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Portland, OR 97209

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Naturopathic Medicine, Neurotherapy

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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff:
Exposing the detrimental impact of grains on human health:
A nutritional and evolutionary perspective

This work is a thorough exploration of the nutritional issues of grains, and why they are not ideal human foods. The information is invaluable for health practitioners, and for those making important choices about their own health and the health of the planet at large.


  • Timeline for the prehistoric adoption of grain, and what we know of ancient human health prior to, and post, grain consumption.
  • Historical human health and the studied and observed changes in health with a shift from traditional non-grain diets to grain-based diets.
  • Nutritional limitations of grains
  • Anti-nutrients in whole grains
  • Health issues of consuming grain-fed animal products
  • Grain processing, pesticide dependence and irradiation
  • Refined grains and modern degenerative diseases
  • Celiac and other autoimmune diseases related to consuming gluten
  • Celiac immunology and genetic inheritance
  • Intestinal health
  • Additional resource and dietary guides

Details: 62 pages, 152 references, 8 ½ x 11, vinyl front and back, spiral bound



Human genetics and diets, containing animal protein, fats, wild plants and fruits, co-evolved over the

 course of nearly 2 million years by environmental selective pressures. Only in the last few thousand years have humans been consuming grains with any regularity. Grains are now heavily used in most every human diet. This profound dietary departure represents an environmental-genetic discordance. Our reliance on grains has occurred too recently on an evolutionary time-scale for our genetic code to adapt to such a fundamental change, and thus, health has suffered.

Archaeological records clearly display a decline in human health as grain use emerged and replaced other foods. A look at societies consuming the diets of ancient pre-agricultural ancestors reveals superior immunity to infections, chronic disease and mental illness compared to modernized cultures. The invention of mechanized grain mills and automated sifting devices in the latter part of the 19th century further exacerbated the human health condition by altering the nutritional characteristics of grain.

Cereal grains contain a number of anti-nutrients that contribute to health problems such as impaired mineral absorption, digestive dysfunction, leaky gut, inflammation, and cancer. As many as 1 in 133 people in the US are also intolerant to gluten grains. Gluten causes immunological reactions impairing intestinal function and initiating autoimmune dysfunction in other organ tissues. Gluten grains are also implicated in contributing to psychiatric and medical disorders, such as schizophrenia, autistic spectrum and attention deficit disorder (ADD). There is ample evidence to support that grains are not optimal human foods. Traditional wisdom demonstrates that fermented grains are better tolerated, and in some individuals, can supplement the diet without adverse effects when whole foods rich in protein and healthy fats are regularly consumed.

Copyright © 2006 Noël Thomas, ND