Gluten allergies don't exist said a leading doctor last week, which surely should have given comfort to those of us who have avoided wheat grains for fear of headaches and bloating.
But a leading neurologist, Dr David Perlmutter, has said we should avoid grains altogether, as they are contributing to some serious conditions and illnesses such as dementia, depression and chronic headaches.
For those of us who have made the switch to healthier grains such as wholemeal, this will come as disconcerting news.
But the doctor, who has just published Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers has said that all grain-based carbs should be eliminated.
He is the founder of the Perlmutter Health Center in Naples, Florida, reported News.com.au, who reported the doctor as saying that our brains thrive on fat and cholesterol but suffer when we eat grains.
"Lifestyle factors are profoundly influential in determining risk for Alzheimer's, and yet, perhaps because they cannot be monetised, no one is bringing this information to public awareness," he wrote in a piece on Mind Body Green, The Surprising Ways Grains Are Destroying Your Brain.
It's his belief that the risk of Alzheimer's disease can be reduced by changing your diet. On his website, he says: "During an appearance on the Dr. Oz show two ago, I was asked to highlight what I would consider to be the three items we should all be working into our diets more frequently to help support better brain health. Not knowing how popular it would later become, I outlined my “Anti-Alzheimer’s Trio,” three foods high in “brain-healthy” fat including grass-fed beef, coconut oil and avocados.
"These items are all low in carbs and high in fat, helping to reduce some of that brain-bullying inflammation the root cause of so many ailments. Specifically, coconut oil is known as a rich source of beta-HBA, is one of our brain’s 'superfuels'."
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Dr Perlmutter's belief that grains are not good for the body echoes what other nutritionists have been saying, which is that our body's evolutionary clock is set 10,000 years ago, when we didn't have grains in our diet.
Nutritionist and IBS expert Petronella Ravenshear says: "We’ve changed our diet in the last 10,000 years but our bodies haven't caught up yet. We didn't have things like grains and milk, and now it has become a part of our daily diet. After the second world war people were looking for cheap food sources and cereal and milk became one of them. People came into schools and said you need calcium for strong bones - well, we used to have strong bones without drinking milk because there was no such thing 10,000 years ago.
"We are the only animals that have special foods for breakfast – I say eat what you fancy. If you want eggs, smoked salmon, or a piece of chicken, have it - it doesn’t have to be cereal based – it is not good for us. Gluten is Latin for glue because it has such a sticky characteristic – milk protein is also sticky."
Dr Perlmutter, who also blogs for The Huffington Post US says: "As a practicing neurologist, I place central importance in applying current science to the notion of disease prevention."
Here are his action points to help preserve your brain health and function:
• Reduce your carbohydrate consumption immediately. Shoot for a total of no more than 80 grams of carbs in your daily diet. This means favoring vegetables that grow above ground like kale, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower as opposed to those that store carbohydrate in the form of starch like potatoes and beets. It means limiting fruit consumption and being especially vigilant with things like fruit juice. A single 12 ounce glass of orange juice contains a full 36 grams of sugar. That's about 9 teaspoons -- the same as a can of soda.
• Eat more fat. Increase your consumption of healthful fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild fish, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. At the same time, keep in mind that modified fats like hydrogenated or trans fats are the worst choices for brain health. Cooking oils like corn oil and soy oil that have been processed to stay on the grocery store shelf for months or even years have no place in a brain healthy program.
• Get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. Aerobic exercise actually activates the DNA that turns on the growth of the hippocampus, giving you a second chance at not only preserving, but actually enhancing memory function.
• Add a nutritional supplement providing approximately 1,000 mg of the omega-3 DHA to your daily supplements. Like aerobics, DHA also activates the gene pathway that enhances growth of new brain cells where you need them most -- in the memory center.