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Old 12-11-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
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Default Grain Brain

http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-livin...142900086.html

Came across the above link today. It mirrors a lot of what I've discovered the last 7 months.

For me lowering carbs was the absolute hands down best approach to regaining my health. It not only has helped me loose 50lbs (still have an ultimate goal of under 200), but it has also given me control over my hunger and food choices for the first time in a long time.

Exercising has helped me feel GREAT. As good or better than in my 20s. Mentally much clearer.

It was interesting he mentioned 6 days a week of 20 minutes each. I was telling my wife to shoot for 6 days a week of 30 mins each. I just found something sustaining and empowering almost magical when I was doing 6 or 7 days a week, week after week.

I am finally ready personally to put vegetables and fruits front and center. I still each too much meat. But I am absolutely sure for me that starting with cutting down carbs was the key to everything. It took away my urges for bread, pasta, candy, cookies, potato chips, fast food, which were regulars in my diet. And all heavy on carbs.

Not saying lowering carbs is The Thing for everyone. But it was for me, at least to get everything else rolling.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:35 PM   #2
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Oh well. It will probably get buried here, this section isn't used much. And it truly is weight loss support. Health support, life support. Pity. It deserves to be read.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:53 PM   #3
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Well I think whether low carb works for you is different than whether this book itself is correct. I actually started reading the book out of curiosity and put it down after many inaccuracies. I may go back you reading it but the main issues I had from just the start of the book are:
1) the idea that our recent ancestors ate a low carb diet. Sure, Midwestern pioneers aren't my ancestors but if you read Little House On the Prairie, you'll see how grain focused their diets were. My ancestors are known for eating corn for many, many centuries. Various grains have been used for thousands of years as staples in the diet.

2) there have been a couple things that have long been linked to dementia and Alzheimer's that aren't mentioned. Aluminum cookware and packaging. Vitamin b-12 and b-12 absorption in the elderly. Some people genetically have issues with absorption of b-12 but as we get older, our ability to absorb vitamins in general and b-12 specifically decreases. I've read many articles indicating that it may be that b-12 absorption is the cause of most dementia and Alzheimer's cases. In a book discussing brain resiliency, leaving this out as an option is an onerous omission.

Anyway, my overall belief is follow what you think works for you. Exercise and brain exercises do help with brain resiliency. Enzyme cq10, vitamin b-12 ( sublingual preferred) and essential fats also help.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:07 PM   #4
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I guess time frames are important. If ancestors refers to the bulk of the last 2 million years, a few centuries is insignificant. So you could say for the last few centures all those proximate ancestors were not as healthy as they could be.

Or, perhaps, things can become healtheir or less bad over a time frame of centuries? I know wheat was never a big part of any diet going back thousands of years. Corn I am not aware of.

I took from the article that it is the insulin response and inflammation and such that are important. If grain or corns don't trigger those things in you or anyone then I guess they would not have the same negative impacts.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #5
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His timeframe was 100 years ago which is why I put recent ancestors . Sorry I was not specific. I do plan to finish the book but from the start, his bias is already showing so I'll take whatever he says with a grain.. Of salt.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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I agree with nelie about the inaccuracies that a lot of 'low carb' diets/lifestyles have about the history of human eating. The agricultural revolution first happened over 10,000 years ago. So yes, wheat has been a part of our diet going back thousands of years. And so even though the majority of human history has happened without 'grains' it is more than just a few centuries where a majority of our diet has come from them. And I'm sure our bodies have evolved/adapted over those 10,000 years to allow for greater digestion of grains.

I'm not trying to say that low carb diets don't work, because I know for a lot of people they do and they are the only thing that will work for them. But I don't think you can use the argument that over 10,000 years ago people didn't use to eat grains so therefore we shouldn't eat them today.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:25 AM   #7
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Well, also although grains weren't farmed, they were eaten. Most of the world has been grain based for thousands of years. There are very few cultures that haven't been, for instance the First Nations people of Canada.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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Grains but not breads. Nothing like what many consume now. Way more grains than ever before. Bread is a relatively new invention. And bread now and even the wheat is nothing like a 100 years ago.

This is purely anecdotal evidence but virtually all the negative effects low carb people tout were happening to me. And virtually all the positives they tout when you lower them have happened to me. Both body and mind.

Speaking of 100 years ago. People were not eating a lot of processed foods. I don't know what their carb intake was or how different those carbs were nutritionally, but I do know the average person was way more active which would have led to greater carb resistance.

We ignorned carbs for too long and look whathappened: obesity, heart disease, dementia, cancer like never before. I personally feel it is the heart of foolishness to ignore things like grain brain. And you do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Of course there are going to be some things, rightfully, pointed out. Does not mean he is not on the right track overall.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:02 AM   #9
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I don't think carbs are the problem but you did mention two things that are in that lower activity levels and processed foods. I personally thing lower activity levels are the main problem. There has been a lot of studies with sitting and lower activity with lots of diseases. I think it is a multifaceted problem and again, most societies in the world have been carb based for thousands of years. What has been the change that happened in the last 30 years? Computers? Requiring jobs with more sitting? More sedentary jobs in general? Processed foods? Increase in antibiotics and hormones in our animals we use for food? Fertilizers used on our fruits and vegetables? Increased pollution? Recent findings about intestinal bacteria that may play a part in obesity? There are a million things that could factor in.

