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. I just want to put another perspective in this thread. I love grains. When I eat them, I enjoy eating them. And I feel good from my food. I am in good health and always have been, no allergies, no digestive issues, good energy, slim and fit – middle aged but lookin good.
    so I feel quite comfortable avoiding any diets that focus on cutting out entire food groups. I also can;t quite get with the way that foods are carved into these generic niches – like “fats ” “proteins’ and “carbs” like the should be considered entirely separately. It seems like food combining, and the way that one thing interacts with another, holistically, got left off the menu.
    When I look for foods to eat, first I want what is minimally processed, non gmo, preferably organic and fresh and local as I can find. I don’t eat junk food, I don’t eat out too much, I don’t eat anything that has been made low fat, I don’t have a sweet tooth. I didn;t eat sweets much as a kid (strict parents lol) and grew up mostly eating vegetables and organic foods I think that helped a lot. Instead of focus on eliminating ingredients, I focus on what it is I do want to eat – which is a variety of delicious ingredients
    I do eat meat, fish, dairy, lots of vegetables, legumes, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, and some fermented items. I like a balance, and eat a mix of cooked and raw preparation choices. I like a variety in my food. As far as grains go, I don’t eat grains based meals every day but i do eat them as ingredients here and there, I may use some barley, or oats, teff, or once in a while wild rice. sometimes chick pea flour (a legume). I eat quinoa (a seed). I like kasha once in a while. And sometimes I eat a bowl of pasta! Yes, made with wheat. I know it’s been processed, but…Yum! Enjoying your food is pretty important – for happiness and for digestion.

    I think our bodies were designed to eat many different types of food from various sources – including hunting sources and including foraging sources – so including meats, eggs, fishes, grains, seeds, nuts, sprouts, pollens, roots, and fruits, etc.
    I do try to back up my choices with studies and reading information and other people’s experience – but mainly I trust what is right for me to eat from listening to my own body. And my foods may change too, as I age, I will have to see.
    I think the anti grain thing is really blown out of proportion, sorry. People overdo it with one item. Look at a standard american diet – it doesn’t include the food group grains! It includes an overabundance of mainly corn and wheat (not to mention these are the most altered genetically and over processed and full of pesticides) – pretty much eating wheat every day, sometimes three times a day. That is not a balance! That is taking one or two limited ingredients and over consuming them. No wonder people get sick, gluten intolerance etc, they just overdosed their bodies for years on the same thing. That is like starving while overeating.
    And corn is put in just about everything you can think of in the form of an additive, from some yogurts to tofu to cheese to iodized salt to vitamin pills to ‘natural flavors”. It might even be in a gas used to ripen vegetables for the store shelf. So we overeat these things until our bodies develop a sensitivity to it, and then blame the entire food group. Yay!

    I don;t know why people imagine that our ancestors didn’t crush up seeds and grains to eat. I bet we also chewed on bark and branches and the tender shoots of grasses, as well as dug up quite a lot of tubers and legumes. I think we shook the wild wheat into our skirts and put it in a stew with berries and roots and animal bones.

    Also, not everyone is intolerant to the same ingredients – Some people can tolerate more meat than others too. Some people can do fine on a vegetarian diet and others do not.
    Limit things? Sure, But exclude all those beautiful ingredients from my cooking repertoire entirely? Sorry, not for me. I’ve never found that carbs in my diet posed a problem for me at all.
    However, if you said it was best to avoid extra processing on the food or go as minimally processed as possible, I would agree entirely….

    Cara wrote on January 5th, 2014
    • Hey Cara,

      You sound like me a month ago, before trying the primal diet. :P Yes I was an absolute bread aficionado, someone who goes to artisan french bakeries and pays over $10 for a pound of fresh, warm bread.
      I cannot argue with the cultural and gastronomial significance of bread. It’s a sacrifice, definitely, especially if one has been eating GOOD bread (99.5% percent of bread consumed in western societies is pretty dismal.)

      That said, after giving it thought, as a little kid, I’ve never liked pastries and breads too much. In fact, what I was always enthusiastic about was what we can call paleo food.
      And after a week of going without any grain, I find I don’t miss them at all. I don’t get a craving of “man I’d totally eat a baguette right now”. In fact, the thought of most pastries is just unappetizing to me.

