Sunday, March 7, 2010

The evils of "Healthy" whole grains

Hey there folks. It feels good to be back at the ol' blog again. I love doing research on this topic and being able to put it out for others to read is too cool.

Alright, let's get onto today's post. It's all about whole grains.

All our lives we have been spoon fed the virtues of healthy whole grains. Unfortunately, we've been fed a bunch of BS that has had us living our lives doing ourselves unnecessary harm.

100 000 years ago, we had no choice but to live off of the foods that could be hunted and gathered in the wild. This included animal protein, vegetables, the occasional fruit, nuts, seeds, some tubers, and roots. During this time period, we were all much healthier, taller, stronger, fitter and collectively happier than we are now.

Fast forward to 10 000 years ago and we see the advent of the agricultural era. At this time we learned to harvest Grain and wheat and process in into something we could consume. Thus we learned that if we grow and harvest grains, we could stay in one place and begin to advance our civilization through, farms, then communities and then towns and cities. The dawning of the agricultural era was also the beginning of mass consumption. The beginning of large civilizations was also the birth of   unsustainable development and we started to consume the earth's precious resources at a rate that is ultimately leading to our own demise.

Oooops.... sorry... back on track. Ecological gripes aside (anybody seen Avatar?), the dawning of the agricultural era was the time in human history when we began processing and consuming grains. A great many archaeological finds can also verify that  around that same time is when we started to become shorter and fatter. Cardiovascular and heart disease began to make it's presence known,  and we as a human race experienced a decline in overall heath. Coincidence? I think not.

So what's so bad about grains?
First and foremost. To put things as easily as possible....... They make you fat!
Grains have a considerable glycemic Index. This means that they cause a drastic spike in your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar rises, your body has to respond by making your pancreas produce insulin to remove all the unnecessary sugar from your blood stream. So where does all that excess sugar go?

Drumroll please.........

It gets stored as fat!  

That's correct. Unless you're extremely active and need massive amounts of glucose to keep you going (Michael Phelps anyone?), all that excess blood sugar is going to go straight to your hips, buns, thighs and belly.

Now that's putting it as bluntly as possible, but I'd like to explain how it works. I know that most of us aren't chemists so I'm going to try to keep things really simple.

Everything that you eat that gets turned into energy must first get turned into glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy by all of the bodies functions.

Carbohydrate is the energy source that is most readily converted into glucose by the body. This is only good in limited amounts.

Breads, grains, lentils, rice, potatoes, pasta are all primarily carbohydrate. They are very easily converted into excessive amounts of glucose by the body and create an unnecessary blood sugar spike. This kicks your Pancreas into high gear to produce enough insulin to remove all that sugar from your blood and store it some place where it can be easily accessed when we need it. As body fat.

We do not need the amount of carbohydrate to keep us going that we think we do. If we did, then obesity wouldn't be as rampant as it is today. Before breads and grains, the main source of carbs we had access to (leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, the occasional fruit) was negligible. This forced our bodies to tap into the other fuel source, which we carry with ourselves everywhere we go, in order to produce precious energy...... Our body fat stores.

If you follow any of the latest diet crazes, you may have noticed an uprising of the gluten free diet. It seems that recently somebody discovered that if they cut out products containing gluten they would loose weight and eliminate an entire host of gut related problems. Gluten is the main protein in wheat, when processed it is what gives dough it's sticky and pasty texture. Gluten is also added to wallpaper glue to make it stick. Many people can not digest gluten. Most of has have a sensitivity to it without even knowing it. This leads to Gastrointestinal issues. Gut inflammation and leaky gut are two of the worst. Top that off with bloating, gas, cramping and offensive "mystery odors".

Avoiding inflammation is a key component of Caveman2.0. When we are in a state of constant inflammation our immune systems are in a constant state of crisis, fighting without rest to eliminate the inflammation in our guts, joints and muscles. When our digestive systems are inflamed, our immune systems are attacking the tissues in our guts which can lead to leaky gut, ulcers and many digestive problems. When we avoid inflammation, we can live more active lives, with out joint and muscle pain and our digestive systems can function as they were intended, allowing us to gain all the nutritional benefit from the healthy foods we are supposed to eat.

Lectins are present in many plants as a defense mechanism. Especially in wheat, grains, peanuts, legumes and soybeans. Any animal who eats a plant containing lectins is bound to suffer some pretty nasty side effects (severe cramps, or even....hmmmm....let me about.......DEATH!) unless they are specially adapted to deal with those lectins. Humans are not adapted to this process. Which is why we have to go through the painstaking process of soaking, fermenting, roasting, grinding. milling and all the other steps we have to undertake in order to make them palatable.

In undergoing these steps we fail to completely remove all these toxins which means that we do still consume them, they are getting into our guts and they are causing inflammation and doing accumulated damage over time.  When you stop to consider that cereal grains make up the bulk of the typical western diet, you'll realize that this damage can quickly become rather considerable. 

Phytates lead to phytic acid in the human body. Phytic acid in the digestive system  combines with many vitamins and minerals and blocks their absorption. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies especially in calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Now calcium and magnesium deficiency leads loss of bone density, or, osteoporosis. Now I'd like to point out that a lifetime of eating grains is far more responsible for causing osteoporosis than not getting enough calcium. Eating grains negates the amount of calcium we consume in an attempt to ward off bone density loss. Furthermore I'd like to point out that supplementing with mega doses of calcium can lead do deficiencies in magnesium and phosphorous. Which presents itself with the exact same symptoms as calcium deficiency.

Whole grains also contain anti-nutrients.  These block digestive enzymes inhibiting the digestion of proteins. Leading to deficiencies and wasting much of the  protein we eat in the hopes of supporting our active lifestyles, also leading to digestive disorders, allergies, inflammation and other illnesses.

Finishing it off with the dangers of sugar.

Simple starches and sugars, besides raising insulin levels, feed the bad bacteria in our guts. This offsets the balance of bacteria in our guts causing us to bee walking around with too much of the bad stuff. This can lead to infection that can largely go undetected until the present themselves with some pretty serious complications.

There you have it.  So when you find yourself in the near future trying to explain the evils of "wholesome whole grains" to your loved ones, and somebody steps up and cries blasphemy, you are now armed with a wealth on information to put them in their granola eating porridge loving place.

Once again folks it has been a pleasure.



  1. This begs the question..."What can we eat?"

    Thank you for putting this information all in one place, it is very useful and informative....It makes me want to run around the block a few times.

  2. Like Aaron said although loving your blog I'm starting to ponder what is better to eat. Right now i'm eating at the mess everyday which is making it hard to follow these rules to even the smallest extent. Maybe some tasty recipes or links to recipes would be a nice addition to your great blog. Kudos by the way!
    Ry (Elliott)

  3. Thanks guys.

    Elliott, I too know what it is like trying to be Caveman at the mess. Remember me at basic always running to the salad bar and filling up with salad and tuna? The best advice I can give is to do the best you can with what you're given. There have been times when I took what I could and then scraped off breading or some other coating to the best of my abilities.

    Just do what you can and even if it's nor perfect, still put the effort in to do your best and you will still see definite improvements.