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Whole grains reduce inflammation?

Answered on January 29, 2014
Created January 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20089789

This study states that WHOLE grains actually help decreasing inflammation, while only refined grains are increasing inflammation in our bodies....

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on January 14, 2014
at 04:47 AM

You're right that this study doesn't provide information about the relative effects of a diet with vs. without grain. However, it does compare people who eat whole grains vs. those who don't. This should be a valid way to determine whether there are negative health effects caused by the anti-nutrients that are supposedly present in whole grains and absent from refined ones.

B16c708a9f63d0552433f7d46080c8bd

on January 13, 2014
at 07:18 PM

Whole Grains contain higher levels of phytic acid than refined grains, and inhibit vitamin D absorption worse than refined grains. They contribute to the development of leaky gut at a higher level as well through the kinds of lectins they contain. Whole grains are, in fact, awful for you.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:18 PM

@drael document your assertion on wheat causing Egyptian stillbirths please. Recent Egyptian population studies show nothing of the sort.

http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?pid=s0042-96862006000900012&script=sci_arttext

You're right in one regard. Wheat may have been detrimental 10,000 years ago but we've adapted to eat it. Maybe we just learned how to cook it.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 13, 2014
at 05:54 PM

Yup, and most people will chalk up the joint pain, brain fog, headaches, and other symptoms to "getting old sucks" - only when they have acute symptoms would they try to seek help.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:53 AM

Considerably less money involved in sisson than Monsanto, Abbott Nutrition and Martek Biosciences I imagine lol. The egyptians experienced a massive wave of stillbirths when the lower classes swtiched to eating primarily grain btw. So there certainly is _some_ adaption. Doesnt kill babies any more. Doesn't mean it can't make you sick though. If it kills in tiny numbers, or just makes you unwell, its not a strong evolutionary pressure is it? With less than 10,000 years of agriculture, it would need to be, to cause adaption.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:48 AM

Also, if they are all long term grain eaters, there is technically no control. That makes the whole study basically invalid. Proper controls are vital. If they really wanted to put their money where there mouth was (which they dont, they are agribusiness giants), they would control against people who don't eat grains (paleo). Of course we know why they don't do that, because it could end up looking very bad for their products.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:46 AM

Maybe so, but whats the population size? Age? The incidence of say, crohns, or RA, or autoimmune disease isn't large in the population is it? Its slow, small. RA is the most common, but because of the percentages involved, you'd need a large sample size to detect any statistical significance (and besides, they didn't ask about inflammatory diseases, or measure there occurance, they measured the average markers, finding basically nothing significant)

Its all about study design, in science. And study design is sadly usually about funding (like the agrigiants funding this)

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:41 AM

To test the effect on diseases like autoimmune and inflammatory diseases yes. Those diseases have no official etiology in medicine. The paleo theory is that they are cause by anti-nutrients such as those in soy and wheat. That is as good a theory as any for this raft of modern western diseases. It is known that anti-nutrients are designed, and do act over a long time, rather than immediately. Indeed any health study or food study should be as comprehensive as possible anyway. So, yes, there would need to be a long term study, of course...

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on January 13, 2014
at 01:38 AM

This was a study based on food frequency questionnaires, which means that people were reporting their usual diet. So the ones who ate whole grains would probably have been eating them for some time, and already been showing any insidious antinutrient effects.

Eb87941a669017dfb288d296cc672130

on January 12, 2014
at 08:28 PM

Essentially, some people in Europe and along the mediterranean in the late paleolithic were like "fuck this, it's getting cold. You guys can keep walking but we're going to try to make a really strong fort here and hope our crops don't fail." These were the Natafuians, and all people of european heritage descend directly from them, and thus, are prehaps the most well equipped people on the planet for a diet that contains cereal grains and legumes.

Eb87941a669017dfb288d296cc672130

on January 12, 2014
at 08:28 PM

Yes. I was reading a book called "the story of the human body" by Daniel Lieberman (professor of human biology at Harvard) and goes into great detail about why and how we first started agriculture and animal husbandry.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 12, 2014
at 04:20 PM

Successfully to what end? Not dying from them, or thriving off them? I'd certainly not say thriving...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 12, 2014
at 04:00 PM

Do we need a long-term study on grain consumption? I mean, we've been eating grains rather successfully for the last 5000-10000 years or so.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 12, 2014
at 03:22 PM

Excellent reply. Indeed follow the money. Money, as a virtual "war" has been dictating the science behind nutritional advice for over fifty years. Thats where the anti-fat, pro-grain stuff all comes from. And the recent minority reversal such as the dairy studies, are of course, dairy funded. There's little research that isn't funded by interest. And that's why you need to fully critique the controls, the science, of the full study. Its easy to leap to conclusions. Its harder to have firm progression from data to conclusion and mechanism.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 12, 2014
at 03:17 PM

But up, this is a short term study. Anti-nutrients and such are meant to act via chelation over a very long time period. As such no short term study on grains and inflammation would be sufficient. You'd need to study long term grain eaters, versus non-grain eaters - ie you'd need to control versus paleo. You'd also want to check for incidence of autoimmune and inflammatory disease such as RA, crohns and more.

