Why I don’t call wholegrains a ‘health’ food!?

Sep 23, 2016 | Healing & Herbs, Nutrition


Today I’m going to share with you why I don’t think whole grains are a ‘health food’.


I know, I know you might start hurling your whole grain bread at the computer but I am ok with that.


It’s a bit of a crazy wild and slightly unfashionable stance but  let me explain why.


But first, please don’t hear what I am not saying. I am not saying whole grains foods like bread and pasta are the devil, are giving you cancer or are the worst food on the planet.


What I am addressing is that fact that for years we have been told to consume up to 8 servings of whole grains a day which I personally do not think it beneficial for our bodies. I am not saying they’re the worst foods on the planet , I just don’t class them as a health food like I would, say spinach 😉


But of course eating whole grains food is always going to be better than eating refined processed stuff so it is a balance of course. 


Remember though we are all different and our bodies thrive or suffer under different things. What I am talking about here is what I personally think based on research I have seen (which is limited) and on my experience with my body and clients. It’s also a reaction to what I think has been an unhealthy focus on whole grains in the last 40 years and there are other folks who agree.


But as with ALL my posts have a listen, figure out what your body is saying, do your own research and make your own choices 😉 I am not a scientist, dietitian or doctor nor do I know your body better than you.


BOOM lets get started.


Click below to watch to scroll down if you want to read…


*notes – I say grains are living things – this is not correct – I mean they have the potential to give life


Often when I’m working with clients or when running my programs people will say that they have a healthy diet and they’ll show me their food diaries filled with: whole grain toast for breakfast, couscous salad or whole grain pasta for lunch, pasta or another couscous dish for dinner with a meat. 


By whole grains I mean grains that are made up of three parts; the hard outer shell is called bran, the core of the inside which has all the nutrients is called germ and the starchy endosperm is needed for growth. Grains are living things, they sprout. Grains are seeds and they’re going to give life to something, it’s really important that we connect this to whole grains.


Whole grains are unprocessed grains. The brown hasn’t been removed and the seeds in the grain are still completely intact. The principles that I will talk about also relate to refined grains like white flour, white pasta, couscous and all that sort of stuff too but I am guessing you know refined grains aren’t great for you 😉


So let’s look at why I don’t class whole grains as a health food.


1) Large Amounts of Phytic Acid

Phytic acid is an enzyme inhibitor, it’s really difficult for your body to digest because some of the things within the grain itself are there to protect it from predators. And as humans, we find it really difficult to digest.

The enzyme inhibitors can induce and inhibit the amount of amylase our bodies want to produce. Anything that alters, disrupts or interrupts digestion is not a good thing.

The phrase “You are what you eat” is not actually true, you are what you digest. That is the key thing. You can be eating loads of healthy food but if your digestion is screwed then it will not get into your system. Whole grains do have beneficial vitamins, nutrients and mineral but if we can’t get them into our bodies, bloodstreams and cells then it’s totally pointless. There are ways to reduce Phytic acid and I’ll talk about it in the end.

Also, there is some research to suggest that some of the components of whole can also impact intestinal permeability and activate the immune system.


Studies on phytic acid reveal that for some people, the phytic acid in whole grains blocks calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper; others seem immune to these adverse consequences, probably because of favorable gut flora, which in some cases can break down phytic acid.” 


> To get really geeky click here to read more on the research of Dr Weston Price.


2) Wholegrains are heavily processed

For the last 60-80 years, wheat especially (the most popular whole grain consumed) has undergone so much processing and genetic modification.

Most foods are based around wheat, corn or soy because it is the most profitable in the food industry. Spelt wheat is an ancient less traditional and less messed with form of wheat when you switch to spelt wheat from more traditional wheat,  you will find yourself feeling so much better. 
> Get spelt flour at most local large supermarkets




3) Wholegrains can have a big impact on our blood sugar

Keeping our blood sugar happy is important and constantly eating whole grains may not be doing you any favours.


Eating whole grain is ALWAYS better than eating the refined processed rubbish research shows us that for sure. Spelt flour will always be better than refined white flour for sure. When something is whole grain then it often takes longer to digest so you don’t get an immediate spike in blood sugar as you would with refined carbohydrates, but it is still impacting your blood sugar. And for a lot of people, grains could contribute to problems with blood sugar. 

You can read more in depth about this in an article by Dr Chrsi Kresser on the toxins in grains here



4) Wholegrains are not nutrient dense

Whole grains have nutrients and minerals but often your body cannot absorb them. They might not be able to get into our bodies on a cellular level and that is the most important thing. When you think of different food groups of proteins, fats and vegetables out there, grains, in my opinion, are really low in terms of nutrients they can give to our body so I personally don’t focus on eating lots of them



5) Wholegrains are not filling

I used to be a porridge in the morning kind of girl.

I would get myself some porridge, add soy milk (I DON’T do that anymore – click here to find out why!) a bit of honey and an hour later I will be hungry. I have countless of clients who have found the same carbohydrates on their own are not very filling.

We need fats and protein to slow the burning process and fill us up – so I never just eat grains one there own because I am just asking to be hungry a few hours later…. and I hate being hungry!



Those are my five reasons why I don’t class whole grains as a health food or in the same category as spinach, coconut oil, olive oil or carrot!!


I personally don’t really eat many grains. Occasionally I eat rice or gluten free oat and if I do I always soak them first (here is a post all about soaking and sprouting grains). And I get my daily healthy carbohydrates from starchy veg like carrot, sweet potato and butternut, buckwheat and fruit.


In general, why not just think about reducing the amount of whole grains that you eat. Go for fats, protein and vegetables.


And this isn’t about getting you to be afraid of bread. This is about you getting empowered so you can create a super naturally healthy life and make your own choices.



If you are thinking what to have for a snack, what to cook, and what treats to have, then make sure you download my free eGuide by clicking the image above. It’s going to keep you full, your sugar levels happy and it tastes really delicious.


Do you disagree with me, do you eat lots of whole grains and your thoughts on how healthy whole grains are. Otherwise, have a brilliant day and keep on creating one supernaturally healthy life.




Studies and further reading:

‘In the present review, we describe how the daily consumption of wheat products and other related cereal grains could contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. ‘   Click here to read the study

  • Check out Dr Perlmutter as he mainly research the impact of carbs, gluten and grain on neurological health
  • Also the research of Dr Weston Price 
  • Nourshing Traditions is a great recipe book on how to traditionally prepare grains to get most nutrition from them
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