You Asked, I Answered

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

This was a comment on my recent blog post on sprouted grains that I thought needed to be shared with everyone as I feel it is an area wrought with confusion.

Q. Brian, I asked this in one of your previous blog posts but never got a response. These breads all have gluten added to them as an additional ingredient. I understand that sprouting grains reduces their phytic acid content, but it seems to me like gluten is a much bigger problem that phytic acid. Especially since sprouting only reduces not completely eliminates phytic acid. Moreover, in the genesis brand, with the added sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc. seeds, wont there be a higher omega 6 content. Seems to me you be better off going with something like corn tortillas. Food for life makes a sprouted corn tortilla that has no gluten. You haven’t mentioned their corn tortillas at all yet, but this would be the best option in my opinion. Would love to hear your thoughts.

A.Yes gluten is added as an ingredient to those breads, but it is done to help hold them together. Ever try to eat those products without toasting them? They tend to fall apart easily because many of the starches making them up are gluten-free (legumes, lentils, millett, corn, quinoa, etc). Gluten is a very sticky protein, and is the glue that holds bread together. Wheat has the highest gluten content, hence why it is so popular for bread. While gluten is added to them, overall they seem to have less gluten as they are clearly not as strong.

You are right in claiming that sprouting grains and legumes does not totally eliminate their phytic acid content, but it does significantly reduce the content. Not only does it drastically reduce the phytic acid content, it also significantly increases some of the vitamin and mineral content. This is a win-win, as it makes the minerals far more bioavailable while also simultaneously increasing their content, as well as the vitamin content. This is far more important than you are giving it credit for, as the minerals that phytic acid binds, such as zinc and magnesium, are vitally important and ones that people are often deficient in.

Gluten is a problem, but I seriously do not think it is any more of a problem than phytic acid. Properly prepared grains (ie – sprouted, fermented, etc) have been consumed around the world for thousands of years without problem. Many of these grains contained gluten, though fermentation can decrease it somewhat, and yet these people thrived without many of the problems attributed to gluten.

This is not to say that I think gluten is a problem-free nutrient, however I think it has gotten too much of the blame. It can be problematic for many, but many people are starting to realize that there are other elements in bread that might be causing them problems, like the fructans, rather than the gluten.

I do think it is a good idea to keep gluten intake moderate, and wouldn’t want sprouted grain products to be your only starch source, but I don’t think it is necessary to eliminate it unless you are one of the 3 million who has celiac disease, one of the 300,000 who has a formal wheat allergy or one of the 20 million who is gluten sensitive.

While the addition of the seeds to the Genesis line does increase its omega-6 content, the actual amount is truly insignificant. Look at the fat content of the bread, 2g, and try to make an argument that it will make any significant impact on your total fat intake for the day. One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil will contain far more omega-6 than several servings of the Genesis bread. To me this is where the n-6 argument misses the forest for the trees.

As for corn tortillas being the “best” option, that may be, but one could also make an argument against corn (not by me). Maybe potatoes or sweet potatoes are actually the “best,” but in reality it is a moot point. You would ideally be consuming a nice variety of quality carbohydrate sources, and would be better off not trying to only eat the “best” option.

If grains and gluten do not work for you, that is fine, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to everybody. I think it is important to also recognize what is realistic and for many people making a sandwich or a wrap is a realistic way for them to make and eat a quality lunch on a consistent basis, and consistency is the true key to success, not just eating the “best” option.

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Posted on June 14th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment

  1. Tony S. Says:

    Great post Brian. Wonderful information and I agree whole heartedly that consistency is the true key to success. I know people who eat “perfect” 4 or 5 days of the week and then binge drink/eat out the other days per week and then wonder why they haven’t seen the results they want. Inconsistency is a goal killer regardless of the goal. Keep up the great work Brian!

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