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

Why Grains Are Unhealthy

I 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.

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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. 😛 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!!! 😀

    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. 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. Question is ground Flax Ok?

    2nd Question are Dried Sunflower Seeds Ok?

    Kalena wrote on April 22nd, 2014
  23. Although I saw some valid points, the biased opinion of the author is rather invalidating, because that’s just a truth in science. Worse is the down right arrogance of the author – it’s disgusting. This piece may be overall valid but my vote is tone down the cockiness. I award you zero points.

    Nick wrote on April 27th, 2014
  24. Arnold Schwarzenegger ate bread and got huge. That’s good enough for me.

    Dawid wrote on May 26th, 2014
  25. It’s hard to reach a definitive conclusion on this. On one hand, carbs and dairy seem to just be pushed on us because it’s profitable; grains and pasteurised dairy keep for a fairly long time, and can be mass produced. Fruits and vegetables? Only way we’ll feed a 350 million person country is if 90% of the vegetables use growth hormones and whatnot. This leads me to a position of it being hard to accept pro-grain arguments, because it seems like the type of thing where many studies for grains would be funded by companies/organisations that benefit from it.

    I don’t find it unlikely that scientific studies done that go against the flow of what’s economically sound would get buried. It’s not uncommon for conflicting studies in health industries to be shut down. Just a decade ago cholesterol was still considered to be 100% bad for you, while now they’ve distinctively found two types of packages that transport cholesterol, and cholesterol intake has a minimal effect on it… and high blood sugar leads to heart disease more than cholesterol does. Not to mention high carb intake can lead to things like diabetes and whatnot.

    On the other hand, very few of these paleo, all natural etc. diets provide much in the way of factual evidence. I mean, seriously, you linked to Gutsense? The guy claims that fibre is the last thing we want and we should basically be eating nothing but starch. He even says we should avoid coniferous vegetables (lettuce, broccoli etc.)

    It’s hard to find the truth between a lack of scientific evidence and potentially very corrupt industries. I don’t think I’m going to find any answers unless I become a scientist and study phytates, gluten, etc. myself.

    For now, I’m cutting out grains, minimising nuts, and not using toothpaste (lots of mixed opinions regarding fluoride as well). I’ll see how things go and recommend what I’ve learned based on experience… right now there’s just far too much misinformation for me to be able to tell someone they should be paleo or not, and it’s hard to take any articles I find on the matter seriously, especially blog posts.

    Erik wrote on June 20th, 2014
  26. I just got info about your book and web site I will be getting the book,I got another book 7 weeks ago and it talked about wheat and the side affects it has on our bodies so I decided to remove it from my diet and in 4 days with pills my blood suger was at 3,4 so I removed some of the pills,7 to 10 days my 10 year or better depression was gone my blood pressure is 124 over 79 not 150,160,170 or 180 over 80 plus, My fingers has bumps on them and they are smaller. i will talk to you after I have read the book thanks

    stuart wrote on June 30th, 2014
  27. What a load of old nonsense this post is! Here’s just 1 example: Insulin increases after eating meat as well as grain. Argument busted. Next!

    leon wrote on July 4th, 2014
  28. People have eaten grains for centuries mostly in their whole form. I have my doubts about all breads and grains being bad for you. Like anything, moderation is the key and I still think that some grains are healthy and beneficial for the diet. I get extremely bored eating salads and I have a condition that limits the amount of meat I can eat. A little oat meal in the morning a couple times a week and some pasta one or twice a week are fine in my opinion unless you have celiac disease or some other condition. To completely eliminate something that has sustained humans for centuries does not make sense to me. It reminds of the early 80’s when red meat and eggs for terrible for you. We know now that is simply not the case and in fact they are a healthy part of the diet. I still believe that grains in moderation can be part of healthy and satisfying diet.

    Steven wrote on July 8th, 2014
  29. Amazing! Its truly amazing paragraph, I have got much
    clear idea about from this paragraph.

    chicago painters wrote on July 9th, 2014
  30. I think meat, fish and chicken from good sources in moderation is healthy….. After all where do you get vitamin b12?

    John wadd wrote on July 11th, 2014
  31. Thanks for this informative article. I am really thankful to learn these facts since the majority of us consume grain on a daily basis. However, I have decided to reduce my intake last year due to weight gain.

    I want to get some suggestion from you on how to have a healthy diet. Can you please make a blog on this and let me know?

    People in my country need to learn how to have a healthy life.

    Ticktactoe-HQXQ2Q wrote on July 19th, 2014
  32. Lol you can’t read a study saying non-sick people have a certain chemical in their stool and that means gluten is bad for them

    because, key point: those people aren’t sick, the gluten is not hurting them

    I’m just saying

    Kabest wrote on August 17th, 2014
  33. Being a fitness addict, I’ve never found the need to consume grains. Though my mother will sometimes cook some up, I would always wonder what we’re adapted to consume, and grains doesn’t seem to fit in the list of natural foods. While the government may support grains, they also support limiting the consumption of eggs due to cholesterol. So they’ve lost my trust long ago.

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of this until now though. I don’t know how I didn’t see or bring it up yet.

