Wheat five times a day

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.

Comments (3) -

  • Anonymous

    4/27/2007 9:20:00 PM |

    This description fits me to a 'tee' - including the unsuccessful attempts at dieting.

    I was a low-fat vegetarian with a wheat-heavy diet for 12 years.  I was convinced of the healthiness of my eating plan, despite the slow weight gain, ever-higher blood pressure, tryglicerides and cholosterol numbers.  It wasn't until my doctor shocked me with a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes that I realized the problem was how I was eating.

    After 9 months of a wheat-free and starch-free diet, a re-introduction of animal proteins from free-range poultry and wild seafoods, and much organic produce and nuts and seeds, I have shed 60 pounds - almost effortlessly.  My waist circumference is back to normal as are all my 'numbers'.  Without any medication.

    But no one could have convinced me prior to the diagnosis shock:  I was that successfully brainwashed by the conventional low-fat wisdom.

  • Dr. Davis

    4/28/2007 2:22:00 AM |

    Eloquently said.

    I fear that there's an entire nation that would concur, if they were aware. Sound the alarm!

  • Jonathan Byron

    4/22/2009 1:41:00 PM |

    You have repeatedly mentioned wheat and corn starch as culprits in a wide variety of disease factors. How much of this is specifically those two foods, and how much is the carb content (and the fact that these are so widely consumed in the west)? Our household is wheat-free (hashimoto's disease in one member), but we eat corn chips, corn tortillas and and corn noodles. Would switching from corn to rice be a logical next step, or would a low-carb diet with fewer grains of all types be better??