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Is "Wheat Belly" just "carb belly"? Is wheat same as banana carbs from a belly perspective?

Answered on January 13, 2014
Created November 08, 2013 at 11:40 AM

My question is narrow: is the "wheat belly" effect just from carbs?

If I replaced the wheat/gluten carb grams with the same number of banana carb grams, would I see any reduction in my wheat belly?

The author of "Wheat Belly" makes the case that gluten/wheat elevates blood sugar higher and longer than most other carbs.

However, he then goes onto say if you merely replace wheat/gluten with other starchy carbs, you won't see the effect on your wheat belly. This got me thinking: is it really the wheat/gluten that uniquely gives you a belly, or is it simply a high carb diet?

Having read about 70% of the book so far, I am convinced that eating this mutant grass is not good, and I'm 3 weeks into a gluten free diet so far.

Thanks for any thoughts!

Mike

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 16, 2013
at 06:36 AM

I've already done my homework.. now it's your turn http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/welcome-to-the-war-on-insulin

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on November 15, 2013
at 08:51 PM

Yeah, I agree. Lot of marketing and societal conditioning has made certain foods that are just as fattening as bread sound cute and harmless, when ultimately they do the exact same things: they drop glucose bombs into your blood. All glucose is identical whether it came from a "cute" little potato or an big "evil" loaf of bread, the body is a biochemical machine and doesn't care the cuteness or political correctness of your food, it just cares about the chemical composition.

2eb1b3e896624be5506029e3fec3e9e2

(10)

on November 15, 2013
at 07:29 PM

you need to show me how much of the modern obesity epidemic is caused by 'frankenwheat' compared to the other factors ('the world' and lifestyle). and 'wheat has changed' isn't good enough evidence that it's causing any problem in humans. you have to explain how.

in addition, i have never heard a rabid anti-wheat fanatic say wheat is okay as long as it's a heritage strain. they all basically say rye and the like are almost as bad as 'frankenwheat'. it would be very interesting if Dr Davis said rye was okay to eat.

2eb1b3e896624be5506029e3fec3e9e2

(10)

on November 15, 2013
at 07:15 PM

the burden is on the one claminig that carbohydrates in general, rather than simple overconsumption, is causing the obesity epidemic. i'm not doing your homework for you.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 09, 2013
at 07:54 AM

Your other statement is so patently false as to not warrant a response.

>>>> there's also no reason to believe high carb diets in general cause obesity.<<<

The high carb American diet is fueling the obesity epidemic. A simple internet search will yield many research papers.

You often you the phrase "no reason"... I see why.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 09, 2013
at 07:51 AM

I though I was pretty clear... your statements were illogical. I'll try a bit harder. >>>>if wheat didn't make people fat 200 years ago, there's no reason to believe it's causing obesity now.<<<< Wheat, the world & peoples' lives / activity have not changed in 200 years? Ahh... no, they all have. Thus wheat & the modern processed food made from it CAN be making people obese.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 09, 2013
at 07:40 AM

Let's not get crazy with the GMO label.... Genetic hybirds (crossing of like speciemens) are not within the meaning of GMO. Modern apples are a far cry from the apples of paleo days but are they GMO? hardly. Yeah, modern wheat has been hrbridized to the extreme but show me the gene splicing.......

GMO means modification akin to introducing tobacco genes into corn.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 09, 2013
at 01:59 AM

Seems more like reading this book will make you demented.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on November 09, 2013
at 01:54 AM

not off topic at all. very interesting!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 08, 2013
at 10:01 PM

Paleos commit a great mistake in not realizing that starchy foods of all kinds are a problem because they are so easily digested, not because they are toxic. The poison is in the megadose. People are just as prone to corn, oat, rice and potato bellies as to wheat. Some of the absolute worst processed foods I've eaten were gluten free concotions using sugar, veg oil and potato or rice flour.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on November 08, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Caveman Mike is correct. We currently eat GMO wheat. In the past we ate Borlaug wheat. Our grandparents ate wheat selected over thousands of years. Surely selection worked along the lines of better tolerance, which was lost when wheat was replaced with newer varieties around 1960.

2eb1b3e896624be5506029e3fec3e9e2

(10)

on November 08, 2013
at 07:02 PM

typical passive-aggressive paleo response. explain yourself or shut up :)

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 08, 2013
at 07:00 PM

>>>if wheat didn't make people fat 200 years ago, there's no reason to believe it's causing obesity now.<<<<

>>> there's also no reason to believe high carb diets in general cause obesity.<<<

So much for logical reasoning....

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on November 08, 2013
at 06:16 PM

This thread is about central belly obesity, not acute celiac like reactions. So, an american vacationing in europe isn't really relevant to this discussion.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 08, 2013
at 05:11 PM

Then why do so many Americans vacationing in Europe report no problems with eating bread there? European bakers use the same mutant wheat that American bakers do. Could it be the additives that American companies put into the wheat flour rather than the flour itself?

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on November 08, 2013
at 04:53 PM

The mutant wheat of today is not the same thing as wheat from 200 years ago.

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9 Answers

0
Medium avatar

on November 09, 2013
at 03:50 AM

Simple straight forward opinion: bananas and wheat are very different but they're both carbs... You can get fat off of either. The fat may accumulate in different parts of your body though.

Too much carbs can be bad, but the source is significant. Wheat contains gluten!! Most wheat is highly processed (even whole wheat). Bananas contain fructose... Starch and glucose is better; too many bananas may lead to liver fat among other problems but bananas aren't tooooo high in fructose. Some fruits are. Eating healthy starch is okay as long as it represents somewhere from 15-35% of calories IMO. Some carbs are better, some are worse. Modern dwarven hyperglutinous wheat is nasty. So are some modern fruits, too high in fructose which many paleos, perhaps rightly so, avoid.

