The answer to this one should be pretty obvious. Unless, of course, you’re completely new to Paleo and have no idea what we mean when we talk about trying to live a Paleo lifestyle. In which case, let me break it down for you.
Grains are a major deviation from our pre-agricultural diet. They require a lot of work and preparation to make them edible: work that hunter-gatherers don’t bother with when there are plenty of other, nutrient-rich foods available.
Grains are also very high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients. Paleo is all about trying eat the most nutrient dense food we can get our hands on. Why would we want to waste calories on food that goes right through us?
The Problems With Carb-Heavy Foods
In a sense, that’s exactly what grains do: they go right through us. The high carbohydrate content causes a spike in our blood sugar, which leads to a crash a couple hours later and leaves us feeling hungry again. So we reach for more sugar to get our blood sugar back up and the cycle continues. This leads to insulin resistance, a dangerous metabolic disorder that is known to preclude everything from diabetes to Alzheimer’s.
Celiac vs. Non-Celiac
But the trouble doesn’t stop there. Many grains (even “healthy” whole grains) include anti-nutrients, such as gluten: a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye and is known to cause digestive issues in many individuals. It’s true that not everyone has Celiac’s disease, but Celiacs are far from the only people to be affected by gluten. Celiacs have an autoimmune disorder in which the presence of gluten prompts the body to attack its own tissues.
They’re not the only ones to experience an immune reaction to gluten, though. In most people, the presence of gluten prompts the immune system to attack components of the diet. They don’t suffer the same damage to the lining of their guts as Celiacs, but an immune reaction still includes inflammation. People who consume gluten on a regular basis are keeping their bodies in a constant state of low-level inflammation. This compromises the immune system and is connected to everything from obesity to organ failure.
Back to bagels. Bagels are made almost entirely of wheat. Even whole grain bagels can leave you with inflammation and insulin resistance if eaten on a regular basis. Definitely not Paleo.
For more reasons to avoid wheat, check out Dr. William Davis’s blog.
Looking for a Paleo Bagel Recipe?
Look no further than Marla’s Bacon Paleo Bagel recipe.