Here's an experiment: Eliminate any food made with or containing wheat for the next four weeks and see what happens.
This means no bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, breads, chips, pancakes, waffles, breading on chicken, rolls, bagels, cakes, breakfast cereal. It doesn't matter if it's whole grain, whole wheat, or white. All wheat products.
My prediction: You will lose weight-5, 10, 15 lbs is not uncommon. Most people experience a surge in energy, increased alertness, disappearance of the afternoon energy "slump." Have blood levels checked and most will see drops in blood sugar, rise in HDL, drop in triglycerides. In addition, tests like c-reactive protein that measure hidden inflammation will plummet. Anyone with diabetes will experience improved sugar control. Blood pressure drops.
(The experiment works only if you do not otherwise engage in an unhealthy diet. So, this doesn't mean eliminate wheat but indulge in daily Snickers, soft drinks, and cupcakes. The remainder of your diet should stay with healthy choices; see below.)
Is this "official"?
It is not official.
The USDA Food Pyramid recommends that American adults get at least 6-8 "ounce-equivalents" of grains per day; each ounce-equivalent consists of 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal. In other words, up to 6 slices of whole grain bread, or 6 cups of Shredded Wheat cereal, or 3 cups of whole wheat pasta would all fit comfortably into the USDA Food Pyramid recommendations. The American Heart Association (AHA) provides similar advice, suggesting that 50-60% of daily calories come from grains, which should be mostly whole grains.
In 2007, these "official" recommendations have come to be accepted as gospel.
Hogwash! I say this advice is patent, unadulterated nonsense of the sort that is causing rampant heart disease, diabetes, and obesity in the U.S. In my view, adhering to such advice will not reduce heart disease, but will reduce good HDL, raise triglycerides, increase the dreaded small LDL, raise blood sugar, increase blood pressure, and make you fat.
Yes, it's contradictory to everything you've been told about cholesterol and heart-healthy diets. Eliminate saturated fats, include plenty of whole grain foods in your diet, all part of a heart-healthy nutrition program. In my view, it's about as good as saying that a pack of Marlboros a day keep the doctor away.
"Fiber" has been the politically and socially acceptable buzzword for "carbohydrate." But along with fiber comes ingredients that act just like sugar.
Interestingly, eliminate wheat but maintain an otherwise healthy diet, and fiber intake goes up. Dr. Loren Cordain of Paleo Diet fame has very clearly demonstrated this phenomenon. Rather than coming from wheat, fiber comes from nuts, vegetables, and fruits.