WheatBelly ch 10-13

Wheat Belly ch. 10-13

WheatBelly ch 10-13

We’re wrapping up with the final chapters! Don’t forget to let me know what you thought in the comments below.

As a final reminder… I will be taking quotes directly from the book and won’t always use quotes when I do it. I’ve thrown in my thoughts but the majority of the material below is directly from the book.

CHAPTER 10 – My Particles Are Bigger Than Yours: Wheat And Heart Disease

This was an interesting chapter to me. We all hear that high cholesterol means we should cut out meat. I found it intriguing when the author mentioned carbs have the capacity to stimulate insulin, which in turn triggers fatty acid synthesis in the liver, a process that floods the bloodstream with triglycerides. So maybe we should be cutting out carbs? Specifically wheat since it spikes our blood sugar levels so much. Things are complicated even more if visceral fat is involved. Visceral fat acts as a triglyceride repository, but one that causes a constant flow of triglycerides into and out of fat cells, triglycerides that enter the bloodstream. Can we stay off statins if we stop eating wheat?

CHAPTER 11 – It’s All In Your Head: Wheat And The Brain

I was surprised to find out that brain tissue is affected by wheat. The author mentioned the effects on the cerebrum, cerebellum and other nervous system structures, with consequences ranging from incoordination to incontinence, from seizures to dementia. And, unlike addictive phenomena, those are not entirely reversible. Recently, it has become clear that brain and nervous system involvement results from a direct immune attack on nerve cells. The author continues with statements about brain damage occurring. The brain’s gray matter can be pulled into the immune battle with wheat, resulting in encephalopathy or brain disease. There are some sweeping comments the author seems to make. One stating that ‘all of this (brain damage) due to the muffins and bagels you so crave.’ I don’t think it’s all due to the wheat. I believe there could be more involved. There are so many foods we eat as well as health and beauty products we apply topically and the environment we live in (air we breathe) that we can’t possibly know that the brain damage any one person has is the direct result of eating wheat. He also mentions there could be fatal dementia from wheat. Again, I would like to know what other influences the people he sees with fatal dementia are dealing with. He does mention, however, that the percentage of dementia sufferers who can blame their disease on wheat has not been satisfactorily answered.

CHAPTER 12 – Bagel Face: Wheat’s Destructive Effect On The Skin

This I’ve dealt with first hand. I’ve done cleanses and have noticed when I cut out sugar and carbs my skin is noticeably different. It’s smoother and more even-toned.

The author states that cultures without acne consume little to no wheat, sugar or dairy products. As Western influence introduced processed starches such as wheat and sugars into groups such as the Okinawans, Inuits and Zulus, acne promptly followed. He goes on to list all skin-related ails caused by wheat consumption:

Oral ulcers

Cutaneous vasculitis

Acanthosis nigricans

Erythema nodosum

Psoriasis

Vitiligo

Behcet’s disease

Dermatomyositis

Icthyosiform dermatoses

Pyoderma gangrenosum

CHAPTER 13 – Goodbye, Wheat: Create A Healthy, Delicious, Wheat-Free Life

And now for the practical stuff. It’s hard to remove this from our diet. It’s everywhere. But just like any other habit, after you establish which foods you can eat instead of looking at the foods you can’t, it’s not so tough. It takes more planning since social situations are really tough. They don’t have wheat-free options a lot of the time and people are almost infatuated with getting wheat-free eaters (or any diet they’re not on) to eat exactly it is you’re trying to avoid.  However, once you maneuver around these traps and learn tactics that work best for you, it’s not impossible to eat wheat-free. A lot of times I’ll eat before I go to a social setting. If it’s a dinner, I can almost always order something small like a salad and still feel like I’m participating.

Now, about fiber. We all hear that fiber comes from whole grains. But did you know that nuts and veggies have more fiber than whole grains? So your fiber intake actually increases when you go wheat free. Another false assumption is that you’ll miss out on B vitamins. A lot of our packaged foods have been fortified with B6, B12, folic acid and thiamine so dietitians warn us that forgoing these products could result in vitamin B deficiencies. However, did you know that B vitamins are present in greater quantities in whole foods like meats, veggies and nuts? White bread and other wheat products are required by law to have added folic acid. With one handful of sunflower seeds or asparagus you’ll exceed the folic acid content of wheat products several times over. It’s also been shown that folates of natural sources may be superior to the folic acid in fortified processed foods. Eat your nuts and green veggies to get lots of folate. Chicken, pork, avocado and ground flaxseed all contain B6 and thiamine. Further, eliminating wheat from your diet actually enhances B vitamin absorption. It’s not uncommon for vitamin B12, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium to increase when wheat is removed. This is because gastrointestinal health improves so your body is better able to absorb the nutrients.

