I really hate food labels, food pyramids, the USDA, and the FDA.
All of the stuff that they say are good for you are bad for you. And the things they say are bad for you are actually good for you.
Here’s why: of course, it all boils down to money. As usual.
It’s all a weird shell game to get you to purchase highly subsidized Big Agri crops like corn, soy, and wheat. Big Agri is there to sell these crops to Big Food, and Big Food is there to add chemicals that make these things easy to eat, and Big Government (in the form of agencies like the USDA and the FDA) is there to tell you this stuff is good for you.
What is promoted as “good for you” is actually just good for corporate interests.
Take the “Choose My Plate” grain recommendations, for example.
According to this, adults should have between 6 and 8 servings of grains per day.
First, keep in mind that they consider an ounce to be a serving, which is also very misleading. Who on earth just eats an ounce of rice ( approximately half a cup cooked)? But people take this as carte blanche to load up all day long on grains to get their “recommended servings” and they think that they’re being healthy. You can see what the recommended servings look like HERE.
Speaking of “healthy,” this is a word that is closely guarded by the FDA. Recently, Kind Bars were forced to remove the word from their labels because they contain nuts, and nuts have fat. Meanwhile, “Healthy Whole Grains” is now an industry buzzphrase to encourage people to purchase items filled with wheat, corn, and other high density, inexpensive filler. By declaring something “healthy” and encouraging people to eat lots of it, Big Food and Big Agri are getting rich, while the people who trust them are getting sick. This, of course, has the added benefit of putting money in the pockets of Big Pharma. It’s nothing but WIN if you happen to be part of an incestuous corporate conglomerate.
Grains are actually making you less healthy.
But here’s the thing: grains actually aren’t a healthy part of your day.
There’s a movement afoot of rebellious physicians who are loudly proclaiming that grains are not necessary at all, and that they are actually detrimental. There is a body of evidence that suggests grains cause everything from heart disease to obesity to diabetes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. More and more people are discovering that they are very sensitive to grains.
Of course, just like Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who first suggested the links between childhood vaccines and autism, these doctors are being tried in the court of public opinion, via insulting articles, quotes taken out of context, and ad hominem attacks. This doesn’t make what they’re saying any less relevant. Going completely against the indoctrination of the AMA and searching for answers that don’t include Big Pharma prescriptions should actually be applauded.
There’s an enormous uptick in grain-related illnesses.
How many people do you know who are gluten intolerant or suffering from celiac disease? How many people did you know with these issues when you were growing up? An article from the Mayo Clinic confirms that there is a definite rise in cases of people who don’t do well with wheat. Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist from the famous clinic, has been researching celiac disease since the 1970s.
Celiac disease is becoming a public health issue. Studies show four times the incidence compared to 1950, with fatal complications if it goes untreated.
“Celiac disease was rare, but it’s now more common in all age groups,” Dr. Murray says. Although the cause is unknown, celiac disease affects about one in 100 people. What’s more, Mayo has found a fourfold higher death risk for people with undiagnosed gluten intolerance.
Many people are pointing the finger at farming practices that include harvesting conventional wheat by dousing it in cancer-causing Round-up. Others feel it is an under-the-table modification of the crop itself. Truthstream Media uncovered an old USDA film where scientists talked about “fixing” the gluten in flour.
But it isn’t just issues with wheat. Cardiologists like Dr. Jack Wolfson and Dr. William Davis both recommend a diet that is free of grains and far lower in carbohydrates than the SAD (Standard American Diet). Wolfson recommends the Paleo diet, which excludes grains, dairy, corn, and soy. Davis created the Wheat Belly diet which focuses on the elimination of gluten and careful management of carbohydrates.
Both doctors suggest that our grain-fueled, high-carbohydrate lifestyles are sending Americans down the path of poor health and can be linked to things like heart disease, diabetes, gut issues, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
If you take a look at standard medical advice for NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), it’s recommended by most doctors that people all but eliminate dietary fat. They suggest that patients become vegetarian, cut out dietary fat, and eat lots of grains and vegetables.
But some rebel physicians say that the issue isn’t actually the fat in the diet, it’s the transport of that fat to the liver. The vehicle upon which those fat molecules hitch a ride is high glycemic index carbohydrate molecules. Because of this, a more logical approach to reducing the fat in the liver was not to cut out the healthy fats required for brain function, but to eliminate their mode of transportation.
Dr. Terry Simpson wrote:
Fatty liver disease has less to do with dietary fat, and a lot to do with how the liver processescarbohydrates, and more to do with obesity. While “The Doctors” took basic biochemistry in medical school, it is difficult to explain biochemical pathways like the Kreb’s Cycle.
The cause of fatty liver disease is not fats -as easy as that would be to guess. The deposition of fat into the liver comes primarily from carbohydrates.
Here is the evidence:
When giving patients high glucose in their intra-venous fluids, surgeons discovered that their liver enzymes continued to rise. When the livers were biopsied they discovered that the patients had fatty liver. Ultimately, when surgeons then added lipids to the intra-venous nutrition, the liver enzymes stopped rising. Ultimately it was discovered that to PREVENT fatty liver disease, there must be a BALANCE, where lipids are added to the intra-venous solution. High glucose alone gave fatty liver disease.
Dr. David Ludwig of Children’s Hospital Boston concurs that carbs are the culprit:
Millions of children are at elevated risk of getting full blown liver disease in adulthood, said Ludwig, who called it a “silent but dangerous epidemic”.
“Just as type 2 diabetes exploded into our consciousness in the 1990s, so we think fatty liver will in the coming decade,” he added.
