Wheat Belly?

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Fallen_Horse
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Wheat Belly?

#1 Postby Fallen_Horse » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:43 pm

Has anyone looked at this book yet? It's all the rage around the paleo blogosphere, and I checked it out in the store. I haven't read it all, but the parts I read were quite well-researched and cited. The basic premise is that the modern wheat plant is terrible for the human body, and that wheat is a major cause of the obesity and modern health problems that we face. I have never been terribly 'anti-wheat', but like I said, the book has been rather convincing so far. Definitely a must-read for someone that wants to get another perspective, and then we could compare notes! :D

http://www.amazon.com/Wheat-Belly-Lose-Weight-Health/dp/1609611543

A review:
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/saturated-fat/wheat-belly/
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Re: Wheat Belly?

#2 Postby Vegercize » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:40 pm

This screams low carbohydrate fad to me :augenroller: In fact he states that maintaining a low carbohydrate diet is healthiest

Having a quick flick through his references, they are all individual studies and a lot of them done in coeliac patients who have diagnosed therefore have diagnosed gluten intolerance. For the general population gluten isn't harmful or dangerous. You can't extrapolate results done in a group of patients with a known gluten allergy to the general population. Not to mention a lot of his studies are old, some dating back to the 1960's.

Some of the claims made are that when people remove wheat from their diet, they lose weight and their 'wheat belly'. Well duh... removing an entire food component from your diet is bound to make you lose weight. I bet in the standard american population when people remove wheat from their diet they don't replace it with other healthy carbohydrate foods, e.g. legumes, beans, pulses, rice, fruit. They simply remove wheat from their diet (cereals, bread, pasta etc), all foods which provide energy and carbohydrate, yes. So the subjects are therefore eating a standard low carbohydrate diet and restricting their energy intake, of course they will lose weight. But it's not sustainable nor healthy.

The problem I see with this book is it blanketly says wheat is bad, will make you fat and give you diabetes, which again sounds like low carbohydrate preaching. Yes a diet high in refined, processed and low fibre wheat products like white bread, bagels, hot-dog bus, pastry etc have been shown increase the of risk heart disease and overweight. There is some very good evidence for this. But these products are generally high in sugar and fat as well, so which is the culprit? Regardless highly refined carbohydrate products are not good for your health, yes.

BUT

There is no good evidence that wholegrain wheat products cause heart disease, diabetes and obesity. In fact there is a lot of evidence to show quite the opposite. Wheat products which are high in wholegrains and fibre can help to reduce cholesterol and protect against cancer particularly colon cancer. Because they are low GI they don't cause a large glycemic response in the body and therefore are suitable choices for people with diabetes.

However after moving here from Australia, I have seen these aforementioned options are pretty scarce in the US supermarket. There are a lot (mostly) refined wheat products on the shelves. Not to mention the US portion sizes, whoah! I think if anything the portion sizes eaten of these foods is more pertinent. I was in France recently and they eat white baguettes for breakfast, lunch and dinner... yet you hardly ever see any overweight people. They also eat very small meals by american standards and are more active...

With overweight and obesity it has to be a multifactorial problem... a diet too high in sugar, fat, processed carbs and alcohol. Combine that with very little exercise and drive through ATM's and BAM... obesity. I don't think you can make the claim that wheat is the one main causative factor.

Lastly I wouldn't trust a guy (cardiologist or not) who is saying to avoid a wholegrain wheat cereal but advocates the use of artificial sweeteners, mayonnaise, sour cream and parmesan cheese in his recipes in the back. Yes i'm sure it's the All-bran that will make you fat, not the sour cream! I wonder what his stance on meat is?

Having said all that I haven't read the whole book, just flicked through what is visible on Amazon. So open to objection...
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Re: Wheat Belly?

#3 Postby Fallen_Horse » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Two things I would like to comment on.

1. Low-carb diets are not all unhealthy
2. There are many people that blame only sugar, or only meat, or only dairy, or only processed foods, etc. for whatever ails modern humans. Sure, the approach is wrong, but the extra information shouldn't just be ignored. I don't see why modern wheat couldn't be one of the modern foods that is contributing to obesity, disease, etc.


I should also point out that the author only has a problem with the most recent strain of wheat that we have been producing (in the last 50 years or so), not as much with other grains such as rice or kamut or spelt or quinoa, etc.
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Re: Wheat Belly?

#4 Postby Vegercize » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:53 pm

Fallen_Horse wrote:Two things I would like to comment on.

1. Low-carb diets are not all unhealthy
2. There are many people that blame only sugar, or only meat, or only dairy, or only processed foods, etc. for whatever ails modern humans. Sure, the approach is wrong, but the extra information shouldn't just be ignored. I don't see why modern wheat couldn't be one of the modern foods that is contributing to obesity, disease, etc.


I should also point out that the author only has a problem with the most recent strain of wheat that we have been producing (in the last 50 years or so), not as much with other grains such as rice or kamut or spelt or quinoa, etc.


I agree overweight and obesity is multifactorial. It’s not really rocket science, compared with 100 years ago people are much less active (we have machines and technology for everything now) and 99% of the foods in the supermarket are far more energy dense than foods available previously. They are much higher in fat and sugar, so therefore eating a palm-sidzed piece of food probably has twice as many calories as it did 100 years ago. Portion sizes have increased yet energy expenditure as reduced. That is the cause of obesity. Too many calories, not enough exercise = a surplus of energy and resulting weight gain.

If a person’s calorie requirements for weight maintenance are 2,000 cal per day and they ate exactly 2,000 calories from modern wheat… would they gain weight and become obese? I have my doubts (maybe a research project here!) The same goes for 2,000 calories of pure sugar and pure fat. Weight gain is caused by excess calories (from any food) not the particular type of food. I agree different foods have different effects on post-prandial blood sugar levels, however to cause diabetes? Is a bit far-fetched.

People keep writing books on specific foods and food groups stating they are single-handedly the cause of obesity… why? Because it’s one of the biggest money-making industries in the world. People want a quick fix. Some one reads the title and thinks… I can lose weight without exercising and dieting … I just have to swap all the wheat in my diet! People are lazy and want a quick fix which is what these books encourage. I don’t doubt that people will lose weight if they remove all the wheat from their diet, because they are removing a chunk of calories, not because it’s wheat. If they replaced their wheat calories with bean calories or lentil calories or tofu calories, then I doubt they would see the weight loss boasted.

Anyway it’s a hot topic… and generally you can find research to support whatever you’re opinion may be. I personally have doubts about the quality of this author’s research.
Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. Our Attitude towards life determines life's attitude towards us.

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Re: Wheat Belly?

#5 Postby kckas » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:39 pm

I'll rent the book from my library.

Roughly 1 in 100 people have celiac disease most don't even know it, something is going on...


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