Wheat five times a day 20. April 2007 William Davis (3) Terri couldn't understand why her weight wouldn't drop. At 5'3", 208 lbs., she had the typical mid-abdominal excess weight that went with small LDL, low HDL, high triglycerides, a post-prandial (after-eating) fat clearance disorder, high blood sugar, increased c-reactive protein, and high blood pressure. She claimed to have tried every diet and all had failed. So we reviewed her current "strict" diet:"For breakfast, I had Shredded Wheat cereal in skim milk. No sugar, just some cinnamon and a little Splenda. For lunch, I had low-fat turkey breast sandwich--no mayonnaise--on whole wheat bread. For snacks, I had pretzels between breakfast and lunch, and a whole wheat bagel with nothing on it before dinner. For dinner, we had whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and a salad. While we watched TV, I did have a couple of whole wheat crackers. "I don't get it. I didn't butter anything, I didn't sneak any sweets, cakes, I didn't even touch cookies. And I love cookies!"Did you see the pattern? I pointed out to Terri that what she was doing, in effect, was eating sugar 5 or more times a day. Many of her meals, of course, contained no sugar. All were low fat. But the excessive wheat content yielded quick conversion to sugar--glucose--immediately after ingestion. Repeated surges of blood sugar like this trigger the excessive insulin response that yields low HDL, higher triglycerides, small LDL, etc., everything that Terri had. Terri was skeptical when I suggested that she attempt an "experiment": Try a four week period of being entirely wheat-free. This meant more raw nuts and seeds, more lean proteins like low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, chicken, fish, lean red meats, more vegetables and fruits. After only two weeks, Terri dropped 5 1/2 lbs. She also reported that the mood swings she had suffered, afternoon sleepiness, and uncontrollable hunger pangs had all disappeared. The mental cloudiness that she had experienced chronically for years had lifted. What happened was that the load of sugar from wheat products, followed by an insulin surge then a precipitous drop in sugar, and finally fogginess, irritability, and cravings for food all disappeared. With it, the entire panel of downstream phenomena (small LDL, CRP, etc.) all faded. Though she started out intending to complete a four week trial, I believe that, having seen the light, she will continue to be wheat-free, or nearly so, for a lifetime.