The Wheat Belly Diet was created by Dr. William Davis, MD, to help people lose weight and lead a heart-healthy life. Dr. Davis calls the excess fat in the belly region “wheat belly”. Because, according to him, the wheat belly is the result of overconsumption of wheat and other gluten-containing foods. So, he created the Wheat Belly Diet. This diet eliminates foods containing gluten (including “gluten-free” foods) and high GI foods. It is also great for those with IBS/IBD. But does it really work for weight loss? Read on to find out all about the Wheat Belly Diet, foods to eat and avoid, diet chart, recipes, and more. Swipe up!
Why Did Dr. William Davis Create The Wheat Belly Diet?
Dr. Davis, a cardiologist, went on a vacation. When he looked at the pictures of the vacation, he spotted his overly grown belly. Plus, he was diabetic. After returning, he kept a close eye on his diet to find out how his body reacted to different foods. Soon, he found out that he felt more sluggish after consuming a toast/bagel breakfast, but not when he had eggs.
This revelation made him eliminate wheat and gluten from his diet. Since he was diabetic, he cut down on all high GI foods. (Glycemic Index is the number given to foods depending on the effect it has on blood sugar levels after consuming them. The lower GI, the better!) He also asked his patients to follow this diet. After a few weeks, his patients had also lost weight, and their blood sugar levels dropped to normal. But the question is, how did this diet actually work? Find out in the next section.
How Does The Wheat Belly Diet Work?
There are two ways this diet works – reducing inflammation and restricting the consumption of high GI or sugary foods.
Dr. William Davis says that the wheat we are consuming now is genetically modified and does more harm than good. So, there’s a rise in wheat and/or gluten sensitivity. Thus, avoiding wheat or foods containing gluten can help prevent inflammation of the stomach lining and allergies.
Also, most foods containing wheat or the so-called ”gluten-free” foods are high GI foods. They are made with cornstarch, potato starch, rice starch, and tapioca starch. These lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, resulting in weight gain and diabetes.
By eliminating all other high GI foods, such as fructose syrup, sugary foods, fried foods, trans fats, soda, and packaged fruit juices, you will cut down on a lot of calories. This, in turn, will help you get rid of the extra flab.
So, you see, it is all about making smart food choices. But that doesn’t mean that gluten is the main culprit. There are other components of the “modern day” wheat that may be harmful to you. Let’s see what they are.
Is It Just Gluten In Wheat That’s Responsible For Obesity?
No, there are other components like gliadin, amylopectin A, and lectin that have an impact on how your body reacts to wheat products. Here’s what you must know:
- Gliadin – This is a component of gluten and is specific to wheat. This protein is broken down into smaller proteins in the body, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to morphine receptors. These small proteins/peptides are called exorphins and lead to wheat addiction and increased appetite.
- Amylopectin A – Amylopectin A is a carbohydrate found in wheat. It gets digested more easily as compared to amylopectins B and C (found in rice). Any food that gets digested quickly can also raise your blood sugar levels quickly. In fact, wheat bread can lead to a blood sugar spike more than candy and a bowl of brown rice. Constant high blood sugar levels lead to weight gain and make you prone to diabetes, cataract, and heart disease.
- Lectin – This is a protein found in wheat. It inhibits proper digestion by blocking the cholecystokinin hormone. This leads to impaired secretion of digestive enzymes and gallstone formation.
Does this mean that everyone in the world should follow the Wheat Belly Diet? Find out in the next section.
Who Should Follow The Wheat Belly Diet?
If you are sensitive to gluten, suffer from IBS/IBD, or have a stomach ulcer, an uncontrollable appetite, central fat, or diabetes, you can follow the Wheat Belly Diet. But, weight gain is not only dependent on wheat/wheat products. So, talk to your doctor before deciding to go on this diet.
If your doctor gives a thumbs up for this diet, the first thing you have to do is go grocery shopping. Here’s a list of foods that you have to buy.
Foods To Eat
- Veggies Low In Starch Content – Broccoli, cucumber, tomato, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, kale, spinach, cabbage, and scallions.
- Fruits – Apple, berries, grapefruit, oranges, lime, lemon, plum, melon, watermelon, and avocado.
- Protein – Grass-fed meat (red meat as well), freshwater fish, free-range eggs, and mushroom.
- Healthy Fats – Nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
- Dairy – Full-fat cheese, cottage cheese, butter, yogurt, and milk.
- Grains (in moderation) – Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, and millet.
- Others – Olives, pickled veggies, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, tofu, miso, tempeh, and herbs.
So, what are the foods that you should completely avoid? Let’s find out.
Foods To Avoid
- Wheat/Grain Based Foods – Cookies, donuts, cakes, granola bars, wheat bread, gluten-free foods, breakfast cereals, pizza, pasta, biscuits, crackers, wraps, burritos, taco, tortilla, noodles, and sandwiches.
