Why Cupcakes Aren't Cheating in 2017

As the dust of the holidays settles, many of us look to 2017 as a year of new possibilities and the chance to improve our happiness.  Some will make business goals while others will vow to read more books or take up a hobby.  Whether you believe in the power of resolutions or not, I can guarantee that at one point or another you made it a goal to get healthier in the New Year.  Peer into any gym on January 1st and you will find you were not the first to start the year with an amped up grit that rivaled any pre-workout on the market.  And after the holiday splurges, jogging on the treadmill and eating a salad or two sounds really nice.  But sooner or later the magic of the New Year starts to die off and those bad cravings start again.  Luckily, the mid-January motivation slump won’t be an issue this year because at UnGrained, we make cupcakes that aren’t actually cheating! I’m aware that sounds way too good to be true, but humor me.  

Over the next three posts I’m going to show you exactly why your 2017 health goals are no longer going to be determined by your soldier-like sacrifice all year long by looking at:

  • What's so different about being grain-free?

  • Is refined-sugar-free really better?

  • How can UnGrained desserts fit into special diets?

Let’s start by taking a closer look at why grain-free matters.

You’ve heard it again and again; eat your whole grains.  In fact, you probably remember seeing a food pyramid with grains and cereals making up the entire bottom section.  The “health of grains” is touted everywhere!  It’s proclaimed on cereal boxes and granola bars and baguettes and buns and bagels and pasta and...you get the idea.  But there are so many reasons why grains should not be a daily part of your diet.


1. Grains spike your blood sugar.

You may have noticed a surge of energy after eating a bagel or bowl of cereal followed by a mid-morning slump.  What you are feeling is the effect of grains on your blood sugar.  You don’t need me to tell you that grains are almost exclusively carbohydrates which are easily broken down into glucose (what your body uses for energy).  Your body can make glucose from any macronutrient (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), but it’s the amount of work your body has to do in order to convert those nutrients that makes the difference in your blood sugar.  Proteins and fats require more  complicated processes to convert to glucose while carbohydrates are more than halfway ready to be used by the body.  The resulting blood sugar spike causes the body to release high levels of insulin to return blood sugar to normal, hence the slump you feel shortly after you consume grains.  While most of us are simply left feeling miserable until our next Bagel Bite, in others, these repeated spikes in blood sugar can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.  


2. Grains contain lectins.

Lectins are proteins your body cannot absorb and are found in large quantities in grains.  Your body’s fabulous immune system responds by attacking these proteins much as it would a bacteria.  Over time, some people’s bodies even create antibodies specifically for fighting lectins.  The problem is that lectins look very similar to some of the proteins that make up your tissues.  When those antibodies mistake your tissue for lectins, this is known as an autoimmune disease.  

Of course we don’t all have autoimmune diseases, but lectins still manage to cause mischief.  Lectins also cause leptin resistance, which suppresses your body’s hunger “on/off switch” so you can keep eating way after you should have stopped.


3. Grains contain protease inhibitors.

Simply put, these little guys block the absorption of proteins in the body.


4. Grains contain high levels of phytates.

Phytates bind to nutrients, mainly minerals, and, in their natural home, they’re good.  They’re mineral-binding properties make them excellent nutrient storage vessels for the offspring of the grain (after all, all living things reproduce).  Unfortunately for us, phytates remain active in our bodies after the consumption of grains, binding to nutrients in our digestive tracts and preventing us from absorbing them.  It’s important here to note that although phytates are also found in nuts and seeds, they exist in much smaller quantities and so are not nearly as harmful in those amounts in grains.


So there you have it.  Grains, like anything, are fine in moderation, but in no way should they be a staple in your everyday diet.  UnGrained products are proudly made grain-free so you can have your cake and eat it too.  You did survive 2016, so you deserve it.



Taylor Nieman