What’s the best way to eliminate wheat from your diet? The author recommends going cold turkey. Stop eating wheat abruptly and completely. Gradual reduction could be tough since eating wheat causes such an insulin-glucose roller coaster and brain-addictive exorphin effects. You’ll have to deal with withdrawal but once that’s finished, it’s done. You won’t be dragging out the process like you would if you tried to eliminate a little wheat at a time.

Speaking of withdrawal, here’s what the author says we can expect when we eliminate wheat from our diet:

fatigue

mental fogginess

irritability

vague dysphoria, low mood and sadness

Just like cigarettes. How odd that removing a food from our diet have the same effects as removing a drug.

The author also mentions that wheat withdrawal can also cause diminished capacity to exercise which usually lasts from two to five days.

After about one week of no wheat there should be no more signs of withdrawal. The longest he’s seen is 4 weeks but he mentions that was very unusual.

The author provides a list of other non-wheat containing foods that we can eliminate if we want to remove even more appetite-stimulating, insulin distorting and small LDL-triggering effects of food. Removing these foods can also help with substantial weight loss:

Cornstarch and cornmeal

Snack foods

Desserts

Rice

Potatoes

Legumes

Gluten-free foods

Fruit juices, soft drinks

Dried fruit

Other grains

So, what can we eat?? He gives us this list:

Vegetables

Raw nuts

Some fruit

Oils

Meats and eggs

Dairy

Olives

Avocados

Pickled veggies

Raw seeds

And eat a variety for the best health. Experiment with new foods. Grab a new veggie every time you go to the grocery store and google how to prepare it. It gets kinda fun.

Another important point the author makes is to start looking at breakfast as another meal and not one where you need cereal or toast. Think outside the box and give your body more variety. You’ll open yourself up to a ton of possibilities and breakfast will become easy. Have your leftover dinner or lunch for breakfast. That would help to make the prep go really fast. Use ground flaxseed, ground nut meals or coconut (unsweet) as a warm breakfast cereal. Treat it like oatmeal and top it with berries.

And there you have it. Wheat Belly is complete! What did y’all think? Are you ready to go wheat free? I’ve tried it for the past four weeks and overall I really liked it. It was tough getting used to eating more veggies to make up for the lack of carbs but once I got that down it was easier. The real difference came when I got off the diet and ate tortilla chips. Oh man. Talk about bloated and low energy. It was a serious lesson and one that really made me think. I’ve never dealt with an intolerance or allergy so it was a bit shocking to feel the way I did for as long as I did (half of my day).

Let me know thoughts and how you feel about going wheat-free. Or have you already tried it? If so, what did you think? Would you do it again?

WheatBelly ch 7-9

Wheat Belly ch. 7-9

WheatBelly ch 7-9

And I’m back! Sorry for the delay. Life started happening and I got off the reading bandwagon, but I’m all read up now! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to finish these chapters and are ready for an overview. Read on and let me know thoughts in the comments.

I’m finding more good tidbits in this book and I’m excited to share.

Once again, I will be taking quotes directly from the book and won’t always use quotes when I do it. I’ve thrown in my thoughts but the majority of the material below is directly from the book.

CHAPTER 7 – Diabetes Nation: Wheat And Insulin Resistance

One point that stood out to me was the combined total of people with diabetes and pre diabetes in 2008 was eighty-one million, or one in three adults over the age of 18. That’s a lotta people. Considering diabetes can lead to kidney failure (40% is due to diabetes) and limb amputation, it absolutely makes me want to listen to ways that could help to prevent going down that path.

A good way to avoid becoming diabetic is to watch weight gain. Something else the book points out is the cost of obesity. It dwarfs the sum spent on cancer. And more money will be spent on health consequences of obesity than education. Ugh. That’s not how it should be.

