Millet: A Gluten-Free Grain You Should Avoid

Millet | The Paleo Diet

Over the past 5-7 years, more and more people worldwide have become aware of the Paleo Diet, which really is not a diet at all, but rather a lifelong way of eating to reduce the risk of chronic disease and maximize health and wellbeing. One of the fundamental principles of The Paleo Diet is to eliminate or drastically reduce consumption of cereal grains, whether they are refined or whole. Currently, 8 cereal grains (wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye, and millet) provide 56% of the food energy and 50% of the protein consumed on earth.3 However, from an evolutionary perspective, these foods were rarely or never consumed by our hunter gatherer ancestors.3

When I first made the suggestion that as a species we would be a lot healthier if we reduced or eliminated cereal consumption in 1999,3 I received, and still receive, criticism by some professionals in the nutritional community because they believe that the elimination of an entire food group (cereals) is nutritionally unsound and “will produce numerous dietary deficiencies.” This statement is not supported by any experimental evidence. In fact, the contrary is true. As I have previously pointed out, elimination of cereal grains actually increases the nutrient density of the 13 vitamins and minerals most lacking in the U.S. diet4, 5 – providing cereals are replaced by fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, seafood and eggs.

Besides this fundamental lack of knowledge concerning the nutrient density of cereal grains, nearly all classically trained nutritionists have little or no appreciation for the antinutrients present in grains. As the name implies, antinutrients are dietary substances which interfere with our normal metabolism and physiology. Cereal grains are generally concentrated sources of numerous antinutrients and may produce undesirable health effects,3 particularly when consumed as daily staples.

In the U.S. “gluten free” foods have become incredibly popular in recent years as many people recognize that they simply feel better by eliminating the 3 gluten containing grains (wheat, rye and barley). Gluten conscious consumers frequently replace wheat, rye and barley with non-gluten containing grains (rice, corn, oats, sorghum and millet) in the mistaken belief that these 5 non-gluten grains are harmless. However, as I have previously pointed out, even the 5 non-gluten containing grains should be avoided for a variety of reasons.3 Specifically, I’ll detail below how millet adversely affects iodine metabolism and may cause goiter (swelling of the neck) when eaten regularly.

The Culprit: Millet

Unless you are a vegan, a vegetarian or are in search of gluten-free grains, most Americans and westerners have never tasted millet. Nevertheless, you don’t have to look very far to find this cereal grain (grass seed) at most health food stores. If you only dine upon millet dishes once in a blue moon, it will have zero repercussions upon your health, but be aware that millet is a nutrient poor, antinutrient laden food – the regular consumption of which may cause multiple dietary deficiencies and nutrient related diseases,3 including impairment of iodine metabolism and risk for goiter.

Millet is not a single plant species (as are most other cereal grains), but rather interpreted broadly may comprise about 500 species of grass seeds worldwide.13 Only a few species of millet are commonly cultivated as food crops. Worldwide, pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is the most widely produced millet15 and is cultivated extensively in Africa and India. Finger millet (Eleusine coracana, proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), fonio millet (Digitaria exilis), and foxtail millet (Setaria italic) are also important crop species in developing countries.13, 15 Nevertheless millet is a minor cereal grain in terms of global economic importance. Worldwide production of millet is about 1% of either wheat or rice.13

Because millets require little water and are highly drought resistant, they grow well in arid and semi arid regions of the world such as in countries surrounding the Sahara desert in Africa and in dry areas in India and Asia. Further, millet is an attractive agricultural crop for farmers in these regions because under good conditions, it can yield two harvests per year13 and is resistant to pests and pathogens.

In the Sudan region (Darfur Province) of Africa, dietary surveys show that millet consumption in three communities (Kas, Tawaila and Nyala) was the primary source of food calories, respectively yielding 73.6%, 66.7%, and 37.1% of total daily energy.20 In this study, the occurrence of goiter was outrageously high – greater than almost anywhere else in the world. The incidence of goiter for girls in these three communities was 75%, 55%, and 13%, respectively; for boys it was 46%, 35%, and 10%, respectively. Similar high rates of goiter and thyroid disorders have been reported for school children in the Gujarat district of Western India where millet is a staple food.2

Millet Consumption, Iodine Deficiency and Goiter

Wherever and whenever millet becomes a staple food worldwide, the incidence of goiter increases and abnormalities of thyroid function and iodine metabolism occur2,7,16-20 Further, animal studies in rats, pet birds, and goats and tissue (in vitro) studies demonstrate unequivocally that this cereal plays a major role in causing goiter, thyroid abnormalities and impairment of iodine metabolism.1, 8, 10-12, 22

Iodine is an essential nutrient for humans, without which we most conspicuously develop goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland about the neck). Additionally, lack of iodine in the diet impairs cognitive development in growing infants and children, miscarriage in pregnant women and brain and nervous system dysfunction in adults.24, 25

Originally, it was thought that goiter occurred primarily from a deficiency of iodine in our food supply and water. Accordingly, in the U.S. and elsewhere most dietary salt (NaCl) has been fortified with iodine. An unappreciated aspect of iodine metabolism is that metabolic deficiencies of this nutrient can still occur even when dietary intake of iodine appears to be sufficient.7 Although virtually unknown to most nutritionists, elements found in millet represent powerful antinutrients that impair iodine metabolism and frequently cause goiter and symptoms of iodine deficiency.

Goitrogens in Millet

Goitrogens are dietary substances which impair thyroid and iodine metabolism and may ultimately cause the development of goiter. As I have previously alluded, a few scientists in the nutritional community early on appreciated that high millet diets promoted goiter. However, it was not completely understood how millet produced its goitrogenic effect. Subsequent discoveries and experiments over the past 35 years now show that compounds known as flavonoids in millets are responsible for causing iodine dysfunction and may in turn produce goiter when consumed as staples.6, 7, 21, 23

All millets are concentrated sources of compounds known as polyphenolics, some of which are referred to as flavonoids. Numerous flavonoids have been found in millets including apigenin, luteolin , kaempferol and vitexin; all of which severely impair thyroid function and iodine metabolism6, 10-12, 21, 23 and cause goiter in animal and tissue models.1, 8, 10-12, 22 Although it is not completely understood, flavonoids from millets appear to inhibit iodine uptake by most cells in the body, impair secretion of thyroid hormones, and reduce organification of Iodine by the enzyme thyroperoxidase.6, 7, 10, 23

Additional Antinutrients in Millets

Although a few scientific articles suggest that millets may possess positive health effects,26, 27 these papers and authors seem to be completely unaware of the numerous antinutrients found in millets and their potential for disrupting nutrition and health.

Let’s begin with the mistaken notion that millets are good sources of calcium.26, 27 Upon chemical analysis on paper, this statement may be true, but in the body (in vivo), nothing could be further from the truth. Calcium, along with iron and zinc that may be present in millets are actually poorly absorbed in our bodies because phytates, tannins and other compounds prevent their assimilation.28-32 Accordingly, high cereal grain diets whether millet derived or not, frequently result in multiple nutrient deficiencies including calcium, iron and zinc.3

In addition to their high phytate, flavonoid and polyphenolic contents, millets are also concentrated sources of other antinutrients including protease inhibitors (trypsin, chymotrypsin, alpha amylase and cysteine)33-35 and steroidal saponins.36, 37 Cereal grain protease inhibitors likely elicit adverse effects upon the pancreas when consumed as staple foods,3 and saponins are known to increase intestinal permeability and may contribute to chronic low level systemic inflammation.

Taken in its entirety, an overwhelming scientific literature demonstrates that millets are second rate foods that when consumed regularly may adversely affect iodine metabolism and elicit goiter. I’m not completely sure where the USDA dietitians derived their recommendations for whole grain consumption, but it certainly could not have come from their familiarity with the millet literature.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus


1. Abel Gadir WS, Adam SE. Development of goitre and enterohepatonephropathy in Nubian Goats fed with pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides). Vet J. 1999 Mar;157(2):178-85.

2. Brahmbhatt S, Brahmbhatt RM, Boyages SC. Thyroid ultrasound is the best prevalence indicator for assessment of iodine deficiency disorders: a study in rural/tribal schoolchildren from Gujarat (Western India). Eur J Endocrinol. 2000 Jul;143(1):37-46.

