In view of the many new readers on the Wheat Belly Blog, many of whom have not yet had an opportunity to read the book but are eager to get started, here is the most recently updated Wheat Belly Quick & Dirty summary. It summarizes the essential dietary strategies of the Wheat Belly approach to 1) avoid all products made from high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat that wreak health destruction along with all other grains, and 2) create a diet that is otherwise healthy and appropriate for all members of the family. In particular, I’ve tried to clarify some items that were unclear in previous versions.
This is the lifestyle I advise that achieves spectacular reductions in weight, provides relief from joint pain and acid reflux, reduces triglycerides, shoots HDL upward, reduces or eliminates small LDL particles (the #1 cause of heart disease in the U.S.), unravels diabetic/pre-diabetic tendencies, and begins the process of reversing inflammation and autoimmune conditions. The diet starts with the biggest step of all: elimination of wheat and other closely related grains (rye, barley, corn, oats, rice, millet, amaranth, bulgur, sorghum, triticale). But a healthy diet cannot end there, else you and I could eat no grains but fill our calories with soft drinks and jelly beans. So the next step is to limit carbohydrates if your goal is to lose more weight, correct metabolic distortions like high blood sugar and small LDL particles, and reduce potential for conditions like cancer and dementia. Then, we choose our foods wisely to avoid the common booby-traps set for us by Big Food and Agribusiness, not to mention the friendly dietitian at the hospital. Diet in the 21st century is no longer just about carbs, proteins, and fats–it is also about being savvy about the changes introduced into our foods by food producers.
All wheat-based products (all breads, all breakfast cereals, noodles, pasta, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, pretzels, crackers), oat products (oatmeal, oat bran), corn and cornstarch-based products (sauces or gravies thickened with cornstarch, prepared or processed foods containing cornstarch, cornmeal products like chips, tacos, tortillas), sugary soft drinks, candies.
Avoid processed foods containing wheat, such as soy sauce, Twizzlers, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, salad dressings, taco seasoning–examine ALL labels and avoid any food with mention of wheat. (It’s not a bad idea to avoid foods with labels! Cucumbers and spinach, for example, generally don’t come with labels.)
All other grain-containing products–especially those with corn, rye, barley, and rice. Corn, like wheat, is contained in many processed foods.
Never exceed 15 grams net carbs per meal. Net carbs = total carbs – fiber. For example, a medium-sized ripe banana contains 27 grams total carbs, 3 grams fiber:
27 – 3 = 24 grams net carbs–too high. (Eat only half or only choose green, unripe bananas with zero carbs to add to your shake or smoothie for its prebiotic fiber content, as discussed in the Wheat Belly Total Health and Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox books.)
Vegetables-except potatoes; fresh or frozen, never canned
Raw nuts and seeds-raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamians; dry-roasted peanuts (not roasted in oil); pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and chia seeds
Healthy oils (preferably unheated, whenever possible)-olive, flaxseed, coconut, avocado, walnut, organic butter, ghee
Meats–red meats, pork, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs. (Consider free-range, grass-fed and/or organic sources.) Never buy lean cuts, buy the fatties you can find and eat the fat! Uncured bacon, sausages, hot dogs, lunch meats, etc. (without grain ingredients)
Ground flaxseed, chia seeds
Teas, coffee, water, unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or coconut water (though be mindful of emulsifiers such as carageenan)
Cheeses—-real cultured cheeses only (not Velveeta or single-slice processed cheese)
Avocado or guacamole; hummus; unsweetened condiments, e.g., mayonnaise, mustard, oil-based salad dressings; ketchup without high-fructose corn syrup; pesto, tapenades; olives
Fruit–Select fruit in this order (best first): berries of all varieties, citrus, apples, nectarines, peaches, melons. Minimize bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and grapes and only in the smallest of quantities (since they are like candy in sugar content). Adhere to the net carb rule (above).
