Is Wheat Making Us All Fat and Unhealthy?By
I have been asked many, many times, “Have you read Wheat Belly? What do you think of it?” I decided to answer that question here, and open it up for a friendly discussion so that I can hear your thoughts too!
First let me say this: No, I haven’t read Wheat Belly. I’ve chosen not to read it because I already feel overloaded with all the information out there about what is healthy, what is not, and how I should be raising my children. (Oh wait, that last bit about being a parent has nothing to do with food or nutrition. Mostly.) From the description and the reviews of the book, however, I can tell that Wheat Belly contains some helpful information that will benefit many people – especially people who are frequently eating many processed foods.
Some people really can not handle eating wheat. If that’s you, then by all means, don’t eat it, and hooray for you that you found a solution for your body’s good health! But do I feel like we should all throw out the wheat? Well, since my wheat grinder is humming in the background in preparation for making bread as I write this post, I guess you probably know my answer.
Why does eating wheat sometimes make a person gain weight? Anytime you’re eating too many carbs (which is what wheat is) – you are likely to put on some extra pounds. But hey, anytime you eat too much of anything – you are likely to put on some extra pounds. The key words in those sentences, in my opinion is not “wheat” or “carbs.” It is “too much.” Any time you are eating too much of any food (or food group), you are going to lack balance, which can cause weight gain and/or health issues.
The word balance is becoming one of my favorites: BALANCE. Bal-ance. Balanicimo! Balanciencioso!
Folks – maybe we do need to stop eating so much food with wheat in it, simply so that we can fill our bodies with more vegetables in an effort to achieve balance. Maybe we should go easier on the bread – so that we can be sure we are getting enough protein food like healthy meat, nuts, eggs, and beans. It’s all a part of eating in balance.
I may be taking too much of a simplistic view of nutrition and health, but I don’t agree that one part of our diet – in this case, wheat – is the cause of all health concerns. (Isn’t it a fact that wheat and sugar almost always go together? I believe that is something we need to consider when we call wheat the “bad guy.” Maybe I’ll write another book to follow Wheat Belly called Sugar Gut.)
What I do agree with: Many of us (my family included) eat a lot of grains – too many perhaps. Whole grains contain good nutrients, but we really must all be intentional about making sure our diets also include plenty of fruits and vegetables, plus healthy meats, dairy, nuts, eggs, and healthy fats.
So if you are starting your day with donuts (and nothing else), having two rolls with lunch (with a side of jelly), eating a muffin for a snack, and then a burger with a bun for dinner, with three cookies for dessert - stop it! That’s not balanced, it’s really heavy on the wheat, and really light on…well, everything else, especially fruits and vegetables.
What about the argument that our wheat today is not the same as it was 50 years ago? It’s true. There have been modifications made to wheat through the years. Bleh. Unfortunately, and I hate to break it to you, almost all of our foods (fruits and vegetables included) have been modified through the years. It’s frustrating, but don’t overthink it. If you do, you’ll be afraid to eat anything at all, and that’s not a fun place to be. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: God is bigger than the food we eat. (And Jesus is the Bread of Life.)
Do the best you can. Be intentional about eating a wide variety of nutrients found in real, whole food. And when/if you eat wheat, make sure you are also eating a peach, some green beans, and a hunk of chicken. Sound like a plan?
Hopefully that helps answer your questions about my thoughts on eating wheat. I certainly don’t claim to know it all. This is simply where I’ve landed after much research and prayer. I’d love to know your thoughts about eating wheat…