You may be wondering if Wheat Belly is a wheat-free or a gluten-free diet and what is the difference? The fact is, just because something is wheat free does not make it gluten free. However, when following the wheat belly diet it is much easier to look for gluten free foods because if it is gluten free then yes, it is wheat free. But not so fast! Going gluten free still does not mean we get the green light to fill up on gluten free foods!
So if going gluten free pretty much guarantees that we are also wheat free then why not just follow a gluten free diet? The answer is simple. We do want to eliminate the wheat in our diet and the easiest way is to look for gluten-free replacements. However, with Wheat Belly you have to watch your carbohydrate intake and many gluten-free products are very high in carbs. Sure you can enjoy a slice of gluten-free cake once in a while as well as other products that can replace your favorite breads, pastas, etc on occasion but this should be done only as a rare treat.
Here is what you need to consider. The wheat belly diet is about losing weight, and if you simply replace your favorite, cookies, cakes, breads and pastas with gluten free alternatives you aren’t really saving any calories or carbs. In fact, some of these replacements may even be higher in calories and carbohydrates than what you were eating! After all, gluten free products are typically marketed to those with celiacs disease, (who have a gluten intolerance) and are not being marketed as a weight loss food.
There are many gluten free products on the market that are naturally gluten free. These are the real foods that you should base your diet around. Vegetables, fruit, most cheeses and unprocessed meats (check labels on anything processed) are naturally gluten free. And as for gluten free pastas, breads, cereals and yummy pastries, these can be enjoyed as an occasional treat but should not be a part of your daily menus.
Trust me, when I went out shopping at first I was going crazy in the health food section and spent two or three times as much for gluten free replacement foods (gluten free pizza crusts, special gluten free flour, etc). However, I now know that simply checking labels on many of the products that I normally buy is sufficient. For example, the Wegmans ranch dressing that I buy is gluten free, where other brands may or may not be. If I do crave something starchy I have a small serving of potatoes or a few strawberries to curb my sweet cravings (incidentally these cravings will subside once you are off the wheat).
Gluten free baked good and pastas are a great alternative for those with a gluten intolerance who feel they are missing out on eating (for example, gluten free cake allows someone with celiacs to enjoy dessert with everyone else). If you feel you are missing out, enjoy these foods on occasion but let the staple of your diet be healthy, wholesome food.