Many naturopathic doctors know a little secret about weight loss—when you stop eating wheat, the pounds drop off. Mind you, most patients who make this dietary change don’t do it to lose weight. They do it because they have a sensitivity to wheat and the gluten that it contains. When someone with this sensitivity consumes gluten, it triggers an abnormal immune response, which, in turn, causes health problems, such as fatigue and depression, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, sinusitis and joint pain. And when they stop eating wheat, their health problems clear up…they have more energy…and they lose weight. So can you, even if you are not sensitive to wheat. Our editors turned to Mark Stengler, NMD, a naturopathic medical doctor who is founder and medical director of the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in Encinitas, California, to explain why this happens. Here’s what he said…
We may think of wheat (at least, the whole-grain variety) as good for us. But most of the wheat that Americans eat is refined and does not contain a lot of health-promoting fiber. The refined carbohydrates from the wheat are treated by the body like sugar, spiking insulin and contributing to inflammation and obesity. Wheat sensitivity also causes water retention, which adds water weight.
Wheat is everywhere. Wheat is pervasive in the foods we eat, even in unexpected places—including soy sauce, preservatives and many alcoholic drinks. So, you are probably eating wheat knowingly—in breads and pastas—and unknowingly in other foods.
What to eat instead. When you cut wheat from your diet, you achieve a more healthful balance among carbohydrates, fats and protein. Skip the bread at mealtimes…consume healthy grains, such as quinoa and brown rice…increase the amount of vegetables on your plate…and consume healthful portions of lean protein (fish, chicken and legumes, such as beans). Once you get used to consuming less wheat, it isn’t that hard to do. You will feel satisfied and no longer be on an insulin roller coaster…you won’t miss wheat…and the weight will come off naturally!