I’ve heard this many times over the years: “I allow myself one cheat day a week.” Or “I allow myself a cheat every Friday night.” Or “I have a couple of slices of pizza every Saturday.” Or the comments from naysayers such as “A little bit can’t hurt” or “Everything in moderation.”
I urge everyone to never cheat, however. But it’s not because I’m a control freak or because I like to make arbitrary rules. There are many reasons to never allow yourself such a cheat. And it has nothing to do with the few calories ingested. The implications are also far greater than the high-carbohydrate (amylopectin) exposure of a wheat and grain indulgence.
Among the reasons why it is important that you never cheat:
- Appetite is stimulated for several days following the cheat, an effect I call “I ate one cookie and gained 30 pounds.” Re-exposure to gliadin-derived opiate peptides will erode your will, typically giving way to consuming a flood of junk.
- Inflammation is re-ignited, an effect that typically lasts for about one week.
- Small LDL particles are formed, the most common abnormality in people with heart disease. (No, it is not high cholesterol. This is a fiction of the drug industry who very skillfully duped a generation of physicians in order to grow the statin franchise.) Unlike large LDL particles that persist in the bloodstream for about 24 hours, small LDL particles typically persist for nearly a week, sometimes longer. This means that one indulgence per week of wheat/grains/sugar triggers yields an excess of small LDL particles 52 weeks a year–year-round risk for heart attack.
- People with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, will completely turn off any hope of remission. Re-exposure after a long period of wheat/grain abstinence can also re-trigger autoimmune inflammation, swelling, and pain that can last for months–months from one indulgence.
- You distort bowel flora. Given the incredible bowel toxicity of gliadin, gliadin-derived peptides, and wheat germ agglutinin, toxic to the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and colon, you never fully regain the chance to restore healthy bowel flora
- You can experience re-exposure reactions. The most common: joint pains, skin rashes, acid reflux/heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, anger, anxiety, mental “fog,” depression. These typically last from a few hours to several days.
(For those of you with sophisticated understanding of coronary disease causality, people with genetic variants, apoprotein E2 and lipoprotein(a), can have persistent and high levels of small LDL particles for 2 weeks.)
with occasional indulgences.
You can see that, while some wheat/grain effects are perceived, many are not. You may feel just fine while you trigger oodles of small LDL particles that grow your coronary or carotid plaque. You may be perfectly happy while bowel flora is changed, or autoimmune inflammation is gathering steam.
The key is to never go back. If you are wanting a piece of pizza or two, a big slice of cheesecake, a cookie, or other indulgence, make them without wheat, without grains, without gluten-free junk replacements, without sugar–precisely the way that all Wheat Belly recipes are crafted. Also, if you are taking in sufficient quantities of fat and calories, you should not be experiencing cravings or hunger.