Obviously immediately acting anti-nutrients would no even serve as plant defenses properly, because it would lower propagation. Let alone that consumers of such would notice.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 12, 2014
at 11:37 AM

They're not awful for you but they're also not magic. Like animals and fruit they're just food. Paleo's great contribution is questioning the eating of processed foods, and it starts to overreach when it damns each ingredient. Why couldn't we just stop with Little Debbie and Big Macs?The problem is not in the nearly inedible ingredients but in the confected products.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 12, 2014
at 11:29 AM

I think about the beloved grass-fed animals we eat in the same way. They're all domesticated versions of the originals. We started with the ones that were easiest to outrun or steal from their mothers, developed methods of turning them into edible food, then farmed them. This is probably why we don't eat carnivores.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on January 11, 2014
at 03:47 PM

See, it is difficult for me to pay attention to these results. Surely the experiment was done correctly, but the two most important questions to me are

1) what about FERMENTED whole grains?

2) what about rice or millet versus wheat?

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4 Answers

0
B613e6f51b6f14f2baeeb55296ffefe3

on January 29, 2014
at 05:55 PM

I like spam!

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 12, 2014
at 01:39 PM

That's all well and good, and I'm sure if there's a starve (not IF) or eat grains situation it's a better choice to not starve to death.

That whole wheat contains some beneficial nutrients does not negate the gluten, gliadins, WGA, and other anti-nutrients, nor does it negate the fact that these can signal zonulin, cause leaky gut, and over the long term initiate a whole host of autoimmune diseases.

Sure, given about a million years (or maybe less) of evolutions, most humans can adapt to eating grains, and thriving. Right now, most humans can tolerate them, some with minor issues, and much smaller minorities with far more acute issues - it's the same story with dairy: not every human is adapted to consuming it, and it isn't always the lactose that's the issue.

The questions to ask: who funded those studies, what did those money sources have to gain? Wild human hunter gatherers aren't farmers, they're not tied down to a specific portion of land. They are nomadic and move camp as needed. Until you have farming, they are free to go where they choose.

Once you have farming, they're tied to a specific piece of land, and you open the door to maurauders, which later become lords/kings/slave/serf owners, and later systems of city governments. The farmers become enslaved to the piece of land (or give up their investment, or die starving because they can no longer hunt/gather), and must pay tribute or taxes to those who are armed for "protection" and are at their whim.

Similarly, in modern times, we have a whole set of corporations that profit from the marketing and sale of certain goods, and their influence on mass-media news, government agencies that dictate what is "healthy" and isn't, decide what the public eats.

They form non-governmental-organizations that represent them, and lobby for them in government to provide subsidies to growing grains from the public tax coffers so that they gain a huge advantage.

They can and have setup nutrition schools to push views that are profitable to their parent corporations. Those happily fund studies that show a benefit to the goods those corporations sell, such as the one cited here, and simply choose not to fund studies that point out the problems in wheat. Then, when the article is published in a journal, which they also sponsor with funding, they can turn to the media, which is paid in advertising (cereal/snack commercials for example) by the corporations that created the fund organizations, and give them press releases about the study. Wonderful racket.

For example, the study you point to - when followed to the free text version at

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821887/

shows this tag at it's bottom "Articles from The Journal of Nutrition are provided here courtesy of American Society for Nutrition" - a ten second google search on "American Society for Nutrition" leads to this article:

http://www.anh-usa.org/the-war-for-nutrition-science-integrity/

Here's a small quote from that:

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the largest society for nutrition
 researchers in the US, openly receives support from pharmaceutical 
companies like Abbott Nutrition and Martek Biosciences, genetic 
engineering and pesticide giant Monstanto, food processor ConAgra, and 
junk food suppliers and producers Coca-Cola, Mars, Kraft, McDonald’s, 
General Mills, and Kellogg’s, not to mention the Sugar Association, Inc.
 (among many others).

As usual, ask not what the study shows, but more importantly, whom does it profit? You'll never go wrong following the money.

Another answer here pointed out that one shouldn't trust Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf because of the way they make their money. Fair enough, then why trust a study paid for by an organization that is paid for by big pharma and big agra?

