Why Grains Are Bad For You

whole grains

For the past 40 years we’ve been told that grains are healthy and we need to eat more of them. The UK government suggests we eat at least 3 portions of whole grains a day. And many of us ‘healthier’ folks get close to this on a day to day basis.

wholemeal bread in a plastic bagwholemeal bread in a plastic bagMost of us start off the day with a bowlful of processed grains covered in sugar and drowned in semi skimmed milk. We follow that up with a couple of slices of wholegrain bread from a plastic bag which we pop in the toaster and 2 minutes later we lather it in a ‘heart healthy’ processed industrial margarine and finish it off with a pile of sugar (in the guise of jam) or lashings of Marmite.

And then it’s washed down with a caffeine laden cup of coffee with probably a little more sugar for taste. Actually I’ve been drinking green tea for the last 15 years but you get the point I’m making, I hope.

The healthy among us will pick up a sandwich for lunch. Let’s pick the brown bread first because we know it’s good for us, isn’t it? So that’s another couple of slices of wholegrain bread from a plastic bag, no doubt. It will be full of sugar, salt and numerous chemicals that I sure as hell can’t pronounce or spell for that matter. Trust me, sandwich makers are not using high quality, freshly baked bread, that’s for sure!

So we’re doing pretty good, it’s 2 pm, lunch is over and we’ve filled up with plenty of healthy whole grains. Blimey, we might have managed to get our daily quote of whole grains finished by lunch! And we’ve still got the wholewheat pasta or rice to come in the evening meal.

Kingsmill quote on this bag of plastic wholemeal bread that just 2 slices is 100% of our daily requirement of whole grain – *Based on 2010 US Guidelines of 48g of whole grain a day.

I tell you what, this whole healthy eating lark is a breeze.

Well that’s what I’ve done for years. I watched what I ate. I ate what I was told was good for me. I don’t smoke, in fact I’ve never smoked, thankfully. I rarely eat junk food. I haven’t been into a burger restaurant for donkey’s years. I stopped eating red meat for years because I was told it’s bad for me. I cut down on my saturated fat content. I added so called healthy vegetable oils to my kitchen cupboard to cook with rather than the dreaded heart killing butter. I went low fat crazy for a time. Yeah that didn’t work either! I used to like a beer or 6 and a couple of bottles of wine never went a miss. But those were my only vices. Oh those were the days.

Why Whole Grains Are Bad For You

So why was I feeling so crap all the time? Why was I tired all the time? Why did I keep putting on weight? After all I’m eating everything that the experts tell me I should be eating for optimum health. Why was my arthritis getting worse? Why was my Psoriasis spreading?

Like many of you reading this I believed what I was being told was the truth. If the medical community are telling us that grains and especially whole grains are good for you then surely they must be right, right? Well no they’re not actually. If you suffer from arthritis I believe know that grains are bad for you.

whole wheat grainswhole wheat grains

Here’s The Geeky Stuff Explaining Why Grains Are Bad For You.

Grains, legumes, nuts and seeds contain a substance called Phytic Acid. There is scientific evidence that Phytic Acid reduces our absorption of essential minerals. Calcium and iron are the main ones. Zinc and magnesium are others. The irony is that doctors advise patients suffering from osteoarthritis to go on a low fat, high fibre diet to improve their condition when in fact the high fibre is actually blocking calcium absorption which is one of the most important minerals for people with osteoarthritis!

If you remove Phytic acid from wheat, Iron absorption is increased a staggering 1100%!

People eating Tofu might be surprised to learn that the soy bean is full of Phytic acid and all that magnesium won’t get anywhere near your brain as the Phytic acid will put a stop to that.

Soaking grains, nuts and legumes will help reduce the levels of Phytic acid as well as allowing the grains to sprout but there’s no way the modern food processing companies are going to soak wheat and oats for 24 hours before processing them in their packaged foods, breads and pastries. So unless you are going to soak or wait for the grains to sprouts, grind them into powder and then make the foods yourself I’d advise you to avoid them completely. Otherwise you’re damaging your health.

Phytic acid is in other foods as well as grains, legumes and nuts. But the quantities are miles apart. Your bowl of bran flakes in the morning will contain as much as 500mg of Phytic acid whereas an avocado will have 1mg.

Whole Grains Are Bad For You Due To Insulin Spikes

grains are bad for you

The picture above is a bowl of whole grains. I don’t know about you but I don’t recall my whole grain bread looking like that. For humans to be able to digest whole grains we need to process them by grinding them into a powder and mixing this powder with all manner of chemicals before we cook it. Hence the reason why our ‘whole grain’ bread is anything but 100% whole grain.

Whole grain breads and starches in general are high in carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrates the body breaks it down into glucose which enters your blood stream and goes off and feeds your cells and any excess glucose is stored as fat by the liver. Once the glucose is detected in our blood the pancreas produces insulin to manage the glucose. So when the glucose enters the bloodstream we get a spike of glucose often referred to as blood sugar spikes or glucose spike. Then our hormones in our pancreas create the insulin to manage this spike and bring the level of glucose down.

