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Are grains bad for you?

rice close-up

A close-up view of a rice panicle. Photo courtesy of USDA.

One of the tenets of the Paleo diet, at least so I thought, was to avoid grains. When we started the Paleo diet a couple of months ago, that was one of the major changes to our diet (along with cutting out dairy, sugar and beans). My understanding was that grains are bad for you because our digestive systems can’t break them down easily.

So we cut out grains. I felt a lot better. Sure, sometimes at first it felt like something was missing from our dinners, but after a while I got used to it. And I felt like I had more energy. Now I don’t really miss grains at all. Of course, it probably helps that I have a weekly cheat while I cruise the samples at Costco during our grocery shopping. :)

But recently, my husband, who is the master of all things dietary in our household, informed me that rice is OK to eat. Huh? And not just any rice, but white rice, which I’ve considered a bad food for a while since it has a high glycemic index value. Apparently, brown rice, which I used to think was good for you because it is a whole grain, is worse than white rice precisely because it still has that protective coating around it, making it difficult to digest. Confused? Me, too.

So what’s a Paleo girl to do? Well, for myself, I’m sticking to being grain-free (aside from my occasional cheats at Costco and our very rare jaunts to restaurants). I don’t miss white rice. Given a choice between white rice and the usual Paleo substitute (cauliflower), at this point I’d rather just eat the cauliflower rice. I don’t see a need for grains in my diet, and I’d rather eat things that have more nutritional value. For carbs, I’ll stick to vegetables and fruits.

Of course, if I was training for a marathon or triathalon, I might feel differently. But for right now, I don’t see a reason to change our diet again. I’m happy with things just the way they are.

P.S. If you’re looking for a more complete perspective on why grains are bad for you, check out this post on Daily Burn by Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.

What do you think? Are grains healthy for you?

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2 Responses to Are grains bad for you?

  1. We just started the paleo life a few weeks ago. Going grain free is the hardest for me, but I do feel so much better having done so. I am not supposed to eat nuts though, so snack time and making treats are pretty difficult for me. Any suggestions? Thanks for getting the word out!

    • So glad you’re feeling better on the Paleo diet. No nuts is tough! We live on almond butter and nuts in our house for snacks. The first things that came to mind are fruit salad, jerky and apple chips. You could also make some fruit roll-ups, kale chips or carrots and “hummus.” I hope that helps!

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