- Diet & Weight Loss
The Shocking Truth About Wheat and Weight
Coming to Terms with Weight Gain
When calories from food consumed are less than calories expended in exercise, weight loss results -or so the conventional wisdom goes. We are consistently told by tall people with bodies as sleek as greyhounds that anyone who can’t lose weight under those conditions is lying either about what they eat or how much they exercise. The kinder sort will tell us we are deluded. The unkind sort will body-shame us and will be rude and insulting about what we eat and how we live.
In my case, I was fully aware of what a healthy diet was and I have followed it for nearly forty years. Plenty of vegetables, some fruit, limited sugar, no potatoes because I am allergic to them, two to four slices of wholemeal bread daily, lean meat… you know the score… I even flirted with veganism at one point but still I gained weight; about three stone in fact, all of it abdominal. The weight gained was very gradual over a period of decades; so slow in fact that it was only noticeable from increases in my waist measurement and I don’t look fat unless I stand sideways. It is all tubby tummy!
The Subtle Onset of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes
I started to feel really unwell in my forties. High blood pressure and chest pains drove me to the doctor and I was prescribed ACE inhibitors and statins. I always felt sleepy after eating, even after a one course meal with small portions. I rarely felt hungry anyway and had dull headaches and nausea after food, dizziness and nausea if I didn’t eat at all. This was due to the slow onset of Type 2 diabetes. I don’t want to go into it here, but my impaired fasting blood glucose figures and carbohydrate intolerance were not treated for years until they reached the magic 6.5 then all of a sudden I was put on metformin, regained a normal appetite and felt at least twenty years younger.
Diabetes, Atkins Diet and More...
Recently, I felt the symptoms creeping up on me again and they were worse after our friend’s pie nights. After a portion of steak and kidney pie with carrot mash and a pint of lager I would feel “done in” for the night. I was bloated, off my game, sleepy and gradually putting on weight. The portion size was actually quite small, there were no potatoes because I can’t eat them, so the only carbs I consumed were in the pie crust and peas – if we had them.
“Hold on,” I said to myself. “I need to stop this now.”
At that point I decided to adopt the only diet that had ever worked for me, which was a modified Atkins. Modified because I was told diabetics need carbohydrates. I cut out all wheat products. This is not easy, because wheat, like sugar and potato starch, hides in most processed foods. When I felt particularly hungry, I had a small bowl of brown rice. After that, I would be floating off to Dreamland. The carbs were knocking me out again. That is when I discovered the book “Wheat Belly.”
If you are diabetic, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, heart trouble, brain fog, skin conditions or a variety of hidden illnesses of unknown cause, do yourself a favour and read Wheat Belly. It might save your life.
Some of the Problems Wheat can Cause
The array of illnesses triggered by Amylopectin A is terrifying, the consequences of metabolic fat (the spare tyre or love handles that you can’t shift) is mind-blowing. The ease with which wheat starch converts to glucose in the mouth and stomach (the GI factor of two slices of wholemeal bread being higher than two tablespoons of pure granulated sugar) should frighten anyone with diabetes. The exorphins produced by the brain’s response to wheat have an effect akin to nicotine or heroin and combine that with two hourly peaks and troughs in blood sugar and you have a recipe for illness and weight gain. I learned so much from this book about the illnesses linked to wheat that I doubt I will ever eat it again.
I wanted to share that here because, even allowing for the fact that my weight fluctuates according to where the scales are placed, I feel slimmer after only a couple of weeks. My clothes no longer feel tight. I don’t feel bloated. More importantly, I feel great without wheat; so, much as I miss my marmite toast and steak and kidney pie, it is still “Goodbye Wheat” for me.
Wheat Belly, a review I posted on Goodreads
Wheat Belly is a marmite book. You will love it or hate it depending whether you are one of those people who can’t lose weight on any diet or whether you are of the Food Nazi Party. I am with the former group. In sound scientific terms, William Davis MD explains how wheat has been modified in the last seventy years from “the staff of life” to a harbinger of death. Had I not already known that carbohydrate intolerance is very real and that wheat is tricky stuff for some of us I would have been shocked by this book. When you read the biochemistry behind it all, you will understand immediately that modern dwarf wheat is as much a drug as a food. If you are diabetic, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, heart trouble, brain fog, skin conditions or a variety of hidden illnesses of unknown cause, do yourself a favour and read this book. It might save your life.
The Carnivorous Squirrel Diet
Definitely a Marmite Book
For the benefit of non-British readers, Marmite is a yeast extract that nobody is indifferent to. It is a love or hate taste. So is any book that challenges decades of received dietary advice and our most ingrained eating habits. (No pun intended). Just reading through some of the critical reviews of this book and the concepts behind it makes for fascinating reading.
One of my favourites was "the Carnivorous Squirrel Diet". I quite like that! All those things I was told for years to avoid as "bad for my weight" are actually allowed. I can eat as many nuts and pieces of cheese as I want. Steak and pork with the rind on are no longer off limits although bacon can be a little dodgy because of the preserving process. If you can stomach your peanut butter on a celery stick it's actually OK. I do miss the taste of toast but it isn't the end of the world. I can always bake my own cakes, crackers, muffins and bread with wheat free recipes. Chocolate is definitely allowed too so long as it is the proper sort, 80% plus, not full of sugar, milk and additives.
Obviously that whole guy thing of TV and gamer dinners needs a rethink - pizza is off and popcorn is allowed, but dodgy for your blood sugar - but it is not that big a deal if your diet is already healthy. Those most scared by the wheat free approach are likely to be those who have always followed the traditional Western diet. Ironically, they will be the most addicted to grain and the most reluctant even to try it.