3. Cordain L. (1999). Cereal grains: humanity’s double edged sword. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, 84: 19-73.

4. Cordain L. The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Neutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24.

5. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the western diet: Health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:341-54.

6. de Souza Dos Santos MC, Gonçalves CF, Vaisman M, Ferreira AC, de Carvalho DP. Impact of flavonoids on thyroid function. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Oct;49(10):2495-502

7. Elnour A, Hambraeus L, Eltom M, Dramaix M, Bourdoux P. Endemic goiter with iodine sufficiency: a possible role for the consumption of pearl millet in the etiology of endemic goiter. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1):59-66.

8. Elnour A, Liedén S, Bourdoux P, Eltom M, Khalid SA, Hambraeus L. Traditional fermentation increases goitrogenic activity in pearl millet. Ann Nutr Metab. 1998;42(6):341-9.

9. Elnour A, Liedén S, Bourdoux P, Eltom M, Khalid SA, Hambraeus L. The goitrogenic effect of two Sudanese pearl millet cultivars in rats. Nutr Res 1997; Mar (17): 533–546.

10. Gaitan E, Cooksey RC, Legan J, Lindsay RH. Antithyroid effects in vivo and in vitro of vitexin: a C-glucosylflavone in millet. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1995 Apr;80(4):1144-7.

11. Gaitan E, Lindsay RH, Reichert RD, Ingbar SH, Cooksey RC, Legan J, Meydrech EF, Hill J, Kubota K. Antithyroid and goitrogenic effects of millet: role of C-glycosylflavones. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1989 Apr;68(4):707-14.

12. Gaitan E, Lindsay RH, Cooksey RC, Hill J, Reichert RD, Ingbar SH. The thyroid effects of C-glycosylflavonoids in millet. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1988;280:349-63

13. Hunt HV, Badakshi F, Romanova O, Howe CJ, Jones MK, Heslop-Harrison JS. Reticulate evolution in Panicum (Poaceae): the origin of tetraploid broomcorn millet, P. miliaceum. J Exp Bot. 2014 Jul;65(12):3165-75.

14. Lu H, Zhang J, Liu KB, Wu N, Li Y, Zhou K, Ye M, Zhang T, Zhang H, Yang X, Shen L, Xu D, Li Q. Earliest domestication of common millet (Panicum miliaceum) in East Asia extended to 10,000 years ago. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 5;106(18):7367-72

15. McDonough CM, Rooney LW, Serna-Saldivar SO. (2000). “The Millets”. Food Science and Technology: Handbook of Cereal Science and Technology (CRC Press). 99 2nd ed: 177–210.

16. Medani AM1, Elnour AA, Saeed AM. Endemic goitre in the Sudan despite long-standing programmes for the control of iodine deficiency disorders. Bull World Health Organ. 2011 Feb 1;89(2):121-6.

17. Moreno-Reyes R1, Boelaert M, el Badawi S, Eltom M, Vanderpas JB. Endemic juvenile hypothyroidism in a severe endemic goitre area of Sudan. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1993 Jan;38(1):19-24.

18. [No authors listed] Millet–a possibly goitrogenic cereal. Nutr Rev. 1983 Apr;41(4):113-6.

19. Osman AK, Basu TK, Dickerson JW. A goitrogenic agent from millet (Pennisetum typhoides) in Darfur Province, Western Sudan. Ann Nutr Metab. 1983;27(1):14-8.

20. Osman AK, Fatah AA. Factors other than iodine deficiency contributing to the endemicity of goitre in Darfur Province (Sudan). J Hum Nutr. 1981 Aug;35(4):302-9.

21. Sartelet H, Serghat S, Lobstein A, Ingenbleek Y, Anton R, Petitfrère E, Aguie-Aguie G, Martiny L, Haye B. Flavonoids extracted from fonio millet (Digitaria exilis) reveal potent antithyroid properties. Nutrition. 1996 Feb;12(2):100-6.

22. Schoemaker NJ, Lumeij JT, Dorrestein GM, Beynen AC. Nutrition-related problems in pet birds]. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd. 1999 Jan 15;124(2):39-43.

23. Schröder-van der Elst JP1, Smit JW, Romijn HA, van der Heide D. Dietary flavonoids and iodine metabolism. Biofactors. 2003;19(3-4):171-6.

24. Zimmermann MB.The role of iodine in human growth and development. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2011 Aug;22(6):645-52.
25. Taylor PN1, Okosieme OE, Dayan CM, Lazarus JH. Therapy of endocrine disease: Impact of iodine supplementation in mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency: systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Endocrinol. 2013 Nov 22;170(1):R1-R15. doi: 10.1530/EJE-13-0651. Print 2014 Jan.

26. Devi PB, Vijayabharathi R, Sathyabama S, Malleshi NG, Priyadarisini VB. Health benefits of finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) polyphenols and dietary fiber: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Jun;51(6):1021-40.

27. Shobana S, Krishnaswamy K, Sudha V, Malleshi NG, Anjana RM, Palaniappan L, Mohan V. Finger millet (Ragi, Eleusine coracana L.): a review of its nutritional properties, processing, and plausible health benefits. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2013;69:1-39.

28. Lestienne I, Besançon P, Caporiccio B, Lullien-Péllerin V, Tréche S. Iron and zinc in vitro availability in pearl millet flours (Pennisetum glaucum) with varying phytate, tannin, and fiber contents. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 20;53(8):3240-7.

29. Lestienne I, Caporiccio B, Besançon P, Rochette I, Trèche S. Relative contribution of phytates, fibers, and tannins to low iron and zinc in vitro solubility in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) flour and grain fractions. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Oct 19;53(21):8342-8.

30 Udayasekhara Rao P, Deosthale YG. In vitro availability of iron and zinc in white and coloured ragi (Eleusine coracana): role of tannin and phytate. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1988;38(1):35-41.

31. Suma PF, Urooj A. Nutrients, antinutrients & bioaccessible mineral content (invitro) of pearl millet as influenced by milling. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Apr;51(4):756-61.

32. Archana, Sehgal S, Kawatra A. Reduction of polyphenol and phytic acid content of pearl millet grains by malting and blanching. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1999;53(2):93-8.

33. Pattabiraman TN. Trypsin/chymotrypsin inhibitors from millets. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1986;199:439-48.

34. Shivaraj B, Pattabiraman TN. Natural plant enzyme inhibitors. Characterization of an unusual alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitor from ragi (Eleusine coracana Geartn.). Biochem J. 1981 Jan 1;193(1):29-36.

35. Joshi BN, Sainani MN, Bastawade KB, Deshpande VV, Gupta VS, Ranjekar PK.
Pearl millet cysteine protease inhibitor. Evidence for the presence of two distinct sites responsible for anti-fungal and anti-feedent activities. Eur J Biochem. 1999 Oct;265(2):556-63.

36. Lee ST, Mitchell RB, Wang Z, Heiss C, Gardner DR, Azadi P. Isolation, characterization, and quantification of steroidal saponins in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 25;57(6):2599-604.

37. Patamalai B, Hejtmancik E, Bridges CH, Hill DW, Camp BJ. The isolation and identification of steroidal sapogenins in Kleingrass. Vet Hum Toxicol. 1990 Aug;32(4):314-8.

About Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor Emeritus

Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor EmeritusDr. Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans. He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide. Dr. Cordain is the author of six popular bestselling books including The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Answer, and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, summarizing his research findings.

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“115” Comments

  1. I live in the Indian state of Rajasthan where pearl millet is consumed daily by nearly 30 million people and there’s no goitre epidemic. 75% of the state is vegetarian and we have large contribution to Indian army recruitment, athletes and olympians. Information in this article is wrong.

  2. Paleo diet manages to helps some people simply because a large number of people suffer from gut dysbiosis and cutting on grains at least for several weeks helps heal the inflamated intestinal tract. Otherwise paleo “research” is one-sided, limited and incorrect. There are cons to paleo too, like eating high meat diet! Btw, my ancestors also ate human meat during World War and were very healthy and strong. They would say human cattle (meat) is way more tasty and healthy than animals! No human trials, so no proof through research. But thinking that animals are inferior life form meant for our daily consumption as you love calling it “staple” is way beyond arrogance. If you come across someone who thinks humans are an inferior species hence there is absolutely nothing wrong to maintain mass scale murder in millions of slaughterhouses across the globe, you will most certainly object and find it cruel. Why not consider the same for huge animal slaughter, after all it is not the animals who create overpopulation, holes in ozone, climate change, industrialization, polition and all the horrors of human “civilization”. Diet alone will not solve all the problems, digging back to our real “humanity” will balance the problems globally and individually. Every decade there is a new diet fad, it is actually childish. I tried most of the great diets and none cured my dysbiosis. A month of water fast followed by a ballanced organic lacto-vegetarian diet with good quality soil probiotics actually helped.

