It continues to astound me that people view the Wheat Belly lifestyle as a gluten-free lifestyle: eliminate gluten, eat gluten-free foods.
Eliminating foods containing gluten is indeed a powerful strategy for losing weight and reversing literally hundreds of common, chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, many people get it wrong due to incomplete understanding, choosing unhealthy replacement foods, or even following bad advice from their doctors who advise people that only those with celiac disease benefit from being gluten-free. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and reflects the deep ignorance on nutrition that is the rule among most mainstream physicians.
So let me lay out some basic facts about the gluten-free lifestyle. People who adopt a gluten-free lifestyle—and do it right—feel better and are thinner and healthier because:
- By eliminating sources of gluten, they are eliminating the gliadin protein that yields peptides with opioid properties. Due to the incomplete digestion of proteins unique to human consumption of the seeds of grasses, the four and five amino acid-long peptides that result have a wide range of mind effects that range from mind “fog” to provoking the dark thoughts of depression to appetite stimulation. No gluten means no gliadin-derived opioid peptides, thereby erasing the peculiar mind effects, including a major reduction in appetite.
- Eliminating the gliadin protein removes a major trigger for autoimmune inflammation, as gliadin has been shown to initiate the process of increased intestinal permeability, allowing foreign substances access into the bloodstream and lymph systems, leading to, for instance, type 1 diabetes in children and rheumatoid arthritis. No gluten, no gliadin, far less potential for autoimmune inflammation.
- Eliminating sources of gluten means eliminating sources of wheat germ agglutinin, a completely indigestible protein that is a potent bowel toxin, blocker of pancreatic and gallbladder function, and inflammatory protein if it gains access into the bloodstream.
- Eliminating sources of gluten means eliminating phytates that block absorption of most minerals, especially iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium, with deficiencies of each resulting in their own unique set of consequences such as impaired immunity and skin rashes with zinc deficiency and high blood pressure, muscle cramps, bone thinning, and heart rhythm disorders with magnesium.
- Eliminating sources of gluten means eliminating the amylopectin A of wheat and grains that raised blood sugar higher than table sugar, contributing to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain in visceral fat.
Eliminating gluten does NOT mean, however, that you should replace gluten-containing foods with processed gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch. The high carbohydrate content of these gluten-free replacement ingredients, coupled with the exponential increase in surface area for digestion of the finely granulated flours, means that gluten-free foods provoke blood sugar and insulin more than any other food. Consumption of processed gluten-free foods therefore leads to expansion of inflammatory visceral fat, substantial weight gain, glycation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease via small LDL particles, and increased potential for cancer and dementia. Trading gluten-containing wheat and grains for processed gluten-free foods is a very bad idea with major consequences for adverse health consequences.
In the Wheat Belly lifestyle, we therefore completely avoid such awful processed gluten-free replacement foods. You can safely consume foods that are naturally gluten-free like eggs, asparagus, or olive oil. But steer clear of the entire grocery store aisle of garbage foods labeled gluten-free.