Why I Minimize Grains

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  • Poor nutrient-to-calorie ratio
  • Poor fiber-content-to-calorie ratio
  • Contain high amounts of anti-nutrient, depleting vital nutrients and important minerals (zinc, calcium, etc.)
  • Contain gluten, which can cause neuropathies, certain allergies in multiple organ systems, other adverse immunological responses, and malabsorption of vital nutrients, especially in those with celiac disease
  • Increased inflammation, triggering atherosclerosis and raising risk of heart diseases
  • Increased inflammation, hasting the aging process
  • Increased inflammation, potentially suppressing leptin receptors on the hypothalamus (blunting signals for food satiety and fat metabolism)
  • Increased chronic triglyceride, which may prevent leptin from crossing the blood-brain barrier (cutting off the signal to the brain for food satiety and fat metabolism)
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity, preventing calories from entering and fueling muscle and organ cells
  • Increased blood insulin (hyperinsulinemia), prompting fat storage and impairing fat metabolism

There is not one good reason to consume grains — only numerous reasons to avoid them. Grains, being cheap commodity crops, are useful only in Third-world countries where socio-economics are trumped by starvation, where mere calories can make a difference between living one more day. Or dying.

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9 Responses to Why I Minimize Grains

  1. Al says:

    This is a little off topic, but what is your opinion on corn? I know its a vegetable, but is it still ok to eat? Are there any other veggies that I need to avoid? Thanks!

    • Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

      Al, corn is a grain, not a vegetable. Best to avoid it. Other than limiting root vegetables (no potatoes, some sweet potatoes and yams), there really isn’t too many other vegetables you should avoid.

      However, if you’re prone to inflammation, I’d avoid nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. A family of the tobacco plant, these nightshades contain dietary nicotine that can cause or flare arthritis, and inhibit healing (which can include recovery from exercise).

      There are many positive effects gained from eating these vegetables, however, so it’s probably a good idea to remove them from your diet for several weeks and see how you feel. If you regularly suffer flareups and they diminish, or if you recover faster from your exercise, then it’s probably worth it to consider replacing these nightshades with other choices from an abundance of vegetable options.

  2. hiitmama says:

    If you add the evils of gluten I can print this out and hand it to houseguests whenever they ask why I don’t want their spaghetti and bread.

    • Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

      Good idea about adding something about the adverse effects of gluten. I just edited the post to include a little info about gluten.

      Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Dan says:

    Good info Johnny. The only thing I feel may be of value assuming you don’t have adverse affects is using grains when carb cycling. I’m experimenting with this right now (mostly rice) and have good results. Like you said it’s a super cheap source of calories and much better than breads and such.

    The other “good” reason for me personally to eat grains is socially. When someone else cooks, or lunch is served at my work sometimes there is no avoidance if I want to eat. Fasting is always an option, but I find that sometimes it’s worth it to eat “normally” and enjoy the social interaction that doesn’t revolve around what I eat or why.

    But that’s just where I’m at right now, and I’m always working on improving so who knows if I will feel the same way in a year! I’d be interested in your thoughts on these aspects…

    • Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

      Dan,

      I absolutely agree that sometimes we just have to submerse ourselves fully into the social celebration of food, friends, and culture. It’s important for the soul to join in on such gustatory practices, but I’m always aware that I’m doing so.

      Here’s a post I wrote around the holiday about “joining in.”

      http://theleansaloon.com/2009/11/23/no-grains-or-low-grains-at-this-holiday-meal/

      It’s a double-edge sword in that once you participate in social and gustatory celebration, you may raise your propensity to want more of the food involved. But if handled properly, I don’t think it’s harmful once in a while to enjoy home-made fresh-baked breads, or a piece of cake at your niece’s 3-year birthday party.

  4. Pingback: The Law of Averages in Fat Loss « The Lean Saloon

  5. david pugh says:

    what foods have the type of grains that you talk of minizing??

    • Johnny says:

      david,

      Since I wrote this post, I’ve added SOME whole grains back into my diet without any apparent negative effect. Most of the grains I’m now avoiding is really those of cheap commodity grains used in processed food. If I were to eat whole grains, I opt for sprouted grains where possible. I minimize grains now purely for the fact that most of them are calorie-dense and, relative to vegetables, nutrient sparse.

      But in the end, eating less is the most healthy dietary practice.

      Best,
      Johnny

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