For some inexplicable reason, the term “whole grain” has become synonymous with healthier eating. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s start out with a quick primer. Grains (a.k.a. cereals) are essentially ground grass seeds. The three primary agricultural grasses are corn, wheat, and rice which collectively provide more than half of all the calories consumed by humans. In addition, these grass seeds constitute the majority of the diets of most domesticated animals that humans rely upon for protein sources (i.e. livestock, poultry, hatchery-raised fish).
The problem with eating ground grass seeds is that they are, well, seeds. And grass seeds are mostly comprised of an endosperm which is essentially pure starch, a complex carbohydrate.
But it gets better…
Since grass seeds themselves are rather difficult to consume and digest, we humans have developed very efficient ways of processing them in order to make them more edible. By far the most popular process is flour milling which involves grinding these grass seeds into a fine powder that can then be used as an ingredient for a variety of food “staples” such as breads and pastas.
However, the problem with flour milling is that the grinding process exponentially increases the surface area of the endosperm (complex carbohydrate). This dramatically raises the immediate exposure to starch content which forces the human body to work overtime converting these higher starch levels into glucose. And the end result is a constant barrage of higher spikes in blood sugar levels which can eventually lead to insulin resistance – and diabetes as the endgame.
And don’t be fooled by the “whole grain” moniker, either. Any products made with flour (ground grass seeds) can have the same effect on blood sugar, whether the flour is produced from whole grains or not. In fact, whole grain wheat bread and white bread can have the same glycemic index. This is primarily due to the fact that whole grain kernels are still mostly starch (i.e. complex carbohydrates).
The key is, your physiology is not optimized for consuming and digesting ground grass seeds. Humans in general have not evolved to eat such high amounts of concentrated carbohydrates, and our pancreases (and adrenals) aren’t fit for the job. Bottom line, our genes aren’t adapted to these foods – so don’t eat them.