Lose The Wheat, Lose The Weight

I recently read a shocking book by Dr. William Davis called: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health.

In this book, Dr. Davis (a well-known cardiologist), gives wheat the biggest smack-down I have ever seen… and backs it up with hard science.

He also provides a well-backed critique of “whole grains” masquerading as health products…

“There is a germ of truth in this whole grain disaster: Whole grains are indeed healthier than white flour products–just as filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered cigarettes. So should you smoke more Salems in place of your Marlboros? I don’t think so!”

And then there is the scary fact that modern wheat contains 42 chromosomes (28 more than ancient wheat) and leads to multiple health issues.

Quite frankly, this is pretty scary. Ancient wheat isn’t exactly good for you, but modern wheat far more troublesome.

How Does Wheat Make You Fat?

The primary reason wheat makes us fat is due to its high insulin response.

Did you know that whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than table sugar? So when you eat that sandwich, those crackers, or have that tortilla…

You are fighting against a hormone cascade that you simply can not win.

The reason is because wheat carbohydrates (amylopectin A) cause a larger spike in blood sugar than almost any other food (except some starches included in “gluten free foods” which we will get to later).

That is higher than a candy bar, ice cream, or (as I said before) pure table sugar.

The Consequences of Amylopectin

Amylopectin is a super carbohydrate contained in wheat that produces an insulin response so strong that it causes fat to form specifically in your visceral organs.

This means that your liver, your kidneys, your pancreas, you intestines, and your belly become engorged with fat… creating a no-win situation.

Dr. Davis calls this a, “unique, twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week metabolic factory.”

The result is inflammation and abnormal cytokines (chemical messengers that can cause leptin resistance and arthritis). And this causes reduction in adiponectin (your fat burning hormone).

And that is what causes an uncontrollable spiral of weight gain (among other issues Dr. Davis mentions that I will not get into here).

There is More

I am not going to go into too much more detail in this post, but there are a lot more problems associated with wheat:

  • Wheat contains Zonulins, which can create permeability (small holes) in your intestines.
  • Wheat can create withdrawal symptoms upon its removal.
  • Wheat is a large culprit in the night-time cravings.
  • Wheat can cause mental sluggishness and attention disorders.
  • Wheat is responsible for multiple skin disorders.

Reversing The Fat Cycle

A wheat free meal of lean protein and vegetables

So what does one do in order to reverse this effect. You might have guessed it, give up wheat!

However, Doctor Davis is clear that you should not replace it with other high glycemic foods like cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch.

And if you read the ingredients of most gluten free packaged foods, these are the exact ingredients you will find.

So the trick is to read labels and stick to fresh vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, fruits (preferably berries), and cheeses. I will go into other dairy at another time.

I know this seems difficult, but one effect of giving up and/or dramatically reducing wheat, is that your appetite and cravings will diminish… so it gets easier.

I have been on a low modern wheat and low sugar eating plan for a long time, and I find it very easy to follow.

What I suggest is to try this for a week (no wheat) and do not replace with other high carb foods like sugar, corn syrup, and the starches I mentioned above.

You might feel a withdrawal at first, but after 7 days… you might never want to go back!

In fact, there are two things I’d like you to consider posting about in the comments section below:

1) If you have already had success giving up wheat, let us know what made it easier for you, and the benefits you experienced. This will help inspire others in their pursuit as well. And…

2) If you have any questions, or struggle with certain wheat foods (pizza is a tough one, especially here in NYC!) – then mention that and perhaps another reader will have an alternative or suggestion that will help you.

Fair enough? Great!

Lastly, I definitely recommend going to the book store – or hopping onto Amazon.com – and getting Dr. Davis’ book. It is highly motivating!

Steven Sisskind, M.D.

Dr. Steven Sisskind, M.D.

Steve Sisskind, M.D.

Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.

As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.

Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?

I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.

I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!

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  1. Because of an extremely high ldl cholesterol number recently, I knew it was time for a serious look at my diet. I ditched the eggs for breakfast and instead eat a bowl of oat bran with a scoop pf oat beta glucan in it. The rest of the day consists of home made low fat soups, salads and tons of vegetables and beans. No wheat. The only dairy I have is non fat plain greek yogurt with blueberries. I also get a 4 mile walk in most days. My cravings are zilch during the day and if I do get hungry after supper, I measure out one serving of almonds and snack on those. IT DOES GET EASIER AFTER A WEEK OR TWO!

    I go in for another cholesterol check in 2 months. I’m hoping for better numbers. And oh, I’m losing weight too!

