Interview with ‘Wheat Belly’ Author Dr. William Davis

You all (or y’all, as we say around these parts) submitted so many good questions for Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis, we decided to make this a two-part Q & A.  We’ll probably have part two ready early next week.

Fat Head: You’re a cardiologist by profession, and yet you just wrote an in-depth book about the negative health effects of consuming wheat.  How did wheat end up on your radar?  What first made you suspect wheat might be behind many of our modern health problems?

Dr. Davis: It started several years ago when I asked patients in my office to consider eliminating all wheat from their diet. I did this because of some very simple logic: If foods made from wheat raise blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods (due to its high-glycemic index), including table sugar, then removing wheat should reduce blood sugar. I was concerned about high blood sugar since around 80% of the people coming to my office had diabetes, pre-diabetes, or what I call “pre-pre-diabetes.” In short, the vast majority of people showed abnormal metabolic markers.

I provided patients with a simple two-page handout on how to do this, i.e., how to eliminate wheat and replace the lost calories with healthy foods like more vegetables, raw nuts, meats, eggs, avocados, olives, olive oil, etc. They’d come back three months later with lower fasting blood sugars, lower hemoglobin A1c (a reflection of the previous 60 days’ blood sugar); some diabetics became non-diabetics, pre-diabetics became non-pre-diabetic. They’d also be around 30 pounds lighter.

Then they began to tell me about other experiences: relief from arthritis and joint pains, chronic rashes disappearing, asthma improved sufficiently to stop inhalers, chronic sinus infections gone, leg swelling gone, migraine headaches gone for the first time in decades, acid reflux and irritable bowel symptoms relieved. At first, I told patients it was just an odd coincidence. But it happened so many times to so many people that it became clear that this was no coincidence; this was a real and reproducible phenomenon.

That’s when I began to systematically remove wheat from everyone’s diet and continued to witness similar turnarounds in health across dozens of conditions. There has been no turning back since.

Fat Head: You cite quite a bit of academic research in your book, but you also cite case histories from your medical practice.  So, as a chicken-or-the-egg issue, which came first?  Did you start noticing that patients who consumed a lot of wheat had more health problems and then go looking for the research to back up your suspicions, or did you come across research that prompted you to take notice of what your patients were eating?

Dr. Davis: The real-world experience came first. But what surprised me was that there already was an extensive medical literature documenting all of this, but it was largely ignored or didn’t reach mainstream consciousness nor the consciousness of most of my colleagues. And a lot of the documentation comes from the agricultural genetics literature, an area, I can assure you, my colleagues do not study. But I dug into this area of science and talked to people at the USDA and in agriculture departments in universities to gain a full understanding of all the issues.

One of the difficulties that partly explains why much of this information has not previously seen the light of day is that agricultural geneticists work on plants, not humans. There is a broad and pervasive assumption followed by these well-meaning scientists: No matter how extreme the techniques used to alter the genetics of a plant like wheat, it is still just fine for human consumption …no questions asked. I believe that is flat wrong and underlies much of the suffering inflicted on humans consuming this modern product of genetics research still called, misleadingly, “wheat.”

Fat Head: So after pinpointing wheat as a driver of various health problems, you started counseling your patients to eliminate wheat from their diets.  What inspired you take the extra step – and it’s a big step – of writing a book?

Dr. Davis: What I witnessed in the thousands of people removing wheat from their diet was nothing short of incredible. When I saw weight loss of 70 pounds in six months, energy and mood surging, reversal of inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, relief from chronic rashes and arthritis — and the effects were consistent over and over again — I realized that I could not just let this issue pass quietly in my office practice.

Admittedly, the world is going to need more confirmatory data before wheat, or at least the modern genetically-altered version of wheat we are being sold, is removed from the world’s dinner plate. But the data that are already available are more than enough, I believe, to bring this information to the public for people to make the decision themselves. I liken this situation to living in a village where everyone drinks water from the same well.  Nine out of 10 people get sick when they drink water from the well; all recover when they stop drinking from it. Drink from the same well, they all get sick again; stop, they get better. With such a consistent and reproducible cause-and-effect relationship, do we need a clinical trial to prove it to us? I don’t.

This is going to be a long, hard battle in the public arena. Wheat comprises 20% of all human calories. It requires a huge infrastructure to grow, harvest, collect seeds, fertilize, herbicide, process, and distribute. This message is going to potentially hurt the livelihoods of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who are part of the infrastructure. It reminds me of the battles that were fought (and still being fought today) when it became widely accepted that smoking cigarettes was bad. When people within the tobacco industry were asked how they could work for a company that destroyed people’s health, they replied, “I had to support my family and pay my mortgage.” The eliminate-all-wheat-in-the-human-diet argument that I make will hurt many people where it counts: right in the pocketbook. But, personally, I am not willing to sacrifice my own health, the health of my family, friends, neighbors, patients, and the nation to allow the incredibly unhealthy status quo to continue.

Fat Head: The more of the book I read, the more I found myself thinking, “Wow, I knew wheat was bad for us, but it’s even worse than I thought.”  Did you have the same reaction while researching the book?  Were you surprised at how many physical and mental problems wheat can cause?

Dr. Davis: Yes. I knew wheat was bad from the start of this project. And there were times when I wondered if I was missing something, given the unanimous embracing of this grain by agribusiness, farmers, agricultural scientists, the USDA, FDA, American Dietetic Association, etc. But the opposite happened: The deeper I got into it, this thing being sold to us called “wheat” appeared worse … and worse, and worse, the farther I got.

