Most people want to be healthier. Often, this comes from wanting to be a better mother, a better husband, etc. The problem is that in the United States, the advice you are getting pushed in your face from so-called experts is often wrong and potentially harmful. I’m here to help you sort fact from fiction in the nutrition world.

If you missed the first two posts in our “6 Lies the USDA is Telling You” series, you can read them here and here. Today, we will cover lies five and six.

5. Cholesterol is the enemy.

Wrong again USDA. How are they remotely qualified as “experts” in this field anyway? We actually need cholesterol for the protection of our brains. Our body produces cholesterol for that very purpose. And it is highly unlikely that you could ever consume so much cholesterol through eggs or beef to be problematic for your system. Here is where the problem lies, your cholesterol levels rise to dangerous levels in response to over-consumption of grains and sugar, or due to hereditary factors, not from eating “whole, real” food like eggs. Another thing that bothers me about most blood test screening is that cholesterol is often separated into good (HDL) and bad (LDL). And in response to a typical western diet of highly processed foods I kind of understand their logic. But in reality, neither LDL or HDL are actually inherently bad. When you consume a diet of “real” food, cholesterol just isn’t problematic for most people. The problem comes when your cholesterol levels are high from a diet filled with processed foods.

6. Whole grains are good for you and should be consumed regularly.
The first thing you should know about whole grains, is that just about every study that has ever shown a link to health promotion from eating whole grains, has been funded by people who will benefit monetarily from the continued success of whole grains. In other words, one of the key things we know in the scientific community is to look at the method and not the results. People, especially those who will benefit from a specific outcome, can make the numbers say whatever they want them to say. When you look into the methods used for evaluating whole grain health, many of the methods used don’t hold up well to scrutiny. “But whole grains contain fiber and nutrients that we need in our diet.” This is sort of true, but it’s kind of like a slight of hand magic trick. Whole grains do in fact contain fiber. But it’s not like they are actually a better source than other healthier foods. 1 slice of whole wheat bread contains about 3 grams of fiber. Big deal, a medium apple has 4.0 and ½ a cup of cooked broccoli has about 4.5. “But grains are a key source of vitamins and minerals.” There are zero vitamins in whole grains that are not also available from vegetables and fruit. The other problem is that just because whole grains contain vitamins and minerals, it does not mean that they are available to you. Without getting too technical, grains also contain phytates. Phytates bind themselves to these “vitamins and minerals” which makes them essentially unavailable to you. If you can’t actually use the nutrients listed in whole grains, does it matter that they contain them? Lastly on grains, they contain proteins like gluten and other similar grain proteins. Consistent consumption of grains (even whole grains) can and usually does lead to a “leaky” gut. What is a leaky gut? Well, think about it this way, when your gut is leaky, you have no way to keep things in that should stay in. When you have a leaky gut, even healthy food can be attacked as an invader in your body. When this happens, you create an issue we have heard much about in the media recently called inflammation, and this is the real cause of arterial plaque buildup, not dietary fat.

For additional information on the points discussed today, visit the following links on Cholesterol and Whole Grains.

About Matt:
Matt is an avid sports fan and loves playing basketball, volleyball and golf whenever possible. He spent a number of years working as an assistant golf professional and currently manages Business Development at DJ Construction. He received his CrossFit Level 1 Certificate in January of 2013. Matt has made it his mission to figure out how to make fitness a sustainable life-long pursuit for everyone. In July 2012, Matt married his awesome wife, Abby. They attend and are involved at Sugar Grove Church in Goshen.

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