01/30/2013 05:35 EST | Updated 04/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Can You Really Maintain a No-Wheat Diet?


You can't go into any bookstore or health food store without seeing a copy of Dr. William Davis' bestselling diet book, Wheat Belly. Following right behind this success is his Wheat Belly Cookbook. Dr. Davis is a cardiologist and gives this idea credibility. Gluten-free diets initially were for celiacs, those who have an auto-immune condition whereby they are allergic to anything containing wheat.


Gluten-Free Foods vs. Traditional Foods: Comparing Calories, Fiber and Fat

The problem today is that not only those with celiac disease suffer from wheat allergies. A large part of the population suffers from side effects connected to the consumption of wheat. This appears to be due to how wheat was processed in the past, compared to what's being done today. New wheat proteins are added to address world hunger issues to increase production which means these plants are getting more pest control, nitrates and irrigation. The result has been a strong physical reaction by many to these new forms of wheat including weight gain. However it has not yet been proven by clinical trials.


So where does weight gain come in? Well regular bread raises your blood sugar quickly due to the high glycemic index. High blood sugar is associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Dr. Davis actually states that flour is worse for your blood sugar than sugar! Two slices of whole wheat bread raises it higher than a candy bar! This is how the vicious cycle begins. After your blood sugar spikes, it falls, creating hunger and then the addiction to wheat continues this damaging cycle. The result is excess fat and weight gain. Dr. Davis believes that eating wheat promotes fat storage especially in the belly and also increases your appetite. Once you cut out wheat your blood sugar stops spiking, your appetite is reduced and thus you lose weight. Easy formula, but challenging to maintain.

Some grains to substitute for wheat are coconut, rice, bean and potato flour as well as ground nuts. Eat more natural foods including: vegetables, organic meats and healthy oils and keep fruit to a minimum due to the sugar content. Forget about fast food, most beverages and snacks. If you do this you will lose weight.


The Good of the Wheat Belly Diet:

• No need to count calories, fat or portion sizes. Just eliminate every trace of wheat.

• Lean protein, vegetables and nuts and seeds can lower cholesterol and stabilize your blood sugar.

The Bad of the Wheat Belly Diet:

• No wheat! Can you do this for life? That means no bread, cookies, pasta or any of your favourite comfort foods!

• Wheat is not only in bread and pastas. It is virtually in all processed and packaged foods! Salad dressings, sauces, cereals, baking powder and even gum, just to name a few.

• Keep in mind when you eliminate all wheat you're also eliminating certain beneficial nutrients such as: B vitamins, zinc and fibre.

My personal belief is that if you have a moderate wheat allergy, try organic products that have been less processed and keep your wheat to whole grains.

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