      So what I can recommend is before jumping to conclusions, try the grainfree diet for a month, and re-evaluate your standpoint after.

      In reality, grains have only one, single thing going in their favor. They are cheap. Super cheap. It’s cheap to grow them, cheap to store them, cheap to transport them. They don’t need cooled warehouses, cooled or even closed trucks. You just pour them in a pile and put a roof above, storage has been taken care of.
      That’s the alpha and omega of why we as a race are so obsessed about them. :)

      Sigmoid wrote on January 17th, 2014
  2. Well I feel DUMB! It took a super cool comic with a link to lead me here, and now I feel like a total moron for not researching this SOONER.

    I mean, the only reason I picked whole grain for my sandwiches recently was because EVERYONE was saying how healthy it is, and blah blah blah. Thought I’d give it a shot.

    Never felt more horrible in my life, now that I think real hard about it. I was such a happy person before EVIL GRAINS!!!! Nothing but protein, veggies, nuts, and the occasional indulgence in the wrong type of food (chips, candy, soda, etc).

    I want to rub it in my boyfriend’s face! Always griping about his weight and mood. He eats grains as much as I consume protein, and I consider myself (half jokingly) a carnivore!

    Excuse me while I bake some fish and pull out the salad I bought just the other day. I’m going to celebrate with more meat and leafy goodness!!! :D

    Jen wrote on January 15th, 2014
  3. Let me first say my diet since the late 70′s has been similar to what is explained in these articles, but I do eat grains and very little meat, especially red meat. What I mean by little is I do not consume meat daily and when I do it is usually fish, although I do eat other meats on occasion and when it’s read meat I prefer wild or bison and not fattened cattle most people eat. Wild meat is what primal man ate and is a much healthier meat.
    You have to understand, primal man before the onset of hunting tools was a persistent hunter (ran for days running down prey, much like a wolf pack) and like wolfs he did not eat everyday not meat everyday. Only when they caught prey, which may take days and even weeks or they would scavenge dead prey from other predators if they found it. Point is meat was not a daily or even a weekly part of their diet.
    About grains being bad for you because they are a seed and not to be consumed or digested. These articles recommend eating Nuts. Guess what, Nuts are seeds. You can’t denounce one item for being a seed and not the other.

    Steve White wrote on January 16th, 2014
  4. Can you please explain to me how this diet is going to be sustainable for the growing and modernizing population on our planet? How many animals need to die for each person to eat each week? Given how long it takes to raise animals, how is this at all sustainable? Would it become a free-for-all on anything still living in the wild? If we all eat more eggs, how many more male chicks need to die as a result of that? We are not a small group chasing mammoths any more! As a yoga teacher, I aim to lighten my footprint by only occasionally eating ethically raised meat from adult animals. How can a person lightly ethically justify consuming animal foods as a sole source of their protein rather than a traditional vegan diet, with just an occasional consumption of meat?

    Lucy wrote on January 22nd, 2014
    • Because a traditional ‘vegan’ diet makes me feel weak, sick, and brain dead. Gluten makes me very sick, I have an intolerance to large quantities of fructose, and also have trouble with legumes. Reverting to a primal diet of foods that could be hunted or gathered has restored my health and brought my vitality back. If more people grew their own vegetables and raised their own livestock, it would be far more sustainable. The world cannot continue to sustain the booming human population, whether a few people choose to live primally or not. I would much rather ‘live long and prosper’ than to exist miserably on a vegan diet.

      Danielle wrote on March 7th, 2014
      • Thank you Danielle, I agree with you completely. I’m a reformed vegetarian that came close to be being diabetic from that wonderful diet. There are a lot of people out there proselytizing about vegan or vegetarian diets and most of them aren’t old enough to have proven the point. I don’t believe that they will survive the diet for 20, 30 or 40 years. I personally know a vegan who after 30 years on the diet is now paleo after recovering from cancer and then being plagued with other numerous health problems. She was an “ethical” vegan who has decided it is better to sacrifice a cow or chicken once in a while and live to tell about it. Besides the argument continues to rage on both sides about whether raising animals “the correct way”, or destroying pasture lands to grow produce is worse for the environment. Animals raised the correct way fertilize the earth naturally. The majority of produce is grown in a manor that will defoliate and destroy the earth. The vegans think they know the answers but they refuse to listen to the other side of the story.

