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The Healthy Whole Grain Conundrum

We hear about carbohydrates being the culprit for weight gain all the time. Are they really the problem? The truth is it all depends on what type of carbohydrates we’re talking about.

Before we get into this discussion let’s first make sure you have a basic understanding about the different types of carbohydrates.

The three main types of carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fiber. You’ll hear terms like naturally sugar alcohols, enriched grains, whole grains, simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, etc, but don’t be fooled into thinking a particular category is better for you.

The food industry spends billions of dollars to try and convince you that their products are “healthy” when it reality you’re being fed a bunch of B.S.

The ONLY carbohydrates that are of REAL value to your health are fruits and vegetables.

This is all you need in your diet for fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Anyone tries to convince you that you need whole grains in your diet for fiber or some other reason is simply wrong. There’s no other way for me to say it.

I won’t even begin to get on my soapbox about why you’re being led to believe that “whole grains” should be the staple of your diet. Let me save the rant for another day and just tell you that they’re not.

What really are starches?

Foods high in starch carbohydrates include:

• starchy vegetables like peas, carrots, tomatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.

• beans, lentils, and all legumes.

• grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rice.

The grain group can be broken down even further into whole grain or refined grain. A grain, let’s take wheat for example, contains three parts.

The parts are the bran, germ, and the endosperm.

The bran is the outer hard shell of the grain. It is the part of the grain that provides the most fiber and most of the B vitamins and minerals. The germ is the next layer, while the endosperm is the soft part in the center of the grain and contains the starch. “Whole Grain” simply means that the entire grain kernel is in the food.

When you eat a whole grain you’re in essence eating the reproductive part of the plant. As you can imagine, the grain is likely to evolve with a means of protecting itself and it has. Grains include substances (phytates and lectins) that cause an irritant/allergen effect on our digestive system while also inhibiting the assimilation of nutrients and minerals.

I want you to think about poison ivy for a second. If you’ve ever had it you know full well the irritant and allergen effect it has on the skin. How come if you merely brush up against it in the woods you get a nasty rash (forget about eating it), but deer can eat it like candy without any problems? The reason is one species has adapted to it and the other one has not.

Bottom line is the human species has evolved over the last 100-200 thousand years but we’ve ONLY been eating grain for the last 5,000 or so years. If you think of the human evolution timeline being like a 100 yard football field, the length of time we’ve been eating grain would come out to just the half yard line.

Our Paleolithic ancestors (hunter gatherers) were remarkably healthy, lean, and exceptionally strong. Their diet consisted of (you guessed it), lean proteins, fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and the occasional tuber. Our Neolithic ancestors brought about the “agricultural revolution” which many scientists will tell you was the single greatest event in human history up to now.

Was this for good or bad? Well that depends on how you look at it. I guess a little of both. It enabled us to feed much larger populations of people, build cities, fuel the industrial revolution, etc.

While at the same time our Neolithic ancestors lost an average of 6 inches in height compared to our Paleolithic ancestors and developed things like cavities, cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses that didn’t exist before.

Is this a mere coincidence? I don’t think so…as a species we got smaller and developed more illnesses. You ever stop and wonder why Asian and Latin American cultures have much shorter people on average than in other parts of the world?

I’m not knocking these people or making fun, I’m being serious. Why do you think this is? Ever consider if just maybe it had something to do with their nutrition? And what is it of course that makes up the staple of the diet for these people? Grains!

I’m not saying you can survive on eating grains as that’s obvious, but my argument is that it’s hard to “thrive” on eating grains. The human body simply does better without them and if you don’t believe me take my 30 day challenge?

What is my 30 day challenge?

Simple, for the next 30 days you remove ALL grains and legumes completely from your diet. Carbohydrates will come exclusively from vegetables and fruits. You see for yourself how you feel, what happens to your weight, energy levels, skin, sleep patterns, etc.

I’m not saying you can’t EVER have another piece of bread again in your life…I’m not a complete zealot people. But at the same time I can’t ignore the facts that your body will function much better without it.

It really is all about the 80/20 rule and moderation.

But like I’ve said before, if you’re overweight and been a carb addict or someone who has consumed little protein in their diet, you’ll want to save the “moderation” talk until you’ve fixed the problem.

So what is the problem?

The problem I’m referring to is low insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance brought about by long periods of time with eating too many carbohydrates and/or the wrong types, especially processed and refined carbohydrates (the moderan American diet).

The best way to reverse this hormonal imblance and start losing weight is to significantly remove all carbs except for vegetables and moderate fruits. At the same time eat more protein and good omega-3 fats while also completing regular resistance and cardiovascular exercise.

I could get into all kind of detail on the other types of carbohydrates and the thousand ways you’re being misled by the food industry, but you’ve already got the secret so why bore you with meaningless details for now?

If you’re really interested in how you’re being deceived about carbs you can download my free e-book, “Food Label Deception Revealed.”

It has some great insider info on things like foods that you think are “healthy” because they’re high fiber, but really aren’t. It’s mostly stuff I don’t recommend you eat anyways but it’s good info to know.

Ok, that’s about it for now. Maybe I’ll revisit this subject at a later date and talk about sugars or fiber in more detail.

Have a good one- Shane.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training program and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.

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