates should be doing it too, because they’re on the short road to type II diabetes. It’s only a matter of time – this is not an “if,” it’s a “when.”

          I need to correct a serious misconception you have about me: I do not try to “stick around 50g/day” of carbs. I do my best never to EXCEED 50g/day of carbs, and I usually manage to stay below 30g/day of carbs. A day when I have no carbs is a good day for my blood sugar. And you are incorrect when you think that I would disagree with the idea that 0g/day is optimal. I completely agree with that idea.

          Before PB, my diet was the Standard American Diet. Lots of “healthy whole grains,” pasta, rice, minimal fat, lots of low-fat processed crap – all that stuff that all the “conventionally educated in nutrition” folks said would get my diabetes and weigh under control (they were wrong – only PB has done that). Not a lot of sugar – I don’t like sweets and never have – but carbs up the ying-yang. And I was sick as a dog all the time. Cutting out wheat and other starchy/sugary carbs from my diet created a 180-degree turnaround for me. You can believe it or not as you like, but I guarantee you that you will feel better and live longer if you do the same.

          Conventional nutrition is based on a series of scientific fallacies and and a few outright lies about weight, fat, and cholesterol. Therefore, your “education” is not an education. You’ve simply been sold a bill of goods. You want my input? Read the Primal Blueprint, the Eades’ books, and Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories, Bad Calories.” Soak up the scientific evidence. Then make the informed choice. I did, and I’m healthier than I’ve been since I was a pre-teen.

          I won’t be responding here on this post anymore because responding to the comment thread is getting unwieldy. Join the MDA forums here, and post to them, and learn. I’m not the only knowledgeable one – I’m just one of the louder folks here. I look forward to seeing you posting and asking questions there. Take care now.

          Griff wrote on December 19th, 2010
        • Well Griff, I think you lost me. 0 carbs? A meat-only diet? It sounds like your views are even more extreme than others on this site. Maybe you think you’re just being direct, but your tone borders on condescending at times – I only point that out because you seem to be trying to convince people that what you’re saying is right – you catch more flies with honey, you know? (But think of all the carbs!) I’m still going to try to check out those books, but a more easily offended person might just write off what you say. Fingers crossed for better research to come out so people like us aren’t stuck debating on blogs!

          Sarah wrote on December 20th, 2010
      • Is no one going to raise the benefit of Stevia? I haven’t used sugar in about 20 years. While there is diabetes in my family, and some arthritis, I am 58 and have no health issues — somewhat high cholesterol, but high “good” cholesterol, but being post menopausal, my body changes and weight gains are from different sources. I eat organic, fruits and veg., minimal red meat (but “rare” when I do, chicken, fish, rarely eat pork in any form, and I am slightly lactose-intolerant. I use all-natural supplements almost daily, and I exercise (aerobic and anaerobic). I don’t fing my diet restrictive, I use herbs and spices ALOT (Cumin and Tumeric, Cinnamon and Nutmeg ALOT), and hot spices. No soda – ever. So, long story- short — balance with your diet is a good thing, experiment with things to keep it interesting, mix up your exercise to keep from becoming boring (mind and body), use YOGA, BREATHING, and TAI CHI techniques regularly. Common Sense goes a long way. :)

        Danielle wrote on July 29th, 2011
      • Mark. THANK YOU for your knowledge and time! I have read many paleolithic books. All of the info here is free! It astonishes me that the misinformed stumble here and judge without first reading or doing. Being a paleolithic advocate is sometimes a lonely place. I am among the ones seeking info, not debate.. I am a 47 year old women who is going through menopause and losing weight. I am told that I look 15 years younger than my age and asked what my secret is. Still when I try to explain paleo, I get the DEER IN THE HEADLIGHT look. I have NOT the strength to debate, so I say, GOOGLE Marks daily apple. Everything you need to know is there.
        Thank you Mark

        dla wrote on January 6th, 2012
  6. This is a perfect reminder- esp with the holidays fast approaching. While I might enjoy a wee bit of quinoa or hummus now and then, my consumption has dropped dramtically over the last 9 months since I’ve been on the PB. Grains really don’t appeal to me any more, thankfully. Excellent post!

    marci wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Why cut out hummus? It’s not a grain as far as I know.

      It would be nice to get a clarification on this since as an Israeli cutting hummus out of my diet would be very close to impossible.

      -Rafi

      Rafi Bar-Lev wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • Beans are a no-no on the PB- I just threw them in there since some grains & beans are 20% for me!

        marci wrote on November 7th, 2009
      • There’s no reason to cut out legumes, but they are high in sugar (they’re carby). I’m a vegetarian so I eat legumes on days I don’t eat eggs to get my protein in. Also hummus is the sort of thing where a serving is a tablespoon, so you’re not even really eating that much hummus (or shouldn’t be).

        Meena wrote on November 9th, 2009
      • They are a bean…legume. Not allowed on PB dirt

        Sheila wrote on November 12th, 2009
    • Isn’t quinoa a seed?

      Barbara wrote on June 12th, 2010
      • Quinoa is a chenopod plant, commonly misrepresented as a grain. It has seeds, yes, but it also has leaves.

        Brian Kozmo wrote on December 12th, 2010
  7. Cordain has a great lecture on how grains (and lectins, of course), are linked to multiple sclerosis. It’s scientific but rather easy to understand.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/miladskaya#g/c/7227FC56E6473A9B

    Sylvie O wrote on November 5th, 2009
  8. Here is a good reason for eating grains, they taste good. Stop worrying about your diet and enjoy your life. Give vegetarianism a chance.

    Grains = Good wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Grain-based foods do taste and smell good, I agree. But hardly a good reason to eat them regularly. Gonna have to do better than that.

      This post (Grain Relapse) is perfect timing, as I have been slipping into daily consumption again. Back on the wagon now!

      Scooter wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Grain based foods taste great, mostly because they contain sucrose or HFCS and mostly are made from refined grains. Try getting the average American to eat *real* whole wheat bread without added sugar or even brown rice. Not gonna happen.

        Walter Bushell wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • G=G (can’t even bring myself to spell it out), glad you brought this up. That was to be one of my other major points under “no good reasons to eat grains.” They taste terrible. The only way to make grains even reasonably palatable is by adding sugars, spices, salt, cream, yeast, jams, spreads or sauces. What’s the point to that, other than adding cheap calories that easily convert to glucose? Just eat real food. Name a grain that tastes anything other than bland when its eaten all by itself. Beige glop any way you cut it.

      BTW, I did give vegetarianism a try 30 years ago and it make me sick and weak. That’s why I host this site.

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Could you please let us all avid readers know the vegetarian experiment as a separate post? I’d love to hear it

        Madhu wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • I agree. One of the things I realized after switching to Primal was that those cookies, cakes, biscuits, whatever might taste good, but I could never take a pinch of flour and eat it. EW! Definitely a disconnect there.

        Almond flour on the other hand…mmm.

        FlyNavyWife wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • maybe you became sick and weak from vegetarianism because you are mentally sick and weak? And don’t you think that eating dead animal carcasses is bit cave-man like?

        There are plenty of RAW protein sources that are far more digestible than dead meat. i.e.: hemp, chlorella, spirulina, organic cage-free eggs, etc.. etc.. etc..

        I have been a veggie for years and am stronger than you will ever dream of being.

        btw, what is so indigestible about spouted hulless oats?

        jay wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • The “cave-man like” thing is the whole POINT, Jay. Our genes didn’t evolve just because our minds did. They still expect the same things that Grok ate – meat, animal fat, and the occasional non-starchy vegetable. We did not evolve to eat grains and we are still not evolved to eat grains, regardless of what you think.

