The Happening: How Do Grains Impact the Body?
So what does Mark Wahlberg have to do with grains and how grains impact the body?
No it doesn’t have to do with east coast accents, boxing, or stuffed animals named Ted. Before I give the punch line, I am going to make you sweat a bit as we talk about the insulin effects of grains.
In the meantime, “Say hi to your mother for me…”
How Grains Create the Perfect Storm of Insulin
So I think it is important to understand how grains interact inside of your body. It’s a mess.
Grains enter your body as glucose and are stored as fat or glycogen in the muscle and liver. It’s job is to use these stores of glucose in glycogen as energy. But as you add more glucose, it overflows in the liver and it goes roaming back around your bloodstream looking for fun like a teen in Vegas. This fat goes through a metamorphosis with other molecules to produce VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein or really bad LDL Cholesterol) that is high in palmitic acid or PA.
This is not good. Why you may ask?
Palmitic acid is a disrupter like a hooligan at a soccer game. He starts to impact our hormones, namely the relationship between leptin and your brain. Leptin’s job is to signal up to your brain to say “Hey guy! You’ve had enough food!” Well leptin is getting knocked around quite a bit by palmitic acid so it can’t warn your brain. So you end up eating more and more grains.
Our insulin sensitivity to handling this blood glucose level is gradually beaten down over time as we send more and more glucose into our bodies. This is like George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg trapped on a boat in the middle of a terrible storm. For the nerds think of it like orcs sending waves of soldiers into Helm’s Deep or the Wrath of Khan playing out inside of your liver. To the layman…to translate, these are bad things.
Your muscles and liver are drowning in a hurricane of glucose. While all of this is happening, the chemical reaction is causing your body to store more glucose as fat to retain energy for the beating it is taking.
The bad part is over time you need more and more grains to meet your fix. Grains contain molecules that trigger the opiate receptors in our brain. It releases dopamine as well causing that elevated, happy unicorn feeling. And just like a drug addict, over time you need a higher dosage of grains in order to get your fix. This combined with satiety promoting hormones like PYY and leptin getting kicked in the gut by PA and you have a perfect storm of obesity on your hands.
Where is Mark Wahlberg when you need him?
Next thing you know you are going to start doing some crazy things.
Now these fats and VLDL’s (worse than LDL cholesterol) that are converted in your liver can’t escape and are trapped in a black hole of sugariness. It stockpiles in your liver and your liver eventually becomes shot. This is a similar process that happens with alcoholics and the ethanol in alcohol. Ethanol has two very close cousins named fructose (sugar) and glucose (grains and sugar). This makes sense why this condition is aptly titled nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Since your insulin is now shot, it tricks your body into thinking it actually has low blood sugar, even though it is the exact opposite. Your body gets all pouty and sends cortisol, the stress hormone, to cool things down.
The problem is that sending cortisol is like sending your tactless best friend to try to help solve a fall out you had with your significant other…it makes it worse. So now your muscle and organs are getting lit up and their tissue is being converted into more glucose to add to the already crowded glucose party.
A new problem arises. (Oh goody)
The muscle tissue party got so small, that they shut it down and no one has any place else to go.
“Thanks Cortisol, you dumb best friend.”
This cycle rinses, washes, and repeats too. Full on exacerbation on your fat regions and your muscles are shrinking on top of it. This means a higher body fat percentage now.
Now the party is so overcrowded that these glucose folks get a bit reckless and start thrashing the place. Oxidation happens to glucose and form AGEs or “advanced glycation end products”. They damage our cells and lead to advanced aging.
Now there are cool kids, called antioxidants, at this party who want to keep the peace so the cops don’t shut it down. Unfortunately they are bombarded by AGEs hooligans that break things faster than they can get fixed. The attack on your pancreas beta cells by these “little you-know-whats” is basically like setting the house on fire. Now you start moving into type 2 diabetes and it just keeps getting worse.
These reckless glucose parties bring around some shady metabolic syndrome characters:
- Canaries in the Coal Mine: Hypoglycemia, midday crashes, sleep problems, and high blood pressure. It first starts with these symptoms or “canaries in the coal mine”. You may know them well. I am talking about being short of breath and having chest pains. You want to take naps all the time because you are in a “Glucose Coma”, or your find yourself getting up in the middle of the night because you can’t sleep. You may know this phrase “too tired to go to sleep”. You are worn out, but you are too restless.
- Obesity and His Sister Diabetes: They are so linked that they are often called “diabesity”. Think Donnie and Marie Osmond. Now you won’t be able to play fun games with your kids or do activities with your spouse. You get too embarrassed to go out in public and depression starts to kick in.
- Not-So-Forever-Young: Accelerated aging, kind of like Mel Gibson in Forever Young and in real life.
- Memory: Mental diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. No remembering those great memories you had with your family, shorter quality time with your family, and potential cut short.
- Cancerous: Variety of cancers like colon and breast. More enjoyable years shaved off of a great career, serving other people, or helping your struggling friends.
- Shot to the Heart: Heart disease and everything that is associated with that huge killer. This party is now one heart attack from getting permanently shut down.
This all seems terrible enough…but we haven’t even gotten to the bottom of it.
The Happening Going on Inside Your Body
Grains and Mark Wahlberg…so what was it that they have in common?
The other major problem besides glucose and insulin spiking issues is the gut irritation that happens with grains. The more I learned about grains, the more I thought of that average M. Night Shamalamadong movie The Happening.
Are grains predictable, lowering expectations, and making you wish Mark Wahlberg was beating up thing with his fists? No.
But grains are vicious, defensive suckers. They are not going to cause us to commit suicide, but by eating them we slowly are killing ourselves faster.
