over the breadbasket brews as advocates and experts take sides
ó either for or against the grain. Called into question are
the health benefits of eating wheat and other
gluten-containing grains including barley and rye.
are awful for the brain," claims neurologist Dr. David
Perlmutter, author of a new diet book, "Grain
Brain." He says even those without celiac disease or
gluten intolerance should avoid most whole grains.
carbohydrate foods increases blood sugar levels, which causes
inflammation and can lead to dementia," he says.
could be further from the truth, according to nutrition
experts who point out that carbohydrate foods provide glucose,
the preferred fuel of the brain and contain nutrients such as
B vitamins beneficial to brain health.
shows that grains, especially low glycemic intact whole
grains, reduce inflammation. They are part of the solution,
not part of the problem," says Cynthia Harriman, director
of food and nutrition strategies for the Whole Grains Council.
She cites a recent University of Nebraska study that showed
eating whole grains (barley and brown rice) helped decrease
is particularly critical of wheat as a culprit in obesity and
degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimerís. Judy Adams,
registered dietitian and president of the Wheat Foods Council,
responds by saying, "He canít connect the increase in
obesity rates and incidence of brain health problems with the
consumption of wheat. We are actually eating less wheat today
than we were one hundred years ago."
growing number of people are being diagnosed with a
sensitivity to gluten that can cause a range of health
problems. But nutrition experts in the United States and
Canada say there is no evidence that gluten containing whole
grains poses widespread health risks for the rest of the
population. In fact, quite the opposite could happen.
of Canada issued a statement saying, "Diets that
eliminate gluten, carbohydrates or categories of foods without
medical justification may put the health of Canadians at
risk." Harriman says a study by researchers at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected diets
would be extremely low in folic acid and iron and fall short
of B vitamins if whole grains were eliminated. She adds even
those with a gluten digestion problem have their choice of
many nutritious gluten-free grains to enjoy, including
amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats (if certified as
noncontaminated), quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff and wild rice.
carbs or no carbs may be at the center of the plate debate,
all sides seem to agree on the key roles of physical activity
and sleep, healthy fats such as those in olive oil and
avocado, and the value of the Mediterranean-style diet, which
emphasizes fruits, vegetables and seafood.