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William Davis, M.D. during his keynote presentation at the Longevity Now Conference brought up an interesting point about the gluten free diet. He said that it is not just about becoming gluten free. That is only half of the battle. Two of his contributions to the conversation about any anti-inflammatory diet are simple and profound:

1. It is not enough to eliminate just the grains containing gluten. That is for most of us a huge step in the right direction. For those of you who have done this, Bravo! You know how big this is and also how difficult. However, Dr. Davis’ point is that eventually the goal is to eliminate most all grains from our diets. This came as a big shock to me as I have been living on alternative grains, especially rice, for my energy and calories. This leads us to the second point.

2. The other problem with grains is that they ultimately break down into sugar whether you are talking about grains containing gluten or not. In his book Dr. Davis talks about glycation as causing an increased rate of biological aging. Glycation causes breakdown of the proteins in hemoglobin. This is one of the advanced glycation end products that ultimately causes atherosclerosis, cataracts and dimentia, to name a few.

The rate of this breakdown process through glycation can be measured as the amount of HbA1c in the blood. HBA1c can be determined with a normal blood test or with a finger prick test. Traditionally HbA1c has been used as another marker for diabetes, but as you can see it is so much more than that.

If the amount of HbA1c in your blood is at 5% or lower, you are aging at a normal rate. However, if your HbA1c is over 5% then you are aging at a faster rate than you should. Yikes! Talk about a red alert. In my opinion everyone should know their HbA1c levels.

Thanks Dr. Davis for explaining the dangers of grains and blood sugar so clearly. Basically, if our blood sugar goes up glycation goes up which leads to protein breakdown. Now I understand the importance for controlling sugars of all kinds in my diet. Reminds me of the saying, ‘All things in moderation.’ For those of you that are interested in health and longevity, I would recommend putting Dr Davis’ book on your bucket list for 2014. I think you will be glad you did.

If you have any feedback about this article or health reach out and share your stories and questions. I will be continuing this conversation in the posts to come so check back in if you are interested. My next post will be on the glycemic indes of the different foods we eat. Thanks for reading,

Dr O