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.

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