Whole grains are a food we are told to include generously in our diet. Whole grains are supposedly beneficial for heart health, for healthy blood sugar levels, and for overall health. Even the food pyramid––the nutritional standard for many years––recommended enormous portions of grain-based foods for good health. Excuse the pun, but the idea that these foods are healthy has been deeply engrained into our lives.
Some other research, however, contradicts the idea that whole grains are the paragon of health foods they are often touted as being.
To begin with, we know that grains are commonly infested with fungi and mold, particularly during the silo and transportation process. This is an inescapable part of our industrialized food system. Grains stored in silos are often infest with molds, which can produce powerful poisons known as mycotoxins. While some of these poisons are regulated, others are not, and it is thought that if you are regularly eating grains, you are invariably getting trace amounts of these mycotoxins in your diet. Of course one cigarette doesn’t kill you, but smoking over several years can have profound health consequences. Regularly consuming trace amounts of these mycotoxins might facilitate poor health in much the same way.
Even for people who do not suffer from celiac disease, there is evidence that grains can be inflammatory. The question is, is it the grain, itself, or the mycotoxins that hitch a ride along that are causing the inflammation? Regardless, this may make everyone think twice before consuming foods like bread, pasta, crackers, and other foods made with grains.
We are told that whole grains are healthy, because they contain a high amount of fiber. This is true, and fiber is a nutrient that is sorely lacking in many people’s diets. Fiber is known to help keep you regular, assist in healthy cholesterol levels, and it also promotes gut health and supports healthy bacteria therein. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why whole grains are recommended so heavily.
But grains are not the only source of fiber available to us. In fact, there are many healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which contain an abundance of fiber. Many of these are on The Kaufmann Diet, inducing broccoli, avocado, blue berries, green apples, and nuts. If you are getting these foods in your diet, you are getting enough fiber in your diet, and you are getting without the added risk of fungal poisons in your food.
If you feel like you must have some type of grain in your food, opt for pseudo grains, such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat or millet. These are seeds, not actual grains, and are far less likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins. These are high in fiber, protein, and a variety of other nutrients.
Ultimately, it is very easy to get plenty of fiber and nutrition in your diet without buying into the hype that whole grains are necessary for health.