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Grains should represent a small part of your diet, regardless of your age. I personally seek to avoid most grains, except rice.
But if you’re going to eat some grain-based foods, how much is too much?
This debate heated up earlier this year when two nutritional experts, Dr. Paul Jaminet and Dr. Ron Rosedale, engaged in a discussion over how many starches are too many.
Dr. Rosedale believes there is no such thing as a “safe starch” and that all starchy carbohydrates should be avoided, which of course includes all grains.
Dr. Jaminet, on the other hand, is a little more forgiving of some of the “safer starches,” such as potatoes and rice. He believes some people need a small amount of these in their diets.
This is an interesting debate.
It’s well thought out and well-articulated, but quite lengthy.
If you have time, I do recommend you reading through all of it to see the nuances of their contrasting views.
The amount of carbohydrates one should consume for optimal health is a widely controversial topic. Fortunately we can gain some insights as to how much we might need by examining a child’s diet, which is critically important for proper brain development. As you would expect, the quality of a child’s diet will directly affect his or her cognitive functioning. Two recent studies highlight just how important this is.
STUDY #1: In the first study, Japanese researchers analyzed the relationship between breakfast staples and intelligence in children. They divided 290 healthy children into three groups according to their breakfast staple—rice, bread, or both. What they found was that children in the rice group had significantly more gray matter in their brains and showed a higher perceptual organization index, which is a component of intelligence. This supports the theory that children’s breakfast choices affect their cognitive function.
According to the study:
“… [O]ne possible mechanism underlying the difference between the bread and the rice groups may be the difference in the glycemic index (GI) of these two substances; foods with a low GI are associated with less blood-glucose fluctuation than are those with a high GI.”
STUDY #2: A 2011 cross-sectional study in Tehran, Iran, examined the relationship between long-term refined carbohydrate intake and non-verbal intelligence among 6- to 7-year-old schoolchildren. Researchers found that refined carbohydrate consumption and non-verbal IQ were inversely related for these Tehrani children. In other words, the more refined carbs the children were eating, the lower their non-verbal IQs. So how much starch is too much starch for breakfast—or any other meal, for that matter?