There are many problems with the consumption of grains in our food supply. As I have mentioned in previous articles, most if not all grain products are not properly prepared by soaking or sprouting the grains before use in order to reduce phytic acid. Another problem is that grains are hard to digest for many people, especially people with damage to the gut lining which is more common than you would think. But perhaps the most pressing problem is the inflammatory nature of grains.
Grains contain several problematic substances including gluten, lectin, and phytates. Grains also drive inflammation by promoting body acidity, and disrupting proper blood sugar regulation.
Lectins are contained in all grains and legumes (beans, lentils, soy). These sugar-proteins remain even after cooking and digestion. While in the digestive tract before being digested, lectins are known to cause digestive system inflammation. Research suggests that lectins may play a role in promoting many conditions including the following: inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, glomerulonephritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, infertility, allergies and autoimmune problems.
Phytic acid is also present in grains and is known to reduce the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc. The problems with Gluten are discussed in depth here.
Grains contain an elevated ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are converted into chemicals that cause inflammation, chronic disease, and pain.
Grains also promote an acidic body pH, which is known to be inflammatory. The alkalinity of the blood must be maintained to sustain health. All foods consumed go through a digestive process where the food is “burned,” leaving a resulting ash. This ash can be either neutral, acid, or alkaline, depending primarily on the mineral composition of the food. Most grains leave an acid ash.
The body makes every effort to maintain a blood pH of between approximately 7.35 – 7.45 which is slightly alkaline. Bones are especially affected by blood pH as they tend to be used as a mineral source for pH buffering. Research has now demonstrated that a diet-induced acidic state helps to promote the loss of bone and muscle that occurs as we get older.
Grains disrupting proper blood sugar regulation. Although whole grain flours are touted as being healthier, they actually get digested just as quickly as refined flours and are considered to be highly glycemic. That is, they go into the blood stream as quickly as a candy bar. A diet with a lot of grains will constantly cause spikes and drops in blood sugar and insulin. Over time this can lead to prediabetes and diabetes. These constant hormonal shifts also affect the adrenal glands in a negative way.
At this point eating grain-free may be a little easier. Are you starting to feel the difference in your energy levels and general well being yet? Leave a comment and let me know!