  3. From an evolutionary perspective we are descended from the groups that utilized domesticated grains and adapted to an agricultural high carb diet. The groups that did not largely died out or were somewhat absorbed into agricultural societies. This endless complaining about how paleolithic humans didn’t eat like this is missing the point especially as we transition into a more precarious and staple food dependent era.

  4. What is the size of your study sample.
    Often a chemical composition and nutrients based analysis of foods is not found to be accurate.

    I would like you to come to India and study for an year or two on Miilets.

    In India in about 5 different states more than 200 million people have been living only on a staple diet of millets for more than 5000 years that I know of.

    As per your study there shoule be atleast 50 million people suffering from Gotire, etc. But the percentage of iodene deficient diseases in India is less than 1%. Thyroid issues are seen mostly in wheat and rice consuming communities of India that too mostly among women. Among men it is very very rare.

    Please conduct your study in India since you will get a very large sample and if needed write a more scholarly article which can be based on more accruate study.

  5. Thank you for this insight. One thing I have noticed following scientific researches on dietary is that it seems no body has the real answer to many misery of the food we eat. I live in Africa, in Nigeria, in the south-west. The northern part of the country is almost 90% arid grassland, so there millet is a staple food, we have, as much as i know, about 5 species of millet, including fonio, sorghum and guinea corn, wheat, and corn being cultivated in that area. The occurrence of goiter disease have not been so much different from other arid region in Africa, according to research. From few research i compared, the variation in types of foods available and the iodine content of soil between the cost-lands and hinterlands may actually be the culprit. Since scientific research have not particular been able to find out in what ways millet inhibit assimilation of iodine by body tissue, we may have reasons to exonerate millet as an anti-nutrient. Foods which are high in iodine micrograms are readily available to the southern and costerlands, while the reverse is the case in the arid regions. Even with fortification of Nacl, you can only take as little salt as required by your taste per day, and that may not just be enough for daily consumption.
    Another point of argument is even to consider the low prevalence of goitre among the jews in their history; their land lies in the wheat belt and their universal foods appear to be bread made from whole grains like wheat, millet, barley, etc. but then, this people live in costlands, close to dead sea and Mediterranean sea, their bread where often baked with sea salt from the dead sea, and eaten with oil and vinegar wine which contain about 0.5mg/100g vitamin C. Taking millet meal with vitamin C foods and unrefined salt has been observed to make possible assimilation of iodine calcium, iron and zinc in millet or any other food. Also note sir, Millet will always retain its alkalinity even after being cooked – alkaline body will logically almost never allow goiter development. High consumption of dairy foods and acidic foods on the other hand could make the body pH become acidic, thus dissolving the calcium, iron and zinc necessary for the body
    I also feel that the fact that millet contain zero vitamin C, and taking such meal as staple food may actually, greatly lower total daily vitamin C available to the body to help the body assimilate some of those nutrients it contain (zinc, calcium and iron) and the iodine in the fortified salt.
    So i think we could rather view the micorgrams of iodine and vitamin C consumed per day by people who take millet as staple food, knowing that their staple food, millet, contain zero iodine and zero vitamin C. The prevalence of goiter there should be compared to that of the population whose total daily consumption contains higher vitamin C in the same millet consumption region

  6. Over 100,000 yrs of grain consumption isn’t long enough for the human digestive system to evolve and adapt?

    I mean yeah current industrial grain production is a hot mess and most grain products are nothing but white starch and simple sugars but why hate on the minimally processed whole grains (besides “muh phytic acid”, as if virtually every other food doesn’t have antinutrients)?

    I know I’m just a Weston A. Price fanboy but I don’t get what’s so difficult about eating the widest variety of whole foods that humans have been thriving off for many millennia. Today’s conventional farming/food processing practices are the issue with the failing health of the westernized world (among other things e.g. stress), not whole grains or other traditional foods.

    Every decade now there’s some fad diet chasing the red herring and removing some other macronutrient or food group, targetting this fat or that fat, being extremely exclusive rather than inclusive (which means few people will maintain it for the long term). It is very easy to eat an inclusive diet that supports health and wellbeing; no food group is entirely bad nor good, it’s the variety and emphasis on vitamin-rich and mineral-rich whole foods that matters.

    And grains, as we’re finding, are hugely loaded with more beneficial compounds like antioxidants (oftentimes much more than berries/vegetables) than we’ve previously thought. Research always has a way of mucking up the reputation of foods and then later vindicating them as nutritional powerhouses when we finally take more time to analyze them. There is still so much we just don’t know about the foods we eat, so how anyone can say for certain which food groups are to be condemned, and others praised, is beyond me.

  7. This is completely wrong. I have seen people with thyroid recovering after consuming millet diet. It is a miracle diet. I think you should definitely seek MR. Khader Vallis advice and meet him. He has done scientific research and practical research (With literally ill people and cured them completely through millet diet) and is creating waves of successful millet diet in across South India.
    Millet diet doesn’t cause shit like thyroid etc. and nutritional loss.
    This is total misguidance. It is the most balanced diet forgotten by mankind and which is very much required at this point of time to all the people.

  8. I’m so happy for the many replies refuting the things said in this article. Great job, everyone who responded so people won’t be tricked into thinking that eating God’s heirloom grains is harmful. Quite the contrary! I love millet!

  9. Thousands of years ago Dacians (European people and ancestors of nowadays Romanians) ate millet. They made porridges with milk out of it, made soups and fermented it for beer and a souring sauce that was used in cooking. I’m pretty sure many other European peoples (not only the non-Europeans as some say in the comments) ate lots of grains.
    Thinking our ancestors only ate meat is wrong and archaeological finds disagree with it. You have to have huge amounts of millet for it’s so called “anti-nutrient” properties to have any effect on you.

  10. Since the human body gets energy from carbohydrate, protein, and fat, avoiding grains altogether usually means getting more energy from protein and fat, this probably means more meat and dairy products and can lead to too much bad fat, unless you live on fruits and vegetables alone, which would be a lot of sugar.

  11. After reading your article I am lead to believe that millet may be a beneficial food for those with hyperthyroidism. Do you have any stance on this or information about it?

    • My Indian friends tell me that millet (flatbread) is usually given to women after childbirth to “strengthen them”.

      I also feel millet may have the effect of rebalancing the thyroid, which can be “inflamed” with pregnancy. In fact, it is now thought that thyroiditis occurs in at least 1 out of 5 pregnancies: ever know any woman who just could not lose the weight after one of their pregnancies (though this was not the case after previous pregnancies)? I feel this is why…

      Also, some research I came across today claims that postprandial satiety was greater with millet than with other wholemeal cereal. Unfortunately, there was no comparison to other foods…

  12. Dear Mr Loren, I totally disagree with you and your article is misleading. I feel you have been paid by the FDA and the big pharma to write this article. You have no iota of a clue of what you are writing. You might also not tasted any millet at all. My family and I have been living on millet since very young. From the age of 2-3 we started eating millet and drinking millet porridge. We eat all the different types from Pearl millet. Finger millet. Proso millet. Foxtail millet. Barnyard millet. Little millet. and Kodo millet. Though the main millet eaten was Finger or Ragi Millet. I even doubt that you know about all the different types of millet. My family from my Great grand pa and ma till to date my children only eat this as our main meal. We eat very little of rice or wheat. We are vegetarians and dont even eat meat, fish or eggs. Only millet, veggies and cow’s milk. Our generation have no health issues such goiter or iodine deficiency as you mention. If fact we are perfectly healthy without any health issues and our routine medicals always comes out with flying colors. ( Touch wood, i.e. your head). So please refrain your western brain to foods that you know like chicken, beef and turkey. Do not cross boundaries and touch of foods that you don’t even know. People out there just discard this rubbish article and go ahead and indulge in this God given grain. Genesis 1:29-30
    Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

    • This article is total bullocks.
      Shows that titles, PhD, professor doesn’t mean anything.
      Goiter, iodine deficiency , what a load of nonsense.
      If you don’t eat any fish, or seaweed, yes then it can become a problem.
      It’s all about eating diverse.
      The people in the Blue Zones eat grains as well.
      So, article debunked.

