Diets Without Grains

There’s a growing interest in diets without grains. The Paleo diet, often called the caveman diet is one of those. A lot of this focus comes from wider spread information about gluten intolerance Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains that are hard to digest. People with celiac disease also have a good reason to avoid gluten, which triggers an immune response that damages the small intestines. Not all grains have gluten. Oats, amaranth, rice, buckwheat and sorghum are a few that don’t.

Grains are high on the glycemic index.

Food that’s high on the glycemic index make your blood sugar rise fast, spike insulin production and leave you begging for more as it drains you of energy after the high. That can increase addictive behavior and cause insulin resistance that leads to diabetes. Eliminating grains can also cause higher bad cholesterol levels and may trigger or exacerbate leaky gut and inflammation. Grains are also linked to weight gain and heart disease.

Grain free diets aren’t that radical.

It might sound impossible to do, but if you’re avoiding processed food you’re almost eating grain free. You still can eat nuts, seeds, beans, fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy and even potatoes and other starchy vegetables. What you won’t be eating is corn, which is technically a grain, and food made from grain like bread, cookies, pasta, cereal and pastries. Eliminating grain is a step above eliminating gluten. It includes eliminating rice, corn and quinoa. Studies show that these can cause inflammation, too.

The drawbacks to a grain-free diet.

Grains contain nutrients like B vitamins. Those are particularly important to your nervous system and energy level. You can get B vitamins from other sources such as eggs, dairy, meat, beans, nuts and seeds, dark leafy vegetables and fruit like avocados and bananas. Grains are also an important source of insoluble fiber that aids your digestion. You have to increase food like nuts, beans, cauliflower, and other fruits and vegetables to increase your intake and avoid constipation and other digestive problems.

  • Diets that are free from grain have been used for years to help improve conditions like anxiety, depression, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder and ADD.
  • Some people believe that the negative symptoms from grain come from the processing and not the actual grain. The processing strips away most of the nutrients and change them to an empty source of calories.
  • Psuedocereals, like amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat can be used sparingly on a grain-free diet and used like cereal. They are not technically considered grains.
  • If you need flour, almond and coconut flour are an alternative to grain flour. Just be aware that part of the benefit of a grain-free diet is avoiding sugary products like baked goods.

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