Thursday, March 7, 2013

Think About It Thursday - Are you blindly following the AHA?

I don't mean AHA moment a la Oprah.  I mean AHA like the American Heart Association.  Now I don't want to discredit their hard work but I do take issue with their pushing of whole grains.  Full disclosure - I am currently doing my Masters of Science in Holistic Nutrition so I am still learning lots but I have been reading about health for years now!  One of our recent assignments was an analysis of the Nurses' Health Study.  Check it out, it's seriously worth the read.  They've been following nurses for decades now (the reasons for choosing nurses is on the website), tracking their eating habits, incidence of diseases and death rates.  Across the board they have found that heart disease is linked far more to high glycemic carbohydrate intake than it is to fat intake.  In fact, diets higher in protein and fat have been shown to be much better for heart health while diets high in grains, even whole grains, have been shown to have some links to heart disease.

You're probably thinking "but wait, we've always been told to eat our whole grains?? how can this be?"  Well, a few points to think of: 1) who has a lot to gain from a country dependent on grains? The government who's been subsidizing farmers for years (particularly wheat, corn and soy....also the most GMO exposed crops).  2) The AHA has put their Health Check mark on all kinds of grain filled products - oh, and these products have to pay the AHA to be a part of this program.  Big Farming has Big Money behind get the drift.

I am not going to tell you what to eat of course.  You should use your own judgement and seek help from trusted sources like doctors and perhaps more importantly (in my view) nutritionists.  But you should ask questions about who is pushing what to you and why.  Because the more we've become a grain based society, the fatter and unhealthier we've gotten.  That doesn't add up for me.

For myself, I've given up grains for the most part.  I will still partake if I have a craving for them but then it will only be exactly what I want - for example my favorite multi-grain bread from Canada, a bowl of white rice or the huge wheat tortillas from Lupe Tortilla (if you're from Texas, you know what I mean! If not, I included a picture so you can see just how huge, and delicious, they are).  I don't eat brown rice under the guise that it's healthier for me - it's still a grain, and because it still has its husk on, it actually has more anti-nutrients (grains are filled with anti-nutrients right alongside those nutrients everyone pushes) and it retains more arsenic because the husk is still on (more on rice and arsenic in another post).  90% of my diet includes no grains whatsoever.  Between the frankenwheat, the GMO corn and soy, the arsenic in the rice and the Nurses' Health Study, it just seems logical to me to avoid grains for the most part.

Are grains a part of your diet? Do you trust things like the AHA Health Check? Do you eat whole grains or refined grains or no grains at all? Why?

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