Hidden Sugars & Inflammatory Grains

Conventional advice has focused on low-fat diets for weight loss and heart disease prevention, but again and again, researchers are confirming that refined carbohydrates from sugars and grains is the primary culprit behind skyrocketing obesity rates, along with related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Historical data also clearly shows that when indigenous cultures abandon their traditional diets for a Western style diet high in sugar and flour, they inevitably begin to suffer these health problems, even though they have been virtually nonexistent in their culture before.

Your body produces insulin to keep your blood sugar at the appropriate level. Any meal or snack high in grains and sugar-based carbohydrates typically generates a rapid rise in blood glucose. To compensate for this your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream, which lowers your blood sugar to keep you from dying. Consuming a diet consistently high in sugar and grains will cause your body over time to be “sensitized” to insulin and requires more and more of it to get the job done. Eventually, you become insulin resistant, and then diabetic.

If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or are overweight, it is highly likely that you are eating too many grains – yes, even unrefined whole grains – as this is the most common culprit causing your insulin level to become abnormal. When your insulin levels rise due to an excess of carbohydrates, they send your body a hormonal message telling it to store fat while holding on to the fat that is already there. So not only will excess carbohydrates (which quickly convert to sugar) make you overweight, they will effectively hamper your weight loss efforts too.

If you want to shed excess pounds or maintain an ideal weight, you must severely restrict carbohydrates (sugars, fructose and grains) and increase healthy fat consumption. Sugars and refined carbohydrates do not create a feeling of fullness –also called “satiety”. High quality fats do this. It seems counter-intuitive to eat more healthy fat to lose weight, but this is how the body works. Sugars and grains create a chronic feeling of hunger, and desire to eat more. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to shift your diet away from processed foods toward a diet of whole (preferably organic) foods. Avoid boxed (even “organic” boxed) products, and instead choose the base ingredients for your meal to make from scratch. Eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. Prioritize wild, grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit and fermented/sprouted nuts and seeds in moderation. Especially avoid Wheat, Corn and Soy. Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the Blood Sugar Solution writes:

“This new modern wheat may look like wheat, but it is different in three important ways that all drive obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more. It contains a super starch, amylopectin A, that is super fattening, a form of super gluten that is super inflammatory, and [acts like] a super drug that is super addictive and makes you crave and eat more”.

For an excellent and complete overview on Wheat – PaleoLeap has a fantastic article here: https://paleoleap.com/what-is-wrong-with-grains/(link is external)

For Information on the pitfalls of SOY – https://paleoleap.com/dangers-soy/(link is external)

Corn and Other Problematic Foods/Grains – https://paleoleap.com/5-commonly-confused-foods-every-paleo-eater-know/(link is external)

Sweeteners to Avoid:

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): Worse than sugar! its made by a process that converts starch (glucose) into a form of sugar (fructose) that the body can’t use very easily. It is associated with liver damage, obesity and developmental problems in growing children.

Agave: Made in the same way as High Fructose Corn Syrup, this dangerous sweetener is sold in health food stores. It can contain up to 90% free manufactured fructose.

Processed Fruit Juices: These are naked sugar – no fiber. Most of it is fructose which all needs to be processed in the liver, leading to the same kind of problems as are seen in alcoholics.

Aspartame: This is an artificial sweetener in NutraSweet and Equal – it is toxic to the nervous system. When digested, it breaks down into methanol and formaldehyde, both poisons. Aspartame can cause headaches, seizures, brain cancer, nervous disorders and damaged vision. Even though aspartame claims it will help you lose weight – in animal studies it caused weight gain.

Sucralose (Splenda): Causes many problems in test animals including reduced immunity, decreased red blood cells, problems with liver and kidneys, problems with pregnancy and low-birth-weight babies. Sucralose also disrupts normal intestinal flora.

Other Sweeteners to Avoid: Corn Syrup, Fructose (including fruit juices), dextrose, glucose, brown rice syrup, imitation syrups, heated honey, stevia extracts that contain fillers, maltodextrin and sugar alcohols like xylitol, mannitol, erythritol and sorbitol.

Wendy McPhail, CNC, FDN, NBCCT

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