I am mindful of the “For a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail” trap we can all fall into, but when you see disease condition after disease condition vanish with elimination of wheat, you can’t help but become convinced that it plays a crucial role in hundreds, literally hundreds, of common conditions.

Fat Head: You described in your book how today’s wheat is the product of energetic cross-breeding.  Is cross-breeding inherently bad?  Doesn’t cross-breeding take place in nature all the time?

Dr. Davis: Yes, it does. Humans, along with all plants and animals, are the product of cross-breeding or hybridization. Love, sex, and cross-breeding make the world go ‘round and make life interesting. The problem is that these terms are used very loosely by geneticists.

For example, if I subject wheat seeds and embryos to the potent industrial poison sodium azide, I can induce mutations in the plant’s genetic code. First, let me tell you about sodium azide. If ingested, the poison control people at the Centers for Disease Control advise you to not resuscitate the person who ingested it and stopped breathing as a result —just let the victim die—because the rescuer can die, too. And, if the victim vomits, don’t throw the vomit in the sink because it can explode (this has actually happened). So, expose wheat seeds and embryos to sodium azide and you obtain mutations. This is called chemical mutagenesis. Seeds and embryos can also be exposed to gamma irradiation and high-dose x-ray radiation. All of these techniques fall under the umbrella of hybridization or, even more misleading, traditional breeding techniques. I don’t know about you, but cross-breeding among the humans I know doesn’t involve slipping each other chemical poisons or a romantic evening in the cyclotron to induce mutations in our offspring.

These “traditional breeding techniques,” by the way, are markedly more disruptive to the plant’s genetics than genetic engineering. Americans are up in arms about genetically-modified (GMO) foods (i.e., the insertion or deletion of a single gene). The great irony is that genetic engineering is a substantial improvement over “traditional breeding techniques” that have gone on for decades and are still going on.

[Note from Tom:  I tried talking my wife into stepping into a cyclotron with me on our honeymoon.  She told me to stop drinking the champagne and go to sleep.]

Fat Head: I met you in person over a year ago, and you’re a very lean guy, so I was surprised to learn from the book that you used to carry around your very own wheat belly.  Describe the differences between you as a wheat-eater and you now, both in terms of your physique and your health.

Dr. Davis: Thirty pounds ago, while I was still an enthusiastic consumer of “healthy whole grains,” I struggled with constant difficulties in maintaining focus and energy. I relied on pots of coffee or walking and exercise just to battle the constant stuporous haze. My cholesterol values reflected my wheat-consuming habits: HDL 27 mg/dl (very low), triglycerides 350 mg/dl (VERY high), and blood sugars in the diabetic range (161 mg/dl). I had high blood pressure, running values around 150/90. And all my excess weight was around my middle—yes, my very own wheat belly.

Saying goodbye to wheat has helped me shed the weight around the middle; my cholesterol values: HDL 63 mg/dl, triglycerides 50 mg/dl, LDL 70 mg/dl, blood sugar 84 mg/dl, BP 114/74—using no drugs. In other words, everything reversed. Everything reversed including the struggle to maintain attention and focus. I can now concentrate and focus on something for so long that my wife yells for me to stop.

All in all, I feel better today at age 54 than I felt at age 30.

Fat Head: How has learning what you now know about wheat and other grains changed your medical practice?

Dr. Davis: It has catapulted success in helping people regain health into the stratosphere. Among people following this diet, i.e., eliminate wheat and limit other carbohydrates (along with the other heart-healthy strategies I advocate, including omega-3 fatty acid supplementation with fish oil, vitamin D supplementation to achieve a desirable 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 60-70 ng/ml, iodine supplementation and normalization of thyroid dysfunction), I no longer see heart attacks. The only heart attacks I see are people whom I’ve just met or those who, for one reason or another (usually lack of interest) don’t follow the diet.  A priest I take care of, for instance, a wonderful and generous man, couldn’t bring himself to turn down the muffins, pies, and breads his parishioners brought him every day; he had a heart attack despite doing everything else right.

This diet approach, though it seems quirky on the surface, is extremely powerful. What diet, after all, causes substantial weight loss, corrects the causes of heart disease such as small LDL particles, reverses diabetes and pre-diabetes, and improves or cures multiple conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to acid reflux?

Fat Head: You’ve seen hundreds of your own patients become cured of supposedly incurable diseases after giving up wheat.  Describe one or two of the most dramatic examples.

Dr. Davis: Two people are on my mind nearly every day, mostly because I am especially gratified about the magnitude of their response and because I shudder to think what their lives would have been like had they not engaged in this diet change.

I describe Wendy’s story in the book, a 36-year mother and schoolteacher who had nearly incapacitating ulcerative colitis; so bad that, despite three medications, she continued to suffer constant cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding sufficient to require blood transfusions. When I met Wendy, she told me that her gastroenterologist and surgeon had scheduled her for colon removal and creation of an ileostomy bag. These would be lifelong changes; she would be consigned to wearing a bag to catch stool at the surface for the rest of her life. I urged her to remove wheat. At first, she objected, since her intestinal biopsies and blood work all failed to suggest celiac disease. But, having seen many amazing things happen with removal of wheat, I suggested that there was nothing to lose. She did it. Three months later, not only had she lost 38 pounds, but all the cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding had stopped. It’s now been two years. She’s off all drugs with no sign of the disease left—colon intact, no ileostomy bag. She is cured.

