South Beach . . . Supercharged?

Kim posted this insightful comment about her many previous failed diet attempts:

Back in April of this year, I hit the dreaded 200 lbs. It wasn’t my first time there. In fact 5 years ago, I was at 237 lbs.

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve been on a diet since about the time I was 8 years old.

Like many people on a weight loss mission, I thought avoiding meat, oil, nuts, and full fat anything and embracing “healthy whole grains” would do the trick. While following Weight Watchers, I relied on “healthy whole grains” as they were relatively low in points compared to real food. You think that being on a diet for 30 years, I would have clued in.

Anyways, I decided to take a different approach. A friend of mine lost a lot of weight on the South Beach Diet. So I ran out and got myself a copy. The first two weeks (Phase 1), you have to avoid bread (or any wheat products), starchy carbs, sugar and fruit. After that time, you can begin to incorporate whole grains, fruit and the occasional piece of dark chocolate. The first two weeks, I saw amazing results – in fact, I was down 7 pounds in the first 5 days! I felt more energetic than ever before and my allergies were showing less symptoms (spring is the WORST time for allergies!)

It was around my third week of following South Beach that I came across Wheat Belly. South Beach told me what to avoid the first few weeks, Wheat Belly explained why. The main difference: I was supposed to allow myself “healthy whole grains” on South Beach after the first two weeks.

Wheat Belly’s advice was to eliminate any wheat products forever. After reading Wheat Belly and learning the horrid effects of wheat, I decided against incorporating any wheat products. Many of the conditions Dr. Davis attributes to the consumption of wheat (obesity, allergies, MS, celiac disease/gastrointestinal cancer, arthritis, heart disease) have plagued my family and I seemed to have found the common thread: wheat.

Many of my friends wonder how I’m able to stay away from bread & pasta. Quite frankly, I don’t miss them one bit. The food I eat is delicious and very filling. I’m regularly eating steak, cheese, eggs, olive oil, raw almonds, loads of veggies (no constipation issues for me!), some fruits (peaches, cherries, berries – one fruit per day) and one square of 70% dark chocolate every day. Something I’ve never experienced before: I can go hours without eating and I don’t feel any ill effects. No shakiness, nausea, hunger or cravings even after working out! I have more energy at the age of 38 than I did in my 20′s.

The goal I set for myself that day back in April was to lose 70 pounds in one year’s time. I am happy to report that 4 months later, I am almost half way there! I’ve never been on such an easy & enjoyable program like the one set out in Wheat Belly. I just can’t imagine doing anything else. Really – if I can do this, so can you!

No question: Low-carbohydrate diets work, and they work better than, say, limiting fat or counting calories or points. Counting calories and/or points is pure torture, by the way! Most people fight a constant battle with hunger, thoughts of food intruding into your consciousness all day long. But initially successful low-carb diets, such as South Beach and Atkins, share one essential feature during their initial (phase 1 South Beach, induction phase Atkins) phases: elimination of wheat.

Remember, it’s not about the calories lost with wheat elimination. It is about loss of the gliadin opiate in wheat that stimulates appetite. After the gliadin withdrawal that 35% of people experience subsides, i.e., the opiate withdrawal of fatigue, headaches, inability to exercise, and depression, appetite plummets. With diminished appetite, calorie intake drops naturally by 440 calories per day, on average—without restricting calories. You’ve not heard me say “cut your calories, push the plate away, use smaller plates and portions sizes”! Eat as much as you want . . . but you will still find that you are wonderfully satisfied with less.

Yesterday, I rose at 5:30 a.m., skipped breakfast because I didn’t feel like eating. I ate a 1 p.m. lunch of two handfuls of almonds, about a cup of sliced peppers and cherry tomatoes that I rolled in a few slices of ham with some horseradish mustard. I didn’t feel much like eating dinner so just had a slice of the apple streusel bread I made (with ground almonds, eggs, some chopped apples, and cinnamon) and called it a day!

Liberate yourself from the tyranny of dietary and weight loss misinformation. Weight loss and weight control are torture . . . unless you remove this thing in your diet that stimulates appetite called wheat.

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89 Responses to South Beach . . . Supercharged?

  1. JIllOz says:

    “Having watched my Tom Naughton science videos, I observe that this study is an Observational, not clinical, study”

    At least, i think so. Is it still observational if they submit questionnaires? maybe I need another science tutorial!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, as opposed to controlling the diets of the participants.

      Taking a survey, then watching what happens to people and correlating outcome to items on the questionnaire is a legitimate way to do research. It just cannot be used to draw conclusions, only raise questions. Unfortunately, neither the researcher nor the media understands this.

      • JIllOz says:

        Frankly, it seems to be the very beginning -first and second steps -of what should be a process of analysis.

