I received an email yesterday that has me more than just a bit miffed. I usually try to stay away from bringing much strong controversy to my posts, but this one is just too much to pass up. The email was not from a reader, but from a well-known “health” industry magazine Prevention. I have read this magazine off and on throughout the past many years and have found some very good information. During their newsstand years though, Prevention has evolved from their foundation of providing only sound health advice to becoming the magazine known for the latest health fad and quick-fix weight-management tricks and tips. While some are grounded, many have come and gone through the cycle of what’s the “latest-and-greatest”, from the high-fat, low-carb diet, or the high-carb, no meat diet, or … well, you get my point. The email I received promoting one of the latest books, written by cardiologist William Davis, MD, is making a claim that I believe to be not only false, but VERY bad for those of us who require a gluten-free lifestyle to be healthy. The book, Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, is claiming you can “Lose up to 20, 30, 50 pounds”, simply by cutting wheat out of your diet. Great, right?! (Boy, I hope you heard the sarcasm in that comment!). This has the hair on the back of my neck standing on end.
Dr. Davis states that wheat is the worst food a person can consume. "I call it wheat belly, though I could have just as easily called this condition pretzel brain or bagel bowel or biscuit face since there's not an organ system unaffected by wheat," says Dr. Davis.”
Okay, those of us living in the gluten-free world agree that wheat is definitely not good for us. That’s why we need to be gluten-free. We would agree that it causes a whole host of symptoms affecting our entire bodies, but from an autoimmune standpoint. We’re not doing it for some “weight-loss” program or trendy new “healthy” diet. We adhere to this lifestyle to be safe, have a strong immune system, and gain optimal health and a healed gut that consuming gluten strips from us.
Prevention Magazine/Dr. Davis claim in Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight …
“If you're carrying around excess belly flab, Dr. Davis's advice is clear: Give up the wheat. While that may sound drastic, he says that it doesn't mean never eating pizza, cookies, and cheesecake again. And that when you kick the wheat out of your diet, you actually quit craving wheat-filled foods.”
REALLY??? I lived a gluttonous gluten-filled lifestyle for many decades of my life (I won’t state exactly how many though), not knowing until 2 1/2 years ago that I needed to be gluten-free. As an adult, I was a very proficient baker of delicious gluten- and dairy-filled pastries, breads, desserts and baked goods of all types (not to toot my horn because there’s no claim to fame here). After living a purely gluten-free diet for the past two+ years, I still crave, yes crave, gluten-filled goodies! As does my son. We often banter back and forth about what the best gluten-filled goodie we’d choose to engorge ourselves on if we had a “free pass” day! Doesn’t sound like the cravings have left this crew.
This book, and all it’s advertising schemes, are taking people down the “bad information” path. Isn’t it possible that eating pizza, cookies, and cheesecake, whether they have gluten in them or not, just may sabotage your weight loss and/or health? Hmmm! My common sense seems to tell me there might be a HUGE disconnect here. While we gluten-free folks don’t need to feel deprived in our lifestyle and food choices, we all know gluten-free can be delicious and satisfying, I don’t hear that our great success story is “Belly fat just melts off,” as one of the claims states. Personally, what I found to occur when my son and I became gluten-free is that we both did experience some weight loss. Hold on … I’m just sharing the facts … not stating Dr. Davis is right. We experienced losing about roughly 5-8 pounds each because we had just eliminated LOTS of calories from our diet and we didn’t yet know how to include them back into our new gluten-free lifestyle. Once I was able to begin cooking with other flours and ingredients that were safe, the calories were normalized again and the weight loss halted, and even returned a few pounds to us to regain a healthy weight.
What is more important for the gluten-free community, is what affect are these claims going to have in the food industry? In the restaurant industry? When a person who needs to be on a gluten-free diet wishes to dine out at a restaurant, will he or she be taken seriously and have the gluten restrictions honored? Will the staff feel this is not a “health” need, but a weight-loss or fad diet trend, and become nonchalant with their actions and practices? Will new “wheat-free” labels bombard the product industry to further confuse and contort the much needed “gluten-free” labeling laws we greatly need and earnestly pursue for clarity and safety of our health? How long will this new book, Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, be the “latest-and-greatest”, only to fall out of trendy favor and into the shadows of yet another new “answer-to-your-weight-loss-prayers” diet approach? And MOST Important … How much destruction to the efforts of the gluten-free community for safe eating practices will be left in its wake?
I don’t have answers to these questions (though I do have some instincts). What are YOUR thoughts? Want to read more of this ad? Be sure to share your Comments below and “weigh in” on the conversation.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!