Against the Grain

For decades we have been taught that a diet rich in heart healthy whole grains and low in saturated fat was optimal for good health. Posters of the food guide pyramid and so-called healthy plate are plastered on the walls of our schools and dictate the foods served to students across the country.

The sad reality is these government issued guidelines prioritize the pocketbooks of industrial food companies far more than the health of our children and families, yet most of us have followed these recommendations for years. The average consumer does not know the dangers of grain consumption hidden behind the heart healthy labels on these well-known products.

Grains have been touted as the foundation of a well-balanced diet. We are encouraged to build our meals around these simple carbohydrates and they are in nearly every packaged food on store shelves. In fact, the advent of grain agriculture forever changed the course of human history. Thousands of years ago, when our early ancestors began growing grains, human life expectancy decreased.

Grains, even whole grains are a major contributor to negative health outcomes in today’s modern society. It is very likely that you, or someone you know struggle with a food allergy or intolerance to gluten or other foods. These allergies are caused by increased gut permeability as a result of harmful anti-nutrients found in today’s genetically modified wheat. Consumption of these anti-nutrients weaken the lining of the gut, allowing harmful toxins to leak out into the blood stream causing a host of health issues.

Diets high in grain products are a key contributor to not only weight gain, but the development of diabetes and heart disease. Chronic consumption of grains may also be responsible for skin issues, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and even some autoimmune diseases. Gut health is a major indicator of immune health.

If you feel like you are addicted to carbohydrates, especially processed junk food, it is not your imagination. proteins in grains bind to opioid receptors in the brain and are addictive. The processed food industry intentionally adds these ingredients to foods to keep you coming back for more. Studies show you are more likely to consume 400 extra calories per day when eating a grain rich diet.

Eliminating these addictive, toxic grains from your diet is highly beneficial for improving your health and achieving your body composition goals. Simple swaps like almond and coconut flour instead of regular flour, cauliflower rice in place of white or brown rice and spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles in traditional pasta dishes make cooking your favorite recipes easy.