Book Review: Grain Brain

Grain Brain Book Review. Getty Images Credit: Monica Rodriguez

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers by David Perlmutter, M.D. is a discussion about a possible connection between eating grains and many of the brain-related disorders that are affecting rising numbers of people. This includes things like chronic headaches, mood disorders, ADHD, and Alzheimer's disease. The author not only presents science to support his theories but includes dietary, supplement and lifestyle recommendations for optimal brain health.

Dr. Perlmutter cites numerous clinical studies in his linkage of diet with brain disease. He includes an interesting discussion of the connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, something that is now being called Type III diabetes. He includes in-depth discussions regarding the problems of chronic inflammation, what gluten does to the brain, health problems associated with sugar and other carbohydrates, and the role that healthy fats play in optimal brain health.

About the Author

Dr. Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist with a private practice, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He is on the Medical Advisory Board for the Dr. Oz show and has made numerous media appearances.

Strong Points

  • Presents complicated science in an easy-to-read manner.
  • Provides in-depth discussions as to the connection between grain consumption and many of the chronic brain-related illnesses of modern life.
  • Includes a four-week plan for change.
  • Includes food suggestions and healthy recipes.


  • Dr. Perlmutter's work has been criticized as presenting an overly biased view of nutritional science.

Is This Book for You?

According to Dr. Perlmutter, you don't need to have a gluten sensitivity to be concerned about the effect that wheat and other grains are having on your health.

Other scientists would dispute this, saying that grain consumption is essential for health, due to the fiber and vitamins it contains. It is not for this reviewer to make that call - but I do think it is important to be educated as to both sides of the "wheat/grain" fence before deciding what is right for you. 

Because the book is about brain-related disorders, there is little direct relevance to IBS, although he does state that following his dietary and supplement guidelines will bring about relief from IBS and other intestinal difficulties. If Dr. Perlmutter's assertion that there is a direct connection between grain consumption and brain health turns out to be true, cutting out gluten-containing and other grains may end up helping more than your IBS.

Do not go on a grain-free diet without permission from your doctor. Be sure that your doctor tests you for celiac disease as the disease is under-diagnosed, and you need to be eating gluten-containing grains in order for the testing to be accurate.