Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis

What now passes for wheat [in the latter part of the twentieth century] has changed, not through the forces of drought or disease or a Darwininan scramble for survival, but through human intervention. As a result, wheat has undergone a more drastic transformation than Joan Rivers, stretched, sewed, cut, and stitched back together to yield something entirely unique, nearly unrecognizable when compared to the original and yet still called by the same name: wheat.

 
I was on a long waiting list at the public library to get this book. It’s a popular book that I heard about in the blogosphere, and I can see why: the physician turned author tantalizingly promises that you can completely change your entire health just by eliminating wheat.

The basics of the doctor’s compelling case are:

There are no more amber waves of grain. The four-foot tall amber waves of grain that you picture when you think of wheat no longer exist. In the last fifty years, we have genetically altered wheat so that it is completely different than the wheat even our grandmothers ate. Today’s wheat is dwarf, less than two feet tall, cross-bred (with absolutely no testing) to produce massive yields. Most importantly, today’s wheat contains many more genes coding for gluten than ever before, and 70% of people are sensitive to gluten.

Wheat, (or more specifically gluten, which is also present in rye and barley, but wheat is the predominant source of gluten for most of the population) contains a very specific carbohydrate called amylopectin A. This carbohydrate is the easiest and fastest carb for your body to absorb, and as a result it sends your blood sugar rocketing in an instant instead of slowly being digested. After your blood sugar peaks, it just as quickly crashes back down. Soaring and crashing blood sugar leads to fatigue, sluggishness, irritability, cravings for snacks, not to mention diabetes. Wheat carbs actually raise your blood sugar MORE THAN PURE SUGAR. Picture how many wheat products you eat in a day. Now imagine those wheat products are actually piles of white sugar. That is basically what you’re eating every day when you eat wheat. The idea of “healthy whole grains” is pretty much bullshit.

Wheat is not just sugar for your body. It’s also an appetite stimulant – wheat makes you want more. More muffins, more pizza, more cereal, more sandwiches, more cookies. It makes you want more wheat-containing and non-wheat-containing foods.

To top it off, wheat polypeptides bind to the brain’s morphine receptor – yes, wheat works the same as opiate drugs such as heroin – and is just as addictive. Still want to eat wheat? Kinda, yeah.

The doctor associates a gluten-free, low-carb diet with significant benefits, including:

– weight loss of 20, 30, even 50 pounds in the first few months with no dieting
– alleviation of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
– recovery from intestinal woes, like ulcerative colitis and celiac disease
– marked improvement in overall cholesterol counts
– improvement in bone density and reversal of osteopenia
– cessation of skin conditions from psoriasis to oral ulcers to hair loss
– reduction of inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis pain

With all those points, how can I not want to try eliminating wheat? I’m eager to do a 30 day trial of eliminating gluten, although I don’t know when I’ll get around to it. There is so much wheat in my life. I’m eating a bowl of cereal right now.

 

Summary:

Wheat Belly is a provocative look at how eliminating wheat – even so-called healthy whole grain wheat – from our diets is the key to permanent weight loss and can offer relief from a broad spectrum of health and digestive problems.

Drawing on decades of clinical studies and the extraorindary results he has observed after putting thousands of his patients on wheat-free regiments, Dr. William Davis makes a compelling case against this ubiquitous ingredient.

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