    • I agree with you TNS and disagree totally with with the Author. Unfortunately lots of people out there are trying to put dust on our eyes.
      In Northern Ghana, Millet or Sorghum are staple food and in fact they are also used to even make alcoholic beverages called Pito. They are one of the strongest people in Ghana.
      This article lacks credibility.

      In fact King James version puts it even better. Genesis 1:29-30 : And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. Ideally, no animal products which are full of acid.

  13. At least, I am going to give up consumption of Pearl Millet or Bajra, Eleusine coracana or Ragi, Corn or Makka, so termed in India, and Oats, as I am already a patient of an Active Organic Disease called Inflamatory Bowel Disease or IBD, which is nothing but reasonless inflammation of intestine. I never ever ate foxtail millet, finger millet in life and never shall. However, continue to be a vegitarian and pro-vegan, try to be vegan in future.
    Thanks for informative and useful article.

  14. I will advise the writer to visit northern Ghana. People eat millet dishes every day for years conteneously and never have any health issues.

  15. You would need to consume 30% + millet in your daily diet to see any of these affects. If your eating a balanced diet you will not see these mentioned affects. know one other than people living in the mentioned locations would ever consume this much millet. millet is fine to eat, stop freaking everyone out.

  16. I am not sure if this guy is talking about the same millet that I can buy where I am at, but there is only one type in the stores I visit and it’s just called millet. But if you take a look at the macro and micro nutrients in millet, they seem very good. I eat millet on a frequent basis and have had no issue so far.

  17. This is only western knowledge that is not backed up by other societies’ knowledge. I had no idea about the existence of this amazing grain until I went to the East. I lived in East Asia for 5 years and people will tell you otherwise about the effect of millet in their health.
    I suffer from dry lips, I’ve had it my whole life, and not even lip balms have been able to help the dryness go away. Every single time I eat millet my dry lips feel replenished and hydrated again, I get to experience what is like to have normal lips, at least during the day I am eating millet. Very few foods are capable of doing that to my lips, and millet has the most longstanding effect.
    Needless to say, Indians have been eating those grains for hundreds of years and were not sick with modern diseases. Food doesn’t affect all people in the same way, and I speak from experience. The best thing to do is to take a DNA test that will help you sort out which are the foods to which you are most reactive and which are the ones that are great for you.

  18. >Besides this fundamental lack of knowledge concerning the nutrient density of cereal grains, nearly all classically trained nutritionists have little or no appreciation for the antinutrients present in grains.
    theres nothing classically trained about a nutritionist you quack. Only dietitions have certified qualifications, Nutritionist is like having a degree in starexpertology

  19. So the moral of the story is, NOT to eat as a staple and only eat occasionally. I eat it for breakfast 3 times a week with no problems. As the old saying goes, everything in moderation. I have organic millet and stewed apples.

  20. Dr. Cordian,

    In south India, in olden days (Appx. 2000 years) people used to eat Browntop Millet, Little Millet, Barnyard Millet, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Kodo Millet and Sorghum, on daily basis.

    They were strong and never had life threatening mass diseases like Diabetes, Heart, Cancer, Thyroid, Allergies etc., Most of them never went to Hospitals in their life time.

    Now-a-days, in south india the millet diets are very rarely used, may be appx less than 10% of the families. Rest 90% are eating rice & wheat related foods along with fruits and vegitables. Now there is a drastic rise in meat eating appx. 60% of the people eat non-vegetarian food. Due to this the result is, India is a capital of Diabetes & Heard disease most among anywhere in the world.

    Hence the input to your further study is, the above mentioned Millets only have been consumed in southern India and veterans never had serious health issues.

    From this it concludes that Millets are the power packed food given by the nature in its tiny form, hence needs to be consumed by all to get rid of diseases and reverse certain diseases like diabetes, cancer etc., with minimum 40 min brisk walk. The above millets to be consumed alternatively.

    For recipes you google “Siridhanya recipes” and enjoy eating and live young and longer.


    • Thanks for telling these guys the significance of Siridhanya! Westerners should not think whatever they research in the AC Labs are correct knowledge. They should understand the history and heritage of people who lived in the past and the human body which has not evolved drastically at least over the last 1000 years (but the diseases have evolved because of this stupid Western Knowledge influx to Indian Society!)

    • hi, it is not that way. they were not healthy just because they ate a particular food. It is this way- every person had to physically work to eat. food did not fall in their plate just after getting up from bed and brushing teeth. they get up, go to a well fetch water take bath, do all physical activities and then take their food. every member of the family had to work in the field from morning till evening and then take dinner. if we also follow the same, you need not worry what to eat what not to. everything what you eat will convert into energy and the body will be fine

  21. It’s too bad Dr Cordain didn’t eat Millet. He might have less gray or white hair. I’ve been eating Millet for over fifteen years every morning in my Muesli and don’t have one grey hair and i’m sixty years old. My hair grows very fast and doesn’t fall out either and it’s not hereditary. All my brothers are grey or getting bald. I see the difference also with my nails that grow like crazy. Millet has potent antioxidants which can prevent the corrosion of tissues, thereby reducing the possibility of premature graying etc. Try it you’ll see the difference.

  22. What a pile of horseshit. Millet contains 22 grams of vegetable protein per cup! High Magnesium, Iron and rich in Vitamin B 6. It is also easily assimilated by the digestive tract and is an excellent pre-biotic food. You keep stuffing yourself with Cave Man Lawyer diet — red meat? assinine! The stupidest idea since the hoola hoop. Go fish!

    • I agree…firstly, no mention of organic millet…secondly, analysis of the components of millet? (not specific type) is false as a generalization is not accurate. Of course some people are not able to digest certain foods i.e. allergies. The evidence of non-GMO, organically raised cereals, grains, seeds as safe and nutritious is overwhelming. We live in a much different world now with GMO, pesticides, herbicides, pollution, transportation, etc all affecting the foods we eat. In addition, to be more accurate, failing to mention any of these influences is far from being a good judge of foods like animal, seafood, and plants.

  23. Dr Cordain may be a PHD but aa terrible anthroplogist! Sorry so much mis-information assembled to demonstrate a false premise. Its bad science and its bad history. Nice to read comments from India and other continents where a diet is adaptive to conditions of climate, industry, etc. To be accurate, a Paleo diet would be based on actual knowledge. Also, climate has changed drastically over the past 10,000 years. There have been several mini ice-ages and droughts, people have migrated thousands of miles. In fact, every 20,000 years the earth rotates away from the sun and covers itself with ice and snow. These are climatological facts, and people needed to survive the best way the could. Sub-saharan peoples would have a different diet than the people in China. This Paleo diet makes a mockery of true science and health.

  24. Forgot DR JOSEPH WALLACH IS A BIG PROPONENT OF MILLET FOR SUBSTITUTE FOR WHEAT!!! If he says it ok for sure it is!! HE’s done thousands of AUTOPSIES…!!! HE KNOWS!!!!

  25. I know I am coming into this 2 years late to comment on this terrible article. But I must say, “What a terrible article, seriously!”. Embarrassing to say the least. There are so many real, actual historic societies alive and well today living on millet based diets; as opposed to your neo pseudo paleo philosophy. Get out there and learn the world “doctor”. Glad to see a lot of common sense posters in the comment. There is hope after all 🙂

  26. The author failed to mention that millet may be really good for people with hyperthyroid condition, which is common in older women, precisely because it tends to suppress thyroid hormones production and iodine metabolism. Eating millet is safer than taking anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine.

  27. “Excellent Nutritional Value”- So says Dr. Edward Group of Global Healing Center about millet.
    “As with many ancient grains (like quinoa, spelt, and amaranth), millet ranks very high as a source of nutrients. It’s loaded with folate and choline and provides important minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Serving for serving, millet offers more dietary fiber and antioxidants than most other grains…”
    Read his full article on millet –

  28. The greatest proplem in this article is that it generalises millets as one, while as far as I was able to find out (from actual scientific studies) there are goitrogens only in pearl millet. Yes it is recommend not to be used in iodine poor areas. Yet this does not include other millets, which are different plant species – some of them even from different plant families – allthogether.