        Sandra wrote on March 7th, 2014
  5. Hello! I have a question! I am researching all of this paleo stuff and I have a question. I have seen that coconut is highly recommended, but it has a higher % of Phylates than wheat flour. Can you help me understand why, then, phylates would make wheat flour bad?

    Jenny wrote on January 25th, 2014
  6. Grains are a part of our modern agricultural heritage to keep a larger than normal population of humanity fed. Unfortunately, the cost to our health is insidious. Our nearest genetic relatives do not live on grain. They live on fruit, vegetation, and small animal protein. We were never intended to live on grains.

    Dracobonobo wrote on January 31st, 2014
  7. You’re crazy. Unless you’re intolerant, grains are fine. Rather than finding phobias where they don’t exist and creating completely antisocial dietary restrictions, focus your energy on meditation or your passions- or developing friendships or your career.

    f@g.com wrote on February 7th, 2014
  8. I have been on the paleo diet for a month and have actually gained weight and my digestion has not improved. I always feel hungry too. I think I am eating too many fats. Thoughts?

    maryellen wrote on February 9th, 2014
    • Hi maryellen. If you have liver or thyroid issues, you would want to eat lower amounts of protein and fat, according to Dr. Berg (he offers lots of great info on youtube as well as his own website).

      When I followed Mark’s suggestion of removing grains and keeping sugars/carbs at a level to lose weight, I did see results as well as my skin cleared up. But some people need to tweak, because we’re not all exactly the same :) So I hope you check out Dr. Berg’s vids, he also suggests natural things like diet and supplements.

      This vid specifically comes to mind to address your question, just go to youtube and copy/paste or type it in –

      The Body Type Diets – What to Eat for Each Type

      Wenona wrote on February 9th, 2014
  9. I’m trying to keep an open mind and research grains. While the author makes some good points, what in the world does “income inequality” have to do with this? I smell an agenda, which makes the entire article suspect.

    CWO wrote on February 16th, 2014
  10. Thank you for this information. I think there is a lot of truth in what you write. BUT, there is something which always stops me from following ANY fanatical looking advice:) Now I knooow I’m European and will never get used to the American way of uh..’bam! wam!’ speaking. Maybe that’s where the fanatic note comes from, just a cultural difference. That aside, humans have lived long without grains and that was fine, but it is only after we started cultivating them that human population started to bloom. Now, I’m not saying that quantity is better then quality but it does say something about those ‘demonic’ grains;) Also I don’t believe that any diet based on ONE point of view is good for anyone, the more different things we conquor (foodwise!) the better it is for our existance, and our adaptation for the future…I even think that a completely ‘virgin’ body is not going to do well in a world like ours. Ofcoourse eating as healthy as possible is a great way to go, but a body is perfectly capable in dealing with the ocasional loaf of bread, even more then one daily. Alllll over the world, even for the most of primal cultures bread is a part of daily food, let me not even start about rice! Many generations of healthy individuals have been raised on that stuff and went on to have a great life. It’s about balance and variety.

    Food should also be fun, like life. Not too serious, when you know you then can make choices and play with all kinds of food and ideas. Noone has eternal life and even the healthiest of people sometimes get snatched from this world early.

    It’s all in mindfulness when it comes to nutrition and knowledge about how to prepare it. Our ancestors have learned long ago how to prepare all kind of foods so that toxicity (almost ALL food has some level of toxicity) doesn’t get too much free play…we lost the knowledge, but even then we continue to thrive in numbers. I guess what I really want to say is lighten up, baguette is really not the evil in the world. Like the brilliant comedian Steve Hughes said about saaaay secondary smoke:’ there are people from Chernobyl still alive for f* sake! ‘ They look weird but they’re still here!,’;)

    Diana wrote on February 20th, 2014
    • I’m just addressing one point of what you said about “a body is perfectly capable in dealing with the ocasional loaf of bread”. If someone gets migraine headaches from eating grain, they can NOT eat an occasional loaf of bread and deal with it except with a high amount of pain. This is just one example of a testimony I’ve seen for people suffering with migraines.

