Wheat weight reaction, is this a fluke?

fishymomMarch 17, 2014

A month or so ago, I did an elimination diet of sorts and figured out that wheat was wreaking havoc on my allergies and digestion. For the past three weeks, I have eliminated wheat from my diet, I'm sure not 100%, but no pasta, bread, cereals, cookies, cakes, etc. Last night we went to Olive Garden for dinner and I ate a breadstick, just one breadstick. I had rosemary chicken breast with spinach and potatoes for dinner, with soup and salad, so no other wheat.

I weigh myself every morning and my weight has been pretty consistent for the past few years. Since eliminating wheat the past three weeks, I have been dropping .5 to 1 lb a day. Imagine my surprise this morning when I was up 3 pounds! Nothing else was different yesterday, same breakfast, lunch, snacks, exercise level, sleep, etc. Could one breadstick really cause a 3 pound weight fluctuation?

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Not saying it is not possible, but:

1. Only the scales used in a doctor's office (mechanical) is consistently accurate. Others (spring type, or transducer type in digital scales) can be off by 1 to 3 lbs.

2. What you wear can mean 1 to 2 lbs difference.

3. what you eat and drink before can mean 1 to 2 lbs difference.

4. Whether you have gone to the bathroom will make a difference.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:30AM
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No, I don't think it was just the breadstick.

You do know that meal has almost 1600 grams of sodium and 20 grams of fat? I'd be blaming it on the salt. And that salt content is one of the reasons I seldom eat out, I can't figure out how they can get that much salt and fat into something "healthy", sheesh. And that's just the chicken, not the sides!

This post was edited by annie1992 on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 10:45

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:44AM
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I agree. Most kitchens, especially factory produced, like chains that use salt and sugars in abundance to 'balance' the flavors so that it tastes not salty or sweet, will toss your digestion into a tailspin. Cook the same meal at home using whole foods and have a homemade breadstick and that will not happen. Salad dressings, salty and sweet, spinach full of creams and fats....
Elimination diets are helpful in making one aware of what you are actually eating and in what percentage. That can be good just by awareness, and can be a jump-off point to education.

Cutting out certain parts of your diet, like breads and pasta, means you are cutting out big lugs of stomach 'glue' since most eat way too much of it. It can be healthy to step back a bit, but try and research and understand why. Just giving your digestion a break from processing all that 'glue' will lessen the sluggish 'wheat belly' that is all the rage diet now.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:03PM
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I agree, it's probably the sodium, you'll lose that extra water, and probably the weight over the next few days.

Salt can lead to an immediate weight gain from water retention. It happens to all of us, but for most of us, our kidneys respond quickly and get rid of the extra fluid.

As you can see, most of their food has lots and lots of sodium, and if it's an occasional treat, it's OK. It's the daily, meal after meal, intake of high levels of salt that might be a problem (though science is not clear on that).

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:55PM
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I agree that if you had been eating pretty "clean" for a few weeks, the sodium could be largely to blame. However, if you google "The Plan" by Lyn Genet Recitas, which is an elimination diet, where she claims, just as you have reported, that you can lose at least .5#/day (until you are at your set point weight) by eating foods you are not reactive to, and that it isn't simply calories in/calories out; meaning besides the sodium - which is a huge issue in restaurant food, you can have a weight or other symptom reaction to foods that are inflammatory for you. Many folks don't lose 1/2 pound/day, as there are so many factors - stress, water intake, hormones, etc. But since you asked the question, you may be interested in checking the book out at your library, or reading the reviews on Amazon.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:52PM
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For reasons too convoluted to go into here, for three days I ate nothing but sliced deli meats (ham turkey chicken), sliced cheese, and Greek yogurt. I "gained" 4 lb. That was all water retention, as is your 3 lb "gain".

What is more interesting is your loss of 0.5 to 1.0 lb per day for the past three weeks on a wheat free diet. If I take that literally, you've lost 10 to 20 lb in three weeks. That is probably a good deal more than you have actually lost in fat and muscle, even assuming severe calories restriction and exercise. I'd guess cutting out wheat products has lowered your sodium intake (baked goods have salt) so some of that loss is water loss. Some may reflect simply eating fewer calories. And if you've been eating a particularly low carb diet as a byproduct of going wheat-free, that causes water loss as well.

Anyway, congratulations on what seems to have been a good experiment. Are you going to keep up the wheat free diet? Try gluten free baking?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Thanks for the replies! Sodium makes a lot of sense, I don't know why I didn't think of that, I guess I was just so surprised to see the 3 lb gain. Thanks for the recommendation, Elba1, I will check that out.