    So for examble proso millet – the millet usually sold in Europe – is as fine for iodine as any other grain. And the proso milet is closest relative of pearl millet among millets. Maybe pearl millet is common in US though, but in internet you’re writing for everybody.

    And you can palance the gotrogen effect by eating iodine rich food like seaweed, so it is not a terrible thing either.

    Should be more careful whit facts when you write about something you really don’t know anything about – as this article clearly shows.

  29. According to the Eat Right for your type -( Blood group diet), my B Blood Group says I am an ancient Nomad and Nomads flourished in those areas of India where the millet thrives. It is probably why I do so well on millet, I am unable to have Gluten and since I have been including millet as a staple I feel great, my health is now good, no more bowel problems, and now I have no health issues.

  30. Terrific. I don;t like using coconut or almond flour. What can I bake with besides those choices? Someone guide me. I love the paleo diet, but this is starting to get ridicules.

    • Time to get off the paleo diet. There are a lot of great choices. Buckwheat, chickpea, hemp, rye, oat and teff flour are all great gluten free alternatives

      • Absolutely agree, Jason! what everyone seems to ignore is that in the paleolithic era we went from ‘homo erectus’ to ‘homo habilus’. We are now Homo Sapien, so saying we should eat like these ancient ancestors is ridiculous, as we are not those ‘people’ anymore. We need movement as well as a variety of foods, including starches from whole grains to function. And by the way, we humans have been consuming grains for thousands of years without problems; the grains aren’t the issue – the condition of our guts is. Since we stopped consuming unpasteurized fermented foods regularly, began using antibiotics, and increased consumption of simple sugar, we’ve increased leaky gut problems, which are the basis for thyroid (and other autoimmune conditions). I believe paleo, especially with the general lack of activity in our society right now, is dangerous! I’ve lost 2 nutrition clients to a paleo diet, and one of them died of a massive heart attack within 3 months (he had previously had a quadruple bypass – I strongly cautioned him against going paleo, and he and his wife basically fired me as their nutritional advisor). People need to quit following fads and just eat real food!

  31. Traditionally, in India, Millets and pulses are soaked, the water removed and then used. For eg. Rice and Urud Dhal, a pulse, are soaked together during day, the water removed, they are ground together with sufficient fresh water and the paste of this mix is left overnight to ferment and this mix is used to make idlis or dosas. Similarly millet dosas – soak the ground millet (ragi, kambu etc) with wheat if required, let it ferment overnight, and make dosas in the morning. When people used to have these for breakfast, they were healthy and strong without diseases. My grandmother lived till 95 without any problem. She ate these+everything except processed food, all in moderation, good vegetables, fruits, fish, eggs, meat. My dad is currently 86 and fit without any disease.

    Its silly to talk about paleolithic food and assume this and that. However, we in India have had highly evolved scientific texts and scientific knowledge passed on by a highly evolved oral tradition for atleast 12,000 years of our history. Every plant was researched and its use for food and medicine elaborated through verses. In a simple way, all seasonal food was consumed and a wide variety of grains and pulses cultivated and consumed in certain ways as mentioned above. Nothing was done without an understanding.

    However, after the British dedicatedly destroyed all the systems, we have started imitating the west and the consequences are seen. India has earned the dubious distinction of becoming the world’s capital of coronary heart disease and diabetes. Now, every now and then a scientific research is published, with the narrowest of parameters, without understanding the wholeness of life and solely for the profit of some company and that is regarded as absolute truth and people are becoming sicker by the day to support the health care industry.

    Eat organic natural food, with lots of vegetables, have an egg a day, have some meat during weekends if you wish and most importantly chew the food well before sending it down your throat, and stay healthy and fit with lots of energy.

    • Well said. People in India have been eating millets for ages and have been healthy. Millets are one of nature’s wonderful gift to us. Please ignore this article which lacks truth and written for the benefit of the big companies .

  32. The incidence of goiter is recent phenomenon(last 50 – 70 years) in these regions introduced my modern agriculture (chemical pesticides, and fertilizer and hybrid varieties). If this kind drastic negative impact was there on those communities consuming millets they would have been wiped out of the face of the earth long back without trace.

    native varieties of Millets consumed over centuries in Indian sub continent had no ill effect on people.
    The Millets and cereals were genetically tinkered with by ICRISAT research institute which has created hybrid strains that give high yields and contain many harmful compounds. many of the IRCIST Jowar and millet varieties are so bad that cattle avoid eating th grass and stem of these varieties which indicates they are not edible.

    cotton plant(BT cotton) is made to produce life harming chemical to ward off pest attack is proof that modern agriculture can poison our food.
    Dear professor spend your time on finding how to prevent poisoning of food chain by your scientific community
    Some genetic changes take generations to show their bad effect . making irresponsible changes to grain breeds to find a quick fix to food shortage (which is mostly due to greed of business community) is most bad thing that agricutural scientists have done to the world.

    to stay safe avoid hybrid varieties and opt for native varieties which organically grown.
    native varieties are gods creations and some irresponsible crook who made money by doing ons sided research and tinkers with statistics

  33. What a lot of nonsense. The best advice is to eat a little of a wide rang of foods which Nature has provided. Vegetarians like me include these grains within their healthy diet which eschews meat and fish and therefore does not contribute to animal cruelty.

    • It’s a lot better to have a few antinutrients, which obviously are not really wreaking havoc, than to continue the obscenity of animal abuse. Mix your diet up, ferment and soak your grains perhaps, and don’t get paranoid.
      Our bodies will do great with good organic veggies, fruits, grains, and God/dess’s goodness. 🙂

  34. This is a terrible article. So much meat and dairy funding aimed at conditioning and brainwashing impressionable readers– very irresponsible I might add, coming from someone with a wide readership and supposed qualifications in conventional nutrition studies. The diet the human body was designed to consume is a starch-based high fiber low fat diet, free from animal fats and proteins which are the cause of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and the majority of all other diseases and adverse conditions in the human body. Once people make the connection between the basic mind-body physiology and realise that we as humans thrive on plant carbs, superior health becomes a downhill journey. Thankfully the plant-based movement is expanding so rapidly as more and more people from every corner of the globe switch on and take control of their own health, tuning out all external propaganda nonsense/misinformation such as this. It is laughable that the only rationale these paleo “experts” (self-professed) “scientists” etc have for promoting such an unhealthy, disease-causing lifestyle is that “it’s only in the last 10,000 years that our ancestors have incorporated grains into the diet!” Well actually, if you update your resources and do a little research, you’ll discover that archaeologists confirm the reliance of the human diet on cereal grains and starchy root vegetables over 100,000 years ago, the time of early Homo sapiens. There’s no need for me to post a link or a source here, if you have an internet connection granting you the possibility to read this comment then you have the possibility to do a little research yourself to uncover this truth. It’s most amusing because it discounts the entire premise of the supposed rationality of a ‘paleo’ diet– a paleolithic diet which actually relied heavily on grains and starches! Who would have thought, given the misinformation spewing from this article. Whole grains, especially millet, contain a multitude of health benefits forming the building blocks for excellent health, well being, mental, psychological and hormonal health, and appearance/beauty– including a range of B vitamins, exceptional fiber for cleansing (starch-based diet is synonymous with a fiber-packed diet, thus warding off every kind of disease and keeping the colon clean), magnesium, iron and countless other essential nutrients to build a strong, lean, healthy and beautiful body. It has been demonstrated by science that vegans have a more pleasant body odor, breath and pass much less offensive gas than meat eaters, who have dead decomposing animal flesh clogging their intestines and causing constipation- not attractive at all! Furthermore, there is no “everybody’s body is different” or “what works for you may not work for me” nonsense. This is pure nonsense. We are one species with a species-specific diet which is a low fat, high carb plant-based starch-based lifestyle. Traditional communities who haven’t been tainted by diet propaganda and meat-funded misinformation are in the most excellent health out of all populations, live the longest and experience the least instance of diseases in their populations– rural Chinese communities, Japanese Island communities, Indian communities and so on, who all consume starch based diets and maintain lean and healthy bodies with all mental faculties intact into old age. Do research Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, a 101 year old retired cardiac surgeon who has followed and promoted a vegan diet for 50 years of his life. He is in excellent form, has no joint issues, still drives and exercises and employs excellent mental faculties. You can watch his interviews online. Please, take a look in nature. All species follow a species-specific diet. Some gorillas aren’t carnivores while others vegans. They share much of our genetic composition and consume a plant based diet (excluding small insects which can comprise an insignificant percentage of food consumption). The phytonutrients and phytochemicals many Paleo promoters seem to have a problem with are actually the very plant nutrients which serve to fight off and prevent disease in the human body. Also research Dr. Fuhrman, he is a good resource for more info on this.

