‘Wheat Belly’ Diet: Does It Work? (Reviews)
It seems like we can't go five-seconds without someone chiming in with a new diet craze, admonishing us for eating too much of the wrong things, and not enough of whatever they're convinced is the secret to healthy living.
One of the latest trends making the rounds and dominating bestseller lists is the "Wheat Belly" diet. Cardiologist Dr. William Davis even stopped by "Live! With Kelly" a few weeks back to promote his system. Davis posits that the diet can not only help you lose weight (and get rid of the tummy paunch he refers to as "wheat belly"), but explains that ditching wheat can also alleviate and prevent a whole range of health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, acne, and IBS.
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Davis explains that wheat contains a unique protein called gliadin, which converts into a morphine-like compound, which can make wheat cravings feel addictive. The wheat we eat now has been genetically engineered to produce a bigger seed head and resist mold, but according to Davis, it also contains more gliadin, leading to bigger cravings and a bigger waistline.
Some critics agree that giving up wheat can aid in weight loss and also offer health benefits, but it's not because today's wheat is a "franken-plant." The majority of critics believe it's because we eat too much of the processed grain, eating wheat products five or more times a day. With this logic you'll of course drop pounds and feel better if you replace wheat with more lean proteins, beans, fruits, and veggies.
Davis says that the best way to stop this cycle of eating wheat and wanting more food is to avoid eating products containing wheat altogether. His diet plan includes eggs, nuts, vegetables, fish, poultry, and other meats, and limiting fresh fruits to twice a week since the naturally occurring fructose in fruit is a simple carbohydrate. You must also ditch fast food, processed food, and packaged gluten-free alternatives since they can raise your blood sugar levels. According to Davis, you'll end up eating about 400 fewer calories a day. In his practice, he's seen proof of the health benefits of going wheat-free, and says, "What have you got to lose ... except your bagel butt?
Bill O'Reilly credits his recent weight loss t, "Wheat Belly."
Speaking on his Fox show "The O'Reilly Factor," the controversial right-wing anchor said, "A few weeks ago I told you I was cutting back big time on wheat. Look at the packaged food in your house - cereal, desserts, even soup -look at it all. You'll see wheat in the ingredients. That's because wheat is cheap and it fills you up."
He added, "I'm not a zealot. If I want a cookie, I eat it - but there are great gluten-free products out there. If you follow my advice you will feel better almost immediately.
"And perhaps live longer as well."
O'Reilly continued saying that he believes the United States obesity problems could be due to people eating too much wheat. He even suggested a PSA (public service announcement) on the subject.
He said, "If the government would tell people, you might not want to eat all of this wheat, because it is blowing you up."
Speaking to KSN, Kansas' local news, Dr. Justin Moore, Medical Director at Via Christi Weight Management said, "We spend somewhere in the ball park of $26 billion a year, subsidizing corn, wheat and soybeans as it is, so if we do that and then the government turns around and discourages people from eating those products, we end up with quite a surplus on our hands."
Scott Van Allen, a Kansas farmer, cultivates 2,400 acres of wheat. He said, "There would be a lot of farmers out of business, if that happened...This is my moneymaker."
He continued saying that O'Reilly's comments on wheat causing America's weight problem were incorrect. He said, "To blanketly say that wheat is the cause of obesity, is just preposterous."
Moore, a clinical dietitian, agreed. He said, "There is no scientific evidence to back up that gluten is toxic to anyone who does not have celiac disease, which only affects about 1 percent of the population...What Bill has done is just cut out a huge potential source of calories from his diet by restricting himself, he has managed to lose some weight."