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Could Wheat Be Secretly Making You Gain Fat?

In case you missed it, Dr. Oz recently had William Davis MD, a cardiologist and author of the best selling book “Wheat Belly” on his show to discuss the possible downsides of consuming modern wheat products.

Dr. Davis refers to the new genetically modified version of wheat crops in this country as “Franken-wheat” since it is vastly different than the wheat previous generations consumed.

While concerns over genetically modified crops is just now starting to get public awareness, he believes wheat products in particular are largely to blame for our obesity epidemic.

And you know what, he may be on to something. The book is certainly controversial as it goes against one of the primary nutritional recommendations we’ve been hearing for years from the mainstream, that is to increase consumption of so called healthy whole grains.

In today’s post we’ll look at just what may be behind the problems with wheat products in your diet.

More after the jump…

Why wheat products could be a hidden cause of weight gain…

I’ll admit that a lot of what we’re now learning about modern wheat products is new to me although I’ve long promoted limiting it in your diet since I advocate more of a Primal Blueprint type diet. Wheat along with other grains contain glycoproteins called lectins and a group of antioxidant compounds called phytates, which can impact nutrient absorption, promote inflammation in the gut, and trigger an immune system response.

I’ve discussed these substances at length in other posts and videos so I won’t go into a lot of detail on them now. While a lot of the attention is often placed on wheat gluten, which is a protein found in wheat that can have an allergen effect in the body, not everyone will have the same insensitivity.

None-the-less, many individuals will see a significant improvement in overall health by removing wheat gluten from their diet. The problem as Dr. Davis sees it, and I tend to agree with him, is that often times people are replacing products with wheat gluten in their diet with processed and refined “gluten-free” products.

This isn’t the same as replacing with other whole, natural foods. Processed starches with the gluten removed aren’t necessarily better for you. In fact, they could be promoting weight gain without you even knowing it. How so?

It appears a protein unique to wheat called gliadin, works to stimulate appetite by triggering opiod receptors in the brain. This in essence makes it addictive and may likely lead you to consume more calories during the day. The more wheat products you consume the more you want.

Excess blood sugar results in insulin spikes as the body works to shuttle glucose into muscle cells for energy or fat cells for storage. As you know when blood sugar and insulin levels remain chronically elevated this leads to increased risk of metabolic syndrome, weight gain, and type II diabetes.

“But wait a minute, I thought whole grain bread was supposed to be healthy?”

We’ve long been told that we should replace white bread and other processed starches with things like whole grain bread. I won’t argue this is a step in the right direction, but you may want to reconsider just how “healthy” that whole grain bread really is.

Dr. Oz did an interesting experiment during his show where he had five women consume whole grain bread and a candy bar to compare the impacts on blood sugar levels.

The women all consumed whole wheat bread on the first day of the experiment then later had blood drawn to test their levels of blood glucose. The proceeding day they did the same thing with eating a candy bar.

Even I was shocked with the findings.

Three out of the five women had their blood sugar levels spike HIGHER with the whole wheat bread than they did with the candy bar.

In two of the women, their blood sugar levels were two times as high with the whole wheat bread compared to the candy bar.

This certainly doesn’t mean a candy bar is better for you than whole wheat bread, but it does make you stop and think.

VIDEO

Here’s a link to the Dr. Oz videos from the segment he did with Dr. Davis on “Are You Addicted To Wheat?”

Continued…

Granted each person is going to be different with how they respond due to insulin sensitivity and other factors, but there’s no denying that stabilizing blood sugar levels and decreasing insulin secretion is essential for long-term weight loss.

Dr. Davis makes a case that if you lose the wheat you’ll lose the weight. He makes some pretty bold claims with just how much weight you could expect to lose, but I think everyone is going to be different.

Sure there are those individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight by simply removing all wheat products from their diet. He’s got lots of social proof from men and women who have followed his recommendations and I won’t contest that.

I just think we need to be cautious about jumping to conclusions by vilifying a particular natural food source. I don’t really know (nor do I think anybody really does at this point) just how genetic modification has altered wheat from a metabolic standpoint.

Some will argue that wheat has been around as a food source for years and years, often as a staple for many cultures. Granted we’re talking about whole grain wheat and not the processed varieties we typically find today.

There’s always going to be debates over which foods are best to eat and which ones are best left out of your diet. In the end each person has to find what works for them as I don’t really believe we can come to general conclusions with natural foods.

So what to do with wheat?

I’ll say this, while I’m not ready to call wheat some “evil” food source that just makes people fat, I think there’s merit to possibly consider minimizing or eliminating it from your diet.

This would be especially so if you’re looking to drop excess body fat and improve things like insulin resistance, high blood sugar, etc.

As someone who largely adheres to a Primal Blueprint type diet and advocates paleo principals, I’ve seen the reduction of wheat in the diet have numerous positive benefits.

Try removing all wheat products from your diet for a mere thirty days and see for yourself what impact it has. Maybe you’ll want to go back to it, maybe you won’t.

Once again everyone is going to be different. I still have some bread or pasta on occasion and don’t seem to struggle much with it. Then again I typically feel better and have an easier time maintaining a lean body weight when I cut it out.

I’ll say this, If I were looking to drop fat and really lean out, wheat would be off the menu. There are certainly other forms of starches that would be better to meet the energy demands of intense weight training and increased metabolic rate.

This is my short list of starches I prefer over wheat products

  • Sweet potatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal

I’ll also note there are some surprisingly tasty ways you can replace wheat pasta noodles with some alternatives. Try one of the following:

  • Shirataki noodles
  • Spaghetti squash noodles
  • Shredded zucchini noodles

You can even try substituting cooked cauliflower in your mashed potato and other favorite potato based recipes. It’s actually pretty good.

The point is you don’t have to freak out with the thought of eliminating wheat products from your diet. A lot of recipes for baked goods or breaded foods can be replaced with alternatives. Here are a few wheat replacements.

  • Ground almonds or other nuts
  • Coconut flour
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Chia Seeds

Pecan crusted chicken can be just as tasty if not more than a breaded chicken breast and you can eliminate the wheat in the process.

The examples are numerous and with a little bit of homework you can find some great recipes. If you have any ideas you’d like to share feel free to do so in the comments section.

This is by no means the final word on wheat, but I hope this post has given you some food for thought per say in whether or not you want to include it in your diet.

If you’ve found it helpful to cut out wheat products share you experience below. Always love to hear feedback from readers.


Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts, a Charleston personal fitness training studio that specializes in weight loss and body transformation for middle age adults. See our success stories from numerous Lowcountry residents then sign up for a no-obligations consultation today.

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Category: Fat Loss.