The problem with this sugar spike is we get a rush of energy and then it disappears as our sugar level drops. This causes cravings and makes us feel hungry again.

Now add in the fact that many processed grains are laden with sugar to make them edible you compound the glucose spike due to the fact there’s added sugar. If you’re having a bowl of sugary processed cereal in the morning with milk which also contains another 5 mg of sugar your poor body is going to be hit by a massive overload of glucose in your blood. You’ll get a big whack of energy, while your pancreas is going to be working overtime to create enough insulin to manage it and then an hour later you’ll be hungry again.

But Wait, There’s More Reasons Why Grains Are Bad For You

Gluten. Until a few years ago most of us had never heard of gluten. But its become more widely known as various diets start to recommend avoiding foods with gluten in them. Gluten is a protein found in grains. It’s a sticky substance that adds elasticity to bread and helps make it rise and makes it chewy to eat.

Celiac disease is caused by gluten intolerance. When a celiac eats gluten the body’s immune system attacks the micro villi which are tiny finger like nodules on the small intestine wall where nutrients and minerals are absorbed into the body. With the body damaging the villi in this way it causes the body to become nutrient deficient and if celiac disease goes undetected it can cause serious health issues in future.

We know that Gluten damages the small intestine wall with Celiac disease but there is evidence that the small intestine can become further damaged by gluten causing tiny food particles to seep into the bloodstream causing……….. inflammation. Of which arthritis is an inflammatory disease of course.

This process now has its own term: Leaky Gut Syndrome. When I first read about this I didn’t give it much credence. The US medical authorities  were saying there was no basis to the theory of Leaky Gut Syndrome and the UK were of a similar belief. Everyone acknowledges Celiac disease is damaging the nodules on the small intestine wall but could the damage be worse and could our intestines be leaking? The US stance has changed and there are trials taking place and it looks more and more likely that leaky gut syndrome is a condition and may be more common than previously thought. But the NHS here in the UK are still saying there is no scientific evidence to support it.

Lectins – The final Substance That Make Grains Bad For You.

Lectins are a protein found in many living things, including humans, animals and plants. In humans they have an important role protecting us from unwanted pathogens and regulating protein in our bodies. Lectins are thought to protect plant seeds in the same way. Plants don’t want to be eaten so they produce seeds full of lectin which is thought to make the animal eating them sick forcing it to think twice about eating it again.

Well you won’t be surprised to hear that grains such as wheat are full of lectin. Soy has large quantities of lectin too. Once the lectin from grains gets into the human body it can dupe our body into letting it through our intestine wall. This causes our auto immune system into overdrive again as it hunts down this foreign invader. Unfortunately it’s very difficult for our immune system to find the foreign lectin as we have our own natural one. The foreign lectin can look like cells in our own body which results in our own immune system attacking itself. This is another source of auto immune disease such as arthritis.

Well there you have it. I’ll just sum it up briefly here:

Summary

OK, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a health specialist, I’m not a scientist or any particular expert for that matter. I’m just an average Joe with a painful arthritic condition who is experimenting with his diet to see if removing or adding foods helps with his condition.

There is more and more evidence that grains are bad for you and the bad far outweighs the goodness you can obtain from eating grains, especially if you have an auto immune disease such as Psoriatic arthritis. They have been shown to cause the following medical problems

  1. Block absorption of essential minerals
  2. Create energy spikes
  3. Gluten Intolerance
  4. Leaky Gut Syndrome
  5. Lectin Damage

You can find tons of information online about why grains are bad for you. You don’t have to take my word for it.

But I have read on numerous health blogs and forums about the benefits of going grain free. How come there are 1000’s of stories about people healing no end of conditions when they’ve dropped the grains from their diet? Are we all making it up? Of course not. There must be some basis to the argument that grains are bad for you if you suffer from an autoimmune disease.

And you know what, removing grains from my diet has resulted in the greatest improvement in my arthritis compared to all the other diets I’ve tried. I am now off all my arthritis medications. I have little to no pain by going grain free.

In the past I’ve been prescribed anti inflammatories, steroids and I’ve even had gold injections in my backside. My backside must be worth a fortune! I watched my diet, never smoked and gave up beer and wine. And I steadily got worse.

Until I removed the grains.

Before that I was eating healthily. But my arthritis continued to get worse. I stopped the grains and I’m improving week on week. I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that grains are part of the problem, for me anyway.

There’s a lot more to my diet than just cutting out grains. But if you have an auto immune disease the first course of action is to go grain free. I honestly believe that it is the key to improving your health. Even if you don’t want to do the full autoimmune protocol diet just cut out the grains to begin with. Give yourself 30 days grain free. You don’t have to go dairy free or eat only grass fed meats or start making your own bone broth. But I implore you to try and cut out the grains for one month to see the results yourself.

You’ll be back to thank me if you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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