5

votes

Are tortillas really that bad?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I live in a city where tortillas are the main ingredient in many of the foods here. I go to college and I'm living with the parents, so I'm basically stucked eating the foods the prepare.

I have other siblings so sometimes I need to eat tortillas or other carbs in order to fill up.

My question is how bad is to eat tortillas every now and then?

4ecfe8ee47ea62a11be516cd59701a4b

(30)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:25 PM

Yes Paleo has drifted into WAPF. That's cool, I like Fallon & Materjohn. Minger is WAPF too.

3dd59bff899261860c0bdaae8540cc70

(636)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Mission,Tx! And yes unless our friends south of the border continue to fight that evil corp, we will lose the precious real deal. :(

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:30 PM

You're right, he wouldn't. Here are some things that are not "paleo": butter, coconut oil, ghee, fish oil pills, potatoes, white rice, bananas, strawberries, beef, vitamin D pills. Woolly mammoth is paleo, but they don't sell it at Trader Joe's. The "Is it paleo?" question is meaningless, IMO. The question should be: What is the effect of a particular food on health? Biochemistry should trump anthropology.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:55 PM

"Humans feasting on grains for at least 100,000 years" http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2009/12/17/humans-feasting-on-grains-for-at-least-100000-years/

Medium avatar

(19469)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:55 PM

"Cereals have been part of the human diet for at least 23,000 years" http://www.economist.com/node/3061268

Medium avatar

(19469)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:52 PM

Perhaps the definition of Paleo needs to be refined since there is ample evidence to suggest that cereal grains were at least occasionally consumed by humans during the upper Paleolithic (23,000 years ago) and perhaps even in the middle Paleolithic (70,000 years ago). While this is a far cry from suggesting that high fructose corn syrup, industrially milled flours, or chemically extracted seed oils are OK (I don't think they are) this does beggar the question that perhaps eating traditionally prepared grains is ok from time to time.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:38 AM

+1 for honesty. Jeez, people, if you want to eat grains, fine, but don't call it Paleo and don't call it okay. They are a "cheat."

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I'm pretty sure that Robb Wolf doesn't call tortillas paleo though.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Another +1 to try and return this to sanity. Guess what people? You can't just will a grain to be paleo.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:07 AM

My guess is that Lisa has steel plated ovaries.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:02 AM

Also - lol - easy bake ovens. Thanks for the :)!

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Likely the same crowd looking for paleo donuts. Retaliatory +1.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 23, 2012
at 12:07 AM

And... another down-vote from the grain-lover party. Maybe the down-voters can get together with their easy-bake ovens and have a party? Seriously? Seriously.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 22, 2012
at 10:11 PM

Seems like most people want to give you a pat on the head and tell you that tortillas are fine. They are made of grains, which means that they are not fine, according to paleo eating standards. If you want to justify eating them, that's cool, but they aren't "Paleo".

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 22, 2012
at 10:06 PM

Who down-voted me for saying tortillas are bad? Lol! They are made of grains. This isn't America's Test Kitchen, it's Paleohacks!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:57 PM

No one ever talks about the fat. I don't understand it. Far worse in my estimation that a little bit of corn or whatever.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:54 PM

Precisely correct.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:53 PM

Another very good answer.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Saying that something is a grain is no argument at all. It's making paleo a religion. "It's a grain, can't eat it." Frankly, some people can get away with eating wheat. White rice is a grain that is non-toxic compared to wheat (although lacking any nutrition except starch calories). We have to look at foods much more specifically than broad categories - including how we are affected as individuals. Corn is not wonderful, but it is tolerated by many. FED is correct, as usual. Let's please stop being dogmatic. It makes us (paleos) look silly, unscientific and faddish.

F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:40 PM

LOL, PrairieProf, thanks for the good sense of humor

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

(1453)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:30 PM

Screw it, even Robb Wolf eats tortillas periodically as I recall.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:26 PM

And probably GMO

83fec7e764e29b6ec4e97682e9f0a52b

(50)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Hey Daniel, I live exactly the same distance. What city are you located in, if you don't mind sharing.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:15 PM

thanks for having balls!

80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on July 22, 2012
at 07:59 PM

"Authentic" tortillas from local corn will soon be a thing of the past: Monsanto's GMO corn has been approved for commercial planting in Mexico and the first harvest will be this fall: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/be-mexico-corn-idUSS1E78I1MJ20110920.

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13 Answers

best answer

10
Medium avatar

(19469)

on July 22, 2012
at 07:46 PM

I would say that the ingredients and preparation method of the tortilla would make or break whether or not I considered them ok to eat every now and again.