- Processed Foods – Chicken nuggets, fries, cured meat, hot dog, potato chips, soy chips, vegetable chips, and frozen foods.
- Protein – Sprouted grains and legumes.
- High Sugar Foods/Drinks – Dried fruit, corn syrup, juices, soda, and sugary beverages.
How do you know if a certain food in the market is wheat-free? Well, here’s what you have to do.
How To Avoid Wheat/Wheat Containing Foods
The best way to find out if a certain food contains wheat in any form is to check the label. But there are ingredients that do not directly say “wheat”. In that case, either check for the following names on the label or add the following to your cart.
Bread – Choose sourdough/sprouted grain or Ezekiel bread.
Wheat/Gluten-Free Flour – Go for almond flour, coconut flour, pumpkin seed meal, garbanzo bean flour, chia seed meal, ground pecans, sunflower seed meal, and flaxseed flour.
Condiments – Avoid condiments that have added sugar.
Alcohol – Many alcohols contains wheat/gluten products. So, stick to drinking wine.
Now, let me show you a sample diet chart for the Wheat Belly Diet.
Sample Wheat Belly Diet Chart
|Meals||What To Eat|
|Early Morning (6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)||1 cup warm water with juice of half a lime|
|Breakfast (6:45 – 7:00 a.m.)||Avocado and spinach smoothie + 1 boiled egg|
|Mid Morning (10:00 a.m.)||1 apple Or 1 cup green tea + 4 almonds (without skin)|
|Lunch (12:30 p.m.)||Cauliflower rice + mushrooms/grilled fish + veggies + ½ cup yogurt/1 cup coconut water|
|Post Lunch (3:30 p.m.)||Freshly pressed fruit juice Or Baby carrot and hummus|
|Dinner (6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)||Cucumber/tomato soup + grilled tofu/cottage cheese/chicken breast + veggies + 1 cup warm milk before bed.|
So, it is not a Herculean task to be on a diet that excludes wheat/wheat products.
Some of you might think that cooking at home is time-consuming and tiring. And you give up on your weight loss journey midway. But hey, nothing’s going to work if you don’t have the right mindset. And there are ways to cook delicious foods that are quick, nutritious, and free of wheat/wheat products/gluten. Take a look at the following recipes.
1. Apple And Almond Milk Smoothie
- 1 apple
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons soaked chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon honey
How To Prepare
- Wash and remove the pit of the apple. Cut into cubes and toss them into a blender.
- Add the milk, cinnamon, and honey.
- Blitz it.
- Pour it into a tall glass.
- Add the soaked chia seeds.
- Stir well before drinking.
2. Pan Grilled Mushroom Salad
- 1 cup button mushroom, wiped with a soft cloth
- ½ cup chopped iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup red bell peppers, chopped
- ¼ cup yellow bell peppers, chopped
- ¼ cup purple cabbage
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Salt to taste
How To Prepare
- Heat a grill pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Toss in the chopped garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the mushrooms and a little salt, and cook for 2 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing olive oil, lime juice, oregano, pepper, salt, and organic honey.
- Add the chopped veggies to a bowl. Top with the pan grilled mushrooms, and drizzle the dressing.
- Give it a quick toss. Enjoy!
3. Cucumber And Mint Juice
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- A handful of mint leaves
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
How To Prepare
- Toss the cucumber and mint leaves in a blender.
- Blitz it.
- Add water and stir well before pouring it into a tall glass (strain it if you want).
- Add lime juice, pink Himalayan salt, and organic honey.
- Stir and sip.
These will take you a maximum of 20 minutes in the kitchen! But if you continue being on the Wheat Belly Diet, will it cause you harm? Here are the pros and cons of this diet.
Pros Of The Wheat Belly Diet
- Aids weight loss.
- Lowers blood glucose.
- Lowers LDL cholesterol.
- Improves heart health.
- Lowers gut inflammation.
- Boosts digestion.
- Protects you from the risk of diabetes.
Cons Of The Wheat Belly Diet
- There is not enough scientific research. So, we cannot conclude if avoiding wheat is the main cause of weight loss.
- The Wheat Belly Diet is not for everyone. You must consult your doctor before jumping to conclusions.
- It excludes legumes, which are a good source of vegetarian/vegan protein.
- It includes red meat, which is not good for your heart’s health.
There you have it – everything you need to know about the Wheat Belly Diet. Remember, you cannot blindly follow someone else’s diet. And you also need to work out. It not only helps you achieve a great body but also enhances your mental health. So, check with your doctor if the Wheat Belly Diet is for you and then follow it for improved health. Cheers!
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