      I can’t recall the person’s name, but he has researched gluten very thoroughly and makes the claim that not even one person can digest it, so not even one person should be eating it. For EVERY person who eats it, whether they notice any symptoms or not, it coats the surface of the intestines preventing nutrient absorption, as well as causing inflammation for up to 3 months.

      If you choose to eat grains, that’s your choice. The information should be available to everyone, so they know grains can and usually do cause health problems. In conventional medicine, it’s called informed consent. You know what bad things can happen, but you decide to go ahead with it.

      Sorry, I will address another comment you made. You said, “Food should also be fun”. The sole, true purpose of food is to nourish and allow the body to grow and repair itself. People can get creative and still eat healthy, tasty real food. But they need to understand that so much of what is considered food, is not.

      Wenona wrote on February 20th, 2014
  11. I’ve stayed away from gluten for a year and a half now. Several weeks ago, my thyroid doctor had to lower my medication dosage because he says my body is better metabolizing it since I’m off gluten. Yeah! Besides that, no more stomach issues or other skin related problems. Great article.

    Sue wrote on February 28th, 2014
  12. Great post and thread! Mark Sisson really knows his stuff, and when he sais jump I will ask how high! For a 60 year old man, he is super fit and I agree with his lifestyle choices for nutrition and fitness!

    Before following this lifestyle I was a cyclist and ate plenty of “healthy” grains! Ezekial bread, whole wheat pasta, kashi cereal etc…..

    I had plenty of energy but my even though at 44 years old I was lean (5’9″ 150 lbs) at the time I still had a little bit of fat around the waste, there was no getting rid of it.

    Jump to now, abs a plenty….I do ab exercise only once a week, I really believe abs are made in the kitchen. After ditching grains and sugar my body transformed into a machine and at 45 yrs old Im now in my best shape ever!

    I still ride bicycles but instead of long rides (3 hrs ish) I do shorter (2 hr) rides with intervals) and started lifting weights! The best nutritional choice Ive ever made was getting of grains and sugar, give Mark Sissons 21 day challenge a try! If it doesn’t work there’s plenty of grains, sugar and processed foods waiting for you to consume!

    Jeff wrote on March 7th, 2014
  13. Lol. The reason this and most diets work for people is that they are almost universally restrictive against processed food & desserts. If you think that pre-historic humans had bacon, fresh fruit and olive oil available to them on a regular basis then you need to take some classes on history, botany, and logic. Throughout history mankind (like other animals) ate what was plentiful at the time, and over winters ate food that was very crudely preserved from spoilage (drying and salting). At times this includes a lot of vegetables and fresh fruits, but only in certain times of the year. They also in all likelihood did not eat 3 meals a day like we do in contemporary american culture. You internet desk jockeys are hilarious though, so keep up the good work!

    Gorilla wrote on March 7th, 2014
  14. Mark,

    Great post and it is so true! I love rice, but it does not love me back. I avoid it as much as possible, but in the rare occasions when I eat rice I feel bloated and lethargic. People in general eat so much grains, bread, pasta etc and they wonder why they cannot lose weight! Eat your veggies, that is what I tell my clients that want to lose weight.

    Verena wrote on March 9th, 2014
  15. Ok, you guys are gunna hate me.
    We are all going to die. We are all going to suffer in this life one way or another. But do you know what’s really going to make you suffer?? Stressing out on what is bad for you and going crazy on the computer spending hours researching grains and dairy ad everything else everybody believes is bad for you now days. The emfs an radiation you guys get from your phones and computers and the stress you have from being hypochondriatic is what’s going to shorten your life. Everybody has an agenda. Everybody has a “god” in their life whether they like it or not, somthing they live by. I refuse to make obsessive health rule over me, to make me a slave. I’ve been there bfore, and you know where that road leads to? Insanity. And all roads eventually lead to death anyway, why would you want to live like that? There is only one road that will prolong your life; nothing you eat can make you live forever, except the word of God, Jesus Christ. If you fill your life with Him, you WILL live forever, and if you have faith in Him, you can even eat grains and be cured of diseases. Everybody wants two things: to be happy and to be loved. Health will not fill that void, nor will knowledge nor will money, nor will all the vegetables in the world. Only your Creator can fill that void, and I PROMISE He will if you let Him.

