What do low-tar cigarettes, low-fat yogurt and healthy whole grains have in common?

Followers of the Undoctored and Wheat Belly books and lifestyle understand a basic truth in logic: Just because something is less bad does not necessarily make it good.

Low-tar cigarettes have less of the toxic compounds that leave the brown residue–“tar”–after tobacco is burned, but smoking low-tar cigarettes does not reduce risk for lung cancer, mouth/throat cancer, or cardiovascular disease.

From Stanford.edu  on the impact of tobacco advertising:
Claims of low ‘tar,’ less ‘tar,’ or even lowest ‘tar’ have been circulating in cigarette advertisements for decades. This theme features ads which revolve around deceptive low tar claims which try to out-do each other, some going as far as to claim less than 1 mg of tar per cigarette. By ‘tar,’ tobacco companies are referring to the brown, sticky accumulation of chemicals amassed when tobacco is burned. This residue is considered to be one of the most damaging components of smoking, as it contains a multitude of identified carcinogens and causes harmful build-up in the lungs. It is therefore no surprise that, early on, tobacco companies began to make their cigarettes appear less harmful by advertising reduced tar levels. Low tar cigarettes are intended to keep concerned smokers from quitting by providing these smokers with what appears to be a healthy alternative. Unfortunately, lower tar ratings have no bearing on the safety of the brand in question. As internal tobacco documents have revealed, tobacco companies have been fully knowledgeable that lower tar cigarettes were not actually safer or healthier. 

Something might be less bad, or contain less of an undesirable ingredient, but that does not necessarily mean that the product in question is therefore good.

Low-fat yogurt may have most or all the fat removed (the one truly healthy component of dairy products, by the way), but is typically loaded with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and has the whey protein that  stimulates weight gain or blocks weight loss  via insulin provocation. Low-fat yogurt is not a health food, but has the appearanceof being less bad.

Likewise, 14 epidemiological studies that graded consumption of white flour products (bad) versus whole grain products (less bad because of greater B vitamin and fiber content) demonstrated reduced weight gain, less type 2 diabetes, less heart disease, and less colorectal cancer with greater whole grain consumption–that is indeed true. But those studies did notdemonstrate that such conditions are less likely compared to NO grain consumption: less bad is not necessarily good. There are indeed many studies that compare grain consumption with no grain consumption, even if they haven’t received the sort of press given to, say, some new robotic surgical procedure or cancer treatment. But such studies demonstrate dramatic health benefits when no grains are included in diet, the sorts of benefits we see play out every day in the Wheat Belly community. (References can be found in Undoctored, Wheat Belly and Wheat Belly Total Health.) By removing grains entirely, we remove the appetite-stimulating, inflammatory, autoimmunity triggering, blood sugar raising, and hormonally disruptive effects   grains exert on humans.

Remember, wheat and related grains, whole or white, still contain:

  • Gliadin (and related proteins, such as zein in corn)–that trigger appetite via gliadin-derived opiate peptides and initiate the process of autoimmunity via intestinal “leak”
  • Phytates — that disturb digestion and block iron and zinc absorption by 90%.This is why grain consuming societies experience so much iron deficiency anemia, impaired immunity, and skin rashes.
  • Lectins — such as wheat germ agglutinin, grain proteins that exert disruptive effects in the gastrointesinal tract and gain access to the bloodstream, where it yields potent inflammatory effects.
  • D-amino acids — Humans, as well as other mammals, have the digestive apparatus to break proteins down in to L-amino acids. But many of the amino acids in grains are the mirror image D-versions. The implications of this peculiar clash between incompatible species–non-ruminant humans and the seeds of grasses–are just starting to be appreciated.
  • Amylopectin A — The carbohydrate of grains that is responsible for its extravagant potential to raise blood sugar higher ounce for ounce, than table sugar.

Keep this simple principle in mind—that less bad does not necessarily mean good—and you will see through numerous blunders made in nutrition.

This seems like a straightforward, common sense sequence of logic: remove something that is less bad from the diet and there will be benefit. Yet the flawed logic of replacing bad with less bad has thrown off an entire generation of dietitians, physicians, and government agencies charged with providing nutritional advice who have all embraced the less bad whole grains, going as far as urging all of us to make them the dominant ingredient in diet every day. In the Undoctored / Wheat Belly lifestyle, we eliminate the bad– white flour products– and the less bad– whole grains of all types. That’s when wonderful things happen.

The post What do low-tar cigarettes, low-fat yogurt and healthy whole grains have in common? appeared first on Dr. William Davis.

Dr. William Davis

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