Eating mostly grain free and sugar free has cured my gastrointestinal issues. Although I suspect wheat/gluten to be the main problem, I don't know for sure, since I don't eat any grains except for rice. Rice doesn't seem to cause me any problems.
As a result of my dietary changes, I no longer experience chronic heartburn, which was at the point of being intolerable.
You need to figure out what works for you. Some people cannot tolerate grains or gluten at all, and others are fine with them.
Many people are shocked when they feel significantly better on a gluten or grain free diet, since there is always the fear that it is a "fad" diet.
I am grain free most of the time. I have noticed that my blood sugars are very steady when I stay away from grains. None of that ravenous eat anything available kind of hunger. I occasionally eat gluten free foods but mostly I get my carbs from vegetables. I rarely eat gluten because I react very badly to it.
Fitness Minutes: (70)
121 6/12/13 4:31 P
I don't do grains very well, I end up with bloat and inflamed gut. So, I avoid them MOST of the time, and try to be strict about gf (although the occasional small amount doesn't cause me too many problems.) Some people can handle them, some can't. Try each for a few weeks and see how your body responds. I had to do a LOT of experimenting to find what would work for me.
Note: Remember that if you decide to be grain free, CORN is also a grain. I swear I don't know why we act like it's a vegetable.
I've lost 50 pounds and kept it off for 6 years on an extremely high-carb diet based on whole grains. I get as much as 75% of calories from carbs. I don't necessarily recommend that for anyone else, ever, but it does show that grains will not kill you or make you fat.
Frankly, IMHO and in my experience, what matters is finding the types and combinations of foods that you like and find satisfying enough to stay within calorie limits. If I cut out grains, I just don't feel like I've eaten properly. If there's no grain, it doesn't feel like a meal, so I keep eating. Other people have that same reaction if there's no meat.
I have never seen any sort of study or even individual case where healthy people cut out white flour and sugar but kept whole grains and didn't control their weight and/or improve their health in other ways. Yes, you can lose weight by cutting out all grains, because you're reducing calories. You can also lose weight by cutting out all meats or all foods that are orange or all foods that have a "b" in their name, because you're reducing calories. But you probably don't have to, and it's probably not the easiest way.
I'm a big believer in doing the no-brainer things first. Cutting out white flour, sugar, fast food, and obvious junk is a no-brainer. Nobody has ever suggested that those things are necessary or beneficial. Eating more green veggies is a no-brainer; no one has ever suggested that they are in any way harmful (unless you have a specific medical issue).
Once you've conquered the no-brainers, THEN you eventually might have to tweak and make decisions about other things. But probably not. Chances are that the foods you like, minus junk and plus veggies, will form the healthy diet you need to get your weight under control.
By the way, there are NO studies that show anything about "wheat belly." That's the huge problem with that fad; it's all this one doctor's fantasy and assumptions. There's no science behind it. In his book, he says that since people have started to gain weight in roughly the same time frame that farmers have been growing short wheat, there "must be" something different about that wheat. He ignores the literally MILLIONS of other things that have changed in the same time period, and he never even bothered to call up an agricultural scientist to ask if and why wheat has changed. (It hasn't; the dwarf wheat he villifies is just an extremely old variety that became unpopular because it's not pretty, but has been rediscovered because it stands up to bad weather. It's not new, it's not genetically modified, it's not a frankenfood; it's just homely but tough. Farmers decided that not losing their entire crop every time there's a hailstorm is more important than having "amber waves of grain.")
Fitness Minutes: (830)
6/11/13 4:57 P
For me, life without grains is good! For you, maybe it is maybe it isn't. Try and see how you feel. I will say that going grain free is hard at first. I still slip every few weeks. But I feel so much better when I stay away from them. Don't be afraid to give it a try!
A diet that includes "whole grains" can be very healthy. And there are studies that show improved weights and nutrient intake on such a plan. I am not aware of one study that shows concern with an intake of whole grains in appropriate amounts. That means a study published in peer-reviewed, science journal.
Now, I am aware of the concern of a diet filled with highly processed grains, eaten in large amounts.
Becky SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
6/11/13 1:25 P
First of all, keep in mind the limitations of the "studies that show" whatever it is. The vast majority of nutritional studies rely on self-reported data from their subjects (notoriously unreliable) and are based on limited groups. Thanks to evolution, different groups around the world have evolved with the minor variations required for them to make the best use of the local foods (for example, and as a gross generality, Asians tend to process rice better, north Africans and southern Europeans tend to process grain better, native Americans tend to process corn better). Studies done in Asia may not have the same results as the same study done in Europe or Australia or North America. Scientists may report the results of their study accurately, and someone in the media may take bits and pieces of the results to publicise that the study did exactly the opposite of what the scientists concluded. I personally tend to go in search of the original study and results when I see something in the media, so that I can look at it without the media hype (pubmed is awesome).
Since we each have our own blend of genes, I don't believe that there is a "one-size-fits-all" healthy diet and think that we each have to experiment to see what works the best for us as individuals. The overall recommendations of vitamins and minerals seem to be pretty sound and have been proven over many decades and many regions, and so are a good place to start. You do, however, have to keep in mind that sources for these are going to vary depending on where something is grown (vegetables grown in volcanic soil, for instance, are much higher in iron content than vegetables grown in sedimentary soil).
