I’ve talked previously about the 7 Common Mistakes people make when they first start out on the Wheat Belly lifestyle, such as eating gluten-free foods or continuing to avoid fat. Make just one of these mistakes and it can impair your weight loss and health-regaining success. Set it right and wonderful things can happen.
There are, however, several additional landmines that can explode in your path and deprive you of the kinds of extravagant successes you see on the Wheat Belly Facebook page. Among the additional common mistakes people make are:
- Continuing to consume soft drinks sweetened with aspartame–Big mistake. We now know that aspartame (as well as saccharine and sucralose) alter bowel flora in such a way that it causes weight gain and type 2 diabetes, even though aspartame itself contains no calories. This explains, for instance, why people who consume diet soft drinks sweetened with aspartame are more overweight than people who drink sugar-sweetened soft drinks. (Please do NOT interpret this to mean that sugar is therefore good. Remember: Less bad is NOT necessarily good—learn from the blunders of conventional dietary thinkers and dietitians.)
- Heating prebiotic fibers–We include prebiotic fibers in the Wheat Belly, as well as Undoctored, lifestyles because they nourish bowel flora. Getting bowel flora back in working order is a huge advantage in numerous aspects of health. However, most prebiotic fibers break down into sugar upon heating. A medium-sized green, unripe banana, for example, contains 27 grams fiber, zero grams sugar. Heat the banana in a banana bread recipe (even if grain-free) and nearly all the fiber will convert to sugar. This much sugar will cause weight loss to come to a halt, provoke small LDL particles that lead to heart disease, raise blood sugar and promote insulin resistance, etc.—all the effects you do not want. So, as a general rule, do not heat your prebiotic fibers. (Inulin is the exception, as it can be heated to moderate temperatures such as in boiling water/coffee or low-temperature baking.) Also, don’t fall for the argument that cooling cooked potatoes or rice allows the sugars to reconvert back to fibers, called “retrogradation”; this does indeed happen but only to a slight degree. The great majority of sugars do not convert to fiber.
- Failure to include iodine–Around 20% of people starting on their Wheat Belly lifestyle are deficient in iodine. This results in hypothyroidism and will quite effectively block any hope of losing weight or reversing several other health conditioons. Iodine is not an option, any more than, say, vitamin C. No vitamin C and you get the joint degeneration and open wounds of scurvy. No iodine and you will have hypothyroidism, low energy, higher cholesterol values, high blood pressure, higher blood sugar, and heart disease. This is why iodine is one of the handful of essential strategies in the Wheat Belly and Undoctored programs.
- Restricting calories–People have been so utterly brainwashed and continue to believe that eating more calories causes weight gain or eating fewer calories leads to weight loss. In the Wheat Belly lifestyle in which we eliminate all wheat and grains, limit our net carb intake to 15 grams or less per meal, calories no longer matter. The only time calories become an issue is when you cut back on calories which typically leads to the opposite of weight loss: weight gain. This is because caloric restriction causes your basal metabolic rate to drop 10, 20, or 30% and you can gain weight by eating less. (This is precisely what happens to Biggest Loser contestants who initially lose, say, 100 pounds through calorie restriction and extreme exercise, then regain all of it even when they continue a calorie-restricted lifestyle.) If you are following the Wheat Belly lifestyle, there is no advantage to restricting calories.
- Failing to include sufficient salt–Eliminate wheat and grains and you eliminate the gliadin protein that causes sodium retention. You also eliminate the amylopectin A carbohydrate that raised insulin and wheat germ agglutinin that mimicks insulin; when insulin drops, abnormal sodium retention reverses. You therefore lose excess salt, as well as water, during the initial 7-10 days of your Wheat Belly/Undoctored lifestyle. People who fail to salt their food complain of lightheadedness and inappropriate cravings. The conventional advice to restrict salt no longer applies and you should salt your food lightly to moderately.
The Wheat Belly and Undoctored approaches are undoubtedly contrary to most conventional notions of health. Just think: Would your doctor tell you about any of the items in this list? I doubt it.
Just bear in mind that the Wheat Belly and Undoctored strategies–each and every one of them–is there for good reason. While some tweaking is okay, just be sure that your tweak does not disable the wonderful results that you could achieve.