    LMB wrote on March 14th, 2014
    • Well, here’s the deal, LMB, you can eat unhealthy and make yourself sick but chances are the doctors will get hold of you and won’t let you go to your creator but will keep you alive with pills and eventually life support for so long you’ll be wishing you could die. I’ll happily fret over my diet and my health and will drop dead at some point without having to suffer those things.

      Sandra wrote on March 14th, 2014
  16. Very interesting article – the best I have read on reasons not to eat grains. Research seems to indicate a link between a gluten free diet and improvements in eczema – another reason for eczema sufferers to stop eating grains. Thanks for the info

    Moira wrote on March 17th, 2014
  17. Perry, you need to wake up and smell the coffee…. Mark knows his stuff and proof is in the pudding (or in my case almond butter)

    Your kidding yourself thinking grains are OK in the long run…. Pick up a copy of Taubes’ “Why we get fat”

    If your working out 24/7 or one of the few that can eat anything you want to stay thin grains are fine, but maybe you’ll end up skinny fat at some point. Since I stopped eating grains and sugar I have lost body fat!

    Paleorider wrote on March 20th, 2014
  18. Perry, first of all Taubes is a very smart man! Maybe you should read “good calorie bad calorie”, or have you? I have been of sugar for about 7 years but since going off grains about 14 months ago I’ve noticed so many health benefits, and also some posotive changes with my physique including a 6 pack!

    I used to have high triglycerides and low hdl…..not any more

    Btw yur original post came across like you were bashing Mark Sisson!

    Paleo rider wrote on March 20th, 2014
  19. Perry, I respect your stance on the subject. We will keep going back and forth but all I can tell you is at 45 years old I’m fitter them ever. 5’9″, 165 lbs and a 32 inch waist. I like being super fit and eating this way makes it easy for me to stay lean, and working out helps me build muscle. I will point you back to the original article posted by Mark Sisson himself… Fairwell

    Paleorider wrote on March 21st, 2014
  20. Lost 10 kgs (almost 22 pounds) in 8 weeks following an Atkins / Paleo Diet.

    People! This is just advice at the end of it all you can do / eat whatever is it the F*** you want!

    Alpha80 wrote on March 27th, 2014
  21. “Oh but wheat sustains our planet!” Give me a break! How about birth control people? That great paradox called dwarf wheat is making the poorest of us obese and the only people that look the way the poor used to look are vegatarians. One more thing, all you people defending the Japanese grain consumption/life span give me another break! They live a couple of years longer than the crap that is called an American diet and they’re your hero’s? A human is designed to live 120 years and other than an anomaly here and there we can do better.

    victor wrote on March 28th, 2014
  22. Ummm, Jane…I’ll bypass the “beyond ignorant” diss. Did you not read any of the 211 comments prior? Did you not read the post itself? Your suggesting wheat germ is “one of the most healthful things you can eat” tells me you either work for a wheat germ company or drank heavily their KoolAid somewhere along the line. This is perhaps the most anti-grain site you will ever find. I doubt I’ll change your mind. Rest assured you won’t change mine.

    Mark Sisson wrote on November 18th, 2009
  23. Meantime, I’ve cut out all grains and all beans, and all processed carbohydrates, and my fasting blood sugar has dropped from 198 to 98, and my HbA1c has dropped from an 8.1 to a 5.4, while my triglycerides have gone from over 200 down to 84, and my arthritis, migraines and IBS have completely disappeared. Not to mention that I’ve dropped 55 pounds since August 13th. Or that my doctor is in awe and scratching his head because he can’t figure out how I managed to do all this in just three months.

    But you keep telling yourself that Mark doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that this is dangerous for my health, you doubters. Just keep telling yourself that while I keep getting healthier and thinner, and you keep getting sicker and fatter. I’m sure your belief system will stand you in good stead when we’re both in our 80s and I’m still strong and athletic and hiking mountains while you’re in wheelchairs and walkers in nursing homes.

    Do have a nice day now.

    Griff wrote on December 4th, 2009
  24. You need to take a real nutrition course, whole grains are needed in the diet.

    Rachel wrote on December 17th, 2009
  25. But after losing all that weight and regaining vitality it must really suck to still be so ugly. Just funnin’ thats the proof right there.

    bobstoufus wrote on July 27th, 2010
  26. My high-carb low fat vegetarian grandmother lived to be 97 and was healthy enough to live by herself. She was baking her bread from scratch the entire time and I literally NEVER saw her just sitting around knitting and she didn’t even own a rocking chair. My Grandpa, who ate all of her cooking (he was not vegetarian, as he did eat meat during the holidays) lived to be 94.

