Whole Grain Controversy

Nutrition Diva addresses some confusing, misleading, and unhelpful opinions on whole grains.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Q. I recently read an article about a study which found that eating whole grains helped reduce inflammation.  But someone posted a comment citing William Davis’ book, Wheat Belly, saying that eating a piece of whole grain bread is even worse than eating pure sugar. I’d like to know your opinion on this.

A. First, my thoughts on the research study: Like virtually every study I’ve ever seen on the alleged benefits of whole grains, these researchers replaced high glycemic foods (like white bread) with lower glycemic foods (like whole wheat bread) and then compared the results. I suspect that the improvement they observed had more to do with the reduction of refined carbohydrates than the increase in whole grains. However, because of the way the study was designed, there’s really no way to know for sure.

As for the comment referring to Wheat Belly, I found the book to be heavy on compelling rhetoric but light on actual evidence. Although I mostly agree with his larger argument that eating more grains (whether whole or refined) is probably not the path to better health, Davis’ claim that wheat bread is worse than pure sugar is confusing, misleading, and unhelpful. 

Read more: The Whole Truth about Whole Grains.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.