    Please, a little common sense can go a long way. This article seems to be lacking even a grain of sense, pun intended.

    • Oh I so agree with this correspondent Well done, you. I am a vegetarian verging on vegan and am in wonderful health looking years younger than my chronological age. I know, instinctively, that living on plant based foods is the right way of living. I hope the time ill come when the human race will realise that the slaughter of animals and consumption of dead meat is barbaric and the creation of dis-ease.

    • Yes, I totally and wholeheartedly agree here: Humans are meant to consume plants, mostly fruit, as their diet. I am a living example of this truth: 64 years, never a fiber of meat in my diet, only mostly fruit, and vegetables. I love to eat raw: apples, bananas, lots of nuts and also dried fruit. I never eat anything processed, only what I prepare myself from produce that is whole and unadulterated. The consequence of this lifestyle, starting right after being weaned from breast feeding, is that I have never had a doctor, never am sick, look much younger than my years would indicate, and have energy to give away. I am literally brimming with health and energy. Actually, I do not care much for all those so-called scientific studies, because all they do is take one very minor aspect out of the entire spectrum of wholesome nutrients, and then over-study it on animals. How is that supposed to yield intelligent data? Food absorption is a synergistic type of process, and it is useless to pick out one tiny thing and make sweeping deductions from those so-called scientific findings. There should be NO food “industry”, especially not one who relies on genetic tinkering. I want my fruit and veggies the way they have been growing for eons. So what if they don’t look like painted pictures, like clones? On a natural apple tree, there will be fat apples and tiny ones, all are good! Live long and prosper with fruit and vegetables. Respect the animals, do not enslave and exploit them. Aren’t we supposed to be the stewards of this planet? I think that does not mean ‘exploit and slaughter’ anything we can lay our hands on. We have lost the true meaning of ‘the respect for life’. So very sad!

    • Aisha, thank you for the comment. The idea of not having a healthy grain-vegetable (roots, cruciferous vegatables, leafy greens) diet is not based on centuries-old wisdom. A wide variety of whole foods prepared at home is the way to go.

    • Oh thNk you so much I am vegan also and reading this article was making me feel sort of uneasy and insecure but you slapped me back into reality helping me to snap out of feeding into this rubbing thank you!

    • Aisha, you must lead a very sorry excuse of a life if you find the need to write a long tirade of garbage, pushing your diet, and arguing with a men that is a doctor, on a website that promotes everything you disagree with. Unlike you Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus has actually provided links to resources to back up his claims you have not.

      Is this how you, and those other pathetic vegans and vegetarians, spend your day? Going to websites to reaffirm your naive beliefs?

      Dr. Ellsworth Wareham not someone I can take seriously. He is a member of a cult that is pushing their own way of life based on religious garbage of Adventist Church. Their church and Loma Linda have been paddling that garbage and the end of times to unsuspecting uneducated people. They don’t start their studies on trying to find truth. They base their studies on trying to reach results that will back up claims of their church. That is not science. He can live for another 100, but if it doesn’t work for others then he doesn’t know what he is talking about. There is plenty of research to prove your views wrong.

      And Dr. Fuhrman is a promoter of alternative medicine and that’s how he makes his money. By promoting garbage that is not backed by science.

      These two people are no different from that quack Dr. Oz.

      • Vegans are more ethical than meat, dairy, and egg eaters. This a fact. You can’t propose a reasonable argument that say otherwise. Go ahead and try but you will fail.

      • Great appeal to authority there. Appealing to authority is basically a logical fallicy employed by people who are usually too dumb to make decisions on their own. Just because someone is a doctor does not mean they know what they are talking about. Especially on the internet. I am a doctor (actually PhD) and most of my collegues have no clue about anything. To be fair I am specialized in statistics (psychological department at a renown institute) and most of my collegues do not have the training I have and they make mistakes so often claiming they “found” something in their data while it is just type I or type II statistical error. That does not even count the bias, cheating, harking, incentivising being an idiot, coorporate structure, outright lying, logical fallities, unknowns, error, measurement error and laboratory restriction that may apply in any case of “research”. Three of my collegues were fired for fraudulent data, i.e.: “producing the desired outcome” for their study by editing the data, ommiting cases. They were also doctors. It is also fairly common at universities, but you never hear about it in media. Maybe if there is a reaaaaaaaaaaly gigantic fuck up but even then you probably (99%) won’t hear about it. Fraud is a big problem in “science”. One of the biggest, because people with intellect tend to have large egos. Being a doctor does not mean shit, just like being a 9/5 factory worker does not mean you are stupid. That being said: the paleo diet is nutrition for retards just read pubmed studies or studies like the EPIC-PANCEA study on nutrition with 100.000 participants and see the results they had. Literally all of them (I have read about 150) have the same results, that is plant based bias = win, meat based diet = cancer. So do not fall into the trap that you accuse others of because meat causing cancer is an undeniable fact accumulated over 65 years of research coming from research into nutrition, disease prevelance research, hazard ratio research, biochemical research, etiological research, physiological research and much more that I probably did not mention. All of these different research area have the result that plants are healthy and meats cause cancer. Without exception. Just google scholar and access the published scientific data (e.g.: pubmed) and read it for yourself. You can of course live in a delusion and pretend eating meat is healthy, but it is not. It is barbaric torture of innocent living sentient beings that are exclusively born to die so you can eat them. They feel joy like you and they feel pain like you, but an animal raised to die almost exclusively feels pain. Also common sense dictates that you do not suck on your mom tits when you are older then two. Guess what cows milk is? It is mothers milk. So when you drink milk as an adult you are literally sucking at a mom’s tits, but these tits belong to mother that is not even from your species and furthermore her kid gets immediately taken away from her so she can get impragnated again so she continues to give milk that you can drink. Her child is then murdered immediately for veal or raised to be murdered. In the meantime the mother will get impregnated again and again and again only to have her children taken from her asap, until she is no longer fit to give milk and murdered so you can eat her. If you think that this can even remotely produce “healthy” “happy” food you are not even in the close vincinty of reality. But luckily we do not need to argue that point because it is mute because milk and meat are loaded with carcinogenic substances like methiodine and so forth that will make you sick and give you cancer ultimately. In meat eating there is no winner only sickness in death. I hihgly encourage you to read studies on pubmed to view the scientific data yourself before you listen to 100% retards like these guys on these forums who literally advise you to kill yourself softly (over 30-40 years, because it takes time to develop chronic metabolic degenerative diseases). If you wonder why I know so much about nutrition even though I obtained my degree in psychology. It is because I research methods to treat depression with dietary adjustment and grain (like wheat etc. have actually been shown to cut of blood flow to the brain, but that is mainly attributed to wheat and not millet). That being said I am actually not sure about millet either which is why I read this peace (to get to the scientific references to start a review of the literature for my website). I recommend fruits and vegetables. Anything that contains seeds of the plant, but not the actual seeds. E.g.. no almonds, because one should only consume the seeds that are in the fruit itself. I.e.: one should not buy and eat apple seeds, if one craves apple seeds for whatever reason, one should only consume the seeds that are contained in the whole fruit. Not a bunch of seeds without the fruit.

    • I love my veggies and yet force myself to eat some animal stuff.

      Why? Because every time I went vegan, my teeth developed tooth decay!
      There is also a vegan of 20 years who has published a book about the degenerative changes in her spine from being 100% vegan all the time. She only found out after she had a scan to find out what the issue was… why she was getting back pain.

