Toxic Effects of some Common Foods: Anti-Nutrients

Foods contain a variety of nutrients, which are substances that give living organisms energy to run all of their metabolic processes in order to grow and sustain life. Nutrients can be divided up into two major categories: 1) Macronutrients – nutrients required in large quantities, which are your basic proteins, carbohydrates and fats. 2) Micronutrients – nutrients required in small quantities, like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Although food provides essential nutrients to nourish our bodies, some also carry potentially toxic and harmful substances known as anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients contain digestive enzyme blockers and toxic proteins called lectin. Anti-nutrients are not usually cause for concern since they’re present in such small quantities in most foods. However, there are foods that contain high levels of anti-nutrients in their raw form, such as grains, legumes (i.e. beans) and potatoes. The purpose of anti-nutrients is to protect the seed until it germinates. It terms of evolution, it’s protecting the survival of it’s kind. This is why when you soak the seeds and they sprout (germinate), some of the toxic substances that are inherently present to protect the seed are released. However, even after germination, anti-nutrient properties still exist. For this reason, it’s best to eliminate all grains and legumes from your diet. In particular, grains are foods that need to avoided as all costs. Of all the foods in our diet, grains are by far the most abundant. Bread, pasta, rice, baked goods, and pretty much anything that’s processed since they all have some type of wheat flour in them. That’s a lot of food…and it’s not a good thing since grains are also the most destructive to your digestive system and overall health. All grains have proteins called lectins (an anti-nutrient). Lectins are toxic proteins that are very harmful to your body. The problem begins in your digestive system. Lectins can’t be properly digested and they attach themselves to certain transport receptors in your gut, hitching a ride across your intestinal wall. Once they get across your intestinal lining they wreak all sorts of havoc. Since they’re not digested, lectins are seen as “foreign bodies” and are attacked by your immune system. In normal situations, your immune system makes “anti-bodies” against foreign molecules to destroy them, which is what it’s supposed to do. BUT, these lectin proteins closely resemble proteins in your body, so your immune system mistakingly starts attacking your own body! This is known as an autoimmune reaction, where your own body attacks itself and causes major damage. Worse yet, these lectins eventually cause enough damage to your intestinal lining, allowing even more proteins to “leak” through, amplifying the condition. This is commonly known the “leaky gut” syndrome and has been associated with all sorts of autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Autism and many more.

Another nasty protein found in some grains is gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barely. For people who are intolerant to gluten, it causes a disease known as Celiac Disease, which is also an autoimmune disease. Even though it’s a different protein, the same damaging process occurs. Some nutritional experts believe that grains should not be part of the human diet. Grains only entered the human food chain 10,000 years ago when agriculture was first introduced as a cheaper and more accessible alternative to essential foods like meat, vegetables and fruits. From the looks of it, I think they’re right. Stay away from grains and you’ll be healthier and thinner! Legumes and potatoes also contain anti-nutrient qualities, but depending in how it’s prepared the much go the anti-nutrients can be neutralized. Although I wouldn’t recommend legumes and potatoes as a regular part of you diet, moderate consumption should be fine. Rice is also a grain, but much like potatoes and legumes completely fine in moderation. Legumes, potatoes and rice when prepared properly are all fine consumed in moderation, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are starchy carbohydrates that have a high amount of glucose. For this reason alone, you will need to keep it to a minimum in order to keep your daily carbohydrate intake low.

Resistant Starch Although starchy carbohydrates should generally be minimized, there is an exception to this rule… resistant starch. Resistant starch gets digested and metabolized differently than regular starches. Resistant starch actually acts similar to soluble fiber because it passes through the upper digestive tract, without breaking down and only gets digested in the lower digestive tract, hence the term “resistant”. For this reason, resistant starch is not counted as regular carbohydrates. Here’s the best part: the starchy carbohydrates I mentioned above (rice, potatoes and legumes) all become resistant starch after they’re been cooled overnight. The cooling process changes the chemical structure of the carbohydrates and essentially makes it “resistant starch”. So if you’re wanting to consume starchy carbs, my recommendation is to eat them the next day after they’ve been in the fridge overnight. This way you’re able to satisfy your starch cravings and not have to worry about overshooting your daily carb intake.

Hopefully this explains it clearly enough for you to understand what to change in your diet to be healthier and maintain your health for the long term!

Stay Motivated and Healthy,

The Diamond Guru

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