Living the Wheat Belly lifestyle means having no wild fluctuations in blood sugar.
Take a look at the curves above on the graph. The red curve shows the typical blood sugar rises in a young, slender, non-diabetic person who includes grains and sugars in their diet. While the after-meal peaks shown only reach 110-120 mg/dl, they can go much higher, e.g.,f 180-200 mg/dl, in otherwise healthy people. Recall that high blood sugars oblige high blood insulin that causes weight gain in visceral fat, distortions of hormones (e.g., rise in testosterone in females with polycystic ovarian syndrome), and resistance to insulin that, over time, leads to rises in fasting blood sugars. High after-meal blood sugars also cause glycation, the glucose modification of proteins that is irreversible. If you glycate the proteins in the lenses of your eyes, for instance, you get opacities–cataracts. If you glycate the cartilage proteins in your knees and hips, you get brittle cartilage that, over time, erodes and leads to joint damage and arthritis. If you glycate small LDL particles (that are very glycation-prone compared to large LDL particles), you lead to coronary heart disease. And so on, with no organ system spared from the long-term ravages of glycation.
The black curve is an example of someone with type 2 diabetes who begins with high fasting blood sugars, then follows the ridiculous American Diabetes Association diet that advocates a reduction in total/saturated fat and includes plenty of “healthy whole grains” and other carbohydrate/sugar sources. This awful approach exaggerates and accelerates the harmful effects of high glucose/high insulin explaining, for example, why diabetics develop all the consequences of diabetes, many of them from extreme and repetitive glycation, faster than non-diabetics. Also, note that blood sugars return to much lower levels about 2 hours after meals, especially if insulin or oral diabetes drugs are taken. This causes many doctors to say “Your blood sugars are well-controlled.” This is, of course, nonsense, as blood sugars are really way out of control due to poor food choices, but just brought back down to earth with drugs.
Finally, the yellow curve is the curve we aim for in the Wheat Belly lifestyle: normal (90 mg/dl or lower) before eating, then NO CHANGE or NEVER >100 mg/dl after meals. (If you begin with a higher fasting glucose, e.g., 120 mg/dl, as in pre-diabetes and diabetes, we still aim for NO CHANGE after meals.) By following the Wheat Belly lifestyle of eliminating all grains and managing carbohydrates, while addressing insulin/glucose-controlling factors such as vitamin D, magnesium, and bowel flora, the vast majority of people can achieve this ideal curve, even if you begin with diabetes. In addition to having magnificent control over blood sugar, this lifestyle also:
- Accelerates weight loss from visceral fat
- Slows the pace of glycation
- Allows hormonal distortions to reverse
- Achieves metabolic improvements, such as reduction in inflammation and triglycerides, rise in HDL
And, if blood sugars after meals no longer rise, guess what: the majority of people with type 2 diabetes no longer need medications to “control” after-meal blood sugars. Over time, by permitting no after-meal rise in blood sugars, even fasting blood sugars trend downward.
You don’t have to check blood sugars to know that your blood sugars are not rising after a meal, though that is the most confident way to assess this effect. If you are simply following the Wheat Belly lifestyle of eating no wheat or grains, not consuming junk foods, and keeping your net carb exposure no higher than 15 grams per meal, and have addressed the other factors that need correction (vitamin D because of modern lifestyles, magnesium because its absorption was previously blocked by grain phytates, and bowel flora cultivation to correct the distortions introduced by prior grain consumption and other factors), then you are likely enjoying the healthiest blood sugar experience as show on the yellow curve.