Since first hearing about the Paleo diet from my California cousin last year, and then deciding to go all in this January, grains have been a topic of ~ sometimes heated ~ discussions.
We have a grown up with the old example of the food pyramid showing that a person “needs” 6 -11 servings of grains a day to be healthy. This brainwashed us. We thought because the government put this out, they must know what they are talking about. However, consider a few facts before you really keep sticking to this way of thinking.
Did you know that the food pyramid was conceived in the 1960’s due to an increase in Americans getting heart disease? The U.S. Department of Agriculture responded with the food guide pyramid and Dietary Guidelines for Americans (a pamphlet which is updated every five years). (1)
Okay, so? The Government was trying to take care of us, help us be healthier, right?
The U.S. government has heavily subsidized grains, oil seeds, cotton, sugar, and dairy products since approximately World War II. And that most other agriculture—including beef, pork, poultry, hay, fruits, tree nuts, and vegetables (accounting for about half of the total value of production)—receives only minimal government support. (2)
Okay, so it understandable that the government subsidized grains, oil seeds, and sugar after World war II. The people were trying to recover in anyway possible from the devastation the war caused. But, they’re still paying for these crops to be produced… and they want us to eat the bulk of our diet from these crops? Something’s fishy here!
Besides, that doesn’t say why grains are bad for us, as Paleo pursuers are now saying.
All plants contain lectins and these lectins are causing our body’s immune system to fight against us. (3) Because of the inflammation in our guts caused by these lectins, our body’s create defense system. The problem is, that to the body lectins look similar to some essential proteins in our bodies, and these proteins get attacked as well causing a lot of the autoimmune diseases like diabetes, MS, Nephropathy, Fibromyalgia, and RA, etc. (4)
These lectins in grains are causing hormone imbalances which are causing your bodies muscle and joint inflammations as well as causing you to keep fat cells on your body and these hormone imbalances have also been linked to a leading cause of cancer. (5)
Wait a sec, we have been eating grains that have had these protein blocking, problem causing lectins for a very, very long time. How come they’ve only recently started messing with us?
Well the problem is that modern grains have had a very long history of hybridization. Humans have continued the process chemically in the last century, and especially during the last 50 years in order to increase yields, resist fungal diseases and pest attacks, improve ease of mechanical harvesting and meet rigorous demands of industrial milling and mechanized baking methods.(6)
Today’s hybridized grains contain sodium azide, a known toxin. It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. Today’s hybridized grains contain novel proteins that aren’t typically found in either the parent or the plant, some of which are difficult for us to properly digest. Consequently, some scientists now suspect that the gluten and other compounds found in today’s modern grains are what’s responsible for the rising prevalence of celiac disease, “gluten sensitivity,” and other problems.
According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, because of the changes humans have made during hybridization no one can properly digest gluten. “We do not have the enzymes to break down the newly hybridized grains,” “It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it.”(7)
So, in a nut shell, the reason Paleo pursuers don’t eat grain… and why maybe you should reconsider… is because it is filled with toxins that are bad for your immune system and gut. And, that it causes pain and inflammation through out your body along with other health issues. Also, when the upper period paleolithic man became more human than ape, It was not a source of nutrition because they were hunter, gatherers and saw grain as feed for livestock and birds. As it should be today.