Whole Grains Are Not Evil

Carbs always get a bad rep, but they don’t deserve it. Take it from a registered dietitian. Did you know that carbohydrates are less calorie-dense than protein and fats (the other two macronutrients)? And that the right types of carbs – whole grains and vegetables & fruit are extremely beneficial for optimal health by helping to protect against diseases such as cancers, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity? How about the nutrients (mostly B vitamins) and fibre found in whole grains that contribute to these health benefits?  And the fact that having a sufficient amount of whole grains improves digestive health because of the high fiber content? If you’ve seen the latest attack on carbs, specifically on whole wheat products by Dr. Wiliam Davis on “the evils of wheat” – please read this post! Ashley Charlebois - Dietitian

Dr. William Davis is saying whole wheat spikes your blood sugar levels more than a candy bar because of the type of amylopectin present in wheat. That’s an over-exaggeration. It has a modest effect, does spike it more than quinoa or another whole grain, but less than white bread/flour or candy. However, keep in mind that when you eat bread, you don’t ever want to eat just a piece of bread on its own. You want to combine it with some protein to prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking and feeling hungry again within half an hour.

Dr. Davis is also saying he’s helped lots of his patients lose weight by getting them to eliminate all wheat products including whole wheat. But you have to ask what they were eating beforehand. Of course, if you tell someone to eat a healthy diet that includes no whole wheat compared to if they were eating that as part of an unhealthy diet, they’d lose weight. There are lots of contributing factors as to why that might happen. He mentions that even if you are in good shape and not worried about weight, having whole wheat will increase your body’s production of small LDL particles (the bad cholesterol) – contributing to the development of atherosclerosis and subsequently heart disease and stroke. This is not entirely true. Yes, if you eat too many carbohydrates at once, this can happen. However, this isn’t the case if you eat small portions of carbohydrates at a time. Eating modest-sized portions of carbohydrates, including whole wheat products, is more beneficial than detrimental to your health. He isn’t using science to back up his statements and is just taking everything to an extreme that is not necessarily true.

In the end, it’s juAshley Charlebois - Dietitianst one person’s opinion on something. Yes, he is a doctor, but you have to remember that most medical doctors don’t actually have any formal nutrition education. So he’s just a regular person, spreading nutrition myths that are not entirely true. There is far more scientific evidence highlighting the health benefits of eating whole grains, as I mentioned above.

What I would like to find more information on, is how exactly they breed wheat and process it. It’s always best to consume foods in their most natural forms. However, agricultural methods are becoming more efficient to produce a higher yield of crops by cross-breeding wheat plants. If done properly, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Watch this video for more information on how it’s done.

All that being said, do choose your bread wisely. The best types of whole wheat bread are 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread or whole wheat bread made from sprouted grains. The reason is that these bread are less processed, and don’t spike blood sugar levels as high as other varieties might. It’s also important to eat bread that has at least 3 g of fiber per slice. Also remember that eating a variety of different foods is best, including different types of grains. Try quinoa, brown rice, wild rice oats, barley, and whole-grain pasta or couscous to name a few.