Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that occurs when gaps develop between the cells that make up the lining of the intestinal wall. These tiny gaps can allow substances such as undigested food, waste and bacteria to escape the digestive tract and leak into the bloodstream.
Leaky gut is often associated with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease but even people without a diagnosed bowel disorder may have leaky gut syndrome to one varying degree or another.
According to a growing number of experts, including Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University and an expert on Paleolithic lifestyles, and despite the USDA recommending a daily intake of grains, humans were not designed to eat grains; doing so may actually be causing leaky gut syndrome.
Dr. Cordain believes that every nutritional requirement can be met with other food sources and that it is possible to be healthy and nourished without any grains consumed. He has even expressed concerns that the high-fiber bran portion of grain, the part that actually makes it a whole grain, contains anti-nutrients which may be pro-inflammatory, create immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, excitotoxicity, cytotoxicity, cardiotoxicity and may disrupt endocrine function. To read more about inflammation and our body’s inflammatory responses, check out our newsletter on Inflammation.
Should you choose to make grains a part of your diet then remember to do so in moderation. Grains should not be consumed daily and should not take up a quarter of your plate at each meal. The fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutritional content found in grains needed to meet the nutritional needs of your family can be found, in abundance, in vegetables and lean meats.
Since it’s not suggested that grains be avoided altogether, it’s important to understand that not all grains are created equal. As with all consumption choices, it’s important to read labels and understand what you’re reading.
The terms “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable. They are decidedly different and mean two completely different things in regards to their content.
Products labeled “100% Organic” are just that and must contain only organically grown and produced contents. A label that says “Certified Organic” is actually going to contain up to 5% of non-organic, synthetic, modified or some other form of un-natural ingredients. Finally, there are labels that say, “Made with Organic Ingredients,” and it’s basically exactly what it says, just 70 to 95% of the ingredients are organic.
So, what does the term “natural” mean? “Natural” may mean any of the following: the producer used toxic pesticides or genetically engineered ingredients or carcinogenic fumigants or chemical solvents. It does not mean “non-GMO” and it doesn’t mean “organic” or that it was grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
Unfortunately, according to a 2010 Hartman Group poll, 60% of consumers believe that “natural” on the label means there are no GMO ingredients in the product and this isn’t the case.