Review: Wheat Belly Total Health

      107 Comments on Review: Wheat Belly Total Health

Even before I read his latest book, Dr. William Davis struck me as a man who will never be satisfied with how much he knows about diet and health.  I suspect that while I sit here writing this review, he’s poring over new research and incorporating it into his thinking.

On the first low-carb cruise I attended more than four years ago, Dr. Davis gave a speech on the importance of controlling blood sugar, with lots of information on the damage that occurs inside our bodies if we don’t.  If he mentioned wheat at all in that speech, it was probably in reference to how wheat spikes glucose.  I was aware of his Track Your Plaque program and read his blog now and then, but after his cruise speech, I mostly thought of him as the mind your blood sugar doctor.

Barely a year later, I received an advance copy of a book titled Wheat Belly and was blown away by all the information about the damage caused by grains.  It seemed that every other page, I was mumbling Oh my god, I had no idea to myself.   Up to that point, I had been limiting my grain consumption mostly to keep my carb intake down.  I still ate a hamburger bun or a serving of pasta now and then if I could squeeze it in under my carb limit.  But as I explained in the follow-up section of the Fat Head Director’s Cut, that all changed after reading Wheat Belly.  Now I avoid grains because they’re grains, not because of the carb count.

I don’t know how many millions of people have read Wheat Belly, but here’s an indication of the book’s reach:  two casual acquaintances who only know me as a programmer have mentioned it to me as something I ought to read.  Some months ago I was having lunch with one of the partners at the tech agency that placed me in my current job.  We’d met for lunch a few times before, and he always ordered broccoli-cheese soup in a bread bowl.  But on this occasion, he ordered a chef salad.  When I mentioned the change, he said, “I don’t touch wheat anymore.  I read this amazing book called Wheat Belly about how bad modern wheat is for your health.  You might want to check it out.”

So I casually mentioned that Dr. Davis and I were seated at the same dinner table on the previous year’s low-carb cruise, that I’d roasted him and the other speakers during the pre-cruise dinner, that we correspond occasionally, and yes, I was familiar with his work.  That was kind of a fun moment.

Anyway, as Ellen DeGeneres would say, my point  — and I do have one — is this:  given the stellar success of Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis could have declared he’d done his part to save humanity, ridden off into the sunset and spent the rest of his life playing golf or whatever.  But he didn’t.  He kept right on researching and writing, apparently without taking a break.

Wheat Belly Total Health, his latest book, isn’t Wheat Belly Lite or Wheat Belly Rewarmed.  Most of what I read in the 300-plus pages was new information not found in Wheat Belly.  (As usual with my busy schedule, I didn’t finish the book until after it was released, so pardon the late review.)

If the one-sentence description of Wheat Belly is “Here are all the reasons wheat is bad for you,” then the one-sentence description of Wheat Belly Total Health is “Now that you’ve been persuaded to stop eating grains, here’s how to undo the damage and regain your health.”

Well, okay, there’s still some persuading going on in Part One of the book.  But it comes in the form of Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in addition to all the crimes we’ve already attributed to this dastardly cereal killer, we now have evidence of many, many more.

Here’s an example from the second chapter:

WGA [wheat germ agglutinin] also mimics the effects of insulin on fat cells.  When WGA encounters a fat cell, it acts just as if it were insulin, inhibiting activation of fat release and blocking weight loss while making the body more reliant on sugar sources for energy.  WGA also blocks the hormone leptin, which is meant to shut off appetite when the physical need to eat has been satisfied.  In the presence of WGA, appetite is not suppressed, even when you’re full.

What a bargain: high blood sugar provoking high insulin, plus a lectin that acts like another dose of insulin, plus a short-circuiting of the “I’m full” signal.  Betcha can’t eat just one.

When I read the Perfect Health Diet book, I was impressed partly because Paul Jaminet was the only diet-and-health guru I knew of who addressed the importance of a healthy gut microbiome.  I can now add Dr. Davis to that list.  Wheat Belly Total Health includes quite a bit of information on gut bacteria and how to properly feed them:

Over the last few years, there has been a new scientific appreciation for the composition of human microbiota.  [Yeah, it’s new.  My spell-checker doesn’t even recognize “microbiota.” – TN]  We know, for instance, experimental animals raised in an artificial sterile environment and thereby raised with a gastrointestinal tract that contains no microorganisms have impaired immunity, are prone to infections, are less efficient at digestion, and even develop structural changes of the gastrointestinal tract that differ from creatures that harbor plentiful microorganisms.  The microorganisms that inhabit our bodies are not only helpful they are essential for health.