The second case is Jason, also described in the book, a 26-year old software programmer, in this case incapacitated by joint pains and arthritis. Consultations with three rheumatologists failed to yield a diagnosis; all prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication, while Jason continued to hobble around, unable to engage in much more than short walks. Within five days of removing all wheat, Jason was 100% free of joint pains. He told that he found this absolutely ridiculous and refused to believe it. So he had a sandwich: Joint pains rushed right back. He’s now strictly wheat-free and pain-free.

Fat Head: Your patients are lucky – you’d rather change a patient’s diet than write a prescription whenever possible.  Unfortunately, you’re in the minority.  As I recounted on my blog recently, a co-worker’s wife was finally cured of her pounding headaches when an acquaintance suggested she stop eating grains.  She’d been to several doctors who merely prescribed medications.  So … why are so few doctors aware of how grains can affect our health?

Dr. Davis: I believe healthcare has detoured towards high-tech, high revenue-producing procedures, medications, and catastrophic care. Too many in healthcare have lost the vision of helping people and fulfilling their mission to heal. While that sounds old-fashioned, I believe it is a bad trend for healthcare to be reduced to a financial transaction bound by legal constraints. It needs to be restored to a relationship of healing.

I believe that many in healthcare have also been disenchanted with the ineffectiveness of dietary advice. Because dietary “wisdom” has been wrong on so many counts over the past 50 years, people have become soured on the ability of nutrition and natural methods to improve health. From what I’ve witnessed, however, nutrition and natural methods have enormous power to heal—if the right methods are applied.

Fat Head: Do you hope your book will educate more doctors on the topic, or is this one of those situations where the public will have to ignore their doctors and educate themselves?

Dr. Davis: Regrettably, many people will read the message in Wheat Belly, experience the life-changing health and weight transformations that can result, then they will then tell their doctors, who will declare their success “coincidence,” “mind over matter,” “placebo effect,” or some other dismissal. Many of my colleagues refuse to recognize the power of diet even when confronted with powerful results. That can only change over a very long time.

Thankfully, more and more of my colleagues are beginning to see the light and not look for the answer in drugs and procedures. These are the healthcare providers that I hope will emerge to assist people as advocates and coaches in conducting an experience like that described in Wheat Belly.

Fat Head: If more doctors were informed of the issues you wrote about in Wheat Belly, do you think they’d change their dietary advice, or is the “fat is bad, grains are good” mentality too ingrained in the profession?

Dr. Davis: There is absolutely no question that the “fat is bad, grains are good” argument will persist in the minds of many of my colleagues for many years. However, I believe if they were to read the arguments laid out logically in Wheat Belly, they would first come to recognize that “wheat” is no longer wheat but an incredibly transformed product of genetics research. Then they would begin to follow the logic and understand that the long menu of problems associated with consumption of modern “wheat” begins to explain why we’ve all been witnessing an explosion in common diseases. That’s when I hope we all hear a collective “Aha!”


100 thoughts on “Interview with ‘Wheat Belly’ Author Dr. William Davis

  1. Ray

    Peggy Holloway
    “She is so desperate she told me “I’m afraid to eat anything because nothing I do seems to help.” Obviously, not eating at all is not the answer!”

    “Mary isn’t offering her anything … except the low-carb diet that is reflected in the food logs I posted and more medications.”

    If she was not taking medications, not eating at all actually IS the answer. Since she is already low carb, she could start by skipping breakfast and drinking only non caloric beverages. (if drugs are involved, monitor blood glucose levels carefully). Once that becomes easy, put off lunch as late as possible until you are eating one low-carb, high fat meal at dinner time. Give that eating pattern time to work. For more rapid results you might try extended 3 to 5 day fasts.

    You can google the “Newcastle study diabetes” and read about it; however, I would not recommend fasting (or low calorie) beyond 5 days.

  2. timmah

    To all the folks worried about beer: most “wheat” beers are labeled such.

    For Tom: Guinness contains no wheat. It’s malted barley, unmalted barley and roasted unmalted barley.

    While it’s possible today’s barley is a mutant grain that adds to our waistlines more than it did 40 years ago, yeast do consume the proteins and sugars of beer during fermentation. So it’s not as bad as consuming bread made from a like amount of grain.

    And yes, I do understand that “not as bad as” does not equate to “good”.

    If you want alcohol without grains, choose wine or mead. Sweet, delicious mead…

    I’m relieved to hear Guinness isn’t made from wheat. I don’t drink much anymore, but if I’m in a mood for beer, it’s usually Guinness.

  3. jethro

    No bread? Oh no!

    When I started low carb, I became extremely constipated.

    I solved my problem by adding five slices of high fiber bread: 25 grams of fiber, 40 net carbs.

    As I’m way under a 100 carbs, I’ve lost so far 25 lb. with 50 to go.

    If I drop bread, how much of what should I eat to get 25 grams of fiber?

    Some whole fruits, most green vegetables, and some nuts (almonds for example) are high in fiber.

  4. Al

    I’m curious what exercise regime she is following to burn excess sugar? Also, why is she eating cheese. almonds, dressings, and other dairy? If she must have nuts, Walnuts have fewer sugars in them and I’d avoid cheeses, rubs and dressings, even pre-packaged burgers in favor of plain cuts of meat she prepares herself. This is how I had to eat for weeks to break through a weight-loss stall and I’d be curious to see if it moved the needle for her. There is just so much added sugar in every type of processed food that you just can’t trust anything you haven’t made yourself from the most basic ingredients you can find. The other thing to keep in mind is speed of eating and meal size matters too. When I was wolfing down meals in record time my blood would spike hard no matter what I ate. Eating six smaller meals slowly might make a difference compared to three large ones in a gulp. Hope this helps.