    Laura wrote on January 22nd, 2013
  27. You need to look at the science. Whole grains are toxic to human beings.

    Griff wrote on January 22nd, 2010
  28. A standard nutrition course tells you no such thing.

    It wouldn’t say grains are bad (it would say they’re good for you) but it wouldn’t say they’re essential either. Methinks you haven’t taken a nutrition course, and if you have, not recently.

    DavidC wrote on May 6th, 2010
  29. The “science” of nutrition is bogus. You can get all of the vitamins and fiber you need from vegetables.

    Adriana G wrote on September 16th, 2011
  30. That’s like saying “meat is needed in the diet” on a vegetarian/vegan forum.

    My troll alarm is going off.

    Kleo wrote on November 6th, 2011
  31. You should try to chill out. I’ve read all your comments in this thread and you are extremely aggressive about your beliefs. I’m glad you’re doing well and feeling so great implementing Mark’s ideas, but you’d do well to respect the viewpoints of others. I think the reason you are so zealous about this is that you are losing weight and feeling better more than any science. I’ve read the papers Mark has posted and I’ve drawn a different conclusion. I’ve “looked at the science”, and I do in every area of my life. I’m an liberal atheist who likes to learn about everything and do my own research on nutrition and other sciences in my free time, so I’m no stranger to people telling me that my opinions on everything are wrong and horrible. If you simply argued convincingly and allowed people to draw their own conclusions a lot of them might end up agreeing with you. By violently insisting they are wrong, wrong, wrong and preaching to them about how grains will kill them and everyone they love, they’re just going to close the thread and go make a pizza.

    jessica wrote on February 4th, 2010
  32. ok there

    Alexandrea Busnello wrote on June 12th, 2013
  33. Jessica, I’d say you’re the one who needs to look at your beliefs. They’re beliefs and unsupported by facts. Your arguments are in no way convincing. They’re just more of the same spouts of conventional wisdom (i.e. nonsense that people believe when they don’t know what they’re talking about) that all of us have been subjected to over the years.

    If you had really looked at the science, you’d be convinced. Your weak arguments about “Well you’d have to give up normal food” and “nobody can really do this in the long-term” are just that, weak. Look at the forums here on MDA and you’ll find many people who do both and don’t look back, either.

    You’re simply trying to deny reality, and frankly, it’s pathetic. But believe what you like – and enjoy your pizza (and your eventual heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure), dearie. Meantime, I’ll be getting healthier, stronger, and fitter.

    I won’t say it’s been nice conversing with you, but it’s definitely been an experience.

    Griff wrote on February 4th, 2010
  34. Do you really believe that someone needs to try a religion before they can decide that it isn’t for them/doesn’t make any logical sense at all? Have you tried Zoroastrianism or Jainism? If not, then how do you know that one of those are not the one true faith? It’s because they are ridiculous and don’t mesh with what we know is factual and true.

    Similarly, one can criticize the primal diet based upon science which has been tested over and again and is reasonably reliable. There is no (scientific) evidence at all suggesting that grains are unhealthy or even poisonous.

    Just because an opinion exists doesn’t mean that it is valid or that it should be given the same amount of consideration as more plausible ideas.

    Ray wrote on March 24th, 2010
  35. I used to have these arguments on a dog forum with people arguing against me that grains are even good for dogs. That the cheap grain filler processed dog chow is “healthly” for a canine. UGH!!! Then I look around at all these fat middle aged dogs just screaming for some good old meat in their diet – depressing actually

    mark wrote on June 23rd, 2011
  36. I think this comment really sums up this article well.

    “I doubt I’ll change your mind. Rest assured you won’t change mine.”

    No matter the evidence against me, I won’t change my mind because I’m right and anything else is wrong.

    Ray wrote on February 14th, 2010
  37. you sell pills, that is why you must spread misinformation. if you told the truth about you really know, bye bye product sales right? and also, why all the nasty rhetoric?

    what what wrote on November 22nd, 2011
  38. I know I’m right. So you can take your doubt and eat your grains and beans and vegetable oils, and when you’re dying of diabetes and heart disease while I’m still hale and healthy, well… what a shame it’ll be for you.