          While you read “The Vegetarian Myth,” I’ll have a rare steak, thanks.

          Griff wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • I wanted to go vegan. At one point I believed the health arguments because I didn’t know any better. It made me fatter and sicker. You can’t live on just green plants because they don’t contain enough calories and you’d have to do nothing but eat all day. You need an energy-dense source of food. If you’re vegan, that has to be grains.

          The tendency for type 2 diabetes runs in my family, and I was already showing outward signs of metabolic syndrome. I lasted maybe two or three months on a vegan diet because it was making me fatter and sicker.

          By the way, you can’t separate the mental from the physical, because the brain is a bodily organ just like your heart or stomach. If vegetarianism makes people mentally sick and weak that’s hardly anything to recommend it.

          I have a way better time digesting minimally-cooked meat than I do seeds or algae or bacteria (spirullina is blue-green bacteria). And I would rather eat things that are easily obtained through low-tech means than be dependent on the factory food system for a bunch of germs in a capsule.

          Sprouts are a whole nother matter from unsprouted seed. In that case you’re eating a plant, not a grain anymore.

          Got any more insulting questions? Try this: keep them to yourself.

          Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
        • Wow, those posts before me are both pretty ridiculous. First, I’d like to address the gem of a statement that ‘our genes didn’t evolve just because our minds did,’ because it betrays some ignorance of how evolution works, and scientific illiteracy is a pet peeve of mine.

          Alright, then: genes changing and mutating is what causes evolution. So, if you are saying that something evolved or that some part of something evolved like you say that our minds did, it is only because we evolved because our genes have changed.

          Vegetarianism can only make you weak and sick if you are not eating the right things. If you get enough protein, which is very easy to accomplish by eating beans or a variety of other foods, enough vitamins, which again is simple since most fruits and veggies are loaded with them, and enough minerals.

          The biggest mineral being iron, which is not as bioavailable to us from plant sources, meaning that for every gram of iron we eat from plants we will absorb less than we would if we ate the same amount from an animal source. This isn’t a huge problem, however, since there are plenty of vegetables, mostly the dark green leafy kinds, that have iron in them.

          So, if you take nothing else from this and just skim through, know that almost everything this blogger writes is probably wrong. I’ve only read this one post, but it is full of misinformation. Just do yourself a favor and do a little research about what he is saying before you take it to heart. Just because he blogs doesn’t mean he is qualified to give the kinds of advice that he does.

          Raaayyy wrote on December 13th, 2009
        • Sorry to question your superiority there Jay-Jay but Im betting the kid’s college fund Mark would kick your veggie ass in any thing that required physical effort or ability. Why don’t you start your own blog buddy? I have learned you have to search out a matter to find the truth. If you depend on the media saturation and well known sources for your information you are up the river without a paddle or a canoe for that matter….by the way : Yes that is a waterfall up ahead.

          bobstoufus wrote on July 27th, 2010
        • You say that like you think aping cave people is a *bad* thing.

          WalterB wrote on July 4th, 2012
      • i’m sure you get this all the time. but i think that your eating recommendations are silly.

        there are so many things wrong with the suggestion that cereal grains should be eliminated from the human diet altogether that its hard to know where to begin.

        first of all..human society as it is today could not possibly survive without grains. billions of people depend on them for survival BECAUSE they are high in calories.

        calories are what people require to do work. now granted, grains are not exquisitely high in nutrients, but they are not designed to be.

        but whatevs…attempt to recreate the imaginary scenario of supposed caveman days.

        dr.dune wrote on January 22nd, 2010
        • Clearly your new here, dr. dune. Take a look around the site before you call my recommendations silly.

          Mark Sisson wrote on January 22nd, 2010
        • High in calories doesn’t mean good for you. When you start to look at the science behind the Primal diet (not as a weight-loss diet but as What You Eat), you will see that it’s much more beneficial for the human body than the Standard American Diet.

          My cholesterol has gone down, my blood sugar has gone down, my weight has gone down, my arthritis and migraines have disappeared – because I stopped eating grains. You can deny it all you like but there’s a huge wealth of information out there for people who aren’t blinded by the conventional beliefs in this area. I hope you take your blinders off.

          Griff wrote on January 22nd, 2010
        • Mark isn’t trying to suggest a diet that billions of people can sustain… hes suggesting a diet that is ultimately healthy. This isn’t social studies class, this is nutrition.

          toniolio wrote on June 16th, 2010
        • Why do people think grains are “nutrient” dense? It is exactly the opposite, meat is dense in protein and fat. Fat is the most nutrient dense food if you are talking about calories. And both fat and protein contain essential components that are unable to be manufactured by the body. For fats it’s EFAs (essential fatty acids) and for protein it’s nitrogen and the related compounds that build muscle, and the whole spectrum of amino acids to create muscle.

          That is one fact that always bothered me about going veggie – why would it be so hard to get complete protein and everything you need from a veggie diet if it’s the right way to eat?

          You can live and even thrive on a diet composed entirely from protein and fat – because your body can manufacture glucose from these foods when it needs it. You CANNOT live on a carbohydrate diet only – all veggies/vegans know they have to be careful to get enough protein and fat from the plant sources, and it is hard to do so at a high-quality level. That should tell you something right there, and when you look at the body chemistry it just confirms it.

          Barbara Byers wrote on July 15th, 2012
      • New to your site! Love it! Am a 45 year old female and spent the last two years recovering my multiple health issues: Systemic Candida, CFS, Fibromyalgia, weak heart, severe arrhythmias, seizures, mitral valve prolapse, endomitriosis, fibroids, NMH, low blood pressure, severe arthritis in my lower back and hips, CI, kidney stones and more. Through holistic health, I am now well!!! Been on a “caveman diet” since October 2008… no grains!!!! I’ve lost 54 pounds and look and feel better than I did in HS. Decided to “take my life back” when I collapsed two years ago and looked death straight in the face. If I can do it, anyone can!

        Winterberry wrote on June 3rd, 2010
      • I don’t really see the counter-argument of ‘grains don’t taste good’ as valid, as its totally up to the taste of the person. I love plain rice, and don’t find it bland, though most people do.

        Saying that, everything else you’ve said seems fine :)

        GM wrote on August 4th, 2010
      • I have been thinking lately that grains were to be avoided and wanted to know why and your website has been really helpful. I agree with your ideas about this and will continue learning about this–as I much on my popcorn. But then you have to go and advocate eating meat! Are you serious? I agree that nothing tastes better than a good steak or hamburger at the right time and I do feel better at times after I indulge, but to suggest it is healthy is just plain absurd Nutritionists who advocate eating meat will tell you that there are two important nutrients that are supplied best by meat: certain B vitamins and iron. But ask yourself why do you think that is the case? Certain B vitamins are produced by decaying, rotting flesh. In other words, it is not inherent in the meat itself, but a byproduct of the fermenting, decaying process. And that is why well-trained nutritionists advocate meat eating? Really? The other nutrient is iron which common sense will tell you it is coming from the blood. So in other words, let’s skip the meat and just drink their blood, and that would be more nutrient dense, wouldn’t it? Plus, the obvious truth is that when a medical provider gets some of your blood on their little finger, they are scared and want to do all kinds of tests on your blood. Yet, the same meat eating provider thinks nothing of later dining on a nice juicy steak, thinking nothing of all of the infectious diseases that the cow or calf was exposed to in an effort to keep the costs down. If you really think they are tested for all likely (let alone all) diseases, you must also think that the Red Cross tests for all likely infections when you give blood–and not just the ones that are required by some regulation in effect at that time–then you are just too naive to host a website on nutrition.