  5. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    Now I wonder if perhaps wheat is more popular because it’s easier to transport without spoiling …?

    Din ding ding! We have a winner.

    You should check out “Empires of Food”. It describes how empires throughout history all travel the same trajectory, rising and falling on production and transportation of commodity foods. My review is here.

    Makes sense.

  6. Sarah

    I didn’t even realize my stomach hurt until I watched Fat Head, got onto Mark’s Daily Apple blog, and stopped wheat. Now I still can’t believe how much better I feel, and my adult acne is all but gone. I’ve lost 30 pounds. My asthma that I would only get while running is gone. I can breathe through my nose, both sides of my nose, for the first time in my life. I don’t need an allergy pill, and I used to need shots. I can eat bananas, because I’m not allergic to them anymore. I hate “wheat”. Keep spreading the message guys.

    Perhaps someday doctors will spread the message as well. But I won’t hold my (formerly asthmatic at times) breath.

  7. J. Stanton

    “Hmmm … Now I wonder if perhaps wheat is more popular because it’s easier to transport without spoiling …?”

    The reason our government chose a few common grain crops to support, like wheat, is that they are commodity crops.

    Commodities are fungible…just like oil, they’re dumped in storage and mixed without regard to source. This allows the financial industry to profit by “making the market” (inserting themselves as middlemen in all transactions, e.g. “futures”). It also takes profit margins away from farmers, who can no longer differentiate their crop from anyone else’s, and pushes the profits to processors, who can turn the resulting cheap, fungible commodity into a differentiable (and, therefore, marketable) end product.

    An egg farmer (even a giant industrial egg farmer) makes over fifty cents per dollar of eggs sold. A corn farmer makes about four cents per dollar of corn syrup.

    Follow the money.


    Indeed. Follow the money and it will lead you to the truth.

  8. Karen Wingate

    I avoid dairy (including milk chocolate) but sometimes I have cheated and I noticed that when I cheated with a brownie or doughnut my IBS would be so painful I thought I needed to go to the ER!!! I wonder if brownies contain more “WHEAT” than other foods made from wheat?

    Not sure, but I doubt the sugar helps matters any.

  9. Erica

    @Jeanne, I can attest to that! I ate a ‘pudding’ made from coconut butter, cocoa, coconut oil, and Splenda/Truvia yesterday. Still going to the bathroom!

    1. Jeanie

      Eeeerrgh! I’d be vomiting that up before it went any further! (Swear by cod liver oil for constipation)

  10. Underground

    Here’s a hypothetical, however unlikely. Let’s say the government reversed itself overnight, researchers, doctors and others in positions of influence saw the light and the US largely switched to a low carb high fat diet.

    Would US agriculture be able to keep up with the change? What would happen to the price of food? Healthcare? Population?

    Following the law of unintended consequences, what would the ripples from that pebble affect?

    I can name one ripple effect: the cost of healthcare would go down.

  11. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    I can name one ripple effect: the cost of healthcare would go down.
    Yes and no. Total healthcare spending per capita would go down, but the cost per incident would go up. Since there would be less need for care, particularly the high-margin recurring care (drug therapy and monitoring), the remaining care would no longer be subsidized.

    Generally prices fall with reduced demand, but on a per-incident basis healthcare is different. eg: When you have an urgent need like a broken arm you don’t have the luxury of price shopping. And on non-urgent care, like if you need heart surgery, you’re not going to price shop.

    But again, overall spending would definitely go down.

  12. gollum

    Sorry for the barley.. got it mixed up with rye – they are all the same with celiac

    LC/no wheat did make a difference with digestion… although that may just have been the celiac

    Vegetables are basically fiber; almonds have some too I think

    need a laxative? – try inulin (the carb of the Beast from chicoree/endivies), 2 pounds of asparagus, improperly fried sauerkraut with kümel (caraway), unfiltered coffee, linseed oil

    they say yoghurt makes life nicer on many levels, don’t know about the frequency but maybe… if you can get the plain version that is (also I don’t know much about yoghurt in other countries, ours is with the bacteria I think, yours may have been sterilized to death). Strange how tastes change, I think I would have balked at unsweetened tea, cocoa and yohurt 15 years ago.

  13. davoid

    Could the Doctor mention some of the scientific studies about wheat and health that he alludes to? Not the ones concerning bowel inflammatory conditions, but ones to do with other aspects of health. Studies that examine the effects of wheat specifically, not simply low carb. This is what is needed to convince. Just saying that wheat strains have been subjected to chemical mutagenesis followed by selection is not sufficient to label wheat as a culprit, nor is personal observation.
    Thanks for the discussion. I truly hope I can be convinced.

    He has references in the book.

  14. Jackie Fletcher

    I have been diagnosed as diabetic on June 15th of this year. I changed my diet completely and do a daily exercise regime of 30 minutes. What I changed was my intake of bread – rather than having 6 – 8 slices a day (sandwiches, hamburgers, crackers etc) to 3 slices and eliminated fat as well, but still eat peanut butter, I have lost only about 10 pounds. This is good for my self esteem but I wondered why I wasn’t losing more. I have kept a record of my daily meals and increased more vegetables and salads into my diet but also watching portion sizes of meats. I am on Metformin and Vitamin D and one aspirin a day (just started the aspirin) but don’t much like taking something that will be thinning my blood. I also have a prescription now to lower my cholesterol, haven’t picked it up yet.

