I want to protect my heart. And, you guessed it, grains are not be nearly as “heart healthy” as we are told. Why? Here are a few reasons:
1. Your lipid profile – eating grains will increase your triglycerides, lower HDL and raise LDL. While there are more factors at work besides the simple “HDL=good, LDL=bad” view on cholesterol, it is still amazing to me that we are told to eat whole grains and stay clear of saturated fat when a diet high in CARBOHYDRATES (ie – grains) is what changes a lipid profile to be “bad.”
2. Your insulin sensitivity – the more grains you eat, the more likely your blood sugar will be elevated. Your pancreas then attempts to regulate your raised blood sugar by pumping out insulin. If you continue to eat blood sugar-spiking foods you will be on a path to insulin resistance (when normal levels of insulin will no longer bring your blood sugar under control) and diabetes (where your pancreas tires of producing so much insulin and stops). Diabetics are much more likely to suffer from heart disease than the general population. Therefore, it truly pays to protect your heart by keeping your blood sugar under control.
3. Your inflammation level – If grains really can cause systemic inflammation (see part 2 here) than they can create an inflamed circulatory system too. Heart disease and inflammation go hand in hand. Think about it from a practical standpoint – would a blockage be more likely to pass through an inflamed or normal vessel?
Still doubting me? Take a look at http://www.heartscanblog.org/. This is a blog designed to help heart disease patients reverse their atherosclerosis (plaque build-up). The first order of business?! Get wheat out of the diet. Fascinating stuff…