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Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers Hardcover – September 17, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
In his latest book, neurologist Perlmutter (The Better Brain Book) declares war on a common foodstuff, attributing a bewilderingly wide assortment of maladies to the consumption of gluten, a substance found in bread and other stock foods. Contrasting modern humans against idealized humans of the distant past, Perlmutter concludes that the former, whose average life expectancy at birth is about twice that of their Paleolithic ancestors, have gone off the proper track. He addresses the churlish objection that gluten has been part of the human diet for many millennia by firmly asserting that recent changes to crops have transformed a once-safe food into a terrible scourge. The book features health advice, a number of gluten-free recipes, and details on some relevant case studies. Lauded by such nonconsensus pundits as Mehmet Oz and William Davis, Perlmutter offers readers a comfortably simplistic model for thinking about carbs. Agent: Bonnie Solow, Solow Literary Enterprises. (Sept.)
"Dr. Perlmutter outlines an innovative approach to our most fragile organ, the brain. He is an absolute leader in the use of alternative and conventional approaches in the treatment of neurologic disorders. I have referred him patients with wonderful results. He is on the cutting edge and can help change the way we practice medicine." --Mehmet Oz, MD
"Dr. Perlmutter takes us on a detailed tour of the destructive effects that 'healthy whole grains' have on our brains. Modern wheat, in particular, is responsible for destroying more brains in this country than all the strokes, car accidents, and head trauma combined. Dr. Perlmutter makes a persuasive case for this wheat-free approach to preserve brain health and functioning, or to begin the process of reversal." --William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly
"If you want to boost your brain power, keep your memory, and lift your mood and energy, as well as heal from a host of other common complaints, Dr. Perlmutter is your guide. This is the definitive instruction book for the care and feeding of your brain!" --Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution
"Dementia and many other brain diseases are not inevitable, nor are they genetic. They are directly and powerfully linked to a diet high in sugar and grains. Grain Brain not only proves this, it also gives you everything you need to know to protect your brain--or a loved one's--now."--Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
"This book is a treasure. It is filled with self-empowering wisdom and easily understood leading-edge science. It can help you to avoid the devastating effects of an unhealthy diet and the dietary factors which are involved. By learning from the information presented in Dr. Perlmutter's book, you can avoid multiple health and neurological problems."--Bernie Siegel, MD, author of Faith, Hope, and Healing and The Art of Healing
"A provocative, eye-opening scientific account of how diet profoundly influences nerve health and brain function. Grain Brain explains how the American diet rich in gluten and inflammatory foods is linked to neurological conditions. Dr. Perlmutter outlines a blueprint for optimal health and a more resilient brain through proper nutrition and lifestyle. Grain Brain is a must-read!"--Gerard E. Mullin, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and author of The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health
"Dr. Perlmutter is the leading integrative medicine neurologist in North America today. His ability to fully integrate conventional medicine diagnosis and treatment with the latest innovations in nutritional and environmental medicine is phenomenal. As a teacher and clinician, he has fundamentally changed how physicians and patients think about neurological degeneration and, happily, regeneration." --Joseph Pizzorno, MD, coauthor of Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
"Dr. Perlmutter provides sound advice, supported by the latest and most well respected medical research." --Russell. B. Roth, MD, Past President, American Medical Association
"A galvanizing call to arms against a gluten-heavy diet....Perlmutter's credentials as a board-certified neurologist and American College of Nutrition Fellow make him a uniquely qualified voice in the debate about which foods are best for the brain and body." --Kirkus Reviews
"Mind-blowing and disruptive to some long-standing beliefs about what our bodies require for optimal health...GRAIN BRAIN lays out an easy-to-understand roadmap packed with the latest science." --Max Lugavere, Psychology Today
"A tour de force that is destined to save many lives. As I read this important and well-written book I found myself nodding my head vigorously in agreement at practically every page. [Grain Brain] gives us what we need to know to be well again. Please read it." --Health Central
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Top customer reviews
UNTIL I read this book! In three weeks of following this new way of living (it is NOT just a diet!) I've lost 12 lbs, have happily started an exercise program, and have more energy than I've had in years! I'm never hungry, I get to eat all kinds of meats and cheeses and veggies, and I don't even bother counting calories. The supplements he recommends have made an almost instant difference - my nails are stronger and growing long, my skin is better, and my overall mood is vastly improved. This will be my way of life from here on out, and I strongly recommend this book to everyone. It was like taking blinders off, and being able to see again. Thank you, Dr Perlmutter, for this wonderful book, and for the back up help from your website!
