My Review/Synopsis of the book Wheat Belly.

“WHEAT IS THE ONLY COMMON FOOD THAT HAS IT’S OWN MEASURABLE MORTALITY RATE WHEN OBSERVED OVER YEARS OF CONSUMPTION, AND IS THE STRONGEST POSITIVE PREDICTOR OF BODY WEIGHT”

If you are eating anything processed you are most likely eating wheat

As a ‘long distance athlete’ my whole life, taking part in running, swimming, cycling across Canada, hiking, snowshoeing etc. it never made sense to me why I didn’t have a slender athletic body.  According to William Davis, author of Wheat Belly 1/3 of long distance athletes are overweight.  Why is that?  I have learned throughout my weight loss success since May that more than 80 % of my weight is determined by my food choices, and has very little to do with my activity.  I had always been very active and ate a balanced diet, but something didn’t add up.  It wasn’t until I eliminated the appetite stimulating, brain active exorphins,  and exaggerated blood sugars that trigger heightened appetite from wheat and carbohydrates that I was able to successfully lose 25 pounds, increase my energy, stabilize my moods, and become an even greater athlete.  In this blog I will use a lot of factual information from Dr. Davis’s book and relate it to my own personal story.  Although my main passion for this blog is personal, it also astounds me that 16-18 % of health care costs over the next 20 years are due to weight, that’s more money spent on health consequences of obesity than education, hence my passion to spread the word

Old Wheat vs. New Wheat

nbsp;          Wheat from it’s origin is completely different from the wheat we buy from the grocery store today.  We now consume a genetically modified, cross-bred, hybridized version of wheat that is unable to survive in the wild without nitrate fertilization and pest control.  This is nothing compared to the single strain variation of wheat called Einkorn wheat, and Emmer wheat (side note- it contained 28% more protein).  If we were growing this ancient form of wheat still, perhaps consumption of them would be a different story.

What wheat does to our body

nbsp;          When wheat enters our body it triggers the production of insulin and causes us to store the food as fat.  Other foods like fish, veggies, and nuts don’t affect our insulin at all and therefore we use the calories as energy and don’t store as fat.  The complex way of explaining the process is as follows: 75 % of wheat is a chain of branching glucose units called amylpectin, the other 25 % is glucose amylase.  The amylopectin (which makes up the majority of wheat foods) is more easily digested and rapidly converted to glucose and increases blood sugar).  There are 3 types of Amylopectin, A, B, and C.  A is absorbed the fastest (in wheat), B is next (bananas, potatoes), and C is the least digested (legumes).  Therefore when we eat foods with Amyolpectin A it spikes our blood sugar the highest, increases the insulin greater, increasing the fat deposited.  So wheat is a double whammy, it is made up primarily of the more digestible form of glucose, and the most readily absorbed form as well, which stimulates our appetite through exaggerated surges in blood sugar

Wheat creates inflammation throughout the entire body, it wreaks havoc on our immune system, and erodes cartilage and bone.  As someone who suffers from an inflammatory disease (my kidney condition) I find this kind of information fascinating.  My disease is supposed to be genetic- but noone in my family has it- perhaps it’s a chronic condition from a lifestyle choice I have been making?  Dr. Davis provides countless studies in his books about removal of wheat decreasing the inflammation from arthritis, IBS, asthma, and lung health.  When wheat was reintroduced to these people even in small amounts the conditions worsened

The “Wheat Belly”

nbsp;          We all know that fat around the belly is worse for our health than fat elsewhere.  As our abdominal fat increases it decreases molecules that prevent heart disease and diabetes.  Visceral fat provokes inflammation, distorts insulin, and sends abnormal metabolic signals.  Basically visceral/abdominal fat functions as another organ within your body secreting hormones.  Because this visceral fat is inflamed it contains inflammatory white blood cells, which empty into the liver, and produce more inflammatory signals, which in turn lead to further abdominal fat accumulation.  As our belly’s grow larger from the insulin causing fat deposition, the fat in turn causes poorer insulin resistance (in muscle and liver) acting as a double edged sword.   Visceral fat is also a factory for estrogen production (man boobs), and increases the likelihood of breast cancer by 14%

The Effect on our Brain

nbsp;          Wheat is the most common dietary mind-active food known.  I think one of the most frightening effects wheat has on our body is it’s effect on our brain, and specifically on addiction and obsession.  When gluten is ingested it is broken down into polypeptides, which can penetrate the blood brain barrier and bind to morphine receptors (where opiate drugs bind).  As a result we get a euphoric experience that we seek to have over and over again.  This is why when people completely eliminate wheat (and all the other crap some people choose to put in their body) cravings are eliminated and you don’t feel the need to snack, although initially we feel withdrawl.  Without wheat we naturally reduce our calorie intake, and eat food because we need it for physiological energy needs, not because of addictive behaviors.  Prescription drugs used to treat drug addictions are currently being studied on their benefit to stop the pleasurable effects of wheat on the brain.

