Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Whole Grain Scam Re-Visited

By Miami Beach Chiropractor Todd M. Narson, DC, DACBSP

On September 2007 I wrote a blog article entitled “The Whole Grain Scam”. In the very first paragraph I wrote:

“Don't get me wrong, eating whole grains is E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y healthy for you. This isn't the scam. What is a scam is all of the packaging out there tricking you into believing you're actually eating whole grains. Therein "lies" the true scam”.

Now 4 years, a lot of nutrition books, webinars and seminars later I realized that this was a mis-statement of monumental proportions.  As I learn more and more about nutrition, I write and post what I learn in order to help others. As one learns you often find yourself tossing out old ideas and theories due to new advances in science and discovery. You make your changes and adjustments the forge ahead. Education is ever evolving.  As it turns out, the more I read about grains, the more I realize it really doesn’t matter how the grains are served up, whole, refined or wrapped up with a pretty pink bow, grains are treated by your body like sugar and that’s a bad thing.

And we weren’t meant to eat sugar as we do today.

The real whole grain scam is that grains are good for you in the first place. They’re not. Do they have some healthy nutrients in them? Yes they do, but they are bound so tightly to the grain, that they pass right through your body. Grains contain an anti-nutrient called Phytates that block our absorption of B vitamins and chemically bind iron, copper, zinc and calcium to prevent their absorption and digestion. So while grains contain calcium, zinc, copper, iron and B vitamins, you don’t get their benefit. You can’t, phytates prevent it. So grains are doing exactly what they were designed to do – survive the digestive tract, get dropped out the other end and still have enough “stuff” in it to re-plant and perpetuate the species. Survival of the fittest applies to plants too.

Grains are really the seeds from tall grasses. Now think to yourself…if you were living 100,000 years ago, or 2 million years ago how would you have picked enough of these grains to make them any kind of important part of your diet? The technology simply didn’t exist. You would have had to pick enough grains, then mash them or boil them in order to eat them. The technology didn’t exist and in order to eat enough of the grains, you’d expend too much energy picking and preparing them, they contained chemical components that prevented their valuable nutrients from being absorbed – what’s the point? To early humans, it wasn’t worth the effort except. According to Loren Cordain, PhD, they only ate grains in times of extreme starvation.

Research by teams of researchers continuously show that Paleolithic man (caveman is you will) had a diet that consisted of wild game and fish, vegetables, fruits (mostly low glycemic fruits like berries) and nuts. We drank water.

Since the agricultural age began approximately 10,000 years ago, we started to see a shrinking in the height of humans, on average preagricultural man was 5’9” tall and by 3,000 BCE, the average male was 5’3” tall. Cerial grains were providing fuel however lacked many of the nutrients wild meats, vegetables and fruits did. The result was more that just our general shrinking, but an explosion in the rate of ill health, disease and a reduction in the average life span. Dental cavities and tooth decay as well as heart disease, strokes, type II diabetes and cancer started to rear their ugly heads.


No, it’s called Adaptive Physiology.

Adaptive physiology can work for us or against us. Our gene pool spent millions of years being shaped and shifted from the environment which we evolved from. Food of course was one of the biggest sources of influence from that environment. Our physiology was created by the foods we ate. Since no where in our gene pool over the past 4.5 million years (sans the past 10,000) did our food include grains, needless to say, grains should not be part of our diets today.

Nowhere in our evolutionary history did we eat grains or sugar and both should be stricken from our diets. But be careful when you go to the grocery store and buy some meat. You see, our meats are now grain fed too. Beef use to eat the flowering tops of grasses (what we now call “grass fed”) and poultry use to eat bugs, worms, larvae, seeds and were basically “omnivores”. Cows, buffalo and bison were monolithic vegans eating only the flower tops of various varieties of grass. Fish, well, ate other fish. Bu go ahead and go shopping and see what you find….grain fed beef, grain fed poultry and farm raised-mostly grain fed fish.

When you feed any species a diet it wasn’t physiologically adapted for, it gets sick. Our food gets its nutrient content from their food, and so on. So when we eat grain fed beef rather than grass fed beef, it doesn’t contain the nutrients that we need and adapted to. The same for grain fed chicken and fish.

