Dietary guidelines advise us that a diet low in fat and rich in “healthy whole grains” helps maintain healthy weight. Is this true? It absolutely is NOT true. This belief is based on flawed evidence, questionnaires, for instance, that asked people questions about their diet. What did you eat for breakfast on Monday? You scratch your head and search your memory. You say something like “I had a bowl of stone-ground oatmeal in skim milk with some sliced strawberries.” What did you have for lunch? You say “I think that was the day i ordered out for lunch and got a submarine sandwich with cold cuts and cheese.” What did you eat for dinner, and so on. They query you about the foods you consumed over several days. Several years pass and they re-contact you and ask whether anything has changed in your health diagnosed, perhaps, with hypertension, or coronary heart disease, or colon cancer. They then try to correlate the development of these conditions with your diet from 5 or 10 years earlier.
As you can imagine, this is a deeply flawed way to study the health effects of diet. In one real study, for instance, females who chose more whole grains gained 10 pounds over several years, while females who chose more white flour products gained 12 pounds. Interpretation: whole grains help control weight. I hope you see the fallacy in logic here. A better interpretation would be that white flour products are associated with weight gain, while whole grain products are associated with weight gain, also, but just a little less than white flour products. Yet evidence like this is held up as proof that whole grains help control weight. This is called observational evidence that is weak and commonly yields false associations. After all, your recall for the contents of your meals is sketchy and often incomplete, diet changes over the years, often substantially. Trying to associate the development of disease with the diet followed several years ago is, consequently, nearly useless.
So let’s not talk about how whole grains help manage weight, but how ALL foods containing wheat products make you fat.
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