Category: Nutrition


Questionable Foods

Since the release of Grain Brain a few months ago, I’ve seen a number of question come in about whether or not certain foods are permissible on the Grain Brain diet, below is a list of some of those most common ones, as well as information on how permissible these are in a diet geared to boost brain health:

  • Einkorn wheat, Ezekiel bread, and similar products: Visit the FAQ section of my site
  • Rice: Along with some other non-gluten grains, rice can be consumed in strict moderation. The list of non-gluten foods on this site is a helpful resource in this case.
  • Fruit: Overall, fruit plays in an important role in a well-rounded diet that is geared towards brain and body health. However, because of the sugar content, you should always be wary of the fruits you’re putting into your body. If you’re going for fruit, trying grabbing a handful of berries, or similar low-sugar fruit.
  • Bacon: Generally, I am not a fan of bacon.
  • Lynn Dell

    Can you be more specific about the bacon? Is it the sodium content?

    • Bev

      I heard the Doc interviewed by Fox and Friends and he said there that it’s the pig feed that makes him bias. I’ve researched this and found that pork is limiting because of this. Polyface Farms has healthy pigs. Chipotle uses Polyface Farms pork, beef and chicken.

      • Laura

        Thank you Bev! I also wanted to know why and asked the same question below. If that is his reasoning then why didn’t he recommend not eating pork in general? I will continue to enjoy my bacon since it is pastured, organic, and uncured with a clear conscience. Thank you for answering my question.

        • Susann

          What brand of bacon are you purchasing please?

      • Lynn Dell

        Thanks, Bev!

  • David

    As a vegan, I find it difficult to keep the carbohydrate level to a grain/brain appropriate level. Using beans and lentils as a protein source packs a good deal of carbohydrate along with the protein. Do you have any practical suggestions?

  • Jan in KW

    Dr. P, Could you comment on the cross-reactivity of the proteins in corn/rice/soy……also the lectins in beans/seeds…..and the high fructose content of fruits. My husband and I have crossed all of the above off our list and aside from having a few berries now and then, feel our diet is quite complete. We follow your macronutrient ratio of fats, protein and carbs.

  • Lyn

    My husband is a vegetarian and I would really appreciate some vegetarian recipes. I’ve read the Brain Grain and thought it was brilliant. The most compelling and motivating argument to give up grains and cut carbs. I’m still a little unclear on the diary recommendations. How do you feel about full fat Greek yogurt? Ricotta cheese? I’m relieved coffee is ok and I hope that includes cappuccinos? The organic almond milk I have found contains some sugar – does this rule it out? And my last question for the moment is should coconut oil be limited to one teaspoon or can it be used liberally? Thank you so much.

    • David Perlmutter

      On coconut oil: see my recent post on supplements: http://www.drperlmutter.com/grain-brain-seven-super-supplements/#comment-1141707917

      Thanks for your comment about vegetarian recipes. I’ll work to include more of those in the future.

      • Tom Straughan

        Dr. Perlmutter, how do you feel about the Primal Blueprint diet? Seems to be based on what you preach… no wheat, no corn, no processed foods… only whole foods. I’ve been following it for a year… Have lost all my body fat (70 lbs) and at 48 I think clearer and feel better than I ever have. Your input in appreciated.

    • teri

      Hi Lyn, In reference to vegetarian recipes. They are not all vegetarian but quite a few are. My book titled Gluten-Free & Grain-Free Healthy Recipes can be purchased at Amazon.com and also Vook Store. My website is glutenandgrainfreehealthysolutions.com

  • Laura

    Why would bacon be bad? I thought saturated fat was suppose to be beneficial. We eat uncured bacon from an organic pastured pig a couple times a week and love it. Why would you say no to bacon? You aren’t always consistent. I have heard you mention the phytic acid found in grains and legumes but then tell people that they should enjoy nuts. Well nuts have phytic acid too! So enjoy saturated fats but not if it comes from a pigs butt? That doesn’t make any sense.

