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February 20, 2015
3 Benefits to Eating Grain Free
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Have you noticed that every year or so a new diet is all the rage? If you want to make a bundle of money, all you have to do is come up with the latest and greates weight-loss guide. I’ve been thinking we could market the “Red Earth Farm Diet: Eat Your Vegetables!” Maybe not as exotic sounding as “Paleo,” but it certainly would benefit the health of American dieters.
Food rules, a term borrowed from Michael Pollen’s book of the same name, inspire the American imagination, almost as much as Oreo cookies and pizza. Why is this? Perhaps the simplest answer lies in the fact that many people do not feel well. They are dragging through their days, relying on caffeine and sugar. Add to that a rising obesity epidemic, spurring many people to long for weight loss magic formulas.
As a natural heath practitioner, I examine fad diets and food issues every day. For two decades I have been dispensing “food rules,” helping patients find their way to stronger and slimmer bodies. A carobo-tarian at heart, it pains me to admit that I see mounting evidence of the benefit to limiting our carbohydrate intake.
Depending on your anthropologist’s view, we have been agrarian for somewhere between 1-6% of our time as Homo sapiens. The evolution of refined and processed carbohydrates has outpaced the more slowly evolving human digestion. Lack of dietary soluble fiber has literally starved our gut bacteria, leaving us vulnerable to poor digestion with all its unhappy sequelae. Adult onset diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, allergies - who doesn’t know someone with one, or more, of these conditions? Is it possible that our Standard American Diet (SAD!) has contributed?
Many gluten-free dieters get even greater benefits when they let go of grains altogether. Clinical evidence indicates that the practice of eating less grain and more vegetables is healthful. And now recent research into the microbes of the gut lends support to the following list of benefits:
1. Reduce Inflammation: Individuals who have an unhealthy assortment of bacteria in the gut, such as Pseudomonas, Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus, are more prone to inflammatory conditions of the bowel. Long term bowel inflammation can disrupt the gut lining and ultimately cause leakage of bacteria from the gut into the bloodstream. This leads to even more inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease. Chronic pain is a tell tale sign of inflammation.
2. Increase Energy: People who are struggling with inflammation, or who simply are not metabolizing their food well, often complain of tiredness. Typically this fatigue hits shortly after the midday meal, around 2pm. Cravings for carbohydrates often kick in as a source of quick energy. Replacing carbohydrates with vegetables, healthy fats and protein can stabilize blood sugar, allowing the eater to feel satisfied and energetic after meals. Interestingly, drinking adequate water also helps quell hunger pains.
3. Lose Weight: Dr. David Ludwig, professor at Harvard School of Public Health designed an experiment for three group of overweight kids. The first group ate instant oatmeal for breakfast. The second group ate high-fiber steel-cut oats. The third group ate a veggie omelet. Each breakfast group consumed equal calories, similar lunches and ate whenever hungry the rest of the day. Interview with Dr Ludwig
Take a look at the results:
Instant Oatmealers ate 81% more food during the day than Omelet Eaters.
Steel-cutters ate 50% more than Omelet Eaters.
Both Oatmeal groups had higher blood sugar, insulin, fat and adrenalin than Omelet Eaters
Moral of the story? Calories in does NOT equal calories out.
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