Follow the Wheat Belly lifestyle and you should be freed of hunger and cravings except when physiologically appropriate, e.g., you haven’t eaten anything in 8 hours. Many of us eat breakfast, for instance, then have no desire for food until dinner. Or you have a healthy lunch at noon, then forget to eat dinner. In other words, the incessant, rolling, rumbling hunger that plagues modern people that can account for aggressive, even angry, food quests simply goes away and you are left with a soft reminder that it might be nice to eat sometime in the next few hours.
If you are following this lifestyle properly, you should not be experiencing hunger and cravings, say, 2 hours after a meal, or feel desperate hunger prior to every meal, or wake up in the middle of the night craving something. If you are experiencing such feelings, then consider this list of the 5 most common reasons you are experiencing such inappropriate impulses:
- You are still being exposed to wheat and related grains–The Wheat Belly lifestyle is a 100%, complete, no-compromise, wheat- and grain-free lifestyle. Anything short of this will booby-trap your health and weight loss efforts, just as an alcoholic who sneaks a sip of bourbon every now and then will eventually succumb. “Cutting back,” “I eat them only when there’s nothing else,” “a ‘bad’ day once per week”—all such “indulgences” will drive appetite, often to extravagant degrees, not to mention continue to drive inflammation, autoimmune disease, heart disease risk (via small LDL particles triggered by the “indulgence”), risk for dementia (via endogenous glycation of brain proteins), and other health impairments. And don’t forget to examine nutritional supplements, prepared smoothie mixes and any other processed foods you choose to include, and prescription drugs for hidden wheat/grain sources.
- You remain fearful of fat–Or you lost the natural impulse to take in adequate fat because of the ridiculous low-fat message you’ve been inundated with these last 30 or 40 years. Eat fat: buy fatty cuts of meat, never lean; don’t trim off the fat–eat it; save the bacon oil that remains after you prepare bacon and use it for cooking other foods (store in refrigerator); use more coconut oil; use organic butter; use more olive, avocado, and other healthy, non-grain-sourced oils.
- You are limiting portion sizes–You’ve got to clear the destructive notion that calorie intake causes weight gain, or “calories in, calories out,” or all the other often-repeated mantras that make you choose smaller portion sizes or push the plate away before you are satisfied. DON’T SWEAT THE CALORIES and eat until you are satisfied. Recall that, if you were to count calories on your 100% wheat/grain-free lifestyle, it would be substantially less than it used to be during your wheat/grain-consuming days because you have removed the gliadin-derived opiate peptide appetite stimulants from wheat and grains, but nobody around here should be counting or limiting calories.
- You are overdoing carbohydrates/sugars–We live during a time when 1/3 of people are diabetic, another 1/3 are pre-diabetic (with nearly the same cardiovascular and other risks of diabetics), and another 1/3 are what I call “pre-pre-diabetic” because of the absurd over-proliferation of carbs/sugars in modern processed foods and the resultant resistance to insulin in people who consume such foods. I see people overdoing carbs/sugars through a variety of means: excessive fruit in their smoothies and protein drinks; exposure to the truly knuckleheaded ingredients in “gluten-free” foods; “carb-loading” for exercise (an unproductive and long-term destructive practice); clinging to former “health” habits like eating bran cereals; lack of awareness of the carb content of many foods, such as the 24 grams of net carbs in a ripe, medium-sized banana–enough to turn off weight loss, trigger high blood sugars, accelerate endogenous glycation of body-wide proteins, trigger appetite when high blood sugar is followed by low blood sugar, etc. For this reason, we limit net carbs to no more than 15 grams net per meal (unless your individual sensitivity differs, as gauged by pre-meal/post-meal fingerstick blood sugar management, discussed in the book, Wheat Belly Total Health).
- Failure to cultivate healthy bowel flora–Lose the wheat and grains and you remove an enormously disruptive factor in bowel health and bowel flora . . . but bowel flora does not recover fully on its own, at least not for a long time. This is why we purposefully take steps to cultivate healthy bowel flora, just like planting seeds and nourishing a garden. Failure to do so can mean failure to fully reverse autoimmune conditions, failure to fully reverse type 2 diabetes, failure to fully recover mental/emotional health, failure to reduce long-term risk for diverticular disease and colon cancer, and failure to control appetite and impulse.
Those of you following the strategies discussed in Wheat Belly Total Health recognize that each and every problem cited above can be addressed and corrected, allowing you to be freed of abnormal hunger, cravings, failed weight loss, or a failed return to health. Incessant hunger and cravings are unnatural, a man-made result of misguided dietary advice and Big Food profiteering. Correct these factors and you return to a natural, “soft,” hunger meant to ensure sustenance–nothing more, nothing less.