        JJ wrote on November 3rd, 2011
        • Okay… So, first, you seem to be talking about commercialized animal products. That is NOT what is being promoted on this website. This website (and pretty much every other paleo/primal website) promotes eating humanely raised, pasteurized animals. They tend to have a better nutritional profile than ‘standard’ meat, and pasteurized beef has a better omega 3 : omega 6 ratio. For an animal to be pasteurized (or organic, which is a second best choice) the animal cannot have had any antibiotics/hormones during its lifetime. IF the animal NEEDED antibiotics to save its life, the owner usually sells it as a commercially processed meat. For someone who ‘feels better after they indulge’ (and for VERY good reason, because it is good for you!!!) for you to call someone naive when they have done CONSIDERABLY more research than you is asinine. And a bit ridiculous.

          Cat wrote on July 29th, 2013
    • How can you “enjoy your life” if your diet is plaguing your overall health and vitality? (By the way, this is coming from a vegetarian. A grainless vegetarian.)

      Emily wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Hey Emily, I have a vegetarian friend who is curious about eating Primally but does NOT want to start eating meat. Any advice for her?

        FlyNavyWife wrote on November 6th, 2009
        • While I’m sure Mark has plenty, I’ll give you my take. The obvious one is to emphasize vegetables and cut out grains. Cutting out grains is definitely the most important and often the most difficult for vegetarians. Refined grains should definitely go first, followed by wheat/bread products, and then whole grains (oats, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.)

          Mark’s “big ass salad” works for vegetarians, too. Omit the meat and replace with avocado or raw nuts and use an oil or nut based dressing (I make my own). Basically, center your meals around vegetables (not starchy vegetables), especially nutrient-dense leafy greens, and add things like organic eggs and raw nuts and seeds. Eggs from your local farmer’s market are not only more humane but exceptionally more delicious than organic store-bought eggs. I don’t do much dairy, but I think the best choice is organic plain greek yogurt.

          Raw vegetables and raw nuts are great, easy primal/vegetarian snacks. And while Mark has had some qualms with the Raw Vegan diet, a ton of it is primal-friendly and obviously vegetarian. It involves making protein and fat rich foods out of raw nuts, seeds, herbs, and oils. It’s worth looking into.

          Hope that was some help!

          Emily wrote on November 6th, 2009
        • I thought quinoa and buckwheat were not considered grains. What is the reason they should not be eaten.

          Sam wrote on December 27th, 2013
      • As a vegetarian, I’m curious about what works for you, Emily, too. I agree with basing one’s diet around vegetables, but do you just accept a lower-protein diet than meat-eating primalists, or do you compensate otherwise?

        Jaime wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • My two cents, as a grain-free pescatarian, is that centering my meals around veggies, nuts, fruit, and fish, and throwing in legumes, other seafood, and organic eggs & dairy on occasion works great. I probably eat less protein than meat-eaters, but I do have hemp protein shakes for breakfast and don’t worry too much about it since I eat a lot of fish and nuts.

          Betina wrote on April 8th, 2010
      • what is indigestible about spouted hulless oats, and btw, quinoa is not a grain but a seed and is highly digestible if sprouted.

        jay wrote on November 12th, 2009
    • Good call. And cocaine addicts enjoy the drug-induced euphoria. Same with Heroin users. Addicts crave the junk their addicted to, just as I used to crave bread and pizza crust and breakfast cereal (made from whole grains and minimal added sugar no less) when I was addicted to them. Now that I’ve cured my addiction, I don’t find those “foods” appealing any more. AND I feel so much better than when they were a part of my diet that it is unthinkable to me to even imagining a return to those “foods.” I used to get such bad gas from consuming grains that I used to look at my schedule to check when the next appointment for someone to come to my office was just to make sure I didn’t create an embarrassing situation-if you know what I mean. Same with my commutes by car. If I knew in advance that I had to pick up someone that day, I’d hold it in so to speak (which is quite uncomfortable on a 30+ minute commute!). Since going Primal, I’m now liberated from that grain-induced problem!

      Aaron Blaisdell wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Ha, now that you mention it, I notice that I never have bad gas anymore, whereas it used to be bad enough that I’d have “exit strategies” for work or school because holding it in was so painful.

        Alas, I still crave grains – specifically bread. But wheat makes me feel bloated and strangely sleepy when I gorge, so it’s not TOO hard to avoid anymore. Thank goodness I never liked rice or corn in the first place, though.

        Icarus wrote on November 9th, 2009
        • Icarus, I used to have that bloated and sleepy thing going on about 2 hrs after I ate anything with wheat. It got much worse before I figured out I have a sensitivity to gluten. Stop eating wheat, rye, barley (sorry, no beer anymore!) and you’ll feel a lot better.

          Anne KD wrote on December 15th, 2009
      • Yeah you’re right! I don’t get bad gas anymore. At ALL. It used to be the worst part of a coast-to-coast flight was holding it in for 6 hours, but since I went primal, I rarely even have gas, and when I do it doesn’t clear a room.

        fixed gear wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • What, you can’t go fart in the toilets on the plane?

          Nara wrote on June 16th, 2010
    • Grains do not taste good. Save for piping hot bread out of the oven, most grains need flavor enhancement from sweeteners like sugar or sucralose or fats like butter or olive oil to be palatable. Does anybody eat just pasta without sauce or unsweetened cereal without milk? Nope. On the other hand, meat, fruit, and some vegetables can be enjoyed plain.

      Sonagi wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • I love the consistency, smell and taste of bread. And I do enjoy what it brings to a sandwich (grilled cheese!). However I also realize what that stuff is doing to my body, and I have striven to eliminate all grains from my diet. However I allow myself the occasional pizza or one piece of toast with my eggs. Usually rarely, but lately more and more. And I have felt the difference, and am even more resolved to kick the grain/carb habit. This site helps so much in this effort. Like an alcoholic, I know I am never immune from falling off the wagon.

        Scooter wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • I love eating pasta, oalmeal, quinoa, etc, plain. I find this article very interesting but let’s stick to actual facts; taste is an entirely subjective thing.

        Kiore wrote on November 27th, 2009
        • Kiore, somehow I can’t believe you like that crap plain when there are so many other healthy, tasty choices. Remind me never to eat at your house ;-)

          Mark Sisson wrote on November 27th, 2009
      • Grains do not taste “good” per se, but my problem was that I could never just eat one bowl of rice (or whatever) to feel sated. I think this is partly because of the sensory deprivation of eating plain grain. I had to eat more of it to have a sustained sensory experience. Not so with meat. A while back I read some research on the connection between binge eating (which is a problem with me if I am eating a grain-based diet) and ADD (which I happen to have). Apparently one symptom of ADD in girls/women is binge eating. My personal experience is that I feel and think my best when I eat primally and stay on top of my medication schedule. And ditto with the “no bloating and gas”.

        Magouch wrote on March 24th, 2010
        • For the record, I am not the same guy as Dr. Dune. That said, I believe that insulin creates a feeling of “need” to consume more food when given a high carb meal. Based on what I have read about fruits and other carbs from eons past was they tasted like @#$%. They were very low in sugar and either very tart or slightly bitter depending on the food in question.

