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Cutting Wheat out Of Your Diet: Good Or Bad? (Wheat Belly)


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I’ve recently started reading this book called Wheat Belly By William Davis, MD. It’s a book I’ve herd so much hype about (New York Times Best Seller). The book goes on to tell you how cutting wheat out of your diet not only helps you to lose Your “Wheat Belly”, but also how it can cure many of other health problem.

In his book he says you can lose ten pounds in 14 days…"Ten pounds in fourteen days. I know: it sounds like another TV infomercial boasting the latest “lose weight fast’ gimmick. But I’ve Seen it time and time again: eliminate wheat in all its myriad forms and pounds melt away, often as much as a pound a day. No Gimmicks, no subscription meals, no special formulas, no “meal replacement” drinks or Cleansing regimens Required.”

I’m only a few chapters in and I’m curious . Is this worth the read or just another fad? What are your opinions on cutting out wheat from the your diet? 

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He sounds like a crock.  If you lose 10lbs in 2 weeks, then it's water weight, unless you weigh 700lbs. I stopped eating wheat, but it's not because wheat is "bad."  I just wanted to get more fruits and veggies in for the same number of calories.

I've cut out wheat because I'm intolerant to it but I have noticed that it severely limits the 'fattening' foods you can have, such as cake, bread, pastries, pasta etc. One of the symptoms of wheat intolerance is bloating and gas so that will be why people have a wheat belly. In my opinion, if you don't have an intolerance to something there should be no need to cut it from your diet but the only way to know for sure is to try it and see how you feel

Another fad diet from a doctor who wants to get rich by writing a book about a popular trend in alternative dieting, to provide rationalization for irrational dieting.

I bet he learned cherry picking research from Gary Taubes, 'cause he sure didn't learn how he mangles the actual available pool of studies in med school. Including skipping over some crucial facts like how cutting out gluten without actually having celiac disease will make you sicker.

Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult humans

Diet is a major environmental factor influencing gut microbiota diversity and functionality, which might be relevant to subjects following dietary therapies. Celiac disease (CD) is an enteropathy caused by an aberrant immune response to cereal gluten proteins and the only therapy is the adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD). In this context, a preliminary study was conducted to establish whether the GFD in itself could modify the composition and immune properties of the gut microbiota. The trial included 10 healthy subjects (30.3 years-old), which were submitted to a GFD over one month. Analysis of fecal microbiota and dietary intake indicated that numbers of healthy gut bacteria decreased, while numbers of unhealthy bacteria increased parallel to reductions in the intake of polysaccharides after following the GFD. Fecal samples of subjects under a GFD, which represent an altered microbiota, also exerted lower immune stimulatory effects on peripheral blood mononuclear cells than those of subjects on a regular gluten-containing diet. This addendum presents further discussion on the rationale behind these findings, limitations of the study and possible consequences of dietary counselling in the care process of celiac disease patients.

Gut Microbes. 2010 May;1(3):135-137. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

Gluten sensitivity, allergies, and food intolerances are real, but their existence are very overblown in Paleo/alt-med circles and the consequences of going gluten-free tends to be that you're a lot more vulnerable to infection and gastrointestinal troubles from increases in the population of unhealthy bacteria.

 Its tagline should be "Facts be damned, I want to get rich off you, dammit!"

thhq
Jul 02 2012 13:36
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#4  
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melkor I've noticed this effect on the cyber-paleo community. These sites concentrate a lot of people who have real allergic responses, particularly to lactose, casein and gluten. In addition to this there are a lot of N=1 reports of reduced tolerance for these three. The common complaint is of sickness from eating a "cheat" meal like pizza or ice cream.
thhq
Jul 02 2012 13:45
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#5  
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Keira some of the most fattening junk foods I have ever eaten were gluten free. Substitution of rice flour for wheat flour doesn't create a more nutritious food.

Without a doubt those gluten free lemon bars were the best I ever ate. Probably 1000 calories each.
#6  
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I've had to cut wheat and diary out of my diet as it was doctors orders not through choice of my own as they were the cause of what has been making me ill for years. Since doing this it has improved my health and I have also lost weight. Wheat isn't naturally great for the digestive system, eating more fish, veg, fruit, nuts and seeds has really improved my health rather than bread and pasta etc
i also had to(for medical reasons) and i have a very close family friend who chose to lose weight and he is a lot healthier for it. honestly just eating fruits and nuts and veggies and fishes/lean meats/tofu/eggs is prettyeasy and because its fairly unprocessed youll find you feel better. its very much the lack of processed chemicals and non natural food that causes people who arent allergic to feel better on those kinds of diets.

