Grains have become such a staple of the American diet that they take up the
majority of the square footage at any local supermarket! Despite the food pyramid's
efforts to convince you that grains should be the largest percentage of your
nutritional intake, they will single handedly destroy your weight loss efforts or any
efforts you make to improve your body composition. Sounds like a bold statement,
doesn't it? Good! Am I suggesting that the "experts" may be giving you the wrong
advice? YES! But let's look at why...

Among my many problems with grains, the first and foremost is the effect it has on
your glucose levels, thus eliciting an unhealthy insulin (and other hormones)
response. Humans have developed the insulin response to help us metabolize sugar
and to carry excess glucose out of the bloodstream. However, we as a human race
have simply not evolved enough (nor do I believe we ever will) to handle the mass
quantities of carbohydrates with which we tax our systems. And make no mistake
about it, the average American's carbohydrate intake comes from grains!

So why is this a problem? Simply put, grains elicit a physiological response that favors
fat storage. All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. Unless you've just
completed a long, physically taxing workout (in which case those grain-based foods
could be used in restocking depleted glycogen stores), then those carbohydrates will
more than likely be stored as fat. In addition, the hormonal production that occurs to
respond to elevated glucose levels also taxes the adrenal system, the pancreas, and
the immune system. That's not the way I would want to approach a fat loss program!

As far as the nutritional value of grains...they truly fall short of being the complete
nutritional sources they're cracked up to be. What they may give you in fiber, they
lack in many other categories. They have been associated with vitamin and mineral
deficiencies, and they have also been proven to reduce the body's ability to process
Vitamin D.

Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply make healthier food choices, the
question is the same. Why not get the same nutrients from the sources that won't
come back and haunt you? For example, you can get the same B6 vitamins from
chicken that you can get from whole wheat pasta...and without the havoc on your
blood sugar! Similarly, if it's fiber you're after, why not get it from real fruit and
vegetable sources? In terms of nutrient density, grains can't hold a candle to whole,
natural food sources!

Hold on, there's more to this grain story! There are other substances that lurk in
grains that can really wreak havoc on the digestive system. Specifically, gluten and
lectins... both of which you may say initiate digestive chaos!

Gluten is the large, water-soluble protein that is found in most common grains like
wheat, rye, and barley (By the way, it's also the primary adhesive in wallpaper
paste). Gluten has proven to elicit a perceptible inflammatory response in most
people. Over time, those who are particularly gluten intolerant can also develop an
array of dismal medical conditions, including joint pain, acid reflux, and autoimmune

Lectins, though more mild, are still natural toxins that are found in most common
grain varieties. Researchers have uncovered that lectins can actually inhibit the natural
functions of the GI tract, allowing an array of undigested molecules into the
bloodstream. Over time, this repeated taxing of the digestive system can lead to the
further development of autoimmune disorders.

Here's the bottom line (for those of you who enjoy mathematical equations): grains
= glucose spikes = insulin response = fat storage. Not a great formula for success if
you're trying to lose weight or burn fat from your body. A diet low in grains has been
shown to manage your blood sugar, and therefore decrease your risk for problems
associated with diabetes. Also, low grain diets will help you lower your blood
pressure, alleviate digestive problems, minimize inflammation, and

Look, it's not going to be easy to eliminate grains completely from your diet,
especially because they've become such a staple of the American diet. But take it one
step at a time and have patience with the process. Make small changes first- replace
your cereal with eggs, replace your sandwiches with salads, and pile some veggies on
your plate for dinner instead of rice or pasta! Your waistline, and your health will
thank you.

If you feel that your carbohydrate intake has hindered your weight loss, share your
struggles with us and the community by leaving your comments below. We'll answer
and questions and you are sure to get some helpful hints!

Check back with us soon, as we will be following up on this article with some tips on
developing strategies to greatly reduce or eliminate grains from your diet!

About The Author

Dennys Passeto has been a certified Personal Trainer and owner of Achieve Fitness
since 1998. Achieve Fitness services clients in Maryland, DC and Virginia in their
home, work, gym and outdoors. They are the only company who guarantee results.
Visit them at
for a FREE personal training session.

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by Dennys Passeto
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Herbs & Spices


Have the food experts been
misleading you?

Whole grains. Day after day we are
absolutely bombarded with them and
their wide range of associations in our
culture. Some of them we recognize
as unhealthy - like spaghetti dinners,
donuts, apple pie, birthday cake, etc.

However, there are others that are
just as solidly etched into our modern
American psyche that appear, and in
fact are marketed as healthy - corn
on the cob, whole wheat bagels, bran
muffins... the list goes on and on.
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