          I have no doubt if bad tasting fruits were the only thing around, someone would eat it if they had to to survive. If you needed it to survive and had serious cravings for more, you might stomach eating more no matter how bad it tasted, so it follows that if genetic evolution provides an answer to a need, then that is partially why insulin acts in the way in does. This aspect of insulin is probably quite useless in the modern age given the abundance of carbs available today and our ways of making them tasty with ease.

          Insulin puts the glucose liberated away in tissues for storage. If glucose were a primary fuel there ought to be minimal harm from having high levels in the blood stream (if Nature is reasonable, which is not to say it always is). This is far from the case. High glucose levels can be deadly and are not healthy. Insulin storage leads to crashes where you either have to suffer from the lack of fuel until a crisis erupts, or you eat more. Either way the release of glucose back into the bloodstream results in the re-release of even more insulin, even though the body is, temporarily at least, starving for fuel. Makes me think of the body working at cross purposes.
          I think the body “accounts” for calories on a different basis. I am reminded of accounting where phrases like “last in, first out”are used. Emergency fuels, like I believe carbs to be, are used first as they represent a source of energy that was once consumed only in extremis for thousands of years, and thus the preferred fatty acids were to be held in as much as possible to ride the storm out until a return to animal protein and fat could take place.

          I like the analogy of fuel for the car. I have a limited budget so I have to keep costs down, but I also have performance needs. If I had a cheap source of premium gasoline that was recommended for my car that I could store in an underground tank, I would use that whenever I could. If the source became limited or the price went up, I would immediately switch to using regular and suffer from performance issues, and hold my supply of premium in tanks only to be used again if prices came down, became available in abundance, or when even regular became scarce. Someone not knowing my reasons might conclude I love regular and hate using premium.
          I think this is why we have been led to believe carbs are superior, because of witnessing a phenomenon of biology that exists to save us from starvation if meat and fat became scarce or unavailable for a time.
          OTOH I think ancient primates had at least partially evolved to using carbs since the brain does indeed like to use carbs when available. It can go with less during lean times, but it does like them a lot. That is not to say the body likes grains over other sources of carbohydrate though. Sorry for the length of the post.

          Dune wrote on January 5th, 2011
      • I know several people who eat just pasta, or just rice. I don’t, just pointing that out.

        Tom wrote on June 8th, 2010
      • I just stumbled upon this article but would like to mention that some of my favorite things to eat are pasta without sauce, oatmeal without sugar (well, I like to eat it dry, straight out of the container — goes great with water…I’m so weird), and unsweetened cereal without milk. And plain bread. And plain rice.
        (Not to say I don’t love fruits and vegetables and nuts and meat!)

        This stuff is really interesting though. Definitely worth considering, although unfortunately I’m so busy and my budget is so limited that I fear I’d have to wait to try anything like this. In the meantime maybe I’ll be able to slowly nudge my way toward something a bit healthier.

        A wrote on August 29th, 2010
      • So you cook your meat with just water or you eat it raw?

        Rhea wrote on September 8th, 2010
    • Meat tastes good. Give omnivorism a chance!

      Icarus wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Hey, that’s great news — I think I’ll start drinking a gallon of scotch a week again, because I like the taste — thanks! :~)

      Mick C wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • Have you read the recently published book by Lierre Keith, “The Vegetarian Myth?”

      She was a vegan for 20 years. Destroyed her health and the book makes a devastating case against vegetarianism, not only on health grounds, but environmental as well.

      Yep, she’s both a radical environmentalist and feminist, and she shows vividly how destructive agriculture is to the planet, and how beneficial free-ranging animals are to the environment.

      You might want to check it out.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • It’s amazing that some of us wacky lefties actually do use our brains, huh? :)

        Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
    • I’m going to go have a nice medium-rare steak now, thanks.

      Griff wrote on November 12th, 2009
      • I am surprised you did not have a coronary with the number of steaks you ate in this thread alone.

        Justin wrote on July 11th, 2010
        • Maybe that should make you think about the fallacies you’ve been swallowing from the doctor and other people who don’t actually know what they’re talking about, then, shouldn’t it? Not only have I not had a coronary, I know I’m never going to.

          However, I am going to go have another steak – and no coronary, thanks. You can have that with your all-grain bread and soy protein diet… or you could wake up and smell the bacon.

          Griff wrote on July 11th, 2010
        • It has NEVER been proven that saturated fats or dietary cholesterol have any effect on heart disease. Notice I said DIETARY cholesterol. Yes, the small, dense form of LDL in the blood is strongly correlated with heart disease, but what raises it? Carbs.

          Also, beef fat is only about 50% saturated, about 50% monounsaturated. Lard (prokfat) is about 70% monounsaturated, 30% saturated. I blieve poultry is similar. So the entire belief that animal fat is causes heart disease is unsubstantiated.

          Barbara Byers wrote on July 15th, 2012
      • A good point you made about how little traditional doctors know about the subject. I think the fact that the average MD is dead by 58 is plenty reason not to look to them as a well-spring of health related wisdom.

        BTW Your free to have another steak now.

        BOBSTOUFUS wrote on July 28th, 2010
    • Did you knowingly follow up “stop worrying about your diet and enjoy life” with, “Give Vegetarianism a chance”. You literally just said, don’t worry about your diet, instead change you diet. I personally just stumbled onto this site so if you have a similar post about why vegetarianism is unhealthy id love to know about it.

      Jesse wrote on February 19th, 2010
    • i liked this post, i have tried paleo in the past and started losing weight and feeling better immediatley. i stopped however because i still wasn’t convinced i should eat meat( i was a vegetarian from 13-about18) you have to think about grains/beans/dairy..these foods can NOT be eaten in the wild! to eat grains one needs to build a fire step one, and as far as i know we are the only creature who has figured that one out…step two you need a vessel to boil water clay/stone/metal/glass i don’t know but you need to make something that will hold the water and not melt on the fire,step 3 go out and search the land for grains/beans they are hard as rocks and ya they don’t want to be eaten!! i wonder how we figured out how to cook these hard inedible seeds? something most people don’t think about, but think about how much effort goes into making grains and beans edible, while meat veggies fruit and eggs even honey can all be eaten raw wild readily available nutrition! as far as taste goes, plain grains all by themselves are not very tasty they are PLAIN not gross just plain. anyway, i’m glad i came across this article very inspriring

      stephanie wrote on February 28th, 2010
      • Do you really think there aren’t any animals that eat grains and/or beans? Just because they’re hard to get to doesn’t mean something won’t try; in fact, I’d probably assume the opposite of that. The harder something is to eat, the more animals are trying to eat it. That’s why it evolved to be so difficult to get to.

        Ray wrote on February 28th, 2010
        • i never said that actually..i think that animals including us take nutrition wherever we can get it! i was just making an observation that we are the only creatures that cook something into becoming edible which can make you wonder if we should eat it or not. now what you just said about something being harder to eat makes it evolve into becoming harder to eat is silly, seeds are very important to plants because they are the future of their species all seeds are difficult to eat because of this reason…i am still a vegetarian on most days but will occasionally have meat i eat lots of grains and beans and i loooooooove bread. i’m not sure if we should eat grains and beans or not which is why i tried the paleo for about a week. the one thing i noticed was how easily meat is digested while the grains gave me heartburn and seemed to sit in my stomach for hours

          stephanie wrote on March 2nd, 2010
      • Actually dairy can be eaten raw! There is a growing movement of folks who are demanding access to clean, safe, locally produced, organic raw milk and raw milk products. In many states it is legal to buy/sell raw milk. Some people who cannot tolerate store-bought milk can tolerate raw. There is, however, something to be said about the notion that cow milk was made for baby cows (and goat milk for kids, etc.). I must say that I feel immensely better after having eliminated dairy from my diet.

