Cereal grains like wheat, oats, barley, rye, maize, and rice now account for the majority of the calories consumed by men. However, we are not used to this new food, which was first eaten between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. We are, genetically, hunter-gatherers from 190,000 years ago, still adapted to meats, fruits, and vegetables.
According to anthropology, eating grains resulted in a decline in height and lifespan, as well as an increase in infant mortality, infectious diseases, iron deficiency, bone mineral disorders, and dental caries. And this was just the beginning of the issues that cereal grains can bring to humanity.
Table of Contents
- 1 Grain cereals and carbohydrates
- 2 Minerals and vitamins
- 3 Protein and fats
- 4 Antinutrients are compounds that are detrimental to your health
- 5 Cereal grains are rich in lectins, which are antinutrients
- 6 Gluten, gliadin, lectins, and WGA are all examples of allergens
- 7 Autoimmune disorders
- 8 Bibliography
Grain cereals and carbohydrates
Carbohydrates abound in the endosperms of cereal grains. If you eat a lot of grain-based foods, you will naturally consume a lot of starch. Starch is converted into blood sugar by our bodies. Chronic ingestion of large quantities of starch and sugar is known to cause high blood sugar, high insulin, overweight, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other civilization-related diseases.
Minerals and vitamins
Cereal grains lack vitamins A, C, D, and B12, and the bio-availability of the vitamins that do exist in cereal grains is low. Vitamin metabolism is also hindered by certain cereal grains.
Cereal grains have a low calcium content but a high phosphorus content. This has a detrimental effect on bone formation, bone loss, and metabolism. Furthermore, high magnesium levels result in calcium excretion.
Calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc bioavailability is poor due to phytates in grains. Anemia, infection, and prenatal mortality are all exacerbated by iron deficiency, and children’s mental development is stunted. Zinc deficiency can cause stunted growth, decreased ovarian and testicular activity, and a delay in puberty.
Protein and fats
The balance between omega 3 and omega 6 is impaired by a diet rich in cereal grains. Omega 3 levels are low, while omega 6 levels are relatively high. There is competition between omega 3 and omega 6 since they all use the same metabolic pathways. The action of omega 3 is inhibited by a high dietary level of omega 6. Thrombosis, coronary heart disease, preterm births, inflammation, and autoimmune disorders are also affected by this.
There are 21 amino acids in human proteins. Nine of them are important, which means they must be obtained through our diet. To avoid getting sick, we need an adequate dietary intake of both essential and non-essential amino acids. Several essential amino acids are in short supply in cereal grains. Deficiencies can lead to stunted development, a loss of lean body mass and muscle strength, a compromised immune system, and a reduced ability to recover.
Antinutrients are compounds that are detrimental to your health
Antinutrients such as phytates, alkylresorcinols, alpha-amylase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, lectins, and gluten are abundant in cereal grains. Antinutrients are substances that prevent nutrients from being consumed. To shield themselves from predators like humans, cereal grains produce all of these antinutrients.
Alkylresorcinols act as growth inhibitors. They also crack open red blood cells, split DNA strands, induce platelet aggregation, and play a role in liver and renal degeneration. Alpha-amylase inhibitors prevent starch from being broken down into sugars, resulting in hypersensitivity reactions. The pancreas undergoes adverse changes as a result of long-term use. Protease inhibitors block the function of digestive enzymes, which can contribute to pancreas enlargement and cancer.
Cereal grains are rich in lectins, which are antinutrients
Lectins are a diverse group of proteins with the ability to bind to carbohydrate-containing molecules with zeal. Various lectins can be present in various cereal grains. Lectins are related to each other and cause similar side effects. Lectins can bind to almost every cell in the body as well as every extracellular element.
Lectins are resistant to digestive breakdown and are heat stable. Lectins bind to, damage, and alter the cells that line the gut. This influences digestion and absorption, as well as the gut’s bacterial flora, immune system, and permeability.
The passage of lectins and partially or completely degraded dietary proteins into the blood and lymphatic circulation is facilitated by increased permeability of the intestines. When you eat grains, the amounts of these unwelcome guests are high, and they can negatively impact your health. Wheat lectins, for example, cause pancreatic enlargement, thymus wasting, insulin secretion depression, and cell division inhibition.
Gluten, gliadin, lectins, and WGA are all examples of allergens
Many people get gluten, gliadin, lectins, and WGA all mixed up (wheat germ agglutinin). Gluten, after all, is derived from the Latin word “glue.” It’s a sticky situation. It’s made up of prolamin and glutelin, two plant storage proteins. Gliadin is the prolamin in wheat, and glutenin is the glutelin. Other prolamins and glutelins can be present in other cereal grains. As a result, gluten and its components are present in a wide range of cereal grains. Gluten is most widely used to refer to the gliadin present in wheat. There are many different forms of gliadin. So the gluten story is a bit more complex. Lectins are present in a number of foods, including cereal grains, legumes, nightshades, and dairy. Wheat produces WGA, which is one of many lectins. Due to its shady reputation, WGA is believed to be the primary cause of celiac disease. For the time being, you might assume that gluten and lectins both cause similar problems.
As we discussed in our post “How to Reverse a Leaky Gut and Stop Autoimmune Diseases“, lectins and gluten present in cereal grains are well-known triggers of autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, lectins and gluten are increasingly being related to psychiatric disorders such as ADD, ADHD, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and depression through the autoimmune pathway and opioid receptors (gut to brain).
A number of sources were used. There are far too many to list in a short (and hopefully still palatable) post like this. However, some of the references are listed because they served as a guide for writing this essay:
- Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword by Professor Loren Cordain.
- Gluten sensitivity: from gut to brain by Marios Hadjivassiliou et al.
- Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on human gastrointestinal epithelium: insights from an experimental model of immune/epithelial cell interaction by Dalla Pellegrina et al.