Care to guess whether wheat and other cereal grains are good or bad for your gut flora?  The irony is that we’re told to eat those healthywholegrains because they contain fiber.  Our gut bacteria feed on fiber – but not the fiber you get from a bowl of whole-grain cereal:

We are given advice to include more fiber, especially insoluble cellulose (wood) fibers from grains, in our diets.  We then eat breakfast cereals or other grain-based foods rich in cellulose fibers, and lo and behold, it does work for some, as indigestible cellulose fibers, undigested by our own digestive apparatus as well as undigested by bowel flora, yield bulk that people mistake for a healthy bowel movement.  Never mind that all of the other disruptions of digestion, from your mouth on down, are not addressed by loading up your diet with wood fibers.

After recounting the damage grains (especially modern wheat) can do to our guts, brains, hearts, sex hormones, thyroids, etc. in Part One, Dr. Davis moves on to his prescription for a health-enhancing diet in Part Two, Living Grainlessly: Restoring the Natural State of Human Life.

Grains can be addicting because of the opiate-like effects in the brain, so the first chapter in Part Two offers strategies for easing the withdrawal symptoms:  choosing a non-stressful time to ditch the grains, drinking enough liquid, getting enough fat and salt in the diet, possibly taking some supplements such as magnesium.  But most of Part Two is about which foods to eat and which to avoid.  The foods to eat include those that feed the good gut bacteria:

An emerging role is being recognized for so-called “prebiotics.”  These fibers, such as fructooligosaccharides and inulin from sources such as tubers and legumes, are indigestible by humans but digestible by bowel flora, which convert these fibers to short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate.  Butyrate is proving to play an essential role in maintaining a health intestinal lining, including repair of “tight junctions” between intestinal cells disrupted by grain consumption.  This repair restores normal barrier functions against undesirable components from other bacteria and reduces colon cancer risk.

So Dr. Davis is on board with the benefits of fiber and resistant starch from foods like tubers, but he doesn’t consider those benefits an invitation to eat mashed Russet potatoes.  He makes the same point in the book that I made in a recent post:  yes, your paleo ancestors ate ground tubers, but those tubers were tough and fibrous.  They’re not the metabolic equivalent of a low-fiber white potato mashed with cream and butter.

He still cares very much about avoiding glucose spikes, so unlike Paul Jaminet, Dr. Davis recommends a low-carb diet that limits the starches – 45 grams or so per day of non-fiber carbs, spread over three meals.  But unlike the early version of the Atkins diet (at least as perceived) the diet Dr. Davis recommends isn’t all meat, eggs and cheeses with a green salad thrown in.  He’s adamant about feeding the gut bacteria.  So he recommends raw potatoes, green bananas, legumes in small portions, and lots of high-fiber vegetables – some cooked, some raw, some fermented.  Everything he recommends is of the real-food variety; no processed foods, whether or not they contain grains.

Ditching the grains and switching to a whole-foods, grain-free diet is a huge step.  But in Part Three of Wheat Belly Total Health, Dr. Davis makes a crucial point:  yes, giving up grains halts the assault on our health … but that alone, or even combined with a good diet, may not be enough to fully recover our health.  Repair and rebuilding can take some focused effort.  That’s what Part Three is about.

Not surprisingly, restoring gut health is a big part of the process, and Dr. Davis recommends some specific probiotics to repopulate microbiomes that are all out of whack thanks to years of grains and other junk foods.  He also recommends (depending on the reader’s current health status) a list of supplements ranging from vitamin D to iodine.

The final few chapters deal with metabolism, weight loss, hormones and thyroid health.  There are descriptions of the lab tests doctors typically order for various metabolic conditions (including thyroid disorders) as well as explanations of what all those numbers mean.  (As many of you know by now, it’s not always a good idea to count on your doctor to interpret lab tests for you.)

In addition to being a dogged researcher, Dr. Davis is a talented writer.  His sentences flow, he injects humor throughout the book, and he explains concepts clearly.  In spite of the wealth of information — much of it dealing with biochemistry — I never found myself having to re-read a paragraph to grasp the meaning.  Doctors could learn a lot from this book, but it’s intended to consumer-friendly, and it is.

I interviewed Dr. Davis on camera during the 2012 low-carb cruise.  Some of that interview ended up in the Directors’ Cut version of Fat Head, and I’ve been saving the rest for the DVD companion to our upcoming book.  Wheat Belly Total Health contains so much new information, I kept thinking I wish I had him on video saying this stuff while reading it.