High GI foods include white bread, white rice, most processed grains such as breakfast cereals, and concentrated sugar. They raise blood sugar quickly because the starch is broken down into sugar quickly. These are also called rapidly absorbed carbohydrates (RAC).
Ludwig said the French delicacy “pâté de foie gras” (literally “pâté of fatty liver”) was made by feeding ducks and geese on a diet rich in high GI grains.
He and his team have just lauched a clinical trial involving overweight children aged from 8 to 17 who will be randomized to either a high GI or a low GI diet. They hope to show that a low GI diet can reverse fatty liver in overweight children.
Ludwig explained that the current standard treatment for being overweight involves putting children on low fat diets, but that doesn’t work for many children with fatty liver:
“We think it’s a misconception that the fat you’re eating goes into the liver,” he said.
Ludwig has a theory that obesity, sedentary lifestyles and eating too many refined carbohydrates are “synergistically” driving a fatty liver epidemic in children.
The irony, said Ludwig, is that low fat diets only make things worse, because they replace fat with sugar and starch (mostly high GI) that increases fat deposits in the body.
“Two low fat Twinkies, billed as a health food, contain the same amount of sugar as an oral glucose tolerance test, a test used to determine how much sugar someone can digest,” said Ludwig.
There are numerous studies supporting ketogenic/low carb diets for the treatment of NAFLD.
Symptoms that can indicate a negative reactions to grains include:
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Mental “fog”
- Skin conditions like rash, psoriasis, and eczema
- Gastrointestial problems like constipation, diarrhea, and pain
- General inflammation
It’s important to note that the presence of these issues doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s related to the consumption of grain. However, many people who have switched to a grain-free lifestyle have noted that these symptoms disappeared along with the daily sandwich.
Paleo vs. Primal
My family has been largely gluten free for a couple of years now, but after reading these recommendations we decided to kick all of the grains to the curb. For us, it has resulted in the loss of some very stubborn fat, an easy-to-maintain reduced carbohydrate intake, increased energy, and greatly improved triglycerides over a period of 3 months.
The main difference between the two is the role of fat. Both are based on ancestral diets that avoid grains, corn, soy, and legumes.
The Paleo Diet and Primal Blueprint, it’s true, are based on similar evolutionary science. The story goes something like this. Our modern Western diet bears little resemblance to the eating habits of early humans throughout 100,000+ years of evolutionary history. Instead, since the agricultural revolution some mere 10,000 years ago, we’ve adopted a nutritional regime that our physiology wasn’t and still isn’t adequately adapted to. When the basics of our diet return to the patterns of our pre-agricultural ancestors, we’re operating with, instead of against, our natural physiology.
Both diets recommend getting rid of grains, monitoring carbohydrate intake, and basing your diet on protein and vegetables. But there, the similarities end. More from Sisson:
A fundamental difference? The role of saturated fats. … many within the paleo community continue to harbor a fear of saturated fats as the bogey that raises cholesterol and instigates heart disease instead of a critical source of nutrients for neurological functioning and other essential physiological processes. Partaking of only lean meats, eschewing butter and coconut oil (two Primal Blueprint favorites based on health benefits supported by extensive research), restricting egg consumption – this is not your Granddaddy Grok’s diet.
Also at issue is the role of diet sodas … and other artificial sweeteners. The opinion of many in the paleo community is that as long as it’s not sugar, it’s acceptable. Working around the problem like this seems to be nothing more than a manipulation.
Adherents of the Paleo lifestyle avoid dairy products, while the Primal advocates enjoy full-fat dairy, particularly cultured, raw, and grass-fed.
We opted to go more towards the Primal lifestyle for several reasons.
- It is more flexible, with a recommendation of 80/20. (If you stay on-plan 80% of the time, you’ll have good results)
- We have an abundant source of raw milk and make our own yogurt and cheese from it.
- We have had no digestive issues relating to dairy products
- Fat is satiating and delicious, a must when you’re trying to convert kids.
When we initially converted our kitchen, it was rough. We had the so-called “low-carb flu,” a set of symptoms experienced by many when they make a dramatic change in their carbohydrate intake. People complain of headache, muscle pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal upset, and brain fog.
I know I keep quoting Mark Sisson, but he explains things so well! Here’s why these unpleasant symptoms occur.
For many people, it takes about two to three weeks to move beyond the temporary fog and fatigue. Studies following the physical performance of low carbers showed that initial disadvantages were erased after this window of time. If your body is used to employing easy glucose carbs and now must create glucose from fats and protein (a slightly more complex but entirely natural mode of operation), it can take some time to get up to speed. Rest assured that our bodies can and are doing the job. It simply takes time to work efficiently. The transition actually shifts metabolic related gene expression, increasing fat oxidation pathways and decreasing fat storage pathways. (That’s nothing to shake a stick at!) Within a few weeks, the body should be fairly efficient at converting protein and fat for the liver’s glycogen stores, which provide all the glucose we need for the brain, red blood cells, muscles, etc. under regular circumstances.
Just a note, cheating doesn’t help. It basically puts you back to square one and you start up all of the symptoms again. Stick with it, and within a week or two, you’ll be feeling much better.
Another thing that I’ll briefly touch on is this: When you eliminate grains it is far, far easier to stick to a more local diet. More on that in Part 2.
Part 2, coming soon.
Watch for Part 2, for tips on switching your family to a grain-free lifestyle.
If you’ve gone grain-free, please share your story in the comments. I’d love to hear about your results, whether positive or negative.