    Have a nice day, “Ray.”

    Griff wrote on February 14th, 2010
  39. Ray, I am so glad I am not of your arrogant mindset. Nutritionally, what you know as “factual and true” is what has been pounded into your head since you were a child.
    Look at where the proven Government recommendations of low fat and lots of grains has gotten us. Our nation is filled with fatness and unhealth. I almost want to throw up when I go down the typical supermarket aisles at the foods that people consider/are told are healthy for them.
    Best of luck to you, Ray. Now go back to gobbling up that grain.

    James wrote on October 16th, 2010
  40. wow, did you miss the point or what?
    I am saying that to fully understand and criticize something you must first experience it first hand.
    Do you understand how flawed modern science can be?
    Do you truly understand how much influence corporations have over what is released to the public?
    All the time in science it takes somebody who is a rebel, who doesn’t partake in modern science to really make strides for science as a whole, it’s been proven throughout history.
    Besides, independent studies have proven grains to be dangerous, you know why you don’t know this?
    Because corporations that are making millions selling you this junk don’t want you too.
    Sometimes you just have to say “f@#$ science” and do your own experimenting.
    Don’t be ignorant

    Aaron wrote on March 25th, 2010
  41. A Google search would reveal the information you keep demanding. But that’s not as fun as trolling is it?

    Many books were listed which contain references to peer review research. Do you wish for me to type these up for you? I’m not going to. Look them up. There are plenty of such studies.

    You could find them yourself, but you don’t want to because you’re here with an agenda. You’re probably afraid to look for this research because it might prove you wrong.

    DavidC wrote on May 6th, 2010
  42. Wow Ray, you just keep getting more and more pathetic, don’t you? Last I looked this was about nutrition, not religion. But then, obviously your opinions are religion to you and you simply won’t look at anything that might threaten them (like any good fanatic).

    The science suggesting (and more than suggesting) that grains are not good for us is there – and Mark has based sections of this website on it. Just because you refuse to check it out (even when it is handed to you) does NOT mean it doesn’t exist.

    Peachy wrote on July 22nd, 2010
  43. “Similarly, one can criticize the primal diet based upon science which has been tested over and again and is reasonably reliable. There is no (scientific) evidence at all suggesting that grains are unhealthy or even poisonous.”

    Science is based on induction (that over and over again thing..) and over and over again a variety of studies have started to indicate the grains cause humans health issues.

    I challenge you to try to live like us for 3 months and I guarantee that you will experience the following:

    you won’t break wind in public (a blessing)
    you won’t have headaches bought on by excessive sugar intake
    you won’t have any skin complaints
    any inflamation issues will either get radically better or disappear completely.

    And many more…

    This isn’t brain washing. The people on the website found out the info then they tried it for themselves with open minds and because it worked they support it whole-heartedly…

    Aigmeister wrote on August 18th, 2010
  44. My comment was aimed at Ray.

    DavidC wrote on May 6th, 2010
  45. I appreciate your information. I am happy that your health has improved- however is it necessary to be so self righteous and mean spirited? This should be a forum for open minds and healthy debate.

    I am interested in what you have to say – but your insults to others are mean spirited and a turn off. Health and wellness is also about mental and emotional health. A person who is happy about their lifestyle would want the best for others regardless if another persons eating and lifestyle habits differs from their own. It isn’t necessary to be offended b/c someone disagrees with you.

    But you should wish them the best whatever their choice is. Telling people how wonderful you will be in your 80′s while they are in a wheelchair is mean.

    A truly healthy person is also healthy minded.

    You are discrediting your self by your vicious retaliation.

    I just posted my situation a little earlier- hesitantly.

    Like I said I have an open mind and enjoy hearing and learning from others experiences.

    But berating others b/c they are questioning you, challenging you and starting a conversation – doesn’t do you any service.

    This should be a friendly discussion.

    Challenging the topic is how we learn and grow.

    I think you are taking it personally.

    Regardless I am still curious.

    Thank You.

    Vivian wrote on October 14th, 2011
  46. lmfao you’re too funny.

