Monitor Your Wheat-Free Progress - dummies

Monitor Your Wheat-Free Progress

By Rusty Gregory, Alan Chasen

Some effects of a wheat- and sugar-free diet, such as weight loss and a general feeling of well-being, are pretty noticeable. But how do you know whether your blood sugar or cholesterol numbers have improved?

The only way to measure these kinds of markers is to have them tested medically. Here is a quick preview of the benefits of testing and consider a couple of supplements that may help further your improvement.

Check your progress with basic tests

Buying into the science of a wheat- or grain-free diet and implementing the program are the two toughest obstacles to becoming wheat-free. Identifying yourself as someone who chooses not to eat wheat or sugar is part of that process as well.

After a few months of your new lifestyle, the results will start rolling in. As you waltz into the doctor’s office to hear the positive results of your blood tests, odds are he’ll ask you what type of lowfat diet you’re on. Watch his surprised reaction when you tell him you’re eating a lower-carb, high-fat diet.

The lipid panel is a common medical test, and its results help you see how your health is improving on a wheat- or grain-free diet. This blood test measures overall cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins), and triglycerides. Conventional wisdom holds that certain numbers should be high, and other numbers should be low.

However, you really need to pay attention to two numbers as they relate to each other. Of all the numbers in the basic lipid panel, the triglyceride-to-HDL ratio gives you the most accurate look at your risk of developing heart disease. And how do you get that ratio to desirable levels? With a wheat/grain-free lifestyle.

Other medical tests that can give you a clear view of your overall health include C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, Lp(a), homocysteine, hemoglobin A1C, and iron.

Add some extras to ensure your progress

Despite what many people want to believe, taking a pill of any kind won’t solve your problems. The same is true for taking a supplement or vitamin. In no way are these items a substitute for eating a healthy wheat-free, sugar-free diet. However, they may help you achieve your goals in conjunction with your lifestyle change.

The two most important supplements are fish oil and cod liver oil. Fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish; salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel have some of the highest ratios of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. The desirable ratio shouldn’t exceed 4:1 (and ideally, 1:1). Most Americans are closer to 20:1 omega-6 to omega-3. This type of ratio leads to inflammation, which in turn leads to myriad diseases.

Cod liver oil, on the other hand, is derived from — you guessed it — the liver of cod fish. Cod liver oil doesn’t contain as much of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids as fish oil does, but it has ample amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2, which contribute to vital body functions.