        Magouch wrote on March 24th, 2010
      • Beans and grains can be sprouted and eaten with water alone. I agree with what you are saying mostly, just wanted to add that.

        Pete wrote on August 12th, 2011
  9. Great stuff Mark. Once again had to forward this great post to all my family members!

    Jesse wrote on November 5th, 2009
  10. I have now heard all of the above from people – usually while they stuff their mouths with cake or cookies. I guess the irony of “what about fiber” and lack of vitamins and minerals was lost on them…

    DebFM wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • “humans arent meant to eat grains” which is why every known civilization bases their diet off of some type of grain or starch.You cant name one that doesnt. Grains arent unhealthy , taste is subjective, and “primal” cultures today eat grains, dairy ect. and none of them do hiit or lift weights.

      Cwilly wrote on January 1st, 2010
      • The Maasai Tribe. There’s one :)

        Jack wrote on March 28th, 2010
      • and this proves that?

        joris wrote on July 18th, 2010
      • Inuit didn’t until they were partially assimilated – and grain-eating Inuits are extremely unhealthy – obese, prone to diabetes and heart attacks which their hunted-meat-only eating counterparts don’t suffer from.

        The reason why non-nomadic civilizations base their diets in grains is because there came a point where humans became too overpopulated to live as nomadic hunters and growing grains thousands of years ago fed more people with less land. (the amount of land territory it takes from roaming hunter-gatherers is high compared to the land it takes to both grow grains and keep domesticated livestock)
        Another reason why they used grains and livestock instead of only living off of livestock and vegetable crops is because grains can be stored in times of famine and can be traded as primitive currency to collect taxes and pay workers’ wages.

        The fact that grains are unhealthy and a high-grain, high-carb sugar-based metabolism can mess up the health of even the most well-adapted grain-eater either didn’t become apparent enough to cause alarm or it wasn’t important enough when weighed in with the other benefits grains gave civilizations at that time. (So what if you die younger and are a little more unhealthy? At least when a crop-killing drought or animal-killing disease comes you’ll have grain reserves to keep your village/city alive and quench civil unrest)

        mm wrote on July 21st, 2010
      • civilization evolved because grains allowed population to increase and allowed stratification of society… just because grains are needed to sustain a population doesn’t mean they’re healthy. after the adoption of agriculture, life expectancy DECREASED, along with average height, free time, and probably a whole bunch of other things i can’t think of right now. that’s the whole point, eating like a caveman, sans grains, is healthier

        Brendan wrote on November 7th, 2010
        • You don’t know what cavemen ate. There’s even evidence that they ate grains as prior to the agricultural revolution.

          empty wrote on November 8th, 2010
      • Talking about primal cultures, I wondered what you guys think about the book of Weston A. Price, who studied a number of “primitive” cultures. Many of these groups did eat grains (rye, barley, etc.) or other carbohydrate rich vegetables. See his book:

        http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library/price/pricetoc.html

        Could it be that the health problem is mainly wheat and not all grains? And that only people that need to watch their weight may want to try the effect of eliminating more carbohydrates?

        Victor wrote on December 27th, 2010
      • Civilization is a late comer and very recent in evolutionary terms.

        According to Jared Diamond agriculture is human’s worst mistake.

        WalterB wrote on August 22nd, 2012
  11. So if i eat a bowl of oatmeal, im basically going to die a slow horrible death. Got it.

    I read the book and it makes a lot of sense but this is getting crazy. I’ve read people debating the carb count in TOMATOES?!?!?!

    Tim wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • I didn’t get that message, the one about the slow horrible death. There’s ample proof that grains were not meant to be digested by humans. You can take it or leave it, but there are a lot of people that I know personally that were just as skeptical as you seem until they went without for a month.

      You should try it if you haven’t already. I mean what is 30 days in an avg. lifespan of 77 years?

      Not sure about the tomato thing. I haven’t known this site to ever be concerned with counting carbs, just eating healthier carbs.

      Shane U wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Healthier carbs should be the first concern. Counting is secondary. Depending on your goals, you may need/want to reduce your carb input. I’ve used the Zone diet in the past to help me portion my macronutrient intake. Helpful, but I would suggest to anyone thinking about the Zone to only treat it as a guideline, and not as a full-on diet prescription. I found all the measuring and meal timing to be too burdensome. The general Primal rules are much better.

        Cameron wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • I’m with you, Tim, on how carb counting can get ridiculous. That is why, unless you are regimenting your diet for the sake of weight loss, I don’t recommend people do it (and even then not all the time).

      Glad you liked the book.

      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dont-let-the-perfect-be-the-enemy-of-the-good/

      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dear-mark-8020-revisited/

      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/will-momentary-compromises-derail-your-efforts/

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Uh, so what???? lol

      Jamie wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Nice rebuttal.

        Pete wrote on August 12th, 2011
    • Carb counting is a Low CARB thing, not a paleo thing. It is really only important for diabetics or people who are so carb sensitive that eating fruit makes them ravenously hungry for all carbs, grains, fruits, sugars and other starches.
      CARbs in a tomato…
      That is basically people who have ruined their metabolism with grains and sugars. Tomatoes are fruit, and they have to take those into account if they are trying to keep their carb intake below a safe (for them) level). This concern is not related to paleo eating except that the diets are similar and they have recipes that they can glean to each other.

      Kitty wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • As a diabetic, it is in my best interest to carb count EVERYTHING, including tomatoes, which are actually a fruit and quite high in sugar. I might have two tablespoons of chopped tomatoes with a salad, but no more than that because my blood sugar goes through the roof if I do.

      Griff wrote on November 12th, 2009
    • Oatmeal’s got one of the highest amounts of phytates of any grain so, long story short, yes.

      Now, I love oatmeal (at least, with sweetener in it). In fact it was one of my staple foods in my vegan phase. I was already short on essential minerals and I think the oats just made it worse.

      Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
  12. Hi Mark -
    Just finishing your book today.
    In regards to grains, I’d appreciate your opinion on this product, which I have as part of a morning smoothy:
    http://www.ultimatelife.com/CatalogMealBenefits.htm
    It is primarily greens, not grains — but it does have millet in it.

    Thanks,
    Paul

    Paul Worthington wrote on November 5th, 2009
  13. What’s your opinion on soaking grains first, Weston A. Price Foundation style?

    JulieD wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Or sprouted grains. I’m curious also.

      Shay wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • I tried sprouted bread this weekend, and as Mark pointed out above, it’s very tasty…when slathered with a generous helping of golden-yellow pastured butter. :P

        Taste aside, I think if you don’t have a sensitivity to gluten, then soaked/sprouted/fermented grains overcome some of the main health detriments associated with grains and listed above; that is, they preserve nutrients (unlike polished grains) while getting rid of *most* antinutrients (unlike those “healthy” whole grains.)

        But they’re still a bit carby – one slice of toast will run you 14g of carbs, and seriously, who eats one friggin’ slice of toast at a time? That’s 28 carbs for breakfast or a sandwhich, which, while probably much better than white bread, is probably still best used in moderation, like good milk. (Pastured butter, on the other hand, imo can and should be used in nearly everything…)

        Icarus wrote on November 9th, 2009
        • You could you know, just eat the butter and avoid most of the carbs.