    Thank you for bringing this up Mark!!

    Nader wrote on August 28th, 2014
  34. Thank you so much for this article. My story with grains is pretty terrifying, and boy did I learn my lesson this summer. There are a lot of factors involved, budget, convenience, kids picky tastes, and just the simply fact I needed more carbs in my diet.

    I’ve maintained my 50 pound weight loss by going low carb and exercising very lightly. I also incorporated a lot of raw food cuisine that my budget would allow anyways, and found myself never with an appetite.

    To get ready for bikini season, I decided to exercise more, but had very little energy to do so, low carb, and low calorie, so I started adding my favorite carbs back into my eating plans. I thought exercising would help me build muscle, and eating carbs again, would give me more energy.

    It did. I felt amazing. I started eating noodles and bagels and bread again. I thought I was being healthy, and I guess I felt OK. I noticed that on days I started the day out with a bagel, I would go on a feeding frenzy, as if I was never full.

    My kids loved the bagels too. During this time, was the first time my daughter went to camp. Their lunches were filled with “healthy” whole grains, in addition to me feeding her 500 calories bagels. I thought it was OK. My kids are tall and slender and get plenty of exercise.

    By the end of the summer, my daughter and I had GUTS! It didnt happen right away, but maybe over a three month period. I didnt get my bikini body, despite the fact that I started working out 1 hour a day, (when before, I would do a few sun salutations). Money was still a concern. I cut out the bagels.

    then, I decided to go low calorie. I made myself a big batch of Seitan. I completely killed my appetite. I was consuming about 600 calories a day two days at a time. Usually when I “fast” just for a few days. I drop five pounds no problem.

    I didnt want to fast this time, because I was running 1 hour a day. Guess what, at the end of this three day period, after eating seitan everyday for 3 days, my stomach got even BIGGER! And I gained five pounds, which felt more like water weight. My face was all bloated, and my skin, lost its glow. My digestion was all messed up too.

    My daughter had a puffy face and always seemed to all of a sudden have allergies. She complained of fatigue all the time, and always had colds and coughs. it wasnt even flu season. In fact, looking back, she was practically sick the whole summer.

    Two weeks before school started, I cut out all bread, and some pasta, and was heavy handed on the vegees. My daughter slimmed down a lot. I immediately cut out all wheat, and I lost 10 pounds within a week.

    I would’ve never beleived that wheat was bad. Because of my own personal experience, I sought out answers, found this blog, and read the book “Wheat Belly”. I threw out my 50 pound bag of whole wheat flour that I got for $5 at the grocery store.

    I encouraged my daughter to see the connection between her coveted love of mac and cheese and bagels, and she is now associating salads, with health. I am looking for a non-gluten type of pasta I can swap out for her mac and cheese.

    In fact, I would go on to say, that eating wheat is way worse than consuming alcohol. At least alcohol, you can do so in moderation, wheat is just killer at first bite.

    karen wrote on September 4th, 2014
  35. It is amazing how far behind the government suggestions are than research. Grains obviously aren’t what we used to think they were and it’s amazing that even though this article was written several years ago people are still mostly unaware how bad they really are for you.

    Dr. Tyler Tonso wrote on October 3rd, 2014
  36. Good article. Lots of views. bottom line if it works and feels good do it. I believe moderation is the key. I have tried a lot of different things, some work for me some don’t.

    Larz wrote on October 10th, 2014
  37. This article reminds me of the Zombie-food page:

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “Wheat- and dairy products contain opioid peptides influencing endorphin receptors in the brain. These peptides are physically addictive, causing dependence, asthma, obesity, apathy, ignorance and numbness. The same goes for beta-carbolines from prepared food. To be sharp and investigative, you ought to consume neither dairy- nor wheat-products. You don’t need those ‘foods’ at all…All wheat-products, like bread, pasta, pizza, cookies, cake and pastries contain opioid peptides. The roman rulers already new that the people wouldn’t rise against them as long as they were entertained and fed bread…Because some wheat-opioids are extremely powerful, some schizophrenics can even be cured by not eating any wheat-products…”

    Duane Alan Hahn wrote on October 26th, 2014
  38. This is absolutely ridiculous. He actually states scientific studies and findings, and writes them off as “not good enough,” without providing any scientific evidence to the contrary. Yes I’m sure muscles are more attractive to listen to than lab coats, but this, all of this, is simply unfounded and merely a man’s opinion. And half of it is false, proven with a simple google search using credible sources. Mark Sisson, stop leading an army down your ill proven trail of misconception. You’re a nice writer, but really bad at learning the whole truth. Go to school for nutrition and then get back to this. I think it’ll open your eyes to what’s really going on in the body.

    Jen wrote on October 28th, 2014
  39. You dont need the fibers? Studies show that paleo diet included more than 100g/day of fiber.

    Daniel wrote on December 17th, 2014
  40. One thing I have noticed in Indian culture, is people with high intake of chapatis ( made of grains) had higher than normal weight, and they could reduce weight by decreasing chapati intake. May be grain has more carbs , that contributes to increased wwight. Offcourse it contains fibers, but it is not the only source of fiber.

    mihir wrote on December 28th, 2014

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