There are a million reasons as to why grains aren’t Paleo, and they can all be summed into one line – they aren’t healthy. However, some of you may be curious to know a little about grains and how they work negatively against your health. We have narrowed down the endless list, and provided you with the top reasons why grains aren’t great!
Gastrointestinal Problems from Gluten
Gluten is one of the biggest culprits of gastrointestinal problems. It isn’t found in all grains, such as barley, rye,some, oats and wheats, but for the majority of them, gluten is a major component. While you may not have been diagnosed with celiac disease and restricted to a gluten-free diet, you would certainly benefit from doing so as research has shown that there are many additional forms of gluten intolerance and sensitivity. Why is it a problem, you ask? Since gluten is so hard to digest, it damages your gut lining while trying to do so which leads to a leaky gut, and other substances (such as your bowels) to enter your bloodstream which is extremely dangerous. Some other common symptoms associated with gluten problems include; bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, heartburn, acid reflux and many more. It can also lead to autoimmune diseases, skin problems, mental health issues and significantly harmful and simply awful illnesses such as headaches and migraines, poor sleep, infertility, fatigue, mental fogginess, iron deficiency, asthma and the list goes on. In addition, the Short-Chain Fermentable Carbohydrates found in some grains are known for being extremely worse if you already have gastrointestinal problems. Your discomfort is only going to get worse with grains.
Phytates, also known as phytic acid is an antinutrient that is found in plant-based foods that use it to storm energy. Unfortunately, the main problem with phytic acid is that it bonds onto to vital minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, and ultimately take their benefits away from your body. Since grains (and legumes) have a large amount of phytates, eliminating them from your diet will significantly decrease the problems that are associated with them such as; muscle cramping, skin problems, osteoporosis, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), fatigue, anemia, reproduction and poor immune system.
Another Antinutrient, Lectins
Lectin is another kind of antinutrient that is prominent within grains and legumes. Lectins can be explained as being plant’s defense mechanism, and when you ingest them, your digestive system takes a turn for the worst. This can result in many things, some of the most common symptoms being; bloating, diarrhea, nausea, reflux and vomiting. However, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, the lectins are still attacking your gut lining, while impairing nutrient absorption and compromising your gut flora and immune system. Often times, a leaky guy (as mentioned previously) is one of the worst problems caused by lectins, but sometimes they can trigger your autoimmune system which tricks your body into attacking its own organs and tissues. It can be as dangerous as it sounds.
In addition to phytates and lectins, grains contain many other antinutrients as well including alpha-amylase inhibitors and protease inhibitors which interfere with your digestive system, discouraging proper digestion of food. Like the other antinutrients, they also absorb the benefits of essential minerals so that your body doesn’t get any of it.
Lack of Nutrients
Not only do you receive a lack of nutrient absorption with grains due to the antinutients that it contains, the actual amount of nutrients that grains have is pretty bare. Compared to meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits, grains are an extremely poor source of nutrients. As for the healthy elements, grains have too much of it which counteracts their benefits. For example; grains have high amounts of phosphorus but with the calcium ratio, it an promote bone loss. Even the protein found in grain products are incomplete because it lacks two essential amino acids your body needs. The high amounts of omega-6 content with the omega-3 ratio has been linked to inflammation which is the leading cause of many of today’s chronic diseases, including some cancers, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases and various autoimmune diseases.
Too Many Carbs
While carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body, grain food products show to provide more than half of your daily intake of calories. Thus; the left overs get stored as fat. In addition, carbs are only good for a quick burst of energy that quickly dies off. As for the digestion of carbohydrates, it gets broken down int sugars and the glucose which enters the bloodstream. However, having too much of it in your blood for too long can be extremely detrimental to your body because your pancreas then needs to pump out a large amount of insulin. As a result, many high-carbohydrate diets contribute to insulin resistance which also triggers weight gain, obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetetes, metabolic syndrome, some cancers and many more serious health problems. While you do need glucose, you don’t need it from carbs as you will receive proper amounts from fruits and vegetables. Eliminating grains will allow you to lose weight, improve your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugars, insulin resistance and other metabolic problems.
Grains are the culprit to stimulating food cravings and this is done by making your blood sugar levels fluctuate which messes up the balance with your hunger and satiety hormones.
Grains are Addicting
You don’t need to be on drugs or alcohol to be addicted to a dangerous substance. All you need is grains. Since they contain opioid peptides which are similar to those found in drugs.
With the Paleo diet, you won’t only be eliminating – or at the very least decreasing the harm grains put on your body, but you are also getting rid of a variety of other elements that are detrimental to your health, but that are prominent within the modern-day diet.