There are also other related factors like with less outdoor activity, people are more likely to be vitamin d deficient which causes many issues. And with us living to be an older age, it is more likely that absorption of vitamins becomes an issue and a higher chance of dementia.

I think there have been many changes in our recent past and to me, it doesn't seem to point to carbs. Increased sugar? Possibly. Decreased activity? Definitely seems to be a factor.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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Those are all very valid points. And this is a complex issue: on the level of individuals, communities, societies, nations, and globally.

But I think carbs may be like a 'quarterback'. Certainly a good football offense needs a lot of parts. But the most important, especially at the NFL level is the quarterback.

Carbs for instance were making me lethargic. Do I have a desk job: yes. Do I have some free time, yes. Did I use that when eating a lot of carbs for exercise? No. Do I now? Yes. Now of course I also got motivated which was the number one reason.

But carbs, I believe from my personal experience were keeping me perpetually hungry and lethargic. They were and are the quarterback for me for much and probably most weight and then heath issues.

And even if they aren't avoiding carbs (and I mean in particular refined carbs, starchy vegetable carbs, bread, and pasta carbs) is not a bad way to go. I do not limit fruit and vegetable carbs. You will avoid fast food, processed food, a lot of bad stuff. This is my goal, I am still a work in progress.

And I had for years only eaten whole wheat bread and pasta but I was still getting bigger and bigger. So for me personally limiting carbs is working, even whole grain ones. And I personally think they are of fairly big significance in the 'obesity epidemic'.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:51 PM   #11
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For me, carbs keep me energized and fuel my workouts. I eat a moderate amount of carbs, 170g to 200g per day. I think everyone is different though. I think some may do well on low carbs but that doesn't mean it is for everyone.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:38 PM   #12
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The USDA recommendation is close to 300 grams. So you are getting 60% or so. Plus it sounds like you exercise more than the average person.

I am not a calorie counter, it wouldn't work for me. We live near a 'gourmet' taco place. I have chips and guacamole there often. So I am not fanatic about it. But I have cut out pasta, bread a lot, fast food, and snacks. So I am much lower carb. I think the 280 grams or so recommended, especially combined frequently with not enough exercise are big drivers of obesity. And it would not surprise me at all that just doing the recommended carbs a day is making many people both lethargic and overeaters.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:42 PM   #13
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I'm somewhat lucky in that I never cared for fast food or pasta although I love bread. I make my own bread for my husband but I don't really eat it. And yeah, I eat about 60% to 65% carbs. And calorie counting is really the only thing that seems to work for me but I'm a loose calorie counter, as it may not happen every day.

And since I do think activity is the biggest issue with our health, I try to exercise daily and generally stay active.
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:53 AM   #14
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Personally, I don't think activity is the biggest issue with the declining state of Americans' health, because I don't believe there is a single biggest issue - and I think that's why the research results are so often inconclusive or contradictory.

Genetics, activity level and type, calorie intake, carb intake, fat intake, meat intake, sodium intake, freggie intake, processed food intake, environmental toxins and stressors, stress levels, exposure or lack of exposure to healthy and potentially harmful microorganisms, use of prescription and nonprescription chemicals (medicinal and recreational), medical history, sleep quality, coping strayegies social support, emotional resilence...

All these variables interact to effect and determine health status, and I suspect both national and personal "health crises" will be difficult to resolve until and unless we take a more holistic, integrated approach to health (Easier said than done, I know).

Until we know more though, health management ends up being a lot like juggling knives (or maybe even running chainsaws), or at least like a game like Jenga where moving one piece can affect all the other game pieces.

Giving up wheat and reducing carbs has dramatically improved many of my health issues (even when no weight loss resulted) and I credit low-carb and paleo authors with inspiring me to experiment - but I still think the vast majority overstate and oversimplify their case (which is pretty much true for most diet and health related theories), which only serves to discredit the entire field, not just the individual theories.

It ends up being very difficult to avoid throwing the babies out with the bath water.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:18 AM   #15
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There is value and necessity for mufti-regression thinking and complexity acceptance when dealing with health and weight and diet and exercise for individuals and groups.

But there is also something called Occam's razor. It is used different ways but says start with the easiest explanation first.

Newton said it as "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances."

Or "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."

I have heard talks by Mark Bitman and Jamie Oliver. Bitman boils a lot of the things down to eat food. By this he means food is something you could have eaten say 150 years ago. Something that existed then. So cut out processed foods, etc.

I feel incredible. I now feel better than I ever have in my life at 48. I am down 55 lbs but also so much stronger and fitter. I am a runner now. Which I never thought possible. My diet is still far from perfect but so many of my daily items were high in carbs: fast food, potato chips, breads, pasta, candy bars. I targeted those and the results were phenomenal.

We still have to eat. So to me lowering carbs is excellent advice. What did I have left to eat after cutting those out? Fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy, meats. And with those as the basis of my diet now it is much healthier.

Grain Brain, Wheat Belly, etc. I think they are very powerful and helpful. Not the whole story but a 'baby' without question worth saving.
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