Oh, and I don’t care if they’re fed organic grains. Organic or not, if you’re not meant to eat grains it doesn’t matter. They’ll just be “organically sick”, just like you’ll be if you eat them.  Would you eat cardboard? What about organic cardboard? Ridiculous right? Exactly my point. It's not good for you either way.

So, based on my current knowledge and studying, If it contains grains, don’t eat it. Grains being healthy is the scam. Now just throw in sugar, salt and un-natural fats and you have the health epidemic we have today.

However if you choose to eat them, make sure they’re spouted. Although sprouting grains does not reduce gluten (reference: The Gluten Doctors) it does reduces the phytates. But grains are neolithic nutrition, not meant for our paleolithic genes.

If you’re wondering about getting enough fiber, don’t worry. Fruit contains twice the amount of fiber as grains and vegetables contain 8 times the amount of fiber as grains. So eat the food we were made for:

1. animal protein from animals that ate their natural evolutionary diet
a. Wild game meats
b. Grass fed beef, buffalo, bison
c. Free range – pastured poultry
d. Wild caught fish
2. Vegetables (non-starchy; locally grown or organic)
3. Fruits (mostly berries; non-starchy)
4. Nuts
5. Drink water

Do this until you reach your health goals, then, do the 80-20 rule. Eat great 80% of the time, eat for taste bud enjoyment the other 20% and you should do just fine. This comes out to eating good 6 days per week and 1 day eat what you want. And, if you want, then eat great that day too.

The physiology of paleolithic man was more like that of our super athletes today.  Eat the way they ate and you'll be on your way to a much better, stronger, healthier and longer future. 

The whole grain scam is that grains, whole or refined are a health food. Simply put, They're Not.

‘nuff said.

Dr. T

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

#chiropractormiamibeach #MiamiBeachChiropractor #SportsInjuriesFixedHere #DrNarson #ToddNarson #Narson #TriDoc #TriathlonDoc #ChiropracticSportsMedicine #ACASC #SportsMedicine #SportsChiropractor #MiamiBeachSportsMedicine #SportsMedicineMiami #MiamiSportsMedicine #MiamiChiropractor #Triathlon #Running #Ironman #IFixPeopleInPain #TrainWithoutPain #MiamiBeachChiropractor #GrastonTechnique #FAKTR #IASTM #Chiropractor #FootPain #Narson #NarsonBodyMechanic #NarsonTool #DACBSP #CCSP #ACBSP #BackPain #NeckPain #ShoulderPain #RotatorCuff #ITBandSyndrome #runnersKnee #PlantarFasciitis #Plantarfascitis #AchillesTendonitis #AchillesTendonosis #GettingAthletesBackInTheGame  #MiamiBeachChiropractor #MiamiSportsMedicine #MiamiBeachSportsMedicine #WeFixPeopleInPain #TrainWithoutPain #ChiropracticSportsMedicine #ACASC #ProSportChiropractic #FunctionalMedicineMiami #DrNarson #BackPainRelief #NeckPainRelief #SportsInjuriesFixedHere #LaserTherapy #RockTape #KinesioTape #KTTape #Nutrition #21DayPurificationProgram #DetoxProgram #PaleoDiet #PaleoDoc #FunctionalNutrition #Chirooractor #Chiropractic #ChiropracticPhysician #DoctorOfChiropractic #USATriathlon #USAT #TeamUSA


TriEnza said...

Great stuff!!!

treesha said...

Good info on the unhealthiness of eating grains. However, you may want to re-visit your take on protein consumption! - The Protein Myth!

Dr. Todd Narson said...

treesha, if you have some information about protein consumption that you think I should know or read, then post it. However according to my sources, 50% of the calories we intake should be from plants, the other 50% should be from good clean natural sources of animal protein.

Let's not forget, protein is a very dense source of calories. So you'll have a piece of meat about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand and the rest of the plate will be piled high with veggies.

But I'd be willing to read your sources and give you my thoughts after.

Thank you soooo much for the comments. I'm always looking to learn more. Please provide references.