First off, I would not consider wheat based tortillas a viable alternative (unless I was actually starving, in which case I would eat just about anything) so my answer is specifically tailored to corn tortillas.

I would want the tortilla to be made of ground corn only, preferably traditionally prepared with lime.

From "Calcium Absorption from Corn Tortilla Is Relatively High and Is Dependent upon Calcium Content and Liming in Mexican Women Jorge L. Rosado1, Margarita D??az*, Ang??lica Rosas*, Ian Griffit???, and Olga P. Garc??a"

"In Mexico, corn tortilla is the most widely consumed staple food. The corn dough used for tortilla preparation is traditionally prepared by boiling corn in a lime solution that contains calcium, and letting it stand overnight. This process is called nixtamalizaci??n"

This has been demonstrated to improve nutrient bioavailability (in this particular study the focus is calcium absorption) by either the addition of calcium during processing (from the lime/calcium hydroxide itself) and/or the reduction of phytase activity (a portion of which may even be neutralized by simple digestion, highlighting the importance of in vivo studies of nutrient availability).

"In addition to calcium content, calcium absorption from food sources is also determined by food composition. Food components such as oxalate, phytate, fiber, lactose, and protein, affect the efficiency of calcium absorption (3???7,30). In green leafy vegetables, almost all of the calcium is bound to oxalate. Studies showed that the absorption of calcium from food sources such as spinach is very poor because of the high content of oxalic acid (4,11,31). The percentage of calcium absorption from spinach is ???5% (31). Phytic acid is a food component that has the ability to chelate multivalent metal ions, especially zinc, calcium, and iron. The binding results in very insoluble salts, which are poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract (32). However, although calcium phytate is a complex that is not absorbed, phytate is digested to some degree in the lower intestine by bacteria, and this might contribute to calcium bioavailability (4). Even though the amount of phytic acid in the tortillas is high (>1500 mg/180 g of tortilla), the percentage of calcium absorption was high. Among other possibilities, this may be due to a partial digestion of calcium phytate in the lower intestine, which allows the calcium to be free for absorption. In addition, some of the phytate in tortillas could be hydrolyzed during the process of tortilla dough preparation. These results agree with studies using animal models in which lime-treated tortillas proved to be a good source of calcium, despite the phytic acid content (17???19)."

The final factor would be your own individual response to corn. If it does not pose a allergy threat, create intestinal distress, or set off psychological cravings then you are probably good to go. If it does, however, I would avoid and simply have my tacos served "naked" (wrapped in lettuce or on a plate to be eaten with a fork).

7
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 22, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Properly prepared, organic masa fried with lard or coconut oil? Go for it!

GMO corn fried with vegetable oil? No way!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:53 PM

Another very good answer.

4
F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:06 PM

Sorry, we can't let you fool yourself. They are grains.

F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:40 PM

LOL, PrairieProf, thanks for the good sense of humor

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:15 PM

thanks for having balls!

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:26 PM

And probably GMO

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:07 AM

My guess is that Lisa has steel plated ovaries.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Saying that something is a grain is no argument at all. It's making paleo a religion. "It's a grain, can't eat it." Frankly, some people can get away with eating wheat. White rice is a grain that is non-toxic compared to wheat (although lacking any nutrition except starch calories). We have to look at foods much more specifically than broad categories - including how we are affected as individuals. Corn is not wonderful, but it is tolerated by many. FED is correct, as usual. Let's please stop being dogmatic. It makes us (paleos) look silly, unscientific and faddish.

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

(1453)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:30 PM

Screw it, even Robb Wolf eats tortillas periodically as I recall.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I'm pretty sure that Robb Wolf doesn't call tortillas paleo though.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:30 PM

You're right, he wouldn't. Here are some things that are not "paleo": butter, coconut oil, ghee, fish oil pills, potatoes, white rice, bananas, strawberries, beef, vitamin D pills. Woolly mammoth is paleo, but they don't sell it at Trader Joe's. The "Is it paleo?" question is meaningless, IMO. The question should be: What is the effect of a particular food on health? Biochemistry should trump anthropology.

4
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 22, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Chances are, the worst part of the tortilla is not the corn meal or flour it is made with, but the seed oils and transfats that are in it, which are terrible for the cell membranes in your body. If they are a higher quality corn tortilla, the few carbs in it probably aren't bad every now and then, but you might want to check what is in them. I personally would try to avoid if possible.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:57 PM

No one ever talks about the fat. I don't understand it. Far worse in my estimation that a little bit of corn or whatever.

2
076aefc04dc660161475c1b5f61fae86

(160)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:32 PM

If you're healthy and have no digestive issues, a corn tortilla every now and again isn't going to hurt you.