          Besides who *cares* how healthy the grains are?

          WalterB wrote on August 22nd, 2012
    • I’m not Mark, but I think WAPF guidelines for grains are extremely important for folks in poverty who can’t afford a lot of meat and/or don’t have the storage space for perishable whole foods. These folks are going to be heavily dependent on grain, and presoaking that grain in an acidic medium will render it a lot safer.

      Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
  14. Very timely for me as well. Thank you. I’ve been struggling a bit lately in figuring out what’s good and bad for my individual system, and this is a great reminder of why I should never ever consider grains. Even if they taste good, they’re not worth it!

    Gazelle wrote on November 5th, 2009
  15. I posted this on Twitter, but might as well just place it here…

    I think it’s a wise idea to avoid the grains, but when there are two people involved and only one of them is decidedly primal, sometimes the primal person has to make concessions.

    In my house, dinner is whatever my wife puts on the table when she cooks. I’m extremely blessed that she is fairly on-board with primal foods, but there are times where we will have pasta or home made pizza… maybe a couple times a month. I think it’s a small sacrifice for me to make in order for her to not feel the burden of *my* dietary convictions when she doesn’t 100% believe in it. It’s a worthwhile sacrifice. Considering how much she and I have both changed our eating habits for the better, I can’t be happier. I don’t want to spend too much emotional effort nit-picking because in comparison, it’s only one small piece of a much bigger puzzle.

    Cameron wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • That’s what the 80/20 rule is for :)

      If eating the occasional pizza is all it takes for you both to eat healthy the rest of the time, you’re doing quite well.

      EL wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Absolutley! I have a family of 5 including my mother at home. No one else is “on-board” It makes everything a little more complicated. And you have to weigh your relationships into the mix. I think fundmentalism in any form isn’t a good thing. I still kept grains in the morning for a few weeks, but cut them out completly. I feel better then I ever have in my life! I don’t have interest in making exceptions, except for rare occassions. Beleiveing i am a food addict..cutting out grains and refind sugar is essential! So glad to have found PB and crossfit too!

        stephanie vincent wrote on November 13th, 2009
    • Good point on the importance of making concessions. My fiance is very nonprimal, and sadly nothing I have been saying or doing has made a dent on his outlook (OK, so he switched from regular to diet coke, sigh). I do all of the cooking, and the primal way of cooking is further made difficult by the fact that he does not eat most veggies, nor many varieties of meat (oh and NO seafood of any kind). Anyway, we try the best we can — I’ll usually make him a potato side that I won’t eat, and buy low-carb tortillas for his beloved chicken fajitas. Thank god he loves steak almost as much as I do.
      I was really stressed out in the beginning, but now realize it isn’t worth it since that isn’t helping anyone — if/when he is willing to make a change, I will be thrilled. For now, we do what we can to avoid going to bed angry :)

      MariaNYC wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Thanks for the insight. I wish I could find myself a decidly primal/paleo-crossfittingesque-wonder-girl to avoid having to make those kinda sacrifices. Pretty damn rare amongst student life though… “ZOMG FREE DOMINOS AT FRESHERS!!” :P

        Nelter wrote on November 6th, 2009
        • So where do you go to school? ;)

          primal/paleo-crossfittingesque-wonder-girl wrote on November 6th, 2009
        • Haha! very smart!

          I almost answered that without even realising. :P

          Nelter wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • Make him cook his own darn food.

        Rusa wrote on December 21st, 2010
  16. You’re right. I should give it an honest go for 30 days and see how i feel. Right now i only eat oats for the most part anyway-so hopefully it isn’t too hard.

    Sorry for the vague post by the way, i was in a hurry.

    Tim wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Tim – I miss oatmeal, too. I was thinking I might try heating up some almond flour in heavy cream and throwing a few berries in. Who says hot cereal has to be oats?

      SK1 wrote on November 6th, 2009
  17. I miss oatmeal the most.

    A couple times a winter I soak my cracked groats and cook them in a slow cooker.

    Yummy. But I need a carbo-nap soon after.

    aurelia wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • I read groats as goats… Funny image :D

      Nelter wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • slow cooked cracked goats, mmmmmmmm….

        meat meat meeeeeeeeeeat wrote on November 7th, 2009
  18. Timely. I ordered a low-carb six dollar burger (per your recommendation) at lunch and they mistakenly gave me a regular six dollar burger. I was going to go ahead and eat the bun, then read this. It’s now sitting in the garbage.

    Michael wrote on November 5th, 2009
  19. hey marc. could you post some of the great science papers you have written on paleo and grains. thanks man.

    keith wrote on November 5th, 2009
  20. Great article Mark,

    I’m confused though, what makes the fiber from fruits and veggies desirable?

    Danny Roddy wrote on November 5th, 2009
  21. While I agree with most of the post, Mark fails to include the reasoning behind the article about the benefits of fiber: “It’s a bit of a paradox, but what we are saying is an injury at the cell level can promote health of the GI tract as a whole.”

    Only including the words “rupturing”, “banging”, and “tearing” is an emotional appeal that exploits the traditionally negative connotations of these words. I thought dispelling, not reinforcing, traditional conventions was the goal of this site.

    Nate wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Nate, I’m just quoting verbatim the article in Science Daily (and linking it directly so anyone can read it). And yes I AM dispelling CW in that paragraph, since I am clearly questioning the rationale of the those terms (dispelling) as they could possibly apply to good gut health.

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Well isn’t banging and tearing muscle fibers through hard lifting what gets them (and us) to grow stronger?

        Jaime wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • Intestinal lining isn’t muscle fiber. You absorb a lot of substances through it and it interfaces with your immune system so this is not something to play around with.

          Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
      • I have Crohn’s Disease and one of the things they told me is to avoid high-fiber (and high-G.I.) meals when I have Crohn’s inflammation – when I’d forget this, my intestinal immune system made sure to remind me, sometimes in not-so-subtle ways

        mm wrote on July 21st, 2010
  22. My husband and I quit eating ALL grains this past March to reduce my triglycerides and improve my husband blood sugar level, and I received the unexpected result of having huge amounts of inflammation leaving my body more flexible than it had been since I was a small child! I am still amazed and thankful each and every day! Unless there are unexpected circumstances, I seriously do not see myself EVER eating grains again, especially wheat. Thanks for the site Mark!

    Susan in Spokane wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • That’s exactly my story. Quit grains, most especially wheat, and my inflammation dropped significantly. It dropped to the point where I don’t have to take meds anymore for IBS and I don’t have chronic foot pain. I now use my foot as a guide for inflammation levels. My body is functioning (and looking) SO MUCH BETTER without grains.

      BlazeKING wrote on November 5th, 2009
  23. Mark et al.

    Forgive for writing this, but I must pose a question.

    Mark mentions cereal grains, and other things like spelt, millet, etc. However, are things like brown rice “less bad” for you? I would say it cant be any worse for you than a processed grain like flour.

    Please divulge.

    Ryan Denner wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • The term “cereal” means ALL grains, including rice and corn. It is a term used to describe the seed of any member of the grass family. That is, grains.

      Aaron Blaisdell wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • if we’re avioding cereal grains, i.e. all seeds of the grass family are we avoiding Asparagus also?

        Kitty wrote on November 6th, 2009
        • You eat asparagus seeds? Weird. I didn’t know they were edible.

          Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
    • Forgot to mention that Corn and Rice are in the grass family.

