Saturday, October 5, 2013

Wheat Belly by William Davis (audio)


Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
by William Davis
narrated by Tom Weiner
Blackstone Audio, 2011
7 hours and 37 minutes
source: purchased

Motivation: Audible daily deal. How can you go wrong for $2.95?

One line summary (from publisher):
A provocative look at how eliminating wheat from our diets can help us lose weight, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse a broad spectrum of health problems—from acne to diabetes to serious digestive disorders.

My thoughts:

Dr. Davis may be prone to hyperbole in stating that wheat products should carry health warnings similar to a pack of cigarettes, but he makes a lot of sense when talking about wheat's roller coaster effect on blood sugar, hunger, and food cravings. He asserts that "healthy" whole-grain breads, bagels, etc.  have virtually the same effect on our blood sugar levels (by virtue of their glycemic index) as a Snickers bar. We eat them, our blood sugar spikes, then falls, leaving us hungry and craving more in just a few hours. He claims that, in many cases, this  vicious cycle is responsible for weight gain, especially around our middles, and thwarts our best weight loss efforts. Additionally, the wheat we eat today bears little resemblance to what our ancestors consumed.

For those with Celiac disease, eliminating gluten is essential, but it seems even people without true gluten intolerance can reap significant health benefits from eliminating or drastically curtailing wheat intake. Davis cites various scientific studies, but also relays anecdotal results from his own personal experience and from patients seen in his office.

After just a few days of nearly complete wheat elimination, I am noticeably less hungry between meals. Perhaps it's the power of suggestion, or maybe it's purely coincidental, but I'm impressed. I'm also sleeping much more soundly. We'll see...

Although I was neutral on the audio production, I feel Wheat Belly  was well worth the time and money, and it provides plenty of food for thought.

My rating:



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40 comments:

  1. Love your fall header!!

    I know this is the newest health craze. I have a book here called Grain Brain (or something like that) that I think reaches similar conclusions. But the Tufts newsletter disagrees that one should eliminate all grains or wheat.

    So confusing. But there is nothing wrong with doing a dietary trial -- I keep thinking I should give it a go.

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    Replies
    1. Beth F - It really is confusing and most of the time I think everything in moderation is fine, but there must be something to taming BGL fluctuations - I haven't been hungry between meals in days.

      The header is a reflection of extraordinary weather we've had the past couple of weeks - bright sunshine, warm days, and cool nights. The colors are exploding!

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  2. I have a friend who has been badgering me for some time to give up wheat & eat gluten-free. I'm not quite ready to go all the way, but I am trying gluten-free meals.

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    1. Lisa - I doubt I'll ever give up wheat totally or go gluten-free, but it's surprising how much a serious reduction has influenced my body.

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  3. ....and I always thought wheat products were good for us. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Tea - So much conflicting information about healthy eating is confusing. Guess we all need to figure out what to eat to feel our best.

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  4. I'm also confused about his assertion that eating whole grains has the same effect as eating a candy bar. What about the whole thing about complex carbs vs. simple refined sugars?

    I'm also doing a less-wheat dietary trial of my own because I feel I've long been wheat sensitive and don't like the brain fog and lethargy that it causes. Now, if I can lose weight too, all the better.

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    1. Jama - That was definitely confusing and I wish I had the text to refer back to, but the breakdown products of wheat bread's complex carbs still had the same overall effect on blood sugar...which is very troubling.

      He did stress the point that gluten-free versions of bread, bagels, etc. have the same effect on blood sugar as their gluten-laden original, so the best way to avoid blood sugar swings (and related hunger pains) is to avoid carbohydrates.

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  5. I'm working on removing wheat items from my diet. I've noticed that bread seems to give me trouble. I'll have to pick this one up.

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    1. Linda - As much as I love bread and pasta, his approach seems to make a lot of sense.

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  6. There is so much talk of this recently, this was a great buy for you. My sister-in-law has two daughters with celiac's and there has been an explosion in gluten-free grocery store items. It used to be very difficult for her, now she can find things easily.

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    1. Diane - I was so curious about this book and couldn't resist the daily deal! The Wegmans in Dewitt now has a whole gluten-free section within their Nature's Market area.

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  7. Oh man...I gave up white bread/pasta for wheat bread/pasta because it was the healthier choice, but now I find out wheat is bad for you too. I'm seriously thinking about eating nothing but fruits and veggies. And chocolate.

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    1. Vicki - I went through the same switch...so frustrating! This author is saying to go easy on the fruits, too - veggies rule! He also recommends sticking to the darker varieties of chocolate.

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  8. I have been toying with the idea of going gluten free - this might just tip me over the edge into giving it a go. Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Carole - If you're looking for gluten-free motivation, I heartily recommend this book!

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  9. Friends of ours tried his diet and lost quite a bit of weight to start with. They weren't able to stick with the diet for long, though. My son has an auto-immune disease and eliminating gluten has made a HUGE difference for him.

