I came across a great paper summary from one of my favorite blogs: That Paleo Guy.
It turns out grains may be much more damaging than you think.
Not only cereals grains have a poor nutritional value for healthy individuals, but some cereals may also induce widespread primary and secondary intolerances, thus becoming “non tolerated” or “toxic” under particular, although rather frequent, conditions. Peptides originating from digestion of wheat protein or of other “toxic” cereals in the human gastrointestinal tract are responsible for both primary and secondary intolerances
…as the lectin appeared to be fully active and fairly stable against proteolytic breakdown, its potentially harmful effects on both metabolism and health need to be explored, particularly when diets containing WGA are fed for extended periods of time.
The consequences of the continuous stimulation of the pancreas, particularly in the long term, may be harmful for both of its vital exocrine and endocrine functions. Moreover, as one of the previously shown toxic effects of dietary PHA [kidney beans] is due to its interference with the functioning of the immune system, it is of special concern what effects the systemically-absorbed WGA may have on the gut and the body’s immune systems. The thymus atrophy observed in rats fed with diets containing WGA may be particularly damaging for the proper functioning of the immune system.
it is particularly worrying that detectable amounts of functionally- and immunochemically-intact WGA are transported across the intestinal wall and may reach the systemic circulation
And Paleo Guy summarizes:
So let’s summarise. We know that grains are a poor source of nutrition and easily replaced by more nutrient-dense foods. We know that they can contain immuno-reactive proteins, such as gluten. We know that they can also contain lectins, and in the case of the lectin, wheat-germ agglutinin, we know that this go avoid digestion and end up in systemic circulation, where, possibly, we might see effects on the endocrine and exocrine function of organs such as the pancreas and on immune-regulating organs such as the thymus. We also see that there is potential for these lectins to also have insulin-like activity. All of these effects are seemingly independent of the carbohydrate content of the source foods they are found in.
All good reasons to avoid grains, IMHO. Another thought comes to mind. I know people tend to use the excuse “I just have bad genes”, or, “I was born into a family of people with bad [insert problem here]”. The truth is, these effects are gene expressions, things that you or I am naturally predisposed to expressing under certain conditions. Well, genes don’t necessarily need to be expressed all the time, it takes hormones to express those genes. And you are perfectly capable of changing most of those conditions!
Now ask yourself, what causes hormones to be expressed? hmmmm…..OH NO SHIT! The FOOD YOU EAT! And the things you do!
Exercise causes positive hormone reactions, and eating the right foods causes more positive hormone reactions! These hormones cause good genes to be expressed. This comes through in our health and outward appearance. Avoiding toxins and laziness stops the bad genes from being expressed.
Note this nice discussion from Mark’s Daily Apple on gene expression.
Live and move like the predator you evolved to be! Gene expression is in your control.