The Wheat Belly Diet was created by Dr. William Davis. Dr. Davis claims that the food that we are eating is making us sick and the agencies that are providing us with what to eat guidelines are providing us with "dangerous advice with devastating health consequences".
According to his best selling book, he noticed that after eating a breakfast of toast or bagels or waffles, he had little energy, even with a good night's sleep. When he had eggs he felt energized.
At the time of this discovery, Dr. Davis was about 30 pounds overweight and was also found to have high cholesterol and the blood sugar levels of a diabetic.
Dr. Davis felt that he needed to make a change, so he began his own wheat free experimentation. He also asked his near diabetes patients to do the same. His plan was to eat low glycemic foods in place of wheat products and to return in 90 days. The result was a considerable drop in weight and blood sugar levels that went from the diabetic range to the normal range. Added benefits were more energy, improved joint. lung, and bowel health, better mental focus and deeper sleep.
His experiment prompted him to write his diet book.
How does it work?
The diet eliminates all wheat. Wheat supposedly causes 'wheat belly'. The diet is a wheat free, low carb diet that avoids bad fats and cured meats. You will be eating unprocessed foods and avoiding starches and sugary foods.
Based on the foods available, and especially in the foods that are off limits, you will be eliminating many of the food sources that are likely to add weight. To be clear, this diet is NOT a gluten free diet, it is essentially a wheat free diet. Many gluten free products still contain fattening starches which do not help you to lose weight. The diet should help you to lose weight due to better eating choices and not necessarily removing wheat.
Withdrawal symptoms are likely and can range from one day to about a week. Symptoms include cravings, dehydration, flu like symptoms, muscle cramps, light headedness, joint pain, depression,
emotional outbursts, brain fog, intestinal pain, lack of energy, headache, constipation, dark thoughts, and bloating.
Help with wheat withdrawal:
Supplement with magnesium
Drink plenty of water
Refrain from exercise
Supplement with a probiotic
Supplement iodine, 5-hydroxytryptohan, rhodiola
Liberally consume good fat, oils and protein
Add some salt or sea salt or minerals containing slat
Choose a low stressful time
What you can eat:
Fruit (you are limited to low sugar fruits such as oranges, apples, and berries)
Meat and eggs (organic)
Oils from plants such as coconut, cocoa butter, avocado, and olive
Cheese (full fat)
In limited quantities:
Yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, and milk (full fat and unsweetened)
What you cannot eat:
Some of the foods that are off limits are:
High-fructose corn syrup
Wheat (all forms including foods made with rye, spelt, wheat, barley, and certain oats)
No wheat means that you are eliminating foods such as cereals, pasta, bread, doughnuts, and pretzels.
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Wheat Belly Sample Menu
Yogurt (plain) with berries and almonds
Chicken breast with salsa, steamed vegetables, half cup of brown rice with a light sprinkling of extra-virgin olive oil
Baked eggplant with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, mixed green salad with a small spritz of extra-virgin olive oil
Raw vegetables with black-bean dip
Exercise is encouraged but no exercise specifics are provided.
Vegan or Vegetarian?
Adapting this diet to vegetarian should be fairly easy, but making this diet vegan will be quite difficult.
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There are no in person meeting.
Level of difficulty:
The level of difficulty is high. Eliminating foods or food groups can create a challenge for many people. Giving up wheat and wheat products can be difficult.
Look better, feel better
Lower blood sugar levels
Stable blood sugar levels
Better and more stable blood sugar level
Better digestion and gut health
Simple to follow (not easy, but straight forward)
Rich in vegetables means high in fiber and full of vitamins
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No evidence or studies that prove that this diet will help you to lose weight
No prepackaged foods
Cheating (eating wheat) can cause problems such as gas or cramps
No cookies, no bread, no pasta, no doughnuts, no bagels, etc.
Does it work?
According to a review in the Journal of Cereal Science, there is not enough evidence to substantiate most of Dr. Davis's claims including the link between obesity and wheat. As stated earlier, better food choices seem to be the reason for weight loss. Cutting out wheat products and eliminating or reducing many sugary and starchy foods from your diet will lower your caloric intake by 400 or more calories which should mean lost weight.
Wheat does contain gliadin, a protein that stimulates your appetite, so eliminating wheat means automatically reducing your appetite by removing this protein.
The diet is a healthy diet and should help you to lose weight. Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, a Boston nutritionist, author of Nutrition & You: Core Concepts for Good Health, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association says, "This isn't a well-balanced diet. You should sit down with a registered dietitian to be sure you're meeting all your nutrient needs if you choose this diet." In addition "Losing weight doesn't have to be this challenging," Blake says. "Do you really need to go to this extreme?"
I agree that this diet is rather extreme and difficult for most people. If you need a gluten free diet, this might be an alternative, if not, I suggest that you consider other diets.
Thank you for reading, my friends. I wish you success on your weight loss journey.
Some diets are more of a stretch than others.