Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Grain Brain" by David Perlmutter

Yes, I'm eating gluten-free, as I said in my previous post.

Since my realization that gluten is definitely not good for me, I have read two books that very much reinforced my decision.  In fact, had I not already determined that I am VERY gluten intolerant I might still give up gluten on the basis of the information in these two books.  They are Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, M.D. and Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D.

From the dust jacket of Grain Brain one learns the following information.  Dr. Perlmutter is a board certified neurologist and president of the Perlmutter Health Center in Naples, Florida.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and the recipient of numerous awards including the Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Linus Pauling Award.  He is also the author of three other books.

OK.  Dr. Perlmutter has credentials in the mainstream medicine community.  He is not an alternative practitioner.  This is important because he asserts some things that directly contradict what most doctors are telling their patients.  I don't believe one can assume he is wrong because he is in the minority.  Medical advice changes slowly and many a doctor's directions in various time periods have turned out to be directly contradicted by later research.

In the introduction on p. 4  of Grain Brain Dr. Perlmutter makes the following shocking statement.
Modern grains are silently destroying your brain.  By "modern," I'm not just referring to the refined flours, pastas, and rice that have been demonized by the anti-obesity folks;  I'm referring to all the grains that so many of us have embraced as being healthful-- whole wheat, whole grain, multigrain, seven-grain, live grain, stone-ground, and so on.  Basically, I am calling what is arguably our most beloved dietary staple a terrorist group that bullies our most precious organ, the brain.  I will demonstrate how fruit and other carbohydrates could be health hazards with far reaching consequences that not only will wreak havoc on your brain, but also will accelerate your body's aging process from the inside out.  This  isn't fiction;  it's now documented fact.
He goes on to say that "Brain disease can be largely prevented through the choices you make in life."  My mother died of Alzheimer's Disease.  I sure hope he's right.

What is really striking in this book is the direct contradictions to the commonly held beliefs about what is healthy to eat.   On p. 6, again this is just the introduction, Dr. Perlmutter says:
I believe that the shift in our diet that has occurred over the past century-- from high-fat, low carb to today's low-fat, high carb diet, fundamentally consisting of grains and other damaging carbohydrates-- is the origin of many of our modern scourges linked to the brain, including chronic headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, movement disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and those senior moments that quite likely herald serious cognitive decline and full blown, irreversible, untreatable, and incurable brain disease.  
Now that's a lot of conditions to be affected by diet alone.  But, then again, they are all conditions that involve the brain and Perlmutter the neurologist does know a lot about the brain.

More of this to come....

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