Things That Happen When You Give Up Grains

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I stumbled upon an article yesterday in my internet travels called 8 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Bread.  They really mean grains here not bread, and actually it's about cutting carbs when you get right into it, although using bread may sound catchier.

So just for fun let's look at these 8 things and I'll comment a bit on them:

1. You lose water weight:  Well they mean glycogen, which they do mention, but whatever excess glycogen we have on high carb is glycogen we can afford to lose.  Of course, if you lose water weight, that doesn't say anything about what other weight you lose, and the truth is that by lowering insulin levels you'll lose weight period.  The author obviously isn't aware of the impact of that.

2. You catch the "low carb flu":  A lot of people do get this, but this doesn't mean that it lasts. They do admit that at the end, and end up saying that burning ketones isn't the body's preferred fuel.  Some disagree, I don't actually, the body will always prefer glucose but if you are obese or a diabetic then being overweight and sick isn't something that anyone should prefer.

3. Your cravings subside:  This is true of course, but they go to say that if you go for high fiber grains, you won't really get cravings.  You likely will crave this stuff less, but whether or not you should be eating any of this stuff, or at least in copious amounts, is the question here, not how much or little you might crave something.

4. Your risk of heart disease and diabetes goes up - or down:  I can't imagine it going anything but down, unless you think that a high fat diet increases this stuff, it sure as heck doesn't increase diabetes risk no matter how confused you are about dietary fat, that makes no sense.  As for heart disease, there's no evidence of that either, although eating too many carbs sure does, through the liver making the harmful kind of fat.

They do mention that the American Heart Association thinks a lot of grains protect you against heart disease, but the problem here is that if you compare a lot of whole grains with a lot of refined grains, sure the whole grain folks will fare better.  This is definitely what you could call a straw man though, or actually a grain man, when they look at more versus less grains the story is quite different.

5. Your energy levels drop:  Well this is going to depend on the person, and the amount of carb restriction used, but there are many people, the majority for sure, that report greater energy levels when they lower carbs, and in particular, lower grains.  This is especially the case with those who give them up entirely.

So there are some people who do see their energy levels drop long term on low carb, but this doesn't mean that many people do, and those who don't fare well on a certain carb intake can take that into account and adjust it up if really needed.

What's really amusing is that they claim this reduces your energy levels by making you deficient in magnesium.  Most people who eat more carbs and grains that they can stuff down their throats are usually deficient in magnesium, and if anyone expects to get optimal nutrition from food they are deluding themselves.

6.  You don't poop.  So they are saying, well you get less fiber, you'll poop less, but people who go low carb probably get more fiber than the average person.  The article mentions missing out on all those fibrous vegetables, but that's actually the stuff that low carbers and especially low or no grainers get a lot of.

There are other sources of fiber besides in your food, and if someone isn't getting enough they can always add some, and fiber of a much better quality than in grains, like inulin.

7. You get really moody:  This one is something we actually do need to pay attention to.  So it's true that a lot of carbs do drive serotonin like they say.  A lot of low carbers aren't even aware of this and may feel bluer than they should.

So the choice here is fattening yourself up and driving up your insulin and blood sugar and insulin resistance with a lot of carbs, or if you're not up for that you can just take something like 5-HTP, a supplement that raises serotinin better than carbs do without the ugly side effects of a lot of carbs.

8. Your workouts suffer:  Well they might for some people but it's pretty much a myth that you are low energy on low carb.  You might actually be a little lower, but having more energy for workouts isn't what it's all about here, it's doing what is best to manage health overall.  Your workouts would go better taking a bunch of ma huang and giving yourself monster adrenaline surges but that doesn't mean we want to do this.

Overall, this is a pretty lame attempt to talk people out of low carb, but it's pretty typical, what we need to do though is look at the evidence objectively, and put our axes that we're looking to grind away for awhile.

Personally, I struggle quite a bit on low carb, I actually struggle more than quite a bit on it, but that doesn't mean that I need to be preaching against it, I do see this helping a great many people and while I do feel that there are some concerns, I'm not going to let myself become biased here, and the problem is that so many people do.

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