You may not realize how much controversy there is about going grain free. People on one side of the issue say it’s a healthier lifestyle to exclude grain, while others keep grain in their diet. Even clients in Sterling, VA will vary on what they do, unless they have gluten intolerance, then grain free is the right choice for them. Grains are tough to digest. Consider the outer coat of the seeds. It’s tough and meant to pass through the intestines of animals, while protecting the seed. That’s why it’s only useful when ground.
If you choose to include grain, choose whole grains over processed grains.
Processing takes out the nutrients, especially in white bleached flour. It changes it to a simpler sugar rather than a complex carb. There’s more fiber in whole grains and that means it’s heart healthy and helps lower blood pressure and prevent bloat. Some grains contain gluten, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s healthy by the label gluten-free. Everything that doesn’t have gluten isn’t necessarily healthy. For instance, potatoes are gluten-free, but potato chips aren’t healthy. Gluten is one of the hardest proteins to break down in our system and hybridization of crops have increased the amount in grains, making it even harder to digest.
Grains can give you more than tummy trouble.
Seeds, which basically what grain is, spread through a variety of ways. One of those is through the excrement of animals. The animals eat the seeds, they don’t digest and they’re carried a distance inside the animal until the animal eliminates them. They don’t digest for a number of reasons. One is the hard shell on some seeds, another is the enzyme inhibitor they contain. Seeds and grains have this inhibitor so the plant doesn’t grow until the time is right. Unfortunately, it also can block your own enzymes for digestion when you eat grains.
Watch out for phytic acid.
Grains and seeds contain phytic acid that can block the absorption of nutrients in the small intestines. It doesn’t block all absorption, just iron, calcium and zinc. While some seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, contain an abundance of the nutrition, so blocking some isn’t a problem, grains don’t, especially processed ones that have many of the nutrients removed. Celiac disease and leaky gut as well as milder digestive problems can be caused by eating grain.
- You don’t have to give up grain entirely to avoid these problems. For instance, there are breads made from sprouted grain that have more nutrition and less phytic acids.
- The enzyme inhibitors in grain also can cause difficulty digesting protein and a protein deficiency. Those enzyme inhibitors are tannins. Some studies show they can contribute to mental illness, besides digestive upset.
- Going grain free is part of a Paleo diet. It’s based on the fact that growing and eating grain wasn’t part of early man’s existence, making grain more difficult to digest.
- According to one study, not only was going grain free good for people with Celiac Disease, it also reduced inflammation, adiposity and insulin resistance. Eating grain actually added to weight gain and going grain free aided weight loss.