More crazy stats: if national wheat consumption is averaged across all Americans, the average American consumes 133 pounds of wheat per year. That’s the equivalent of 200 loaves of bread which averages out to a little more than half a loaf per day. That puts consumption into perspective, doesn’t it?

Remember that the cycle of glucose-insulin reaching high levels several times during the day provokes growth of visceral fat. That type of fat is closely aligned with resistance to insulin which leads to even higher levels of glucose and insulin.

The author does make a point about a glimmer of hope in the medical community. He mentions two doctors/researchers report they typically need to reduce the dose of insulin by 50% the first day a patient engages in reducing carbs in order to avoid excessively low blood sugars. The findings have been demonstrated repeatedly in both humans and animals. This leads to the belief that a sharp reduction in carbs reverses insulin resistance, postprandial distortions and visceral fat.

CHAPTER 8 – Dropping Acid: Wheat As The Great pH Disrupter

The author starts by explaining the pH levels in the body and how they are maintained. Humans live at a pH of 7.4 and if we go up or down by .5 we will die. We want to avoid too much acid or too much alkaline although the body is happier with a slight alkaline bias. Our body will automatically maintain 7.4 in order to keep us alive. If we become too acidic, the body draws on alkaline stores from bicarbonate in blood to calcium phosphate in bones. Our bones will turn to mush before pH levels get to deathly levels. We can help our bodies stay in a more alkaline state with nutrition.

Proteins from animal products are meant to be the main acid-generating challenge in the human diet. Meats such as chicken, pork roast and Arby’s roast beef sandwiches are therefore a major source of acid in the average American diet. These acids that come from meats (uric and sulfuric – the same as in your car’s battery and acid rain) need to be buffered by the body. Another highly acidic food is cheese Particularly the reduced-fat, high-protein types. Research does show that protein-rich meats have other effects that partially negate the acid load. Animal protein exerts a bone-strengthening effect through stimulation of the hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). That triggers bone growth and mineralization.

Fruits and veggies, however, are the dominant alkaline foods in the diet. Almost everything in the produce department will drive pH toward the alkaline direction. If you eat meat, don’t forget the fruits and veggies!

If you are too acidic, over time this will result in acidosis. This has been seen in a diet rich with ‘healthy whole grains’ and not much fruit and veggies. Through drawing on calcium stores to help neutralize the body’s acidic environment, bone health is compromised. Osteopenia and later osteoporosis can occur. And taking calcium supplements doesn’t work. I’m interested to know why but the author doesn’t explain that point.

So, where does wheat play into this? It’s actually among the most potent sources of sulfuric acid. It yields more per gram than any meat. One more major hit to wheat.

On to arthritis… it was conventional thought that promoted the idea that common arthritis of the hips and knees were the result of excessive wear and tear. Now they believe it to be more complicated. The same inflammation that issues from the visceral fat and results in diabetes, heart disease and cancer also yields inflammation of joints. Inflammation-mediating hormones (leptin being the main one) have been shown to inflame and erode joint tissue. Leptin has shown to cause direct joint destructive effects. The greater the degree of overweight, the higher the quantity of lepton within joint fluid and the greater the severity of cartilage and joint damage.

Final point: Remove wheat and experience reduced joint inflammation and fewer blood sugar highs that glycate cartilage and shift the pH balance to alkaline.

CHAPTER 9 – Cataracts, Wrinkles And Dowager’s Humps: Wheat And The Aging Process

The author talks about AGE in this chapter. Not how many years you’ve been alive but rather Advanced Glycation End products. It’s the stuff that stiffens arteries (atherosclerosis), clouds the lenses of the eyes (cataracts) and mucks up the neuronal connections of the brain (dementia). AGEs are formed by eating foods that increase blood glucose. They are useless debris that result in tissue decay as they accumulate. They provide no useful function. They cannot be burned for energy, they provide no lubricating or communicating functions, they provide no assistance to nearby enzymes or hormones. One more thing. Once they form, they are irreversible and cannot be undone.

AGEs that result from high blood sugars are responsible for most of the complications of diabetes, from neuropathy (damage nerves leading to loss of sensation in the feet) to retinopathy (vision defects and blindness) to nephropathy (kidney disease and kidney failure). The higher the blood sugar and the longer the blood sugars stay high, the more AGE products will accumulate and the more organ damage results.