Grains like other plants are defensive suckers that want to fight for preservation. Remember how we talked about the bran of the grain and the antinutrients it possesses to protect the grain? This is where it comes in to play.
Also you can now thank me for sharing what may seem like random pointless crap, that isn’t.
Yes grains can be easily eaten, but not without carrying an ax on the way down intended to make you and your digestive tract pay for this decision.
First, understand that grains have proteins called lectins, which attach to molecules, disguising themselves to get into your gut and do damage. An example of this would be WGA (wheat germ agglutinin). Don’t confuse lectins with leptin, the hormone that helps you know you are full.
When lectins enter the body they aren’t broken down and left intact in the gut. The structure of grain proteins make it difficult to digest because they are high in amino acid proline. They attach to molecule receptors in the intestinal lumen and play “recognition” roles in the body. Think of a secret agent using a fake ID to sneak in to an embassy or maybe Wahlberg in Shooter.
Lectin can be considered similar to bacteria, viruses, or a parasite. Your body sends out antibodies to fight them. The problem is that these are proteins, bad ones, but nevertheless protein. It’s makeup is very similar to a healthy protein. So these antibodies which have been prepared to fight one enemy, now goes after the similar healthy protein in your pancreas. Think of friendly crossfire that goes bad.
The antibodies are now destroying the other good guys in your body. Talk about a public relations disaster inside your body. This can lead to type 1 and 2 diabetes in your pancreas, but if that protein is circulating the brain, then that can lead to multiple sclerosis. Very sad stuff.
Grains come packed with protease inhibitors that block the digestion of dangerous lectins and make the problem even worse. By creating a further traffic jam it leaves these large proteins in the intestines longer causing a higher risk for autoimmunity, allergies, or chemical sensitivities.
Lectin, remember this was the guy carrying the ax, damages the intestinal lining allowing for an easier path for his friends to come through. Oh…it keeps getting worse.
Grains Impact the Body with Leaky Gut Problems
Lectin can damage the gut wall of the intestines (microvilli) where most of our digestion happens. This means the contents of your intestines can spill out into the rest of your system causing allergies to common, healthy food like meats and fruits even. What was once so easy is now challenging because your food can’t be properly digested and seeps through a fragile gut lining. The chemicals now flowing out from the intestines aren’t supposed to be flooding the rest of your system. This condition is called “multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome”.
This leaky gut issue you now have increased the risk of autoimmune diseases like:
- celiac disease,
- rheumatoid arthritis (joint pain, nodules or abnormal cell growth, and eventual joint motion loss), and
- Hashimoto’s or chronic thyroiditis (which does a million terrible things to you from fatigue to fertility issues).
One of the major challenges with leaky gut issues is gall stones. This can be very painful. The hormone CCK helps to digest food in the gall bladder, but CCK is severely impacted by gut lining damage. The digestion of protein and fats are compromised because CCK can’t send the secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes and bile salts. This means cholesterol crystals form in the gall bladder and these bad boys are bitterly known as gall stones.
The sad part is when these gall stones arrive; our medical folks like to remove the gall bladder instead of attacking the real problem, which are grains. This is the beginning of other autoimmune diseases like celiac disease and digestive problems. This can even lead to dysphagia which means you have difficulty swallowing and keeping down food. This seems like a train wreck right? Well if you are experiencing similar problems, now you know the culprit.
CCK and other hormones like PYY have their signals severely damaged during this process. Think static on TV and adjusting bunny ears left and right to try to get a signal. PYY is one of those “Oh I am full” hormones. Well without that and leptin already getting worked over because of high levels of insulin, you are constantly desiring more food to stuff down an already backed-up system.
It is an addiction to tasty razor blades.
Gall stones become the least of your issues. I could go on and on about other diseases associated with leaky gut and autoimmune issues. Here are just a few to wet your palate.
Cade Stop with Your Fear Tactics!
Now I am not one for yellow journalism or hyperbole.
Some of you may say, “Things are fine Cade. I eat grains and I have no problems.”
This may be true. I could be completely wrong about this.
But I’m not.
Or maybe you are just one of those genetic freaks that hit the genetic lottery and don’t have to worry much about grains and the impact it has. I will venture to say those situations are unlikely.
The truth is you are the victim being lulled into complacency like the prey in a National Geographic video. The grains are working their darndest to slowly chip away at you one piece of bread at a time.
Think of the Lilliputians (tiny people) that tied up Gulliver in Gulliver’s Travels. One can’t take him down, but you start piling up thousands of them and they will be able to take him down even if they sacrifice hundreds in the process.
If you have been consistently eating grains for years, then you can bet the process has started even if you haven’t seen the effects yet. Here is a good eye test. Look down at your gut. You got some fat there? Yes? Then yeah you are probably somewhere in this process.
Now the nice part is, as Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, has mentioned these issues “have shown improvement or complete resolution” when a person removes the grains and focuses on a diet based around protein, vegetables, fats, and fruit. The point is, now you know about it. Now you can change it even in the midst of “The Happening” epidemic going on around you. You can change it quickly enough that you can see physical turnarounds in weeks and months.
Give it a Shot
Make a true test of it. You have so little to lose and it won’t take long to find out if it makes an impact.
You will need at least 30 days without grains (and sugar) in your system. Not only does it take that long to start wearing off the addiction that comes with grains and sugar, but also gluten and lectin can do it’s damage with little exposure. You can start to have leaky gut issues just by eating grains once every two weeks. Just by reintroduction of these grain proteins will lead back to the same inflammatory issues, lack of energy, and countless other battles.
So give it a true test and let’s see if we can avoid The Happening going on in your body.
What’s on Tap?
So if grains are bad for you, well that flies in the face of a lot of evidence that says grains are vital for health and energy. There is a lot of evidence to show so right…right?