Grain-free and paleo diets are increasingly popular, especially among people looking to lose weight, reduce inflammation and improve energy. Paleo diets consist of meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, tubers, raw nuts, seeds and sometimes raw dairy and exclude grains, legumes and processed foods. Quality of foods is a focus, with grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, raw nuts and seeds and organic produce being important components. Going paleo has been shown to stabilize blood sugar, aid weight loss and reverse insulin problems. 

While I have seen people's health improve eating a paleo diet, I have also seen many paleo cookbooks that use meat as sandwich bread, almond and coconut flour to make pizza crust and a dessert section that takes up half the book. Whichever nutrition trend comes along people can always find a way to get around eating whole foods. I often find patients feel much better after eliminating sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods regardless of whether they are eating grains. There is also abundant research showing that whole grains vs refined grains prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

We know that biodiversity is essential for a healthy ecological system, so why would our bodies be different? By eliminating whole grains, we may be missing out on essential fiber, antioxidants, B-vitamins, minerals and protein. If you have constipation, high cholesterol and hormonal imbalance, you may benefit from adding moderate quantities of properly prepared whole grains and legumes. I recommend The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook for information on preparation. If you have blood sugar problems, undesired weight gain, digestive disorders and fatigue, you may be a good candidate for a grain-free diet. When in doubt, stick to whole foods rather than packaged, processed and refined. 

Curious about the nutrition that is best for you? Dr. Claire Graser is now accepting patients at Senspa – call to schedule a free 15 minute consult or schedule at 415-441-1777.