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Grain Brain

 The controversy over the question "Are grains good for us"?  is swirling more now than ever.  A newly published book called Grain Brain is adding fuel to the fire.  The author, David Perlmutter MD, is a very well respected doctor on the Functional Medicine side of things. (Functional medicine being the effort to have the body function properly by proper diet, lifestyle, etc, instead of reliance on meds to "control" symptoms).
He's also a neurologist so his research about grains stresses their effect on our brains.  He's quite concerned.  He sees many of the symptoms that plague humans today, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease, possibly being related to grain intake, particularly the gluten molecule found in wheat, rye, etc.
The gluten molecule, it seems, imbeds into the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract and wreaks havoc with people sensitive to this molecule.  Which he says is a large, not small, percentage of humans.
One of the problems in discovering whether or not this issue relates to you  is that it takes about 3 months to get this molecule out of the intestinal lining.  Most people don't have the patience to go gluten-free for this amount of time to find out if it is the source of their problems, both neurologically and otherwise.  Going completely gluten-free takes a real commitment as wheat is in practically everything.  "Cutting back on bread" doesn't do a thing for these individuals.
I've just ordered the book and will write about it when I finish reading it.  In the meantime for those who suspect a sensitivity to wheat, please know that the typical gluten-allergy tests that have been developed for celiac disease aren't accurate enough to detect a neurological sensitivity.  There are newer, more accurate tests but they are very expensive and it's difficult to locate a doctor who even knows about these tests or how to order them.
If you know or suspect gluten is a problem for you, the best (least expensive) thing to do is load up on "gluten-free" books at the library/bookstore and follow exactly what they say to do to totally avoid wheat for at least 3 months.  Tough but worth it if you have fears of dementia, etc.  It is believed that here is even a population of schizophrenics whose chief issue is wheat/gluten.  So it's worth doing some exploration into this if you've been suspicious of this sensitivity.
If for no other reason, going grain-free is a good idea for most people to try as it is the quickest form of (good) weight loss that we know about.  Belly-fat seems to melt away when dining grain-free.
The arrow towards disease goes like this:
Too many carbohydrates = raised glucose levels = increased insulin = inflammation = disease.
Nothing raises blood sugar/glucose levels like grains foods!  (bread, pasta, crackers, cereals, etc)  And nothing lowers it faster than a grain-free, high good-fats (olive oil, avocados, salmon, nuts) moderate protein, high vegetable (but not fruit) diet.  (Think:  Mediterranean Diet with even less carbs)
So even if your goal is just to loose weight and be healthy, going grain-free for a few months can be a wonderful experiment to see what else good happens to you!
I'll write more next mo after I've read the book and the critiques that will be coming in.  (Con-agra wheat industry might have something to say)
mary anne