Dr. James C. Spaulding

Chiropractor - Edinboro, Pa.

Instrument Adjusting Certified
106 Waterford Street • Edinboro Pa 16412 • Send E-Mail
Phone: (814) 734-3422
"Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health"
A book review by Dr. James Spaulding

I have been a “low carb” guy for over 15 years, so when my son urged me to read Wheat Belly I just couldn’t imagine what I might discover that was new. I was wrong. This book had a lot of important things to say, some new; some not so new.

I will highlight the things I thought were worth reading and seriously thinking about:

  • We are an overweight culture (OK you knew that.) The author lays this to a couple of generations of increased carbohydrate consumption, but particularly wheat, which he calls a super-carbohydrate, easily digestible and capable of raising blood sugar at a higher level than almost any other carb.

  • Modern-day wheat is not the wheat of our ancestors. The wheat of Bible-times had a simple genetic code which changed only slightly until about the mid-20th century. Agri-science was able to find ways to alter and hybridize wheat to stand up to disease and extreme weather, and to increase yield. These are all good things, especially when the intent was to feed the world (and make growing it more profitable.) With the good, however, comes the not-so-good.

  • Whole grains, touted by almost everyone in the medical community as healthier, particularly heart-healthier, are actually causing heightened bodily responses…bad ones.

  • The increasing incidence of adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes is striking, but even more alarming is the same trend among children (more kids getting adult-onset diabetes that is.) The author is suggesting that this is due to childhood exposure to a diet high in (you guessed it) wheat.

  • Most of us have heard about the gluten-free craze. You may also be familiar with the digestive disorder associated with gluten, celiac disease. You are probably not aware that children with celiac are 10 times more likely to develop juvenile (Type 1) diabetes, and juvenile diabetics are 10 to 20 more times likely to have antibodies (an allergy) to wheat and/or celiac disease.

  • Wheat allergy/sensitivity is likely tied to many other health-related problems, such as migraine, seizure-disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep issues, hypertension, ADD, and mood swings

You may ask, “Why are the previous points important, and worth pondering?” Let me take you bullet-point by bullet-point.

  • Wheat is a super-carbohydrate. The glycemic-index is a formula to rate foods according to the rise that they cause in blood glucose. The higher the glycemic index, the stronger the increase in blood glucose. The higher the blood glucose, the stronger the insulin response, and whole wheat, believe it or not, has a higher glycemic index than table sugar. A diet high in the super-carb wheat particularly, will “pound the daylights” out of the pancreas and over time may eventually produce insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

  • Modern-day hybridized wheat has been good for growers, but not-so-good for consumers. Today’s wheat, it seems, has properties which can play havoc with one’s health…in many, various, and sundry ways. Along with higher blood sugar, there is increased appetite, premature aging and a greater susceptibility to all manner of disorders and diseases. These include, but are not limited to, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic low-grade inflammation, various arthritic conditions, premature dementia, migraines, heart attack and stroke.

  • Are whole grains “healthier” for us? Wheat is wheat. A diet high in wheat (whole or not,) as previously mentioned, leads to chronically high levels of glucose and the associated high amounts of insulin circulating in the blood. Excess insulin causes fat to be stored, especially visceral fat (that spare tire so many of us have around our middles.) Belly fat is very un-healthy. Add to this the fact that our bodies function best when our systems are slightly on the alkaline side. Wheat is also a big source of dietary sulfuric acid and can cause a shift toward the acidic side of things. A chronically more acidic system leads to the development of osteopenia (mild bone demineralization) and osteoporosis (severe demineralization.)

  • Why are more children getting adult-onset diabetes? Because children’s bodies act just like adult bodies when their pancreases are pummeled by foods high on the glycemic-index scale day in and day out.

  • Is gluten-free just a craze? Well, sort of. Last time we ate out our waitress, with no prompting from me, commented that she was trying to go gluten free. The author, however, is careful to point out that gluten-free is not necessarily problem-free.

  • Should you give wheat-free a try? What in the world do you have to lose?

After getting through about two-thirds of Wheat Belly I began to get serious about eliminating it from my diet. Remember, I was already sold on low-carb. The carbs that I did allow were usually wheat. I love English muffins, rolls, and heavy breads of all types. What I discovered is that many of the uncomfortable symptoms I was experiencing were directly related to wheat. Such as, you say?

  • Bouts of diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal cramping that happened regularly when I exercised my “right” to carb-binge (read wheat-binge) on weekends and holidays particularly, have all but disappeared.

  • Frequent migraine. I have been a migraine sufferer for over 40 years. They have changed over the years currently manifesting themselves as just the migraine aura (the so-called ocular or possibly vestibular migraine.) In recent months they had been occurring 2-3 times per week and, all though not debilitating, were very inconvenient and quite annoying. In the 6 weeks of going low-wheat, I have experienced just three episodes.

  • “Fuzzy” thinking. This is one aspect of my migraine that would last for a day or two (to one degree or another.) I really feel better in this regard.

  • High blood pressure. I have mild to moderate hypertension for which I take appropriate prescription medication. Without changing my meds or dosages, my B.P has dropped by over ten points (higher and lower numbers.) I have hopes of reducing my meds and possibly getting off them completely.

  • Wheat belly. My weight has stayed down for several years on low-carb dieting, but my middle seemed to stall. I have begun to lose weight again and my little paunch has noticeably gotten smaller (my wife said I looked skinny!) with wheat avoidance.

I would recommend that you get this book and read it. Honestly, I’ve only touched on the highlights here. There is much more, including extensive foot-noting, and a whole section on wheat-free recipes. It was a great help to me, personally, and in dealing with patients in my practice.

Dr. Jim Spaulding is a full-time practicing chiropractor of 37 years. He has written numerous articles on the subject of diet and exercise.

© 2013 Dr James C. Spaulding. All Rights Reserved.