The truth about whole grains and beans: what traditional cultures know about these so-called "healthy foods" that most Americans don't
Here's the deal: wheat (and most grains) and beans are two foods that include lectin (as well as gluten and phytic acid) in significant quantities.
- Lectin, alongside gluten and phytic acid, is one of the greatest anti-nutrients in our diet. Anti-nutrients are (clearly) foods that do NOT help us.
- Lectin (and other anti-nutrients) interfere with digestion and disrupt the natural absorption of nutrients.
- These anti-nutrients are intricately involved in the breakdown of the lining around our connective tissue and healthy cells, as well as the breakdown of our gut lining.
- Once this gut lining "breach" happens, we have effectively opened up the door to any number of toxins entering our bloodstream.
Many of you have already heard about gluten, whether via nutrition info or just the plethora of gluten-free products in your supermarket. It's a major factor in the lives of those who have celiac disease (whether diagnosed or undiagnosed), but even more pressing is the fact that over 33% of the population may have a gluten sensitivity.
For those with just the sensitivity, their conditions will not be as severe as someone with celiac disease, but they can definitely feel adverse effects anytime they eat gluten-rich foods (effects ranging from simple headaches or stomach discomfort all the way to more severe internal deficiencies, weight retention, and breakages in gut lining).
In any case, gluten is probably not the best compound we want in our foods, and for this reason I always recommend gluten-free, natural foods in your diet. And as always, as long as you keep foods with gluten (and other "junk") to a minimum 10% of your calories, you should be fine.
The main part of this chapter will talk about lectin, which is much less commonly known, but still as harmful to our bodies. Our discussion will focus mainly on the linings around our cells, which are adversely affected by lectin-rich foods from both a toxin-entry perspective and a pain/discomfort perspective.
Geek Alert: This chapter gets a little technical
For starters, N-Acetyl-Glucosamine is a naturally-occurring sugar produced in our body, in the glycocalyx, which is essentially a mucus-like lining on our endothelial cells (blood/lymph vessels). This glucosamine is found primarily on the cells around our connective tissue and cartilage (though it is also found elsewhere). In the best case scenario, we have ample supplies of glucosamine, and as a result have well-lubricated, highly functioning joints.
The only issue is: we're not in a best-case scenario. In reality, glucosamine is a dwindling commodity in our bodies.
For the most part, our glucosamine (and the tissues/cartilage they protect) wears down due to:
1. General wear and tear, and a lack of proper strengthening/mobility work
2. A specific protein, called lectin, found in many foods we eat (especially wheat and
a. This lectin binds with glucosamine, and penetrates the aforementioned cell walls
that are part of our cartilage, connective, and more.
b. (Note: in addition to glucosamine, lectin also prefers to bind with sialic acid,
which is also found in the mucus-like lining around our cells)
The strengthening/exercise part is all found in the exercise manuals of this Extreme Fat Loss Formula.
But let's delve deeper on this mysterious compound called lectin.
Here's the background:
Wheat lectins (wheat germ agglutinin or WGA is the proper term) protect wheat plants in the wild from insects, bacteria, and yeast. They do this by binding to the glucosamine found in chitin (in insects) and cell membrane walls (in bacteria and yeast) that try to "attack" it. In doing so, it acts as a toxin, thereby protecting itself.
It's survival of the fittest, at its finest. Evolution has specifically given most plants a defense, and this is what wheat plants have. This scenario repeats itself over and over again in other "earth-y" foods such as beans and nuts (as well as many other lectin/phytic acid-rich foods).
The bad part is: when humans consume these foods, they are also exposed to the plants' "survival" toxins. As expected, the lectin binds to the glucosamine (and sialic acid) in our bodies, and a steady deterrent/toxic effect is created.
In small amounts, the binding of lectin and glucosamine breaks down our cartilage, tissues, and other mucus-like linings. Recall, from above, that lectin also likes binding with sialic acid. This 2nd line of lectin/sialic acid binding breaks down the lining especially in our gut and other mucous-like tissues (often in the brain and nose).
When this lining is penetrated, the WGA makes its way through and introduces inflammation and autoimmunity.
This essentially means the body can't differentiate between itself and foreign invaders, so it recklessly attacks everything including healthy cells and tissues.
(Note: Read below if interested in even more geeky science of the 'how' behind lectin. Otherwise skip over this section.)
We've established that the wheat/beans essentially need a means of self-preservation, and it knows it can accomplish this by binding and penetrating at certain "weak" points. This is the "why".
But what about the "how"?
Well, these lectin proteins contain a sort of "key" that only fits a certain type of "lock" (the 'lock' being a specific naturally-occurring sugar i.e. glucosamine and sialic acid). As mentioned, these locks are located in many places including the gut wall, connective tissue, cartilage, and mucosal lining, in addition to arteries, glands, or organs.
Yes, as you may be realizing, these "locks" are just about EVERYWHERE --- glad you're catching on!
When a lectin with the correct key comes in contact with one of these sugar 'locks', it opens the lock Ã¢ÂÂ just as your house key fits in perfectly at your front door.
Once this door is open, the 'free flow' of inflammation and autoimmune events can flood in, thereby disrupting healthy cellular function. This is thought to be the starting point of widespread cell damage, cell death and the growth of various modern diseases.
Long story short, this is pretty grisly stuff.
For this exact reason, wheat is a major no-no in my Extreme Fat Loss Formula, especially from a longevity perspective. It's sometimes tolerable from a fat loss perspective, but honestly I consider it to be a "junk" food. As such, I rarely eat it outside of my 10% junk limit for the day.
If, and only if, it's filling enough to help you stick to your plan, then include it in small amounts (make sure its 100% whole wheat.)
For this same reason, beans, nuts, and even some natural grains like rice are subject to an overnight "soaking" in water to remove as many of the lectins (and phytic acid, both antinutrients) as possible. The foods should soak for at least 12-24 before cooking. Note that heating is an important step, since studies have shown it can further reduce the level of active lectins in food (of course you'll be heating rice, but make sure you also heat beans and lightly roast nuts. Heavy, high heat roasting of nuts activates oxidized cholesterol which is not good.)
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Moving forward, there are several other articles/topics I'll share so you can lose weight even faster, and feel great doing it.
Below is a list of these topics and you can use this Table of Contents to jump to the part that interests you the most.
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