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Grains As Possible Trigger For Autoimmune Diseases
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Here is some interesting information I just discovered as I was researching the Paleolithic Diet. This is from a discussion between Robert Crayhon (one of the best nutritionists in the whole freakin' world - IMHO ;)) and Loren Cordain (expert on Paleolithic nutrition):

Robert Crayhon: I know you're doing some groundbreaking work right now looking at the role of high consumption of grains as a possible trigger for many auto-immune diseases. Can you comment on that?

Loren Cordain: We don't have any clinical data at this point. We have a theoretical model which points in many directions towards exactly what you're saying.

Robert Crayhon: Are multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis rare in populations where no grain products are consumed?

Loren Cordain: Some epidemiological evidence would indicate exactly that. Part of the problem in getting epidemiological evidence like this is that there are very few populations on this planet that don't eat cereal grains...

Prior to acculturation, Eskimos and peoples of the far North were reported to have a low incidence of auto-immune diseases. With acculturation, the prevalence of auto-immune diseases are increasing in these populations and may approach Western levels.

Experimentally, we know that the expression of certain auto-immune diseases (e.g. insulin dependent diabetes mellitus IDDM) increases in animal models when they are fed high cereal grain diets.

We believe that cereal grains may influence immune function by the ability of their lectins (specifically wheat germ agglutinin-WGA) to allow passage of undegraded dietary antigens and antigens derived from intestinal pathogens (viruses and bacteria) to peripheral tissue.

Through a process called molecular mimicry, in which there are structural similarities between the body's own tissue and that of the dietary antigen and/or the intestinal pathogen antigen, the immune system loses the ability to distinguish self tissue from non-self tissue and mounts an immune attack upon the body's own tissue. Many of these structural similarities between cereal grain peptides and the body's own tissues seem to involve collagenous tissues.

Robert Crayhon: Which grains have protein sequences closest to human collagen tissue?

Loren Cordain: The literature suggests that the alcohol soluble portion of wheat contains peptide sequences that may mimic peptide sequences in the body. But it's a more complicated issue than that. It has to do with the genetics of the person with the auto-immune disease as well.

Robert Crayhon: The upshot of all this is that it couldn't hurt if you've got an auto-immune disease to try a grain-free diet.

Loren Cordain: Well, it's more than grain-free. We found again from a Paleolithic perspective that humans didn't drink a lot of dairy, nor did they consume legumes or yeast-containing foods. Dairy, legumes, and yeast contain peptides with amino acid sequence that are homologous to amino acid sequences in a variety of human tissues as well.

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I just found this slightly fascinating ;) I hope you will find it of interest too! I am seriously considering eliminating grains from my diet - please comment :)

Thanks!!

- Michelle :wub:

p.s. Find this interview at http://www.mercola.com/article/carbohydrat...lithic_diet.htm

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Most of have limited our grain consumption at least when we went gluten-free. Many have also limited or cut the dairy. I have never given consideration to totally cutting out these items as I see them as necessary sources of some vitamins and minerals. Totally eliminating them would leave you open to other problems unless you are extremely educated in matching proteins among other sources, etc. Most people just don't have that education or are unwilling to spend the time required to learn and prepare foods that way.

I just believe that our society has over-consumed grains (and dairy, for that matter) because we have them in readily available and inexpensive forms. This is not so for the celiac disease patient, so we either spend large amounts of money or limit severely the grains we consume. Some grains are appropriate for the human diet, especially if they are whole grains and do not have all the nutrition and fiber processed out of them. There is also much research to support the use of whole grains for several medical problems.

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I don't understand why we should go back to eating the diet that our earliest ancestors ate. Their lifespan was extremely short, possibly because they didn't get all the nutrients now available to us. I agree we eat too many processed foods and our healthiest diet is one of natural foods, but that includes (barring intolerances) corn, rice and gluten-free grains such as amaranth or quinoa which provide necessary fiber. I feel any diet that excludes too much is not healthy. We need a well balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables but with enough space for the occasional gluten-free angel food cake. B)

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Here are a couple quotes from the paleodiet website:

Since hunter-gatherers lived a "nasty, short, and brutal life," how can we know if their diets were healthful or not? Don't their short life spans suggest a poor diet?

