“You fatten cattle by feeding them lots and lots of low-fat grain. How do you fatten humans? Same way: you feed them lots and lots of low-fat grain. So if you’ve been eating more pasta and bread (both made from grain) than ever before, and your still gaining weight, think about those grain-fed cattle the next time you sit down to a big plate of pasta.” 
~Barry Sears, The Zone
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Foods to Avoid on The Paleo Diet – Grains

We have been led to believe that carbohydrates from grains are the ultimate food source, and you’ve probably realized by now that most Americans eat a diet consisting of primarily carbohydrates from grains.  Is it a coincidence that we are the fattest people on earth?  The reason america has been fed this myth is because grains are big business in AMerica and they are produced by massive industrial corporations making them exceptionally cheap.  But like anything in life, you get what you pay for.

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When you eat grains as a primary carbohydrate source you get calories and not much else.  You miss out on all of the vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals present in fruits and vegetables.  In fact, many americans are deficient in potassium from not eating enough fruits and vegetables.   Just keep in mind that the same people telling you that grains are good for you are the same ones selling it to you.  Humans did not start consuming grains until 10,000 years ago, and not in such large quantities until 40 years ago.  What is the result: Caveman was a ripped, badass saber-tooth tiger killing machine.  Modern Man: fat, slovenly office drone.

So what really matters?  The glycemic index of foods.  The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.  The table on the right lists a variety of popular foods and their associated placement on the glycemic index chart. High glycemic carbohydrates quickly enter the blood stream and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which then signals the pancreas to secrete insulin.  Insulin, as we know, is the villain in this story because it signals your body to store energy as fat.

This is why nutrition should focus on foods that are low to moderate on the glycemic index chart (and, subsequently, are high in fiber because fiber slows the glycemic response).

It doesn’t matter.  if a carbohydrate is simple or complex when it’s sitting on your plate.  What matters is what happens to it when it hits the digestive tract.  Take a piece of bread and chew on it for 30 seconds.  Notice what happens?  It becomes very sweet because digestive enzymes in our saliva quickly turn the bread into pure sugar.  So every time that you eat bread or pasta, you might as well be spooning pure sugar into your mouth.

Let most of your carbohydrates come from fruits and vegetables.

Glycemic-Index

“Glucose is found in grains, pasta, bread, cereals, starches, and vegetables.  Fructose is primarily found in fruits.  Galactose is found in dairy products.  However, while all of these simple sugars are rapidly absorbed by the liver, only glucose can be released directly into the bloodstream.  This is why glucose-rich carbohydrates like breads and pasta virtually sprint from the liver back into the bloodstream, while galactose and fructose, which must be converted to glucose in the liver, enter the bloodstream at a slower rate.”   
~Barry Sears