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is wheat making you fat?

by caroline

Today’s post comes from Susan Emmer, a guest blogger over at Healthy Bitch Daily. Listen up as Susan talks about Dr. William Davis’ book, Wheat Belly, and discusses the ins and outs of wheat-free diets.

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Wheat Belly

 

You’re might be craving fill-me-up foods like a steaming bowl of oatmeal or a slice of calories-be-damned pumpkin bread. But before you get too cozy with your comfort foods, you may want to read Dr. William Davis’ controversial new book, “Wheat Belly.”

The Wheat-Weight Connection

According to Doc Davis, wheat is making us fat. The Milwaukee cardiologist claims that wheat is quickly metabolized, causing a massive spike in blood sugar, rapidly followed by a crash. In fact, Davis says that “two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar.” As our blood sugar plummets, we crave more carbs, creating a vicious cycle that lasts throughout the day. This insatiable hunger leads to eating more and packing on the pounds. Yuck.

If being on a sugar roller coaster wasn’t bad enough, wheat contains a unique protein called wheat gliadin, which acts as an appetite stimulant.

Frankengrains

The wheat we’re eating today is not what our grandmothers harvested from the golden fields of their youth. Agricultural geneticists are busy creating new species of wheat plants that are resistant to fungi (using gamma radiation and hybridization )with some poisonous sodium azide thrown in for good measure. They say these “traditional breeding techniques” are safe, but we’re not entirely convinced.

Who to Believe?

While Davis says that wheat is our mortal enemy, studies from Harvard’s School of Public Health have shown a connection between eating whole grains and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer. And other credible studies suggest that including whole grains could help reduce belly fat.

Confused yet? Hold that thought.

What’s Up Doc?

Davis counters that most of the research showing the benefits of whole grains was based on switching from white flour to whole grain flour. Well, duh. Of course whole wheat is better than white, and whole grains are better than refined carbs, but that doesn’t mean that you should inhale eight pieces of cinnamon toast for breakfast just because it’s whole wheat bread. You follow? Davis brings up the analogy of filtered cigarettes: even though they’re not as bad for you as regular smokes, it doesn’t mean you should pick up a filthy, gross habit. Agreed.

Gluten-Free
Gluten-Free Should Be Avoided

Just because “Wheat Belly” advocates wheat avoidance, it doesn’t mean you should go gaga for gluten-free. Davis believes that gluten-free foods should also be eliminated since they contain cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch and rice starch ― all substances than can affect blood sugar levels.  Continued consumption of these high-carb foods and it’s goodbye six-pack, hello muffin top.

Oh No! Not My Oatmeal!

Also on Davis’ hit list are grains and legumes such as quinoa, beans, oats, brown rice and sweet potatoes. According to Davis, while these carbs are healthier than wheat (i.e. free of potato and gluten), they still boost blood sugar to harmful levels. Instead of cutting these non-wheat grains out entirely, he suggests eating small portion sizes and limiting the total amount consumed. Translation: don’t wolf down a sweet potato pie with the excuse that you’re eating your veggies.

Don’t Despair, Vegans

The “Wheat Belly” diet encourages the elimination of whole grains, but promotes eating “whole foods” such as vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, cheese, fish and meats. What’s wrong with this picture? If you’re vegan, and you take out the animal products, grains and legumes, you’re left eating twigs and leaves.

The only way to know if a wheat-free diet is right for you is to try it for 30 days (after checking with your doctor!). To prevent feelings of deprivation, Davis recommends replacing wheat with ground whole almonds in your favorite recipes.

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Susan EmmerSusan Emmer, FOOD Feature Editor

Susan is a certified whole health educator and coach treading on both wellness and green terrain. Earning an environmental studies degree before green was the new black, Susan is the owner of the sustainability marketing and PR firm, Farmacy Agency. Follow her on Twitter @wellnewsnetwork.

This post was originally published on Healthy Bitch Daily.

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What do you think about the “Wheat Belly” diet? Good advice or a fleeting fad?

My two cents? Gluten-free and wheat-free diets are not methods for losing weight. Instead, changing your diet to eliminate these ingredients should be for health reasons (i.e. “I have celiac disease” or “Hey, it just makes me feel better!”) and not because you want to see a number on the scale drop.

Leave your comments or recipe ideas in the comments section below!