The Grain Producers Respond to ‘Wheat Belly’

Not surprisingly, the U.S. grain industry isn’t happy with Dr. William Davis and his just-released book Wheat Belly. The Grain Foods Foundation responded to the book with a press release and a blog post explaining why we all need grains to be healthy. Here are some quotes from their blog post.

Don’t be fooled by catchy terms like “wheat belly” and “bagel butt”….a fad diet is still a fad diet, no matter how you dress it up.

That’s why I’m no longer on a low-fat, grain-based diet. What a stupid fad that was.  Granted, I’d love to think avoiding the grains that make us fat and sick is the hottest new fad, but I’m pretty sure getting a tattoo on your (bagel) butt is still comfortably in the lead.

That’s exactly the story behind the new book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health that was released today.

Actually, the story behind Wheat Belly is that wheat (especially today’s genetically modified wheat) pretty much sucks from a health standpoint.

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What exactly is “too good to be true” about telling people they’ll have to give up a food that makes up a major portion of their diets – a food many of them love? Dr. Davis has had people leave his office in tears after telling them they couldn’t handle wheat and needed to stop eating it. I doubt many of them were thinking, “Well, this is just too good to be true!”

Cutting out one specific food is not only unrealistic, it’s dangerous.

Really? So if I cut refined sugar from my diet, that would be dangerous? I’m a dead man walking.

Omitting wheat entirely removes the essential (and disease-fighting!) nutrients it provides including fiber, antioxidants, iron and B vitamins.

Ahhh, that would explain why humans became extinct during the hundreds of thousands of years we didn’t consume wheat. Thank goodness those friendly aliens came to earth, planted wheat fields, then resurrected human life from some DNA samples they’d kept frozen.

Besides this, the advice dished out by Dr. Davis is completely counter to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the gold standard of scientifically-sound nutrition advice.


Last time I checked, the gold standard in research consisted of randomized clinical studies in which the data actually supports the investigators’ conclusions. But if you folks want to re-define “gold standard” to consist of observational studies that often contradict the very advice they’re cited to support, be my guest … although I’d consider that more of a tin standard.

The Guidelines call for the average healthy American to consume six one-ounce servings of grain foods daily, half of which should come from whole grains and the other half from enriched grains.

So the government agency whose mission is to sell grains is telling us to eat grains. Well, that’s all the proof I need.

Wheat is the basis for a number of healthful whole and enriched grain foods including breads, cereal, pasta and wheat berries that provide valuable nutrients to the American diet and have been shown to help with weight maintenance.

Can’t argue with that one. Wheat will definitely help you maintain your weight … at, say, 40 pounds above where you’d like to be.

So, let common sense prevail. When it comes to nutrition advice, look to the real experts and remember that weight control is all about one key equation: calories in must equal calories out.

Use common sense? Look to the real experts? I thought you said you wanted us to listen to the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee! Make up your minds already.

The good news is that there were dozens of comments on the post, nearly all of them negative, with many citing examples of how eliminating wheat caused health problems to vanish. Others pointed out that the Grain Foods Foundation didn’t actually dispute any of the science in Wheat Belly, which is true.

Dr. Davis wrote his own reply a few days later, which you can read here. As in the book, he made his arguments with logic and science. That prompted another reply by the Grain Foods Foundation:

Over the weekend we received a number of comments in response to our previous post, Our Perspective on “Wheat Belly” and we’d like to take a moment to address them.

Then why didn’t you? The rest of your post doesn’t answer any of the many criticisms leveled by people who left comments.

First, your comments weren’t being ignored. Comments on this blog are reviewed before they appear to prevent the posting of spam or profanity. There was no attempt to censor this feedback – our team was simply enjoying the long holiday weekend.

I’ll bet it was kind of depressing to enjoy a long weekend, then go to work on Tuesday and read dozens of comments left by people who basically kicked your bagel butts.

Second, there were comments questioning GFF’s funding sources. The Foundation is funded through voluntary donations from private grain-based companies and industry associations. However, any nutrition information we share is rooted in sound science and reviewed by independent nutrition experts from our Scientific Advisory Board.

Yes, I’m sure if your advisory board discovered, say, that celiac disease is five times more prevalent now than 50 years ago, they’d inform you immediately so you could bang out a press release announcing that you’ll stop producing mutant wheat.

Finally, some of you question the merit of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are the gold standard of nutrition guidance in America.

The only reason we question those guidelines is that there’s nothing scientific about them, as even one of the committee members later admitted.

They are the most comprehensive review of the existing literature and are updated every five years to reflect new research. Every recommendation we share is based on these Guidelines. It is the most credible information available and we will continue to rely on them for our recommendations.

Let’s see … a government agency whose mission is to sell grains releases new guidelines every five years telling us to eat lots of grains … boy, I’m just stunned that the Grain Foods Foundation would continue to rely on the USDA for dietary advice.

So here’s how I’ve got it on my scorecard: Dr. Davis landed a flurry of punches in the form of hundreds of studies and dozens of case histories from his own medical practice. The Grain Food Foundation’s only counter-punch was to remind us that the USDA recommends eating grains.

If this were a fight, the ref would’ve stopped it halfway through the first round.


105 thoughts on “The Grain Producers Respond to ‘Wheat Belly’

  1. Kevin Harmon

    Been eating Wheat Belly and Paleo since right after Thanksgiving 2013. Have lost 8-10 lbs, though I wasn’t trying to do that. Crave far far less than before. My wife’s major atopic dermatitis has mellowed and the angry skin outbreaks, which were really tough, are no more. She says she’s lost weight (again, not a major goal), especially around her midsection and butt and she has much more energy. My daughter a college sprinter with asthma has seen her exercise induced breathing issues greatly reduced.
    We’ve sought out multiple resources for recipes as it can be stressful to find quick, convenient foods to eat, especially for breakfast and lunch, when one completely eliminates wheat, WHICH IS IN EVERY DAMN THING YOU PICKUP! That’s why we’ve looked into paleo in addition to the Wheat Belly Cookbook.

    1. Lynette

      Look into Coconut flour and start making your own food from scratch … you need only 1/4 the amount of coconut flour to normal flour but do need to add more moisture from vegetable oils (olive oil and coconut oil are best) and eggs.
      Wheat Belly changed my life and I have found great results using coconut flour as it is wheat, grain and gluten free.
      Hope this helps.

  2. Dariusz
    “The good news is that there were dozens of comments on the post, nearly all of them negative” so now we know thar nealy all of them are idiots who gets be fool. Many people is funny you say this is bad for you they fear and in next seconds give you money

    If I can ever figure out what you’re trying to say, I’ll let you know.

  3. Andrew Mays

    What is now clear is that the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans was not based on scientific research, but on a hidden agenda to promote the consumption of wheat and wheat containing products. I will no longer follow these guidelines and will now conduct my own experiment and eliminate wheat products from my diet for 12 months, using the recommendations and dietary guidelines found in Dr. William Davis’s book “Wheat Belly”. My goal is to remain healthy and to lose 20-30 pounds by June 1, 2015. This is the only way I know to end a debate about dietary carbohydrates that has been going on in my own mind for 30 years. Whatever it takes to return to my ideal weight range will be worth the painful sacrifices I know I must make over the next 12 months, for the dangers of being overweight have been scientifically proven and the evidence is overwhelming. Wheat products are not the only culprit, but Dr. Davis has convinced me with his brilliant analysis that wheat products have been the major culprit in the American diet and my diet, sadly, for the majority of my lifetime.


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