At dinner with friends the other night, I had to explain why I no longer eat grains or processed breads.
This is admittedly a long topic that warrants LOTS of discussion (there are numerous articles and books out there right now) so I'm going to keep things fairly brief. Even still, I'll have to break this up into a series of mini-posts to give this complicated topic the time it warrants.
To begin - I'll just cover the changes I've experienced in my own body since I quit eating grains.
My entire life I used to begin the day with a giant bowl of cereal. Giant is not an exaggeration, I used punch bowls or popcorn bowls to eat my cereal. I also battled allergies and nasal congestion throughout high school and college. I was also a big fan of french fries, donuts, pasta, and two grains that still call my name to this day - bagels and blueberry muffins. I'm biased, but I also should say that my mother makes the best pancakes available in the continental U.S.
I was on a cut diet program as recently as a few months ago that (in a nutshell) called for 4-4.5 days of very low carbs and low calories, followed by a full body depletion workout, then immediate carb loading with as many starches and grains as you can put into your system in 48 hours.
It was enjoyable, but I never got as lean as I hoped I would. I also had extreme energy crashes from the spikes in my insulin and blood sugar. These carb load days usually fell on Fridays, and I could never last more than an hour before I badly needed another nap.
I switched to a move high-protein, moderate-fat, low-carb (non-grain) approach, championed by guys like Marc Lobliner with Team Scivation (www.scivation.com) or Mark Sisson (www.marksdailyapple.com) after feeling like there was no way I was going to lean out by gorging on bagels, muffins, pasta, and donuts each week.
Carbohydrates are still required for energy (whether in complex or simple form) so I get them from fruit/plant sources most days like grapefruits, oranges, blueberries, green beans, broccoli, and as many leafy greens like spinach that I can cram into the blender (thanks to advice from guys like Craig Ballantyne and "the Raw Model").
Subsequently, my energy levels are much more steady. My skin is clearer and I'm as vascular in my arms as I've ever been. I'm getting closer to having the level of leanness in my abs and torso that I've been chasing. I don't wake up feeling like I've been in the cage with Brock Lesnar either. I'm not saying these things are "cause and effect" with eliminating the grains, I'm just providing my experience and letting you draw your own conclusions.