Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Thoughts on “Grain Brain”

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A variety of foods made from wheat.

A variety of foods made from wheat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a new book out called Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brains’ Silent Killers,  written by a neurologist who claims that  some carbohydrate foods  contribute to the  development of Alzheimer’s disease including most whole grains.   These types of books invite criticism from skeptics as to the validity of these claims.

Here are some thoughts:

Not many U.S. educated physicians are thoroughly educated in nutrition science but become “nutrition  experts” and write a book that may or may not be supported by the current peer-reviewed research..

Healthy carbohydrate foods  are included in many diets that have been studied extensively as to their efficacy in chronic disease prevention (not cures) including heart disease and dementia.  These diets include the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension).  Both contain ample carbohydrates but do not promote unhealthy carbs such as refined grains or sugary foods.

I tend to prefer  the lower carbohydrate diet approach and am not a fan of wheat or sugar, but I do appreciate the health benefits of legumes and whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  There is no need to avoid them n our diets  unless there are some problems with glucose control,  celiac disease, allergies, or gluten insensitivity.  These conditions can be addressed by physicians or nutritionists trained in medical nutrition therapy. .

Based on the recent rush of food manufacturers to label their products “gluten-free”  (even if there was no gluten to begin with) has made this substance the new pariah of foods.  It’s amazing how the food companies scramble to try to make their products seemingly healthier.   This is similar to a couple of decades ago when all you saw on food labels was  “No Cholesterol” even when there was never any cholesterol in the food initially.  Cholesterol is not found in plant products, but I remember seeing a bag of raw potatoes in the supermarket back then claiming NO CHOLESTEROL!.  How silly.  For a sensible and knowledgeable  approach from another physician whose blog I enjoy reading:


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