Well, it so happens I’m driving to Chicago this weekend to hang out with some old friends (and yeah, we’re all old now).  That’s been on the schedule for months.  It also so happens that Dr. Davis lives near Milwaukee, which is a reasonable drive from Chicago.  So I figured what the heck and emailed to see if was in town and available for another interview.  Yes and yes.

So I’ll be gone for the next few days, spending much of the time in my car or otherwise disengaged from the internet.  I’ll answer comments when I can, but don’t be surprised if they sit there for a day.

When we scheduled the interview, Dr. Davis suggested we head out for lunch afterwards.  I’m looking forward to that — and I’m pretty sure we won’t be visiting the Olive Garden for bread and pasta.

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107 thoughts on “Review: Wheat Belly Total Health

  1. Janknitz

    I like the new book very much. Very little hyperbole, a great deal of useful information.

    In one of Dr. Davis’ interviews about the first book he explained that the publisher wanted lots of hyperbole. I’m glad he could tone it down this time and give a lot more solid information. It’s a huge improvement.

    Reply
  2. Rebecca Latham

    This sounds like just the book to reaffirm my belief and practice that eating grains is no good and should be avoided at all times. Lately, I have found that I have been slacking off. Heck, just this review is already turning me back in the right direction! Thanks, Tom, and have a great trip. Honk your horn toward New Lenox, Illinois as you pass by!

    Reply
  3. gallier2

    fructooligosaccharides = onions and shalotts
    inulin = salsify, topinambour, Artichoke, dandelion etc.

    people with fructose intolerance should be careful with inulin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_intolerance_%28disambiguation%29) as it is composed partly of fructose.
    It is quit easy to recognize when one overconsumes inulin or fructooligosaccharides, the gaseous trail it leaves is the best evidence that it wasn’t absorbed as butyrate. Farting is not a sign of good digestion as some folklore tends to suggest (like Martin Luther’s “Warum furzet und rülpset ihr nicht? Hat es euch nicht geschmecket?” Why didn’t thou fart or burp ? Wasn’t the food to thine liking? )

    Reply
  4. Janknitz

    I like the new book very much. Very little hyperbole, a great deal of useful information.

    In one of Dr. Davis’ interviews about the first book he explained that the publisher wanted lots of hyperbole. I’m glad he could tone it down this time and give a lot more solid information. It’s a huge improvement.

    Reply
  5. Rebecca Latham

    This sounds like just the book to reaffirm my belief and practice that eating grains is no good and should be avoided at all times. Lately, I have found that I have been slacking off. Heck, just this review is already turning me back in the right direction! Thanks, Tom, and have a great trip. Honk your horn toward New Lenox, Illinois as you pass by!

    Reply
  6. gallier2

    fructooligosaccharides = onions and shalotts
    inulin = salsify, topinambour, Artichoke, dandelion etc.

    people with fructose intolerance should be careful with inulin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_intolerance_%28disambiguation%29) as it is composed partly of fructose.
    It is quit easy to recognize when one overconsumes inulin or fructooligosaccharides, the gaseous trail it leaves is the best evidence that it wasn’t absorbed as butyrate. Farting is not a sign of good digestion as some folklore tends to suggest (like Martin Luther’s “Warum furzet und rülpset ihr nicht? Hat es euch nicht geschmecket?” Why didn’t thou fart or burp ? Wasn’t the food to thine liking? )

    Reply
    1. Bret

      Some folks have suggested that flatulence from fermentable fibers will subside with prolonged consumption at higher rates. Concluding that flatulence demonstrates “overconsumption” is overly simplistic.

      Reply
    2. Galina L.

      German humor is famous for bringing up certain body functions. I wonder, did it started with Martin Luther like many other things at the Reformation ?

      Reply
  7. Galina L.

    I think it is possible for healthy people to stay healthy eating traditional grains without gluten. I follow a LC diet myself, but I feed other family members buckwheat and rice, and bake a sourdough bread for my husband . My son, however, eats a gluten-free diet. He decided to try eating GF on his own in attempt to calm his eczema which got much worse after he went to live on a university campus and ate for a year in their cafeteria. It took him about 6 months to notice any effect, but now he can eat other foods, like shrimps and spicy dishes, which used to cause eczema. He also can consume alcohol without having an eczema outbreak – so partially I regret he decided to experiment with his diet (I am joking, actually, he is not a party animal). So in his case gluten was an allergy amplifier rather than an allergy-causing food. My son is like your son metabolically – lean and muscular regardless of how much and what he eats.

    Reply
    1. Monica

      You are only deluding yourself into thinking that you can eat grains and be healthy. Blood sugar is spiked sky high with all grains, and rice and buckwheat are certainly no exception. Educate yourself about high blood sugar/high insulin. High blood sugar is only one of the many detrimental effects of grains. Read WB Total Health and perhaps you can gain a much-needed education.