I know some folks who feel better (and have the healthy blood counts to prove it) on low carb. I know others who can say the same while eating moderate to high carb. I have known both healthy and unhealthy folks in the vegan / vegetarian / primal camps. The one thing that seems to be consistent amongst the healthy folks that I personally know, is that they all researched their diet and are very aware of the nutrient content of their foods. They all seem to focus on making sure that they are getting their minimum vitamins and minerals, regardless of how they choose to balance their food groups to get there.
With all of that said, do you personally feel better or worse when you incorporate whole grains? Do you find it easier or more difficult to get sufficient vitamins and minerals? What is happening with your lipid panel and your blood sugars when you have more whole grains?
I personally enjoy the carb/protein/fat mix that is recommended here on Spark, although I tend to be closer to 55% carb / 25% protein / 20% fat. My sugars and lipids are where they should be, I find it super easy to hit my vitamin counts, and my guts are happy with this. I need to be higher in fibre than generally recommended (I aim for 35-45g per day), and find that I need grains in order to hit this.
You will have to play around with things to see what works the best for you.
Sorry for the novel - hope at least some of it is helpful!
Fitness Minutes: (0)
6/11/13 1:22 P
The short answer is grain-free. There's no medical or scientific evidence to support the inclusion of grains in our diet - they are convenience foods - easy to grow and very filling. Bread is probably the first processed food and one of the worst for putting on weight. My wife had a hard time losing weight until she went grain-free and stopped eating a lot of vegetable starches. Her diet is mainly vegetables and fruit - she has maintained a weight loss of 100lbs for close to 4 years now.
6/11/13 1:18 P
So then, BearClaw, are you a proponent of grain free?
Fitness Minutes: (15,376)
1,939 6/11/13 1:15 P
WildAngel72, you almost answered this for yourself. Do the experiment. Go without all grains for a month and see what happens. You have done this before, so you know you can do it. Then add back in some whole grains and see the difference (if you dare)!
You may be losing slower because you are older. You may also be losing slower because you are eating whole grains (an excellent source of carbs). For some of us, it doesn't matter where the carbs come from.
Also, those studies that show whole grains are better than white grains are done with low-fat dieters. That means the results are basically meaningless for someone trying to restrict carbs. The glycemic index (how much it affects your insulin response) is pretty similar between whole grains and pure table sugar. You do the figuring on that one!
Edited by: BEARCLAW6 at: 6/11/2013 (13:16)
6/11/13 1:05 P
I actually lost 100 lbs doing grain free/starch free about 8 years ago--the only thing that ever worked for me. I kept it off till I quit smoking and had some emotional trainwrecks happen in my life. Now that things are stabilized, I'm trying to lose the almost 50 lbs I regained. I was going to just do the same thing again, when I started hearing all about how whole grains actually increased weight loss in many people.
I don't eat any refined carbs--no white flour, no white rice, no noodles, no potatoes, no refined sugars... But I was enjoying how well faro stood in for rice with stir fries, and masqueraded so well as barley in soups that I can't really tell the difference. Bulgur wheat in meatloaf stretches the meat really well and replaces some of the fat with fiber. I thought I found the ticket--the way to have healthy carbs in my diet and still lose weight. But I did notice that the weight didn't come off like before, and then I started reading about "wheat belly" and grain free nutrition. I just want to do what's best for my body and my weight. I can't tell if my weight loss is slow this time because I'm older and my metabolism is different, or if it's because this time I've been eating these grains and carbs. It gets really frustrating when the nutrition experts can't agree on what's healthy and what's not.
Fitness Minutes: (1,690)
77 6/11/13 12:57 P
This is entirely up to you. I advocate that everyone try going without grains for a couple of weeks. You don't really realize what a major part of your life rice/noodles/oats/bread are until you go without them for a while. Then, once you have tried it, see if life is better or not. We are all different.
In thinking of 'fad diets' I am reminded that if a particular diet works for you and helps you stay fit and healthy, it isn't a fad. You could be the only person in the world that it work for, but for you it is the perfect thing. Believe me, 'balanced' eating with all things in moderation has been around for a much shorter time than low-carb or even grain-free. Which is the fad? These all work for someone.
Fitness Minutes: (83,339)
3,520 6/11/13 12:51 P
Whole grain is the way to go. I've lost 60 pounds while eating grain products.
Grain-free and gluten-free is just another fad diet, unless you have a legitimate medical reason to avoid these foods.
6/11/13 12:48 P
I'm trying so hard to make the healthiest and most weight-wise choices in my nutrition, and as usual, I'm seeing a lot of conflicting information in the media--and all, of course from experts telling us what "recent studies have shown."
I was seeing a lot of news buzz about whole grains actually aiding in weight loss, instead of hindering it like most low-carb diets suggest. I started incorporating organic faro, bulgur wheat, and quinoa into my meals. "Studies have shown" that you should try to get at least one serving of whole grains into each meal of the day for heart health and healthy weight.
BUT THEN..."Studies have shown that grains make us fat, and in many ppl cause a phenomenon called 'wheat belly.' The ideal diet is a grain-free vegetable based diet with limited proteins from meat sources." Naturally, this came from a slew of experts and years of research, too.
So which is it? Whole grain or no grain? Am I sabotaging my weight loss efforts by adding these whole grains to by diet? Do the benefits outweigh the downside? Is there even a downside? How can so many experts completely contradict each other? How can scientific studies show that we should eat whole grains at every meal of the day, and then show that we shouldn't consume them at all? If anyone here has any insights, please share.
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