The food pyramid over the last 30 years has placed grains as the foundation of a “healthy diet”. The only science that this is based on is the “science of economics”…. An oxymoron if ever there was one.
Here are some facts:
- Whole grains are very low in Vitamin C and beta carotene. Vitamin B6 is poorly absorbed
- Grains contain low levels of essential fats, having too much Omega 6 and too little Omega 3 fatty acids, and so are pro-inflammatory.
- Phytate levels in grain reduces the absorption of many minerals, including zinc, iron
- Exorphins -It is known that these foods contain exorphins, which are molecules that have opioid (morphine-like) activity. The authors speculate that early humans started to eat these foods because of these exorphins, that is, by eating these foods, it made them feel good. They write “The fact that overall health declined when they [i.e. grains] were incorporated into the diet suggests that their rapid, almost total replacement of other foods was due more to chemical reward than to nutritional reasons.” They go on to say “Civilisation arose because reliable, on-demand availability of dietary opioids to individuals changed their behaviour, reducing aggression, and allowed them to become tolerant of sedentary life in crowded groups, to perform regular work and to be more easily subjugated by rulers.” (Journal of the Australasian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine G. Wadley and A Martin, Dept of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Vol 19 No 1 April 2000)
- Zonulin – is protein that participates Iin tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract leading to “leaky gut”. Increased levels of zonulin are a contributing factor to the development of celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders such as insulin dependent diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. (The Lancet, Vol 355 Issue 9214,pp1518 – 1519, 29 April 2000 “Zonulin, a newly discovered modulator of intestinal permeability, and its expression in coeliac disease.” Fasano et al )
- Gluten – is a natural protein found in certain grains such as wheat (including spelt), rye, barley and oats. Gluten makes up 80 percent of all proteins found in wheat, and is responsible for giving dough its elastic quality. There are 12 fractions of gliadin in gluten, which are polypeptides of varying length. Alpha-gliadin is the longest and the only one tested for sensitivity to determine whether people are actually sensitive to gluten. So if you are not sensitive to that one fraction or protein and the villi in your gut are not completely denuded, you may be diagnosed as not having a problem with gluten. And yet grains and gluten may be a problem.
So why would university-trained dietitians and peak-body organizations recommend a diet that may lead to health problems and the need for medications etc? Looking at their list of sponsors offers a clue.
- American Society of Nutrition
- American Dietetics Association
- Australian Dietetics Association
- International Diabetes Federation
- Australian Heart Foundation
To name just a few.
Good health makes sense but doesn’t make dollars.
Take control of your health. Be well.