No Grain Diet
The No Grain Diet is written by Dr. Joseph Mercola and is based on the concept that meals high in grains and refined carbohydrates can trigger an excessive production of insulin that leads to hunger soon after eating.
Dr. Mercola refers to this situation as ‘grain addiction’ where the individual craves these foods and a viscous cycle occurs.
He says that modern humans are consuming far too much bread, cereal, pasta, corn, rice, potatoes, and sweets which is not only a major cause of obesity, but is also contributing to a wide range of health problems including suppression of the immune system, allergies, digestive disorders, depression, cancer, and diabetes.
Mercola outlines possible signs of an excessive intake of carbohydrates including obesity, fatigue, depression, brain fog, bloating, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels.
No Grain Diet Basics
The No Grain diet is very low in carbohydrates, as it requires dieters to eliminate all grains, sugar, potatoes, and sweets. Dieters also eliminate fruit while in the early stages of the diet.
There are three phases to the plan:
- The first phase is the ‘start up phase’ in which for three days dieters eliminate all grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, and sweets. Dieters must eat something every two hours during this phase.
- The second phase is called the ‘stabilize phase’, which continues with the dietary restrictions of the first phase but changes the meal structure. Dieters no longer eat every two hours but consume three meals and three snacks daily.
In this phase dieters should exercise five days a week. This is continued until dieters reach their goal weight. When dieters stabilize at this weight for four weeks they then continue this phase for an additional two weeks to prior to continuing to the next phase.
The first two phases are very similar to the Atkins diet with the major difference being the inclusion of a wider variety of vegetables and an emphasis on high quality and preferably organic foods.
- The third stage, called the ‘sustain phase’, is where some carbohydrate foods are added back into the diet. Dieters can experiment with including starchy vegetables, fruits, certain approved grains, and honey. It is important for dieters to be aware of weight gain during this stage and to adjust the diet accordingly.
There are also three different options regarding the food plan for each phase, which allows for the diet to be modified to suit the individual’s needs. A questionnaire is provided in order to assist dieters to select the most appropriate plan for them.
Vegetables, meat (preferably organic and grass fed), poultry (preferably organic), legumes, raw nuts and seeds, fish, tempeh, dairy (in limited amounts and preferably goat, sheep and other raw dairy products), coconut and olive oil, organic eggs and protein powders.
Sample Diet Plan
Egg white omelet with goat cheese and broccoli
Organic steamed chicken
Walk for 30 Minutes
Exercise is encouraged both for its benefits for weight loss maintenance and disease prevention. Walking is recommended initially for 30 minutes per day and dieters are encouraged to increase this to 60 minutes.
Costs and Expenses
The No Grain Diet retails at $24.95.
The grocery bill may increase due to the need to purchase organic items.
A variety of supplements are recommended which may become expensive.
- Provides a choice of detailed meal plans to suit individual needs.
- Will assist in managing as well as reducing the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance.
- Addresses psychological factors involved in weight loss and dieting by introducing techniques for dealing with the emotional disruptions that may be associated with cravings.
- Low carbohydrate diets often produce fast results , which encourages dieters to stick with the plan.
- Includes a variety of healthy recipes.
- Very restrictive during the weight loss phase and calories may become too low.
- Many dieters will have difficulty with the very low intake of carbohydrates especially over the long term.
- Requires a lot of time to be spent on meal planning and preparation.
- May be increased grocery expenses due to the emphasis on purchasing organic foods.
- May be difficult for vegetarians to follow.
- Alcohol is restricted.
- Recommends many nutritional supplements.
- contradicts current research on whole grains.
Will Take Commitment
The No Grain Diet is a very stringent plan that is probably only suitable for those with a high degree of commitment and determination.
It is most suitable for dieters with carbohydrate sensitivity and may be especially beneficial for those at risk for or displaying early signs of diabetes or insulin resistance.
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- Williams, P. G. (2012). Evaluation of the evidence between consumption of refined grains and health outcomes. Nutrition reviews, 70(2), 80-99. link
- Yu, D., Shu, X. O., Li, H., Xiang, Y. B., Yang, G., Gao, Y. T., … & Zhang, X. (2013). Dietary carbohydrates, refined grains, glycemic load, and risk of coronary heart disease in Chinese adults. American journal of epidemiology, 178(10), 1542-1549. link