According to Conrad

The conventional wisdom of the last 40 years has been that saturated fats in our diets […] are a principal cause of high cholesterol and rising rates of heart disease. However, those conclusions now seem to be based on rather shaky science. A more recent scientific analysis of 21 studies determined that there is no significant evidence that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. Instead, the principal culprit in the obesity epidemic, and a major contributor to heart disease, appears to be overconsumption of sugars and carbohydrate-intensive foods.


Cereals are deadly, and one of the prime causes of Western diseases. Grains are monocotyledonous (monocots), a quite different variety of plant from the dicotyledons (dicots) that our ancestors evolved to eat. Grains have spent evolutionary history adapting to avoid being eaten by mammals, two of their primary weapons being phytates and lectins. These are anti-nutrients, reducing our ability to absorb essential nutrients including calcium, zinc, iron and copper. If you think you've adapted to eat grain, consider the implications of scary figure 1. See for example Cordain. If you must eat grains:

Fermentedbeforeunfermented. Fermentation is the way of eliminating most of the phytates (see DiCagno). Traditionally, porridges and breads were prepared over two days to ensure such fermentation. Now, we prefer the instant. Daniel Stevens in the River Cottage Handbook on bread, describes fermentation and concludes that "Not surprisingly, bread that ferments for longer is better for you''. Alas, this seemingly critical observation is ignored for the rest of the book.
Non-wheatbeforewheat, which is particularly high in gluten.
Traditional wheatbeforenew wheat varieties. Modern wheat has been bred for high yield, with an accidental byproduct of introducing new types of gluten. The recent upsurge in gluten intolerance as not because people have changed: the wheat has.
Organic, non-GMObeforethe pesticide laden and GMO, naturally
Refinedbeforewhole grain. Sad but true - it's the bran of grains that contains most of the phytates
Low GIbeforehigh GI

My take:

  • Zero sugars, grains (which includes bread, cake, biscuits, pasta, noodles…) and legumes
  • If you need such comfort food, buckwheat which is not a grain but behaves like one is worth exploring
  • My only exception is ale, which at least gets the fermented tick
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Page last modified on April 17, 2014, at 05:39 PM