This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.
As you well know by now, to eat healthfully, fruits and vegetables should form the base of your food pyramid. That means that grains should be consumed in a much smaller amount than you were most likely eating before you began this plan. Grains simply do not contain enough nutrients per calorie to form a substantial part of your diet.
Many scientific studies show a strong association between the consumption of white flour products, such as pasta and bread, with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.1 Refined carbohydrates are also linked to enlargement of the prostate.2 These results continue to show that eating white flour and sweeteners is nutritional suicide that will undermine your health. Whole grains are the least nutrient-dense food of the seed family, and they do not show the powerful protection against disease that is apparent in the scientific studies of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, or seeds. Just because a food is called “whole grain” or “organic” does not make it a good food. Many whole-grain cold cereals are so processed and overly cooked that they have lost most of their nutritional value. Because these foods were dry-baked to make them crisp, they are also generally high in acrylamides and other toxic compounds. Soaking, sprouting, or cooking grains in water, instead of eating pre-cooked breakfast cereals, is a much healthier and more nutritious way to eat them. Some of the healthier grains to consume include barley, buckwheat (kasha), millet, oats, quinoa, and wild rice. As a minor part of your diet, they can be water-cooked and used as a breakfast cereal with fruits and nuts or a dinner side dish.
White potato is also not a high-nutrient food, and many studies reveal an association between a diet high in white potato and obesity and diabetes.3 Granted these studies may be biased by the way potatoes are consumed, often fried or loaded with butter or sour cream, but, nevertheless, because of their relatively low-nutrient density and their high glycemic index they should play a minor role in your diet. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas are much healthier options.
1. Liu S, Sesso HD, Manson JE, et al. Is intake of breakfast cereals related to total and cause specific mortality in men? Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77(3):594-599. Liu S. Intake of refined carbohydrates and whole grain foods in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002;21(4):298-306. Gross LS, Li L, Ford ES, Liu S. Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecologic assessment. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(5):774-779. Prentice AM. The emerging epidemic of obesity in developing countries. Int J Epidemiol. 2006;35(1):93-99.
2. Bravi F, Bosetti C, Dal Maso L, et al. Macronutrients, fatty acids, cholesterol, and risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Urology 2006;67(6):1205-1211.
3. Halton TL, Willett WC, Liu S, et al. Potato and french fry consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(2):284-290.