Grains tend to form a very prominent part of the modern diet. However, you may be surprised to know that they’re also potentially health-harming in a number of ways, even in their natural, unprocessed state. They can cause fatness, blood sugar disruption and cravings for sugar, amongst other things.
What are grains?
Grains come in two states: Processed grains include foods made from refined flours, like confectionary, pies, pastas and breads (even the whole-wheat versions). Whole grains consist of rice, millet, quinoa, amarinth, cornmeal, spelt, wild rice, barley, buckwheat, oats, rye and kamut in their natural form, as well as any of these grains that have been ground whole into flour (called stone-ground).
The problem with grains
A word of warning: regular consumption of both processed and whole grains can result in high insulin. This can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease, as well as ‘overweight’ or obesity.
By way of explanation, grains belong to the macronutrient group carbohydrates (the other macronutrients are proteins and fats). Carbohydrates are the only foodstuffs able to alter blood sugar because they break down very quickly into sugars in the body. Processed carbs are broken down more rapidly into sugar than their whole-grain counterpart, making them even more problematic.
Simplistically put, when blood sugar rises, the pancreas produces insulin, which results in a signal being given to various cells to ‘open’ to receive this excess glucose. Usually the muscle cells will be ‘asked’ first, but they’re invariably full
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