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You Ask, I Answer: No Wheat = Weight Loss?

Wheat spikeIs there something fattening in wheat?

About a month ago I gave up wheat after reading a book about how bad it is for us.

I didn’t go low-carb.  I still ate brown rice and oatmeal, just nothing made from wheat.

I have lost four pounds, and the only thing I did was stop eating wheat!

– Monica (last name withheld)
New York, NY

There is nothing inherently fattening about wheat.  Nor, is it, as that book argues, “bad for us.”

Remember — wheat products have been consumed worldwide for thousands of years, long before obesity rates began skyrocketing in the 1980s.

Since you were eating whole grains (which are similar to whole wheat products as far as calorie, carbohydrate, and fiber values go) during your wheat-free month, I think your weight loss has more to do with other factors.

If your go-to snacks were always wheat-based (i.e.: crackers, pretzels, baked goods), you either snacked less (thereby eliminating calories from your day) or replaced them with lower-calorie snacks.

Also, if the majority of your wheat consumption was in the form of refined grains, your non-wheat diet, due to the inclusion of whole grains, was higher in fiber and, therefore, allowed you to feel full with a fewer amount of calories.

Another suspicion of mine is that the wheat-based foods you normally consumed might have been a vehicle for other high-calorie items.

If, let’s say, your customary two slices of toast for breakfast are topped by two tablespoons of peanut butter, their removal from your diet is also taking away additional calories from peanut butter.

A few months ago, someone recently shared a similar “discovery” with me.  About fifteen minutes into our conversation, this person revealed he ate pasta topped with generous amounts of alfredo sauce three times a week.

Therefore, the absence of wheat from his diet also lead to the exclusion of the highly-caloric sauce he always ate his pasta with.

Your shunning of wheat also eliminated many high-caloric dessert options (other than ice cream).

In short — congratulations on your weight loss, but don’t fear wheat!  Feel free to enjoy a side of whole grain cous-cous or a pasta dish made with whole wheat noodles.

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