It is certainly true that hunter-gatherers studied during modern times did not have as great an average lifespan as those values found in fully westernized, industrial nations. However, most deaths in hunter-gatherer societies were related to the accidents and trauma of a life spent living outdoors without modern medical care, as opposed to the chronic degenerative diseases that afflict modern societies. In most hunter-gatherer populations today, approximately 10-20% of the population is 60 years of age or older. These elderly people have been shown to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of chronic disease (obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels) that universally afflict the elderly in western societies. When these people adopt western diets, their health declines and they begin to exhibit signs and symptoms of "diseases of civilization."

Aren't whole grains good sources of fiber, minerals, and B vitamins? How can I get these nutrients if I cut down or eliminate grains from my diet?

On a calorie-by-calorie basis, whole grains are lousy sources of fiber, minerals, and B vitamins when compared to the lean meats, seafood, and fresh fruit and veggies that dominate The Paleo Diet. For example, a 1,000-calorie serving of fresh fruits and vegetables has between two and seven times as much fiber as does a comparable serving of whole grains. In fruits and veggies most of the fiber is heart-healthy, soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol levels -- the same cannot be said for the insoluble fiber that is predominant in most whole grains. A 1,000-calorie serving of whole grain cereal contains 15 times less calcium, three times less magnesium, 12 times less potassium, six times less iron, and two times less copper than a comparable serving of fresh vegetables. Moreover, whole grains contain a substance called phytate that almost entirely prevents the absorption of any calcium, iron, or zinc that is found in whole grains, whereas the type of iron, zinc, and copper found in lean meats and seafood is in a form that is highly absorbed.

Compared to fruits and veggies, cereal grains are B-vitamin lightweights. An average 1,000 serving of mixed vegetables contain 19 times more folate, five times more vitamin B6, six times more vitamin B2 and two times more vitamin B1 than a comparable serving of eight mixed whole grains. On a calorie-by-calorie basis, the niacin content of lean meat and seafood is four times greater than that found in whole grains.

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I think that there is a lot of wisdom in this diet. I'm not saying that everyone should do it - because everyone has different metabolic needs - but for *me* (who only gets bloated and sad on a grain based diet), I think it's definitely something to consider. I don't think there is one diet that is good for everyone. We are all too specialized to be told that we should all eat exactly the same way. Think about it - some cultures do extremely well on high fat, high protein diets (like Eskimos) while other cultures do extremely well on low fat, high carbohydrate diets (people from tropical cultures - for example). I'm posting this info for the people who have a metabolism similar to mine - not trying to cram it down everybodys throat.

So - enjoy your angel food cake ;)

- Michelle :wub:

p.s. If anyone is interested: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faq.htm

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:P

In general, take your time - you've got your life ahead of you - don't confuse the issues because, true as all that no doubt is generally, there are different specific issues with different specific grains.

There are also the amounts - many of us already benefit from less.

And manner of processing. The most bread and cake eating person from a few hundred years ago would probably spit out what is prevalent now?

(Let alone all the "ready meals". Even glucose syrup that is in most products is a wheat product.)

Take care of the practicalities in your life, also do a "search" across the forum for the elimination diet ...

When I leave some meat in my slow cooker overnight I often throw rice into the surrounding liquid, maybe it cooks better slower...

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:P

Just read the article on the paleo Diet page - should have done before.

Pretty balanced - things I've been recommended before and didn't know they were callled "stone age"

In particular she says we're coming from a peculiar place so we have to go slowly and adapt carefully.

The remarks on the quality of meat are interesting, also tubers, also rice in baby foods.

Have only got one quarrel with her and it is re millet - it is the cooking pots made from the wrong metals that cause ilness in millet eating people, not the millet.

Plenty of fruit (mainly not dried) and veg.

A thing I never heard of before is glycemic load, obviously a useful concept.

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