    • Bev

      I soak all nuts & seeds in water over night (except cashews – soak them only two and a half hours & I’ve read that macadamia nuts don’t have phytic acid – something about them being white). I also soak lentils or other legumes. However, when I want to cook with peanuts, I blanche them first, it’s quicker and it does the same to eliminates mineral blocking in the body. I also favor wild jungle peanuts over the others.

      • Tstraughan

        Peanuts are not nuts… fyi

      • Laura

        Bev, Thank you. I also soak my nuts as well and then put them in my dehydrator to make them crunchy because I learned from others about the benefit of doing this. I wish Dr. Perlmutter would share this information as well.

  • Carol

    My total cholesterol is 296 and my LDL is 216. Triglycerides – 71 and HDL is 66. I have been on a low carb eating regime for 2 months so test values reflect the low carb eating. My Dr. wants me back on statin drugs. Whar do you recommend I do, Dr. Perlmutter?

    • VotersRights

      I know this was 7 months ago but my answer might help someone else. When LDL’s are high and you’re on a low carb, high fat diet, demand the dr run another test to determine what size the LDL particles are. Large size particles are healthy and what a high fat diet create. Small size particles are the ones that a high carb diet creates and cause blockages. If you’re just large size particles then high LDL is not a problem at all. Watch the documentary Cereal Killers, around the 44 minute mark, for more on this.

    • Carl Davis

      Carol you levels are actually very good contrary to the general ignorance that pervades our society. First, one’s total cholesterol number by itself is meaningless. As for your “high” LDL (“bad cholesterol”) number, that number has to be understood what type of LDL particles do you have. There are two types. There are the big fluffy particle LDL which are good as a transport system and there is the little, dense particles that are bad. The type is ascertained by dividing your triglycerides (amount of fat in blood – (under 150 is good. yours @ 71 is very good) by your “good” cholesterol HDL. Anything under 2.00 is good. You are @ 1.08. Tell your “doctor” NO THANKS! (on the statins)

  • Many low-carb products are sweetened with a form of sugar called sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols come in the form of ingredients such as glycerin, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol and maltitol.

    Can we eat these without concern for their carbs?

    • Sam Gompers

      Sugar Alchohols do not produce the same blood sugar spike and thus insulin response as other sugars do. From what I understand, anyways.

  • Karen

    Saw the question below about sugar alcohols but am unclear about the answer. I have a package of xylitol and am wondering if I should discard it and just use stevia for sweet treats (I eat virtually nothing sweet).

  • Stanford Elizabeth

    Why is blue cheese forbidden on the diet? How about Gorgonzola instead?

  • Debbie

    I started your diet yesterday and have a question. Am I supposed to include the carb’s for the vegetables I eat in the daily total of 40 carbs? Or is it only the moderate foods I need to count carb’s?

    Also, my husband is 6 ft 4 inches and weighs 180 pounds (pretty lean). He rides his bike 1 1/2 hours 4 days a week, walks 6 miles 1 day a week and swims for an hour one day a week. In addition he lifts weights and does yoga about 3 days a week. 3 ounces of meat with each meal doesn’t seem like enough for him. How many ounces should he eat in addition to his vegetables?

    • David Perlmutter

      You’ll want to be counting all carbs.

  • Peter W

    I see that Xylitol is quite controversial, given how it may be derived from GMO corn by a pretty heavy duty chemical process.
    What are your thoughts on the subject?

  • Elizabeth Davila

    Dear Dr. Perlmutter, I like to have 1/4 cup of steel cut oats with Coconut Oil, almonds, cinnamon, flax seeds and stevia, and sunflower seeds once a week. Sometime I add fresh blueberries. It is the only grain I eat. How do you feel about Oats?

    • David Perlmutter

      Just be careful with cross-contamination of oats. A real problem there. Additionally, always watch the carb load.

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