I'd rather trust the science that comes from the mouth of Robb Wolf - what little profit he takes from it is far less evil to my health than from the ASN. I've never paid Mr. Wolf, nor Mr. Sisson for anything other than his excellent books and have learned more from their free articles and podcasts than I have from their books. Unlike the ASN, they aren't big enough to sponsor studies, and thus influence them, so they have to be honest rather than throw their money at a particular view.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 12, 2014
at 03:22 PM

Excellent reply. Indeed follow the money. Money, as a virtual "war" has been dictating the science behind nutritional advice for over fifty years. Thats where the anti-fat, pro-grain stuff all comes from. And the recent minority reversal such as the dairy studies, are of course, dairy funded. There's little research that isn't funded by interest. And that's why you need to fully critique the controls, the science, of the full study. Its easy to leap to conclusions. Its harder to have firm progression from data to conclusion and mechanism.

0
Eb87941a669017dfb288d296cc672130

on January 11, 2014
at 07:59 PM

Um. No shit. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of studies linking whole grains to good health. It's only refined grains that are linked to ill-health.

And, do you really think our ancestors started planting a food in massive quantities that they had never eaten before? Of course not. Wild cereals were a staple part of the diet of our late paleolithic ancestors in Europe. If you're European or of European descent, chances are you're extremely well adapted to consuming real, whole grains and legumes for calories.

Oh, and the beloved sweet potato was domesticated way later than barley and certain strains of wheat. Just saying.

This is part of the problem when you restrict your sources of nutrition information to mostly if not exclusively "paleo" resources- all these people have an agenda taht they profit from upholding (how do you think Sisson,Wolf, et al make their living?)

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:18 PM

@drael document your assertion on wheat causing Egyptian stillbirths please. Recent Egyptian population studies show nothing of the sort.

http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?pid=s0042-96862006000900012&script=sci_arttext

You're right in one regard. Wheat may have been detrimental 10,000 years ago but we've adapted to eat it. Maybe we just learned how to cook it.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 12, 2014
at 11:29 AM

I think about the beloved grass-fed animals we eat in the same way. They're all domesticated versions of the originals. We started with the ones that were easiest to outrun or steal from their mothers, developed methods of turning them into edible food, then farmed them. This is probably why we don't eat carnivores.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 13, 2014
at 06:53 AM

Considerably less money involved in sisson than Monsanto, Abbott Nutrition and Martek Biosciences I imagine lol. The egyptians experienced a massive wave of stillbirths when the lower classes swtiched to eating primarily grain btw. So there certainly is _some_ adaption. Doesnt kill babies any more. Doesn't mean it can't make you sick though. If it kills in tiny numbers, or just makes you unwell, its not a strong evolutionary pressure is it? With less than 10,000 years of agriculture, it would need to be, to cause adaption.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 11, 2014
at 03:03 PM

"In summary, whole grain intake was inversely related to PAI-1 and CRP plasma concentrations, but these relationships were attenuated by the addition of metabolic variables to the model. Refined grain intake was positively independently related to plasma PAI-1 concentrations."

Not having read more than the abstract on Pubmed, above is the pertinent summary. Whole grains did initially appear to reduce inflammatory proteins (2 out of 3 studied), but when metabolic markers were controlled for, the association was not statistically significant. Refined grains did positively associate with 1 of the 3 inflammatory markers even controlling for metabolic markers.

What I take home from this: Whole grains, despite paleo disdain, aren't awful for you. They are, in fact, preferable to refined grains.

8b9c2dcd3dfc929a0428d3d6dac4918e

(70)

on January 12, 2014
at 03:17 PM

But up, this is a short term study. Anti-nutrients and such are meant to act via chelation over a very long time period. As such no short term study on grains and inflammation would be sufficient. You'd need to study long term grain eaters, versus non-grain eaters - ie you'd need to control versus paleo. You'd also want to check for incidence of autoimmune and inflammatory disease such as RA, crohns and more.

Obviously immediately acting anti-nutrients would no even serve as plant defenses properly, because it would lower propagation. Let alone that consumers of such would notice.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on January 11, 2014
at 03:47 PM

See, it is difficult for me to pay attention to these results. Surely the experiment was done correctly, but the two most important questions to me are

1) what about FERMENTED whole grains?

2) what about rice or millet versus wheat?

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 12, 2014
at 11:37 AM

They're not awful for you but they're also not magic. Like animals and fruit they're just food. Paleo's great contribution is questioning the eating of processed foods, and it starts to overreach when it damns each ingredient. Why couldn't we just stop with Little Debbie and Big Macs?The problem is not in the nearly inedible ingredients but in the confected products.

B16c708a9f63d0552433f7d46080c8bd

on January 13, 2014
at 07:18 PM

Whole Grains contain higher levels of phytic acid than refined grains, and inhibit vitamin D absorption worse than refined grains. They contribute to the development of leaky gut at a higher level as well through the kinds of lectins they contain. Whole grains are, in fact, awful for you.

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