        Very lazy, very misleading.
        A waste of time and money. *sigh*

        Say, regarding the conference, maybe you and Tom Naughton could go to the next one undercover!! :)

      • Diane says:

        Been on SBD for 9 days only lost .4 oz–What’s with that?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      It’d be interesting to attend, wouldn’t it, Jill?

      I’m sure the item at the top of the agenda will be ways to counter the growing tidal wave of anti-wheat and anti-grain public sentiment.

  2. Kate Cook says:

    Dr. “D” ~

    I read that blog that was posted.. My first reaction was “not this again”… but to be expected I am sure.
    The information in your book has given me (and my family and one cousin who I just found out bought your book because of MY Fb postings) some very valuable information about what grains/wheat/gluten does to our bodies. I for one would take that blog with a grain of salt (we can have salt right???)…. For all the good that is coming to many because of the information you’ve provided far outweighs, in my opinion a rant from a blogger who appeared to have another agenda…???
    I HAVE lost weight and many inches since starting this new way of life and I DO feel tons better and am not doing this for a fad or to lesson the importance of this for those who have celiac disease and MUST eliminate the gluten..! And I’m not doing it to be skinny or loose weight so I fit into some outfit I bought years ago.. .. I am doing this because as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize I have choices and I have kids and grand kids and you learn that it’s NOT always about you as you move onto those senior years.. it’s about being there for your kids in a NEW way and being that grandparent where your grand kids memory of you is or was “gee mom.. grandma has/had so much wisdom”.. I want to be HERE for as long as I can.. And I want my grandkids to sit on my lap for years and years to come…
    “Wheat Belly” gave me some valuable information.. One blog of “I gotta be right” can’t come close to changing what I’m experiencing.

  3. steve helmer says:

    Hi doc.
    Since going wheat free about 3months now, i have run into some pestering problems could you help me out.
    Woke up the other day to a throat infection, and loss most of my voice, this has been a problem in the past, so I’am woundering if it is detoxing, on a slow time trail, or what, I use stevia as a sweetner, i like berries of all kinds, which i try to use sparing because of the sugar and glycemic load invloved. I use nuts, veg, organic when possible, trying to get grass fed beef animals of any kind is way beyond my budget. Maybe the hormones, or the chemical is meats have been causing the problems. I have lost most of the sight in my left eye, so i will have to have surgery to compensate for the damage. I am baffeled as to what could be the problem, maybe old age, which l am only 64, or maybe not enough exercise, which i gave up because i had no energy, or lung power, that seems to be coming back slowly since giving up wheat. Any suggestions, help would be appreciated doc.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Two suggestions, Steve:

      1) Patience. If you are experiencing gradual improvement in many areas, just waiting out the transition may be useful.

      2) The throat issues are likely entirely unrelated. While elimination of wheat is a very powerful solution to a wide array of health problem, we can still experience, for instance, viral infections.

      • steve helmer says:

        Thanks doc, I’ve had issues with my throat before, it is just as i supspect, a virus, i use umcka, and oil of oregano, it seems to help, but usually if i catch it within the Frist 48 hrs, its now been 96hrs, and not much improvement. One other thing doc, my energy is up and down, mentally and physically, are there others experiencing the same thing or is this just something that is individual.

  4. Stefanie says:

    I am so excited to find this book/blog. I have been following the Prism Weight Loss Program for the last 12 weeks. The first six weeks, you are not allowed to have ANY bread products. I lost weight, had lots of energy, and just felt so much better in general. The second phase, you are permitted to have whole-wheat bread and tortillas. I was so excited to have my toast back in the a.m. Since adding these items back to my diet, however, I have felt sluggish, depressed, had low energy, don’t feel like exercising, etc. I was blaming a lot of this on my menstrual cycle. After reading several of your posts, I’m considering the possibility it could be the wheat! I’m going to try removing them from my diet again, and see what happens. I’m also going to encourage my husband to join me, as he suffers from IBS. I’m going to order your book right now!!

  5. Andrea says:

    I’ve only been doing this for 3 days now, but I need to comment with how freeing it feels to be on WB so far. I don’t think of food, I don’t have cravings and it feels like I have been ‘freed’ of the food grip. I tried weight watchers for a week and was constantly hungry, constantly obsessed over my next ‘low point’ meal or how many points could I save up to feel full(binge) later on. All it took was eliminating wheat and I’m on a roll. I feel amazing. Energy up, brain fog is gone, and my insulin has been reduced after 3 days! 3 Days! Think of how I will feel after a month??!! I don’t have any ailments except for diabetes and the rapid weight gain that occurred when I went on insulin. But this morning, I feel so free of the obsession with food. Thanks Dr.Davis! I’ll be sure to write back when I observe even bigger changes – but for me the psychological one is big!

