In today’s interview we speak with Dr. William Davis, board certified cardiologist and author of New York Times best selling book, Wheat Belly.
Dr. Davis compares different types of high carbohydrate foods, giving us recommendations for the healthier options. He also explains how avoiding some of these foods can help prevent health problems in the future.
Wheat Belly by William Davis MD
He recommends limiting net carbohydrate intake (total carbs minus fiber) to 15gm per meal and 45gm per day (that is not very much!) and explains how not only grains, but also a diet high in all types of carbohydrates can contribute to health problems.
Dr. Davis believes the modern healthcare system was created to “extract maximum revenues for doctors and hospitals” and that 70 percent of all surgeries are unnecessary. His intent is to help people empower themselves in their healthcare decisions. He proposes that a simple shift in diet can create significant changes in health.
Love his food as medicine alignment!
We pulled these most popular questions from our Whole Journey Facebook page to ask Dr. Davis:
What is the difference between Modern Wheat and Ancient Wheat?
Modern Wheat or Hybridized High Yield Semi-Dwarf Wheat was created in the 1960s to provide a crop with a higher yield in order to feed more people.
Consuming Modern Wheat contributes to elevated weight, diabetes, autoimmune conditions and incessant eating (because it’s addictive and lights up the pleasure center in the brain).
Although Ancient Wheat, including Amber, Einkorn and Spelt may be slightly “less bad” they still elevate blood sugar and contribute to autoimmune disease.
Should non-gluten grains be avoided?
Dr. Davis recommends avoiding all grains, gluten and non-gluten from the diet. Sprouting brown rice and quinoa can reduce some of the harmful contents but is not recommended. He recommends this because grains contain Amylopectin-A, which light up receptors in the brain and create opiate like responses (addiction).
Please note that this is the opinion of Dr. Davis. I consume gluten-free grains in moderation and have found them helpful in balancing blood sugar and providing fiber in clinical practice, especially after some gut repair work is completed. Wild rice and quinoa are the two best choices to begin with as they are seeds. It’s the amount of Amylopectin-A in the grain that contains the “danger’ and modern wheat contains three times the amount of ancient wheat and other grains.
What are resistant starches and how do they help us?
Certain foods contain resistant starches that are indigestible to humans. These starches do not cause an increase in blood sugar and provide nourishment for our bowel flora.
Some examples of these foods are:
Dr. Davis recommends gradually increasing intake from 10mg per day to 20mg per day to avoid abdominal pain and bloating.
Where do legumes fit in the low carb picture?
Legumes contain a small amount of resistant starch (the amount of RS varies depending on type of legume) and should be used in moderation because they can still elevate blood sugar.
How do elevated blood sugar levels affect our health?
Elevated blood sugar levels can contribute to health problems such as: increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, heart disease, elevated triglycerides, cartilage degradation and cognitive changes that can lead to dementia.
Elevated glucose can cause cartilage to glycate (when protein or fat bonds to a sugar molecule without the control of an enzyme) in the body resulting in arthritis.
Don’t guess at it – test it!
Dr. Davis recommends testing blood sugar levels after consuming high carbohydrate foods to find your unique carbohydrate threshold.
Combining high carb foods with protein, fats and fiber can help reduce blood sugar levels a little, but potentially not enough to keep it in the desired range.
He suggests that the finger prick testing can be helpful in monitoring blood sugar levels.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a more comprehensive test than glucose that will show if your blood sugar remains elevated over a long period of time.
For more information on Dr. Davis, visit www.wheatbellybook.com
Now we want to hear from you.
Do you eat grains? If so, which ones?
About how many grams of carbs do you eat daily?
Do you get your blood sugar levels checked frequently? (fyi, you can buy a kit at any drugstore)
Let us know in the comments below.