Grain Brain is written in a popular science style that is somewhat repetitive and simplistic. However, given that Dr. P's aim is to reach the widest possible audience, this shortcoming can be forgiven. On the plus side, the writing style makes his message and purpose very accessible. (It is because of the writing style that I've given the book 4 stars instead of 5.)
A couple of important points stand out. First, some form of gluten intolerance, sensitivity or allergy, either celiac or otherwise, exists in a huge number of people who are currently undiagnosed and who may not be experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms. Instead, their symptoms may be neurological, including everything from ADHD to Alzheimer's and Tourette's. So, the first thing Dr. P. does for a new patient is look for gluten intolerance, using bloodwork that tests for many biochemical markers in addition to the one we all know about, celiac disease. So here's the first useful takeaway: one can be sensitive to wheat without having celiac disease, and this sensitivity will reveal itself in a blood test. Once the sensitivity is confirmed, eliminating gluten from the diet is often the only treatment required to resolve formerly intractable problems like chronic migraine.
Second, Dr. P. tackles the issues of cholesterol and carbohydrates and their relationship to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as rising rates of dementia in the elderly. Here he wades into the major bugaboo of current nutritional debate, the role of fats in the diet. He provides a fairly good scientific analysis of the issue with some clinical and research references, although I wish he had been more thorough in this aspect of his work, because it is so important. (See my comment above about the "popular science" tone of the book.) Nevertheless, he makes a very strong case for why we've had it all wrong with respect to fats and cholesterol for a good half-century. As a neurologist, the brain is his domain, and as an expert in nutrition as well, he's in an excellent position to explain what the brain is made of (fat and cholesterol) and what the brain needs to function properly (more of same). When we deprive our bodies of good fats, such as those found in coconut, avocado, walnuts, fish and grass-fed beef, we deprive ourselves of the fuel we need to think, and literally, live. Conversely, Dr. P. demonstrates the problem with a high-carbohydrate diet and its pernicious effect on the brain, endocrine system and cell structure. Want to lose weight or heal type 2 diabetes? Look at your carbohydrate intake.
Generally speaking, Dr. P.'s aim is to educate us regarding the correlation between diet and such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, senile dementia, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. He has a lot to say about physiology and nutrition, about the way our bodies process fats, carbs and protein. You will be a much better informed consumer for reading Grain Brain.
Dr. P. is not an absolutist. He explains that it is still possible to be vegetarian or vegan and eat in a way that supplies the brain and body with all the nutrition it needs. Given his fairly broad condemnation of carbohydrates, I don't totally understand this equivocation. But I believe that Dr. P. is trying to reach the widest possible audience, and he's a realist. Not everybody wants to eat meat, and this fact cannot and should not exclude them from this discussion. (Vegetarians and vegans suffer from obesity and have heart attacks too.) There has to be wiggle-room in a dietary protocol, because in truth, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet. In this regard, Dr. P. is not rigid or dogmatic, and this speaks favorably of him.
As part of his holistic approach, Dr. P. devotes considerable space to the importance of sleep, exercise and occasional, controlled fasting, backed up by statistics and research.
Finally, Dr. P. provides a concrete program on how to transform your diet. Although he is not a huge fan of supplementation, he provides a short list of supplements that he feels are essential to brain health. His advice is specific enough that you can start tomorrow, follow his guidelines, and experiment with his suggestions on your own.
Unlike many so-called nutrition experts, Dr. Perlmutter is a Board-certified Neurologist and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who has utilized his protocol to heal very sick people for decades. His viewpoint is science-based and backed up by experience. There is a lot of terrific information in this book. It's a great place to start if you're suffering from chronic conditions, want to lose weight, are concerned about your mental status, or simply want to set yourself up for a lifetime of good health.
I really enjoyed the writer's style, it helped keep me engaged and interested in the content, unlike other books on the same subject. The most interesting part is that I was able to lose a significant amount of weight just by following some of the guidelines in the book. I also took a supplement called Garcinia Cambogia that has only accelerated my weight loss.
I have a child with ADHD so I really enjoyed the fact that ADHD and different types of gluten sensitivity were covered in grain brain. Since I have previously been on the primal diet, I knew some of the information since the two diets were similar, but not exactly the same. Prior to reading it I believed that gluten free and grain free were exactly the same which is not always the case.
I recommend that anyone read this book, it's a quick read and contains a ton of great information that can be extremely helpful. I was lucky to get this book as a gift from my lovely brother in law (Marcus) and really owe him one for this great read.