And it doesn’t end there. Higher AGE blood levels spark the expression of oxidative stress and inflammatory markers. This can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. Further, all it takes is a little extra blood sugar, just a few milligrams above normal, and, viola, you’ve got AGEs doing their dirty work and gumming up your organs.

So there you have it. More reason to think about how removing wheat from your diet could benefit you long term. We’ve got a few more chapters to go before wrapping up this series. What are your thoughts thus far? Do you need more convincing or are you ready to cut wheat from your diet? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts at this point.

WB book spine ch4-6

Wheat Belly ch. 4-6

WB book spine ch4-6

 

Oh man! Anyone else surprised at the stuff in ch 4-6. This is definitely eye-opening. Let’s dive in…

I want to reiterate that I will be taking quotes directly from the book and won’t always use quotes when I do it. I’ve thrown in my thoughts but the majority of the material below is directly from the book.

CHAPTER 4 – Hey, Man, Wanna Buy Some Exorphins? The Addictive Properties of Wheat

I like that the author talks about the psychological aspect of cutting wheat from your diet. I would argue that this is the toughest part of making changes to your diet. He mentions, ‘It’s not just a matter of inadequate resolve, inconvenience, or breaking well-worn habits; it’s about severing a relationship with something that gains hold of your psyche and emotions, not unlike the hold heroin has over the desperate addict.’ He goes on to mention that you consume coffee and alcohol for specific mind effects but with wheat, you consume it for ‘nutrition’. That makes it even more difficult to remove it from your diet.

He mentioned it before but he says again that removing wheat from your diet typically results in:

  • Improved mood
  • Fewer mood swings
  • Improved ability to concentrate
  • Deeper sleep

And all this can happen days after removal.

Dr. Davis continues with explaining exorphins. An abbreviation for exogenous morphine-like compounds, they’re a polypeptide. They have the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier that separates the bloodstream from the brain. The barrier is there to protect our brain as it’s highly sensitive to substances in the blood. They bind to the brain’s morphine receptor. These exorphins are derived from wheat. And that’s why we get a high from eating wheat. Do you know how to reverse that? Get a dose of naloxone. It’s the same thing given to people high on opiates to reverse the affects. Yes, ‘the very same drug that turns off the heroin in a drug-abusing addict also blocks the effects of wheat exorphins.’

Wheat is one of the few foods with potent central nervous system effects. It can:

  • Alter behavior
  • Induce pleasurable effects
  • Generate withdrawal symptoms upon it’s removal

To recap, ‘understanding that wheat, specifically exorphins from gluten have the potential to generate euphoria, addictive behavior and appetite stimulation means that we have a potential means of weight control: Lose the wheat, lose the weight.’

CHAPTER 5 – Your Wheat Belly Is Showing: The Wheat/Obesity Connection

Wheat makes us fat. That’s what the author claims. His findings with patients is that they lose weight when they cut wheat. Even when they have healthy diets. It’s intriguing. I don’t usually agree with blanket statements and I’m not so sure the author is trying to do that. I believe there are lots of factors to the weight gain America has seen. I’m sure wheat plays a huge role.

He mentions that a study in the 80’s and later show that when we replace white flour with whole grain flour, there is a reduction in colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It’s true but he also mentions that it’s a flawed rationale to think that it’s okay when you replace something that’s bad for you with something that’s less bad for you.

And now on to visceral fat…

‘Wheat triggers a cycle of insulin-driven satiety and hunger, paralleled by the ups and downs of euphoria and withdrawal, distortions of neurological function, and addictive effects, all leading to fat deposition.’ So this up and down cycle with our blood sugar leads to fat growth around our organs which we can see in the form of a belly.

How is visceral fat worse than other fat on our body?

It is ‘uniquely capable of triggering a universe of inflammatory phenomena. Visceral fat filling and encircling the abdomen of the wheat belly sort is a unique, twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week metabolic factory. And what it produces is inflammatory signals and abnormal cytokines, or cell-to-cell hormone signal molecules… The more visceral fat present, the greater the quantities of abnormal signals released into the bloodstream.’

Body fat can produce molecules that reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. As visceral fat increases though, it’s ability to produce these helpful molecules diminishes.

