Nutrition Deathmatch #1

Paleo pyramid

Fruits & Vegetables v.s. Grains

Anyone who has spent some time poking around Health Habits knows that I am a big fan of Paleo style diets for weight loss and general health.

So, it should come as no surprise that when I when I start working with a new personal training client, one of the first things I do is change their diet over to my version of Paleo eating.

And one of the first things that they do is complain about the absence of bread, pasta, rice, croissants, bagels, toast with jam, brioche, sandwiches, Egg McMuffins, Big Macs, pizza, deep fried Snickers bars, etc….

In desperation, some of them trot out the argument that they NEED whole grains in order to be healthy.

Their doctor said so, and so did their nutritionist and so says the government in their healthy food pyramids.

Everyone says that whole grains are a necessary part of a healthy diet.

The problem is, everybody is wrong.

And I aim to prove it with this special Nutrition version of Celebrity Deathmatch.

Let the deathmatch begin.

About 10,000 years ago, our ancestors made a huge cavewoman breakthrough. They learned that inedible raw grains (wheat, corn, oats, etc…) could be made edible by cooking them.

This was huge.

  • Grains were much more stable than fruits & vegetables and could be stored to help them survive the winter months.
  • Grains are dense in calories. This produced two benefits.
  1. It was now easier to transport food as they followed migrating herds of animals,
  2. and it suddenly became much easier to eat the required amount of calories.
  • Since raw grain is a seed, hunter-gatherer communities could choose to stay put and become farmers.

In fact, it has been argued that the domestication of grain is one of the major factors in the evolution of human civilization.

  • Seasonal starvation eliminated
  • Permanent communities established
  • Animals domesticated for meat & dairy
  • Instead of families doing everything for themselves, people can now specialize at specific trades (farmer, toolmaker, doctor, personal trainer, blogger)
  • and so on….

So, at this point in our evolution, grains seem to be pretty darn awesome.

Fast forward to today.

  • The evolution of human society no longer needs grains to keep the wheels turning. (at least in the “developed” world)
  • Your fridge keeps the meat & veggies from spoiling
  • Seasons are next to irrelevant with modern food production
  • And we certainly don’t have a deficit of available calories…too many calories is our problem.


But wait, what about the fiber?

  • Without my whole wheat bagel, how will I get my fiber?
  • And if I don’t get my fiber, won’t I get all blocked up and maybe even get colon cancer?

Note – this is a real argument that I get from real people

Okay, fiber is important.

But, surprise, surprise, grains aren’t the only foods high in fiber.

In fact, if you look at this link, you will see that except for wheat & corn bran, the top 300 (I stopped looking at 300) sources of dietary fiber are all fruits and vegetables.

You don’t need whole grains to get your fiber.

But, what about the vitamins and minerals?

Whole grains are loaded with vitamins and minerals like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium and selenium.

Hmmmm…why don’t we take a look at the nutrition info again and see if that’s true.

  • Thiamin … And the winner is fruits, vegetables and once again…bran.
  • Riboflavin … veggies win again
  • Niacin … and again
  • Folate … and again
  • Iron … and again
  • Magnesium … and again
  • Selenium …and last but not least, it’s a tie between veggies and grains!!!

So, except for the fine showing in the selenium category…

Fruits & vegetables are the best source of vitamins and minerals.

This Nutritional Deathmatch is looking pretty lopsided.

And here comes the knockout punch:

Like most of my clients, there are a lot of people out there who need to lose a few pounds.

And the last thing an obese person needs to eat is food that is dense in calories and low in nutrients.

And when it comes to raw ingredients (fruit, vegetables, animal protein, grains, dairy, fat & oils, seeds & nuts, legumes), grains are the worst.

Grains provide too many calories and not enough nutrition.

And there’s your knockout


Fruits & Vegetables are the Greatest!!!

And if you still don’t believe me, free free to perouse the links below.

Nutrition Info – Fruit, Vegetables & Grains


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Heart Disease and Stroke Caused By Diet

I’m sure this isn’t going to surprise many of you, but I was just reading a new study that claims that hypertension, heart disease and stroke is caused by diet.

By analyzing chemicals found in urine, researchers have been able to definitely link fluctuations in blood pressure to your metabolic fingerprint.

What the heck is metabolic fingerprint?

Metabolic fingerprint is a catchy way of describing the unique metabolites that are left behind by specific cellular processes. In this case, the scientists were looking at the metabolites (small molecules) found in urine, which reveal the way food is broken down in the body.

What does this mean to you?

According to the research, Western diets (rich in meat, high in alcohol and low in fibre) are bad.

Heart Disease and Stroke Caused By Diet

People who eat a diet high in animal protein (indicated by the metabolite alanine being present in urine) have…

  • higher blood pressure,
  • eat more calories,
  • have higher cholesterol,
  • and body mass indexes.

People who eat diets higher in starches such as rice (indicated by the metabolite formate) have…

  • lower blood pressure
  • and ingest fewer calories.

NOTE – People who have healthy levels of gut flora (reduced by antibiotic use, increased by prebiotics and probiotics and indicated by the presence of hippurate in the urine) also have lower blood pressure. Hippurate is also present in the urine of individuals with low levels of alcohol intake and higher levels of dietary fibre.

More Science…

  • While comparing the metabolic fingerprints of study participants in the U.K., United States, China and Japan, the scientists concluded that test subjects from the U.K. and the U.S.A. have similar genetic and metabolic profiles.
  • In contrast, while the Chinese and Japanese participants had similar genetic profiles, they had different metabolic fingerprints.

What was most interesting for me was the comparison of the native Japanese participants with those Japanese individuals living in the U.S.A.

  • Japanese-Americans displayed a typical American metabolic fingerprint;
  • Japanese-Japanese had the healthier non-Western metabolic fingerprint…indicating that lifestyle has a stronger effect on blood pressure & heart disease than genetics.


  1. Heart disease is caused by diet
  2. Stroke is caused by diet
  3. You should stop eating processed junk food
  4. You should start eating the kind of food your great-great-grandparents ate