Grains yah or nah?

Jenni - posted on 09/06/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on grains lately. So I'm curious about everyone's position on the topic.



Are grains essential to a healthy diet as recommended by our food guides that considers grains to be the largest stable in a healthy diet?



Should we cut back?



What are the benefits or concerns about grains?

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Sherri - posted on 09/12/2012

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When things were tough during the 30's & 40's we saw a lot of grains come into play because most people would add bread to every meal because it was inexpensive and would fill hungry tummies without having to buy so much expensive meats etc. My grandmother used to feed my parents and even us when we visited toast w/our cereal, sandwiches for lunch, bread & butter for dinner w/some kind of pasta and a small portion of chicken etc. It helped them get by financially and let them still feed their families.

Charlie - posted on 09/06/2012

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Food sensitivities aside (obviously you would steer clear of foods that song work well with you) the no grain diet was made famous by Dr Mercola (which is enough to make me roll my eyes) and in true Mercola style the theory is not peer reviewed, it's science is wishy washy and diets like it are based on the idea if paeleolithoc man didn't need grains neither do we.......never mind our digestive systems have evolved since then :/



Food should be about balance and making the right choices like choosing unrefined grains over refined grains and having a broad range of foods to get your daily nutrition requirements from.



You can get the same nutrients else where but whole grains are a readily available source packed full of nutrients and fibre all in the one food.

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as far as i know, it's the refined white processed grain products tat are the problem because all the nutrition has been stripped and crappy processed stuff put in. if you are eating unrefined grains (whole wheat/whole grean bread and pasta and brown rice) then it is ok in moderation

Rosie - posted on 09/10/2012

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i think they are fine in moderation-i don't think they they are necessary at all, and can cause some harm with phytic acid leaching minerals out of your body. but i do think that you can avoid that by soaking or sprouting whole grains, and even if you don't do that i think in moderation they are fine as long as you can get your minerals in other ways at different times so the phytic acid in them doesn't cause problems. i just don't think they are essential at all. you can get fiber and the small amount of nutrients they provide from other sources.

they also raise your blood sugar-even whole grains- and raising your blood sugar often, creates inflammation in your arteries, which cholesterol is sent to repair and can possibly oxidize causing plaque. more antioxidants would be needed to combat this, so i would replace some of the grains i eat with veggies and fruit to help with that.:)

Sherri - posted on 09/10/2012

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I have no concerns and my take as long as you eat a well balanced diet grains are perfectly fine in moderation.

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Beth - posted on 09/16/2012

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Some people have an allergy or intolerance to certain grains, but I have read many, many legitimate articles by doctors, and have also been advised by my own doctor, that if you don't have issues with grains there's no benefit to cutting them out of your diet. Regularly consuming whole grains can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer, as well as help you manage a healthy weight and keep a regular digestive cycle.

Stifler's - posted on 09/14/2012

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I believe they are unnecessary. But it's one of the only things my kids will eat. At least it's whole meal I guess. I also love cake.

Momma - posted on 09/12/2012

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That is soo very true, Sherri! It is a good staple when finances are thin. I mean one must feed their family, it is inexpensive - for the most part - and goes a long way.

Momma - posted on 09/12/2012

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One also needs to remember that just because something says "Whole Wheat" does not mean it is, it simply means it is made with a percentage of whole wheat flour. This also holds true for things that say "Multi grain". More often than not, this just means that it is made with multiple grained flours. Neither of these are that great for you. It must say Whole grain, otherwise it is pretty much crap.



As others have stated, moderation is key. It is key in every part of life, not only food. ;)



~MeMe



**Edited to fix stuff**

Momma - posted on 09/12/2012

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We do eat grains, we do our best to eat whole grains. My doctor and gastroenterologist recommend whole grains. Yes, a part of the recommendation is for the fiber but it is also for many other nutrients you do not get from fruits and/or veggies. Also, you can only find psyllium fiber in cereals OR nasty drinks (like Metamucil). I prefer to go the whole grain cereal way, eating a cup of bran over drinking a cup of Metamucil is by far more appealing to me. ;)



I think it is also easy to forget that nuts, milk, fruits and veggies are also carbs, just like grains. The only thing is milk and fruits are often simple carbs and they make your blood sugar rise fast. However, whole grains are complex carbs, as are some veggies. The good thing about these are that they do not make your blood sugar rise fast and then fall, they keep you full longer and you are less likely to over-eat. They recommend complex carbs take up 50% of your daily diet, so including some whole grains is not a bad thing IMO (and many doctor and health advisers). I could not sit there and eat 6-7 cups of fruit and veggies everyday. I need a combination of things, to keep me interested and happy. ;)



The grains that are going to cause your blood sugar to rise are those refined ones. White flour is great for this and really should be steered away from, as much as possible. We still eat them, though, in moderation. Also, throw some fruits in there, as many of these rise your blood sugar, too - I actually cannot eat apples, pears or banana's because they cause me to feel ill, hence fast rising blood sugar levels.



Info on what I believe to be true

This is the exact info my doctor and gastroenterologist explained to me, as well.





Unlike complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, simple carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to elevate rapidly. Commonly found in processed foods such as sweets, candy and other products, simple carbs digest very quickly, increasing your blood glucose levels and causing your body to pour out insulin. As a result of the fluctuation, your mood becomes less stable, increasing the chances of anxiety, stress and irritation.



Simple Carb Basics

According to the Mayo Clinic, simple carbohydrates differ from complex carbohydrates due to their chemical makeup. Although both carb types are composed of sugars and starches, complex carbohydrates are found primarily in legumes, grains, potatoes, peas, corn and starchy vegetables, while simple carbs are found in fruits, milk, candy and other processed and sugary foods. While complex carbs tend to have a calming effect, simple carbs can sometimes wreak havoc on the moods of individuals whose blood sugar levels are already imbalanced.




http://www.livestrong.com/article/497598...



Health Benefits

Consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Consuming foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, as part of a healthy diet, may reduce constipation.

Eating whole grains may help with weight management.

Eating grain products fortified with folate before and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects during fetal development.



Nutrients

Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).

Dietary fiber from whole grains or other foods, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.



The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin play a key role in metabolism – they help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Many refined grains are enriched with these B vitamins.



Folate (folic acid), another B vitamin, helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.



Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years have iron-deficiency anemia. They should eat foods high in heme-iron (meats) or eat other iron containing foods along with foods rich in vitamin C, which can improve absorption of non-heme iron. Whole and enriched refined grain products are major sources of non-heme iron in American diets.



Whole grains are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.




http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups...



~MeMe

April - posted on 09/12/2012

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I think in the US we eat far too much grain than we we need to. I agree with the pp that they are fine in moderation, but I know many families that eat bread with every single meal. Not just one piece of bread but several per meal. I just think there are better things to add to your plate than a bunch of bread (or rice or insert grain). I've been trying to educate my family, but they're a lost cause. They think only white bread is harmful. They eat a lot of whole grains. Whole grain this and whole grain that. It's still grain, lol.

Elfrieda - posted on 09/06/2012

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I'm unsure, too. It seems like a lot of people are either now celiac or jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon for other reasons. I know that white bread is basically as nutritious as drywall (thanks, Dad, I've never been able to enjoy it after that description when I was 9 or so) but I love whole wheat bread and I like baking, so I'm going with "in moderation is fine". :) I have never experienced all those symptoms that the gluten-is-poison people keep going on about, so I'm leaning toward thinking that some people are allergic to it and some aren't, just like to peanuts. It doesn't mean peanuts are unhealthy.



I do get whole wheat flour that still has the germ in it from an Amish mill nearby, and I use it instead of white flour for almost everything. I've heard a theory (from the Amish man who runs the mill) that eating only a tiny piece of the wheat is actually causing all these problems but if you eat the whole thing it digests much better. It goes bad within a month or two, so I keep some in the cupboard and the rest in the freezer. (the preservation issue was the whole reason they started taking the germ out in the first place.)

Firebird - posted on 09/06/2012

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Some people are sensitive to certain kinds of food. People are allergic to strawberries and peanuts and spinach, that doesn't mean they're unhealthy for everyone to eat. I don't think that any one food should be the largest staple in a healthy diet. I'm all about balance and moderation.

Johnny - posted on 09/06/2012

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To be honest, I have no idea. I don't think that they should be the largest portion of our diet, but I hear so much conflicting information about their benefits from so many sources, both reliable and unreliable, that I don't feel like I could possibly form an informed opinion. We eat pretty much just whole grains, not a lot of wheat, but we do eat spelt, rice, quinoa, couscous, and barley. I love barley. I have not found that my personal health nor that of my family seems to be effected negatively by eating grains. I have read a lot of people listing a lot of negative symptoms that come from eating grains that we simply just don't have. We have kept an eye open for any sort of gluten or other intolerance in our daughter, and she doesn't seem to have any problems. Obviously, if any of us had celiac disease or a less severe form of gluten intolerance we would give it up. But unless that happens, I plan to continue to enjoy blueberry pancakes on Sunday mornings and the occasional really great baguette.

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