    I stopped eating bread 4 days ago (but did buy rice bread and read the value information and does not include wheat) and today I am experiencing a headache. Is this one of the withdrawal symptoms? I would like some information on what to eat? Thank you.

    By the way, I talked to my doctor about wheat and how it is genetically modified or hybridized and how it may be affecting diabetes. I told her about your article and that it was about 50 or so years ago that diabetes started to show up in my people (Cree aborginals from Northern Ontario) and she said that we wouldn’t have been eating a lot of wheat then. I told her I remember our people eating mostly bannock (a bread easily put together). She was indifferent and rather than wanting to know more about what I was saying proceeded to give me another prescription.

    A headache could be a symptom of withdrawal, but I couldn’t say for sure. Give yourself time to adjust. Dr. Davis doesn’t recommend swithing to gluten-free replacements for wheat products, because those products are often way high in carbohydrates from other sources — rice, corn starch, etc.

  15. Christine Doull

    I am a 62 year old woman with no major health problems but instead a fairly long list of almost-problems. I am 30 pounds overweight, have very high average blood pressure, minor digestive problems after certain meals. In other words, everything is slowly creeping UP. I read “Wheat Belly” and decided I should just take the plunge and stop eating wheat. After three weeks wheat-free, I feel so much better digestion-wise and I have lost a simple 6 pounds. I will be happy if this weight loss rate continues. I’m hoping to continue wheat-free to avoid many common health problems in the future.

    Outstanding. Stay off the wheat, and you may see those almost-problems vanish.

  16. jaswant sekhon

    People use dairy products upto the largest the WHEAT is not our COW a GENETICALLY MODIFIED ?Why not to think about it ???????????

    Umm … I don’t understand the question.

  17. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    I think Jawsant is saying is: If we avoid wheat (in part) because it’s genetically modified, doesn’t that critique also apply to dairy, which comes from genetically modified cows?

    Perhaps, but I seriously doubt cows have been genetically modified to the extent wheat has. I haven’t heard of anyone re-sequencing the protein structure of cows, or developing a mutant dwarf cow.

  18. Elly Campbell-Lawrence

    A burning question for the Doc…..

    Which other crops should we also avoid? Corn, most rice and soya I suspect, but please tell me quinoa, fife, spelt, kamut, triticale, millet, rye, barley, amaranth, sorghum and wild rice are healthy choices, in moderation. And I’m really hoping red cargo rice is still on the Good Guy list.

    Dr. Davis is not a fan of grains at all, but says that today’s wheat is the worst.

  19. SASKIA

    Thank you!!!!! What a valuable awareness. The insane thing is that I eat very conscious and sparsely as my profession dictates. (I am an entertainer) I was born in Europe where bread is a delicious main stay and I am addicted to it almost on a cellular level (the smell of fresh bread and cheese brings me to safe place in my head). However the last few years, I have noticed a belly………which I have never had before, and a constant sickish feeling after consuming bread. So I still eat less, work out more and still feel fat and uncomfortable. I have been trying some bread free days and feel 100% better. I was not aware of all wheat being toxic. 2 says wheat free and loving it. I’m in!! Working on my bread addiction one day at the time.

  20. Blanche Douma

    I have not yet read Dr. Davis’ book (am on a wait list at the library). In reading the Fathead interview, I first applaud Dr. Davis on this amazing discovery of his. However, I was DISAPPOINTED at reading the statements Dr. Davis makes in comparing chemical and radiation mutagenesis with GENETIC ENGINEERING, and in expressing his opinion that “Genetic Engineering is a substantial improvement…” I have serious doubts that despite his other impressive credentials, he is neither well-informed nor educated in the science (or more accurately, the lack of) behind Genetic Engineering. Otherwise, he would not make such an irresponsible statement, which tends to mislead readers to believe that Genetic Engineering is a good thing. I would advise the reader AND Dr. Davis, to read “Seeds of Deception” by Jeffrey Smith.

    I read the book right after it came out, so it’s been awhile but I don’t recall getting the impression that he’s an advocate for GMO. If you take his message to heart, you’re not going to ingesting wheat of any parentage — organic, ancient, GMO, mutagenetic or otherwise.

    I think you’ll enjoy the book.

  21. Blanche Douma

    I felt a need to submit this posting, to balance the comments Dr. Davis made regarding Genetic Engineering, as though it is a good thing. Although I do not approve of using radiation or poisons to obtain new varieties, I certainly do not think Genetic Engineering is a safe answer. The traditional methods of SELECTIVE breeding take longer, but are safe and reliable.

    Older Brother here. I’m guest blogging for Tom and I responded to your first comment as I thought it had been submitted on my guest post. I checked back through my copy of Wheat Belly and there is nothing that Dr. Davis says that remotely implies he thinks genetically engineered grains, or anything else, are safe, reliable, or good.

    He does make a point that GMO’s have at least drawn scrutiny and calls for testing, while the other methods have gotten a free pass as they’re considered normal. His point is that these, including straight selective breeding, are not safe or reliable either, noting that while traits for, say, drought resistance are being bred in, no testing is being done to see what other genes or traits are coming along for the ride.

    In the section of the book where he makes recommendations for moving away from wheat in particular and carbs in general, he specifically warns people away from products that are GMO.

    I think you’ve taken the wrong meaning of his comment in the interview and would urge you to read the book ASAP, and to check out his in the meantime.


