I have recently finished Paleo Answers by Loren Cordain (hence all this week’s posts). I’ve been anti-grain for a while, but anytime I can reiterate from another good source why to discard the grain, I’ll take it (warning I’ll have more on wheat coming up with the Wheat Belly book).
American problem: nutrient deficiencies run rampant. We are told to eat lots of grains. But Cordain’s analysis of the most-nutrient dense foods, goes: fresh vegetables, seafood, lean meats, and fruits. Grains have antinutrients. Let’s look at the pitfalls of wheat:
- Phytates block nutrient absorption by binding to vitamins and minerals, rendering them unusable.
- Adversely affects vitamin D and calcium absorption
- Lowers phosphorus/calcium ratio: increased risk of osteoporosis
- Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease where the individual cannot process gluten. Approximately 1 in 133 people has Celiac (at least 2, 316,000)
- Gluten sensitivity. Even though you don’t have Celiac doesn’t mean you don’t have sensitivity. This is an underlying issue with many health problems: acid reflux, Addison’s disease, alopecia, anemia, asthma, ataxias, ADD, autism, autoimmune thyroid diseases, dementia dental enamel defects, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, epilepsy, Graves’ disease, hyperactivity, infertility, IBS, Liver disease, migraine headaches, peripheral neuropathies, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, Type 1 Diabetes
What about fiber? Vegetables and fruit wins hands down here. Plus their soluble fiber is better at lowering cholesterol than the insoluble fiber found in grains.
What about pseudo grains: chia seeds, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat? I’d steer clear of these too:
- Chia seeds: high in phosphorus (a marker for phytates). Even though it does have B6 it is a poor source. Plant sources of B6 are low in bioavailability. This sounds gross but the mucilaginous gel surrounding it can damage the gut barrier. They then meander into the bloodstream, off to disrupt bodily functions, causing diseases and illnesses.
- Amaranth: 3 antinutrients. Saponin, oxalic acid, and lectin (ACA)
- Quinoa: saponins, protease inhibitors, phytate, and tannins.
- Buckwheat: powerful allergen and protease inhibitors.
Grains can promote deficiencies and have antinutrients. These and difficulty processing gluten can promote a leaky gut and a slew of health complications and autoimmune diseases.