Are grains really all that healthy for you?

So looking at biology, carbohydrates can cause insulin spikes, correct? I've also read many articles saying that eating grains lead to many health problems then there are also blogs saying they are very healthy for you. Honestly there is a lot of confusion around this whole thing and I really want unbiased views and opinions on this. I know you shouldn't eat too many carbs or grains anyway but honestly there are so many conflicting views!! So I would love people to clear up this confusion please but use facts and not just coincidences please. :) Thank you for taking the time, if some health professionals answer this would be even more helpful! :)

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4 Replies

  • I think the subject is far too complex for anyone to be able to give you a definitive answer. The official line from the 'Institutions' is that they are healthy in their whole-grain form, the Paleo Followers would have you believe differently. That's the internet for you, anyone who can articulate well is able to convince some readers for or against a particular argument. It's a powerful medium!

    It's complex because when it comes to grains what might be OK and have some healthy benefits for one might not be the same for another. Wheat, Barley and Rye are classic examples because of Gluten, obviously a no no for Celiac Sufferers but lots of healthy people are claiming now to be Gluten Intolerant and there is a whole movement out there that would have us believe that all Human Beings are Gluten Intolerant by design and once again they put forward at first glance compelling evidence but it's up to the individual whether you agree or not. Even with case studies that a claimed to be backed by scientific evidence, how to do you the trust it/verify it? Most of the data is far too complex for the average person to get their head around and/or it's carried out by some obscure foreign institute somewhere.

    I personally follow the school of most things in moderation, having said that though, I no longer eat wheat which is a personal decision based on my own research and personal experience from my maintenance diet over the past 15 months. There is enough evidence out there to convince me "Personally" that WGA a component of wheat makes some of us, hormonally fat, me being one of them, but I could of cause just be being gullible, however I have found from my own experiments that when I avoid wheat I no longer get classic "Carb Cravings" which is of benefit enough for me to not eat it anymore.

    It would be interesting to see if you get a reply from any Health Professionals to see what their opinions are.

  • Hi Alwaysquestioning

    As OlsBean says it's a complicated subject. I would recommend that you read the book by Robert Lustig, who is an American obesity expert, called "Fat Chance, the bitter truth about sugar" which explains how food affects our bodies. it is scientific but written for the lay person. If you wish to do your own research try googling your topic plus PubMed, which will give you a summary of science research papers.

    I'm not a Health Professional but I was a science teacher and I do suffer from coeliac disease, so I have to avoid all grains/food containing gluten. The disease has increased over the last fifty years, but the reason is unclear. Many people carry the coeliac genes but it requires a 'trigger' to become a damaging disease.

    Modern bread is no longer 'proved' as it used to be, and can cause digestive problems in people who are not coeliac. But for many people eating whole grain bread is not a problem and the fibre is an important part of a healthy diet, as it slows down the absorption of glucose and prevents insulin spiking. The real danger to health is over-processed carbohydrate, with fibre removed, and sugar added. As a species we evolved to be able to use carbohydrate (glucose) or protein/fat (ketones) as fuel for our bodies. Unfortunately combining both has given us problems: high fat plus high carbs is a recipe for weight gain (chips, cake etc). Look for "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, if you want to read more.

    I think that some high fibre carbohydrate can be ok, but sugar should be avoided apart from the occasional treat. It does depend on your level of activity, I would never make carbs a major part of my diet, but I do include saturated fat. I regard some of the NHS advice as out off date.

  • I thought that whole grains are unhealthy because they rob your body of B vitamins? personally I find grains give me heart burn and can't tollerate them at all. I tried all sorts and its not the gluten as I was tested.

  • Whole grains are a source of B vitamin, but it has been suggested that the phytates in grain prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals. I am not sure if there is any scientific research to back this up.

    If you want an alternative to grains you could try seeds, like buckwheat or quinoa.

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