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7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GRAINS

  • You Don’t Have to Eat Them—At All! Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fatty acids contained in whole grains. But you can easily get all those beneficial substances from other sources—vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and other foods that don’t have the baggage that comes with grains.
  • The same is true of the fiber contained in whole grains. It’s absolutely vital to healthy living but easily available in other plant based foods. For us to live, our bodies need the amino acids contained in protein and the fatty acids contained in fats. Believe it or not, we don’t need to eat carbs. At all! For nearly all of our history, humans consumed no grains, and our bodies are designed to work very well without them. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors occasionally binged on buffalo and antelope meat, but never on a sheet cake!
  • Flour = Sugar When we talk about grains, we use the word starch. (We use it for some vegetables, too, as we’ve seen.) But we don’t all realize that starch is just sugar with a slightly more complex molecular structure. This is important: Starch and sugar are essentially the same thing. The whole complex vs. simple carb idea has retired to the dustbin of history. What matters is how much a particular carb raises your blood sugar. Bread is a complex carb, sugar a simple carb.
  • But eating two slices of whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar more than eating 2 tablespoons of table sugar does! So whenever you eat something containing wheat flour, you might as well be mainlining sugar. On the glycemic index, which measures the amount that any given food raises your blood sugar, white bread is a 75, while sucrose (table sugar) comes in at 65 (and chocolate at 45).
  • This rapid rise in blood sugar brought on by consuming starchy carbs and all forms of sugar is essentially the metabolic mechanism singlehandedly responsible for today’s global epidemics of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity (and it contributes to dementia and cancer as well). Eating refined grains prompts your body to release insulin, which ushers the glucose from your bloodstream into your fat cells,
  • Making them bigger and plumper. Then, before you know it, you’re hungry again for more carbs. In the meantime, the insulin acts like a lock that prevents fat from being mobilized from your fat cells.
  • If you consume more than minimal amounts of sugar and starch, the calories will be stored in your fat cells but won’t be able to get out. Which is why we always feel hungry and keep getting fatter!

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