  22. Joanna

    Loved the book ‘Wheat Belly’… I have been wheat free for 2 months… lost 8 lbs…flat belly… rheumatoid arthritis in check…medication free. Just wondering about the recipe section with regards to using flax in the microwave – specifically The Flaxseed Wrap. I have researched cooking with flax and understand that customary baking temperatures in conventional ovens do not significantly alter the stability of the flax but am wondering if temperatures and the waves in a microwave do alter the stability and turn it to an unhealthy fat…please clarify. Thanks.

    I’ve never cooked with flax.

  23. Bill

    I would urge anyone reading this: simply TRY going three months without wheat. Just try it, might be a little inconvenient, but not that bad. If this doesn’t completely change your life then go back.

  24. Joan Chase

    I am most enthusiastic about your studies on wheat and will be purchasing the book “Wheat Belly” as soon as possible. Does this apply to all grains, ie. oatmeal, barley, etc.

    Pretty much, some more than others…

  25. Tomek

    Hey Jethro! Go to a health store and buy some Flax Seed. Make sure it’s “gluten free” – or not made in a plant that also makes wheat stuff (cross contamination). Get a coffee grinder at Target for 20 bucks. Grind flax seed in that grinder (don’t use it for anything else) and throw it on eggs, a salad, or over whatever you are eating. This will get you plenty of fiber and omega 3s and tastes yummy. I have a friend who stacks on it. I stay under 20 carbs a day — and love it. I also eat nuts and seeds for fiber. Cheers.

  26. Roz R

    This likely is true, but we have to ENJOY something we eat.
    At this point with my diabetes, I guess I will have to suffer the consequences, as I enjoy a good slice of pizza, or a good sandwich from time to time.

    How’s that workin’ for ya?

  27. John H. Thompson


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    Southfields Plaza, 3975 Isles View Dr., Suite 201, Wellington, FL 33414

    Over twelve years ago I was diagnosed with Diabetes II and began taking prescription drugs. Over five years ago, it was made clear to me that I was just around the corner from daily insulin injections.

    This was when I became invigorated with studying the Diabetes II condition and finding as many medical and collegiate papers on the Internet as I could. I found a wealth of available information and began my study in earnest.

    What I discovered:

    Two measurements are instrumental in knowing the severity of your diabetes II condition: 1. Blood glucose reading (bG), and 2. Glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C). The bG test is preformed by the patient. The A1C test is prescribed by your doctor.

    I was amazed at how straight forward and simple the situation was. I found that the test results will be directly proportional to the amount of carbohydrates going onto your body. The more sugar going into your body, the higher the test levels will be. Could it possibly be that basic? Just eat foods with less carbohydrates.

    The most important tool in determining unwanted carbohydrates in a food is the nutrition facts label. The nutrition facts label (also known as the nutrition information panel, and various other slight variations) is a label required on most pre-packaged foods in many countries. The United States regulated food labels in 1994. Before then, food companies could print their products’ nutritional information basically anywhere they wanted, and often in really small print.

    The label shows such measurements as calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates (carbs) and protein. Most readings are in grams (g) per serving. Often, the total carbohydrates will be broken down into fiber, sugars, and, when appropriate, sugar alcohols.

    A very important fact for people that suffer from diabetes to know is that fiber and sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that, for the most part, are not absorbed by the body.

    Sugar alcohols are commonly used as artificial sweeteners. Some of the most common are listed as Maltitol, Polvglycitol, Maltitol, Xylitol, Isomalt, Sorbitol, Lactitol and Erythritol. Often, the listing is just shown as sugar alcohols.

    What a diabetic must know is the total net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs minus the fiber and sugar alcohols. Net carbs are not listed in the nutrition facts label. However, it’s an easy calculation. Take the total number of carbohydrates listed on the package nutrition label and subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols.

    Example: My favorite candy, Russell Stover Sugar Free Pecan Delights, shows a carb total of 23g. That sounds like a lot, but that’s total carbs. What we want is total net carbs. The label also shows 3g of fiber and 19g of sugar alcohols. Subtract these two amounts from 23g and you get a net carb total of 1g.

    Once I knew what I was looking for, I went to my favorite grocery store and began looking at the nutrition facts labels posted on my favorite foods. I quickly saw that I could start thinking about setting a net carb limit. I set my limit to 3g net carbs per serving and that has served me well. For several years I kept a list of all foods that I experimented with that met that limit. That list now contains over 300 food items.

    Through my earlier research, I found I could disregard all other diet considerations and just concentrate on carbs. I could disregard calories, fat and cholesterol. The research showed that your body needs energy and looks to carbs first. If the carbs are not available, it looks to fat and protein.

    Delightfully, I have found that I can eat all I want. I’ll eat a meal and if I’m still hungry, I’ll eat more. I eat until I’m full and not hungry.

    What was I going to do about sandwiches. I grew up on sandwiches. I found out that the total net carbs in two slices of bread was the same as eating a total of nine meals plus snacks using my 3g net carb limit – three day’s worth of eating in just two slices of bread. However, I have found that a folded lettuce leaf or a slice of cheese will do just as well to hold food items together.

    So, I started a diet based on the 3g net carb limit with no exception. I thought I would try it for 30 days to see if I could handle it. At the end of 30 days both my bG readings and my weight had gone down. I hadn’t counted on a 20 pound weight decrease – a great side benefit. I continued the regiment to the end of 90 days. I lost another 30 pounds (49 pounds total) and my bG and A1C levels kept descending. Now, after 5 years, my diabetic drug prescriptions have been cut in half.

