Open up any health and fitness magazine or diet book du jour (is Oprah on the cover? Then it’s the one du jour) and you’ll most likely be told that you should eliminate fatty foods if you want to lose weight. Most of you already know that low fat foods are actually responsible for rapid weight gain and that eating healthy fat makes you burn through your existing body fat at a fast rate. But what can you give up if you want to lean down and drop a few pounds in a fast and effective way?
The answer is grains. Why?
1. To your body, grains are just sugar. Whether you’re eating rice or granola or a slice of bread, your body’s hormonal response is the same: You’re eating sugar.
2. Grains make you sick by irritating the lining in your gut. Over time, this irritation leads to a leaky gut, which does exactly what it sounds like – it causes things that belong in your stomach to leak out into your system. As a result, it throws your hormones out of whack, causes you to develop allergies to almost everything you eat (as the body tries to attack these leaking food particles as foreign invaders) and severely compromises your immune system (as 75% of your immune system is in your gut).
3. Grains throw off your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, causing inflammation rates in your body to skyrocket and making you a prime candidate for high cholesterol, heart disease, auto-immune disorders, infertility and various cancers.
But I just went off gluten and have been eating oats, corn thingys and quinoa to fill me up. Now I gotta get off those too?
The bottom line is that grains don’t want to be eaten. As a result, they have developed a defense mechanism that makes them hard to digest. If they are hard to digest, over time (they hope) we’ll be smart enough to just stop eating them! So even though oats and corn are gluten-free grains, they have proteins similar to gluten that are hard to digest, cause gut irritation and increased inflammation throughout the body. And as Robb Wolf says, even though “quinoa is not botanically a grain…it has similar properties to grains, including chemical defense systems that irritate the gut.” Whereas gluten burns the lining of the gut, quinoa contains saponins that punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Over time, these puncture wounds not only make it hard to digest food, they also make it hard to absorb the nutrition from whatever food you eat. Foods that burn and punch – not sounding like a part of an appetizing meal to me.
But I don’t need to lose weight:
Even if your goal isn’t weight loss, by cutting the grains out of your diet you can reverse the signs of aging, improve workout performance, increase energy levels and kick other addictions (such as to desserts and that second glass of wine) to the curb.
But when I eat grains I feel just fine:
Really? I have yet to work with a person who can handle grains without any side effects. So even if you think you’re “fine” eating grains, I encourage each of you to go grain-free for 30 days and notice all of the improvements in your workout performance, mental acuity, body fat percentages, digestion and overall appearance.
But I run marathons and need grains for endurance:
Nope. Numerous studies show that eating pastas and other overly-processed carbohydrates actually decreases endurance sport performance. Instead, stick to high-quality proteins and organic vegetables (and increase your vegetable intake by 10% during training/race season).
So if your goal is weight loss, throw out your low-fat yogurt and instead take the grain-free challenge. Your "gut" will thank you.