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    1. Kathy - He was very clear about the effect for people with documented gluten intolerance/Celiac or underlying auto-immune disease... eliminating gluten has a huge impact on quality of life. Gad your son has realized the benefits.

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  10. This is timely, JoAnn! Arthritis has reared its ugly head these past few months and I hate the sound of those meds that come with a laundry list of side-effects. I cut out dairy a couple of weeks ago and last week it was wheat. Completely agree with you about feeling less hungry and there's a wee more clarity in my general awareness (less foggy brain!). Is it what's being removed or all of the extra good stuff going in...who knows, but I will keep it up as long as I can.

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    Replies
    1. Darlene - It's good to hear from you! So sorry arthritis is complicating your life, but agree that dietary manipulation is worth investigating. Wheat elimination could certainly help, especially if it's auto-immune in nature. It might be worth skimming the book. Wishing you the best...

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  11. I'm surprised to hear he feels whole grain bread is equivalent to a Snickers Bar! If so, I'll choose the Snickers. ;-) I'm glad to hear the new eating plan is working for you.

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    1. Diana - I'd gladly take the Snickers bar, too!

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  12. I do agree that the wheat we consume today is much different than the wheat our ancestors used to make bread. I can't give it all up but when I can I opt for gluten-free options. I love Jimmy John's lettuce wraps for example. I did eat pie crust tonight though and it was so, so good. Moderation is essential.

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    1. Peaceful Reader - I truly believe moderation is the key!

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  13. If you followed all the nutritional advice that was out there you would pretty much only be drinking water wouldn't you? I guess it is pretty much try and see what works for you and go from there.

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    1. Marg - Sad, but true I'm afraid.... there's far too much conflicting nutritional advice out there :(

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  14. SO interesting.... I have always tried to adopt a "moderation in everything" attitude, and seeing how I married an Italian, giving up what entirely would more than likely be considered grounds for divorce :) However, I think this book would be worth reading and perhaps learning how to cut back...

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    1. Molly - I'm half Italian, so can definitely relate to that sentiment! We still have Sunday dinners with the extended family... nearly always past and sauce. I'm trying to eat much more salad, a meatball, and just a small serving of pasta.

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  15. I was able to lose my excess weight while remaining an omnivore.

    I'm a big believer in individual experimentation. Books always push their way of doing things so hard because it's motivating, and that's good. But I always worry about people who fail at difficult diet changes and then blame themselves when the problem is really that they just haven't found a way of eating that works for them.

    My way of eating includes no white bread because the only thing white bread does for me is make me want more white bread, but my homemade whole wheat bread works just fine in my food plan.

    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. Joy - It may be that the glycemic index is more important for me than gluten content. I think you're right about individual experimentation.

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  16. He is probably right to a certain level. But I do not believe in putting warnings on everything-we all know what is good and bad. I could only wish that eliminating wheat would help me sleep better. I would have to start eating it to eliminate it.

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    1. Esme - I certainly hope he was only trying to emphasize how strongly he feels, and not really proposing warning labels for a loaf of bread :)

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  17. I have been curious about this book and this is the first review I have read. I've had digestive issues since February and have been struggling to find the culprit. The celiac test came back negative, but I still wonder. For the past three weeks I had no gluten, then the past few days I have eaten some. I did notice that those morning aches are back. I hadn't even noticed that they left. It hasn't resolved the digestion though. Will have to take a look for this book. Thanks.

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    1. Heather - I think you would find this book very interesting.. hope they find the cause of your digestive issues soon.

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  18. Love your fall header! The lake is so gorgeous this time of year...

    As for wheat, I've cut down my intake by a huge percentage on the Weight Watchers plan, and I don't know if it helps more than any other one change, but I have seen maintained loss, and I haven't had migraines in months. So, there's that!

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    1. Cecelia - Thanks! It seems like the colors are especially vibrant this year. Weight Watchers has such a good program. It's been 15 yrs since I did it, so am not familiar with the new points plus. Wonder if the wheat was a migraine trigger... either way, I'm glad they're not bothering you now.

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  19. It's interesting to read this. I've just done a one month cleanse, during which i cut out all wheat for the whole month. I'm not gluten intolerant, but I definitely noticed a big difference both in my weight and in my sleeping going without the wheat. Now that my cleanse has finished I'm definitely keeping my wheat consumption down.

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    1. Couscous & Consciousness - That's interesting! I'm not gluten intolerant either, but can certainly see a difference in hunger level (wouldn't mind if weight loss follows) and sleep. I will not eliminate wheat totally, just limit consumption.

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  20. Although Gage is gluten free I haven't done it it myself. I need to start making meals we can all eat so I don't have to cook two meals every night so it looks like I'll be going gluten free for dinner :) I'm glad that you can feel a difference.

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    1. Stacy - Cooking two dinners each night has got to be tough! I haven't made a full commitment to go gluten free, but have cut way back. We'll see how it goes...

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