Are Grains Really Dangerous to Our Health?

By Brane Žilavec, May 2015

In the United States we can witness the emergence of a strong anti-grain movement amongst the nutritional researchers and health experts who are condemning grains – especially the gluten containing grains – as God’s scourge. They are calling them ‘dangerous’, ‘silent killers’, ‘destroyers of brain’, ‘one of the most toxic food’…

Here is a list of the books which have been selected as being very influential in exposing these new revelations about the 'true nature' of grains:

The health experts listed above do not agree about all aspects of their research – they even disagree about some of them; but what they all have in common is exclusion of gluten grains from the human nutrition. Now there are also websites that either promote or are exclusively dedicated to "educating doctors and patients about gluten sensitivity." In recent years this movement culminated in 'gluten-free health summits' where "some of the most influential doctors, health practitioners and experts in the world … (have presentations) on gluten sensitivity." [6]

These books, websites and conferences have had and still have powerful influence on many health-concerned consumers, especially in United States. Numerous people have been experiencing positive health changes after elimination of foods containing gluten from their diet and then spreading the good news. For example, "nearly twenty million people contend that they regularly experience distress after eating products that contain gluten, and a third of American adults say that they are trying to eliminate it from their diets." [7] This instigated growing demands for gluten-free food products to such extent that "sales of gluten-free products will exceed fifteen billion dollars by 2016, twice the amount of five years earlier." [8]

What are the arguments given by the representatives of these new 'revelations' about the real nature of (gluten) grains? The summary of their arguments can be formulated in three main points:

This, in a nutshell, is what they claim and what we will investigate in this report. We will survey to which degree their evidences can pass the test of critical objective evaluation. For the purpose of cutting through the complexities of this burning issue my investigation is focused on the six key questions in regard to the use of grains for human nutrition.


1. Are we genetically predetermined for a no-grain diet?

2. Can grains serve as appropriate staple food for humanity?

3. Is coeliac disease just the tip of a hidden gluten pandemic?

4. Is consumption of grains at the root of the modern health crisis?

5. Is the elimination of grains the solution for the present crisis?

6. Is the quality of modern grains the decisive factor?




  1. James Braly, MD, Ron Hoggan, MA, Dangerous Grains, Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous to Your Health, Avery, New York, 2002
  2. Dr Joseph Mercola, The No-Grain Diet: Conquer Carbohydrate Addiction & Stay Slim for Life, Penguin Group, USA, 2003
  3. William Davis, MD, Wheat Belly, Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, Harper Thorsons, London, 2014
  4. Dr David Perlmutter, Grain Brain, The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain's Silent Killers, Yellow Kite Books, London, 2014
  5. Sayer Ji, The Dark Side of the Wheat, A Critical Appraisal of the Role of Wheat in Human Disease, pdf report available for free if you register at
  6. Web leaflet for Women's Gluten-Free Health Summit, 8 to 12 September, 2014
  7. Michael Specter, Against the Grain – Should you go gluten-free?
  8. As above