B well – to Wheat or not to Wheat?

Is eliminating this ‘ever-present’ grain the key to weight management – and to curing so much more that ails us?

Decoding the wheat belly diet – wheat1 taken from an article written by Sari Bottom.

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.

wheat belly1When 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.

Okay, a lot a 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!

by Brad King

While we’re on the subject take a look at this best seller – Beer Belly Blues.

All books available on: Amazon.com

**Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1686/transforming-health



inspiration – diets

I have a great diet.  You’re allowed to eat anything you want, but you must eat it with naked fat people.  ~Ed Bluestonediets2We’re the country that has more food to eat than any other country in the world, and with more diets to keep us from eating it – unknowndiets1The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books – how not to eat what you’ve just learned how to cook.  ~Andy Rooney

If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one definite piece of information:  french-fried potatoes are out.  ~Jean Kerr

diets3My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.  Unless there are three other people.  ~Orson Welles

food4Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence?  I think not! 

be well – lose weight fast?

WAIT….not so fast! It sounded so good at first – EAT ALL YOU WANT…. just NOT when you want.  Is that the secret to staying thin and healthy?monday-dietRead this but remember to always consult your doctor before starting a diet and take everything with a grain of salt.  This may not be the diet for you. This is one of the most recent buzzed-about diet crazes of late – it’s called “Intermittent Fasting (or IF for short), and it’s different from any other diet you’ve ever read about.  IF lets you eat anything you want (see? –  It started off so good) just not when you want (so you must use some kind of self control).  And despite the “fasting” label you don’t ever have to go completely without food.  Confused?

Bill Gifford investigates the science behind the latest diet fad.

eat2The non-feeding frenzy has been fueled in part by The Fast Diet, a best-selling book from England. (The U.S. edition was released last February.)  The idea behind it is simple: You can eat normally on five days out of the week, but on two nonconsecutive days (you pick them) you are limited to two small meals totaling just 500 calories (600 for men). Coauthors Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, both journalists, insist that this 5:2 eating pattern not only helps you lose weight, it improves a range of metabolic and even cognitive function, and may even help delay aging. The good news is that their claim seems to be backed up by a growing body of scientific research.  Even better, the diet does not entail actual long-term fasting, you’re not going without food, you’re just going with less food.

Finally, intermittent fasting is almost infinitely flexible, and you can use it to design an eating program that fits your goals and your level of willpower.  Some scientists believe that by alternating our eating patterns, we more closely mimic the feast-or-famine cycles that our prehistoric ancestors knew, those cycles in turn, helped shape our DNA.  “Just like you need a good light/dark cycle to regulate your sleep, your body needs an eating/fasting cycle,” says Satchin Panda, a biologist in San Diego. Panda recently coauthored a study that found that mice on a high-fat diet gained far less weight when their eating hours were restricted to an eight-hour period than mice with 24-7 access to the same high-fat food – despite consuming the same number of calories.  Food for thought.

During the fasting part of the cycle, scientists believe, our cells gradually switch over to a kind of survival mode, activating chemical reactions that not only burn off excess fat but also have been shown to combat the effects of aging.  Studies have found that brief periods of fasting bring some of the same benefits of longer-term caloric restriction, such as increased insulin sensitivity, improved cholesterol profiles, better cognitive function, and, of course, weight loss. Animal studies have shown a reduced risk of cancer.  Why? Like exercise, fasting induces a mild stress, says Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Aging.  The cells are responsible for producing antioxidants.  In other words, it’s good stress.

Indeed, the most successful fasting diets have been done with obese subjects.  For normal weight people, the jury is still out.  Loren Greene, a New York endocrinologist, discourages fasting if you are already very thin, have struggled with an eating disorder, or are diabetic or (especially) pregnant.  It’s also important to stay well hydrated.eat1Moreover experts caution against the days-long juice fasts popular in Hollywood and the fashion world. People say, “I went on a long fast, and I lost all this weight,” but that’s because you’re burning muscle and you lost water weight.  It’s almost an illusion of success.

Forget illusions.  We’ll take real cheesecake anytime, even if we have to wait a few hours to eat it.

B well – the Hair scare!

What good is a size 2 body if your hair ends up looking like hell?

photo credit below
photo credit below

I recently read an article about a nameless 42 year-old publicist from San Francisco who ended up losing a significant amount of  hair due to extreme dieting.  Seems sometimes we just can’t win.  This girls goal was to lose 15 pounds in the first month, then re-evaluate how much more she’d need to drop after that – all with the assistance of a nutritionist.

Her calorie intake was just 750 a day, consisting of a protein shake for breakfast, soup and a shake for lunch, then salad, steamed veggies and 6 ounces of protein (like a piece of grilled chicken the size of a bar of soap) for dinner.  She was still famished but wasn’t about to argue with the results – and lost every pound.  The follow up visit with the nutritionist consisted of being told to set her target weight even lower and stay on the plan.

The trouble started four months later.  The clothes were looser but her nice shoulder-length hair was much sparser.  At first just a bit in the shower (which can be common) but in a matter of weeks she was dropping tons of hair – she has fine hair to begin with.  She began to inspect her brushes after each stroke to see how many strands were tangled up in the bristles and had to disguise the hair sparseness by pulling it up into a bun or back in a ponytail as you could really see the difference when it was worn down.

The nutritionist would not entertain the idea that the diet had anything to do with it.  She on the other hand, was not so sure.  She eventually ditched the diet and started eating more sensibly, incorporating larger amounts of protein *(particularly red meat) into her meals.  After a few months the shedding stopped, hair started to get back to normal and finally she’s at a healthy (but not supermodel thin) weight.  *Whole grains, nuts and tofu/tempeh for vegetarians.

My brush
My brush

The Diagnosis:

Humans evolved from a feast-or-famine lifestyle: we cycled through periods when we had plenty of food to gobble up and periods when we had little to eat.  Genetically, our bodies have a long memory, and in some ways they still react as if we’re living in prehistoric times.  So if your body senses that you’re heading towards famine (hello, crash diet!), it diverts energy away from functions that are less essential, like growing hair or strong nails.  If you start to undergo dramatic shedding, see your doctor for a blood workup; sometimes the problem could be the result of a chronic health condition, like hypo-or hyperthyroidism.  Eating a healthy diet that includes all the food groups can help, as does popping a daily multivitamin, just to be sure you’re getting the nutrients that your hair needs. – Melissa Pilang, dermatologist, Clevelend Clinic.

Photo from:                                                                              http://www.besthairlossproductsreviews.com/why-women-lose-their-hair/

NOTE **Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America.  Here’s the link: