Grain-free / Low Starch Diet

A cereal or grain-free diet is one where all grains are eliminated. The amount of information on this subject is limited, though books such as Dr. Graham’s Grain Damage and Going Against the Grain: How Reducing and Avoiding Grains Can Revitalize Your Health by Melissa Diane Smith may help. The No-Grain Diet by Joseph Mercola, DO and Alison Rose Levy is available in paperback also. Some believe that grains in general are addicting and that eliminating them will result in weight loss, less allergies, sharper thinking and improvements in some schizophreic patients.

Contrary to common belief, corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and contains high amounts of sugar. When early Native Americans changed their diet to one based mostly on corn, they had increased rates of the following: anemia, dental cavities, osteoarthritis, bone infections and other bone problems.

Coconut flour is not like most other flours. It lacks the “glue” most flours have called gluten. A standard American recipe can have up to 25% of the flour made with coconut flour. However, if you would like to make something very high in fiber with an incredibly low glycemic index you will want to use 100% coconut flour. To do this we recommend you purchase the book “Cooking With Coconut Flour” by Dr. Bruce Fife. The entire book contains delicious recipes that use solely coconut fiber for the flour. These recipes use eggs for the binder or “glue” and they are very low in sugar or sweeteners. These recipes are great for diabetics, people with gluten allergies, and people with Candida and “leaky gut” issues. Coconut fiber/flour is an excellent product to use to promote healthy intestinal tract.

Grains are high in carbohydrate, so a variety of diets like Dr. Atkins diet, Protein Power, Carbohydrate Addicts, the Zone diet, CKD, SommerSizing and others are low in grains.


Grain-free / Low Starch Diet can help with the following


Ankylosing Spondylitis

In an attempt to confirm a connection between Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and Klebsiella, doctors at Kings College introduced a low starch diet to AS patients, along with medication to control symptoms. Klebsiella thrives on a diet rich in starch. Without starchy carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and flour products, the number of Klebsiella are reduced in the gut and, subsequently, so is the production of antibodies to the bacteria that cause the inflammation. Patients were instructed to cut out bread, pasta, cereals of all sorts, rice and potatoes as well as sugary foods. They were unrestricted in eating vegetables, fruit, eggs, cheese, fish and meat.

Over 200 patients have so far been through this program with the claim being made that the majority have had their disease process halted. One patient is quoted as saying “Once I stuck to the diet religiously, I noted a real improvement after six months or so. Movement became easier and the lethargy and depression lifted. The best way I can describe it is that after years of pain and stiffness I suddenly feel ‘well-oiled’.”


Carbohydrate Craving

The reason many people continue struggling with sugar and carbohydrate craving is that they are still consuming grains and sugars. The grains break down readily into sugar, raising insulin levels which work to perpetuate the addiction.


IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Please see comments in the IBS and Reading List link.

Environment / Toxicity  

Fungus / Mycotoxin Exposure

Wheat is often contaminated with mycotoxins, as are the products made from wheat, like breads, cereals and pasta. Pasta may be the least offensive form of grains since some water-soluble mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), are partially removed and discarded with the water the pasta was cooked in. Unfortunately, traces of heat-stable and fat-soluble mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, remain in the grain. If bread is made from a grain that has been stored for months in a silo, it probably doesn’t matter whether it is whole wheat, organic, white or sprouted as far as contamination is concerned.

Corn is “universally contaminated” with fumonisin and other fungal toxins such as aflatoxin, zearalenone and ochratoxin. [Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal and Human Systems. Task Force Report No. 139. Ames, IA. Jan 2003] Fumonisin and aflatoxin are known for their cancer-causing effects, while zearalenone and ochratoxin cause estrogenic and kidney-related problems, respectively. And, just as corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins, our food supply seems to be universally contaminated with corn – it’s everywhere!

Similar to other grains that can be damaged by drought, floods and harvesting and storage processes, barley is equally susceptible to contamination by mycotoxin-producing fungi. Barley is used in the production of various cereals and alcoholic beverages. This is also true for rye.

Sorghum, also known as milo, is a drought tolerant source of grain that is utilized in food and industries around the world, as well as being a staple animal feed ingredient in the U.S. Worldwide, more than 50% of grain sorghum is grown directly for human consumption. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages.

While trying to avoid mycotoxin exposure, it is encouraging that rice and oats are generally more resistant to fungal contamination.

Excerpted from The Fungus Link and The Fungus Link, Volume 2 by Doug Kaufmann and Dave Holland, MD.


