I have been reading the book Wheat Belly over the last couple of weeks following my cleanse that included eliminating wheat for 1 month. I noticed during my cleanse that I had steadily lost about 1 lb per week, and when I reintegrated the wheat for just a few days, all 4 lbs came right back. I also noticed that my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms seemed worse on reintegration of the wheat.
So – I ordered Wheat Belly and decided to give it a good read. The book definitely has an overarching “wheat is evil” theme to it, but it also had a lot of research cited to back up the claims. Enough that I have decided to try to stay away from wheat as much as possible. Here are the 5 main lessons I gleaned.
1. Wheat as we know it today has undergone so much genetic modification that it probably shouldn’t even be called wheat. Even organic wheat is most likely not grown from the “original” wheat of centuries passed.
2. Today’s modern day wheat has tremendous health implications for our entire population, with links to obesity, digestive illnesses, diabetes, heart disease, and even mental illness. It was hard for me to believe this was true. But Dr. Davis’ arguments are logical and based on evidence.
3. Wheat is actually addictive. All my life I have half-joked about being a carb addict. I almost always choose carbs over something else. And now I understand that it is a real addiction. Wheat actually has addictive properties that makes you want to eat more wheat. No wonder I have a hard time kicking the carb habit!
4. The idea of “healthy whole grain” wheat has been propagated in our society so much that we accept it as truth. We’ve been told to eat health whole grain wheat, and to eat it in extraordinary amounts. This actually may not be as “healthy” as we have been led to believe, considering that 2 slices of whole wheat bread spikes your blood sugar levels more than if you ate 2 spoonfuls of sugar. Seriously??? How is that healthy for a diabetic?
(side note: I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, and met with a dietician every 2 weeks to discuss my food journal. I cut down on carbs to try to manage my blood sugar, and it worked. I was able to control it with diet alone, no insulin shots. The dietician, however, frequently scolded me that I wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates like bread, crackers, i.e. wheat products, and even went so far as to say I was starving my baby.
My baby came out perfectly healthy.
Clearly a lower-carb diet didn’t harm her, or me.
So have the American and Canadian standards for food guides and diabetes diet recommendations brainwashed us all into thinking we need to eat a ton of wheat in order to be healthy??)
5. “Gluten-Free” is not exactly what it’s cut out to be. I definitely fell prey to the idea that if I was going to eliminate wheat, I would simply replace it with a gluten-free alternative. Dr. Davis talks about the danger in doing this – replacing a high glycemic index carbohydrate with another wheat-free one is not healthy either. Because many products labelled “gluten-free” often are full of starches (like corn starch, tapioca starch, potato starch) – consuming them in great amounts will not get rid of your wheat belly, and will contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, just like wheat will. So if you’re staying away from wheat, as I am, don’t just buy something because it says gluten-free. Consider the ingredients.
So there you have it. Giving up wheat is not easy. It’s everywhere and as Dr. Davis says, it’s in almost every single aisle of a supermarket. However, I think that the benefits for your health definitely outweigh the inconveniences. So I am doing my best. And so far I have definitely noticed that I am not as compulsive a snacker as I used to be. I think the addictive effects of wheat had a pretty good hold on me and I’m feeling way better without it.
Have you considered giving up wheat?
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