  6. Cynthiam68 says:

    I started the South Beach diet back in February. Let me just say that I have lost approximately 40 pounds and really advocate the program, especially for those people struggling to lose weight. I think what makes this diet successful is the fact that I LOVE everything I eat. I am spanish, and I love my spanish ingredients.

    With this diet I was able to eat everything I enjoyed. I really believe that purchasing the book is a MUST. You cannot possibly get all of the benefits of the south beach diet just from reading the internet

  7. staypositive says:

    Really, I haven’t read all of the posts so maybe it’s been mentioned, but in all fairness to Dr. Agatston, a very kind man who, I’ve noticed, NEVER bashes anyone else’s diet plan, in his latest book The South Beach Wake-up Call, he DOES talk about the dangers of gluten and how in all fairness, folks who go on to his phase 2 eating may suffer gluten intolerance and so should avoid gluten! Also, in his book of a few years ago, South Beach Supercharged, he mentions (in the Q&A area) that many folks are gluten intolerant, and if that’s the case, just follow the diet without eating any gluten! He does discuss how folks going on his phase 2 don’t feel well because of gluten. It’s really a no-brainer.

    I love Wheat Belly and plan on buying the new cookbook, but in all honesty I like the structure of South Beach. In the end, Wheat Belly is just a carb gram counting plan without gluten, and I refuse to count carbs all day long. I just ignore the saturated fat ban on South Beach and do eat more nuts than recommended.

    But really, there’s wiggle room for all sorts of lower carb gluten free diets out there. Unlike the vegetarian community where inner bashing is so prevalent: “veganism is better than vegetarianism”, “eat eggs/don’t eat eggs” (lacto ovo vs. lacto diets) ad nauseum, we need to pave the way for more coherence in the gluten free community. THEN people will really sit up and listen. Dr. Davis, give very clear guidelines on how to follow your plan without the ultimate carb gram counting….and I’m in.

  8. MH says:

    Dr. Davis,

    I stumbled across your book on amazon about 6 wks ago. I downloaded it immediately. I have been eliminating wheat for 6 wks.
    Good news: I lost 7 lbs. I also lost being hungry all the time and food cravings. ( i exercise a lot and thought I was eating healthy) I will have new blood work done soon to check on my triglycerides. One 28 yr old daughter has improved her horrible pain from diagnosed ibs. Her twin sister has improved her acid reflux and constipation from prescription meds for the acid reflux. Their 21 year old sister has improved her recent intestinal pains and her rosaticia * on her cheeks has disappeared. All of these girls are thin, exercise, and thought they were eating pretty well.
    Bad news: I haven’t lost any weight in over 2 weeks. I still have 18 lbs I need to lose.

    I’m looking for encouragement to continue and be patient:)

  9. MissyMonyPenny says:

    Your book is back ordered for 4-6 wks
    becuase of the high demand! Referred new
    person to this woe & told her 2 wks ago to
    get book. She just told me, she’ll now go to
    Barnes & Noble this weekend. Does not want
    to wait!

  10. jennifer says:

    Dr. Davis,
    What about the rumor that “complex animal proteins are enzymatically degraded some exhibit opiate-like properties.” and casomorphins of dairy?
    Take from

    • Dr. Davis says:

      It’s true . . . but relatively unimportant, Jennifer.

      It has to do with the avidity (strength of binding) of casomorphins and other exorphins versus the comparatively high avidity of gluteomorphins derived from wheat. Wheat generates much more potent opiate-like compounds, else we would be addicted to milk.

  11. TomR says:

    I just received a South Beach Diet newsletter this morning titled A Guide to Whole Grains. The intro to the lead story states “Grains are an essential part of Phase 2 and beyond on this healthy eating plan because complex carbohydrates provide necessary fuel for the body.” South Beach doesn’t just “allow” whole grains, South Beach actually tells you that they are “essential”.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I suspect that they have not been talking to the author, Dr. Arthur Agatston, who is, quite quickly, starting to realize that it’s the grains added back that booby trap South Beach’s success.

  12. Sandra S. says:

    I’m a female 56yrs. old, 110 lbs. walk a lot and always on the go. In spite of being active and eating well, except after reading WheatBelly, I have cut all breads, cereal, etc. out. It was whole grains for me thinking that I was doing good. I always had a bloated stomach. I’ve only been on the wheat free for four days, But I guess I’m in that 35% that gets the fatigue and headaches, etc. I’m still bloated, but not as much. I believe in this new way of eating, but how long does the bloating last? I will not give in to bread, actually I don’t miss it. Can you answer me if you get a chance? Thank you

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You are likely still in the throes of wheat withdrawal, Sandra. Remember: You were addicted to the opiate, gliadin, in wheat. You are now in the midst of withdrawal.

      You might consider, however, a high-potency probiotic preparation, e.g., 50 billion CFUs per day, for a few weeks to obtain some relief from the abdominal symptoms. This accelerates conversion to a healthier mix of bowel flora.

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