Sign up to receive a weekly peek inside our kitchen.

Why We Need to Eat Whole Food That is Really Whole

Debra Redalia


I got the idea that I needed to eat wholefoods from my own experience.

I hadn’t eaten whole grains for many years because I was on a low-carb diet in an attempt to control my blood sugar.

When, after years of low-carb, paleo, and keto diets I lost my left eye to diabetic retinopathy and began the Rice Diet , I rushed to Whole Foods and I bought every “whole grain” industrial food product—crackers, bread, tortillas, pasta, cereal—I could find. And they all made my blood sugar shoot up. Like 100 point spikes in my fasting blood sugar the next day. And it would take several days for my fasting blood sugar to go back to where it was before I ate these products.

But when I ate whole brown rice—actual rice in a bowl—my blood sugar went down.

And this held true for Larry too.

Based on our experience, I developed the whole idea of wholefood and decided to make a cuisine of it and create this blog.

But this past week I found that there actually is some scientific validation of this idea, above and beyond my personal experience.

At NutritionFacts.org, Dr. Michael Greger posted a study that shows ground brown rice (as in brown rice flour) causes insulin spikes.

In his post Are Green Smoothies Bad for You?, Dr Greber shares a study that shows the difference in blood sugar rise when eating whole brown rice versus brown rice ground into brown rice flour.

This chart below shows the rise and fall of blood sugar within the first four hours after eating brown rice. The difference is enormous. 

BR line is blood sugar rise after eating intact whole brown rice grains. GBR line is blood sugar rise after eating ground brown rice flour. Not only does GBR give a huge spike, but 2 hours later it produces a drop that will make your body crave more food to bring your low blood sugar up.

This study clearly shows that if we are to eat “whole grains” they need to be WHOLE and not ground into flour or cereal or anything else. Just WHOLE.

Apparently this only holds true for grains.

I’ve found nothing that shows blending beans, nuts, or fruits and vegetables has any effect on glycemic response. So making dips and soups and drinks out of these whole foods appears to be fine. And that’s my finding with my body as well.

[After writing this I remembered that pasta made from beans made my blood sugar rise when I tried it a few years ago, but whole beans did not. So I’m going to test this again, and I’ll let you know.]