    My suggestion is to try a 3g net carb limit test diet with no exceptions for 30 days. After 30 days you and your doctor will know if this kind of diet will work for you. It’s information that will be unattainable any other way. Negative or positive, you will know for sure for the rest of your life. Talk to your doctor about this notion.

    Note: A food item such as a raw vegetable, will not display a nutrition label. Go to one of the following websites for a standardized label for any food item in your market.

  28. John H. Thompson

    Sorry. My diabetes success story would not fit in the provided block. I sent an e-mail directly to Doctor Davis. Anyone that would like the same information, send me an e-mail.

  29. Cam Moore

    i read parts of WHEAT BELLY a few weeks ago and have been wheat free for a couple weeks now. What I have noticed the most is fewer digestive woes and an amazing decrease in daily aches and pains. I just turned 54 and have been exercising fairly regularly in the past year and was still achey and stiff in my joints following exercise. Since being mostly wheat free (chose not to resist a couple beers last week!), i feel so much better and am virtually pain free!

  30. shirley cherry

    i had read everybody’s comments. I would like to know does yogurt have wheat in it
    greek & plain. what meats would be good to eat. does eating this wheat causes your hair to fall out? why is the food & heart association recommending for us to eat this and feed this to our childrens. please answer my questions. I would love to live pain free from arthritis.

    We buy Greek yogurt, full-fat, no wheat in it.

    1. sarah

      Shirley, Most people with gluten sensitivities also have thyroid issues. One of the most common signs of thyroid disorders is that your hair falls out. The good news is that Thyroid Dysfunction is one of the many things that can be resolved by removing wheat from your diet. With thyroid problems, every time you eat wheat, your body sort of attacks your thyroid.
      I would have your thyroid checked to see if you have hypothyroid or Hashimotos. Getting that regulated and eliminating wheat may stop the hair from falling out.
      p.s. making your own yogurt is super easy, and cost effective. Plus, you can be sure you are not adding in any gluten, sugars, and the ever elusive “natural flavor”.

      1. Jeanie

        !! This is the first time I’ve seen Hashimotos and wheat linked! After months of illness I was diagnosed with Hashimotos but after treatment most of the awful symptoms remained – and I only discovered eliminating wheat was the answer by happy accident (I’ll never forget the day I stumbled on this, I feel as if it saved my life). But I had NO idea there was a connection till now.
        (My story same as others – immediate loss of aches, pains, rashes, BP, muddled thinking, panic attacks, weight, depression & anxiety … it really was like a miracle the day the penny dropped.)

  31. Nicole Mikhaiel

    I am fighting with my weight since my second child and after my third I couldn’t lose weight and kept gaining. I was doing the South Beach Diet Phase 1 which you cannot eat carbs at all. I lost 15 pounds in two weeks with no exercise. After that in Phase 2 I could add some healthy carbs and I gained it all back. I also have heartburn and acne and bloating. Before doing the Phase 1 I did check up with my doctor my thyroid is normal, cortisol is normal, ultrasound is normal, bloodwork is normal. I am healthy but obese – do more exercise! I was exercising 4 hours a day six days a week. I gave up on it. Stopped exercising, ate whatever. My GYN gave me the advice to try the south beach diet. I tried,but only Phase 1 was doing it. With reading the Wheat Belly I stopped eating wheat products and their glutenfree substitutes at all. My acne cleared up, heartburn is gone, lost 10 pounds in 10 days, bloating is less, and I feel happier. I thought I could not do it. But I actually like using zucchini as noodles, tomatoes as bread topped with tuna and olives. I like the receipies in the book and the fact not to substitute unhealthy wheat with less bad carbs, but bad carbs.
    I hope the Wheat Belly Cookbook will keep it this way.
    I didn’t start exercising because I wanted to know if the diet/lifestyle works.
    I feel very fatigue since I gave up coffee. I will start running, P90x and 1 hour on the eleptical again. My question is will the fatigue go away?

    Hard telling how long it will take you to adjust to giving up caffeine. Since caffeine doesn’t appear to harmful to most people and may even provide some metabolic benefits, I’m not giving it up.

  32. Patritia

    Finally!! More and more people are getting on board with this Wheat Free lifestyle. I don’t call it a diet because it isn’t………it’s a change in eating habits and will change your life forever! It is even better that we have Dr. Davis’ opinion on the subject and that he supports it whole-heartedly, a professional. My doctor has seen me sruggle with weight for over 7 years and was utterly blown away when I told him how my husband and I lost 25 lbs. and cured ourselves of high cholesterol, thyroid, aches, pains, headaches, and constant indigestion by cutting out ALL grains, and eating instead bacon and eggs each day PLUS as much high dairy fat as we can. Another good book is Trick and Treat by Barry Groves. I highly recommend his read as well.

  33. Kathy Blomquist

    To Dr. Davis,

    I have been helped by doing the wheat free diet and found your book very informative, but a little too deep for the average person. I am retired and have time to examine the things in your book. I am suggesting you write a book for the busy mother of little ones. My daughter-in-law would never have time to sit down and read this book. I would love to see you do an article in Womans Day magazine or something like it. Have you ever been on Dr. Oz show? I want to thank you for your help and will continue to look for your information on the internet etc.

