The wheat industry is describing as a “fad” a new diet book that claims products made from wheat harms consumers’ health.
Naples, Fla., neurologist David Perlmutter recently released “Grain Brain,” claiming wheat and other carbohydrates are the brain’s “silent killers.” He claims all carbohydrates, including whole grains, can cause dementia, depression, anxiety and chronic headaches.
Perlmutter was unavailable for comment, but on his website he recommends a gluten-free diet and eating grass-fed meat, wild fish, avocados, most cheeses, seeds, leafy greens, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, zucchini and eggplant. Non-gluten grains can be used in moderation, according to Perlmutter.
“This diet is not science-based and is not sustainable from an eating perspective — how many people could eat that way every day?” Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council, said. “Nor is it sustainable from an agriculture point of view.”
The council is working with its members to identify and respond to “anti-grain” media reports and has developed media kits. The council will also call on its advisory board for detailed, technical responses if needed.
Adams said books like “Grain Brain” and William Davis’ “Wheat Belly” have not adversely impacted the industry.
The average U.S. per capita wheat flour disappearance increased from 132.5 pounds to 134.4 pounds in 2012.
“It is a fad, but it will hang on longer than we want it to,” she said of Perlmutter’s diet book.
Adams said the International Food Information Council has commissioned St. Catherine University nutrition professor Julie Miller Jones to write a critique of “Grain Brain” similar to the one she wrote about “Wheat Belly.” It will be released in the IFIC newsletter in October.
“We are an easy target,” Adams said of the grain industry. “Davis primed the consumer to suspect wheat was causing all of their problems and Perlmutter is jumping on the bandwagon. It’s not just grains he is attacking, but all carbohydrates, including fruits and vegetables.”
Adams recommends farmers respond that dietary recommendations are based on sound science and call for 45-75 percent of calories from carbohydrates. Perlmutter recommends eating less than 10 percent carbohydrates from “good” fats and proteins, she said.
Grain Foods Foundation’s Grains for Your Brain: www.grainsforyourbrain.org
Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter: http://www.drperlmutter.com/about/grain-brain-by-david-perlmutter/
Wheat Foods Council: http://wheatfoods.org