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7 Steps Away From Refined Grains

4. Stick with truly whole-grain flours. To be labeled “whole grain,” the entire contents of the original kernel must be present, meaning the bran, germ and endosperm. The downside is that they are still processed. The glycemic index of whole-grain flour is roughly the same as white flour. The upside is that it is nutritionally superior because it retains the kernel’s original nutrients, including at least some of the antioxidants, which can combat the inflammatory stress of eating the flour, says David Ludwig, MD, PhD. When buying products made with whole-grain flours, prioritize those with a variety of grains (say barley, buckwheat and oats) to get a wider variety of nutrients.

5. Don’t overdose on gluten-free foods. In response to a growing market for gluten-free products, food companies are marketing alternatives to wheat flour. Unfortunately, many of the options they choose, such as potato flour, rice flour and tapioca starch, digest even faster than wheat flour and, therefore, may exacerbate many of the health issues they promise to quell. Many gluten-free goods lack fiber and deliver a megadose of sugar, says Kathie Swift, MS, RD. “I caution my clients to tread lightly when it comes to gluten-free products.”

6. Try going flour-free. Ditch all flour-based foods for a week and see how your body responds. Swift has many of her clients start going flour-free for five days. Avoiding flour, even for this short time, can help restore balance in the body by stabilizing blood sugars, soothing inflammation and increasing gut motility, she says. “I see amazing results when people give up flour.”

7. Consider a grain sabbatical. Not everyone agrees that grains are essential, or even beneficial, for health. Ludwig points out that humans rarely ate grains before the advent of agriculture. “The human requirement for grain is zero,” he says. William Davis, MD, agrees: “The promotion of ‘healthy whole grains’ in the diet by the government, dietitians and physicians will go down as the biggest nutritional blunder ever made.” One benefit of avoiding grains or even just dialing back your intake of them is that it gives you room and reason to include a rich variety of other, more nutritious whole foods, like dark leafy greens, squash, sweet potatoes, nuts, seeds and legumes. And for that, your body will thank you.

 

Related:
6 Gluten-Free Grains to Add to Your Diet
7 Negative Effects of Refined Flour
10 Food Swaps to Lower Blood Pressure

Read more: Basics, Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Molly, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

38 comments

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8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

I love whole grains but like the idea of nut meal as well, these are very tasty!

6:51AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

I MIGHT eat white rice once a month. I have used it for a dish for an event. I add onion, olive oil and some veggies.
Brown rice takes longer to cook. You can find brown rice in a variety of colors and flavors. I saw Jasmine rice in the brown variety yeaterday.

I eat white potatoes because they have potatsium. If you cook your potatoes, put in fridge over night and then use them, their glycemic index falls. The cooking and cooling changes the starch and it takes longer for the body to break it down and use the calories. Add some olive oil, onions, etc and make a nice potato salad.

6:25AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Thank you
The information was interesting.

10:12PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

interesting, thanks!

7:53PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

thanks

4:27PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Great information. Thank you for sharing.

9:12AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

thanks

7:51AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

No, thanks. I'm allergic to nuts.

6:16AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

great info about gluten-free products

2:58AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

very true about gluten free flours

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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