A few years ago I started developing sporadic itchy red blotches all over my once clear and pretty skin. This was followed by a bloat in my gut that literally looked like a bowling ball or a baby residing inside me. It looked especially odd because I have particularly gangly arms and legs. All the hype about gluten started getting me thinking that just maybe I might have an allergy. But, let’s face it, for most people the majority of our diets consist of wheat products; and, although I say I want to be healthy, the fact is I don’t want to stop eating donuts, cupcakes, bagels, cookies, Twinkies, bread, pasta, pizza, cereal, fried foods, BIRTHDAY CAKE! I’m not going to lie, I don’t eat for fuel, I eat for pleasure. But, the more sick I have become eating these foods, the more I’ve realized I should stop. So, when I saw Wheat Belly on the top 100 list I knew I had to check it out.
There is no doubt that some of the information Dr. William Davis provides in this book is worth acknowledging. Similar to Michael Pollan’s argument about the unnatural quality of today’s corn feed beef due to agribusiness in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Davis makes the case that today’s wheat has been genetically altered to yield more crop; and, has become problematic for the human body to process. (24-25) He goes on to argue that this alteration causes health problems in humans from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease to worsening symptoms of neurological disorders such as schizophrenia. Using case studies to back his claims, Davis explains how pharmaceutical companies have performed tested proving wheat is dangerous for people because of its addictive qualities: it releases exorphins into the brain which are similar to morphine. (49) (The reason drug companies are interested in these studies he says, is to create weight loss pills). (51)
Since wheat is addictive, people are left craving more, which leads to binge eating.(35) What is worse, Davis notes that “eating two slices of whole wheat bread can increase blood sugar more than two tablespoons of pure sugar.” (34) This is important, because increased sugar leads to excess fat storage, especially in the stomach. But Davis claims that even the most obese people can solve problems of fat accumulation, neurological disorders, skin issues, and more by eliminating wheat from the diet. He makes it sound simple and painless.
I am here to tell you that even for people who have wheat allergies, constipation, dermatitis, and anxiety, eliminating wheat completely from the diet to lose those problems will only add other ones, at least in the short term. While Davis claims that withdrawal symptoms for people who consume large quantities of wheat will only last a few says, I beg to differ. (200) I have been now been wheat free for two and a half weeks and I am still feeling nauseated, shaky, fatigued, dizzy, BITCHY, and hungry.
In theory going wheat free should eliminate larger problems, but for people who have spent the majority of their lives consuming wheat as the main component of each meal and snack, cutting it out completely means an extreme calorie deficit. Although I have been eating fresh, healthy foods and snacking there is no way to compete with the amount of calories I was taking in. The adjustment period with be long and hard.
For cardiac and diabetes patients of Dr. Davis who require immediate results, this diet may be the only option. For the rest of us, I wonder what science will conclude about these drastic ideas in the years to come. To me it seems as though putting the body through so much can’t be good. Will it adjust? Maybe.
Final Rating 3 out of 5 Stars
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