Between everyone going gluten-free, becoming paleo, or trying out keto, a lot of people have begun removing grains from their lifestyle. Removing a food group tends to have an effect on your body, some of which are positive and others negative. If you are wondering what happens to your body when you stop eating grains, there are a number of changes experts say you can expect, and being aware of these effects can help you decide whether or not it's right for you to cut down on the food group. After all, it's important to know what really happens when you start making adjustments to your lifestyle rather than just leaning on the advice of a friend.
Although eating grains in moderation isn't bad, most people tend to consumer more than what is recommended. "Grains are absolutely over-consumed," Tracy Lockwood, MS, RD, CDN tells Bustle. "That’s why it’s important to watch the overall intake of grains and stick with the appropriate serving size."
The recommended amount of grains per day is six ounces, three of which should be whole grains, according to MyPlate government recommendations. Of course, whole grains are always going to be healthier than eating refined grains, so it's important to keep that in mind when shaping your diet. However, you still want to make sure you're eating a moderate amount.
If you're considering cutting out grains from your diet, you'll want to be aware of these seven ways your body can change from eliminating this food group, according to experts.
1. You Might Have Trouble Going To The Bathroom
Cutting out grains completely could lead to some bathroom troubles. "You may become more backed up," says Lockwood. "Turns out the bran in whole grains has fiber which helps keep you regular." Making sure you're eating other foods high in fiber — like fruits or leafy greens — can help combat this problem.
2. Your Cholesterol Might Rise
Removing this food group may increase your risk for high cholesterol. "The fiber in grains helps remove excessive cholesterol in our body, so it’s important to find fiber in other sources such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils," says Lockwood.
3. You Might Have A Harder Time Getting Pregnant
Eliminating grains may cause difficulty getting pregnant. "Grains are extremely rich in folate, a fertility friendly vitamin, which may help improve the chances of getting pregnant," says Lockwood. "So if you are trying to become pregnant in the distant or not-so-distant future, it’s very important to find folate in other dietary sources." According to the American Pregnancy Association, you can find folate in foods like leafy greens, beans, and citrus fruits.
4. You Might Reduce Inflammation In Your Body
"You may feel less inflamed, everywhere," says Lockwood. "People who are sensitive to grains can feel puffy in their guts and in their joints. If going grain free instantaneously reduces body pain, aches or bloating, it may be a good idea to go grain free long-term." Speak with your doctor about whether or not grains are the cause of your inflammation, and if reducing grains is right for you.
5. You Might Bloat Less
6. Your Periods Might Be Less Painful
The solution to your period troubles may be in ditching grains. "This can lead to less painful and emotionally-volatile periods," says Kessler. "Grains can sometimes be seen as hormonal disruptors." Although period pain can be attributed to many factors, speaking with your doctor about grains as a possible cause can help you make the right lifestyle choice for your health.
7. Your Dental Health Might Improve
"Similar to gut flora, oral flora is affected by yeast and microbes stemming from grains and can create decay in the mouth," says Kessler. "Reducing grain intake will reduce cavities, gingivitis and also blood pressure since the bi-products of bacterial metabolism affect blood pressure."
Everyone's body tolerates specific foods differently, so if you are considering cutting out a food group, it's best to speak to a doctor or nutritionist so you can do it safely.