The Case of the Bald Baker

Weight Loss

Branches of biology

Here’s an excerpt from the Revised & Expanded Edition of Wheat Belly, page 184:

I had a heck of a time persuading Gordon to drop the wheat.

I met Gordon because he had coronary disease. Among the causes: abundant small LDL particles along with the usual accompaniments of low HDL, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar. I asked him to completely remove the wheat from his diet in order to reduce or eliminate the small LDL particles and thereby obtain better control over heart health.

Problem: Gordon owned a bakery. Bread, rolls, and muffins were part of his everyday routine, three meals a day, seven days a week. It was only natural that he would eat his products with most meals. For two years, I urged Gordon to drop the wheat—to no avail.

One day Gordon came to the office wearing a ski cap. He told me how he had started to lose clumps of hair, leaving divot-like bald patches scattered over his scalp. His primary care doctor diagnosed alopecia, but couldn’t divine a cause. Likewise, a dermatologist was at a loss to explain Gordon’s dilemma. The hair loss was very upsetting to him, causing him to ask his primary care doctor for an antidepressant prescription and concealing the embarrassing situation with a cap.

Wheat, of course, was my first thought. It fit Gordon’s overall health picture: small LDL particles, wheat belly body configuration, high blood pressure, prediabetic blood sugars, vague stomach complaints, and now hair loss. I made yet another pitch for Gordon to once and for all remove the wheat from his diet. After the emotional trauma of losing most of his hair and now having to conceal his patchy scalp, he finally agreed. It meant bringing food to his bakery and not eating his own products, something he had some difficulty in explaining to his employees. Nonetheless, he stuck to it.

Within three weeks, Gordon reported that hair had begun to sprout up in the bald patches. Over the next two months, vigorous growth resumed. Along with his proud pate, he also lost twelve pounds and two inches from his waist. The intermittent abdominal distress was gone, as was his prediabetic blood sugar. Six months later, reassessment of his small LDL particles demonstrated 67 percent reduction.

Inconvenient? Perhaps. But it sure beats a toupee and a bypass.

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