I live in Mexico and eat strict paleo when I cook. But about once a week I'll go out for dinner and usually have a corn tortilla or two and god-forbid some refried beans.

It's never been a problem for me, my wife, and my other paleo friends. Just don't make it a habit.

2
Cd717290eb43a6e17061f9920deed977

on July 22, 2012
at 07:47 PM

If you have a choice between corn and wheat tortillas, then I would go with the corn ones, for sure.

Unless you already have serious health problems, then a little cornmeal now and then probably isn't going to hurt you.

Just do the best that you can within your circumstances, and don't sweat it. Paleo isn't (shouldn't be) a religion. If trying to be "pure" paleo makes you stressed, then that isn't very paleo, is it?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:54 PM

Precisely correct.

2
26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 22, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Yes. Don't eat them weekly. Bad.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Likely the same crowd looking for paleo donuts. Retaliatory +1.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 23, 2012
at 12:07 AM

And... another down-vote from the grain-lover party. Maybe the down-voters can get together with their easy-bake ovens and have a party? Seriously? Seriously.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Another +1 to try and return this to sanity. Guess what people? You can't just will a grain to be paleo.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:02 AM

Also - lol - easy bake ovens. Thanks for the :)!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:38 AM

+1 for honesty. Jeez, people, if you want to eat grains, fine, but don't call it Paleo and don't call it okay. They are a "cheat."

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on July 22, 2012
at 10:06 PM

Who down-voted me for saying tortillas are bad? Lol! They are made of grains. This isn't America's Test Kitchen, it's Paleohacks!

1
Ee5dfea588971d6ff9386d390edf9d60

on July 29, 2012
at 10:17 AM

try sprouted corn tortillas: http://www.foodforlife.com/product-catalog/gluten-free-wheat-free-breads/wheat-free/organic-sprouted-whole-kernel-flourless-co

these taste great and are available in whole foods --sometimes they put them in the frozen section.

they arent gluten free but sprouted grain is better than regular grain flour.

1
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:16 AM

Corn tortillas are very low in nutrients compared to meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Nowadays, they're virtually always going to be cooked in seed oil or partially hydrogenated lard. They are very high in carbs in proportion to the limited nutrients they provide and are damaging to the high percentage of people who don't tolerate lot's of carbs. Given that 1/3 of Americans are overweight and 1/3 are obese, that's most Americans. Other nations are catching up to those appalling numbers.

They're not paleo, and wanting them to be won't make them so. If you want to eat them, go right ahead, but don't call them paleo. Don't try to trick yourselves into thinking there part of a truly healthy way of eating.

0
8e0cab761902df5c09abf2a3c2d314b5

on February 11, 2014
at 04:45 PM

so it really bad for you flour tortilla and corn tortilla? How flour tortilla bad for you and how corn tortilla bad for you?

0
26982e6a852f917c7b8fc9ba1d7dc4bb

(0)

on July 29, 2012
at 02:09 PM

This is my first post (I'm glad you don't have to register an account to post...that's always annoying) and I want to say something that's undoubtedly been said a million times: some of you take this eating regime way too seriously.

As other people have said, having your favorite food as a treat every now and then is fine, and mental health specialists actually say that that IS part of a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating. If you think think that occasionally eating something non paleo, or something 'not good for you' like corn, is bad, then you're letting this diet control your life in a very alarming way. Join Crossfit, eat paleo the majority of time and once every two weeks have a meal or heck even a DAY to yourself (if you're brave enough to face the cramps) and eat cake, dairy..whatever the hell you want. Your body will be absolutely fine as far as long-term health is concerned. Geez.

0
Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Corn is loaded with Anti-Nutrients, non-soluble fiber and Phytic Acid

0
3dd59bff899261860c0bdaae8540cc70

on July 22, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I live about 5 miles from Mexico and tortillas are everywhere.Lol ;)

If I had to choose I'd go for authentic corn tortillas that have been treated with lime. The lime neutralizes the zein in the corn-zein being the "evil" gluten like, pesticide-ish protein. I don't eat any of that mess myself-but it's what I'd recommend.

83fec7e764e29b6ec4e97682e9f0a52b

(50)

on July 22, 2012
at 08:16 PM

Hey Daniel, I live exactly the same distance. What city are you located in, if you don't mind sharing.

80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on July 22, 2012
at 07:59 PM

"Authentic" tortillas from local corn will soon be a thing of the past: Monsanto's GMO corn has been approved for commercial planting in Mexico and the first harvest will be this fall: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/be-mexico-corn-idUSS1E78I1MJ20110920.

3dd59bff899261860c0bdaae8540cc70

(636)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Mission,Tx! And yes unless our friends south of the border continue to fight that evil corp, we will lose the precious real deal. :(

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