I had a recent conversation in which someone declared “The Wheat Belly diet is fruit-free, right?”
We limit net carbs in our program for the sake of reversing insulin resistance or inflammatory pathways, not provoking formation of small LDL particles or excessive postprandial (after-meal) lipoproteins, not contributing to fatty liver, and for weight loss. Because most modern fruit is high in net carbs, some have interpreted this to mean that the Wheat Belly lifestyle is fruit-free . . . but it is not.
As often as possible, the principles we follow in the Wheat Belly and Undoctored lifestyles mimic the eating behavior of primitive people, as this is what led to the programming of the human genetic code we all carry. You need magnesium because you are genetically programmed to need it. You need vitamin D because you are genetically programmed to need it. You need iodine because you are genetically programmed to need it. You need dietary fats because you are genetically programmed to need it. We don’t consume wheat or grains because we are not genetically accommodated to their many components, especially that in modern strains created by agribusiness.
Primitive people (by “primitive” I don’t mean a century or 10,000 years ago. I am referring to the 3.5 million years that Homo sapiens have walked this planet during which time the great majority of human evolution took place) consumed fruit. But the fruits they consumed were wild, fibrous, not as sweet or not sweet at all, and often sour or bitter. Look at the ancestral form of wild banana that originated in New Guinea and Southeast Asia compared to what we currently regard as banana. The ancestral wild banana (shown above) was full of large seeds, making consumption difficult. Modern banana, of course, is exceptionally easy to eat due to the lack of seeds and soft pulp, as well as sweet.
This issue can apply to vegetables, also. Just look at the wild carrot, the forerunner of our modern orange carrot:
(From The Genetic Literacy Project)
Strain selection, hybridization, and genetic modification have all been applied to create modern strains of fruit and vegetables that are easier to consume, often free of seeds, less fibrous, and sweet. For these reasons, we follow a net carb limitation of no more than 15 grams net carbs per meal (or follow the Wheat Belly No Change Rule for finger stick blood sugars) . If you were consuming wild bananas, wild carrots, and other wild plants instead, we would not have to apply our net carb limitation, as exceeding the limit would be tough.
If you consume, say, a modern apple that contains around 25 grams total carbs, 4.4 grams fiber = 20.6 grams net carbs—a bit too much for our purposes—you will begin to provoke the health phenomena listed above. We therefore choose either a small apple or eat no more than half of the whole apple.
We also gravitate towards lower net carb fruit such as:
- Blueberries—with 8.9 grams net carbs in 1/2 cup
- Strawberries—with 8.7 grams net carbs per 1 cup
- Raspberries—with 6.7 grams net carbs per 1 cup
- Blackberries—with 7.1 grams net carbs per 1 cup
- Cherries—with 8.6 grams net carbs per 1/2 cup
We therefore follow our net carb limitation because fruit and vegetables have changed, modern life has changed, our microbiome has changed.