Celiac Disease

nbsp;          I won’t take the time to describe celiac disease, but there are a few startling facts I want to point out.  When we have a gluten intolerance it makes our intestines permeable to the bloodstream so that the body is tricked into an immune response of attacking our own body (the thyroid, other organs, joint tissue, and asthma), this is also what happens during cholera and dysentery.  Many people may not be aware of their gluten intolerance (less than 10 % of people know they have it, and it has doubled it’s frequency in the past 20 years).  Sometimes only symptoms like headache, IBS, acid reflux and fatigue may appear.  It may take decades of ill health and malnourishment (the gluten infiltrates our stomach lining and we don’t absorb the right nutrients) before some more serious symptoms appear (neurological impairment, loss of balance, incontinence, dementia, GI cancer, anemia, skin rash on knees, elbows, and back, liver disease, autoimmune diseases and allergies)

Mixed Messages

nbsp;          Doctors, the American Heart Association, and the government combined advise us to cut fat and cholesterol for heart health and healthy weight maintenance.  In the 80’s a sharp focus was put on these dietary guidelines, and what ended up happening?  People swallowed up the carbs and the world saw a sharp increase in body weight, and Diabetes.  Our weight grew the fastest pace once the USDA got telling Americans what to eat.  Not only did our weight grow but after the adoption of grains into the diet (according to historical research) we also adopted infections, osteoporosis (wheat increases the aciditiy of our body, as our body becomes more acidic it draws calcium from the blood and bones), increase in infant mortality, and a decrease in the lifespan

Whole Wheat is better than white bread?

nbsp;          Carbohydrates are measured on a Glycemic Index scale based on how high and how quickly they can spike our blood sugar.  Would you believe that whole wheat bread spikes the blood sugar more than table sugar and white bread?  So much for making the ‘healthier choice’..

Is Gluten free the answer?

nbsp;          Yes and No!  Don’t eat gluten free, but be gluten free. Gluten free can’t mean that you start to eat gluten free products.  The starches used in these products (cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, tapioca starch) actually increase our blood sugar MORE THAN WHEAT!  Wheat is everywhere, in drugs, gum, toothpaste, lipstick, your sacrament, and hand cream.  The answer is being gluten free and eating a whole foods (walk the perimeter of the grocery store) approach to eating.

True Story’s From the Book

nbsp;          Wendy had a gluten intolerance and didn’t know it.  Was going for colonoscopy’s, taking prescription drugs for IBS (chemotherapy and abortion drugs) and was preparing to remove her ileum (gross), but after eliminate wheat she lost 35 pounds and her conditions were gone

Dr. Davis also lists many stories of people cured of ulcerative colitis, and joint pains by switching to no wheat

Jason- 26- mild heart failure, difficulty breathing, pain all over, 5 months later was fine after wheat elimination

School teacher- pain, lack of coordination, IBS, puffy, tired, 2 weeks everything gone after wheat elimination.

My own true story has to do with acne.  I have definitely had my challenges over the years, and wheat may be part of the answer!  When we increase our body’s insulin we increase IGF-I in the skin, which increases the tissue and sebum on our skin causing pimples.  As I eliminated wheat as I lost weight my face cleared right up.  When I indulged over christmas in sugars and wheat products it flared up again!

