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Wheat belly: Your bagel is making you fat

Kristina Marquez, BSN, MPH has been in the fitness and medical field for over 12 years and is an outdoor and endurance enthusiast residing in Buffalo, New York.

How wheat is hurting your health

Have you been exercising and eating a balanced diet and still not reaching your fitness goals? Despite all your efforts do you still have that dreaded spare tire around your waist?
Woman eating bagel in cafe

The culprit – wheat. That's right -- the very fiber that is woven into "heart-healthy" diets and stamped and endorsed on cereal boxes for your convenience. Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly, isn't selling a fad diet to make millions. He's saving lives by eliminating wheat from his patient's diets.

It's all about blood sugar

Here are the basics. When you eat, your food is converted to fuel for your body. In order for your body to use the fuel (blood sugar), it needs insulin. Some foods cause rapid increases in blood sugar and also insulin. The repetitive highs and lows -- a roller coaster -- causes fat to be stored. Wheat is at the top of the list of foods that causes this rise and fall of blood sugar and insulin levels. Dr. Davis has documented his patient's blood sugar levels before and after eating wheat and the results are astonishing! "Wheat increases your blood sugar more than that Snickers bar," says the cardiologist. And don't think relying only on whole wheat flour is the answer. Though whole wheat flour is better than white flour, both are from the same plant. "It's like [comparing] filtered cigarettes to unfiltered cigarettes," notes Dr. Davis.

Lose the wheat and lose the spare tire

Have you been exercising and dieting and still battle with the muffin top pooching over your waistband? Eliminate wheat and you'll finally see the results you deserve. That blood sugar and insulin roller coaster ride mentioned above is the reason you haven't lost weight around your midsection. Your body stores fat around your stomach, liver and heart, making it almost impossible to lose any significant size around your waist.

Cutting the wheat may also cure your ailments

Eliminating wheat can help cure or reduce your risk of chronic disease. "Belly fat is known to cause diabetes and heart disease," states Dr. Davis. "More research is needed, but current evidence shows that eating wheat can trigger many illnesses."

High cholesterol: Dr. Davis says wheat causes a "chain reaction" in the blood that stimulates the formation of triglycerides.

Weak bones/arthritis: Wheat causes an acidic environment in the body and calcium is taken from the bones to correct the problem. Dr. Davis notes: "Wheat is among the most potent sources of [acid] in our diet," contributing to osteoporosis.

Irritable belly and bowel: Wheat intolerance can cause diarrhea, bloating, cramping and acid reflux. Eliminate wheat and acid reflux and the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) will likely decrease.

Benefits of eliminating wheat

Dr. Davis sums up the benefits of eliminating -- not just limiting -- wheat in your diet:

  • Relief from acid reflux and IBS symptoms, such as bloating, gas and diarrhea
  • Relief from constipation
  • Weight loss and marked reductions in blood sugar and reversal of diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Significant improvement or elimination of joint pain and swelling
  • Increased energy and improved mood
  • Better sleep
  • Fewer feelings of hunger and cravings

Dr. Davis says it's not about gluten avoidance for the gluten-sensitive. It is about "wheat avoidance for everybody."

Gluten-free recipe ideas

Healthy gluten-free bread made easy
Gluten-free chicken soup
Gluten-free almond flour recipes

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