Dangerous Lies About Whole Grains

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, With Added Bran, Please

by Bill Sardi

Recently by Bill Sardi: It’s Save Your Banker Week

In the war against expanding waistlines, the mistaken guilt trip is that somehow Americans began overeating in unison, sometime in the early 1970s, and began to suffer the obvious consequences. The improbability of this social origin of the diabesity epidemic suggests the satiation point (amount of food to satisfy hunger) was somehow turned off or delayed in the population at large by hidden changes in the American diet rather than a mass gluttonous overeating phenomenon.

The introduction of high-fructose corn syrup at about the same time obesity rates began to rise in America has drawn considerable attention. But there was also another hidden pernicious change in the American food supply in the early 1970s. Dieticians promoted the idea of fortifying foods with a highly absorbable form of iron while Americans were consuming more refined grains rather than whole grains. The provision of a critical bran molecule, IP6 phytate, required for the control of iron, was reduced, mainly via the consumption of white rather than whole grain bread.

Iron is the culprit

It is iron which promotes insulin resistance and the onset of metabolic dysfunction, elevated blood sugar levels, overeating and full-blown diabetes.

One problem in diagnosing iron overload is that an adult can exhibit iron storage (ferritin) levels in the normal range which is not the healthy range. Too many diabetics are inaccurately deemed to have normal iron storage levels.

It has been said that white bread and refined grains spawned a host of diseases, the greatest being diabetes and obesity whose incidence continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Paradoxically, some so-called health food stores practically brag about selling white bread simply because its ingredients are derived from organic (non-pesticide) sources.

Incomplete replacement of nutrients

It has been widely known, since the onset of an epidemic of beri beri, that the removal of bran from the diet produces undesirable health consequences. Early in the 1900s thiamine (vitamin B1) was found to be a missing bran factor and its replacement in the diet via food fortification and dietary supplementation resolved most cases of beri beri. Yet the replacement of thiamine (B1) did not completely replace what was lost in the elimination of bran in refined grains, polished rice and white bread.

Whole grain confusion

In response, public health authorities promoted consumption of whole grains. But exactly what comprises whole grain foods is of considerable debate these days. Apparently the FDA’s definition of whole grains is quite narrow and excludes important nutrients such as ferulic acid, a strong antioxidant, and phytate, also called inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) found in the bran portion of grains and seeds.

Smaller waistlines with whole grains

It is now known that greater whole grain intake is associated with smaller waistlines, lower total percent body fat and percent belly fat. A recent study also shows that consumption of grains that contain a relatively high amount of IP6 curbs appetite in a superior manner to refined grains.

While obesity among growing children has been observed in America, the consumption of whole grains during adolescence is extremely poor, with only about 11—13% consuming greater than one serving of whole grains per day. Overall, only about 7% of Americans consume the recommended 3 servings or more of whole grain foods per day.

A tremendous problem is that the primary source of whole grains in the American diet is sweetened breakfast cereals. Another problem for consumers is distinguishing whole grains from a myriad of terms used in labeling such as "wheat flour, cracked wheat, organic unbleached flour, multi-grain," which are confusing to consumers.

Yet another problem is the confusion over the difference between "fiber" and "bran." Fiber would be more appropriately applied to labels for bowel regularity, not necessarily to promote heart health, prevent cancer, or quell diabetes and hunger.

A group of US Department of Agriculture investigators recently concluded that the definition of "whole grain remains challenging."

To make matters even more confusing, the Food & Drug Administration has a narrow definition of what comprises whole grains which overlooks the value of bran and other important components such as the antioxidant ferulic acid. Using the narrow FDA definition, there is insufficient evidence that whole grains are protective against cardiovascular disease. When the definition of whole grains is broadened to include bran and other nutrients, a much stronger reduction in the risk for heart disease is revealed. The FDA definition hides this clear risk reduction.

IP6 in Asian and Mediterranean diets

When a thorough examination of Mediterranean and Asian diets is conducted, it becomes more apparent that IP6 is a primary factor that affords protection against heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Researchers recently found that the overall consumption of IP6 in the Mediterranean diet, when comprised of whole cereal grains, legumes and nuts, provides around 422—672 milligrams of IP6 per day, which is a fairly broad range. Researchers believe lower intake levels of IP6 could explain higher rates of cancer, kidney stones and calcified arteries compared to those who consume higher amounts of IP6.