A little background, I have had a variety of food allergies my entire life. For whatever reason, the past few months I was having more than my usual issues, with stronger reactions. I decided to see if I could figure out what was giving me the most problems and it was definitely wheat. I normally eat a relatively low carb diet, but we were eating pasta, sandwiches and bread with dinner a couple of times a week.

Since eliminating wheat, my allergies have improved significantly, as has my digestion. I have lost 12 lbs, assuming today's 3 lb gain is gone tomorrow, in the past 3 weeks. I lost 1+ lb a day for the first few days and about half a pound a day since. I was not looking for weightless, but I'm not going to complain! I am just about at my set point weight, where I normally stop losing without a drastic change in exercise and diet, so it will be interesting to see what happens after that. I haven't done anything different, other than cut out the wheat. We are still eating our normal diet, just substituting with wheat free pasta and desserts. I haven't tried any wheat free breads yet, although I bought some Pamela's baking mix, so I may try some dinner rolls tomorrow.

I definitely plan to remain wheat free! My breathing, sleeping and digestion have all greatly improved and I feel so much better overall! My husband is a Type II diabetic and his blood sugar has dropped and has been much more stable. I don't do a whole lot of baking, but I have been trying a few things with coconut and almond flour, so far, so good!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:40PM
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I also gave up wheat about a week and a half ago. I've lost over 6 pounds already and feel so much better. I noticed the weight loss has slowed this week but I'm still losing about half a pound a day.

My overall calories are much lower as I am replacing wheat with more filling and satiating items and I'm exercising too so that certainly has an impact. But I feel significantly better than I did just a few weeks ago.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:40AM
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I was gluten light two-three years ago and have been completely gluten free for the past 18 months. We went to a BBQ one week ago and even though I brought my own hamburger bun, had just one with salad, light dressing, I know the meat or something had gluten. My sons got their rashes back, I got messed up and gained 4 lbs from that night. I don't think it was a sodium thing for me as I can eat a bag of chips and not have that happen. Yes, I feel weird admitting it because part of me says "no way" but there it was. I finally got it off, but still, weird. I generally eat high cal but that day I took it easy in case I wanted to pig out that night but there wasn't much that I could eat so it was more of a "light" day for me so that weight gain was a big huh?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 2:59PM
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Cookie8 - I believe you - there are many people with similar stories from the Facebook pages of those doing The Plan. I was able to figure out what was causing hives (MSG derivatives, things like "natural flavor" - basically artificial ingredients) and lose 30 pounds in the process. After almost a year doing this, I haven't found any particular foods that makes me gain weight, but have been able to keep it off by eating "real food." I was pretty good about it before, but don't buy much with a label anymore! The author would back up exactly what you are saying.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:54PM
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In my experience wheat/gluten/grains cause fluid retention and inflammation . I lost more than 10lbs the first month when I gave up wheat and about 12 other items that I had reacted to on an allergy skin test. It wasn't just wheat,but when I eliminated all grains I felt much better!
I will admit that on occasion I still eat corn or rice, but in general I avoid most grains and potatoes.

I did discover that my major allergies were to peanuts (and all legumes), tuna, grapes, yeast, and the biggest offender- ONIONS, GARLIC, SHALLOTS, etc. which has been the most difficult to avoid. I've learned to use lots of citrus for flavor!
Today I am delighted to share that I'm free of hives, major tummy troubles and constant sinus infections!

This post was edited by compumom on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 18:21

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:37PM
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I'll vouch for compumom's input about fluid retention and inflammation. Over the weekend, after being wheat-free for 15-months I decided to try spelt in McCann's Irish Oatmeal Cookies for St. Patrick's Day goodies. I've been able to use rye without any problems, so I was hoping to have good results using spelt.

I consumed 4 small cookies throughout the day on Friday, and 1 more Saturday morning, and by late morning I was a living example of severe inflammation, including my brain with a throbbing head, along with puffy bags under my eyes, and was on ibuprofen for the day. Needless to say I decided to make sure I avoid spelt in the future.

I ate very little on Saturday and worked outside doing yard work most of the afternoon. Sunday morning when I weighed I had gained 2.5#, and can't blame it on anything I ate. I drank a couple cups of dandelion root tea throughout the day and that helped the inflammation and water retention and things were back to normal by Monday morning.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:07AM
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Off to Google Dandelion Root tea!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:17PM
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