Avoiding Grains Part 2

By Paleo
In Learn About Paleo
Sep 29th, 2010

And there’s more! Something which a lot of people don’t realise is that the sugars (carbohydrates) in grains feed the bad bacteria in our gut. Unfortunately, most people are walking around with more bad bacteria than good, and this is solely because of dietary choices. Our bodies should always have more good bacteria than bad and eating foods which contain lots of sugars i.e. Grains, sweets and dairy, will damage your digestive system and feed bad bacteria and yeast.

The good bacteria in our gut are essential for good health as they keep our intestinal function healthy, they assist in the digestion of necessary nutrients making them more absorbable, they keep the immune system strong and help prevent disease causing bacteria which if build up, leads to a large number of autoimmune diseases. Too much bad bacteria can lead to a lot of problems; including candidiasis (a systemic fungal infection) which can be left un-noticed (until later in life) or treated through wrong diagnosis.

There are some forms of grains which don’t feed bad bacteria and don’t have as many health related problems as most grains, these include; Quinoa, Buckwheat, Millet and Amaranth.

And last, but not least, I’ll quickly touch on the high Glycemic Index (GI) factor of grains. The Glycemic Index is a scale used to determine the speed that sugar (from foods) breaks down into glucose in the body, creating an insulin release. Foods which are of Low GI status, such as broccoli and spinach, will slowly release sugar into the body over a period of time. Foods which are of High GI will release sugar extremely fast and cause blood sugars to rise to high levels within a short amount of time. When consuming high GI carbohydrates at the wrong times, it can not only be harmful in promoting fat gain quite easily, but it is also the easiest way to put yourself in the firing line for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

When blood sugar is raised constantly (think breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and maybe even dinner), your body gets confused and after time can’t control sugar levels; hence diabetes. If grains are a food source you consume often, chances are your blood sugar is being raised often as well, especially if your diet is combined with diary, starchy foods such as potatoes and sugars. Foods which spike our blood sugar should be consumed on a considered basis, not a consistent one.

Insulin spikes do have benefits though, as mentioned before, if insulin is released during the wrong times, negative results can occur, however an insulin spike provided at the correct times for your body can be beneficial in creating certain performance and body composition goals. An insulin spike for an endurance athlete during an event or training is extremely beneficial to bring up sugar levels for energy and to prevent hypoglycemia. Insulin spikes can also be beneficial in helping build muscle mass as insulin is an anabolic hormone which helps send proteins and carbohydrates into the muscle cells to promote growth.

Unfortunately in society we will always be hearing that grains are good for us, but doing your own solid research can provide you with balanced nutritional information. Prevention is always the best cure; eat nutritious foods and less non-nutritious foods (i.e. grains). Consume lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, meat and water and you’ll be so much better off, in health, performance and longevity.

Below is a table of comparison of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, and that of grains. As you can see, grains provide next to no nutritional value.

Vitamin and Mineral Content of Approximately 10 Calories of Typical Carbohydrates

Vegetables (cooked and drained)

Carb Amount Vit. A Vit. C Folic Acid Magnesium Calcium Fibre
Asparagus 1 cup 940 19.5 262 18 36 3
Broccoli 3 cups 6,492 348 234 114 210 13.2
Cauliflower 4 cups 88 216 216 48 80 12.8
Green beans 1 cup 832 12 41 31 57 4
Kale 2 cups 16,000 34 36 46 556 5.2
Red pepper 2 cups 10,224 464 48 28 26 3.2
Spinach 3.5 cups 51,600 62 917 546 854 15
Swiss chard 2.5 cups 10,986 63 30 300 203 7.4
Zucchini 2 cups 864 16 60 80 46 5


Carb Amount Vit. A Vit. C Folic Acid Magnesium Calcium Fibre
Cantaloupe 3/4 cup 3,771 49 19.5 12.8 13.2 1.0
Grapes 1/2 cup 46 3.3 1.8 2.3 6.4 0.5
Orange 1/2 12 40 23 7 28 1.8
Nectarine 1/2 500 3.7 2.5 5.4 3.8 1.1
Orange 1/2 12 40 23 7 28 1.8
Peach 1 53 6.5 3.3 6.8 4.9 2
Pear 1/2 17 3.3 6 4.9 9.1 2
Strawberries 1 cup 45 94 29 17 23 3.8
Raspberries 1 cup 159 31 33 22 27 8.3
Blueberries 1/2 cup 72 9.4 4.5 3.5 4.4 1.8

Grains (cooked and drained)

Carb Amount Vit. A Vit. C Folic Acid Magnesium Calcium Fibre
Rice, brown 1/5 cup 0 0 1.6 21 3.9 0.7
Rice, white 1/5 cup 0 0 1.2 3.8 0
Spaghetti, whole wheat 1/4 cup 0 0 2.5 6.3 2.0 0.6
Bread, white 1 slice 0 0 3 6 27 0.6
Bagel, small 1/4 0 0 3.9 5 13 0.4

8 Responses to “Avoiding Grains Part 2”

  1. William says:

    Great tips here. I have been doing it so wrong. I will bookmark then get out my cookbook to do it right! thanks!

  2. William says:

    A calorie ratio of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent proteins, and 30 percent fat reduces your glycemic load and thus the amount of fat you retain. This balance also provides the three key macro nutrients needed to keep a body in hormonal balance.

    • Paleo says:

      If you would like to increase the carbohydrates in your diet, it is best to do so through nutrient rich fruit and vegetables. For a higher GI response, sweet potato is a healthy option.

  3. Sheng says:

    Is sweet corn a grain? I enjoy eating tempeh everyday, is it spoiled my health?

  4. Sheng says:

    What’s about nuts and seeds?

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