1. Before 10,000 years ago our main food source was wild animal meat, not grains. Since the birth of agriculture there has been a steady increase in the amount of grains consumed daily. Ten thousand years is a very short time when you compare it to the 2.6 million of years of human evolution. Over the past 130 years in the western world where chronic disease is very widespread people have consumed a greater percentage of their calories from processed grains and gluten. Many scientists believe our digestive systems have not adapted to digesting grains. Our hunter gather ancestors were taller, free of cavities, and had low infant mortality rates which indicates a nutritious diet. They also did not have the degenerative conditions we have today such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
2. All grains contain a phytic acid which inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. Soaking grains overnight can eliminate some of these issues but most people are not eating bread and pastas that have not been properly prepared. Phytates can also interfere and neutralize our digestive enzymes in the stomach increasing disorders such as heartburn.
3. Whole grains are stripped of nutrients such as vitamin E, zinc, chromium, manganese and iron during processing of bread, pasta and flour.
4. Grains contain a proven cancer causing substance called Aflotoxin which is formed by molds that grow when in storage.
6. Approximately 1 out of 100 people have Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks it’s own small intestine. A majority of people with Celiac are unaware because they have no gastrointestinal symptoms. It is estimated that 20 percent of Americans have autoimmune diseases and not eating gluten can help to calm the immune system in these people.
7. Experts believe that 81 percent of people have some form of gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance is very common for people of Northern European origin.
8. Eating gluten over time weakens the digestive system which can start a process called Leaky Gut syndrome where tiny cracks develop in the protective intestinal lining letting undigested food particles into the blood stream. These gluten antigens flare up a protective reaction by the immune system that can lead to allergic, cognitive, physical or emotional food sensitivity reactions.
9. Gluten grains contains compounds called exorphins which are addictive and leave many people in denial about negative impact these grains have on health and digestion.
10. Eating gluten causes inflammation which shuts down blood flow to the frontal cortex. This part of the brain that help us focus, plan, organize, manage emotions, and use our short term memory. This decreased blood supply to the brain is powerfully linked with depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
Action Steps: I recommend an elimination diet to take out all grains and gluten for 2-3 weeks and see if your energy, mood and digestion improves. Currently most gluten tests are unreliable and expensive. The normal tests at your doctors office may not tell you about gluten intolerance until there is extreme gut damage. Ditch the gluten for just a few weeks and you will be sold on the benefits. Here is a great guide to getting started on a gluten free lifestyle: