Wheat is an ingredient in processed foods ranging from your morning cereal to your lunchtime sandwich to your evening eclair dessert. But Wheat Belly diet creator and cardiologist Dr. William Davis says that it's responsible for problems ranging from brain fog to abdominal fat to weight gain. Dr. Mehmet Oz featured the popular weight loss plan on his July 10 talk show.
For years, most physicians have advised only those with celiac disease to eliminate wheat and other forms of gluten. However, Dr. Davis, who also authored the "Wheat Belly 30-Minute (Or Less!) Cookbook: 200 Quick and Simple Recipes to Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health," feels that we all can benefit. Symptoms that may vanish when you banish the wheat include rashes, joint pain, bloating, brain fog and even headaches.
By using the Wheat Belly low carb diet, Dr. Davis says you can also lose weight easily while improving your health. The plan includes vegetables, limited amounts of selected carbohydrates and sugar such as fruit as well as protein such as eggs, beef and poultry. Include healthy fats in the form of nuts.
A new study supports Dr. Davis' theory that wheat gluten is linked to weight gain. Scientists found that when they compared mice on gluten-free diets to those on diets with gluten, the gluten-free lab animals lost weight, reported the Epoch Times on July 10.
"Our data support the beneficial effects of gluten-free diets in reducing adiposity gain, inflammation and insulin resistance," concluded the researchers. "The data suggests that diet gluten exclusion should be tested as a new dietary approach to prevent the development of obesity and metabolic disorders."
Although the study confirms the Wheat Belly diet principles, not all health experts feel that reducing carbohydrates is the only solution for weight loss. Some argue that the "current epidemic of gluten intolerance says more about our psychology than our physiology," reported the New Scientist on July 10.
Tennis professional Novak Djokovic, however, believes that gluten intolerance is very real. He credits his repeated wins with his nutritionist's diagnosis that he was "gluten intolerant" and the subsequent elimination of wheat from his life.
A recent survey showed that one-third of all Americans are contemplating going gluten-free. In contrast, about one percent of the population, estimated at one in 133 Americans, has celiac disease, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. As a result, many experts question why so many people are going gluten-free.
Offering a very different viewpoint: Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist who recently appeared on the "Dr. Oz Show" to discuss his own views on going gluten-free. He contends that everyone can benefit from going even further by eliminating all grains as well as sugar and following a high fat low carb diet.
In particular, Dr. Perlmutter believes that carbohydrates are harming our brains. With 5.4 million Alzheimer's patients in the nation at an estimated cost of $200 billion each year, the battle to discover a cure has become desperate. Experts project that the number of people with Alzheimer's will double by 2030.
Dr. Perlmutter, author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers," cites a study that Mayo Clinic researchers conducted. They found that a higher fat, lower carb diet is associated with a 42 percent risk reduction for dementia.
Although Dr. Perlmutter's diet is somewhat similar to the Wheat Belly diet, he recommends consuming more fat. He suggests counting carbs and keeping them below 60-80 grams daily. In terms of fat, he suggests extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, and wild caught fish.