  35. What this expert and other experts fail to realize is that there are two sides to thyroid deficiency. It’s annoying that they focus on the one that makes the most money and appeals to most Americans, the side that is associated with weight gain, hypothyroidism. For those suffering from an overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism there is very little credible information out there. So called experts like this should address all the audience and I believe they are causing people harm by there one sided mis information. For people suffering with an over active thyroid millet is actually a very viable diet option to help alleviate the effects of hyperthyroidism. It may not be the best option health wise but it serves it purpose is giving a bit of relief to those suffering.

  36. Through the entire article I kept thinking to myself that this person is a very poor dietician. Every single last food on the planet has its positives and negatives. In the end, our food, our diet, will kill us, “naturally”. There is no perfect diet. The best diets are the ones which offer a wide variety of foods, and our diets should change frequently throughout our lifetime. Diets should vary according to age, sex, nationality, locality, even genetics, and of course, environment.
    The concept of “anti-nutrients” is rather silly. All nutrients have a level of toxicity. It is very easy to take too little or too many nutrients, and the amount we need changes by the moment, and varies depending on other nutrients that we ingest. At times, the best diet can be fasting. The “Paleo-diet” is rather interesting, it is based upon the imagination and was followed by humans for the first time in history when it was recently first introduced to the world. Based upon the above facts, it is sure not to be a good thing, except perhaps for a small group of people, over a short period of time, under specific circumstances — as is the case with most diets.
    Millet, and other grains, have saved millions of peoples lives, and greatly boosted their health and way of life since the beginning. That is a fact. It would be best to figure out ways of working with such nutritious plants. Perhaps they could be processed better and combined with other ingredients to naturally and/or artificially augment its positive attributes. Unfortunately we do not know what we are doing yet, and perfect diets are far beyond our current capabilities, but to experiment is to learn.

  37. If u abuse those millets and not eat but millets you are going to get screwed. If you eat only chicken you are going to get screwed, if you eat only cucumbers you are going bye bye. Mix your daily food with a variety of grains and vegetables , every grain from this earth is beneficial and the abuse of it will lead to vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. I’am a vegan and I don’t mind people eating meat every once in a while it’s not gonna kill you or mess with your health, just the idea of killing innocent beings for taste, pleasure and misguidance towards protein and calcium through those innocent bodies. Got blood results today, protein, calcium and B12 are higher than average and i haven’t consumed meat or dairy for 2 years. Just mix your food and stop eating meat and dairy for pleasure purposes. Idiots.

  38. Re thyroid problems. Some people are just more prone to them. You can avoid all the well known goiter producing foods and still have issues if your intake of Iodine and tyrosine (found in protein) is inadequate for your particular constitution. About eggs and other animal foods, if the animal’s feed didn’t contain enough iodine it won’t be in the food you eat. It’s that simple. Take an Iodine supplement. There are a few different kinds.

  39. Some of the claims in this articles are not true. May be author has a vested interest in food Industry and have an incentive to work against millets.
    FYI, entire south India used to be on millet diet for several centuries (only few decades back rice has become popular). South India has a population of 400 million (yes more than US population) and rarely see any of the side effects this author suggests

  40. this website is culprit not millets. these informations are fake and very very wrong, don’t go with this diet. search about nammalvar organic scientist and indian millets. easy way to cure diabetes, hypothyroidism and many diseases with using millets

  41. Dr. CORDAIN, you rebuked Millet and other grains because of their antinutrients but in the Paleo diet you advocate eating nuts, which also have a high amount of antinutrients. Please explain?

  42. Dr. Cordain, I was naturally concerned about the advice you provide about Millet and other grains. Virtually all grain, nuts and beans contain antinutrients and that is why you have to soak them overnight first. This takes out the antinutrients and also releases the good nutrients (making it more readily absorbed by the body). Grains, nuts and beans are very healthy. Everyone in Russian and China eat millet regularly and they don’t seem to suffer from GOITER. Several comments have asked you about this and I didn’t see your reply. I am very interested to know your reply to this? Many thanks, Fash.

    • Hi, Fash, I have eaten nuts by the handful all my life, never soaked a single one of them. I just chew them very long times before I swallow them. The saliva does the job of preparing the foods for further break down in the stomach and intestines. I cannot imagine our primitive ancestors picking nuts from bushes in the wilderness and soaking them for a day or so before eating them. The natural way is: from the shrub into the mouth! That has worked for me all my life, and I am 100 % healthy. Quod erat demonstrandum, lol!

      • Sorry Monaya … but just asking, what is your age ? how old are you ? You have been saying “for whole of my life” means how many years ?

  43. Interesting post! I’ve experimenting vegan diet for 16 months. I eat quinoa, buckwheat, and very rarely millet. I have recovered from most of chronic diseases including Hay Fever I suffered from for many years. All I could say is that not one food is contributing to nutrient deficiencies in our bodies. It is either over-consumption of one food or not consuming enough nutrient-dense food such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Good article anyway!

  44. As I eat my oatmeal with sprinkles of millet in it, I cant help but be confused by this. Iodine deficiency seems rare being as though most people don’t just consume millet and millet only. Iron, B-6, Magnesium, protein, fiber are to be expected… Calcium is not something one looks for when consuming millet. You say to “beware” and “inflammation”. Consuming meat is the leading cause of inflammation and acidity in the human body. Shouldn’t you be telling your readers to beware of cooking bacon in butter as that is okay on a paleo diet. Some people are unaware because they are lead to believe that as long as they run away from the bad grains, that require an entire article, they are not being cautioned on their excessive protein and fat consumption.

  45. Dear Dr. Cordain,

    Millets are being consumed in the Indian subcontinent for over 4000 years. Many civilisations and kingdoms sustained thanks to Millets. Vegetarian body builders in India consume millets for their micronutients content – iron calcium, magnesium etc. Please verify your research before commenting on millets.

    • Abhishek,

      Millet might have been consumed in various civilizations for the last 4000 years or greater, but large-scale cultivation of millet and all other grains is a product of the recent neolithic revolution (last 10,000 years). Humans evolution spans much longer than the time frame for recent neolithic or agricultural revolution. Prior to agriculture, all human beings on the planet existed as hunter-gatherers, and did not eat large quantities of any grains including millet. Additionally, one can easily obtain all of the necessary nutrients for the human body in the absence of grain consumption.

      • Not to derail the topic, but I think a large portion of the resistance to the idea of grain and cereal grains (not saying you Abishek)is the lack of consideration towards the incredible length of time the human digestive tract has been evolving. 10,000 years may be more than just a drop in the bucket, but it isn’t much more!

          • If we had not evolved to handle a grain diet, we would all be dead a long time ago. A grain diet does not mean you eat 100% grain. No society anywhere has ever done this. All people everywhere also included animal products to a greater or lesser degree and all kinds of plant foods as well. They figured out cooking and food preparation techniques to maximize nutrients. It may have taken several generations, but they did figure it out.

            I don’t think that it is even an issue of grain based VS meat based. It’s an issue of getting all the minerals you need. Prior to science figuring this out, and defining what minerals are needed, it was only by happenstance that some populations got enough of the socalled minor minerals – which are actually major in their effects on health. For example, Se and Iodine, just for starters. These are not distributed equally around the world.

            Also, the consumption of grain produced a larger brain and all that goes along with that – good and bad. Eat paleo style long enough and your descendants will eventually go back to the entire lifestyle. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that; just saying.

      • before to grain cultivation, people were living by hunting. accepted. but did you really know that those people were living for 50 yrs or 60 yrs or 70 yrs or 80 yrs or 90 yrs or 100 yrs without any disease. no evidence indicates that their survival was healthy. can i get an explanation.
        why to consider millet grain consumption is wrong.
        atleast there is clear evidence that people who ate millets were healthy and fit and fine without the disease goitre. please explain

    • Yes, millet, if consumed as part of a balanced diet of meat, fish, veges, pulses etc etc, is ok. Professionals who go on a witch hunt for certain food groups,do so to protect their own professional prowess and reputaion as ‘experts’ in their field. We all have intelligent minds and experience in life which we can draw from to make decisions about diet. We don’t need to be ‘babied’ by professed professionals.

  46. This is a great input. Thanks.
    If I am not mistake, 500 years ago and before, most of human’s life expectance is below 45 years old, and girls are mated below age of 14. Most of the time, they are in a very different condition than we do.
    Except a few rich and powerful, most of them are in surviving state, food for existing and calories for hard labor.
    50 or so years ago, Chinese common greetings, one of them is “Have you eaten yet?”.
    Chinese with their 3000 years of herbal medicine, never found iodine. It has it own strength and short fall. But we tend to think in “good” or “bad”. We should consider that every is good and bad.
    We need people to research more, but, please, always remember that we do no know it all.
    Keep up the good work. Thanks.

