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Generally Recognized As True: Visual proof that grains make you fat; grains make you unhealthy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Visual proof that grains make you fat; grains make you unhealthy

Actually, it's not. It should make you question this idea that is a part of low-carb and Paleo diet thinking (although it's not really "thinking" if you don't ask these questions, is it?).

The picture is taken from the book "Hungry Planet", which is a coffee table book about the typical family diets in countries around the world.

I don't have any problem with the idea of reducing carbohydrates in your diet, but as always the wonks go over the top in an attempt to be as pure as an Islamist suicide bomber in their belief.


Rob said...

You keep trying to make this too simple - who said that grains make you fat?

It's the insulin pathway that is driven by highly processed grains that make you fat.

Grains have a host of other problems

mattbg said...

Oh, the insulin pathway makes us fat. Thanks for rebutting my over-simplification with that monument of complexity.

In that case, the solution is to increase our consumption of fructose, which doesn't raise insulin levels.

I am mainly reacting to the stupid contradictions in the Paleo diet. I thought it was kind of interesting at first, but the more I look at it, the more ridiculous it looks. We're going to start seeing documentaries with video pseudo-footage of caveman times soon, I'm pretty sure.

Gary Taubes doesn't say it directly, but he puts a scarlet letter on pretty much all carbohydrates in his books on weight loss.

Grinding grains isn't highly processing them, but would lead to an insulin spike. The people in the photo have flour (sorghum flour and a soy/corn blend) as a staple of their diet. They don't have a whole lot of meat and fat to buffer the breakdown of grains.

These guys make Michael Pollan look moderate! Seriously -- I went back to his recent book and he started to make a whole lot more sense to me than he did pre-Taubes. This makes me nervous.

Hoopermazing said...

How absurd. Of course you can tolerate grains if you're goat herder, with uncertain access to calorie-rich foods and who walks 20 miles per day. If you're and American, who sits in an office all day and who has unlimited access to food day or night, lots of grains will put you on an insulin roller coaster that leave you constantly ravenous. That, in turn, will make you fat.

mattbg said...

Hoopermazing, I don't disagree. But can we agree that grains are not intrinsically bad -- just a bad idea if you aren't very active?

What is it with food topics that makes people read a book or two on a subject and come out of it thinking they're a top scientist in the field?