Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wheat Belly

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Way Back to Health, a best-seller by William Davis, MD, answered a lot of my questions about what foods a diabetic should eat. Short answer: not anything containing wheat.

I already knew that eating bread—and other things containing wheat—made my blood glucose levels soar above 250 and caused other problems, such as bloating and fatigue. What I didn't know what just how much damage wheat consumption could cause.

Davis, a cardiologist who gives the name "wheat belly" to the excess abdominal fat that wheat eaters have, believes wheat consumption (and gluten sensitivity) is responsible for a variety of ills—not only celiac disease, but also obesity, high blood sugar levels, asthma, liver diseases, thyroid problems, some cancers, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, seizures, allergies, lupus, IBS, Chrohn's disease, and others. Wheat consumption even affects the aging process.

According to Davis, the wheat we have now is vastly different from the wheat of a half century ago. In the first part of his book, he goes into great detail and traces the history of wheat from Biblical times to the present. Part Two of his book explains the connection between wheat and various health problems. Part Three explains how to create a wheat-free life. And he includes recipes.

Like several others (for instance, Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and  Why We Get Fat), Wilson takes issue with the American Diabetic Association recommendations that promote low-fat, high carb eating. For instance, from page 156:

Low-fat diets are not benign. The high-carbohydrate, plentiful whole grain intake that unavoidably results when fat calories are reduced triggers higher blood glucose, higher insulin, greater deposition of visceral fat, and more VLDL and triglycerides. . . .

While Wheat Belly is written in an informal engaging style, it is nonetheless packed with annotations, references, and end-notes. Davis cites numerous sources to support his premise.

If you'd like to learn more about the "wheat belly" idea without reading the book, here's a relatively quick way. In two YouTube videos, Dr. Davis explains his ideas. Each video is about 20 minutes. Here's part I:

Here's part II:

During the three weeks since I read Wheat Belly, I've mostly eliminated wheat from my diet as well as  lowered the amount of carbs I eat. Eventually, I hope go completely wheat-free, but wheat seems to be in everything. In the three weeks I've (mostly) been off wheat, I've lost about five pounds and no longer have acid reflux. My blood glucose levels have gone down substantially. Though not as low as I want them to be, my BG gets lower than 130 on most days (from a high of 250+) and I hit 114 yesterday—my lowest in I don't remember when.  I have a lot more strength, stamina, and energy.

If you're diabetic or you have other health issues, you might want to take a look at Wheat Belly. Can't hurt, might help.

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