  2. Hi Dr Steve Thanks for your regular e/mails. I love my bread and I have switched to eating Spelt and Sprouted Grains bread.Is this bread better for me than the regular brown bread with or without grains ? I would welcome your advice please.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Bruce,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! Yes, sprouted grain breads contain a lot more nutrients, fiber and protein versus regular bread. I personally stock up n Ezekiel Bread and a simple sandwich keeps me full for hours. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

  3. Hi Dr Steve,

    There seems to be confusing information regarding Eziekel Bread. Some article say that is not Gluten free. Can you please clarify. Thanks

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Judy,

      Thank you for writing in and for posting your question! Ezekiel bread is made with sprouted grains and legumes. It is not gluten free but are considerably healthier than regular bread as they contain more protein and fibers. However, folks who are unable to take in gluten may need to speak with their doctor before making the switch. Hope this helps! Make it a healthy day!

  4. butting in on your letters i wish to order more weight loss formula no1 can this be arranged asap i have run out please communicate withthe above adress richard thank you

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Richard,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! I will be passing on your request to our RealCare team and they should be in touch soon. For the meantime, please feel free to browse our online store at: http://blogrd.wpengine.com/cart/store

      Again, thank you for making us your partner in health, Richard and we will be in touch soon! Have a very Happy New Year!

  5. Im only new at this, I have struggled a little cutting out what. breakfast and lunch. I do have eggs and bacon but what other options do I have? I some times have a salad at lunch with out the bread. Can I have a wrap? what other options can I have?

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Mandy,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! I completely understand what you’re saying as it can often be intimidating to start something new. I do suggest that you start making small healthy changes in your diet to make it easier to implement them in your meals. For example, if you plan to cut out wheat and some of your carb consumption, opt for fresh or steamed vegetables where possible. Whole grain breads or Ezekiel bread are also great substitutes for white bread.

      Yes, wraps are often my go to option when I sense a busy day ahead. You can fill your wrap with your choice of greens, beans/lentils and a few slices of leftover chicken or lean beef. This should be enough to keep you full and will keep well even at room temperature (depending on your filling). For more tips and suggestions, I do suggest you get signed up to our Healthy Life Program. If you’d like more information about the program, you can visit the Healthy Life Program page at the link below:

      I wish you great success on your journey, Mandy! And make it a healthy day!

  6. An overweight relative of mine was at the end of her weigh-loss rope and discovered she had a gluten allergy/intolerance. It was not only stalling her weigh loss efforts, but was also affecting her energy levels, hormones, and mental health (depression). She cut wheat completely out of her diet and her life took a 180 degree turn. I was so impressed months ago I cut out wheat as well, but for 1 wheat tortilla for lunch during the week. After listening to this, I’m going to try and find a substitute for that as well. Pizza will forever be my soft spot…I have gluten free crusts, but still they are starchy. How do you get around that? Maybe I’ll try a cauliflour crust from my paleo-ish recipies and see how that goes. Thank you so much for the information, it’s so motivating!

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Angela,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your story with us! I completely understand what you’re saying and personally, pizza was one of the hardest to give up in the early days of my transition to eating healthy. Lately, there has been a surge of small independent bakeries that do have gluten or wheat free options. I do recommend that you take the time to look around your local supermarket or farmer’s market and see if the same is available in your area.They are worth the hunt!

      Also, I thank you for sharing you and your cousin’s journey to better health with us! I hope they inspire others to do the same and I do look forward to hearing of your progress! Make it a healthy day!

    • Angela,

      Almond flour bread works really well for pizza, also.

  7. What about white rice? Does it adversly affect the body and if so, how?

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Will,

      Thank you for writing in and for posting your concerns! White rice will not adversely affect the body,per se. However, if you do eat too much, you may increase you chance of elevating your blood sugar levels or increase fat production in your system. In terms of rice, I do recommend 1/2 cup early in the day and opt for wild, brown or colored rice as these are more nutrient rich and packed with fiber. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

  8. Is it 1/2 cup cooked or uncooked oatmeal?

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Orange,

      Thank you for writing in! That is 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal or carbohydrates, in general. Have a healthy day!

  9. I have a question about oats. Do oats fall into this whole grain taboo? I’ve read pieces that said oats have gluten but oats are extremely healthy and should be a staple in a persons diet.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi M Vaughn,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! Yes, a half cup serving of steel cut or rolled oats is fine to have every day. There is no gluten in them, yet but when processed further could result in this protein’s formation. That said, I do agree that a good amount of carbohydrates is essential in our diet and I do recommend that you get them from vegetables as much as possible. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

  10. I was an avid fan of white bread – my favourite afternoon snack was a piece of white bread. I am also diabetic. About three years ago I read of the high glycemic factor of wheat and it scared the heck out of me. Consequently,
    I went cold turkey on wheat products. Even yet when I think of a slice of white bread my mouth will water but the strong craving is gone. My question – why the heck can’t the powers-that-be leave well enough alone instead of tinkering with what God originally created. Thank you for this opportunity to rant.