    • Ask per medical texts of India, China and Arabrian texts as well, the life expectancy 5000 years ago, say in Ayurvedic texts of Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita was 100 years. This conflicts with common and “new” science of today, yet that continues to change, constantly and consistently.

      When the article above states about vegetarian diet and its downfalls yet cultures have been eating vegetarian for centuries….. when it states about millet yet you can find opposing research to that which is being used here…. ?????

      • In ancient texts, where they refer to life span (such as in the Old Testament, see Methuselah) they are not using our modern time counting. The translation may quote it as being years (which we believe to be 12 months), but more likely, the count is in “moons”, new moon to full moon. In other words, they counted in Months.
        So, if Methuselah died at the age of 969, if you look at this as “moons”, he died at the age of just under 81 years.
        Makes sense to me, and it was certainly a blessed age, considering that the life span of modern man, even in advanced societies today, lies about 10 years below that.

  47. Millet has been eaten in Africa since the time of our ancestors. It is not the cause of goiter or thyroid issues. Millet is fermented in Africa before it’s eaten. If your thyroid is functioning normally, these foods (including millet) will not cause harm. You would have to eat an incredible amount of millet to result in goiter unless you have a pre-existing condition.

    Anti-nutrients are a part of nature so like our ancestors, we should take care to sprout, ferment or soak to release micro-nutrients in our food.

  48. Very controversial article in the world of nutrition. But well written. May I ask what is the source of fiber in the world of Paleo nutrition? Does it receive any importance, and do you think its’ a worthy component of what we eat regularly?

  49. Pingback: 3 Millets – Jowar, Bajra And Ragi (gluten intolerance people, here ya go!!! Its the newest superfood!!!) | trueayurveda

  50. Dr. Cordain,
    Thanks for the informative research, but what is known about consumption of millet and it’s affect on uptake of vitamins and minerals AF ter it has been soaked, soured, or fermented? Would appreciate your thoughts or research on this.
    Michelle Tebbe

  51. Aren’t polyphenols and flavonoids also powerful antioxidants? The problematic ones listed in the article, do they also exhibit beneficial activity in the human body?

    Also, does this mean that the same flavonoids found in other plant foods exhibit similar anti-iodine activity? And what about other commonly found flavonoids in fruits and vegetables? Are any of them also harmful? Thanks!

  52. Pingback: A Simple Guide To Paleo Friendly Protein Powders | Eat Drink Paleo

  53. Pingback: The List Of Whole Grain Foods Part One

  54. Thank you for the interesting read. I’ll file this under “good to know,” although I don’t see too much millet making its way onto our table, or in my meals. I do, however, get some grains in my diet, but usually in the way of oats or rice if I do.

  55. I just heard about this millet plants, because the park is not in asia, musty this plant can grow in asia? I really want to cultivate them because so many benefits contained in millet.

  56. Interesting article, however, I must disagree on a few points. Firstly, iodine deficiency is more common in developing countries and can be easily be balanced by eating sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, seaweed…etc. Secondly, goitrogenic foods (note it does not mean these foods CAUSE goiters) is primarily found in nutrient dense foods of the cruciferous family (ie. kale, broccoli, cabbage).

    If your thyroid is functioning normally, these foods (including millet) will not cause harm. In fact, a limited diet will deplete you of micro-nutrients and will likely cause more harm. Thirdly, millet has been eaten in China (yes since the Neolithic times) but has been used as a hormone balancer. You would have to eat an obscene amount of millet (and / or kale for that matter) to giver yourself a goiter unless you have a pre-existing condition. Chances are if you eat out you’re eating iodized (and processed) salt so don’t think this is a problem.

    Thirdly, spinach, kale and nuts in particular contain anti-nutrients. This is why it’s good to cook foods and soak nuts if possible. It doesn’t make sense to pick on millet as the only culprit. Anti-nutrients are a part of nature so like our ancestors, we should take care to sprout, ferment or soak to release micro-nutrients in our food.

    I agree that millet should never be the only grain eaten (ie. mono-diets) but the same goes for eating kale or lamb everyday. Variety or a rotational diet is important to ensure a healthy diet. So, please don’t be scared of millet (esp if you’re gluten intolerant!). It can be a good part of a healthy diet but like any other foodstuff…It has to be in moderation. Who eats bowls and bowls of millet anyway?

    • Great comment. Also a single egg has 44 micrograms of Iodine (the RDA for adult men and women is 150 micrograms) due to Iodine supplementation in hen feed. Virtually no adults in Western nations who get sufficient calories and any semblance of a balanced diet have goiter. And even in these African and Asian nations where millet is consumed in abundance and goiter is an issue, goiter may actually be caused by lack of Selenium in depleted soils rather than Iodine deficiency, since Selenium works in conjunction with Iodine to produce goiter.

      Perhaps people with thyroid disorders should avoid *uncooked* millet. But cooking or soaking grains destroys anti-nutrients like phytates and goitrogens. In addition, these foods which contain such things also contain many health-promoting compounds such as flavonoids and fiber. There is no reason for a general recommendation to avoid millet, or grains in general for that matter, for the general public. Individuals with specific health conditions may find a grain-free diet beneficial though.

      • A single egg also has an excessive amount of cholesterol. Also to get the good stuff from the egg because of what the chicken ate sounds a bit confusing to me. If the feed wasn’t supplemented than you wouldn’t have the iodine in the egg? Is that what you mean? Thanks

        • I raise chickens and give them a supplement (specifically for hens) that contains Iodine. And,yes, you are right – if the mineral is not in the feed, it’s not in the egg. Period.

  57. Pingback: Short Note on Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet, and Chia | Musings from the Chiefio

  58. From my research, it appears that since pearl millet is the most widely eaten of the millets, followed by fonio millet, that only these have been assessed. The causative components resulting in goitre are apigenin and luteolin, both of which can interfere with thyroid function. Fonio millet also contain these, but no other millets have been assessed for the presence of these substances.

    Millet is a group of 500 grains. Many of them from different families. So far, Setaria italic, Foxtail Millet, Eleusine coracana, Finger Millet, and Panicum miliaeum, Proso Millet have not been tested for apigenin and luteolin.

    So, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  59. Thanks for this information.
    Over six months ago i begun a gluten free diet which helped with my constipation issues and yes went on a corn,rice,sorghum,millet subtitute diet. As long as i stay away from gluten am fine, but i have realized that my bones feel weak; if i lean my hands on my desk while i work after a few minutes and my elbows pain, could this be the effect of a low fiber diet?

    • Hi Jacque, bones feeling weak can due to a number of causes including deficient vitamins or minerals or even food sensitivity. Perhaps trying one grain at a time (whole grains and soaked) and waiting a couple of days to see if there are any effects will help you determine if any of the food is a culprit. Also make sure you get your Vit Bs and Vit D (important for bone health). If you’re eating lots of veggies and different grains, you’re probably getting enough fiber and this shouldn’t lead to joint pain. Make sure you’re getting enough essential fatty acids (omega 3 in particular) from flaxseed oil or cold water fish. This will decrease inflammation. Good luck!

  60. Pingback: Millet Sports Collect In Store | Click and Collect

  61. Great article. It makes me wonder what the iodine requirement is for people who don’t eat grains. Not all paleohumans lived near the sea – did they get or need the current RDA’s worth of iodine??? I also ask because Potassium Iodide (the form in which iodine is added to table salt and supplements) causes me ioderma (pustules over half my skin) when I ingest KI. So I avoid KI additives & supplements. I do get some iodine from seafood that doesn’t seem to bother me (in a different form? NaI?) but have no clue how much.

    • @deirdra. Hi. I have heard that people who get bad reactions from Potassium Iodide do better on Ammonium Iodide/Iodine (a combo in liquid form). Ammonium has nothing to do with ammonia, so don’t let the sound of the word scare you. Also, there is a supplement called Magnascent. FWIW. Worth a try. I suspect most of us who aren’t eating seaweed every day may be deficient.

  62. Pingback: Millet: A Gluten-Free Grain You Should Avoid | Health Fitness Daily

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