I WONDER? WOULD YOU VOLUNTARILY EAT GLUE OR PLASTIC IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU TO? (NO MONEY INVOLVED.) IF YOU THINK THAT IT’S A STRANGE QUESTION I AGREE. HOWEVER IF YOU ARE AMONG THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EATING REFINED WHITE FLOUR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP AND TRANS FATTY ACIDS, THEN YOU ARE MOST CERTAINLY EATING GLUE AND PLASTIC.
How is that possible, you ask? Glue and plastic are not food, have absolutely NO nutritional value, and, as a matter of fact can be downright dangerous. I can say the very same thing about refined (white) flour, trans-fatty acids and high fructose corn syrup. None of these have any nutritional value, they are not found in nature, are manufactured in a lab, and if you eat enough of it, it can lead to a myriad of health problems. I would say that, given that information, it qualifies as dangerous.
This is going to be the first in a series that highlights information about what is in the food we eat. This will focus on whole grains and refined grain products. Subsequent articles will cover health issues associated with trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.
We hear that it’s important to eat whole grains, but do you know why?
The wheat grain is a kernel that has a husk, bran, endosperm and germ. Why are these important?:
• The germ contains hundreds of important substances such as antioxidants, healthy fats, minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins.
• The bran is the edible part of the kernels husk and contains fiber, minerals and phytochemicals. The starchy middle part (called the endosperm) is all that is left when the wheat kernel is processed and refined into white flour.
• The endosperm is the sugar, or the food that the kernel would use to germinate into a new plant. While it contains energy for the growing plant, there are relatively few nutrients in this part of the kernel.
When grains are processed, all that is left is this starchy middle. No nutrients, no fiber; not much of anything good other than empty calories. While grains are “enriched”, this simply means that some of those original nutrients are gone and the returned ingredients are synthetically produced. These synthetic vitamins, by the way, are produced from petroleum and come from coal tar made in China.
There are many health risks that are associated with eating refined grains. The more refined a product, the less it resembles what it looked like in nature. By removing the bran and the germ, nutrients that are vital to your health, are lost. Magnesium, a mineral vital to life is lost in the processing of grain. We are seeing more and more adults and children with magnesium deficiencies.
The rate of diabetes, a disease where too much sugar is in the blood, is skyrocketing in this country and is affecting people at younger and younger ages. Foods that are highly refined, especially grains, cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and create many other negative side effects. Decreased energy, mood swings, poor concentration and sugar cravings are just some of the problems caused by too much sugar in the blood. By changing your diet and making small changes you can witness vast changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Remember the goal is to consumer fewer and fewer refined foods. The majority of our food should be as close to what it looked like in nature or at least as intact as possible. For instance a true whole grain should look like a small grain, not a shape, or string or chip. For example, a rice grain is a true grain. Of course, it has been cleaned and somewhat processed; but hasn’t been changed from its original shape. This is what is meant by eating “whole grains.” Quinoa for instance is another whole grain that is loaded with nutrients. It is a small grain that has a wonderful nutty flavor; and packs more nutrition and protein than almost any other grain available. This article is not meant to put a negative spin on whole grain products, but rather to enlighten you as to the delicious and healthier alternatives that are most beneficial to the body.
By simply changing your diet to avoid these three small yet widely used food ingredients, we can greatly improve the health of our own bodies. These food ingredients have a tremendous impact on our bodies, and avoiding them is your best medicine!
For more information and some great tasting whole grain recipes visit www.merylb.com.
Please feel free to contact Meryl with any questions or comments. Meryl has a private nutrition practice in Weston and she provides advice on a myriad of health issues. Please call for more information or visit her on the web!