Osteoporosis

nbsp;          As mentioned earlier wheat produces acidity in our body which dissolves bone tissue to release calcium, which leaves our bones demineralized and at greater risk of fractures.  The pH (acid level) of hunter gatherers (little wheat in diet) was 7.5-9, ours is now 4.4-7.  We need to decrease the wheat and increase the alkalizing foods in our body (veggies, fruits etc).  As our weight increases it also increasing leptin and other inflammatory compounds which destroy our joints.  Carbohydrates glycate (form a bond with a protein) in the blood creating advanced glycated end products. This stiffens arteries, causes cataracts, causes dementia, affects organs, causes cancer, Erectile dysfunction tissues and joints, and irreversibly makes joint tissue stiff, painful and swollen.  Basically glycation is the aging process, the more sugar we eat, the faster we age.  We need to slow down glycation (which is why eating a bowl of oatmeal and spiking blood sugars to 200-400 is not a good idea).  One thing I found interesting in my research is about fructose and how it increase AGE’s 100 times more than glucose….agave syrup is made of fructose…supposed to be ‘good’ for us (along with honey and maple syrup).  A test can be done to test for AGE formation – HbA1c, for every 1 increase in this number we have a 28 % increase in mortality

Diabetes

nbsp;          A person diagnosed at age 50 with Diabetes costs our health care system 180 000-250 000 in health care costs and dies 8 years earlier than an average person.  Why should our health care system pay to support these people who choose to disrespect themselves by eating an improper diet?  (Perhaps it goes back to how they are being told to eat?…).  22-39 % of people have prediabetes.  If you have Type II Diabetes  (or prediabetes) you NEED to eliminate wheat to prevent, reduce or eliminate your disease. By eliminating it you get rid of your glucose-insulin rollercoaster ride, you stop overindulging, you decrease your fat percentage, and your insulin sensitivity improves.  If we continue to eat a high sugar diet (aka lots of wheat and other foods) than we experience glucotoxicity, which damages pancreatic insulin producing beta cells, which are never replaced.  Damage enough of them=diabetes…reverse it while you can!  Do you find it interesting that the inventor of insulin (Dr. Banting) also tested insulin on his patients who were limited to 10 g/day of carbs!  Or Dr. Westman who has published studies that show in 25 % of cases nutrition alone can treat diabetes.  Or how about studies done on mice with a genetic predisposition to Type 1 Diabetes who decreased their risk from 65%-15 % by eliminating wheat

Heart Disease

nbsp;          The size of the low density lipoproteins in our blood vessels determine our heart health.  The larger the better.  The small LDL is what causes heart problems, not cholesterol.  Our diet determines whether we have small or large LDL.  The large LDL are taken up by the liver for metabolizing, the small linger longer in the blood causing plaque therefore more likely to oxidize and cause damage & glycation & heart disease.  Both small LDL and large LDL are made up of triglycerides that they have collected from the VLDL and are transporting.  If we eat a lot of carbs we increase the triglycerides in our body and the small LDL’s.  Strange right?  Carbs are generally made with no fat, but when we ingested them it floods the bloodstream with triglycerides.  Whereas when we eat fat (full of triglycerides) our body shuts down making triglycerides and using them from the food.  When we get our levels tested at the doctor the LDL is based on a calculation, which can be very inaccurate based on the size of the LDL particles.  This can also be discouraging when we change our diets because the LDL number will seem to go up but really it’s the small particles become large).   (There are more specific and accurate tests you can have done) Have you heard of non alcoholic fatty liver disease?  As we increase our insulin from eating carbs we increase our triglycerides which increases our VLDL…damages the pancreas and liver..bad….  And this is what happens when we go on low fat diets.

How You Should Eat

Simple… Mostly vegetables (not potatoes corn or peas!), meats with each meal (cooked at low temperature and organic, free range), nuts/seeds and oils generously with your meals, and small portions of fruit (a few slices of an apple is a portion of fruit)…it’s that simple.  Dr. Davis recommends small portions of carbs- ½ cup of rice or sweet potato with a meal, and I definitely agree to add in these types of foods especially when exercising.  Over the next period of time I plan on putting more focus on what you should eat- first I just wanted to scare the crap out of you for what you are eating now!

The antibodies in gluten have been shown to bind to the cerebellum (in our brain) and damage cells (that can’t regenerate) causing ataxia and loss of coordination, yet you still want to eat this food?  It has been shown to decrease sensation to our peripheral nerves (why uncontrolled Diabetes leads to amputation).  You can be left with gluten encephalopathy- migraines, stroke symptoms, and having speaking and visual difficulties, memory loss, confusion, change in personality, inability to do arithmetic, and fatal dementia- why not go grab another cookie?  How about a temporal love seizure- would that stop you?

See you in the produce aisle…..

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