Eat healthy starch in moderation. Good wheat can be a part of this but if you'er to generalize wheat then I'd say avoid it.

0
Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

on November 09, 2013
at 01:52 AM

Slightly off topics but...

This year's Wheat Belly is called Grain Brain. It's a huge best-seller. It's author, Dr. Perlmutter, has been all over the podcasts lately.

The book dishes out the same low-carb, anti-wheat advice of Wheat Belly, but this time it's for brain health.

I'm still in the process of reading it, but I'll summarize the first half of the book: Anyone who's not in ketosis is at risk for dementia.

Chris Kresser has just posted a critical response to the book.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on November 09, 2013
at 01:54 AM

not off topic at all. very interesting!

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 09, 2013
at 01:59 AM

Seems more like reading this book will make you demented.

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 08, 2013
at 07:22 PM

@CaveMan_Mike I think you're right .... maybe his editor or publisher chose the title as more salable?

I think it may not be wheat, but what wheat is made into. I'm wheat free for nearly a year & better off for it.

Take a look at Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman. I started on my journey that wound up at paleo using his concepts as a starting point a little over a year ago.

Some people poo poo fast carbs vs slow carbs and their different insulin responses but the model made sense to me and worked for me. I think fast carbs are the problem.

I went from Blood Sugar Solution, 4 Hour Body, Primal Blueprint and finally, paleo. Recently I started reading Peter Attia's personal blog http://eatingacademy.com/start-here

I'm not sure what the correct nutrition model is ... I only know what seems to work for me. I'm down 30 pounds, a few inches at the waist & no belly over my waistband.

My experiences seem to be similar to samc's.

Bread, pasta & beer on an empty stomach give me heartburn pretty quickly. I've been wheat, pasta & beer free (except for the occasional cheat day) and I've been heartburn free.

For me it seems to be ..... eat wheat >> get heartburn.

About bananas vs bread.... I can easily eat 3 or 4 slices of bread but that number of bananas would be an effort. Maybe the problem with wheat is that it is typically processed into calorically dense stuff? Bread, pasta, beer... coupled with tasty accompaniments like jelly, tomato sauce (w/ sugar) & pretzels.

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on November 08, 2013
at 06:20 PM

I think I found the answer in chapter 13 of Wheat Belly (amazon loc# 3187): "if the gap left by wheat is filled with . . . corn chips, energy bars, fruit drinks, then you will have simply have replaced one undesirable group of foods with another undesirable group; you achieved little."

So, perhaps the author really should have renamed the book "carb belly".

I'll confess I'm a bit disappointed. As I was reading the book, I was ready to drink the wheat free cool-aide that wheat was somehow magical and unique in its badness. Maybe it isn't after all.

Mike

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 08, 2013
at 10:01 PM

Paleos commit a great mistake in not realizing that starchy foods of all kinds are a problem because they are so easily digested, not because they are toxic. The poison is in the megadose. People are just as prone to corn, oat, rice and potato bellies as to wheat. Some of the absolute worst processed foods I've eaten were gluten free concotions using sugar, veg oil and potato or rice flour.

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on November 08, 2013
at 05:22 PM

This thread is about central belly obesity, not acute celiac like reactions. So, an american vacationing in europe isn't really relevant to this discussion.

0
2eb1b3e896624be5506029e3fec3e9e2

on November 08, 2013
at 04:51 PM

no, hundreds of millions of people eat wheat every day and aren't fat. it's a complete lie. if wheat didn't make people fat 200 years ago, there's no reason to believe it's causing obesity now. there's also no reason to believe high carb diets in general cause obesity.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on November 08, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Caveman Mike is correct. We currently eat GMO wheat. In the past we ate Borlaug wheat. Our grandparents ate wheat selected over thousands of years. Surely selection worked along the lines of better tolerance, which was lost when wheat was replaced with newer varieties around 1960.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on November 08, 2013
at 06:16 PM

This thread is about central belly obesity, not acute celiac like reactions. So, an american vacationing in europe isn't really relevant to this discussion.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 08, 2013
at 07:00 PM

>>>if wheat didn't make people fat 200 years ago, there's no reason to believe it's causing obesity now.<<<<

>>> there's also no reason to believe high carb diets in general cause obesity.<<<

So much for logical reasoning....

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on November 08, 2013
at 04:53 PM

The mutant wheat of today is not the same thing as wheat from 200 years ago.

0
8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 08, 2013
at 02:04 PM

I am certain that for some people, there are compounds in grains that cause problems, but I'd not be at all surprised if some of the people who do better when they restrict grains are doing so primarily because of the reduced carbs.

When I started low-carb, I didn't eat grains for a year. I did much better, but I couldn't tell whether it w because of the carbs or the grains. But after a year I started doing a cyclical carb day, that included wheat, and I felt no ill-effects. My problem had clearly been insulin resistance, which my year of low-carb effectively cured.

If I had read Davis before I'd read Taubes, I might have thought that my problem was wheat. I would have been wrong.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 08, 2013
at 01:16 PM

Not quite, but close to the same. I saw bad effects on blood glucose from both steamed rice and sweetened wheat breakfast cereals. By restricting them, and reducing the amount food I ate, I lost 6 inches of waistline. Eating an occasional banana wouldn't be the same as eating several a day on top of your regular diet.

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