Wheat Belly promotes weight loss and healthy nutrition by banning all wheat-based products.
- Wheat makes you fat and unhealthy
- Avoid wheat -completely and of any kind- (I’m not endorsing that)
- Eat as much fats and meat you want (I’m not endorsing that)
The author says that most of what agencies and the food community say violate basics principles of logic.
So he sets out to set the record straight.
Wheat Brain Effects
Wheat reaches the brain in the form of peptides called polypeptide exorphins, and they work in a way not too dissimilar from opiate-like peptides.
Like opiates, they develop strong cravings in your brain that push you to eat more and more (also read Bright Line Eating).
A wheat belly is the accumulation of fat around our waist resulting from consuming too much carbohydrates.
Unlike fat in other parts of our body, wheat belly causes inflammation that are dangerous for both our body and brain (also read Grain Brain)
Wheat Belly Diet
The wheat belly diet requires you eliminate all products based on wheat, oat, cor and cornstarch.
Also avoid eating any processed food containing wheat, which means you must become well versed with food labels and you will have to spend some time digging through the ingredients.
Here’s a list on what to avoid for you:
- All types of bread
- All cereals and breakfast cereals
- Pasta and noodles
- Rice, rye, barley
- Bagels, pancakes, waffles, pretzels, crackers
- Pancakes, waffles, donuts, candies
- Honey and agave syrup
- Oatmeal and oat bran
- Chips, tacos, tortillas
- Soy sauce and check sauces, gravies and dressing which can contain cornstarch
- Twizzlers, Campbells Tomato Soup
- Cured meats such as:
- hot dogs, sausages, bacon, bologna, pepperoni with sodium nitrite
- Fried foods
- Fast foods
- Anything with hydrogenated trans fats
- Sugary soft drinks
The Wheat Belly recommends you eat as much as you want of the following:
- Vegetables (fresh or frozen but not canned)
- Nuts and seeds, but raw and never sweetened. Including:
- Cashews, almonds walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamians, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia seeds..
- Oils but not heated whenever possible
- Olive oil, coconut, avocado, flaxseed, walnut
- Meats, try to go for organic
- Pork, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs
- Cheeses, but only real cultured cheeses (not Velveeta or sliced and processed please)
- Avocado and guacamole
- Unprocessed and unsweetened condiments
- mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings based on oil, ketchup (without high-fructose corn syrup), pesto, olives
- Teas, coffee, water, unsweetened almond milk, coconut water or milk
Eat a modicum amount of the following:
- Fruit (no more than two a day)
- Especially avoid: bananas, mangoes, grapes, pineapples (high in sugar)
- Go for berries, citrus, apples, nectarines, peaches and melons
- Fruit juices (only freshly squeezed and no more than 0.1-0.2 liters)
- Dairies (no more than 1 serving of milk, yogurt and cottage cheese). Take it unsweetened and the fat content doesn’t matter
- Dark chocolate
- Sweet potatoes, legumes, beans and peas
Some Tips for Avoiding Wheat Belly
The author convenes that a Wheat Belly diet is not easy.
It’s not indeed.
William Davis says that having a small piece of land where to cultivate your own food would be ideal, or that you could also start intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting would reduce both your need for cooking and the your grocery bills.
I particularly like the recommendation that when you’re craving for a snack you can grab some dark chocolate or nuts.
Real Life Applications
At the end of Wheat Belly, frankly, I wasn’t left with any major take away.
Yes I’m reducing carbs, but not because of this book.
Didn’t Find It Highly Scientific
As I read I didn’t perceive the information was based on sound science. There what Wheat Belly present as advantages of a no wheat diet are indeed correlated with no wheat.
He presents examples, but single cases do not prove the general validity of his theory, and they are an obvious induction fallacy (read Fooled by Randomness).
Wheat Belly sounds a lot like Atkins diet, albeit the author never makes that claim.
Convoluted, Bit Confusionary
I found the book very convoluted, too detailed and too long.
The author also ends up speaking about sleep, the usage of melatonin on sleep and how long one should wait on melatonin before considering sleeping pills.
that felt very tangential to me.
Extremist & Difficult
Wheat Belly recommends a quite drastic solution by completely banning all wheat. And it’s not easy to stick to.
Wheat Belly helps you along the wheat belly diet with some good recipes you can use.
Reducing Wheat Will Help With Weight
If you’re eating too much wheat (who doesn’t love pizza?), reducing wheat will help you reduce belly and weight.
I have three major issues with Wheat Belly:
1. Seems Presented as Silver Bullet
When it comes to nutrition one should take everything with a pinch of salt. Including studies. The individual variance is so great indeed that it’s difficult to say “completely ban this, completely ban that”.
And that’s my first issue with Wheat Belly.
It presents wheat as the demon and advocates a wheat belly diet as a “good for all” solution. No mention to individual cases, exception or, God bless, some limited benefits wheat might have.
2. There’s Little Evidence
The second issue is that there is not much scientific evidence to back the wheat belly diet.
Somebody once said:
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
The author says that most of what agencies and the food community say violate basics principles of logic. But I say that it’s not logic people should watch out not to violate, but evidence.
Countless times I thought something was “logic” but it didn’t work and, on second thoughts… It wasn’t “logic” at all.
I heard a lot of big name dropping and chemical compounds in the book, but I’ve seen little evidence like studies, lab researches and statistics.
So I’ve done my own little bit of research.
And indeed most that came out says that the wheat belly diet is not based on scientific evidence. And it’s probably not a great diet for many, but many it not everyone.
3. Extremist With Total Ban
Many sources mention that moderation is often good when it comes to nutrition.
Not Wheat Belly.
Few sources go as far as telling you to completely eliminate a whole class of food. Especially one that has been -and still is- a staple of human history.
Also consider that the Mediterrenan diet has often been considered a good one. Italians do live long indeed on average.
And they do eat lots of wheat.
Here’s a BBC documentary critical of the wheat belly diet:
What I Do
Some of what William Davis says, like limiting processed food, sliced cheese and enjoying nuts is solid advice.
And I do am trying to limit starch as I feel I’m eating too much of them. And I’m introducing more salmon and lean meats.
That’s what I do indeed: I limit the consumption of white starches. That means I don’t eat much bread and always choose dark, whole grain bread: indeed I switched my pasta consumption to whole grain pasta.
And I decreased -and potentially I will try eliminate- my consumption of cereals. Of any kind, even the low sugar ones.
And I do feel more energetic and less sleepy in the afternoon. However, I also decreased sugar, and I think that was the main culprit.
Overall, while I might agree with less wheat or even with trying to fully ban wheat and see how you feel, I can’t recommend Wheat Belly as a book.
But I always recommend not to take anyone’s word and look and try for yourself.
Wheat Belly included.