Wheat, dairy, processed foods and your weight loss
18th October 2013
... Comments

It’s these foods that are a mainstay in the diet of a lot of people, and I wanted to add my opinion as to why we may benefit from reducing our consumption of these. This is actually taken from my nutrition report, which I'm aware some readers will have.

If you don't, you can download it for free at www.bathpersonaltrainer.com/weightloss

This information is potentially life-changing when applied correctly and worth repeating as it can easily get 'lost' among the other things mentioned within it.  Although it's not a case necessarily of eliminating these foods entirely for an indefinite amount of time -  periods of 2, 3 or 4 weeks of this can prove extremely useful.


Unfortunately, cow’s milk is one of the most common food allergens in our diet today.  Once we become weaned as children, most people stop producing the enzyme lactase, which is required to digest the milk sugar lactose. When we continue drinking milk into adulthood this can lead to a lot of digestive and immune system problems in many people.  Logically, cow’s milk is designed to sustain an infant calf through the first few months of its life, not an adult human.

A further issue with dairy revolves around the pasteurisation process.  Pasteurisation aims to kill potentially harmful bacteria in milk.  Unfortunately, along with the bad bacteria it also rids milk of the ‘good’ bacteria (which we then buy drinks like yakult or actimeal to replace) as well as killing most of the beneficial enzymes in the milk too.  This renders it more akin to sugar water with very little nutritional value.  In fact, this has been demonstrated in investigations where infant calves were given typical store-brought milk and within a period of 5 weeks their health deteriorated to a large extent. 

They suffered severely compromised development compared to calves fed unpasteurised milk.  If you have access to unpasteurised (raw) milk then this can be a much healthier option.   However, there’s really no need for adult humans to be drinking milk at all.

Many people will ask at this point ‘where do I get my calcium from?’  The short answer is from vegetables which you’ll ideally be eating plenty of.  The longer answer is that our need for calcium has been over-emphasised in the popular nutritional press.  Yes it’s a vitally important mineral involved in muscle contraction, bone density and heart rate regulation to name just a few of its functions. However, most of us eat enough calcium. 

The problem arises when our processed food laden diets create an acidic environment within our bodies.  In order to buffer this, that is to reduce this acidity, the body will use certain minerals including calcium.  So the more we fill up on ‘non-foods’ the more calcium you’re leaching away from your bones and teeth in order to maintain the correct pH levels in the blood. Minimising your intake of such foods and maximising your intake of a wide variety of fresh, nutrient dense foods (particularly green leafy vegetables, broccoli, almonds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts and pulses) will ensure you get plenty of calcium, as well as the other nutrients required for optimum health.  The one dairy product that is allowed is butter.  Not the cholesterol lowering spreadable stuff (this is harmful to health – more on this later) but real butter which is a good source of fat soluble vitamins and beneficial bacteria. 

By the way, I'd be a lot more concerned with supplementing with magnesium than calcium - this is genuinely a more widespread deficiency and warrants far more attention in our diets.

Wheat Nutritionist Patrick Holford points out that that if the evolutionary history of humankind were condensed into a 24 hour period, we’d have been eating wheat (and specifically gluten grains) for approximately six minutes.  Wheat is a relatively new food to humans and the gluten it contains is a protein that causes digestive problems in many people.

The key here is to find out whether wheat is a problem for you personally.  We’re all different.  Some people get very bloated and easily put weight on at just a small amount of wheat.  Others can handle the stuff more easily but in any case we really shouldn’t be basing our diet on starchy carbohydrates as the food pyramid suggests we do.  This is undoubtedly a recipe for disaster, especially as the digestive tract of many people is hardly in great working order to begin with.

The best thing to do with wheat is to eliminate it completely for at least two weeks.  Then introduce it back slowly and monitor your body for any reactions.  Some people will experience headaches, bloating or weight gain when starting to eat wheat again. In this case you can assume that perhaps your body doesn’t tolerate wheat so well and it’s best to avoid it as much as possible. 

For others, there may be no reaction and you can assume that your body can cope with it much better.   Even so, for optimal health it’s not recommended to consume more than an occasional serving of wheat products. When avoiding wheat we want to cut out bread, pasta, biscuits and most cereals.  If you want to have grains in your diet while avoiding wheat, its best to go for rice, corn, oats, buckwheat, millet or quinoa.

Processed food Why eliminate this - simply because whenever food is removed from the way nature intended it to be the effects on our health are not beneficial.  It’s like filling your car with diesel when it’s designed for petrol and expecting it to run at peak performance.

While I’m sure you won’t need convincing that cutting out biscuits, pies and cakes is part of the plan, what a lot of people are confused about is the effect of other foods, often marketed as ‘reduced calorie’ or ‘low fat.’  Paul Chek refers to these as ‘non-foods,’ that is foods that actually take up more energy to digest, absorb and eliminate than they deliver in nutritional value. 

Anything that has to be chemically altered in some way is posing such a stress on our system. Think about this for a second.  It means that a lot of the stuff we’re eating today actually places more of a burden on the body than we already experience and this leaves us looking and feeling more tired and stressed than we ought to be. Foods are ‘designed’ to come with all the vitamins and minerals required for them to be utilised effectively within the body. 

If you’re eating something that contains a list of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce the names of, let alone recognise then the chances are it’s not doing you any good.  Sadly even products containing ‘natural’ ingredients or ‘free from artificial colourings and preservatives’ have been tampered with in some way. The trouble with all of these artificial ingredients is that the body has to deal with them in some way. This burden falls on the liver and the more processed foods we eat the more this can get overworked, placing a strain on your body’s detoxification systems which among other things can lead to skin disorders, auto-immune diseases and weight gain. This is probably a highly salient point that I will expand on a little. 

If your body is holding toxins that it can't process and eliminate they have to be stored somewhere.  Unfortunately the place of choice is in your fat cells (if they were stored around the internal organs this would pose an acute danger to the body).  If you eat a lot of processed foods then in order to safely deposit these toxins your body will have to create new fat stores as a kind of storage depot.

So we can become fat and stay fat, despite our efforts at reducing food intake, simply through eating poor quality foods.  This is a different story to the one we're commonly told about an excess of calories being the sole cause of weight gain but it’s important to consider. How can you be sure your toxic load is minimal? Avoiding processed foods is a major start as that leaves only clean, natural food left over. If you want to feel and look healthy then eat foods that are alive. 

Processed foods are 'dead' foods that literally sap the life out of you and leave you looking and feeling tired, sluggish and run-down.  A further benefit is that by avoiding processed foods, you avoid the trans-fats and hydrogenated fats that are especially harmful to health. To clarify, by processed foods I’m referring to foods that are canned, dehydrated or packaged in a way that extends the shelf-life of the foods beyond what you’d get if they were just in your refrigerator, as well as artificial preservatives, flavourings, colourings and e-numbers.

Hope that clears some things up and highlights why eating clean, natural food will always lead to the best results.

Once again, you can download the full version of Nutrition Solution here

About the Author

Leighton R

Member since: 30th May 2012

My personal mission is to transform the lives of as many people in Bath as possible through personal training.

I run a personal training studio in Green Park Station, where I help people to drop a clothes...

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