By Kate Robitello
There’s a heavily debated correlation between increased grain consumption and a serious increase in obesity. In the 90s it was all about “whole grains.” Popular cereals began to boast boxes with the “whole grain” label addition, and the USDA food pyramid base essentially consisted of grain-based, carbohydrate-rich foods. While it’s uncertain as to whether or not “the grain” itself has contributed to the obesity epidemic our country is facing, one thing is certain — the majority of our grain crops are absolutely toxic.
Now, as much as the buzz words “gluten free,” “organic,” “toxic” and “detox” are overused in the health world, there is a most certainly a reason why, and it’s not just clever marketing. Particularly relating to the subject of toxicity, grains most certainly fall into that category and here’s why — glyphosate. The use of glyphosate, found in the most popularly used herbicide, Roundup, on food crops has caused quite a bit of controversy in recent years. Three of the most popular and highly consumed glyphosate-containing crops, wheat, corn and soy, are found in 90 percent of the prepacked foods on the market.
On a cellular level, glyphosate affects the nutrient composition of foods that contain it, even residually. It also completely disrupts the microbial function, preventing the growth of good bacteria and promoting the growth of dangerous pathogens. Not only that, studies have shown that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it affects the body’s ability to maintain its natural balance of hormones, which affects both women and men.
Aside from glyphosate, there are other reasons to avoid or at least minimize grain consumption.
When we think of the breakdown of a particular food composition, we think protein, fat and carbohydrate content, also known as macronutrients. If we delve a little deeper, we may consider the vitamin and mineral content of a particular food, or its micronutrients. Interestingly, we rarely consider the fact that there are certain foods that contain “anti-nutrients,” which prevent the body from absorbing certain minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. So, for a person who is already not consuming enough of these minerals, regular grain consumption may worsen the issue.
Blood sugar “disregulation”
One of the most obvious reasons behind the issue with grains is that these foods tend to cause a spike in blood sugar. Although it’s perfectly normal to experience an increase in blood sugar after consuming any type of carbohydrate-containing food, those that are not rich in fiber are those that cause issues related to blood sugar imbalance like cravings, weight gain, fatigue, and imbalanced hormones. Oats, for example, may contain 16 grams of fiber per serving, but for the whopping 600 calories you’re consuming in that cup of oats, you would be eliminating the allowance for eating other, more nutrient-dense foods that would be a more optimal choice for overall health (like leafy greens, berries, sweet potato, coconut, nuts, seeds and healthy fat and protein sources).
Should you eliminate grains?
That depends. If you are consuming small amounts of organic, preferably locally sourced grains and are experiencing no health issues whatsoever, then perhaps the avoidance of this food group need not apply to you. However, if you eat grains regularly and have any issues with bloating, neurological issues, fatigue, or inflammation, it may be an indicator that your body and grains just don’t get along. Fortunately, for the bread and pancake lovers, there is no limit to what you can do with grain-free flours, like almond or coconut flour. Or if you, (like me), simply cannot live without cereal, try this: mix unsweetened coconut chips, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds & your favorite nuts covered in melted coconut oil, stevia and cinnamon and bake until golden brown (typically 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees). Let cool and eat with your favorite dairy-free milk alternative and top with fresh berries!