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The Real Truth About a Grain-Heavy Diet

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Thanks to the food pyramid of the 1990s, many are under the impression that grains are an important and necessary part of a healthy diet. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. While a grain-heavy diet is the “norm” in our country, so are obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Grains were not part of our ancestor’s diet, and they’re becoming more and more toxic to our health. 

Grains are everywhere, and it’s often too easy to reach for the bagel or coffee cake. This seemingly-harmless choice has consequences, especially if this becomes a daily habit. Science shows that you’re better off avoiding many types of common grains. If you have certain health conditions or risk factors, it may even be necessary to go grain-free. Educate yourself about grain, and get on the road to achieving true vitality and your 100 Year Heart!

The cost of a grain-heavy diet

You might think that grains provide nutritional value and are necessary for health. In truth, you can get any nutrient found in grain in other, healthier options, such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Our ancestors thrived off a grain-free diet, and the evidence shows that you can too. You can get everything you need (and nothing you don’t) from a whole foods diet.

Don’t underestimate the cost of eating a grain-heavy diet. Even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance or allergy, you’re not safe from potential consequences. Let’s dig into what grain does to your body. 

Wheat and cereal grains are bad for gut health

Consuming wheat and cereal grains can cause or worsen chronic inflammation and leaky gut. It’s imperative to avoid grains if you already struggle with food sensitivities, digestive issues, or an autoimmune condition. Some grains also contain antinutrients such as phytic acid, which block the absorption of important minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. 

Most grains are bad for your blood sugar

Flour has a high glycemic index, comparable to table sugar. Consuming refined flour can cause spikes in blood sugar, excessive hunger, and cravings. Uncontrolled blood sugar contributes to inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Evidence also suggests that gluten may contribute to diabetes. Often, cutting out grains will aid in weight loss and reverse metabolic syndrome.

Modern grains are becoming more toxic

Wheat products are far less healthy than 50 years ago. Most farmers spray their wheat with herbicides containing a toxic chemical called glyphosate. This chemical gets absorbed into the plant, ending up in your daily bowl of wheat bran. New research shows that glyphosate exposure disrupts the gut microbiome and may lead to other diseases.

The truth about “whole grain”

“Whole grain” products are often marketed as being healthier than they actually are. Whole grain simply means that the grain doesn’t go through a refinement process, leaving all parts intact. Refined wheat products, such as white flour, have had parts of their grain anatomy removed. The refinement process often depletes the grain of protein and nutrients. Whole grain also has extra fiber and B vitamins, and is a slightly healthier option. 

Whole grains may be a lesser evil, but it doesn’t mean that grains should become a staple in your diet, as they can still cause many problems, such as inflammation, leaky gut, and poor nutrient absorption. While whole grain products tend to have a lower glycemic index than white flour, they still often cause spikes in blood sugar and increased cravings.

If you have any chronic health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, switching to whole grain is not a solution. If you’re trying to improve your heart health, it’s worth cutting out all grains – not just refined flour. One study showed that following a grain-free diet resulted in the following health benefits:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Stabilized blood sugar
  • Better cholesterol
  • Improved insulin response

Reasons to quit a grain-heavy diet

Consuming a grain-heavy diet may have consequences on gut health, inflammation, metabolic health, and more. This is especially true for those healing from a chronic or inflammatory condition. At Natural Heart Doctor, we recommend you cut out grains if:

  • You have metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes or high blood sugar
  • You have issues with weight control or cravings
  • You suffer from any food sensitivities
  • You have digestive issues, including acid reflux or IBS
  • You have any autoimmune condition (apart from quinoa – see below)
  • You feel bloated after you eat
  • You have high inflammatory markers on a blood test

If grains have been a huge part of your diet, you may be wondering what to replace them with. You can start by adding more nutritious vegetables to your diet in creative ways, such as zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. 

100 Year Heart Diet: Approved Grains

To achieve your 100 Year Heart, we recommend sticking to the following guidelines as much as possible. If you’re in good health, you don’t need to cut out all grains. Certain types of grains are okay in limited quantities, as long as you tolerate them.

Always listen to your body. If you have any inflammatory symptoms, such as bloating or indigestion, try a different type of approved grain (or cut them out altogether). 

Not all grains are equal. By sticking to our evidence-based recommendations, you’ll feel your best and boost your heart’s longevity!

*Make sure you buy organic products to minimize toxin exposure.

Note: If not sensitive, you can cook white rice and allow it to cool in the fridge and gently warm. This allows the rice to develop resistant starch, which is great for digestion. It provides healthy food for your gut. Just keep it to the ½ cup daily limit.

Note: Quinoa is a pseudo-grain related to beetroots and tumbleweeds that cooks like a grain. It is a good source of several minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. If not sensitive, enjoy in moderation.

What about bread?

You might be wondering how you could survive without bread for the rest of your life. Well, you don’t have to! Just pay close attention to ingredients and don’t go overboard. Consider trying Bread SRSLY, a gluten-free sourdough with high-quality ingredients approved by Natural Heart Doctor. Sourdough bread is better for digestion and has the added benefit of acting as a prebiotic, supporting the gut microbiome!

Next steps

When it comes to diet, your body will let you know what it needs. Pay attention to your digestion, bowel movements, inflammation, and overall energy levels. If something feels off, take a look at what you’re eating. Remember, food sensitivities can develop over time, so regularly reevaluate what grains you are eating and stay away from a grain-heavy diet. Consider The Wheat Zoomer test to determine if you have leaky gut or gluten/wheat sensitivities.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.