    You need to realise that everyone is different. what works for you may not work for someone else. Someone else can eat grains, oils, vegetables, beans, and be perfectly fine and healthy. But apparently someone like you cannot have those things for some reason. Your body doesn’t agree with them so YOU don’t eat them. Stop telling other people what is good for them or what is bad for them. Only they would know that and everyone should listen to THEIR OWN bodies.

    Alexandrea Busnello wrote on June 12th, 2013
  47. Griff get over your self. Apparently lack of grains and beans has made you irritable, joyless and self righteous. People are here to learn, share and discuss. They are not here to insult each other b/c people have different viewpoints. We need to wish the best for each other. Let people know what works for you and why you believe what you do – however, if someone has a different opinion you need to respect it. If you want people to respect you stop bullying and bashing.

    Vivi wrote on October 24th, 2011
  48. Humans aren’t the only living things on earth, and we’re quickly overpopulating the planet and destroying natural habitats. Access to grains for humans as a staple is fairly recent and has contributed to the popoulation explosion the last 10,000 years.

    You are correct, the worlds population today couldn’t be fed off grains, but should our population be this large in the first place? Obviously that question is an opinion, but my take is that as far as the planet is concerned and all other life on earth, we should not be trying to feed every human face out there.

    My take is that we should be establishing a harmony with the rest of the planet instead of acting as if we own the earth and can do whatever we please.

    Jon wrote on November 18th, 2011
  49. …google translate fail? ;-)

    Milla wrote on January 8th, 2012
  50. I was hoping someone here can help me:

    I eat very minimal meat (chicken and fish once a week if anything), avoid milk, eggs, and processed foods. Now after reading this I’m considering removing bread and rice to the extent possible from my diet as well. However, I can’t live off of fruits and vegetables (+nuts) my entire life. Are lentils a grain? And pasta? I’m wondering what other variety I can add to my diet.

    Teresa wrote on February 25th, 2012
  51. I guess it depends on what you want to achieve by altering your diet?? Are you trying to reduce bloating, lose weight, prevent wind, eat healthier?? Pasta is made from flour, flour from wheat (there are other variations such as rice flour) and wheat IS a grain. So far as I know A lentil is a pulse, a bean?? There are many alternatives to rice…such as quinoa and whole grains are better than processed ones. There’s a lot of debate about the sources of our grains but we also have to consider our own personal limits such as funds and availablity. I’d rather eat crap than starve to death as i’m sure almost everyone else would. Like i said, decide why you need to make the changes then my best advice would be to experiment with all the choices you have at your disposal…research and discover for yourself, try and test everything….and keep a diary!! Good luck.

    Nuttybird wrote on March 4th, 2012
  52. That was helpful, thank you!

    Teresa wrote on April 16th, 2012
  53. I’m with you….all these nuts and seeds on Paleo are upsetting my digestive system something chronic! I do believe that a reduction in carbs is necessary and have removed all grains but I am thinking I have to rethink some of the guidelines for Paleo and see what total Primal has to offer. All this talk of anti-nutrients and so much conflicting information and opinion on pretty much everything is doing my head in!

    Rhondalee wrote on March 3rd, 2014
  54. Right on.

    BillP wrote on July 4th, 2012
  55. Nutrition courses are developed by medical associations and the USDA which is heavily invested in by grain producers and manufacturers whose products depend on grain. Haven’t you ever wondered why an organization that was developed to support farmers and ranchers are now telling us what to eat? Just because it’s good for the economy doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Ethically, it’s called a Conflict of Interest. Please re-read Mark’s post, you obviously missed many points.

    Sandra wrote on January 26th, 2014
  56. Perry, How bad does it have to get?

    According to the CDC, “More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.”

    That just the stats on obesity, then you have to add-in the overweight folks and the totals are somewhere around 60%.

    I’m sixty-seven years old, I know first hand what people looked like 30 years ago. Fat was an oddity. What’s the difference? It’s diet. We didn’t gorge daily on pizza, subs, and pasta (which, by the way, IS bread). And if you follow the USDA recommendation you’ll consume more than half your daily calories in grain before you even put anything on it to make it palatable. I don’t think that all grains are bad. At least they aren’t IF they are consumed in moderation but most people can’t do that because when they think grain, they think wheat, and modern wheat has been proven to be addictive, which is why pizza, subs and pasta make you feel good.

    Sandra wrote on March 20th, 2014

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