Lose The Wheat, Lose The Weight

Steven Sisskind, M.D. March 3, 2014 Articles 17 comments Print This Post Print This Post
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I recently read a shocking book by Dr. William Davis called: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health.


In this book, Dr. Davis (a well-known cardiologist), gives wheat the biggest smack-down I have ever seen… and backs it up with hard science.

He also provides a well-backed critique of “whole grains” masquerading as health products…

“There is a germ of truth in this whole grain disaster: Whole grains are indeed healthier than white flour products–just as filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered cigarettes. So should you smoke more Salems in place of your Marlboros? I don’t think so!”

And then there is the scary fact that modern wheat contains 42 chromosomes (28 more than ancient wheat) and leads to multiple health issues.

Quite frankly, this is pretty scary. Ancient wheat isn’t exactly good for you, but modern wheat far more troublesome.

How Does Wheat Make You Fat?

The primary reason wheat makes us fat is due to its high insulin response.

Did you know that whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than table sugar? So when you eat that sandwich, those crackers, or have that tortilla…

You are fighting against a hormone cascade that you simply can not win.

The reason is because wheat carbohydrates (amylopectin A) cause a larger spike in blood sugar than almost any other food (except some starches included in “gluten free foods” which we will get to later).

That is higher than a candy bar, ice cream, or (as I said before) pure table sugar.

The Consequences of Amylopectin

Amylopectin is a super carbohydrate contained in wheat that produces an insulin response so strong that it causes fat to form specifically in your visceral organs.

This means that your liver, your kidneys, your pancreas, you intestines, and your belly become engorged with fat… creating a no-win situation.

Dr. Davis calls this a, “unique, twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week metabolic factory.”

The result is inflammation and abnormal cytokines (chemical messengers that can cause leptin resistance and arthritis). And this causes reduction in adiponectin (your fat burning hormone).

And that is what causes an uncontrollable spiral of weight gain (among other issues Dr. Davis mentions that I will not get into here).

There is More

I am not going to go into too much more detail in this post, but there are a lot more problems associated with wheat:

  • Wheat contains Zonulins, which can create permeability (small holes) in your intestines.
  • Wheat can create withdrawal symptoms upon its removal.
  • Wheat is a large culprit in the night-time cravings.
  • Wheat can cause mental sluggishness and attention disorders.
  • Wheat is responsible for multiple skin disorders.

Reversing The Fat Cycle

A wheat free meal of lean protein and vegetables

So what does one do in order to reverse this effect. You might have guessed it, give up wheat!

However, Doctor Davis is clear that you should not replace it with other high glycemic foods like cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch.

And if you read the ingredients of most gluten free packaged foods, these are the exact ingredients you will find.

So the trick is to read labels and stick to fresh vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, fruits (preferably berries), and cheeses. I will go into other dairy at another time.

I know this seems difficult, but one effect of giving up and/or dramatically reducing wheat, is that your appetite and cravings will diminish… so it gets easier.

I have been on a low modern wheat and low sugar eating plan for a long time, and I find it very easy to follow.

What I suggest is to try this for a week (no wheat) and do not replace with other high carb foods like sugar, corn syrup, and the starches I mentioned above.

You might feel a withdrawal at first, but after 7 days… you might never want to go back!

In fact, there are two things I’d like you to consider posting about in the comments section below:

1) If you have already had success giving up wheat, let us know what made it easier for you, and the benefits you experienced. This will help inspire others in their pursuit as well. And…

2) If you have any questions, or struggle with certain wheat foods (pizza is a tough one, especially here in NYC!) – then mention that and perhaps another reader will have an alternative or suggestion that will help you.

Fair enough? Great!

Lastly, I definitely recommend going to the book store – or hopping onto Amazon.com – and getting Dr. Davis’ book. It is highly motivating!

Steven Sisskind, M.D.

Dr. Steven Sisskind, M.D.


Angela Anderson - November 9, 2015 Reply

An overweight relative of mine was at the end of her weigh-loss rope and discovered she had a gluten allergy/intolerance. It was not only stalling her weigh loss efforts, but was also affecting her energy levels, hormones, and mental health (depression). She cut wheat completely out of her diet and her life took a 180 degree turn. I was so impressed months ago I cut out wheat as well, but for 1 wheat tortilla for lunch during the week. After listening to this, I’m going to try and find a substitute for that as well. Pizza will forever be my soft spot…I have gluten free crusts, but still they are starchy. How do you get around that? Maybe I’ll try a cauliflour crust from my paleo-ish recipies and see how that goes. Thank you so much for the information, it’s so motivating!

Dr. Steve Sisskind - November 10, 2015 Reply

Hi Angela,

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your story with us! I completely understand what you’re saying and personally, pizza was one of the hardest to give up in the early days of my transition to eating healthy. Lately, there has been a surge of small independent bakeries that do have gluten or wheat free options. I do recommend that you take the time to look around your local supermarket or farmer’s market and see if the same is available in your area.They are worth the hunt!

Also, I thank you for sharing you and your cousin’s journey to better health with us! I hope they inspire others to do the same and I do look forward to hearing of your progress! Make it a healthy day!

Will - November 5, 2015 Reply

What about white rice? Does it adversly affect the body and if so, how?

Dr. Steve Sisskind - November 8, 2015 Reply

Hi Will,

Thank you for writing in and for posting your concerns! White rice will not adversely affect the body,per se. However, if you do eat too much, you may increase you chance of elevating your blood sugar levels or increase fat production in your system. In terms of rice, I do recommend 1/2 cup early in the day and opt for wild, brown or colored rice as these are more nutrient rich and packed with fiber. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

Orange purse - November 3, 2015 Reply

Is it 1/2 cup cooked or uncooked oatmeal?