Fruit juices-only real juices and in minimal quantities (no more than 2-4 oz; follow the net carb rule above)
Dairy products-No more than 1 serving per day of milk, cottage cheese or yogurt, unsweetened (Fat content does not matter.)
Legumes/beans; peas; sweet potatoes and yams–Follow the net carb rule
Dark chocolates-85% cocoa or greater; no more than 40 grams (approximately 2 inches square) per serving
Safe sweeteners include stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, xylitol, and inulin
”Gluten-free” foods made with rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch
Hydrogenated “trans” fats
Cured meats–hot dogs, sausages, bacon, bologna, pepperoni “fixed” with sodium nitrite. (Choose uncured without sodium nitrite.)
High-fructose corn syrup containing foods; honey; agave syrup; sucrose
Processed rice, rice flour or potato products-rice crackers, rice cereals, pretzels, breakfast cereals, potato chips
Fat-free or low-fat salad dressings
- For healthy breakfast choices, consider unlimited eggs, any style; foods baked from Wheat Belly recipes, such as pancakes, grainless “granola”; ground flaxseed as a hot cereal (e.g., with coconut milk, organic milk, or unsweetened almond milk; blueberries, strawberries, etc.). Also consider raw nuts; cheese; consider having “dinner for breakfast,” meaning transferring salads, cheese, chicken, and other “dinner” foods to breakfast.
- Add 1 tablespoon or more of taste-compatible healthy oil to every meal. For example, mix in 1 tbsp coconut oil to ground flaxseed hot cereal. Or add 2 tbsp olive oil to eggs after scrambling. Adding oils will blunt appetite. Never trim the fat off meat and purchase fattier cuts. Cook with (organic) butter, coconut oil, lard, tallow (non-hydrogenated, if purchased), saved bacon grease.
- Reach for raw nuts and 85% cocoa dark chocolate first as convenient snacks.
- Use the recipes in the Wheat Belly Blog, books, and cookbooks whenever cravings hit: cookies, muffins, brownies, coffee cake, cheesecake from the recipes can quell appetite with no downside.
In Wheat Belly Total Health and Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox, we add new strategies to increase effectiveness and obtain even better results by adding strategies to cultivate healthy bowel flora; vitamin D; omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil ONLY; magnesium; iodine and thyroid normalization.
Explore and understand why the Wheat Belly program works so well and how you can take your results even further with the Wheat Belly books:
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health
The original book that explores how and why wheat was transformed into the modern high-yield, semi-dwarf strain that amplified its adverse health effects and why it is now an ingredient in nearly all processed foods.
Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan
Even bigger and better health and weight loss results can be obtained by expanding the strategies of the original Wheat Belly lifestyle.
Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox: Reprogram Your Body for Rapid Weight Loss and Amazing Health
This is the book for anyone who either just wants the nitty-gritty of the program without the science and rationale, or for those who have read the other Wheat Belly books and just want a roadmap for following the program. There is also a private Facebook page to support the Wheat Belly Detox.
Wheat Belly Slim Guide: The Fast and Easy Reference for Living and Succeeding on the Wheat Belly Lifestyle
The Slim Guide is a pocketbook-sized portable reference with shopping lists, safe food lists, recipes, and other handy references to make navigating the Wheat Belly lifestyle easier.
Wheat Belly Cookbook: 150 Recipes to Help You Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
This is the first cookbook that expanded the menu for creating grain-free dishes that are healthy and stay within the guidelines of the Wheat Belly program.
Wheat Belly 30-Minute (Or Less!) Cookbook: 200 Quick and Simple Recipes to Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
The Wheat Belly menu is expanded even further to include condiments, sauces, seasoning mixes, and plenty of easy, quick recipes compatible with the Wheat Belly lifestyle.
If you are interested in taking personal health to an even higher level, along with adding more advanced strategies for improved skin and joint health, dementia prevention, reversal/prevention of an expanded list of health conditions, graduate to the Undoctored conversation:
The Undoctored Inner Circle membership website:
Undoctored Inner Circle