In Asian diets, there is little evidence that soy protein or soy phytoestrogens reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. This is despite the fact the FDA has approved heart health claims for soy based upon faulty evidence.

However, more recently researchers at Iowa State University found that IP6, which is abundant in soy, reduces inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein), homocysteine and iron-induced oxidation, which more accurately describes the risk reduction for heart disease afforded by soy foods.

Of note, for the first time researchers report that IP6, which is available as a food supplement, is not readily absorbed beyond a maximum of about 1463 milligrams for a 160-lb healthy adult (or 20.9 milligrams per kilogram/2.2-lbs). This amount of IP6 does not interfere with bone mineralization in the human body. At this dose, absorption of iron and calcium are not impaired. Greater IP6 consumption, achievable via IP6 dietary supplementation, may be beneficial in disease states, such as cancer and frank iron-overload (hemochromatosis).

In search of the best whole grain bread

After reading this report, readers may launch a search for the best whole grain breads. The designation as the top-rated whole-grain bread in America goes to Nature-Bake, a Milwaukie, Oregon bread maker. Nature-Bake’s Double-Bran Bread is the healthiest bread in America.

Nature Bake Double-Bran Bread provides more than a whole grain source of bran, it also provides added IP6 extract from rice bran. Ask your local baker to begin making bread with bran and extra IP6.

The IP6 diet

Processed food diets provide relatively low amounts of IP6. A vegetarian diet that includes whole grains plus bran provides about 1500 milligrams of IP6, while a carnivorous diet provides around 750 milligrams and a western processed food diet only around 250 milligrams of IP6. With the IP6 bran factor removed, there is no controlling agent for major minerals such as iron, copper and calcium.

Food

Serving Size

Amount of IP-6

Beans

cup

250 mg

Brown rice

cup uncooked

220 mg

Cornbread

3 ounces

130 mg

Sesame seeds

cup

530 mg

Wheat bran

1 cups

460 mg

Corn, whole kernel

cup

650 mg

Most of the IP6 in dietary supplements emanates from the Tsuno Foods & Rice Company in Wakayama, Japan, and is supplied by various companies such as Purity Products, Jarrow Formulas, Source Naturals, and others.

While there are iron-chelating (key-lay-ting) drugs, they are known to produce serious side effects, in contrast to IP6 which has even been deemed safe and non-toxic by investigators at the Food & Drug Administration.

IP6 (phytate, or inositol hexaphosphate) Content Of Selected Foods, Brans, Bread & Cereals Sources: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 17 (2004) 227—233 Food Research International 32 (1999) 217—221

FOODS

Milligrams of IP6 per 1000 milligrams (1 gram)

NUTS

Black walnuts

40.29 mg

Almonds

21.11 mg

Peanuts, dry roasted

20.08 mg

Soy nut protein

15.93 mg

BRANS

Oat

21.51-24.06 mg

Wheat bran

33.68-47.08 mg

Rice bran

57.71 mg

BREADS (typical slice of bread weighs between 28-31 grams)

Bran bread

7.53 mg

Oat bread

5.16 mg

Mixed grain bread

3.81 mg

White bread

1.48 mg

CEREALS

Shredded wheat, Nabisco

11.03 mg

Cereal, Raisin Bran Kellogg’s

6.95 mg

Cereal, Wheaties Gen Mills

3.16 mg

Cereal, Frosted Flakes Kellogg’s

2.18 mg

Cereal, Grape Nuts Post

1.12 mg

Wheat cereal, Smacks Kellogg’s

0.94 mg

In summary, tacit misdirection by public health agencies over the definition of whole grains has aided and abetted the ongoing diabesity epidemic in America. Without control of iron, insulin resistance rises (insulin secreted from the pancreas cannot enter cells properly), and circulating insulin levels rise, which then increases hunger. The end result of mass consumption of white or even dark bread without adequate iron-controlling IP6 bran factor is that American waistlines have grown beyond belief.

This is all explained in the new book Downsizing Your Body, now available at: downsizingyourbody.com

Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com. He is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Cancer Anymore.

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