August 14, 2011

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#3 Phytates

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Grains and wheat have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We looked at lectins (proteins found in grains and wheat) and how they wreak havoc on our digestive system, as well as protease inhibitors and how they prevent us from fully digesting our meals and important proteins.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Another protective mechanism of grains and wheat are phytates. These are “antinutrients” and bind to important minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron. These are important for plants to grow properly, so germination does not happen prematurely.

When we eat grains though the phytates are still bound to these important minerals and they are not available for absorption. Recall how “you are what you eat” is really “you are what you absorb”.

To be fair, phytates/phytic acid can be reduced in a variety of ways. Baking grains, legumes and nuts can minimize. Sprouting grains and seeds can basically eliminate all phytic acid content. Soaking grains and legumes can also remove varying degrees of phytates (depending on the source). However, even if you do this points 1 and 2 from our countdown as well as points to come are still in play.


Stay tuned to see what surprise is in store next!