Have you ever noticed that when you look at pictures of your ancestors from 100 years ago, they were all thin. What has changed that has caused the rates of obesity to skyrocket?
The causes are many. People may say it is because we are moving less and exerting less energy to do our work. Food is more plentiful and easier to obtain. We are spending more time sitting in front of the television playing video games and eating unhealthy snacks and drinking sugar laden sodas. All of these reasons are valid.
The number one reason that I point to however, is the common practice of grain roller milling. Although Romans were thought to be the first have started the milling industry thousands of years ago, roller milling did not become commonplace until approximately 100 years ago. Roller milling breaks a grain open, grinds it and turns it into flour. Unfortunately, this process takes a nutritious grain and turns it into nutritionally poor flour. Most of the vitamins and minerals and all of the essential amino acids contained in the endosperm of the wheat are lost with roller milling. Early food scientist learned that they actually needed to add vitamins back to white bread to partially make up for this loss. Hence the term “enriched white bread“
By grinding, finely cutting, or milling grains, they are made more digestible. But by that doing so, they are more rapidly broken down to sugar. This sets off the well-known insulin release reaction and tells your body to store fat. This fat surrounds your internal organs, increases body fat and leads to obesity.
The high-fiber contained in whole grains, or less easily digestible steel cut oats, or whole kernels of corn versus corn flour, provide added benefits of more rapid intestinal transit time. Ironically, they are less easily digestible but promote satiety and better glycemic control.
Today most white and wheat bread are produced from flower from a roller mill. We substituted efficiency for nutrition. In order to turn back the clock and return to the thin, healthy body habitus of our forebears, we need to return whole grains to a primarily plant-based diet.