Unless you're sensitive or allergic to it, it's nutritionally and medically unnecessary and is likely just a back-door way of reducing calories.  There's no such thing as a "wheat belly".  Belly, yes, but it's not caused specifically by wheat.  I've eaten wheat daily my whole life and I don't have a belly (even when I was overweight, I carried it around my hips and thighs far more than around my middle).  Where you gain weight is more genetics than diet.  But diet quacks know that it's hard to lose weight around your waist and that people will try anything to do it, so they find a gimmick to sell.

Personally I think wheat is just not what it use to be 100 years ago.  It is not as nutritionally dense so there are lots of calories consumed with next to no nutritional value. As an experiment I was gluten free for 6 months.  I did feel better BUT did not experience any weight loss.  Now I just chose better grains and flours when I do chose to eat it.

I have read the book, and it's not as gimmicky as people who have not read it are assuming. But as with anything take the knowledge and do some of your own research. It's an interesting read to say the least. But more or less like a lot of diets it too assumes a one-size-fits-all. Some people will do better with out wheat then others. What it comes down to, is people simply DO NOT know enough about how our bodies are reacting to our modern foods. Modern wheat has been modified a lot from what people used to eat. Processed foods are wreaking havoc on our bodies. Read it, but make your own conclusions. For every one discovery a doctor is making within the subject of diet (what we eat not how we lose weight kind of diet) there is another doctor doing another study that disproves that discovery. It's evolving, and changing, and there is no "right" answer. It's about how you feel. If you stop eating wheat and you feel better and you lose weight, then maybe you are one of those people who should not be eating it in the first place.

#11  
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Great post de-anne.

I agree that people who are commenting are assuming that this book is a gimmick.

Science does not lie; the author presents remarkablestudies which provide evidence that "modern" wheat can cause adverse reactions, and why this happens. If you have any reservations about eating genetically modified meat or other genetically modified products, you may find this book enlightening.

It is also important to know that gluten free doesn't mean wheat free.

A wheat free diet is also not a paleo diet. You can still eat flax, rice, corn, sugars, etc.

I would suggest reading the book if you haven't, then make an informed decision.

About 1% of the population has actual celiac disease, and about 6% have some degree of sensitivity to gluten,so why on Earth do almost 25% of the population restrict it or go gluten-free?

Oh, right - cover for an eating disorder: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/20 11/05/23/what-were-not-eating-the-potential-d anger-of-gluten-free/

The book is pretty much based on a false premise that a) humans haven't evolved since the paleolithic age, and b) that our commensal bacteria that helps our digestion of plant matter haven't evolved in the ten trillion bacterial generations or so since humans started consuming grains roughly 30-35,000 years ago. Both demonstrably false notions that nevertheless gets used in the book from William Davis' need to have a hook to hang his book and diet sales on - you can't get rich from telling people to eat mostly protein and vegetables and don't drink your calories, you need to come up with some gimmick so you can sell people complicated diet rules and expensive supplements.

I have celiac disease, and upon switching to a gf diet, I saw absolutely no weight change. Honestly, you're better off eating the right kinds of bread and wheat products in moderation. The gf foods are bland, nutritionally deficiant, and cripplingly expensive. Don't even bother, unless you're like me, and have to.

I'm enjoying the discussion, keep going.

Most people who have celiac/gluten intolerance actually maintain or gain weight once they go gluten free...because their body is actually able to fully process food again. 

 

Here are basically what being gluten free means...

1)  You have to monitor EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth.  You have to know every ingredient and that in turn means you know the nutritional value of the food you are eating.

2)  Social eating comes to a screaching hault.  You can no longer have the goodies brought to work because even if someone tells you they might be gluten free you can't trust them...so the only goodies brought to work/social events you will be eating are veggies or fruit.  And forget the dip, because you have no idea whats in that.  Unless you brought the food or its plain veggies or fruit or clearly marked gluten free you can't eat it. 

3)  Restaurant/Fast Food eating is now rare.  Unless the restaurante clearly posts their nutritional information and gluten ingredients, you will have to order a salad, with no croutons or dressing and cheese to be safe.  (cheap shredded cheese has gluten).  The only real fast food option is Wendy's chili or a baked potato. 

4)  Your diet mostly consists of whole foods.  Because gluten free processed products are expensive, and calorie dense (imo), with little nutritional value.  The GF foods are more for satisfying cravings, then for actual meal eating. 

...for me I can't even have a salad that was made that the croutons were picked off of...or even if the counter has bread crumbs on it, I can't set my food on it. 

 

I think even if you did these rules...without eliminating gluten.  No more eating out, eating whole foods, no more snacks/food etc that you don't know the nutrional value of, you would probably lose weight with calorie counting.

Eliminating gluten has not directly helped me lose weight, i gained 5lbs when I first when gluten free.  It has made me much more aware though of how crappy most food products are (like seriously why is there gluten in shredded cheese!?!  or ketchup...it makes me mad sometimes!).  It has made me feel 200% better, my skin is happy now, and my stomach.  There is no way I would go back to gluten. 

