Grain Myths Debunked
The elimination of grains of all kinds from your diet is possibly one of the biggest challenges of the paleo diet for many people, and besides the addiction to grains, it can also be because we are constantly told that grains should make up a huge portion of our diet. This is in fact not the case, and relatively speaking, grains have only been part of the human diet for a very short period of time. Below are some of the most common misconceptions about grains and why they’re simply not true.
1. Myth: I need the fiber found in grains. Reality: Yes grains often contain a high amount of fiber, but eating so much fiber can actually contribute to gastrointestinal problems, and aggravate conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s possible to get all the fiber you need from fruits and vegetables, without overloading your digestive tract with more fiber than is necessary.
2. Myth: The human diet is incomplete without the inclusion of grains. Reality: From an early age we are taught to believe, based on the food pyramid and popular thought that grains should make up the majority of our diet but in fact, grains are mostly carbohydrates and they have very little nutritional value. Foods that are made with grains are really just empty calories.
3. Myth: Grains are carbohydrates that give me energy. Reality: Yes, eating foods that are made with grains and high in carbohydrates can give you a temporary burst of energy, but in the long run you’re doing your body much more harm than good by relying on grains for energy. Grain-laden foods will cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, and will wreak havoc with your insulin, causing weight gain and potential other health problems such as diabetes. The best way to get long-lasting energy is to consume a diet rich in protein and plant foods. This will stabilize your blood sugar, and help prevent you from having the crashes in blood sugar that also cause a crash in energy levels.
4. Myth: Grains are full of vitamins and minerals. Reality: As mentioned earlier, grains have very little nutritional value. In fact, they are comprised mainly of omega-6 fats, which are of very little value to our bodies, and any nutritional value that may be found in grains, can be more effectively found in foods such as animal proteins and plant food sources. Besides the fact that grains lack nutritional value, they can also hinder our bodies in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients we derive from other food sources. Grains contain substances such as phytic acid, which can bind to minerals and prevent our body from properly absorbing them.