Where Should Grains Fall into Your Diet…
With so many diets out there, knowing what to eat can be confusing. Even if you aren’t on any specific diet plan, you still want to monitor what goes into our precious bodies! One thing I personally get confused on is what to do about grains. So many diets nowadays call for either low grain or (if possible) no grains at all. So what is the answer… are you supposed to eat as much grains as possible, or avoid grains altogether?
This is really a tricky trick question. No, really, like a trick question. Because there are two basic types of grain categories: Whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains, such as wheat flour, contain nutrients and fiber. Essentially, no modifications done to the genetic makeup of the grain whatsoever, meaning the three parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) are all still there. Refined grains are nutrient poor, because they lose those key qualities to them during the processing. Specifically, it loses the bran and germ part of itself. With the removal of the bran and germ, 25 percent of the grain’s protein and about seventeen key nutrients are lost.
Refined grains are also high in carbs that get digested and absorbed very quickly, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar and subsequent hunger and cravings. They are linked to obesity and many metabolic diseases. Numerous studies show that people who eat the most whole grains have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and tend to live longer. (You can check out some those studies HERE, HERE, and HERE!)
So why do so many diets call for no/low grains? Well 1) so many grains out on the market are refined grains, so it is easier for some just to say forget them altogether. And 2) grains are high in carbohydrates, so they are unsuitable for people who are on a low-carb diet. Diabetics may not tolerate a lot of grains, because of the large amount of carbohydrate.
So, what do you do now? Eat grain… eat no grain… CONSUME GRAINS UNTIL YOU BECOME A PIECE OF WHEAT?! As with most things in nutrition, all of this depends entirely on the individual. If you like grains and feel good eating them, then there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to avoid them as long as you’re eating mostly whole grains. On the other hand, if you don’t like grains or if they make you feel bad, then there is no harm in avoiding them either. Grains are not essential, and there is no nutrient in there that you can’t get from other foods. At the end of the day, grains are good for some, but not others. If you like grains, eat them. If you don’t like them, or they make you feel bad, then avoid them. It’s as simple as that.
*Be Proud, But Never Satisfied*