 

#16  
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Original Post by melkor:

About 1% of the population has actual celiac disease, and about 6% have some degree of sensitivity to gluten,so why on Earth do almost 25% of the population restrict it or go gluten-free?

Oh, right - cover for an eating disorder: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/20 11/05/23/what-were-not-eating-the-potential-d anger-of-gluten-free/

The book is pretty much based on a false premise that a) humans haven't evolved since the paleolithic age, and b) that our commensal bacteria that helps our digestion of plant matter haven't evolved in the ten trillion bacterial generations or so since humans started consuming grains roughly 30-35,000 years ago. Both demonstrably false notions that nevertheless gets used in the book from William Davis' need to have a hook to hang his book and diet sales on - you can't get rich from telling people to eat mostly protein and vegetables and don't drink your calories, you need to come up with some gimmick so you can sell people complicated diet rules and expensive supplements.

Based on your post and the enclosed artical, and perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but your comment about eating disorders may be slightly overzealous. Assuming that anyone eats gluten free, in the event they are not diagnosed celiac, has a eating disorder or may "get" one is absurd. If someone told you, "I stopped eating beef because it made me feel tired and lethargic" or "I stopped eating cheese because it made my stomach upset", I highly doubt that the reaction would be so severe. You might say, "oh do you have a dairy allergy, perhaps you should cut it out and see how you feel?". I personally feel your enclosure of the article isnt relevant to these posts at all.

This book isn't about celiacs, it's also about people with wheat allergies and wheat in-tolerances; very different ailments altogether. Recall that the origional poster is asking about the book and not about celiacs. The book evaluates the body's reaction to eating wheat, and it's impact on blood sugar levels and insulin production. Considering that wheat flour's glycemic index is higher than that of sugar, there may be more to this than just a "gimmick". Wheat Belly isnt suggesting a diet of just protein and veggies, it only suggest cutting out wheat - all other carbohydrates are game on. Potatoes, anyone? By the way, I had quinoa salad with my supper last night as well as a slice of corn bread as a treat, I'm pretty sure those are carbohydrates.

Again, I would like to re-iterate that gluten free and wheat free are different. Gluten, which I'm sure you know, is a main protein found in wheat. Wheat itself is made up of a hell of a lot more than just gluten.

I agree with your stated points, however I would argue that the book isn't based on these premises at all. Rather that ancient grains, such as einkorn and emmer which people ate thousands of years ago, are a far cry (genitically speaking) from the wheat we consume today. Further to that, the book suggests that in all of the genetic engineering of today's "wheat", few studies have been conducted to ensure that it this modern wheat provides the health value that we think it does. I do not believe, and can find no scientific evidence to suggest, that humans undergo evolution based on genetically modified and mass processed food that we put in them; oh if only Charles Darwin was here to comment.

Now for my personal experience: Based on my Dr.'s suggestion that I my have a wheat intolerance, I choose to go wheat free 4 weeks ago. In doing my research I picked up this book and read it, and loved it. I have never felt better. I sleep better, I'm no longer foggy and lethargic during the day, my appetite is suppresed, my IBS symptoms have sub-sided, and for the first time in my life I feel "full" after eating without craving more. (Did you know that the polysaccharides resulting from eating wheat bind to the morphine "pleasure" receptors of the brain? Which results in a euphoric feeling after eating wheat, resulting in most people craving more wheat products? Note that studies have shown that when these receptors are blocked people eat less. Oh science you are magical thing, arent you?)

Anyway...just read the book.

 

thhq
Jul 25 2012 20:27
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#17  
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Go ahead rusty. It's your life.

Not me. I've spent too much time on paleo sites reading N=1's of people who quit eating the sensitivity trio - lactose, gluten and casein - and how they got sick when they tried to eat them. Our adaptation to these is variable and can be lost.

In other words Dr. Quack isn't telling you the whole story. Just the dirty hush-hush secrets that the great conspiracies are hiding. But the truth rarely sells books and I prefer better fiction than this.
#18  
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Original Post by thhq:

Go ahead rusty. It's your life.

Not me. I've spent too much time on paleo sites reading N=1's of people who quit eating the sensitivity trio - lactose, gluten and casein - and how they got sick when they tried to eat them. Our adaptation to these is variable and can be lost.

In other words Dr. Quack isn't telling you the whole story. Just the dirty hush-hush secrets that the great conspiracies are hiding. But the truth rarely sells books and I prefer better fiction than this.

Thanks - glad I have your permission!

i agree with de_anne: the wheat and grains we eat IN AMERICA is just not healthy or good for our bodies. i know my friends with wheat allergies are actually fine eating it when they go to europe(havent been so i cant say).
are**
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