Dr. Steve Sisskind - November 4, 2015 Reply

Hi Orange,

Thank you for writing in! That is 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal or carbohydrates, in general. Have a healthy day!

M Vaughn - October 25, 2015 Reply

I have a question about oats. Do oats fall into this whole grain taboo? I’ve read pieces that said oats have gluten but oats are extremely healthy and should be a staple in a persons diet.

Dr. Steve Sisskind - October 26, 2015 Reply

Hi M Vaughn,

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! Yes, a half cup serving of steel cut or rolled oats is fine to have every day. There is no gluten in them, yet but when processed further could result in this protein’s formation. That said, I do agree that a good amount of carbohydrates is essential in our diet and I do recommend that you get them from vegetables as much as possible. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

Beth Moore - October 12, 2015 Reply

I was an avid fan of white bread – my favourite afternoon snack was a piece of white bread. I am also diabetic. About three years ago I read of the high glycemic factor of wheat and it scared the heck out of me. Consequently,
I went cold turkey on wheat products. Even yet when I think of a slice of white bread my mouth will water but the strong craving is gone. My question – why the heck can’t the powers-that-be leave well enough alone instead of tinkering with what God originally created. Thank you for this opportunity to rant.

Beth Moore - October 12, 2015 Reply

I was an avid fan of white bread ….. loved it. For a mid-afternoon snack, a piece of white bread was my go-for favourite. I am also diabetic. About three years ago, I read of the high glycemic effect of wheat, higher than suger, it scared the heck out of me and I went cold turkey. Even yet, when I think of a slice of white bread my mouth will water, but the craving is gone and I very carefully guard against wheat products. I also made a point of passing information on to family and friends. My question – why the heck cannot the powers that be leave well enough alone instead of tinkering with what God originally created. Thank you for this opportunity for my rant.

Dr. Steve Sisskind - October 14, 2015 Reply

Hi Beth,

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! I completely agree with you there. Commercial demand for wheat is one motivating factor which has led to its many changes over the years. That said, please feel free to share your thoughts and concerns with us. I love hearing from our dear dear readers and clients! Have a healthy day!

NIKI - October 8, 2015 Reply

I have been gluten & dairy free for 30 yrs & when I first did it I lost heaps of weight but since my 30yrs I have had an extraordinarily large stomach despite exercising regularly & eating healthily, to the extent that I regularly got asked when my baby was due, even in my 50′s! This has been the bain of my life & I’d do nearly anything to lose my stomach. The problem is I get low blood sugar & cravings all the time so I can’t starve myself

Dr. Steve Sisskind - October 9, 2015 Reply

Hi Niki,

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! I completely understand your frustration but do encourage you to continue your healthy diet and exercise. If you have been losing weight steadily and have completely adapted to a healthy lifestyle, there may be other reasons as to why your stomach remains its current size. Starving yourself is absolutely out of the question but I do recommend that you visit your doctor and get his thoughts. He will be able to assess your belly thoroughly and help you formulate a plan to reduce its size, safely. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

Sharon Tennison - August 22, 2015 Reply

On a suggestion I found in my emails, I quit white potatoes, white rice, corn products, wheat products, sugar and artificial sweeteners. I wondered if I could make the suggested 5 days. It has been a month, and the results are spectacular. No cravings, no bingeing, no raging hunger; blood sugars level (Type II DM), 10 pound weight loss. Then I listened to YouTube videos by Dr. Davis and felt so gratified by his research. I feel kind of betrayed by food conglomerates as I have spent decades overweight and diabetic and have watched my nation grow fat and dull. But I am grateful to finally know it is not my (our) fault and to have a workable lifestyle solution.

Dr. Steve Sisskind - August 25, 2015 Reply

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your thoughts with us! I completely agree with some of the points you have raised and do hope you continue with your healthy lifestyle. It is always best to get our meals fresh and from nearby sources, as much as possible, to avoid extensive processing. Again, thank you for sharing and have a healthy day!

Elizabeth Williamson - August 15, 2015 Reply

Regarding your article about giving up wheat, I was diagnosed hypoglycemic after experiencing insulin shock when I was 18, so I HAD to change my diet and eliminate all sugars and starches (including wheat) in order to get my blood sugar regulated. This was many years ago, but I want all of your readers to know that if you can get past the first week, it becomes pretty easy to go without, and after two weeks it gets much, much easier. In fact, for me, after two weeks my cravings were completely gone and I can sit with a friend at lunch who has ordered pasta and then dessert with no desire to have any! My weight remains stable and, most important to me, I have more energy all day long. I never suffer the after-effects of the yo-yo insulin surge and sugar drop.

The thing I would want your readers to know is that when the cravings go away, you lose your desire for sugars and starches. You won’t live your life feeling deprived of the foods you loved (starchy foods) – you really, really no longer desire them! So, it is then EASY for you to stick to your food plan and lose that weight. And, when you experience the energy and overall sense of well-being from a diet with no sugars and starches, you won’t want to give that up.

Dr. Steve Sisskind - August 18, 2015 Reply

Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your story with us! I am so happy that you decided to share your experience with us. Hearing from a different point of view and learning of how you succeeded in completely changing your eating habits will definitely inspire others to do the same. Change may seem daunting the first few days but as soon as you have adapted to your new diet, you will slowly realize that you do not need all that sugar and are able to walk away from your bakery favorites.

I am grateful that you have shared your experience with us, Elizabeth and do look forward to hearing more! Make it a healthy day!

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