Everyone has an opinion when it comes to food and what’s good for you. Luckily, most of those opinions match. However, with the Paleo diet becoming popular and gluten intolerance becoming better known, many people feel there’s something wrong with grains in your diet, while others say it’s one of the food groups necessary for good health. If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, eating grains is definitely not good for you, but otherwise, it’s open for debate.
The question is—Is it the grain that’s bad or the processing of the flour?
So much has changed since grain was first introduced into the diet. In fact, even the grain has changed. Spelt, Kamut, Einkorn are earlier forms of wheat. These early forms of wheat, like Einkorn, have two sets of chromosomes and a naturally low content of gluten compared to today’s wheat. Not only is the wheat different, it’s milled differently and the end results has little or no nutritional value. In fact, even though they’re supplemented with extra nutrients they still lack many found in grain before the milling process. The processing strips most of the thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, zinc, copper and molybdenum. It also wipes out almost 16% of selenium. That makes it a relatively empty food source, providing mostly calories. To make matters worse, the soil is being depleted of nutrients, so the grain doesn’t start as nutrient rich.
Not all grains are wheat. Oats have many benefits.
Not only do oats help you lose weight, they are filling, just as all grains are. Unless you’re gluten intolerant, there’s no direct evidence that grains eaten in moderation are really bad for you. Even though most strict Paleo diet enthusiasts won’t admit it, the caveman probably ate some grains. There is evidence of grain starch on grinding tools dating back as far a 30,000 years ago. Grains have nutrients that can prevent a number of diseases but you have to choose your grain carefully and avoid highly processed grains.
The real evil isn’t grain, but all the other ingredients it mixes with to create the food.
While eating more grain than necessary for a balanced diet can lead to weight gain, most of the problem from grain comes from the processed fats and sugars it’s mixed with to create the product you eat. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t put the food in your mouth. Don’t eat too many grains, no matter how good they are for you. They are a great source of calories and that can cause excess weight gain.
- When you eat, eat sensibly. A well balanced, healthy diet will help you lose weight without having to give up a major food group. Make smart choices, such as opting for brown rice instead of white rice for increased nutrition and lower calories.
- Sprouting seeds may be a good route to getting grain intake and provide more nutrients in the process. The sprouting increases the vitamin B, C folate, fiber and amino acids in the grain and reduces the potential for protein sensitivities.
- If you’re having problems when you eat grain, you could have a food sensitivity. Remove it from your diet for a while and see if you feel better, then slowly reintroduce it to see if there’s a change.
- Almond and coconut flour are an alternative to grain flour if you’re sold on the fact that grain is bad for your health.