      Aaron Blaisdell wrote on November 5th, 2009
  24. Thanks for laying this all out. Keep preaching also it needs to be repeated. I’m coming around on this – have cut way back on them and I’m leaner and feel better generally. But it’s tough in this ADM-centric world of ours it’s tough :)

    Chuck Olson wrote on November 5th, 2009
  25. If I eat grains only one day, the next day is a digestive disaster.

    Any young person who doesn’t yet have IBS, or the like, take heed now. Don’t wait till you develop these conditions.

    Wish this site had been around 20 years ago!

    Rachel Allen wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Rachel Allen- I second this!! I ate grains most of my life with no symptoms (I’m now 38) and just recently developed IBS. After giving up grains (and beans, sugar & almost all dairy) 2 months ago, I have eliminated my symptoms!

      I, too, wish this site had been around 20 years ago! :o)

      ecl wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Excellent Post and VERY important. I developed Crohn’s at 23 and put on all kinds of drugs. I’ve since quit grains and the drugs and have had my inflammation levels drop significantly and I literally have no markings that would show that I have Crohn’s anymore.

      Don’t wait to quit grains, quit them now especially if you are of European descent. GI will doctors will say diet has nothing to do with it. They are either liars or very misinformed. Diet is EVERYTHING.

      BlazeKING wrote on November 5th, 2009
      • Yes, I love how GI docs will tell you that diet has nothing to do with diseases of the GI tract.

        Heartburn too, is diet related. If it is true hyperacidity, eliminating grains can cure it.

        Sadly, many people with heartburn are actually hypochloridic, meaning lacking stomach acid. They are put on PPIs which only exacerbate the problem.

        Laurel wrote on April 9th, 2010
        • That is strange that your GI docs act this way – at the hospital when they realized I had crohn’s and not appendicitis (the large baseball-sized absessed fistula going from my guts to my kidney may have been a clue), they gave me a printout with a small table of high, moderate and low fiber/G.I. foods and suggested to eat low fiber/G.I. during flare-ups (G.I. being a euphemism for carbs).
          My GI doc emphasizes stress over diet but I’m pretty sure that’s becasue it’s much easier to detect which foods damage your intestines and which do not whereas stress is more omnipresent and harder to gauge.
          Of all doctors I’d think GI docs would be the most pro-primal, anti-grain docs out there, even with their limited nutritional training.

          mm wrote on July 21st, 2010
  26. Excellant article Mark. I have been turnded on to the Paleo way of eating since reading Neanderthin. I have never felt better after giving up my grains. Potatoes were harder to give up since I am Irish. LOL.

    I love your website and your articles are very well written. Here is another site that give more of the bad effects of grains, potatoes, milk, etc.

    http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html

    Larry wrote on November 5th, 2009
  27. I never was a big grain-eater or grain-lover, so scaling back consumption to zero was easy.

    Then again… by cutting them out, I discovered just how many grains I had actually been consuming via mindless noshing. A few crackers here, a few chips there…

    Once I made the decision to pass them by, I found I was regularly stopping myself from grabbing grain junk because “Oh yeah, I won’t eat that anymore”.

    Cutting out snacking by 90% and ditching those sugars/starches/grains made a huge difference in my weight and body composition, even with no change in exercise habits. I am a solid 15 lbs less than what SAD had fixed as my low “do-not-cross weight threshhold”, and yet no cravings.

    My body/mind isn’t going wacko trying to revert to its “normal” weight. This **is** my normal weight! It’s so easy it’s unreal. Usually by now – heading into winter – I had always been afflicted with chronic cardio burnout and massive carb cravings. You know, to get back to a supposed “set point” [only to have to lose the flab again the following summer].

    Now I have plenty of room in my diet for fats I could never enjoy in the past, plus some new ones I find absolutely delightful (coconut, macadamia oil). That means I am eating foods that I am supposed to be eating to keep everything working properly. I feel great and am now looking forward to focusing on a better exercise scheme, instead of wanting/needing to get away from it all. (I am 5’5″ and 115#)

    Grains, it wasn’t even nice knowing ya…

    Thanks for the solution to the maize, Mark. :)

    Hello Kitty wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • OMG! 115# at 5’5 …you’re my new motivator.

      Been around 150# (height 5’5) since high school..I’m now 22.

      Sarra wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • I was max 130 prior to reducing grains – (5’4″ AND A HALF thankyouverymuch ;) weighed in at 118 yesterday and am still losing weight. You can do it! I feel SO much better in general, now.

        danielle wrote on June 19th, 2010
  28. WHAT? Really? Ugh.. Im so ill informed on everything food-wise. I will never go veg or vegan but I can ditch grains no problem.. I need to start from square one. I guess this sites a good start..

    Joe wrote on November 5th, 2009
  29. I feel so guilty reading this over a bowl of pasta. Tomorrow, a salad is a must.

    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Don’t eat lettuce in your salad….lettuce “doesn’t want to be eaten”….

      Nozza wrote on August 15th, 2011
  30. I’m often amazed at how some people have been primal for so long, yet they fall off the wagon still.

    I’m going to write about this on my site.

    Grok wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Honestly I think that some of us are more “addicted” than others. Even though there is a huge burn-out and long-term effects there is pleasure involved initially in eating grains for many people.

      It’s like being a drug addict in a society where it’s frowned upon if you’re NOT using it…

      me! wrote on November 7th, 2009
      • some good points also lots of conflicting points people say grains are bad to digest and cause weight gain maybe true but would you eat a dead cow in middle of road full of dirty poisonous toxins ?? that red meat takes up to 72 hours to leave body surely this cant be best for lifestyle. im a big believer in bread is worst culprit out there as its mixed with yeast,wheat,flour,all sorts but i feel a bowl of porridge oats is maybe the only exception for a grain as i feel this is a good food its a good petrol for the body along with fruit veg and fish salads im still to be convinced eating birds and cows is good for the human body people have all sorts of allergies and intolerences i even think twice bout putting milk in my tea now all the stories bout is dairy ok i think its all trial and error but i do agree with the points that high protein low carb does afect serotonin levels and lowers mood this is why i think oats can help with that

        mikey jones wrote on November 5th, 2012
        • Does your period key not work?

          Susan wrote on May 20th, 2013
  31. Nice Post. I have been off grains for a while and always feel much better without them. No bread, pasta or processed food at all and I still manage to maintain a heavy muscle mass, a solid muscular foundation and very little in the way of cravings at all.

    Mike Cheliak wrote on November 5th, 2009
  32. I have read a number of people who enliken no grains to counting carbs. The two are mutually exclusive. I still maintain at least 40% carbs through healthy whole food choices such as yams & potatoes plus a wealth of fruits and veggies. Carbs are not the enemy…processed food IS!

    Mike Cheliak wrote on November 5th, 2009
    • Carbs are the enemy if you’re already halfway to diabetic. It’s great for you if they don’t bother you. Honestly, when I’m low-carbing I find I can get away with some. But too much is too much.

      I’ll take Mark’s statements about grain one step farther and say there’s nothing in plant foods that you NEED that you can’t get from animal foods. Plant foods are relatively cheap, and some phytonutrients turn out to be useful to people who are already metabolically damaged, but aside from that… well, there are carnivorous traditional cultures, but no vegan ones. I’m sure there’s a very good reason for that.

      Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
    • Sounds liek you’re using the Zone diet of 40/30/30… I’m not sure if the Primal Blueprint/Eating Plan was meant to be used that way as you probably still burn sugar instead of ketones as a main fuel source and it’s the resulting toxic sugar damage and high overall insulin levels that can cause problems such as inflammation/inflammation-related heart disease, insulin/energy instability, insulin resistance and increased cancer/tumour cell growth.

      Stone age humans were designed to run primarily on ketones, not sugars. So in my opinion you may be missing out on some stone age/primal diet benefits

      mm wrote on July 21st, 2010
  33. WOW! Thanks for laying it all out there Sir Marcus!

    stevecooksey wrote on November 5th, 2009
  34. After I ditched the grains last June I found out why I was experiencing chronic, low level pain. I even told my sister once that I was really concerned about it.

    But the visual proof of not having grains – and lower carbs generally – was my toenail fungus stopped. As in a clear line across my nails that matched in time to my grain cessation. The fungus is still doing a bit of rear guard action, but pretty soon it should be all gone.

    OnTheBayou wrote on November 5th, 2009
  35. On of my fellow nurses was a vegetarian. She told me she finally had to add meat to her diet because her body could
    t stand it any more, she was sick and weak all the time.
    I have a niece that’s a vegetarian. What’s interesting is that she’s a twin. Her sister is not a vegetarian. You can tell the difference. The veg looks pale and weak and has worse skin. Wish I could talk some sense into her.

    Dave, RN wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • It is certainly very easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian or “carbotarian” as I call it. However, we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of a vegetarian who doesn’t eat grains, eats primarily nutrient-dense vegetables and fat, and plenty of organic eggs. I can say with confidence that I am the healthiest person I know (in person, anyway!) and that’s the diet I follow.

      I plan on doing a blog post sometime about the risks of vegetarianism and the way it can still be a healthy diet. While it’s sometimes challenging to maintain great health on a vegetarian diet, there’s a slew of moral and environmental issues that vegetarianism addresses that often gets overlooked on many primal/anti-vegetarian blogs. Let us not forget what (conventional) meat consumption is doing to the planet and to an enormous amount of living creatures.

      Emily wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • The moral and environmental issues with the meat industry are huge yes. I believe that’s why we need a huge change in farming procedure. I don’t think people should stop eating meat as a result but rather stop supporting the companies that are causing these issues if they possibly can. The horrors of the meat industry are just one example of the consequences of the money-power-play running behind the scenes of governmental systems. So ultimately we gotta ask, how do we fix the system?

        We gotta take the powa back! UUGH!! >:)

        Nelter wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • The moral and environmental issues, as I’m sure you know, are almost entirely averted by eating pastured meat, eggs, and dairy – that is, by encouraging animal husbandry that truly deserves the name and farming practices that respect the animals that nourish us and give us life (and clothing, and fertilizer, and labor, and and and…) And of course, organic farming is basically impossible without the use of animal waste for fertilizer, and I don’t think egg-laying hens and milk-giving cows produce enough waste to sidestep that fact, which is why vegetarianism is impractical for an environmentally-friendly system of agriculture in the long run. Veganism is especially so.

        I guess the main problem lies in the fact that eating animals still involves killing them, which, if it’s as painless and cruelty-free as possible, I don’t personally have a problem with. But, different strokes for different folks, I guess. Also, grass-fed meat/eggs/dairy is damn expensive, but, in my opinion, worth it on a moral level and possibly a nutritional one as well.

        Icarus wrote on November 9th, 2009
        • Well said. If it’s at all affordable it’s absolutely worth it.

          Nelter wrote on November 9th, 2009
        • While, in theory, it’s true that, as you say, grass-fed meat is worth it on a moral and nutritional level, not everyone can actually afford to eat that way. The primal lifestyle is, in its ideal form, an expensive one as well. I hope to someday be able to buy food like that, but for now I avoid meat, because I wouldn’t want to eat the meat I can afford.

          Jaime wrote on November 12th, 2009
      • As opposed to the clear-cutting required in most plant agriculture which, of course, does absolutely nothing to the environment because deforestation isn’t the first step in desertification.

        This is the elephant in the living room that no veg*n seems to want to acknowledge. Nobody has to raise an animal in a battery farm. Anybody wanting to raise cabbages has to clear land first.

        Dana wrote on November 20th, 2009
  36. I absolutely agree with this. Since cutting out all grains and grain derivatives, I have been IBS free. That’s 5 weeks with no IBS. I used to suffer at least once a week, with the most awful, debilitating pain which would leave me curled up on the floor in agony.

    Now, meat, fish, veg, limited fruit and limited nuts are what I eat. I am healthy. I live my life deciding what and when to eat rather than food dictating to me.

    PrimalK wrote on November 6th, 2009
  37. Great post again Mark!
    This post was great to remind me about why I am making these changes, and encouraging me to keep at it. Last night I made us our first real Primal evening meal. But I decided to include things that my husband normally loves – chips, rice and crisps. So I made a roast pork tenderloin, fried cauliflower rice, sweet potato chips and beetroot crisps. My husband was really impressed – even with the meal being grain free.

    Jo wrote on November 6th, 2009
  38. So flaxseed (linseed), couscous and Quinoa are not grains? i usually use these in recipes instead of rice etc.

    I don’t think that grains dissuade consumption, as we can easily digest them, and the whole world eats them every day. They just aren’t best for you.

    alex wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • Alex, couscous is a wheat based food. I can’t remember if it is a form of pasta or a steamed and cracked form but it is wheat based.

      Kitty wrote on November 6th, 2009
      • Couscous is tiny pasta

        Sara wrote on November 14th, 2009
  39. Mark, do you think that nuts and seeds are indeed healthy to consume? You make the argument that fibre can be deleterious to health. Yet, nuts are very high in fibre and not easy to digest for many. As a fan of nuts, i am beginning to think they should be avoided. For instance, everytime i look at my fecal matter after having eaten nuts, i noticed numerous bits of nuts, even though i chewed the nuts as best as i could. I think that humans might absorb little nutrients from nuts, and that they may cause more harm than good in that the fibre might damage our GI tract. Your thoughts?

    peter wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • peter, I am a fan of eating nuts. Most people digest nuts (and nut butters) quite easily. Understand, I am not against fiber per se, I am simply saying that we get all the fiber we need from vegetables, fruits and nuts. We just don’t need to get added fiber in any way from grains.

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 6th, 2009
    • Peter – you might want to look into the Weston Price Foundation’s website (www.westonaprice.org) and read up on how to ‘process’ nuts so that they are more edible. WAPF recommends that nuts & seeds be soaked and dried before consumption. This will neutralize anti-nutrients in the raw nuts. If the nuts & seeds are soaked and dried correctly they become crispy and delicious. Several companies sell nuts like these but they are pricey. Some people I know do all this at home with a dehydrator.

      WAPF also recommends that all grains be soaked, fermented or sprouted before being used or consumed. This does neutralize the anti-nutrients that Mark mentioned in his article and it does help in digesting the grains. However, I’ve found from my own experience that this still doesn’t go far enough and that I feel better if I avoid grains.

      Hillary wrote on November 12th, 2009
  40. Alex,

    Quinoa and flax are not grasses, they’re still seeds though, they might contain lectins and phytic acid, but couscous is cracked wheat!
    Just because the others, who would be starving otherwise are eating them doesn’t mean they are good for you. You can easily digest them if they’re prepared and cooked properly. Not getting sick after the meal is not the sign that the food is beneficial, but that is tolerated by the digestive tract.

    lightcan wrote on November 6th, 2009

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