THE BLOG

Whole Grains: Going Against the Grain

26/02/2014 12:37 GMT | Updated 28/04/2014 10:59 BST

With the New Year upon us and every man and his dog on a diet, most of them will fail because a lot of diets include whole grains since it is so entrenched into the psyche of so called "experts" and you will learn the reasons for this in this article. Cut these disease inducing "foods" from your diet and see your health and weight loss take a positive direction.

How can "foods" that offer very little nutrition, cause a plethora of disease including obesity and are not biologically designed for human consumption, play such an integral part in most of our diets? The answer is savvy marketing by the grain producers (Big Agra) and food companies in an effort to protect one of their key cash cows.

You see them recommended by most mass market diet books and diet companies, Government health sites, nutrition and dietary organisations; something has gone horribly wrong here and the power of the food companies including "Big Agra" is there for all to see. Let's take a look at the claims and a counter to those claims.

The cereal companies say they lower cholesterol

If it's not statins, it's whole grains that are claimed to be the "white knight" in the cholesterol battle. The fact is neither is desirable for optimum health. This is a complicated area to explain in such a short article, mainly because "Big Pharma" and the food industry have hijacked the true messages for cholesterol and health. Cholesterol is not the enemy as they would have you believe; rather it is inflammation that leads to all disease including heart disease. [1]

But they are full of health promoting fibre

This is just more marketing hype form the big cereal companies and "Big Agra". In terms of preventing constipation; it is actually healthy gut flora and not fibre, which creates a healthy digestive system.

Fibre, particularly excessive insoluble fibre that you find in whole grains, offering a quick jump start to things is not the natural catalyst for a healthy excretory system.

Too much fibre can cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which is linked to many gastrointestinal problems including GERD and IBS.

Get your fibre from REAL whole foods, NOT whole grains; nuts, seeds, fruits especially berries, milled flax seed and vegetables (including some root veggies) should be the main sources. Here is an excellent, detailed article on fibre. [2]

But whole grains are full of nutrients

On the contrary; grains are full of anti-nutrients including the main three; phytic acid, lectins and gluten.

Phytic acid is a mineral blocker, preventing the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.

Lectins form part of some plant's defence or survival mechanism to prevent their seeds or babies being digested by birds and rodents. They contribute to insulin and leptin resistance; insulin and leptin being two key weight loss and health promoting hormones. Lectins bind to insulin receptors [3], attack the stomach lining of insects [4], bind to human intestinal lining [5], and they seemingly cause leptin resistance. [6] And leptin resistance predicts [7] a "worsening of the features of the metabolic syndrome independent of obesity".

These chain reactions created by grain consumption are shown to increase your risk of:

Various cancers including pancreatic, colon, stomach and lymphoma

Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis

Infertility

Diabetes

Osteoporosis

Depleted calcium and vitamin D3 levels; vitamin D3 is critical for disease prevention including cancers.

IBS and Crohn's disease

Obesity

Arthritis

Alzheimer's

Autism

Depression, anxiety and schizophrenia

Allergies

Dermatitis and acne

Gluten may even prove to be worse and is present in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is composed of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Most people think of gluten intolerance as Celiac disease, which affects about 1% of the population. However there are studies to show that 29% and even up to 50% of populations [8] can have some sort of allergy to gluten, which compromises the gut, in turn leading to inflammation, which is the catalyst for many if not all disease.

The nutrients in whole grains are minimal at best and pale in comparison with vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, poultry and healthy fats, most of which have significantly less calories without all the health problems highlighted in this article. Also the vitamins and minerals that are present are not absorbed due to phytic acid, an anti-nutrient.

Gut flora and inflammation

This gluten intolerance (immune reaction) causes fat storage by inducing gut inflammation, which destroys your gut flora in turn causing poor insulin [9] and leptin [10] function (resistance) and adrenal resistance [11] due to elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels, leading to fat storage. This hormonal cascade also leads to poor nutrient absorption leading to malnourishment and overeating, leading to more fat storage. Fat cells are factories for inflammation; hence the vicious cycle in which people can find themselves.

The combination of leptin, insulin and adrenal resistance affects the P53 gene, the guardian gene of our entire genome, in turn giving rise to disease including cancers. [12]

NB Don't be fooled by the fact that you may not have any disease symptoms since they build up over time; chronic inflammation starts as a slow burning log and then erupts into a volcano i.e. the first signs of disease symptoms.

But these "foods" have been part of our diet for years

Yes but they are not real foods and some of them have only been around for about 10,000 years; not a long time in our ancestral history. We have actually not adapted biologically to metabolising these grains without the aforementioned health problems.

It really got out of control in 70's America during the McGovern years with the quest for cheap sources of food to alleviate the pressure of rising food costs; you will have to Google this due to word constraints, to find out how this health disaster unfolded. Alternatively you can read it in my eBook, The Fat Loss Puzzle

Also in terms of the gluten grain, wheat; an even more disastrous scenario developed when scientists decided to cross breed different strains about 50 years ago to meet the increasing demand. Not only did this increase the insulin response significantly, but increased the amount of anti-nutrients.

Why do food companies use them in so many foods?

To bulk up products and also charge premium prices for what are only junk foods with a "health halo" attached to them.

Why do we hear nutritionists, dieticians and Government recommending them?

Simple! Money in the form of tax revenues, corporate profits and donations as well as lots of jobs are dependent on the food industry. If you scratch under the surface of dietary organisations, you will find that they are heavily sponsored by large food companies.

Take a look at the UK Government's "Eatright Plate"; full of starchy foods including whole grains, which are one of the key culprits in obesity and ill health. Our biology was not designed to cope with the huge amounts of glucose flooding our bloodstreams, mainly from sugars and starches. Even if you exercise regularly, you still won't burn the reservoirs of glucose and you can only store so much of unused glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscle cells before you encounter fat storage.often referred to as "fat spillover".

Sources

[1] http://www.naturalnews.com/040234_high_cholesterol_heart_disease_medical_myth.html

[2] http://chriskresser.com/myths-and-truths-about-fiber

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC433288/

[4] http://legacy.jyi.org/news/nb.php?id=890

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/?tool=pubmed

[6] http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/5/10

[7] http://www.marksdailyapple.com/leptin-fructose-appetite/#axzz2n51dWjfo

[8] "The Gluten Syndrome" by Dr Rodney Ford

[9] http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/12/1253.short

[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17456850

[11] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12466357

[12] http://www.jackkruse.com/chapter-one-on-leptin/