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A while back, I interviewed Dr. William Davis, MD, author of the New York Times bestselling book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. He’s a preventive cardiologist whose surprising approach to a heart-healthy diet allows him to not only help people prevent heart disease but potentially even reverse it. One of his biggest dietary recommendations is to remove wheat from the diet.
You may be wondering… what about organic wheat? Is it any better for us than conventional wheat? After all, humans have been eating wheat for thousands of years. Isn’t the main problem the pesticides we now use in agriculture, not the actual wheat? While pesticides like glyphosate are certainly inflammatory and toxic, the wheat we now consume is very different from the wheat people consumed generations ago, including what they ate in biblical times.
The wheat we have today isn’t even genetically the same, and that’s what Dr. Davis reveals in his book. Modern agriculture has changed the wheat we consume so much that it’s almost unrecognizable by the body. The modern wheat we eat is actually harmful, and as a result, the body reacts with inflammation and disease. It is not a “heart-healthy whole grain” at all.
About Dr. William Davis
While working with patients, cardiologist William Davis realized that wheat products were raising their blood sugar worse than Snickers bars.
After recommending his patients avoid wheat to balance their blood sugar, he found they were able to lose 25 to 30 pounds over several months and experienced relief from several other health conditions, which we’ll discuss below.
How Dr. Davis Learned Wheat Was Causing Health Problems
Dr. Davis learned just how bad wheat was when he asked patients in his cardiac practice to remove it from their diet. He did this because 80% of the people who came into his office were either diabetic or pre-diabetic, which doubles or triples the risk for heart disease. Since the glycemic index of whole wheat bread is among the highest of all foods, he decided to make bread a key food to remove from their diet.
Did you know that eating two slices of whole wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of sugar?
He asked his cardiac patients to remove wheat from their diet and see how it affected their blood sugar. After 3-6 months, he found that their blood sugars and HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over the last 60 days) were much lower. Amazingly, some people with diabetes were no longer diabetic.
But that wasn’t all they reported. There are lots of other health benefits after removing wheat:
- They lost 30 pounds and 4 inches from their waist. They felt better than they had in 20 years and had more energy, less moodiness, and deeper sleep.
- They experienced complete relief from acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, hand and finger arthritis, joint pain, sinus congestion, and chronic sinus infections.
- Their asthma improved so much that they threw away their inhalers.
- Rheumatoid arthritis was so much better they were in the process of reducing medication.
- Their ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s had improved, and they no longer required medication.
- Their leg edema had disappeared.
- Their rashes were gone.
At first, Dr. Davis dismissed these improvements as just a coincidence. But the effects became so frequent and consistent that the conclusion became unavoidable: Wheat was the underlying cause of an incredible array of health problems and weight gain, and eliminating it from the diet was key to health.
It’s important to note that this was not just the result of gluten avoidance for the gluten-sensitive or those with Celiac disease. This was wheat avoidance for everybody. Gluten-sensitive or not, almost everyone who took wheat out of their diet experienced at least some measurable improvement in health, if not an outright transformation.
Dr. Davis now recommends that everyone who wants to regain control over their health and lose weight completely avoid wheat.
The Wheat-Heart Health Connection
So, how exactly is wheat consumption linked to heart health? As it turns out, wheat consumption causes heart disease. It’s not cholesterol or saturated fat that’s behind the number one killer of Americans—it’s wheat.
When we eat wheat, its unique carbohydrate, amylopectin A, triggers the formation of small, dense LDL particles more than any other common food. These LDL particles are the number one cause of heart disease in the U.S. The majority of adults now have an abundance of small LDL particles because conventional dietary advice has been to cut their fat and “eat plenty of heart-healthy whole grains.”
These 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. Many doctors will prescribe statin drugs for this. An integrative cardiologist or a functional medicine doctor, on the other hand, can order a more sophisticated lipoprotein testing to drill down on the problem.
Another reason wheat is to blame is that it triggers an increase in small, dense LDL and the gliadin protein that increases appetite. This causes weight gain. Unfortunately, the weight gained usually happens in the abdomen, in the deep visceral fat that triggers inflammation, or what Dr. Davis calls a “wheat belly.” Wheat belly visceral fat is a hotbed of inflammation, sending out inflammatory signals into the bloodstream and resulting in higher blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides, all adding up to an increased risk for heart disease.
When we say goodbye to wheat, the small LDL particles plummet, which allows for weight loss from the wheat belly visceral fat. Inflammation subsides, blood sugar stabilizes, and blood pressure goes down. Based on his research, the elimination of wheat is among the most powerful means of reducing the risk of heart disease.
Other Health Conditions Connected to Wheat Consumption
Over time, Dr. Davis noticed quite a few other conditions associated with wheat consumption. More conditions are linked to wheat consumption than aren’t linked. Here are just a few categories:
Some gastrointestinal problems you might experience from wheat consumption are acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Those symptoms usually include:
People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, also experience improvement and sometimes even complete relief from symptoms, including pain, diarrhea, and intestinal bleeding when they go wheat-free.
Brain and Nervous System Conditions
Wheat can affect our brain and nervous system in a variety of ways, including mood disruption, depression, behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism, hallucinations in people with schizophrenia, and mania in people with bipolar disorder. Wheat can also directly damage the brain and nervous system and can cause conditions like 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 found that 50% of unexplained peripheral neuropathy can be blamed on wheat. It can also cause gluten encephalopathy, also known as dementia from wheat. Only an autopsy can diagnose this condition after death. In 2020, the journal Nutrients published a systematic review of this condition.
Joint Pain and Arthritic Conditions
Joint pain and swelling are often connected to wheat consumption. The most common form involves the wrists and fingers. Some people experience relief from back, hip, and knee pain when they eliminate wheat, especially if they also lose weight around their abdomen since this belly fat serves as a repository for inflammation. When we lose the wheat belly, the inflammation subsides.
Skin conditions also typically improve or disappear when wheat is eliminated. 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.
What You Should Know About Eating Wheat
One of the most crucial things to know about the wheat conversation is that the gliadin protein in wheat acts as an appetite stimulant. People who consume the gliadin protein in wheat consume 400 more calories per day on average. People who eliminate wheat (and therefore gliadin) consume 400 fewer calories per day, even if calories, fat grams, or portion sizes are unrestricted.
Big Food has used this to their advantage. If you put wheat flour, and thereby gliadin, into every product you can, you increase appetite, increase consumption, and increase sales. It makes sense that this is why companies put wheat flour in processed foods, including tomato soup and licorice, when they don’t need to.
The gliadin protein in wheat has this effect because the body breaks it down into a group of compounds called exorphins, or exogenous morphine-like compounds. Opiate-blocking drugs can block these effects. Yes, the appetite-stimulating effect of wheat can be completely disabled by administering the same drugs that heroin addicts take to block their “high.” Wheat acts as an opiate drug on the brain.
Studies have demonstrated that when volunteers were administered opiate-blocking drugs, their desire for cake, cupcakes, and cookies greatly decreased.
Scientific evidence confirms that as long as wheat remains a part of your diet, you will not have full control over your hunger and cravings since it causes calorie consumption to be higher, especially for carbohydrate foods. As a result, you start putting on weight, particularly around the middle. You might get a pair of “love handles” or a “muffin top,” if not a wheat belly. Unfortunately, wheat is a major cause of the obesity epidemic that is spreading worldwide. Eliminating wheat goes a long way to help you regain normal control over hunger.
Why Modern Wheat Is Harmful
Modern agriculture has changed the wheat we consume now from what our ancestors ate, like einkorn, spelt, and emmer. Einkorn is said to be the “great granddaddy” of all today’s wheat. It is genetically much simpler than our modern wheat, which farming practices have genetically altered over time. Einkorn wheat has 14 chromosomes, while modern wheat has 42.
Einkorn is also a diploid, which means it has two sets of chromosomes, similar to many other plants. Modern wheat, on the other hand, has six sets of chromosomes, making it more complex and therefore more difficult to digest. Similarly, einkorn is lower in gluten, and the type of gluten it has is much less triggering to the immune system compared to our modern wheat.
Einkorn is rich in inflammation-lowering nutrients, while modern agricultural practices have stripped wheat of much of its nutrition. There’s a reason for fortified flours on the grocery store shelves. Essentially, modern wheat retains all the negatives, like altered genetics, high levels of gluten, and low levels of nutrients, while missing out on all the positives of the genetically-recognizable, mineral-rich grains of the past.
What to Eat: Should You Go Gluten-Free?
If a person decides to eliminate wheat, they often turn to gluten-free alternatives. But is that a good idea? First, Dr. Davis believes we should return to real, unprocessed foods as often as possible. That means eating vegetables, raw nuts, meats, fish, eggs (including the yolks), cheese, avocados, and healthy oils, like extra-virgin olive and coconut. He does not believe in counting or limiting calories, especially after eliminating the potent appetite stimulant, wheat.
He also strongly urges people to avoid commercial gluten-free products while following a gluten-free diet. In place of wheat flour, these products, including gluten-free bagels and “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 whole wheat. That means these foods trigger weight gain in the abdomen (creating a “gluten-free belly”) and increase glucose, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes, cataracts, and arthritis. These are not healthy replacements for wheat.
The Bottom Line
The American public needs to be aware that agribusiness and Big Food companies know what they’re doing with wheat. They have learned how to use this Trojan horse, harboring its hidden gliadin protein that increases appetite.
Wheat is a weak opiate. When you eat wheat, you want more wheat, you want more carbohydrates.
Even worse, we’re advised by our government agencies like the USDA and Health and Human Services that whole grains are good for us and we should eat more. When we eat more “healthy whole grains,” we eat more, we gain weight, we experience all the consequences of wheat consumption and weight gain such as hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, acid reflux, and diabetes. Big Food makes out, Big Pharma makes out… we pay the price.
They have blamed the epidemic of diabetes and obesity on us. They say 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 they’ve duped us 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.
Check Out Other Wheat Belly Resources
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 be bad. Since his first book, he has gone on to write six more books on the topic, including:
- The Wheat Belly Cookbook – If you miss baked goods, Dr. Davis provides tasty recipes for things like chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake. They are wheat-free, nearly sugar-free, low-carb, and are generally healthy enough to eat anytime with none of the adverse health consequences like weight gain or bloating.
- Wheat Belly 30-Minute (Or Less!) Cookbook – Short on time? In this cookbook, Dr. Davis provides recipes that take 30 minutes or less, start to finish. If you thought cooking wheat-free was going to be boring, think again! This cookbook includes re-created Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Italian dishes, all easy-to-make and full of flavor.
- Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health And Weight Loss Life Plan – This book goes beyond the wheat-free diet and helps you regain your metabolism. It’s the only book you’ll ever need to not only get off wheat but also lose weight for good and achieve vibrant health.
- Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox: Reprogram Your Body For Rapid Weight Loss And Amazing Health – Dr. Davis gives you a step-by-step program in this 10-day detox. The book gives you everything you need to successfully get off wheat and reset your body for lasting health. There are meal plans, recipes, supplement recommendations, and tips for success.
- Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You And How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor – Here, Dr. Davis helps you take charge of your health and crack the code to health. He includes a comprehensive program to help you cut back on prescription medications, get on a healthy diet, and start reversing common health conditions naturally.
- Super Gut: A Four-Week Plan To Reprogram Your Microbiome, Restore Health, and Lose Weight – Dr. Davis guides you in four weeks with over 40 recipes on how to eliminate bad bacteria and bring back the good guys to help balance your gut and restore your health. It’s a reprogramming of your microbiome to promote happiness, sharpness, restful sleep, and longevity… all through your super gut.
Check out Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly Blog here and his main website, Dr. Davis Infinite Health here.
Have you read Wheat Belly? Notice any health improvements after removing grains? Share below!
Discussion (88 Comments)
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!
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.).
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…
I am sorry but you just gave me another anecdote. I don’t want to be confrontational but give me links to studies done. As far as the blog goes there is always room for simple links. That’s how credible blogs differentiate themselves from the ones which supply anecdotes. I am not dissing the arguments but I don’t take things at face value. I am not arguing for grains to be beneficial when then they are modified or stripped of nutrients via commercial applications. Yes, you can obtain these nutrients from other sources but by that argument you can say exactly the same thing about any animal protein (grass fed or not in case of beef), which you are a big proponent of.
I lent out my copy of Wheat Belly, but can cite those specific studies when I get it back. In the meantime, here are some articles (with links to studies) and some studies for you. I would also disagree that you can’t obtain the same nutrients from other sources that you get from animal proteins, at least not in anywhere near the same ratios without a lot of excess carbs (as in the case of beans) and lectins (see studies below).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/ (about lectins, which are found in high amounts in grains, beans and dairy) http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html (article with links to further studies about lectin) https://deniseminger.com/2011/12/22/the-truth-about-ancel-keys-weve-all-got-it-wrong/ (good analysis of some of the studies on both sides) https://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/09/20/amber-waves-of-pain/ (also links to articles) http://www.direct-ms.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Cereal-Sword.pdf (about problems with cereal grains) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC433288/ (the harmful effects of some grains in relation to insulin activity) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115436/?tool=pubmed (on lectins and disease) https://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/ (good article, linked to a couple of studies, but explained concisely)
I’ve got more linked in another email account, but will have to post those when I’m not holding a bouncing 6 month old who is attempting to teethe on my keyboard. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
Jo Ann Haney
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.
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!
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