In his new book Wheat Belly, cardiologist William Davis, MD, explains that eating wheat can not only provoke a fat-storing insulin response, but it also stimulates your appetite to eat more. His theory is that when traditional wheat was genetically altered in the last century, the genetic changes may be responsible for the rise in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. He also theorizes that certain compounds (such as gluten) in wheat trigger hunger, sharper blood sugar spikes, behavioral disorders and inflammation. Although not all of his conclusions are based on research, he has seen thousands of his patients lose weight and improve their blood numbers simply by eliminating wheat from their diets. In fact, the term “wheat belly” comes from the bigger belly, which Dr. Davis considers a dead giveaway of too much wheat in the diet. According to him, a wheat belly represents the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage.
Of course, I’ve discussed the topic of insulin many times before. As you probably know, too much insulin can promote fat storage, inflammation and plaque formation, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, etc. Numerous studies show that people with insulin resistance can benefit from a carbohydrate-restricted diet like Atkins, so it does make sense that Dr. Davis’ patients lost weight and improved their blood numbers by eliminating a carb like wheat (gluten) from their diets. If you do have the reduced ability to process carbohydrates—known as carb intolerance—even the carbs found in more complex carbs like whole-grain wheat could wreak havoc on your ability to process insulin, plus lead to a variety of other health woes. Especially if you’ve been shown to have a sensitivity to gluten. There are many active gluten-free discussions in the Forums, and It seems to me that a book like Wheat Belly could be an interesting complement to Atkins.
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What has been your experience eliminating gluten from your diet while following Atkins? Have you read Wheat Belly yet? I’d love to hear! Please share your thoughts with the Atkins Community and also let me know what you’d like to hear about in the future.