I’ve discussed this before, but it comes up with such frequency that it’s worth discussing again.
Say you’ve been wheat- and grain-free for the past 3 months. Your son or daughter is celebrating a birthday with a big, beautiful birthday cake and a cheesy pizza. The aromas alone are intoxicating! What’s the harm in having a bite of birthday cake or just a single darned slice of pizza? You tell yourself that you’ll make up for it by being good all weekend, even exercising an extra half an hour.
You experienced Wheat Belly followers all understand that this triggers re-exposure phenomena typically experienced as gastrointestinal distress, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhea, joint pain, and emotional effects (depression, mind “fog,” anger). If an autoimmune or neurological process was present before you began the wheat/grain elimination, symptoms of those conditions can return, such as joint pain and swelling with rheumatoid arthritis, loss of balance and coordination in cerebellar ataxia, or bloody bowel movements and diarrhea in ulcerative colitis, effects that can often persist for weeks or months after the re-exposure.
But some people experience a re-triggering of appetite. Recall that wheat and grains exert three known paths to increase appetite:
1) Gliadin and related grain proteins are partially digested to peptides (not single amino acids as with digestion of other proteins not from poorly-digested seeds of grasses) that have opiate-like properties, including appetite-stimulation.
2) Amylopectin A sends blood sugar and insulin to high levels, followed by a drop in blood sugar–hypoglycemia–resulting in shakiness, fogginess, and hunger in a two-hour cycle.
3) Wheat germ agglutinin (wheat, rye, barley, and rice) blocks the leptin hormone that triggers satiety and ordinarily tells you to stop eating.
Some people thereby experience food obsessions that erode all commitment to a healthy grain-free lifestyle. That one cookie, bite of birthday cake, or slice of pizza can therefore set an uncontrollable binge in action. While the one “indulgent” food doesn’t by itself lead to regaining 30 pounds, it can trigger a process that, in as short as 30 days, lead to that much weight loss. I’ve witnessed this a number of times and it’s a pretty sad process to watch.
So be aware that a wheat/grain “indulgence” is not just about a few carbohydrate calories, or going off temporarily for an occasional “bad” day. That single indulgence can have some pretty awful implications that are difficult to turn off. And recognize that the same “30 pounds in 30 days” effect, or something similar, can be even be triggered by an inadvertent wheat/grain re-exposure.