“Cut your fat and eat more healthy whole grains” is magnificently effective for causing weight gain. But why?
There are several reasons:
- Wheat products, both white and whole grain, are carbohydrate-rich—And the carb is amylopectin A that raises blood sugar and insulin more than table sugar (whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than sucrose). Repetitive cycles of high sugar/high insulin promote insulin resistance that, in turn, causes visceral fat to accumulate. The more visceral fat accumulates, the more inflammation develops that adds to insulin resistance and higher insulin levels, a vicious cycle that causes weight gain, since insulin promotes fat storage and suppresses fat mobilization.
- Gliadin-derived opioid peptides—Humans lack the digestive enzymes to break down many of the proteins of wheat unlike, say, the proteins in an egg or beef that are broken down into single amino acids. The gliadin protein is therefore broken down into peptide fragments about 4 or 5 amino acids long. These peptide fragments are peculiar in that they cross into the human brain and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors and powerfully stimulate appetite. This phenomenon explains why, for instance, you can be full after eating a bowl of pasta but still feel hungry, reflecting the unnatural, non-physiologic triggering of appetite by wheat.
- Inflammation develops for a number of reasons that includes gliadin-provoked intestinal inflammation, gliadin-derived peptides that are also inflammatory, wheat germ agglutinin that both inflames the intestinal lining and other organs when it gains access to the bloodstream. These causes of inflammation further fuel insulin resistance and higher insulin levels.
- The amylopectin A of wheat encourages bacteria and fungi to ascend up the gastrointestinal tract and lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, and small intestinal fungal overgrowth, SIFO. Once one or both of these conditions become established, it adds enormously to inflammation (via lipopolysaccharide, for instance, due to the dominance of Enterobacteriaceae bacterial species of SIBO) and inflammation, in turn, further worsens insulin resistance.
I believe you can see why I call it a “Wheat Belly,” as wheat is perfectly crafted to cause weight gain, especially in visceral abdominal fat. All the above effects, by the way, also lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes in parallel with the weight effect.
Turn off this entire panel of unhealthy effects, however, by banishing all wheat—and even better, all grains that share many of the properties of wheat—and you can see weight melt off you. That’s how we do it in the Wheat Belly world, while also adding strategies that help turn off insulin resistance as we do in Wheat Belly Total Health and the Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox.