Do You Have a Wheat Belly? Interview with Dr. William Davis


Note from Katie: I am so excited to post this interview with Dr. William Davis, MD, a preventive cardiologist whose unique approach to diet allows him to advocate reversal, not just prevention, of heart disease. He is the founder of the Track Your Plaque program, and wrote the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. Enter Dr. Davis…

How did you come to the conclusion that wheat is harmful in its current form?

I learned just how bad wheat was when I asked patients in my cardiac practice to remove it from their diet. I did this because 80% of people I’d meet for the first time were diabetic or pre-diabetic, situations that double or triple heart disease risk. In an effort to minimize this situation, I applied a very simple fact: Two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of sugar, higher than a Snickers bar. (Most people are unaware that the glycemic index of whole wheat bread is among the highest of all foods.)

I asked everyone to remove wheat to observe the blood sugar effects. People would come back after a 3-6 months and, indeed, their blood sugars and HbA1c (a measure of prior 60 days blood sugar) would be much lower, even to the point at which some diabetics were no longer diabetic. But people told me plenty more: They lost 30 pounds, lost 4 inches from their waist, felt better than they had in 20 years with more energy, less moodiness and deeper sleep. They told me how they experienced complete relief from acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, hand and finger arthritis and joint pain, sinus congestion and chronic sinus infections. They told me about how their asthma improved so much that they threw away three inhalers, their rheumatoid arthritis was so much better they were in the process of reducing medication, their ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s had improved so much that no medication was required any longer, their leg edema had disappeared and rashes were gone.

At first, I dismissed it as pure coincidence. But the effects became so frequent and consistent that the conclusion became unavoidable: Wheat was the underlying cause for an incredible array of health problems and weight gain, and that eliminating was key to astounding health.

And note that this was not gluten avoidance for the gluten-sensitive; this was wheat avoidance for everybody, as it was a rare person who didn’t experience at least some measurable improvement in health, if not outright transformation. I now recommend complete wheat avoidance for all my patients, as well as anyone else interested in regaining control over health and weight.

How is wheat consumption linked to heart health?

Wheat consumption causes heart disease. It’s not cholesterol, it’s not saturated fat that’s behind the number one killer of Americans; it’s wheat.

The nutrition community has been guilty of following a flawed sequence of logic: If something bad for you (white processed flour) is replaced by something less bad (whole grains) and there is an apparent health benefit, then a whole bunch of the less bad thing is good for you. Let’s apply that to another situation: If something bad for you—unfiltered Camel cigarettes—are replaced by something less bad—filtered Salem Cigarettes—then the conclusion would be to smoke a lot of Salems. The next logical question should have been: What is the health consequence of complete removal? Only then can you observe the effect of whole grains vs. no grains . . . and, from what I witness every day, you see complete transformations in health.

Consumption of wheat, due to its unique carbohydrate, amylopectin A, triggers formation of small, dense LDL particles more than any other common food. Small, dense LDL particles are the number one cause for heart disease in the U.S. The majority of adults now have an abundance of small LDL particles because they’ve been told to cut their fat and “eat plenty of healthy whole grains.” This situation of excessive small LDL particles can appear on a conventional cholesterol panel as higher levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, along with low HDL cholesterol and higher triglycerides that often leads to statin drugs. When more sophisticated lipoprotein testing is obtained, then the explosion of small LDL particles becomes obvious.

Compound this with the increased appetite triggered by the gliadin protein in wheat that acts as an appetite-stimulant, and you gain weight. The weight gained is usually in the abdomen, in the deep visceral fat that triggers inflammation, what I call a “wheat belly.” Wheat belly visceral fat is a hotbed of inflammation, sending out inflammatory signals into the bloodstream and results in higher blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides, all adding up to increased risk for heart disease.

Say goodbye to wheat and small LDL particles plummet, followed by weight loss from the wheat belly visceral fat. Inflammation subsides, blood sugar drops, blood pressure drops. In short, elimination of wheat is among the most powerful means of reducing risk for heart disease.

What other conditions have you seen to be associated with wheat consumption?

A shorter list might be what conditions have not been associated with wheat consumption.

Gastrointestinal consequences of wheat consumption include the common conditions of acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms of gas, cramps, and diarrhea. People with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease experience improvement and, sometimes, complete relief from cramps, pain, diarrhea, and bleeding.

Brain and nervous system effects range from mood disruption, such as depression, to behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism, to triggering of hallucinations in people with schizophrenia and mania in people with bipolar illness. Wheat can also inflict direct damage on the brain and nervous system and show up as a condition called cerebellar ataxia, the progressive loss of balance and bladder control, and peripheral neuropathy, the loss of feeling, usually in the feet and legs. A British research group, for instance, has found that 50% of unexplained peripheral neuropathy can be blamed on wheat. There’s also the recent detailed description of gluten encephalopathy, or dementia from wheat by the Mayo Clinic; diagnosis is usually made at autopsy.

Joint pain and swelling are common accompaniments of wheat consumption. The most common form involves the wrist and fingers. Others experience relief from back pain and hip and knee pain with eliminating wheat, especially if weight loss from the abdomen develops, since this belly fat serves as a repository for inflammation; lose the wheat belly, inflammation subsides.

Skin conditions commonly improve or disappear with wheat elimination. Common conditions like acne improve, as well as a long list (enough to fill four pages) of other skin conditions from granuloma annulare, to allergic dermatitis, to gangrene.

From the head down to the toes, there is no body system not affected by consumption of wheat.

What are the most important things to understand when it comes to wheat consumption?

I believe one of the most crucial aspects of the wheat conversation for people to understand is that the gliadin protein in wheat acts as an appetite-stimulant. People who consume the gliadin protein in wheat consume, on average, 400 more calories per day. People who eliminate the gliadin protein of wheat consume 400 calories less per day, even if calories, fat grams, or portion sizes are unrestricted.

I think that this fact has been used to advantage by Big Food. Put wheat flour, and thereby gliadin, into every product you can, you increase appetite, increase consumption, increase sales. I believe this explains why wheat flour can be found in the most improbable places like tomato soup and licorice.

The gliadin protein in wheat exerts this effect on the human brain because it is degraded to a group of compounds called exorphins, or exogenous morphine-like compounds; these effects that can be blocked with administration of opiate-blocking drugs. Yes, the appetite-stimulating effect of wheat can be completely disabled by administering the same drugs that heroine addicts take to block their “high.” Studies in volunteers have demonstrated that people administered opiate-blocking drugs have much reduced desire for cake, cupcakes, and cookies. A drug company filed its application in early 2011 for the drug naltrexone for weight loss; in clinical trials, naltrexone was successful, with participants losing 22 pounds per month by reducing calorie intake 400 calories per day.

As long as wheat remains a part of your diet, you will not have full control over impulse and hunger. Calorie consumption is higher, especially for carbohydrate foods. Weight accumulates, particularly around the middle. Eliminate wheat, on the other hand, and you regain normal physiologic control over hunger.

5. If a person decides to eliminate wheat, should he/she turn to “gluten free” alternatives or what type of diet have you found to be optimal?

First, I believe we should return to real, unprocessed foods as often as possible. It means eating vegetables, raw nuts, meats, fish, eggs (including the yolks), cheese, healthy oils like extra-virgin olive and coconut. I do not believe that we should count or limit calories, especially after we’ve eliminated the potent appetite stimulant, wheat. If you miss baked goods, I provide recipes in the Wheat Belly book, as well as on The Wheat Belly Blog. These recipes for chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake, for example, are wheat-free, nearly sugar-free, low-carbohydrate and are generally healthy enough to eat anytime with none of the adverse health consequences like weight gain or bloating.

I strongly urge people to avoid commercial gluten-free products. This is because, in place of wheat flour, these products, such as gluten-free whole grain bread, are made using cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, and potato starch. These powdered starches are among the few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even whole wheat. It means these foods trigger weight gain in the abdomen (“gluten-free belly”), increased blood sugars, insulin resistance and diabetes, cataracts, and arthritis. They are not healthy replacements for wheat.

Ok, a tough one… can you give us a 10-15 second elevator speech that can help us explain the reasons to avoid wheat to doubting friends and relatives?

Sure. The American public needs to be aware that agribusiness and Big Food companies have sucker punched you. They have learned how to use this Trojan horse, wheat, harboring its hidden gliadin protein that increases appetite.

Wheat is a weak opiate. Eat wheat, you want more wheat, you want more carbohydrates. The gliadin of wheat is converted to exorphins, morphine-like compounds that can be blocked with opiate-blocking drugs.

Even worse, we’re advised by our own government agencies like the USDA and Health and Human Services that whole grains are good for us and we should eat more. Eat more “healthy whole grains,” we eat more, we gain weight, we acquire all the health consequences of wheat and weight gain such as hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, acid reflux, and diabetes. Big Food makes out, Big Pharma makes out; we all pay the price.

The epidemic of diabetes and obesity has been blamed on us. We’re told that Americans are overweight and diabetic because we are gluttons and we’re lazy. I don’t buy it. I believe the majority of Americans are fairly health-conscious and try to get at least some exercise. I do not believe we are that different from, say, the people of 1950 or 1960. I think we’ve been duped into blaming ourselves, when all along a big part of the blame should be placed on this corrupt product of genetics research, propagated by agribusiness, and put to profitable use.

If you haven’t already, check out Dr. Davis’ book Wheat Belly. I’ve found that it is a great resource, especially for friends and relatives who have trouble grasping how “heart-healthy-whole-grains” could possibly be bad.

About the author: Dr. William Davis, MD, is a preventive cardiologist whose unique approach to diet allows him to advocate reversal, not just prevention, of heart disease. He started recommending a wheat free diet with his patients because wheat products raise the blood sugar more than a snickers bar. Besides blood sugar improvements, he was surprised to see his patients also experience weight loss of 25 to 30 lbs over several months, marked improvement or total relief from arthritis, improvement in asthma sufficient to chuck 2 or 3 inhalers, complete relief from acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, disappearance of leg swelling and numbness. Most reported increased mental clarity, deeper sleep, and more stable moods and emotions. Check out Dr. Davis’ Blog Here

Have you read Wheat Belly? Noticed any health improvements after removing grains? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. This is an awesome post!  And an awesome website—which I just stumbled upon after my friend posted this article on facebook.  I LOVE this and have no idea how I didn’t find your website/blog before!  I can’t wait to spend all day looking through everything!  Thanks for sharing this awesome info!

  2. I can speak from experience–my husband in just about 6 weeks, dropped his blood sugar from 110 to 78.  He had eliminated all grains.  I must admit that he ate very low carb during that time–no fruit even.  But I’m convinced that dumping bread and pasta played a HUGE role.  He also decreased his weight 25 lbs. as a wonderful bonus.  Dare I say he’s even in a better mood??  I’ve put Dr. Davis’ book on my Christmas wish list.

    • Hi Ellyn, Just wanted to let you know I got your email and have been meaning to reply! Congrats on his big improvements! So glad for you both!

  3. I am just so intrigued by this whole study! I have been such an advocate for whole grIn….on the Oprah bandwagon, I buy all kinds of whole grain and don’t prepare before eating the way you say. Now I come to your page today and this is on here! Wow! The reason this is so amazing is I just so believe this is God. Thanks for the info and the interview. I have so much work to do with my family of 8. 5 boys, 1 girl…..lots.

    • It is true that whole grain bread (two slices) are higher than a snickers bar … but look at the Glycemic Index Chart and you will find that the snickers bar and the whole wheat bread is “low” on the index, one being 50 and the other in the 40’s…  Any diet that tells you not to eat bread is a gimmick diet and not healthy unless you have problems digesting whole wheat … My Mother is 90 and eats good bread every day … This guy is peddling a book I bet…

      • That’s the point he’s making, and the point the science supports: human beings in general have problems digesting, processing and accessing nutrients from wheat. 

        So yes, “not healthy unless you have problems digesting wheat…”  The whole point is that chances are if you are human, you have problems digesting wheat. 

        Wheat also has other effects on brain and body health, composition, function, etc. Wheat contains numerous anti-nutrients that have evolved to try to prevent animals from digesting it and instead passing straight through the gut of any animal that eats it in order to distribute seeds. Even grain fed animals are fatter, sicker and more prone to early death than those same animals fed grass, like they were designed to eat.

        Did you even read the article? I’ve read the book too, and have also checked much of the vast number of studies he uses to back up his claims. He’s not claiming it’s a weight-loss method; he’s claiming it’s a way to fix many health problems, and effortlessly dropping weight was simply a side effect of removing wheat from one’s diet. Seemed pretty legit, so I tried it.

        Guess what? He’s right. Arthritis/achy joints? Gone. Fat belly? Gone. Depression? Gone. Bad skin? gone. 20+ lbs and counting in a few months? Gone. At 35, I’m jogging again. Not to lose weight, but just because I can without pain and it’s actually enjoyable for the first time in 20 years. My healthy 4 yr old son and 1 yr old pit bull-lab mix can’t keep up with me these days. I feel stronger, younger, fitter, and healthier that I have in YEARS. My brain works again, like the fog is gone. I’m not depressed or anxious, and my skin and muscles look better than they did at 25.

        Guess what else? My younger brother, 34, tried it too. Same results. Depression/anxiety, achy joints, 20+ lbs from the abdomen, and he’s running several miles several times per week too. 

        So it’s not a fad weightless diet. The weightless is a nice benefit. But removing wheat and other grains from your diet is actually a way of fixing your health. And my brother and I are living proof that it works.

        • What are this Davis guy’s qualifications? Anyone can buy a degree on the Internet these days.
          You and your brother sound like you’ve had a hell of a lot of problems by 35. I imagine as both of you have this problem you have a hereditary intolerance for gluten so not surprised it works for you. As for a lot of people who don’t have a gluten intolerance and who eat plenty of grains, I imagine this change in diet is unnecessary. Just because some people have a food intolerance doesn’t mean everyone has one or will benefit from this book.

          Besides, why is a book necessary? Just cut grains out of your diet, google alternatives and see if it works for you. It’s not rocket science!!!

          • “Davis guy’s qualifications”? LOL! Right there at the beginning of the article…he’s a practicing cardiologist. Skepticism can be taken a little too far, you know. I probably shouldn’t waste my time pointing this out, but please open your mind. Google the doctor and watch a few videos of his interviews on news shows…he’s not a quack.

            If you check out the book from the library and skim through it, you’ll realize your comments are only based on ignorance. I, too, wondered for years how wheat could be a problem for so many, after centuries of being “the staff of life.” I thought gluten avoidance was faddish. A few minutes with the videos and the book gave me a huge AHA. Turns out that the wheat we eat is not what sustained civilizations for centuries…it was mucked up about 50 years ago by well-meaning scientists trying to solve world hunger. They get an A for effort and motivation, and they did solve a lot of the hunger problems, but we’re stuck with unintended consequences now.

        • Interesting…..Could the weight loss be due to your brother running several miles a week?

          • Oh boy, did that point just fly over your head! He’s not talking about a brother who started running a lot and then cut out wheat. He’s talking about a brother that, like him, can now run a lot because he cut out wheat.

            And, I believe it. What I discovered, quite by accident, is that when I don’t eat ANY grains for a few days to a week, my internal temperature is better regulated so that I can deal with the heat or cold of the day better, I’m in a lot less pain (like, I notice that I am not hurting at all, where normally I would be near screaming and limping around), I can move faster, think better.

            Unfortunately, I did a big stupid thing. I cut out wheat to see what would happen, instead of just lessening grain consumption as I did before. That’s not the stupid part. The stupid part is that after two weeks I tried eating it again and I was shaking like a junkie as I was waiting for the spaghetti noodles to cook, and, then, eating it, I completely lost control and haven’t gotten it back.

            Adding wheat back in caused me to start eating way more and way more sugary treats, avoid vegetables and fruit more, and, to gain back about 30 of the pounds that I had lost. So, now, I am struggling to regain some control. And, it is just like a junkie trying to get control of their drug habits with a pile of drugs readily available to them every where they go.

      • This guy may be peddling a book but unless you’ve experienced the insatiable appetite that wheat can cause, you shouldn’t be so quick to ridicule. I gave up most grains, especially wheat, years ago because I found that it increased my appetite and craving so much. I had no idea this would ever be trendy, I just knew I felt much better without all that bread, especially whole wheat bread.

        • I experienced this, too; I would never have believed it otherwise.

      • This is my 3rd week of being gluten free. I took my blood pressure yesterday which is usually high even with meds, anyway my blood pressure was 121/68. I was surprised. I also have more energy. I have had a gluten withdrawal symptom of low headache and stomach ache. I am a believer!

      • Continue eating bread, Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  4. Awesome information. Largely because of Doctor Davis, I’ve trying to eliminate lots of stuff — gluten, wheat, grains, carbs — and switch to a high-protein Paleo-ish diet. I’m definitely feeling much better.

  5. I just wanted to mention how important I’m finding this kind of a diet in my current (third) pregnancy, and I wish that prenatal practitioners would add this to their world view!!  My first pregnancy was a nightmare — chronic nausea, morphing to wicked heartburn and eventual full-on pre-eclampsia.  The doctor knew to tell me I should be eating high protein for the pre-eclampsia part, but nothing about the “low carb” part.  My husband and I ended up eating massive quantities of brown rice and meat (I was on full time bed rest and he found vegetables too daunting), with ww toast snacks in between.  My husband is chronically skinny (5’8″ and still weighs about 130 soaking wet) but in that pregnancy we both ballooned to our highest weights EVER (he to about 150, I to 200!!), I was swollen with the kind of edema that makes ones skin like mushy marshmellow, my joints ached, in fact, I felt like even my hair ached!

    And then, after a long bought of barely controlled pre-eclampsia, I ended up in (what still seems to me a necessary) c-section and gave birth to a boy who appeared healthy in all respects, though he was extremely thin (despite being at least 42 weeks cooked), attached to a cord that looked like a shoe string.  He was a voracious nurser, and even though I thought I was eating a healthy diet (full of organic whole grains, vegetables, meats, etc.) and exclusively nursed him, he started getting sick at 6 weeks old and by the time he was a kindergartner, he was having month long bouts of bronchitis, given Albuterol (asthma steroid), and spitting up puddles of mucus or sneezing out ropes of mucus.  He never slept through the night (at his worst, he only slept 45 minutes at a time), his bowl movements were never solid, and he alternated between hyper/aggressive/manic and morbidly depressed (this, from a 3-4 year old!!).

    I have done an immense amount of reading and investigation since then (he’s 10 now) and learned SO MUCH, and luckily have been able to help him a great deal — to the point where he has slept solidly through the night for the past 5 years or so, has normal bowel movements, can function at school and at home, etc.  He can and does eat wheat and other grains now, though I know this isn’t the best for him and would like to find a way to help him off them again.  While we were going through the bulk of his physical healing, though, we went on a strict elimination diet and increased the good Weston-Price type foods recommended here.  I have experienced (either personally, via my son, or in working with my diabetic mother in law) everything that is addressed in this article.

    So, anyway, this current pregnancy started out with similar extreme symptoms as my first, but this time, I had some idea how to handle it.  As soon as I made some major restrictions to my diet (including eliminating all grains), the symptoms stopped immediately.  And when I get tempted to cheat, I feel them start back up.  DIET IS POWERFUL STUFF!!!

  6. Thanks to putting the wheat and sugars out of my diet I’ve lost 145 pounds. I feel great. I have bought 4 copies of “Wheat Belly” to hand out to friends. I highly recommend this book. It will change your life.

    Thanks Katie for your wonderful site. I read of the dangers of wheat on Wellness Mama before Wheat Belly came out. You’re on the cutting edge.


  7. What a great article! I have this book on hold at my library, but I’ve been waiting forever already, because it has become so popular (a good thing!). I will be sharing this article with everyone – I’ve been trying to explain my diet change to family and friends, and I think this will really help.

  8. If the results are so astounding why not do a scientific study with verifiable results where your peers can pour over the work?  I”m all for new ideas promoting a healthier lifestyle, but if an actual Dr. doesn’t feel like legitimizing his point of view through research then why should he be trusted more than anyone else off the street with an opinion?

    • It is actually very expensive to do full clinical testing, and he would never get the funding because there is no profit in it for anyone who could sponsor him. He has clinical experience with hundreds of patients to back up what he is saying and supports much of it with scientific research in his book. Also, studies on wheat and its affect on these conditions have been done, just with whole wheat vs. processed wheat. Certainly, the whole wheat showed better, though they never took it to the logical conclusion that perhaps no wheat could cause even more improvement. All that aside, there is NO biological need for wheat (or other cereal grains) and no nutrients in it that can’t be found more abundantly in other foods. Add to that the rising rates of autoimmune disease and celiac disease (and these are recorded in scientific literature) it would seem wise to at least experiment by temporarily removing these potentially harmful foods and seeing how one’s own body responds…

      • I would never claim to know anything in this field having taken no classes in nutrition or a school of dietetics.  Although some things are obvious (eat your vegetables, exercise..) claiming outright that one thing could be even the potential cause of another without any scientific evidence to back it up is dangerous.  Small scale tests can be run at the university level with doctors overseeing students with little cost to the doctor, if he approached certain students within the school of nutrition at certain universities I’m sure at least some students would take interest in his theory and put it to testing. While I have no doubt that wheat is more harmful than good for us, 

        I put little if any faith in people in power that won’t back up what they say.  Individual cases simply aren’t enough, and patients backing him up without hard data equates to a popular country doctor spoon feeding placebo to the masses.  People have been modifying the human diet for the greater good since society was formed, and as we live longer lives of course new maladies will affect us.  If everyone died at 20, then cancer would be practically non existent.

        Look, if I was a Doctor of any science whatsoever that held the miracle key to ending diabetes, obesity, arthritis, asthma, and so on then I would do more than write a book, interview with blogs.  I would want to save as many people as possible.  Provided his theories can be substantiated then more power to him.  In my 30+ years of living and eating, I’ve slowly modified my diet and exercise to the point where I can say I’m a generally healthy guy.  I don’t eat tons of wheat products anymore, but I did for quite a long time, without any of the issues associated by Dr. Davis.  As I’ve eaten less and less grains overall I’ve not noticed more or less of anything other than it’s easier to count carbs/cals/fat/protein with less grains.  

        I guess I hope he’s right, but people smarter than him have made bigger mistakes proven wrong later by scientific observation (Einstein, and the Static Universe theory).  Thanks for making me think about it more though!

        • Great post.  I have a similar experience.  I have been eating grains all my life and have not experienced any diseases mentioned.  I am slim and perfectly healthy.  I can say that grain causes no issues in ones health based on my personal experience. My saying so has the same credibility as the authors as both mine and his are based on personal experience and not a placebo-controlled randomized study.

          • Me too. At 52 I still run every day and I eat all the wheat I want. Never been overweight. Look incredibly young. I have amazing skiin. Have no health issues. If this were really the “miracle” that it is puported to be, then studies would acutally show evidence of a link. There is none in the peer-reviewed liteature. Snake oil is still snake oil. As long as there is suffering people will buy “miracles.” I f you have celiac disease eliminating gluten is a must. If you don’t, eat what you want. Weight and belly fat is a very simple equation – calories in, calories out. If you take in more than you use, you gain weight and vice versa.

          • Just because you guys have not experienced health problems due to wheat does not mean it doesn’t cause them for many. I have almost completely eliminated wheat, only for the past 2 weeks so far but already noticed a solid improvement in my sinus problems. I’m not saying it is a cure-all, but to stand by and cling to the ridiculous idea that the govt and food companies are overtly concerned with your health is ludicrous. Everyone has their own agenda.

          • One more point I need to add……studies have shown that carb consumption increases abdominal fat even if the diet consists of lower calories – literally put, a low carb diet with higher calories resulted in less weight gain than a high carb diet with lower calories. Read some of Denise Minger’s work if you don’t believe me, then decide for yourself.

      • Sorry, but I disagree with your statements.  Do I just go believe this doctor because he says so???  Where is the scientific proof? Seriously, think about it.  There are billions of people in OTHER countries who are perfectly fine on grains, healthy and slim.  Have you you thought that perhaps over consumption of other things (hint: milk, please research casein)could also be a cause of diseases in the US?
        Funny how the book is titled Wheat Belly but then the author talks about eliminating all grains not just MODIFIED wheat.
        Please be transparent and always quote a study where you derived your conclusions from.  You are not doing anyone favors by posting anecdotes.

        • Dr. Davis cites numerous studies in his book, but space is somewhat limited in a blog interview. I absolutely agree with you that there are problems with over-consumption of dairy as well, but from my experience, grains are also a big problem for many people. The grains we eat have been highly modified, and it doesn’t take a scientific study to see that processed white flour is much finer than the stone ground versions that were eaten years ago. Most countries where people are thin and eat grains (like asian countries with rice, etc) not as many gluten containing grains are consumed, and there are different preparation methods. I’d encourage you to read Wheat Belly before drawing a conclusion, if you haven’t done so already. I do know that for all the clients I’ve worked with who have removed grains and seen major changes like return of fertility, weight loss, improvement of skin issues, reduced digestive troubles and more, it doesn’t matter if a scientific study has proved that grains are harmful to them…

    • Studies can be preformed until pigs fly. The best way to study this is try it for a period of time and see if it makes a difference in your life. I am going wheat free over the next few months so that I will know if this works for me.

    • Yes, I’m sure Big Food would love to sponsor this research. The inmates are running the asylum at the FDA. Unhealthy food is shoved at us at every turn by the media. I’m going to try it after I read the book and do my own research.

  9. I just wonder if wheat is so bad how come italians eat pasta and/or bread almost every day and don’t seem to have the problems that we do? 🙁

    • I was born and raised in Germany and have lived in this country for many years now. I find it amusing how all kind of misinformation flies back and forth across the Atlantic. Europeans think all Americans are fat and wasteful (which they’re not), Americans think all Japanese and Italians are thin (which they’re not), all Italians eat tons of pasta and bread (which they don’t), and all Germans eat lots of sausage and cake, and drink lots of beer (which they don’t). It is very dangerous to make any kind of generalization about any culture’s lifestyle. Italy and Germany have the same celiac epidemic we have here.
      As for a grain free diet, I have personally experienced everything Dr. Davis addresses in his interview. I lost my gallbladder last May (major inflammation involving even the liver), and have been through every imaginable test to find out why I continued to have serious intestinal issues. I have been gluten-free for three years, but cannot tolerate even gluten-free any longer. I have belly fat even though I was religious about a low-fat low-everything lifestyle. I also have Hashimoto’s. I finally consulted a nutritionist and she advised a grain-free diet. I’ve been on it for a week and have lost about a pound, and the bloated feeling is gone. If you don’t have problems with grain, well, that’s great for you. My own husband doesn’t. But if you do, and if you’ve tried everything to starve yourself into a thin belly, and your nutritionist tells you to avoid all grain to stabilize your blood sugar, this website is a Godsend. Any blog by nature is ‘story telling’, relaying personal experience. Physicians also learn from stories their patients tell them, at least the good ones do. The bad ones stubbornly stick to ‘scientific evidence’, which sometimes is nothing but story telling, the outcome dependent on who’s telling the story. I, for one, am very grateful to ‘wellness mama’. Thank you for giving us an option to try!

      • thanks a lot for this. I have come to germany for my studies and i am finding only weizen mehl 450 flour available in most of the super market. Now i don’t know what to do to reduce the wheat consumption since back in India we used to eat Chapathi/Roti which is not having much wheat. You have any suggestions?

      • all Italians eat tons of pasta and bread (which they’re not), – they do. If you dont know then dont write they have meditarian diet ( assuming consume grain daily) Pasta is eaten almost every day. Also bread cosnuming very common mean 4-5/7 days. As for a grain free diet, I have personally experienced everything Dr. Davis addresses in his interview but what is funny Davis get fat on his diet.

        • I went to Italy. I believed Italians ate lots of pasta and bread. When I got there I found they only have pasta once a day and it’s a side dish not a main meal. so, for you to criticize the other persons knowledge about Italians maybe you are the one that needs to stop writing about things you know nothing about

      • Mm… Not true. I am Italian and I don’t know many overweight Italians (at least Northern Italians. In the south it’s a different story). . Please don’t speak on behalf of Italians if you are not one or constantly surrounded by them. And yes, celiac is prevalent there but most Italians eat pasta for lunch/dinner, as well as cookies for breakfast. America is simply obsessed with food, cities are too far away and not walkable, and meals aren’t very tasty, consistent, or shared with others. There is a half-glass-empty mentality associated with food in the US. In Italy food is celebrated. And many of you can’t go home for lunch as it’s too far away or you don’t have time. So food eaten is less fresh and more processed/with hidden ingredients. Many of Italians can do that though (even though that’s changing). With regards to obesity in Italy, it is due mostly to the introduction of severely-processed foods and fast food restaurants like McDonalds, one of which is very popular among the younger people (teenagers, etc.).

  10. I have had stomach probs for years, I mean- more than 10!  I was so tired of feeling cruddy that when a friend suggested I stop eating wheat, I thought, “How in the world will I do this, almost everything I eat contains wheat!?”  But, I tried it, results were all but immediate, I felt better.  To solidify this, after two weeks, I ate a small cheese quesadilla made with a flour tortilla, and suffered acid reflux the remainder of the evening.  Now, I didn’t do that on purpose, I just wasn’t thinking when I ordered it.  After reading this article, I can attest to having better night’s sleep, less mood swings, and almost no heartburn!  I do eat sprouted wheat bread, I handle it fine, and it usually tastes and is less expensive than the gluten free.  I have been wheat-free since July.  Sometimes it can be a pain in the neck when everyone is eating cookies & goodies made with “normal” flour, but- again, after reading this article, I must say, I really don’t know if I want to go back to having horrid moodiness, sleepless nights, and what I thought was IBS.  I also read the article on Grains and the Bible.  It is true that grains in this day and age are a far cry from those of Bible/Jesus’ time.  All the GMOs in our foods these days, how are we all not sick and dying all over the world?  Thank you for letting me share!

  11. Hi Ursula.  I just wanted to respond to your comment that you were ” religious about a low-fat low-everything lifestyle.”  One can’t be low-everything, unless one is fasting!  And the low-fat thing automatically implies in increase in either protein or carbs (more likely) or both.  Having done low fat for a few decades,  it was a revelation to me to read Adkins first book about ten years ago and see another way of looking at food.  At the time, I had belly fat for the first time in my life after having my first child and no amount of exercise or portion control was touching it.  When I did the low-carb thing, that it what finally made the difference.  And I have been a big fan of FAT (dietary fat, that is, not the fat on my belly which carbs help produce) ever since.  I remember that Adkins even states at the end of his book that he would expect that extremely obese people who cannot get their weight to change on even a very low-carb diet go on a primarily fat-only diet!  I’m not sure how you could figure out a palatable way to eat just fats, but the theory of it is interesting.  And I can definitely say with confidence and experience that plenty of fat in a low-carb diet makes one lean, not corporeally fat.  So, as long as you’re eating natural, good fats (extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed coconut oil, animal fats from properly raised animals, etc.) don’t be afraid of fats!!  🙂

  12. Okay, breads and pasta are obvious, but what other foods have grains in them that I might not suspect?

  13. I’m giving this a whirl to lose my wheat belly and recently developed asthma!  Thanks Katie! 

  14. In the last 24 months I have lost 155 pounds by putting wheat, sugars, starches and most oils out of my diet.
    I eat lots of fat, meat, eggs, and green leafy vegetables. I feel great.
    I have recommended the book “Wheat Belly” to many of my friends. The book is changing lives.
    Thanks for spreading the word on the dangers of wheat.


    • Hi Dan, your story is very inspiring. Can you share some details as to your new diet? Also thanks from Scotland to wellness mama and her exceptional website. 🙂 Let’s all get better without prescriptions (where possible)


  16. Been telling people this for years. Cut out all wheat products and your body  will burn  fat. The problem with wheat nowadays is that it is so refined that it is broken down nearly to the level of pure glucose units. So if you consume wheat along with fats the body will derive its short term  energy needs  from the wheat and will store the fat. This is not rocket science.

  17. I am allergic to wheat, and when we found out that I was, we cut it.  Not only did my hives, breathing issues, and stomach pain go away… but I dropped close to 70 pounds in a year.  It made a huge difference.

  18. I want to do this – but SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard!!! I try.. But pizza w/ friends? Restaurants?  Going out?  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard!

    • No doubt!

    • but u feel so much better you don’t care that you’re not eating what they’re leaving. And the idea Is to spend time with your friends you don’t have to eat the same thing that they are

  19. Number 2 is why I do it!

  20. I have read the book. It makes sense and I have been wheat-free for 1 week. I feel much better already and am looking forward to the weight loss aspect of being wheat-free. Bill O’Reilly talked about this book on his show and he lost 30 pounds in 3 months being wheat-free.

  21. I’m trying to decide whether to try a wheat-free diet. I can’t help but notice a lot of the people having success seem to be eating less junk (pizza, donuts, cake, burgers, etc) and eating more vegetables. I’ve heard that this is a repackaged low-carb diet, but I don’t know. I can’t help but wonder if wheat itself is the problem, or if stopping wheat forces people to stop eating things like pizza and burgers.

    • I guess you could really say that about any diet. We still eat burgers, just without buns & we eat meatza, which is essentially pizza toppings on a meat “crust”.

  22. I have ulcerative colitis and have been off wheat for over a year (I’m on largely a paleo diet). Although I feel better generally, it HAS NOT cured my disease or allowed me to go off my medication. It is irresponsible for anyone, let alone a cardiologist, to claim that eliminating wheat allows people with auto immune diseases to go off their medications. Dr. Davis is not a specialist in gastroenterology, rheumatology, or auto immune disorders.

  23. After having terrible peri-menopausal hot flashes for the past 4 years, my natural doctor asked me to try going gluten free for one month to see if it might help me. Not only did my hot flashes nearly disappear but I experienced numerous other benefits. I did not even realize before going GF that I had so many bodily aches and pains. These pains completely disappeared after going GF! I sleep so much better, have more energy and perhaps most amazingly, the nasal allergies which required have daily medication for the past 25 years of my life are also gone. I have always been a regular exerciser, working out aerobically and with strength training 4 to 5 days per week, and have had a pretty healthy diet, but I always struggled to lose about 15 lbs. that kept me slightly overweight. I’ve done nothing else to try to lose weight, and in fact, have probably been eating a lot more food since going GF, but all my clothes are too big for me now. (I don’t have a scale so I don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve lost but I’d guess at least 10 lbs.)

  24. What a great article.

    I’m going to tell you my story which is related with trying a wheat free diet. I was affected by a terrible candida albicans infection, reading how to treat this I found that I should try stop eating wheat, processed foods and sugar. Previously to this, I had done a blood test and everything was fine with my health, I worked out periodically, I did not drink any kind of alchohol, but after years of reading and knowing about nutrition and spending a lot of time in strength and conditioning programs, I couldn’t get rid of my belly and always people called me fat guy, because it was true.

    In february of this year(2013) I gave it a try to the ideas of dr. davis and the wheat belly, I haven’t bought the book, just reading reviews online, how the grain we eat today is not the same men ate in history, and all the possible bad effects by consuming it. In one month I have achieved more results than in years of diets and training, I have lost more than 10 lbs, my face looks different, and my relatives and friends are telling me than I am getting fit, all of them ask me what is he big secret? and I tell them: not eating wheat or all its derivates, and avoid processed sugars.

    Of course I eat a sandwitch once in a while, a piece of cake in a birthday celebration, but I have changed my lifestyle for good and am happy with it, thank you very much for sharing it and spread the message to all of us.

    Best Regards from El Salvador, Central America

  25. After 2 weeks wheat-free, I had had a headache for 24 hours
    a day for 11 days. There is some indirect suggestion on his site and
    in his talks that the constant headache is a ‘withdrawal symptom’, which
    is ridiculous for that long a time, but Dr. Davis does not address the issue.
    Now another seven days later I still have it. I don’t know what I have
    unbalanced by giving up only wheat. Is Dr Davis a real doctor?

    Others also have this happen. Many others in blogs and on Youtube. The
    phrase ‘wheat withdrawal headache’ has become a standard search phrase
    on Google and vitamin companies and OTC drug companies pay $1.25 per
    click every time someone types it in and clicks on their ad. So it has
    to be hundreds or thousands of people looking for info about the side
    effect of continual headache. If you have any idea what causes it or
    how to regain equilibrium, I am open to any suggestions. (except those
    from his groupies, who WILL attack this post)

    • Magnesium helped me personally during the adjustment…

    • You haven’t unbalanced anything. It is precisely what you say it is: a withdrawal symptom. I’m one of his “groupies” here to point out that nobody attacked your post. You got ONE reply, and it wasn’t an attack. You’re just pissy that Dr. Davis didn’t personally reply to you.

      Don’t suppose it occurred to you that unfortunately, there may not much to do but bear with the pain? You COULD go back to eating wheat, but I wouldn’t recommend that anymore than I’d recommend a heroin junkie take a hit to relieve THAT withdrawal.

      Have you been to the doctor? DId you try any OTC pain meds or non-med pain relief options? Did you actually use Google to seek out other sufferers, to commiserate, or see how they’d found relief? Because I just did a google search for “coping with wheat withdrawal headache” and I’d think you would make better use of your time to GO TO THOSE SITES FOR HELP than to go to “wheat belly” forums to tell everyone how much money the search term earns for adclicks.

  26. Has wheat always been this much of a problem in our diets, or are GMOs mostly to blame?

  27. when I first became aware of this issue I had already been suffering joint pains all parts of my body for no explainable reason. I had had frequent bouts of stomach problems ( no prior history and I am 57) increasing problems with asthma (had it all my life) and recurring bad moods bordering on depression. I am an active, physically fit person (running, resistance training, skydiving) and highly aware of health issues.
    Since I dropped bread and pasta and started avoiding anything that might have wheat in it, my overall health has improved considerably. I dropped 5 pounds without trying ( was never overweight ) have a bit of minor pain in my hip still but the stiff hands and feet I used to wake up with (running and guitar playing) have all but disappeared and most noticeable – my head is MUCH clearer. I think wheat products had me in a fog.
    Be aware that wheat is BIG AGRICULTURE in the US. This type of knowledge is not going to be popular. Think what it would do the the breakfast cereal industry alone – much less bread, pasta, etc.

  28. i stumbled across this after researching Wheat Belly for a college nutrition class and couldn’t believe what i read. I didn’t realize the effects of wheat that it did on the body. I read that Dr. Davis’ patients saw improvements in arthritis, improvements in asthmatic conditions, acid reflux, increased mental clarity, more stable moods and emotions, deeper sleep, the blood sugar levels,i eat a lot of candy bars the snickers reference has me thinking twice about candy bars and wheat. I can imagine the results his patients saw…makes me think twice about my food choices

  29. I am a newbie on the no wheat topic. I just saw a nutritionist specialist yesterday.. don’t know exact name of her field. I was proud that I eat wheat bread and raisin bran type cereal, etc. And with a kind smile she said Wheat?? you eat wheat? I said yes! she said.. no more! wheat is known to be cause of pain which I already have enough. That was the biggest eye opener I’ve had in years. I thought that eating wheat was best for our digestive parts?? so, as I said, she is working me up and it will take a little time to get my results which she will include vitamins, minerals, proper food intake according to blood type and she is also doing a hair sample test on me?? So, I am looking up different things and this article was very interesting.. thank you

  30. For a month now, I have stopped eating wheat and within the last week have had heartburn daily. I never had it before. Is it related?

  31. How is cheese an ‘unprocessed’ food?

  32. where did you get this info from?

  33. Thank you is there any other names for Wheat when looking at labels?

  34. Hi Katie,
    I love your website by the way and it convinced my boyfriend and I to be grain-free for a few months now! I don’t have intense migraines anymore 🙂

    I can’t help but notice how many skeptical people there are concerning the grains issue, including my friends, asking for research and links to back up your claims. I’ve seen you post the Cereal Sword multiple times in the comments to people who ask. I’ve always wondered why not just post your research at the end of your articles and beat them to it? I feel it’s worth the time going back to and finding all the sources you had when writing it and would definitely help convince more people (and decrease the number of times you get asked in the comments!).

    Hope this comment finds you well and you consider! Keep doing what you do 😀

  35. Why must people fuss? If you think it might help you, try it, see what happens. If you don’t, move on. Some of us have unfortunate food sensitivities, some of us don’t. I ate dairy my whole life and never noticed any issues. Then I began having major problems with it. Thats me and your you. We are not all the same.

  36. Someone mentioned about belly fat, its all about calorie in and out, exercise. I don’t think so! I’ve got a belly and it’s getting bigger. I’m starting to believe it’s because of eating too much wheat, possibly carbs too. I’ve got 9% body fat, looks very slim expect for the belly. I believe this wheat belly thing is true why els would I have such a belly. I don’t east sugary snacks, mostly fruit. Nor process foods or drink beer.

    This gets better! I’m a ultra marathon elite runner. Running 60-80 miles a week. I very rarely eat enough calories for my active life, though I never feel out of energy. I don’t think about food and I don’t often feel hungry. I eat because I have to.

    Btw. Anyone wanna tell me what healthy breakfast cereals there is these days?? Google is telling me they are all bad!! hmmm

  37. Been off wheat about 10 months in total, has made such a difference to my life!
    Diabetes is completely controlled without drugs, which is amazing diagnosed last September was controlled by drugs!
    Waiting for brain scan results, wrongly diagnosed with biopolar 2 1/2 years ago treated with medication and been very ill with side effects from the drugs!
    I am feeling good no longer have wheat in my diet, how it has improved one condition completely! Also asthma that has improve from acute too mild now!
    I am very pleased with my result and hope for more and more!

    • I believe that wheat is probably a factor, but a think my mane issue is unhappiness and lack of sleep.I find myself trying to replace sleep with food.

  38. three years ago i was told porridge was good for you ,so i ate a large portion every morning up until a few months ago when i was diagnosed with diverticular desease . i have always been slim with a 34″ waste…now ime slim with a big belly , ime not a drinker nor am i a big eater yet my belly is still big……i think its the diverticula caused by the oats is my problem… doctor cant find anything wrong apart from the diverticula ….ive stopped the porridge and white bread……whats the answer to getting my waste back ..

  39. forgot to mention that i am 78 years of age

  40. Hi, I love your blog- been on wagon for 2yrs but mostly off lately 🙁

    Recommitting myself… Searching new recipes etc. Lately.

    Some recipes using coconut and tapioca FLOURS- what do u think of that? This was the only post that had ‘tapioca’ that I could find on your blog.

    Thanks x

  41. I saw Dr. Davis in his presentation on public television. He presented much more information in his presentation. I ordered the book. I want to know more. I suggest that you read the book then either try it and then make a comment. If you have comments contrary to his, state your research and links to provide credibility. Make your case.

  42. ”Wheat is a weak opiate.” -opiates are derived from the poppie plant or flower. your intentions seem good but there are misleading statements throughout…

  43. All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

    Arthur Schopenhauer

  44. Katie,
    When reading this book, he also noted that many replacements people use for wheat, (i.e. tapioca starch, potato flour, etc.) can also cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar that are equal to, or perhaps worse than, wheat. He also mentions Einkorn wheat as an alternative, since it is the “original” grain that appears to have been present in paleolithic times. My husband and father refuse to give up wheat, unfortunately, so instead of letting them eat processed versions of the wheat filled foods they want, I’ve started making it all with an Organic Einkorn I’ve found and in the spring, the company I purchase from will also start selling a sprouted version. Any thoughts on Einkorn?