  11. I was an avid fan of white bread ….. loved it. For a mid-afternoon snack, a piece of white bread was my go-for favourite. I am also diabetic. About three years ago, I read of the high glycemic effect of wheat, higher than suger, it scared the heck out of me and I went cold turkey. Even yet, when I think of a slice of white bread my mouth will water, but the craving is gone and I very carefully guard against wheat products. I also made a point of passing information on to family and friends. My question – why the heck cannot the powers that be leave well enough alone instead of tinkering with what God originally created. Thank you for this opportunity for my rant.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Beth,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! I completely agree with you there. Commercial demand for wheat is one motivating factor which has led to its many changes over the years. That said, please feel free to share your thoughts and concerns with us. I love hearing from our dear dear readers and clients! Have a healthy day!

  12. I have been gluten & dairy free for 30 yrs & when I first did it I lost heaps of weight but since my 30yrs I have had an extraordinarily large stomach despite exercising regularly & eating healthily, to the extent that I regularly got asked when my baby was due, even in my 50’s! This has been the bain of my life & I’d do nearly anything to lose my stomach. The problem is I get low blood sugar & cravings all the time so I can’t starve myself

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Niki,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! I completely understand your frustration but do encourage you to continue your healthy diet and exercise. If you have been losing weight steadily and have completely adapted to a healthy lifestyle, there may be other reasons as to why your stomach remains its current size. Starving yourself is absolutely out of the question but I do recommend that you visit your doctor and get his thoughts. He will be able to assess your belly thoroughly and help you formulate a plan to reduce its size, safely. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

  13. On a suggestion I found in my emails, I quit white potatoes, white rice, corn products, wheat products, sugar and artificial sweeteners. I wondered if I could make the suggested 5 days. It has been a month, and the results are spectacular. No cravings, no bingeing, no raging hunger; blood sugars level (Type II DM), 10 pound weight loss. Then I listened to YouTube videos by Dr. Davis and felt so gratified by his research. I feel kind of betrayed by food conglomerates as I have spent decades overweight and diabetic and have watched my nation grow fat and dull. But I am grateful to finally know it is not my (our) fault and to have a workable lifestyle solution.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! I completely agree with some of the points you have raised and do hope you continue with your healthy lifestyle. It is always best to get our meals fresh and from nearby sources, as much as possible, to avoid extensive processing. Again, thank you for sharing and have a healthy day!

  14. Elizabeth Williamson

    Regarding your article about giving up wheat, I was diagnosed hypoglycemic after experiencing insulin shock when I was 18, so I HAD to change my diet and eliminate all sugars and starches (including wheat) in order to get my blood sugar regulated. This was many years ago, but I want all of your readers to know that if you can get past the first week, it becomes pretty easy to go without, and after two weeks it gets much, much easier. In fact, for me, after two weeks my cravings were completely gone and I can sit with a friend at lunch who has ordered pasta and then dessert with no desire to have any! My weight remains stable and, most important to me, I have more energy all day long. I never suffer the after-effects of the yo-yo insulin surge and sugar drop.

    The thing I would want your readers to know is that when the cravings go away, you lose your desire for sugars and starches. You won’t live your life feeling deprived of the foods you loved (starchy foods) – you really, really no longer desire them! So, it is then EASY for you to stick to your food plan and lose that weight. And, when you experience the energy and overall sense of well-being from a diet with no sugars and starches, you won’t want to give that up.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your story with us! I am so happy that you decided to share your experience with us. Hearing from a different point of view and learning of how you succeeded in completely changing your eating habits will definitely inspire others to do the same. Change may seem daunting the first few days but as soon as you have adapted to your new diet, you will slowly realize that you do not need all that sugar and are able to walk away from your bakery favorites.

      I am grateful that you have shared your experience with us, Elizabeth and do look forward to hearing more! Make it a healthy day!

    • Elizabeth,

      I had been doing that & then got back into bad habits, but am planning on making the change again, and hopefully for good this time.

      The one thing I want to add is I still had cravings for pasta; I have loved it all my life. I have, however, recently heard of chick pea pasta & may try that. I do really like the spiral veggies “pasta”, too, but every now and then I want regular pasta…..maybe it is a texture thing.

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