3 Ways Wheat Can Give You a Belly

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Wheat products are often advertised as organic health foods but recent research has shown that there can be some drawbacks to having a large amount of wheat in your diet. Wheat can be found in products such as flour, pasta, breads, and is used in many dips and sauces as a thickener. The condition of having a protruded stomach known as ‘beer belly’ is actually caused by wheat, which is found in most beers. The same effect can happen from eating wheat products on a regular basis. There are a few factors about wheat that can cause you to pack on pounds around the stomach.

1. It creates fat cells. Modern wheat contains a carbohydrate called amylopectin-A, which causes your glucose levels (blood sugar) to rise and your body to release large amounts of insulin. With an abundance of both glucose and insulin, your body stores a lot of fat. Fat can be used as used as energy but when there’s a lot of glucose in your system, a good amount gets directed to storage in fat cells. Every time this happens (i.e. every time you eat wheat), the process repeats and leads to fat building up. The fat that is mainly found in the stomach is called visceral fat. This type of fat tends to be insulin resistant and over a period of time can lead to type II diabetes –making wheat not only bad for your waistline but also for your health.

2. It’s addictive. Gluten is a protein that is found in almost all wheat products. The polypeptides from gluten can gain entry to the brain by penetrating the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, gluten acts much like an opiate and binds with the opioid receptors. This causes an addiction; making you crave more and more. There is even a withdrawal period after you stop eating wheat. It can last from a few days to a couple of weeks and includes symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and very strong cravings. Since this will make you crave and eat more wheat products, the cycle of spiking glucose levels, insulin, and fat storage continues and your belly gets larger.

3. It makes you eat more. Only a few hours after eating wheat, you will begin to feel hunger whether your body really needs food or not. This hunger is caused by gaining a high level of glucose then experiencing the effects of it rapidly dropping, which will happen roughly two hours after eating a wheat product. Due to this, people who have a substantial amount of wheat in their diets consume an average of almost 500 more calories per day than people who have a wheat-free diet.

Although wheat can cause you to gain weight, not all grains are considered bad. Buckwheat, rice, tapioca, quinoa, and einkorn are all considered safe substitutions and are less likely to cause weight gain. Turning to a gluten-free diet can definitely be of help but you also have to watch out for gluten-free products that have a high glucose index because large quantities of glucose play a big factor in weight gain as well.

If you want an easy way to go wheat or gluten free, check out The Paleo Recipe Book