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Archive for July 12th, 2012

The picture of whole wheat bread caught my eye as I glanced through a February back issue of Prevention magazine I had retrieved from my health club reading rack. On my current healthy eating plan, with much hope of losing weight by being faithful to it, whole wheat bread or grains have been removed for now. It is the main thing I can honestly say I miss and have a craving for.

Angst – changing information in nutritional science. The last one was that diet soda still tricks the body into thinking you are giving it sugar, hence these endless super-sized diet drinks are not really “diet” and can still lead to unwanted weight gain. Well, darn….must explain why most of us plus-size people are slurping down the diet drinks, while average or “right-sized” patrons sip away on their fully-sugar-fuelled pop and mysteriously gain not an ounce. Strange.

Now, I wonder,  what are you going to tell me about my coveted whole-wheat toast with my breakfast and lettace- decorated sandwich for lunch?

It seems this renowned cardiologist talks about how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.

According to this Milwaukee, Wisconsin physician and author Dr. William Davis, every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges.

William Davis MD, a  preventive cardiologist,  calls  these bulges, “wheat bellies.” In his book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, he says that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter. It is due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.

In his 2011 book, he reached a disturbing conclusion after witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat.  He came to believe that wheat (including WHOLE-wheat)  is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic— and its elimination in the diet is” key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health”.

Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”—and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.

He warns that products made from today’s modern strains of wheat contain a type of starch that spurs insulin production and obesity.   Ouch. Whole wheat was my choice of bread. And I thought it was good for me. Not a waist-gainer.

If you ask  the USDA  or the Surgeon General’s Office why Americans are fat and they will tell you  it is because they drink too many soft drinks, eat too many potato chips, drink too much beer and do not exercise enough. And those things may indeed be true.  But that’s hardly the whole story.

When I trained in Curves Fitness and Weight Loss business, we were told to think about the USDA Food Pyramid — with the base being Whole Grains; the same pyramid used to fatten cattle!

Dr. Davis contends that many overweight people are, in fact, quite health conscious.   Ask anyone tipping the scales over 250 pounds: What do you think happened to allow such incredible weight gain?

You may be surprised at how many do NOT say “I drink Big Gulps, eat Pop Tarts and watch TV all day.”  Most will say something like, “I don’t get it.  I exercise five days a week. I’ve cut my fat and increased my healthy whole grains. Yet I can’t seem to stop gaining weight.”

Now that is exactly what my primary care physician and heart specialist have heard from me over the past ten years, at least.  My health seems excellent, yet weight loss attempts yield little success.

Now I know other doctors are hearing the same.  This is why I bristle at the media’s relentless broadcasting of obesity statistics with hidden cameras trained on the fat person’ belly or bum walking down the street.  I stopped “big-gulping” awhile ago, but it might be that the New York governor will have to remove the bread from the shelves along with the extra-large pop if he wants to win the war on obesity.

And no person without a weight maintenance issue, and especially  a government bureaucracy , knows what lengths most obese people have gone to in order  to win the war on obesity for themselves. Not to mention the whole self-esteem issue involved.

How did we get here? The national trend to reduce fat and cholesterol intake and increase carbohydrate calories has created a peculiar situation in which products made from wheat have not just increased their presence in our diets; they have come to DOMINATE our diets. For most Americans, every single meal and snack contains foods made with wheat flour. It might be the main course, it might be the side dish, it might be the dessert, and it’s probably ALL of them.

Wheat has become the national icon of health: “Eat more healthy whole grains,” we’re told, and the food industry happily jumps on board, creating “heart healthy” versions of all our favorite wheat products chock-full of whole grains.

The sad truth is that the proliferation of wheat products in the American diet parallels the expansion of our waists. The advice to cut fat and cholesterol intake and replace the calories with whole grains that was issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute through its National Cholesterol Education Program in 1985. It coincides precisely with the start of a sharp  upward climb in body weight for men and women.

Ironically, 1985 also marks the year when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began tracking body weight statistics, tidily documenting the explosion in obesity and diabetes that began that very year.

Of all grains, why pick on wheat? Because wheat is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet.  Wheat has unique attributes that other grains do not, that makes it especially destructive to our health.

He says Homo Sapiens, are not old enough as a species to have developed all safeguards needed in the digestive system to process wheat healthily and harmlessly. Witness the gluten-free recoveries for celiac disease sufferers, who found no relief from their life-threatening symptoms until wheat was discovered as the culprit.  And recovery means never going back to wheat for them.

Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, famed expert in wellness and health, and director for the Arizona Center for Integrative Health, is a favorite resource of mine in holistic health and mindful health practices.

He advises that whole wheat bread need not be avoided — just make sure you choose a chewy, dense bread in which you can see whole grains and pieces of grains – the kind you are most likely to find at a bakery rather than a supermarket.

RIGHT!, Like I, as an overweight person, am going to go into a BAKERY on a regular basis to pick up one healthy whole wheat loaf of bread! That would be right after I down my favorite raspberry filled white frosted bismarq, and have my chocolate éclair packaged to take home with me.

The number of times, over the period of a year, that  I go into an honest-to-goodness yummy smelling bakery, I can count on the fingers of one hand. The hand that’s not holding a doughnut.

 

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