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Should You Stop Eating Wheat? What Moms Need to Know

Posted by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 1:41 PM
  • 4 Replies

Should You Stop Eating Wheat? What Moms Need to Know

muffins from oven

As moms, we hear a lot of noise about wheat. We use bread to make sandwiches for our kids because that's the healthy choice -- right? We know it should be whole grain bread, not merely "whole wheat," and definitely not bread sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Oh, and gluten may or may not be toxic. So what if, on top of all of this, you learned that ALL wheat is toxic? That it leads to obesity, tooth decay, even hyperactivity. What the heck are you supposed to feed your family now?!?

One doctor is on a mission to make us re-think that important staple, and he's even got Dr. Oz hooked on his theories. Cardiologist Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, believes that everyone should cut back on wheat, not just celiacs and gluten-sensitive people. 

Davis is sounding the alarm over wheat bread and other foods made with it that we think are healthy because he believes wheat is at the root of a dizzying number of illnesses and conditions, from attention disorder and depression to chronic tummy trouble and rheumatoid arthritis. This is based on his experience as a doctor and on the research of many others in the medical community, he says. In fact, we shouldn't be eating any grasses whatsoever: not wheat, not corn, not barley, and not rye.

Why not? It's because wheat contains proteins that humans can't digest, or at least can't digest completely, Davis says. One wheat protein blocks mineral absorption. And if you're wondering why you can't lose weight no matter what you try, guess what? Wheat may act as an appetite stimulant. Davis estimates that we eat 400 to 800 more calories a day on wheat.

Intrigued, I had to give it a try! I don't usually eat a lot of wheat anyway ... or so I thought. It turns out I had to change a lot to try out the grass-free diet. Goodbye, morning granola.

What I ate for breakfast: I like some protein first thing in the morning, so I had full-fat yogurt with chia seeds and pecans stirred in. I hadn't been a big fan of chia seeds before, but I liked them this way. I tried not to stare at my son's daily chocolate croissant.

What I ate for lunch: Going wheat-free takes some planning, which is not my forte. But for once I rose to the occasion. Over the weekend I roasted some butternut squash and some chicken. And that's what I ate for lunch nearly Every. Single. Day. 

What I snacked on: I usually had an apple, some dark chocolate, and roasted cashews or almonds -- but then, that's my usual snack.

What I ate for dinner: I ended up doing something I'd said I'd never do -- cook separate meals for myself and my son (I didn't want to subject him to my little experiment). While he had pasta, I'd have a couple of poached eggs on sauteed greens. Or I'd have chunks of cheese with carrots and cucumber. 

On a night when my boyfriend scored last-minute opera tickets for us right after work, I had wine and dark chocolate for dinner. Probably not what Dr. Davis would recommend for dinner, exactly, but loaded with resveratrol. And definitely wheat-free! 

How I felt: Here's the weird thing -- I didn't miss the wheat at all! Davis writes about going through withdrawals, but nope. Didn't happen. I felt fuller for longer after meals. On the other hand, when I did get hungry, it hit me suddenly and I was RAVENOUS.

I'm in pretty good health to begin with, so I wasn't looking to lose weight or cure myself of anything physical. I was hoping my scattered attention span would click into focus -- but no luck. Maybe if I kept it up for a month? 

At any rate, Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, author, and plant-based diet expert, thinks the dangers of wheat and gluten have been blown out of proportion. She attributes the miraculous cures of Dr. Davis' patients to cutting out processed food.

That said, Hever doesn't think wheat is absolutely necessary for everyone. "But it is a difficult grain to avoid, it's a helpful food, and it can be part of a healthy diet," especially if you stick with her recommendation, a plant-based diet with whole, "intact" grains.

Here's something interesting. When I went back to eating wheat (because of course I did), I noticed that I felt a little more bloated and bread tasted bland. Going off wheat made me more conscious of what I was eating overall.

But do I plan on cutting out wheat completely? Not a chance. While Davis' theories are interesting and it might be worth scaling back a bit on grains, they're too integral to the healthy eating habits I've instilled in my son and me at home to totally eliminate them from our diet.

So what do you think?

Is the harm of wheat overhyped, or are you curious to see if it's at the root of some of your health issues?

by on Jan. 6, 2015 at 1:41 PM
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by Casey on Jan. 6, 2015 at 1:58 PM
This is a subject that several of us disagree on, vehemently. I'm not trying to tell anyone else what to do, everyone has a "BUT". Getting rid of wheat, completely, is not an easy task. It requires strict label reading, a lot of time and planning, and is considerably more expensive for the average city dweller in a northern climate than a conventional diet. These are points that I will concede. It's up to every individual to decide what's best for them.

A grain free lifestyle is a lifestyle I firmly believe in though, based on nutritional content and the way I look and feel. Its worth the time, effort and money to me. *I* am worth it. Every once in a while I break protocol and eat a cookie, cupcake or a slice of pizza on traditional crust. The sky doesn't fall on me, nor do I gain 20 pounds overnight. I believe that following a strict lifestyle 80-90% of the time makes up for the 10-20% of life's little food curveballs.
by Rhonda on Jan. 6, 2015 at 2:09 PM
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Doubters can doubt.  I don't think it's overhyped.  Just visit or Wheat Belly's Facebook page, for starters. 

I have stopped eating wheat, for almost 4 years now.  If I DO have something with wheat I will be in pain/having cramping diarrhea within 2 hours and be bloated, yet my former doctor SWORE I didn't have a wheat issue.

Get this:  my blood pressure dropped to normal without meds, my cholesterol returned to normal/triglycerides to normal without meds, heart arrhythmia disappeared, kidney disease disappeared, my skin/nails/hair looks fabulous, and all digestive issues (gastroparesis, IBS, constipation, nausea after eating) disappeared.  I no longer have fatigue, joint pain, PMS, anxiety attacks, or severe mood swings (just ask my kids what happens if I eat anything made with wheat devil)  My health has improved phenomenally since dropping wheat/grains, and I didn't consume many if any processed foods before that.  I cooked from scratch, raised all of our veggies and preserved them, I even used to make all of our (whole-grain) bread products from scratch!

My kids' health also improved when I got rid of wheat.  My failure-to-thrive child gained 40 pounds and grew a good 8 inches since he stopped eating wheat.  His migraines and several-times-a-week stomach aches disappeared.  Coincidence?  They come back when he has wheat products.  Acne is another problem that disappeared.  Now they are teens and they have the choice to choose what they eat, but they know what happens in their bodies if they do.

"Cutting out processed foods".....the ones like bread, pasta, cereal, baking mixes?  I read an article this morning that said the #1 source of salt in the average American's diet is bread. Hmm..... 

I seriously have no desire to go back to eating wheat or other grains.  There is NOTHING in grains that cannot be found in equal or greater density in other foods.  The way we eat now is very satisfying and very nutritious.

by Noreen on Jan. 6, 2015 at 5:31 PM

Is not the first time that I hear this, I´m following a sport trainer on instagram and he´s always recommending to eliminate completely if possible wheat or at least cut back. for me is kind of difficult and I know that´s just an excuse, because I´ve tried a full day off wheat and I do fine, but I  LIKE bread and due to insulin resistance I´m not eating white bread anymore, but is something that worth trying specially knowing that there are researchs that prooves is not healthiest thing

by Silver Member on Jan. 6, 2015 at 6:18 PM

I think it has become a fad diet.  I think it has been very helpful for people who have type 2 diabetes, insulin resistence and other conditions (Crohns, celieac, etc), but so many people are jumping on the bandwagon that have no indications.  I am not curious about life without wheat.  I'm happily munching on my homemade bagels and fresh pasta noodles.  They fit well into my healthy lifestyle.

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