I’ve heard this many times over the years: “I allow myself one cheat day a week.” Or “I allow myself a cheat every Friday night.” Or comments from naysayers such as “A little bit can’t hurt” or “Everything in moderation.” These are all enormously destructive ideas with real health consequences.
I therefore urge everyone to never cheat on the Wheat Belly Lifestyle.
It’s not because I’m a control freak or because I like to make arbitrary rules. There are many reasons to never allow yourself such a cheat. This has nothing to do with the few calories ingested. The implications are greater than the high-carbohydrate (amylopectin A) exposure of a wheat and grain indulgence.
Among the reasons why it is important that you never cheat:
- Appetite is powerfully stimulated for several days following the cheat, an effect I call: “I ate one cookie and gained 30 pounds.” Re-exposure to gliadin-derived opiate peptides will destroy your willpower, typically giving way to consuming a flood of junk that is tough for many people to stop. I have seen people regain 20 or 30 pounds over a few weeks after, say, a handful of pretzels or a few Twizzlers—yes: Twizzler contain wheat—unable to turn off the torrent of appetite.
- Inflammation is re-ignited, an effect that typically lasts for weeks to months. If, for instance, living the Wheat Belly lifestyle reversed the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis or the itchy scaling skin of eczema, it can all come back and persist for week to months. I’ve seen people with rheumatoid arthritis who were able to stop prednisone, naproxen, and Humira, completely relieved of joint pain or swelling without drugs, then have to go back on them after a single grain miscalculation. People with autoimmune diseases will completely turn off any hope of remission with even occasional cheats.
- Small LDL particles are formed, the most common abnormality that leads to heart disease. (No, it is not high cholesterol. This is a fiction from the drug industry who skillfully duped a generation of physicians to grow the multi-billion dollar statin franchise.) Unlike large LDL particles that persist in the bloodstream for about 24 hours after consuming fat, small LDL particles that result from wheat consumption typically persist for nearly one week, sometimes longer. This means that one indulgence per week of wheat/grains/sugar triggers an excess of small LDL particles for 52 weeks a year. A once-per-week “cheat” therefore means year-round risk for heart attack. For those of you with a more sophisticated understanding of coronary disease causality, people with genetic variants apoprotein E2 and lipoprotein(a) can have persistent and high levels of small LDL particles for 10 days or longer after grain consumption.
- You distort bowel flora. Given the incredible bowel toxicity of gliadin, gliadin-derived peptides, and wheat germ agglutinin, toxic to the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and colon, you never fully regain the chance to restore healthy bowel flora with occasional indulgences.
- You can experience re-exposure reactions. The most common: joint pains, skin rashes, acid reflux, diarrhea, bloating, anger, hostility, anxiety, mental “fog,” depression. These typically last from a few hours to several days.
You can see that, while some wheat/grain effects are perceived, many are not. You may feel just fine while you trigger oodles of small LDL particles that grow your coronary or carotid plaque. You may be perfectly happy while bowel flora is altered, or autoimmune inflammation gathers steam.
The key is to never go back to grains.
If you are wanting pancakes for breakfast, a plate of spaghetti, or a pizza slice, cheesecake, a cookie, or other indulgence, recreate them without wheat, without grains, without gluten-free junk replacements, without sugar—precisely the way that all Wheat Belly recipes are crafted. And be sure to include generous quantities of butter, coconut oil, and other fats and oils.