Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wheat! Wheat! . . Don't tell me.

So far here is what I have been able to find out about Dr. William Davis' "Wheat Belly" and associated diet. I am very biased in favor of Wikipedia. It has some serious flaws but in the aggregate it is very reliable and always a good place to start looking for information. I looked for Dr. William Davis and "Wheat Belly" and came up with nothing. The book came out in August of last year which should be plenty of time for something to be posted. He also has the website that has been up a little longer. Still, one book and a couple of websites doesn't make you famous. I have a dozen websites and am the center of the universe for Christ's sake, you won't find me on Wikipedia. One of the flaws of Wikipedia is that most of the volunteers that do the research and create the entries are computer or similar kinds of nerds. I saw the thing just last week telling about the plight of women's issues not being as fully expressed as they might be. Wikipedia = Geek flavor Sausagefest.

One thing I figured out right away is that the wheat free diet, especially the way it is described in the book, is very similar to the Atkins diet. Atkins, the super low carbs diet, is well documented in Wikpda. As you may recall, about 8 years or so ago low carb products, even Coke & Pepsi, were all the rage. Atkins was the diet du Jour.  Even today the advantages and risks of this approach are still debated. One of my favorite podcasts just so happened to talk this week about carbs and dieting.

... Compared the effectiveness of three different maintenance plans:
  • One plan was low in fat but high in refined carbohydrates. (Think of this one as the “Snackwell” approach.)
  • The second plan had a moderate level of carbohydrates—neither high nor low—but emphasized carbohydrates with a low glycemic load—things like legumes, vegetables, intact grains. In place of the missing carbohydrates, they substituted fats. In other words, aMediterranean-style diet.
  • The third diet was extremely low in carbohydrates and higher in fat and protein. Basically, an Atkins-style diet.
All three plans had the same number of calories—precisely calibrated to match the number of calories each person burned each day. Not surprisingly, over the course of the study, no one lost or gained any weight.
The big news was this: People burned, on average, 300 more calories a day when they were eating the very low carb plan than they did on the high carbohydrate plan. The low-glycemic diet was somewhere in between. The study authors concluded that, over time, people eating a low-fat diet would have a much harder time maintaining their weight loss than people on a lower-carbohydrate regimen.
This is very interesting.
Also mentioned in the Wikpda article was the concept that humans did most of their 'survival of the fittest' development before the invention of agriculture. "Wheat Belly" documents very clearly the difference between the wheat grown today vs. the wheat of ancient man. Not only was the older strain not genetically modified and hybridized to death but the simpler chromosomal structure was much higher in protein and lower in gluten and carbs. It was not practical to gather enough wheat to make it a practical part of man's daily diet before agriculture. Once it was grown as a crop the difficulty of acquiring calories dropped significantly. That is why it has such a place of honor across cultures. The explosion of human population was made possible.
It is not a big jump to see that easy to get calories is not a problem today. The whole grain version of wheat is the same white flour that has only calories and little else, with some of the other parts of the plant mixed back in. As warm and delicious as a freshly baked french loaf is, it is unnecessary calories with little else to offer. If even a few of the sideeffects described in "Wheat Belly" are true it is not something people with access to other kinds of food should be eating.

I began noticing all the products that contain wheat for it's versatility especially in baked and fried products. In many other kinds of products it adds texture and serves as a kind of glue. None of these products are required to sustain life. Some are nothing more than a delivery system for fats and sugar. It occurred to me that the once nobel "staff of life" has had it's good parts, the parts that appeal most to our senses, developed. The other parts like protein and qualities that gave it some measure of balance removed or diminished. Like so many of the other excesses of our world.

I want to try it but I get the feeling that the "Wheat Belly" diet or way of eating has not been fleshed out and researched fully. I like that it follows close behind Atkins that, while it remains controversial, has a proven track record. At least for initial weight loss. It also is similar to a much more acepted eating plan The Mediterranean Diet, only sans wheat. The fact that so many people have been diagnosed with Celiac disease or simply chosen to eat gluten free, food options are available even in restaurants. As I mentioned before wheat is in a huge percentage of the food products available and sadly in some of my favorites. Life without Mac 'n' Cheese or Pizza comes close to not being worth living. Close but I'll figure out some new favorites.

Wheat Free Pizza

Today's weigh in. 337.1
Down another 2.1
Total lost so far 16.6

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