Heavy Metal Toxicity

See the link between Heavy Metal Toxicity and Increased / High Protein Diet.


Mercury Toxicity / Amalgam Illness

See the link between Heavy Metal Toxicity and Increased / High Protein Diet.


General Detoxification Requirement

See the link between Heavy Metal Toxicity and Increased / High Protein Diet.


Low HGH (Human Growth Hormone)

Eating carbs before bed may reduce growth hormone output.



Parasite, Blastocystosis

Blastocystis is a very peculiar organism in that it especially likes grains. Many people with Blastocystis may have grain allergies or difficulties tolerating grains.

Lab Values  

Elevated Triglycerides

Please see comment under Higi/Increased Protein Diet.


Elevated Total Cholesterol

It is important to realize that diet is the key to lowering cholesterol levels. Restriction of processed grains, sugars and dairy, and replacing all fluids with water are key. Many doctors are finding large and relatively quick drops (as much as 100 points in several weeks) in people who follow these recommendations.

Minor cholesterol (LDL) reductions can be achieved by adding whole grains (especially oats) to the diet. This may seem confusing! Although moderate grain consumption (due to its fiber content) can lower cholesterol somewhat in some individuals, radical grain restriction may substantially lower cholesterol levels in others. If large reductions are needed or other cholesterol-lowering methods are ineffective, grain and sugar restriction may be the answer.


Problem Caused By Being Overweight

The majority of Americans who are currently obese or overweight would benefit from a radical reduction in their grain intake and replacing those grains with fresh vegetables. High glycemic index foods are linked to overeating and obesity. A sample list of these foods can be found on our web site.




As a dietary priciple, simply avoiding grains and foods made from grains should go a long way toward preventing low blood sugar events in those with reactive hypoglycemia



Organ Health  

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Please see the link between COPD and High/Increased Protein Diet.


Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

In a study of nearly 1,000 heart patients in Milan, Italy, those with the highest intake of cereal fiber (which is mostly insoluble

fiber) actually increased their heart attack risk by more than 10%. This was attributed to the fact that the source of

this type of fiber appeared to be refined grains which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Water soluble NOT water insoluble fiber produces multiple benefits.


Adult Acne

Those with acne may find that a low or no-carbohydrate diet leads to clearer skin. When breads and cereals are digested, it leads to an increased amount of sugar. This excess sugar allows the body to produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). The processes used to manufacture modern breads and cereals may alter the protein structures in the grains, leading to rapid digestion followed by excess releases of insulin. Elevated insulin levels lead to an excess of male hormones, which cause pores in the skin to secrete sebum, a greasy substance that attracts acne-promoting bacteria. Additionally, IGF-1 promotes the multiplication of skin cells known as keratinocytes, a process associated with acne.

Previous evidence has shown a link between insulin or IGF-1 and acne. It has been found that when IGF-1 is used to treat certain illnesses, male hormones increase, followed by acne. On the other hand, when women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes an excess of insulin, were treated with the insulin-reducing drug metformin, acne was improved. Moreover, many women with acne problems overproduce insulin and IGF-1, researchers say. Researchers say that many dermatologists report improvements in their patents’ acne after putting them on low-carbohydrate diets. [Archives of Dermatology December 2002]


Adolescent Acne

Researchers say that many dermatologists report improvements in their patents’ acne after putting them on low-carbohydrate diets. They also point out the rate of acne is high in contemporary societies (up to 60% of 12-year-olds and 95% of 18-year-olds) as compared with the rate in societies such as the Ache of the Amazon and the Kitava islanders in Papua New Guinea. In these traditionally based cultures, refined sugars and grains are virtually unknown – and so is the incidence of acne.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

When breads and cereals are digested, it leads to an increased amount of sugar and allows the body to produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Elevated insulin levels lead to an excess of male hormones. When women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes an excess of insulin, were treated with the insulin-reducing drug metformin, acne was improved.


Motherhood Issues

Feeding infants cereal may be associated with an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes mellitus autoantibodies, according to a study. [JAMA October 1, 2003;290(13): pp.1713-20] Children at an increased risk of type 1 diabetes who were fed cereals between the ages of 0 and 3 months and at age 7 months or older had an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life. The results suggest that exposing susceptible children to cereal during certain ages increases their risk of type 1 diabetes.


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems



Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.


A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a classification of foods based on their blood glucose-raising potential. Consuming foods high on the glycemic index promote a rapid rise in blood glucose. This contributes to the development of several chronic degenerative diseases.

Diabetes Mellitus

A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.


Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.


The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.


Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

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