    Sincerely feeling better,

    Mrs. Kathy Blomquist

  34. Nick R

    I’ve felt a great deal of improvement from avoiding wheat.
    But I have started to have 1 slice of Pumpernickel bread with baked beans on top for a breakfast. and occasionally to make a sandwich if my work means I can’t have a proper meal

    I thought this would be a fairly good substitute, but from reading some of the comments it seems rye is as bad as wheat.

    Please could someone clarify if Rye leads to muscle aches/ tiredness and the other supplementary symptoms associated with wheat.

    Dr. Davis has said in interviews that rye and other grains aren’t as bad, but probably aren’t good.

  35. Corrina Austin

    Are sprouted grains as bad?

    Sprouting will reduce the lectin activity, but we’re still talking about semi-dwarf mutant wheat with changes in the gluten and gliadin. I wouldn’t eat it.

  36. Cheryl Long

    All this is very interesting. Even when I was a young teenager, with skinny little wrists and ankles, I always had a pot belly. I was active – playing sports at school etc – but was always plagued with a protruding belly.

    Many years later I was diagnosed by a naturopath as having a wheat allergy and hypoglycaemia, and warned that if I didn’t watch myself and cut out the cakes and biscuits etc, that I would end up becoming diabetic.

    Fast forward 30 years or so, and yes, I’m now a diabetic – still with the pot belly – but also lots of added body fat to contend with.

    I am paying the price of ‘pushing it’ – ignoring good medical advice – and now at the portal of being 60, I am struggling with eating well to lower my blood sugar levels and also feeling increasingly impacted by arthritis.

    A friend sent me this link months ago and I just kept leaving it at the bottom of my ‘List of Things To Read’, but now, having read all the above, I feel inspired (at this late stage), to get off my arse and do something to try and grab back some ‘good’ health.

    Thanks everyone for inspiring me to do better. XXXX

  37. Fritz

    Oh great. Dr. Davis; the same doctor who brought us the Track Your Plaque muscle wasting “malnutrition Diet”, tends to spin high-dose anecdotal evidence into pseudo-science.

    His recent bashing of Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf on his forum was too much to handle.

    “Posted: 12/11/2012 7:24:20 AM

    Remember: The “paleo” approach is not designed to correct lipoproteins, nor reduce cardiovascular risk. Nor, in general, is it scientifically valid. (Anyone who reads the actual anthropological literature, as I do, will quickly see that what passes as a paleo diet today is somebody’s modern and generally semi-arbitrary interpretation of, say, Cordain’s or Rob Wolf’s lay writing, not an extrapolation of actual paleolithic/mesolithic/early neolithic diets. This is something I’ve been meaning to discuss at much greater length formally sometime in future.) So all of us should be careful with what is batted about in the popular discussions about the benefits of paleo. And, of course, while weight loss tracks health, it doesn’t mean slender people cannot still have cardiovascular risk. There can be a divergence between the two.”

    In the paragraph you quoted, he’s not bashing Cordain or Wolf. He’s accusing others of making arbitrary interpretations of their work. Big difference.

  38. Ana

    I live in Curitiba, Brazil. It´s very cold over here and I usually eat bread
    to feel better in the cold days of winter. What could replace bread and all the food made of wheat to make me feel with energy for the winter? I know wheat is not good for me. During de summer I feel ok without breads, pizzas and pies. I prefer salads and fruits, but my big problem is during the winter. Thank you.

    You don’t need dense carbs for energy, but if you feel better with carbs in your diet, just avoid sugars and grains. That leaves plenty of food on the table: fruits, tubers, squashes, etc.

  39. Rosemary

    I read the Wheat Belly book and thought it made sense. Have been wheat free for several weeks, but have had no weight loss so far ( I weigh 150, and my ideal weight is 130), and still have some knee and hip joint pain, as well as acid reflux. I am 67, and in pretty good health. I am going to continue for a while, but need some reassurance, since my results don’t seem very dramatic! Would appreciate your comments.

    I’d suggest giving it more time and also looking into what else in your diet may be a problem for you. People have allergies to foods besides wheat. I’ve heard from quite a few people whose acid reflux went away when they gave up sugars and starches in general, not just wheat.

  40. Rosemary

    Thanks. Does that include fruit? Or just sucrose? Doing without all starches and all sugar seems very bleak to me! Especially in addition to no wheat. Aside from the reflux,can you comment on the fact that I have not lost any weight? I know that there is a lot of olive oil and also nuts, which are both high in calories, even if healthy. I have lost weight with Weight Watchers, but in this no wheat diet, there is no actual accounting for calories. Just wondering it that is the reason for my lack of weight loss.

    There’s a LOT you can still eat. I’d suggest picking up some good low-carb cookbooks. The Wheat Belly Cookbook would be a good start, as would any of the books by Dana Carpender or Judy Barnes Baker.

    Dr. Davis isn’t just anti-wheat; he’s also big on controlling post-meal blood-sugar levels. He urges people to get a glucose meter and check glucose levels one hour after eating. If your glucose is over 125, you’re not tolerating the level of carbs in your meals.

    If you’re still consuming too many carbs, your insulin levels will stay high, and that will prevent you from releasing and burning fatty acids from your fat cells. You may want to pick up “A New Atkins For a New You” and follow the program.

  41. Linda

    Trying hard, missing, toast, very high blood sugar, so it keeps, me on low carbs, no wheat no sugar, can not even eat fruit, cause shoots me, away up :* feeling deprived.. not a big salad, & veg lover… wheat never bothered me, other than I am fat, & diabetic, I guess that’s were, IT bothered me, never had heart burn, or tummy upset, in my life . 🙁 25 days not much improvement


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