If you want to lose weight and boost energy one option is the Wheat Belly diet. In recent years various gluten-free diets have been trending. Gluten is a grain-based protein that can cause health conditions like food allergies in some people. The difference with wheat belly diet recipes is it not only eliminates grains like wheat, barley, and some oats but also doesn’t suggest finding non-gluten substitutes. So, in that way, it’s different from standard gluten-free diets. However, goals like weight loss are still the same as gluten-free diets. Wheat Belly also claims the diet can help boost energy and improve overall health.
When following any diet it’s important to get some ideas for your three square meals. The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when following diets like Wheat Belly. There are foods you should eat and avoid while on the diet. For example, you should avoid foods like wheat, barley, and some oats. Besides many grains, you should also ditch fast food, potato chips, and added sugar. There are many healthy foods to swap in including grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, fresh fruits/veggies, and full-fat dairy. Whether wheat is super-unhealthy is still debatable but refined grains are certainly less unhealthy than whole grains.
What’s the Wheat Belly Diet?
Let’s start with the basics. The diet has an interesting name since you might be wondering how wheat is used in the diet. The Wheat Belly diet was created by a heart doctor named Dr. William Davis.
This diet is based on his best-selling book. It’s titled based on the doctor’s experience. When he saw a family photo during their vacation, he realized he had about 30 pounds of belly fat.
During that time Dr. Davis felt low-energy when he ate grain-based breakfasts like toast, bagels, and waffles. However, if he ate eggs for breakfast he had more energy for the day. Blood tests showed that the heart doctor had high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol. He decided it was time for some diet changes.
Dr. Davis did a wheat-free experiment that included him and his overweight/obese and pre-diabetes patients. For three months the patients and the doctor swapped out wheat foods and swapped in foods with a lower “glycemic index.” These are slow-digesting foods that don’t cause blood sugar levels to spike.
Dr. Davis reported that many of the patients experienced various health benefits. That included weight loss and lower blood sugar levels. They also had improvements like energy boosts, more focus, healthier lungs/joints, and better sleep.
Dr. Davis was inspired to write a book about his experiences. It’s not clear whether or not he and his patients lost weight because of the wheat-free diet. In fact, the Journal of Cereal Science also shared that there wasn’t solid scientific proof to support Dr. Davis’ claims about whether wheat was linked to high obesity rates.
The Wheat Belly diet requires you to stop eating certain grains. They include:
- Oats (some)
You have to eliminate certain wheat-based foods like cereal, pasta, bread, donuts, pretzels, etc. you also can’t substitute “gluten-free” products into your diet.
Belly Diet Recipes
Foods To Eat
You can eat fruits like apples, oranges, and berries. However, you should limit high-sugar fruits like bananas, pineapple, mango, and papaya. These fruits are more likely to cause blood sugar spikes. Avocados and olives are also allowed.
Standard vegetable oil isn’t allowed on this diet. However, you can eat less refined oils like olive, coconut, and avocado oil. Another option is cocoa butter.
You’re allowed to eat grass-fed meat like beef, and cage-free eggs. Beans are also allowed after you transition off wheat.
Wheat Belly diet allows full-fat cheese. Studies show that full-fat dairy can provide benefits like more weight-loss and higher metabolism. A problem with low-fat/skim varieties is the removed fat is often replaced with cheap/unhealthy ingredients like salt.
Wheat Belly also allows other full-fat dairy products. They include milk, yogurt, butter, and cottage cheese.
You can eat any veggies including ones that are high or low in starch. Pickled veggies like cucumbers and radishes also get a green light.
Beers that are wheat-brewed are off the table. However, Dr. Davis supports drinking heart-friendly red wine.
National Geographic’s Blue Zone project found that this is one of the keys to world regions with the longest average lifespan. This diet also allows flaxseed (ground). Raw seeds are also permitted.
After you’ve swapped out wheat completely from your diet you can eat limited amounts of various whole grains including:
Fermented soy is allowed including miso, tofu, and others.
Foods to Avoid
- Added sugar (sucrose, corn syrup, dried fruit, sodas)
- Breaded proteins
- Cereals (most)
- Cured meats
- Deli sandwiches
- Fast food
- Fried foods
- Grain-based desserts (cookies, donuts, cakes, chips, pies, granola bars)
- Processed meats (hot dogs, veggie burgers)
- Tacos/burritos (wheat)
- Take out meals
- Trans fats
- White rice/pasta
Benefits of Whole Grains
Whole grains might decrease your risk of stroke. One study of nearly one-quarter of a million people found that eating whole grains decreased the risk of stroke by about 15%. That’s compared to those who ate the fewest whole grains.
Another benefit of whole grains is they have chemical compounds that lower the risk of stroke. They include Vitamin K (potassium), antioxidants, and fiber.
One of the main benefits of whole grains is they help you feel fuller, which helps prevent over-eating. It’s one of the main reasons weight-loss programs often include high-fiber foods like whole grains. Studies show that whole grains are much more filling than refined grains.
Eating whole grains (3 servings) daily can decrease body mass index (BMI) and reduce belly fat. This result was found in 15 studies that included nearly 120,000 participants.
3. Type-2 diabetes
Whole grains contain fewer sugars than refined grains. That’s because 1-2 layers of the grains have been removed, which reduces nutrients like fiber. Studies show that eating whole grains daily (2+ servings) might lower the risk of diabetes.
One reason is whole grains might help with controlling weight and avoiding obesity. These are factors that can increase the risk of diabetes.
4. Heart Disease
Whole grains can help lower your chance of heart disease. This is critical since it’s the no. 1. cause of death in the world. One 10-study review found that eating whole grains (3 servings) every day might lower heart disease by over 20%. Other studies have shown similar results.
Whole grains include several nutrients including:
- Vitamin Bs
- Plant nutrients
The types/amounts of nutrients you get are based on the particular grain you’re eating. Even if you swap out wheat you can still get similar nutrients from other whole grains through wheat belly diet recipes.