In summation, visceral fat can lead to:

  • Abnormal insulin responses
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Colon cancer

Dr. Davis hits on something that I find to be empowering and at the heart of all healthy eating. If you can switch your perspective to align with this, you’ve conquered the hardest part of eating healthy.

‘The amazing thing about wheat elimination is that removing this food that triggers appetite and addictive behavior forges a brand-new relationship with food: You eat food because you need it to supply your physiological energy needs, not because you have some odd food ingredient pushing your appetite ‘buttons’, increasing appetite and the impulse to eat more and more.’

Healthy eating is about changing your perspective. Once you do that and see food in a new way, the rest becomes much easier.

‘It makes perfect sense: If you eliminate foods that trigger exaggerated blood sugar and insulin responses, you eliminate the cycle of hunger and momentary satiety, you eliminate the dietary source of addictive exorphins, you are more satisfied with less.’

Here’s another thing I found eye-opening: ‘Be gluten-free but don’t eat gluten-free’.

The author mentions that many gluten-free foods replace the gluten with blood sugar spiking ingredients. Things like cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch and tapioca starch are all foods that will cause an increase in blood sugar levels even more than wheat products. Even MORE THAN wheat products. That’s no good.

CHAPTER 6 – Hello Intestine. It’s Me, Wheat. Wheat and Celiac Disease

Celiac is something I became familiar with when my sister married. Her husband has celiac and it was years ago when he started seeing my sister. Our family had no idea what celiac was but over the years we’ve become very familiar. This chapter sheds even more light on celiac and the wide-reaching effects it has on the body.

Did you know that your small intestine is twenty-something feet and your large intestine is four feet? That’s a lot of length of the digestive system. It works non-stop so you can imagine if you’re putting something in your body that can potentially damage it, how detrimental it can be to your entire body.

Wheat entered the human diet during the past ten thousand years. This is a relatively short time and it was insufficient to allow all humans to make the adaptation to this unique plant. The most failed being celiac disease. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can’t be sure that other body systems aren’t being affected in a celiac-like way.

Celiac sufferers, when on a diet of gluten, have to deal with symptoms like cramping, diarrhea and yellow-colored stools (caused by undigested fats). Over the years this  can progress into nutritional deficiencies of protein, fatty acids and vitamins B12, D, E, K, folate, iron and zinc.

Since the intestinal lining gets broken down, the various components of wheat gain entry to the bloodstream which results in the body breaking down it’s own lining. Bacteria gets through the lining as well which causes inflammatory and immune responses.

Over the past fifty years, celiac has increased 4 times, doubling in the past twenty years.  This increase has paralleled an increase in type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease and allergies. This is because modern wheat contains more celiac-triggering gluten proteins than non-celiac-triggering proteins, based on studies.

The author explains that we now know, ‘You can be fat and constipated or thin and regular and still have the disease. And you are more likely to have it than you grandparents were.’

Back to the issue of substances mistakenly entering the bloodstream. This triggers an autoimmune response where the body attacks normal organs which can lead to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis. So, it’s super important to ensure your intestines are not permeable. Wheat gliadin (found in wheat) is a trigger for our body to release zonulin, a regulator of intestinal permeability. They disassemble tight junctions so releasing them causes the intestinal lining to become permeable. Another example of a trigger for zonulin include the infectious agents causing cholera and dysentery.

Next, Dr. Davis lines out what it’s like on a daily basis with someone dealing with celiac. I like this because it provides people that don’t suffer from symptoms with info that can help provide a different perspective. Instead of seeing them as overly cautious or fanatical, they can be viewed as someone trying to maneuver in this crazy, wheat-laden world in an effort to not feel sick all the time. It must be so frustrating working to avoid gluten in food as well as cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, prescription drugs and even gum. Everything that touches their body, topically or not, must be scrutinized.

I was surprised to learn that IBS and acid reflux could also represent lesser forms of celiac disease. This is huge. Who doesn’t know someone with one or even both of those issues?

He leaves us with a new perspective, ‘One of the essential but unappreciated phenomena accompanying wheat and gluten elimination, celiac or otherwise: You appreciate food more. You eat foods because you require sustenance and you enjoy their taste and texture. You are not driven by hidden uncontrollable impulses of the sort triggered by wheat.’

Sounds like a good place to land!