Is eliminating this ‘ever-present’ grain the key to weight management – and to curing so much more that ails us?
It’s something you see more and more: brunch companions shunning the muffin basket. Houseguests calling ahead to ask if you’ll be serving pasta. Bakeries touting wheat-free goods. A facialist who tells you your bread habit is the reason your skin is blotchy. Wheat has been getting a bad name lately, and not just from those who have eliminated carbs and gluten (a protein found in wheat) from their diet.
The loudest voice in the chorus lately belongs to William Davis, author of the book ‘Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health’ and its companion, ‘Wheat Belly Cookbook’. Davis, a Milwauke cardiologist, points an accusing finger at our most abundant grain, blaming it for (almost) everything including the obesity epidemic, heart disease, diabetes, acne and other skin conditions, and even disorders like ADHD. Not to mention that “brain fog” many of us feel after eating a high-carb meal.
At the heart of Davis’s argument is the idea that modern-day strains of wheat have been genetically (and harmfully) altered to such a degree that they barely resemble the ancient strains or even that of 1950s wheat. Today’s varieties have a higher glycemic index, a factor in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as new forms of gliadin, a component of gluten that Davis says is bad for everyone. One of gliadin’s worst offences is its association with inflammation, in particular creating a “leaky gut.” It can overstimulate appetite to the point where people eat some 440 more calories a day than they need – usually carbs.
From reports of flattened bellys to alleviated joint pain, there’s no shortage of adherents to the wheat belly diet who’ve reported great results – in as little as two weeks. Yet even with many success stories, Davis has many critics.
When diets are extreme they’re hard to maintain. It is pointed out that some starch carbs can be good for you. People will miss out on fiber and important vitamins and minerals. The biggest point of contention is that the alleviation of so many ailments is not likely wheat related. People cut calories and then lose weight. And when you lose weight, a number of other conditions will improve. It is also noted that a number of food proteins like that from milk, soy and even spinach can break down the same way as the gliadin in wheat and create the same problems. Davis is unfazed by his detractors though. “They don’t have an appreciation for all the issues,” he says. With many happy converts, he will likely keep riding his wave – at least until the next low-carb craze.
My thoughts….I learned a new word – ‘Gliadin’ which is the most abundant protein found within wheat gluten (two really bad words). It is, from a cold scientific viewpoint, a fascinating topic – a protein that is an apparent cause of many health problems. And just one more thing to worry about.
Of course, the “official” response is that the increased calorie consumption, overweight/obesity, and diabetes are your fault because you are a glutton and you’re lazy, eating chips, cookies, and other junk snacks along with sweetened soft drinks while you watch The Biggest Loser.
a lota bit guilty here except that I don’t watch the Biggest Loser. I think watching too many reality based TV shows is detrimental to health – but that’s another topic. It’s really hard to quit cold-turkey but over time if we cut out some of the junk food & wheat products little by little we can definitely benefit our health. It depends on how badly you want to work at it. So hard when you love bread, pasta, cake & cookies….. Several years ago for a few months I did manage to eliminate wheat & dairy from my diet and must admit…never felt better!
While we’re on the subject take a look at this best seller – Beer Belly Blues.
All books available on: Amazon.com
Here’s the link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1686/transforming-health