Every day someone walks into my office touting a statement by a health-care professional or newspaper on the importance of whole grains.
Thank goodness the Food Guide Pyramid is dead, which promoted large amounts of carbohydrates and “whole grains.”
Since I see the everyday effects of whole grains on weight, insulin resistance and disease I have a different perspective.
Let’s start with the difference between insulin sensitive and insulin resistance.
Insulin Sensitive – those whose metabolisms work like a charm and can eat most anything they want – when eating several slices of bread or a bowl of pasta their body secretes insulin which happily metabolizes the carbohydrates quickly without much effect in the body.
Those who are insulin sensitive are normally quite thin with little or no weight issues.
Insulin Resistance – those whose metabolisms are sleepy, sluggish or just plain stubborn. Upon eating a slice or two of bread their insulin laughs, with the sugar sitting outside the body’s cells waiting to get in like a child not allowed into the playroom. The longer it sits there the carbohydrate cravings escalate and the fatigue sets in.
Those with insulin resistance carry their weight in the middle, although they can carry weight proportionately in the body. Those with severe insulin resistance normally carry all their weight in the middle, with thin arms and legs.
Insulin resistance can be present at birth or can show up at different times in life: childhood, puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and ages over 50 since there are levels of insulin resistance. One can have slight insulin resistance or severe which manifests as type 2 diabetes.
If you are insulin sensitive healthy whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, barley, bulgur, and whole wheat bread are appropriate and healthy for your body.
If you are insulin resistant eating whole grains can increase insulin levels leading to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, etc.
Take home message: If you are insulin resistant it is advantageous to eat your carbohydrates in these forms: fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, squash and small amounts of root vegetables. Focus on protein at each meal and healthy fats to balance. Your reality requires keeping whole grains to a minimum if you want to control your weight and health. Try my Apple Blueberry Compote as pictured - healthy, sweet and contains no whole grains!