If you’re still carrying around some extra pounds and you’ve been doing everything you can think of to get rid of them, wheat could be the culprit. Worse? You might actually have a wheat addiction (keep reading for what I mean by that). It can make losing weight more challenging, and (and!) you may be further damaging your body with the wheat products you’re consuming. There’s good news, though: Once you stop consuming wheat, it can help you feel so much better.

Symptoms of Wheat Addiction

Do you feel hooked on bread, pasta, and junk food in general? It could be that sneaky wheat, calling out to you! Wheat’s in more than you might imagine- it’s cheap and it’s snuck in various forms into all kinds of products (whole wheat vs whole grain) from soy sauce to chips, crackers and more. And by the way whole wheat is not much better than refined (it’s such a shame that it’s so often referred to as a healthy food!). Oftentimes whole wheat products contain lots of white, refined flour and are colored to look brown and look more wholesome. Either way, they whole and refined wheat contain unfavorable properties , and you can be addicted regardless of the type you consume on a regular basis. So what are some of the symptoms of wheat addiction?

  • shutterstock_40080160You crave junk food—carbs—that contain wheat flour
  • You carry your extra weight around your midsection and it doesn’t seem to budge no matter what you do
  • If you’re male, you may have started growing breast tissue (possibly from the increase in estrogen in your body), wheat consumption creates insulin spikes, which in turn contribute to an increase in visceral fat (fat around your internal organs). The visceral fat does more than just sit there; it actually produces estrogen. This not only can contribute to the growth of “man boobs,” but the extra estrogen could increase the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
  • You think you should cut back on how much food you eat, but your appetite says otherwise

How Does It Happen?

Wheat essentially acts like an opiate in the body, creating the desire to consume it again and again. The way it behaves in the body is unique to this particular grain, so it’s not the same when you consume Beauty Grains like millet and quinoa.  It’s difficult to feel satisfied for long when you consume wheat—that includes refined and whole wheat products—and you begin to seek it out more and more often. Your blood sugar spikes, it crashes, and then you’re looking for your next wheat fix.

exorphinsOne theory is, when your body digests wheat, polypeptides (short proteins) called exorphins, make you feel high as they attach to opioid receptors in the brain. Those polypeptides can cross over the blood brain barrier, strengthening your addiction to wheat.

However, some studies show that the exorphins don’t actually cross the blood brain barrier but do still affect the brain’s release of neurotransmitters via opioid receptors. Either way, wheat consumption is affecting your brain and making you want more and more!

Beyond the addiction aspect that makes you continue to eat and gain more weight, there are other health risks associated with wheat consumption.

Harmful Effects of Wheat Products

Because wheat causes inflammation throughout the body, it has been linked to other diseases. We all know about the gluten link to celiac disease, but wheat can affect the average person, too.

Some of the side effects and conditions associated with wheat include:

  • Insulin-dependent diabetesshutterstock_86236177
  • Celiac disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Low energy
  • Inflammation all over the body
  • Obesity

It’s Not Just Gluten

Gluten’s a big deal, but the problem with wheat doesn’t just lie with the gluten it contains (though that’s what makes wheat so allergenic). This wheat addiction and the problems attached to it don’t just affect those with celiac disease, either. This is a problem that affects most Americans.

Gliadin, another protein found in wheat, makes you want to eat more and more. That’s a problem in itself because you’re then consuming more and more gluten (many people have an intolerance to gluten even if they don’t have celiac disease), which leads to bloating and inflammation. In addition to more gluten, you get more toxic pesticides, molds, fungi, herbicides, and other chemicals. None of that is good. Let’s face it: No matter which way you look at it, whether you think wheat addiction is possible or not, this grain is a Beauty Energy thief.

Lectins found in wheat cause inflammation and disease in the body. Not only are they a problem in the gut (you’ve probably heard of leaky gut, where the lectins prevent intestinal walls from repairing themselves), but they make it through the intestinal walls and go out to wreak havoc on other organs, too.

How to Cut Wheat Consumption

Though it’s in your best interest to give up wheat regardless of whether you think you’re addicted to it because it’s one of the most highly contaminated crops you could ever consume, you don’t have to give up all the foods you enjoy that typically contain wheat, there are good replacements. First off,  be sure to always check the ingredients, because wheat sneaks into much more than you’d think). Instead of wheat flour in your baked goods, try using coconut or brown rice flour. If you eat bread sometimes, get yourself some gluten-free bread. You can store it in the freezer, like I do, and heat up a piece or two when it’s needed. I actually love gluten-free wraps on occasion, like the teff ones the Sonoma brand makes. They aren’t perfect- they contain small amounts of canola oil for instance- but they sure are better than many other alternatives and I do like and treat them as a treat, not a daily food.

wheat ingredientsIf you cut the wheat consumption cold turkey, it’s like ripping off a band-aid. If you try to prolong the process and wean yourself off of it, those small portions of wheat will make you crave more and more, making it harder and harder to quit. This is one of the first guidelines in The Beauty Detox Solution—cut out gluten.

If going cold turkey is enough to scare you off of any attempt to cut wheat out of your diet, you can try only having wheat products three to four times per week at first, but you’ll need to be diligent about reading the ingredients and doing your research so you know to stop when you’ve reached your weekly limit. You can also plan ahead with alternatives to your favorite breads, chips, and other wheat-containing snacks.

Withdrawal Symptoms to Expect (Maybe! But remember they are temporary)

  • Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

Sounds like cutting out wheat is a lot like cutting out coffee or sugar, which leads me to believe you can get addicted to wheat. Who would’ve thought?

If you suspect you do have an addiction to wheat or a sensitivity to gluten, I urge you to try avoiding wheat products for a few weeks to see how you feel without them in your diet. It may be difficult, but if your symptoms subside and you find that you have more Beauty Energy and less pain and bloating at the end of it, it WILL be worth it.

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New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist