Happy August! Wow?right? It?s August 2015. I remember thinking, when I was in college ?geez, in the year 2,000, I will be THIRTY-FOUR years old. Holy crap!…I?ll be ancient.? Ha! Funny how our definition of ?ancient? changes. My current definition of ?ancient?, as I approach my 50th birthday, is 110 years old. Or maybe the Egyptian pyramids. Yah, the pyramids. Now THAT is ancient. Speaking of pyramids?
The USDA Food Pyramid, now called ?My Pyramid,? is?well?erroneous. Off the record, I think that the power of food lobbyists (like the dairy and grain industries) had more to do with this Pyramid than the goal of building of vibrant health. Musings on politics and capitalism aside, I?ve got some important Body Sass info for ya today, to help clear out a major confusion in our present-day food culture.
A common question in my work of helping people lose weight, gain energy, and create a vibrant life for themselves is this: ?Is whole grain bread and pasta really better for me than white bread and pasta? Cuz they taste yucky.?
NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! A thousand times no.? (said with love & support, not in a shout-y way)
Why do they ask that? This is straight from the USDA MyPyramid: ?At least half of the grains you consume should be whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber which helps to keep your digestive system in good order, and keep your cholesterol level down.? And, grains are the food group that they are suggesting you eat the most of. Which is uncool because, right behind sugar, grains are one of the largest contributors to our rampant obesity issue, and a host of other issues, like diabetes T2 and heart disease.
This is a very complex subject. Here is what you need to know, in the context of a brief rant?er, cough, cough?blog post:
Grains, ALL grains, are simply sugars in a more complex form (longer and/or branched polysaccharide chains) than in table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. You eat pasta, and about 20-30 minutes later, those more complex sugar chains are broken down to look a whole lot like a bag of M&Ms in your digestive system. NOT a ?health food.?
The ?whole grain? shout-out on food labels is just marketing smoke & mirrors. There is a pittance of whole grains in there. Grains are NOT the best source of fiber. A typical piece of whole-grain bread has 1.9 grams of fiber in it. A typical slice of white bread has 0.8 grams of fiber in it. Not a huge improvement, eh?
An avocado has TEN grams of fiber in it. A cup of raspberries?…EIGHT grams. How many grams of fiber should we get a day? At least 45 grams! You?d have to eat loaves of bread or plates and plates of pasta to get enough fiber from these grains. And you?d be basically sending out a big invitation to obesity, diabetes, and many other disease states. AND, the avocado and raspberries, which are providing over two-thirds of your fiber goal for the day, are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, phytochemicals and a virtual plethora of vibrant health happiness. The grains?…not.
So, yes, fiber is uber-important and is key in many aspects of health, but grains are not the preferred vehicle. Grains and sugars should be the tiny little slice of the food pyramid. There?s a reason why there are entire books written with names like ?Wheat Belly? and ?Grain Brain? and there are diets like ?The No-Grain Diet? and the Paleo Diet (which excludes grains). Houston, we have a grain problem.
Mainstream grains, whole-grain or otherwise, are generally not health-building, with the exception of oatmeal and brown rice, which should still be eaten in moderation.
The food you eat builds your body, every day, for better or for worse.? Make choices for health!
With love & clarity,