Wheat Belly ch. 1-3

WB book spine

How’s the reading coming so far? Did you make it through all three chapters? I’ll outline my thoughts below and then feel free to comment on anything that stood out to you, whether it’s in my notes or not. Please note that there are direct quotes below. I haven’t used quotes throughout but I am directly quoting the book. Let’s discuss!

I’m starting with the introduction because that’s when my jaw started dropping.

The fact that he’s a cardiologist and observes the same results over and over again with his patients when they eliminate wheat makes me want to listen to him.

Rapid and effortless eight loss within the first few months, patients cured from ulcerative colitis, others being relieved of joint pain are all his observations. He mentioned here were studies previously done showing the same results which is concerning. Did that raise a question with anyone else?

Regarding his patients, I wonder what their diets were like before cutting wheat. If you’re not eating wheat you’re probably eating more whole foods and less processed or packaged foods. So what’s to say their cleaner diets with or without wheat wasn’t the cause of the clearing up of symptoms?

And onto CHAPTER 1 – What Belly?

He notes that every organ is affected by wheat and it mainly shows in the belly. The fat accumulation in the belly is caused by years of food consumption that triggers insulin, the hormone of fat storage. The collection of the visceral fat provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body. And…. MAN BREASTS! That would make me drop the wheat if I was a male.

During his wheat-free experiment he found patients with symptoms disappearing from all sorts of ailments:

Acid reflux

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Rashes

Rheumatoid arthritis pain

Asthma

And they gained things like more energy, focus, lung, joint and bowel health, and deeper sleep.

If these same patients ate wheat again after being off of it, they would experience symptoms like diarrhea, joint swelling and pain or wheezing. So that pinpoints that it’s the wheat and not something else in their diet.

CHAPTER 2 – Not Your Grandma’s Muffins: The Creation of Modern Wheat

Was anyone surprised that wheat compromises 20% of all calories consumed? I actually thought it may be higher. It just feels like it’s everywhere.

He also touched on the financials stating that a manufacturer can transform a nickel’s worth of wheat into $3.99 and have the American Heart Association as an endorser.

What was really interesting to me was how wheat evolved into what it is today. He mentions that wheat has been altered to make the plant more resistant to environmental conditions that could kill it (drought & pathogens) as well as increasing yield per acre. And now we have more than 25,000 varieties and almost all are because of human intervention. Wow! The original wheat was einkorn. It has the simplest genetic code with only 14 chromosomes. It’s explained in the book that wheat retains the sum of the genes of their forebears. So whatever count comes from one side is added to the other and that’s how many chromosomes the offspring end up with. The most genetically complex wheat has 42 chromosomes. It’s interesting to me that wheat of today can’t survive without human intervention. Something about that doesn’t feel very natural.

And then he starts getting into the way we’ve bred wheat. The goal was to produce more so we altered it genetically and were so intent on making the most we could, the fastest we could (in order to feed more people), we failed to test on animals or humans. The agricultural scientists were convinced there wouldn’t be issues since hybridization techniques created more of the same thing (wheat). If people could tolerate it before, why wouldn’t they be able to tolerate it after? It’s still wheat, right? The variations in gluten content and other enzymes and proteins would cause no issues either. Upon further investigation, it’s been found that 5% of the proteins in the offspring aren’t found in either parent. Hello genetically modified food! The author was speaking about hybridization in this example but they’re finding now that the process to produce GM foods isn’t as clean as they thought and can produce food that causes potential toxic effects in humans. So neither would be my decision when given the choice between hybridization or GM.

CHAPTER 3 – Wheat Deconstructed

What are we eating when we choose wheat?

SUGAR! 75% of the complex carb in wheat is amylopectin. It just so happens that amylopectin is digested efficiently and is rapidly converted to glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. And that’s mainly responsible for wheat’s blood-sugar-increasing effect. Were you shocked to hear that whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a level higher than sucrose? I was. And how about the fact that pasta can generate high blood sugars for 4-6 hours after eating it? The author makes a conclusive statement by telling us that wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than virtually any other carbohydrate. This was eye-opening to me.

The author lets us know that when we trigger high blood sugars repeatedly and/or over sustained periods, more fat will accumulate. The more fat, the poorer your response to insulin, since the deep visceral fat of the wheat belly is associated with poor responsiveness or ‘resistance’ to insulin, demanding higher and higher insulin levels. And this leads to diabetes.

Chapter 3 wraps up with an explanation of gluten as well as the other non-gluten proteins in wheat. These can cause allergic or anaphylactic reactions so just because it’s not gluten doesn’t mean it’s not harmful.

Phew! That was a lot of info packed into 3 chapters. What did y’all think while you were reading? Any new revelations? Anything not surprising to you? Is it making you want to start the wheat detox now? 🙂

Please add comments below and let’s all discuss.

The next post will cover ch 4-6 and is set to publish Saturday, 7/19

9 thoughts on “Wheat Belly ch. 1-3

  1. Okay, I must admit that I didn’t read anything, but I really like your thoughts on everything. I have a son diagnosed with ASD. Just before his 4th birthday we pulled most forms of gluten out of his diet, and have seen wonderful results! Since then our home has gone (almost) gluten and wheat free. (Side note, I love a cold beer!) We have all seen a dramatic difference in the way we look and feel. I look forward to hearing more!

    1. Thanks, Harry! That’s an awesome story and totally coincides with the author’s findings. I hope you continue to follow. I’ll try to be succinct with my thoughts so they’re easy to read and hopefully you can glean some good info. Happy wheat freeness!

  2. I find wheat products to be highly addictive. I’ve eaten them my whole life and think they are my earliest and longest lasting addiction. I’ve managed to cut out cigarettes, alcohol and drugs from my life, but wheat takes the cake (pun intended). Visceral fat is what really concerns me. It’s the stuff you can’t visually observe and it sits there packed around your organs acting like an endocrine gland causing inflammation throughout the body.

    1. Hi James! You’ve always been inspiring with your life choices and how you can manage to redirect in the name of health. Hopefully this whole Wheat Belly adventure will help on some level and allow you to break away from wheat. I don’t know about you but as I read I’m continually surprised at how wheat interacts with our bodies. It affects EVERY organ. Crazy!

      Thanks for following along, James!

  3. Okay! This book really has lots of reasons to not eat wheat and processed wheat products.
    I had to skip ahead to the recipies to see what he recommends to eat.. Vegetables seem to be the main answer. I know that I feel much better when I eat a load of vegetables. I’m wondering if sprouted grain bread would be a good c;hoice. Sorry but I just had to move forward to see what I could actually apply to my diet.

    1. You’re action-oriented! I’ll continue the updates on the chapters so maybe that will be a better way for you to see what the book is all about. There are some good details in it that have been eye-opening for sure.

      Share your recipes when you find good ones. I’d love to hear about them.

  4. I don’t have the book, but I’m wanting to get it and start reading. Based on your review, it seems the author is thorough and gives good support to his statements. Wheat’s affects on blood sugar is interesting. I’d also like to know about sprouted grain bread. It’s what I eat when I really crave a piece of toast or sandwich, but it’s only sometimes. Sticking to meat, poultry, or fish and veggies as well as a small amount of fruit is what I keep hearing for the healthiest eating suggestions. Simple, pure, whole foods — easy enough! Goodbye belly! Now,…, how about what to do for the hips?! (I’ve actually lost flab in my thighs, hips, and butt by high intensity intervals, but also eating no sugar or processed foods.) Now I think I can get even better results if I don’t eat wheat! I’m hopeful to find some new recipes and hear more comments. Thanks!

    1. I know that sprouted grains are better for you. You get more nutrition from them although for the purposes of gluten and the effects of it, it’s not ideal to eat. Here’s more info on sprouted grains: http://authoritynutrition.com/ezekiel-bread/

      When you get the book, head to ch 6. There’s a ton of good info in there that I think Peter would really benefit from (if he doesn’t already know it). It also hits on the issues people face who are hyper sensitive to gluten. It’s a good ‘day in the life’ synopsis that I think others should read about to gain perspective on what it’s like to have celiac.

      I hope you enjoy reading it once you get it!

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