The Ugly Truth About Grains & Bread
When I talk about the Primal, Paleo, or Keto diet to people who want to get healthy, most of the time they are open to the idea until I start talking about bread. When I tell them to stop consuming all breads and grains for true long-lasting health benefits, I get all sorts of funny looks. Bread consumption has almost become a religion to people. I’m here to tell you not to sacrifice your health for the bread.
I am always hearing “well, I think you just need to find a healthy balance in your diet,” or “maybe have one piece of bread a day and that will be fine”. I personally think if more people understood what grains are ACTUALLY DOING IN THEIR BODIES they would realize a healthy balance would not involve bread or grains at all.
Grains are a refined carbohydrate, meaning they are usually stripped of all nutritional value. Some grains may have nutrients added back after processing, but usually only enough so a company can label the product “enriched”. Grains and bread are a mainstay of the Standard American Diet because they are plentiful, they maintain a longer shelf-life (great for nation-wide distribution), they are highly-addicting and most important, they are generally inexpensive to purchase.
When consumed, this cheap, manufactured ‘food’ quickly turns to glucose in our body. Many bread and grain products are cleverly marketed and packaged as a nutritious option, leading one to choose a “healthy baked” or “natural grains” cracker as a good snack. But the reality is simple, bread and grains are the equivalent of eating a few spoons of sugar. Your body breaks grains down and stores it THE SAME WAY AS IT DOES SUGAR! GRAINS ARE A HIGH INSULIN PRODUCING FOOD. No matter how they package, label and promote them, grains do one thing, trigger insulin. If they are a major part of our diet they are leading us to insulin resistance, excess weight, diabetes, or heart disease and many other related illnesses.
The sparse nutritional value that may be found in bread and grains is easily replaced by eating fresh, healthy, vegetables and meat that won’t trigger insulin. Most people continue eating grains because they are taught to believe bread and grains are a healthy choice, not to mention the power of shopping and eating habits that have been ingrained over many years. When you account for our holiday food traditions and associated grocery store promotions, there is almost no escape; you guys know, Christmas cookies, Halloween cupcakes, Thanksgiving pies, and the everlasting fresh doughnut and cake display. You can break out of these traps with knowledge of nutrition and a commitment to health.
Most of our breads and grains contain ANTI-NUTRIENTS. These anti-nutrients are toxic to our bodies and can cause inflammation, digestive problems, and compromise our immune system, and of course rapid and persistent weight gain! Breads, pasta, rice, “healthy baked” grain snacks, whole grain products, bars, and granolas, etc. are basically a vehicle for sugars, usually hidden behind the label “healthy” or “Heart Healthy.”
“A seven-ounce serving of cooked spaghetti is converted into the amount of sugar contained in four twelve-ounce cans of Pepsi.” (Dr. Catherine Shanahan from her book Deep Nutrition.)
Here’s another way of looking at it, say you eat a bowl of Cheerios with a banana on top for breakfast and a small glass of juice. That sounds like a “heart healthy” breakfast, right? Would you believe that you have consumed the same amount of sugar in a half a bag of skittles and a root beer float, with only a slight benefit in nutritional value? I love this example from Mark Sisson, the author of The Primal Blueprint.
DON’T BE FOOLED BY “HEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS.” I always have a little chuckle in the grocery store when a package reads “healthy whole grains.” These whole grains may have a few more vitamins, fiber, and minerals than the refined grains, but these additives are virtually inconsequential.
Breads and grains are basically a brown blob of sugar-goo that quickly and cheaply fills us up but leaves us hungry two hours later and craving more.
I’m sorry if I have burst your bread bubble, but fully understanding the food-industry lie about “healthy grains” is a critical step to make smart and genuine healthy choices for ourselves and our families!