      Reply
  8. The Older Brother

    Annnnnnnd…. BOOM!

    There goes another $12 on my Barnes & Noble nook account. I know I’m going to pick up a hard-copy version, too. Some books are just too good not to be able to hold in your hands and flip back and forth.

    Cheers

    Reply
  9. Mathieu Gagné

    45g a day is too low! Sure it can help alot of people, but advising everyone to basically be in a ketogenic state all the time is probably not a good idea. A moderate range of 100-200 is probably more realistic for most healthy people. I think that was target for the PHD diet.

    Reply
  10. Boundless

    WBTH is WB rev 2.0. It’s a major release, and it’s probably not the last major release. Dr. Davis has shifted his opinions over the years, and goes with what works, which may or may not include directions suggested by the science, which is often hopelessly confounded when diet is the focus.

    There’s not much in the way of personal anecdote in his books, but from his various web sites we learn that by rigorously following consensus diet and exercise advice decades ago, he got fat, diabetic and asthmatic (and is no longer). The wheat thing seemed to fall out of his suggesting, to his cardiac patients, abstinence from it, and then being confronted with an unexpected spectrum of ailments vanishing.

    He has wound down his conventional practice now, for as I’ve put it elsewhere: he’s saving more lives writing cookbooks. He reported toward the end of practice that he wasn’t seeing any new heart attacks in his patient base. No more 4AM calls for bypasses, stents, angioplasty. Yep, that’s the sorry state of consensus medicine today – mostly unnecessary if you eat a real human diet.

    What might be next for WB? Hard to say, but I get the distinct impression that with the high noise of high-glycemic high-toxin diet turned down, genotype-specific diet is beginning to demand some attention. ApoEε4, for example, and it’s not clear that clear answers are at hand.

    Reply
  11. Galina L.

    I think it is possible for healthy people to stay healthy eating traditional grains without gluten. I follow a LC diet myself, but I feed other family members buckwheat and rice, and bake a sourdough bread for my husband . My son, however, eats a gluten-free diet. He decided to try eating GF on his own in attempt to calm his eczema which got much worse after he went to live on a university campus and ate for a year in their cafeteria. It took him about 6 months to notice any effect, but now he can eat other foods, like shrimps and spicy dishes, which used to cause eczema. He also can consume alcohol without having an eczema outbreak – so partially I regret he decided to experiment with his diet (I am joking, actually, he is not a party animal). So in his case gluten was an allergy amplifier rather than an allergy-causing food. My son is like your son metabolically – lean and muscular regardless of how much and what he eats.

    Reply
    1. Monica

      You are only deluding yourself into thinking that you can eat grains and be healthy. Blood sugar is spiked sky high with all grains, and rice and buckwheat are certainly no exception. Educate yourself about high blood sugar/high insulin. High blood sugar is only one of the many detrimental effects of grains. Read WB Total Health and perhaps you can gain a much-needed education.

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        Keep in mind, some people can eat almost anything and be healthy. It’s the rest of us I’m worried about.

        Reply
      2. Galina L.

        I checked out of curiosity blood sugar levels of my family members when I was working on convincing(successfully) my mom to go on the same diet as me 3 years ago, and only me and my mom had blood sugar spikes after eating starches. I am more of a Weston Price Foundation principles person. I think diets should be tight to personal health situations. I am proud to rise my son without a single cavity, it means I was doing something right. I cook all food eaten inside my house all my life.

        Reply
      3. Bret

        Phew. How about you diversify your bookshelf as well, Monica. You are spewing exactly the same hyperbole that Janknitz was referring to at the top of the comment section.

        As others alluded above, some people can take grains with no problem. Neither you nor the author of WB Total Health can speak for the entire human race.

        Another concept you should embrace is that the dose makes the poison. Perhaps eating 1800 calories per day from grains would not be a good idea. 200 calories per day from them would bring a significantly different result.

        Reply
        1. Galina L.

          In order to be fair to Monica, I want to say that thinking about all grains are a poison could be a good motivational tool for the people who benefit from minimizing starch in their diet. Moderation is a difficult thing to practice , so overkill in practicing a rule is safer than keeping the open mind approach. I went as far as writing a guest post on the subject http://tesspaleojourney.blogspot.com/2014/11/guest-post.html

          Reply
          1. Bret

            I see where you are coming from, but that sort of hyperbole seems more a tool of industry trying to sell things and politicos competing for tax dollars than of blog readers exchanging dietary advice.

            We in the latter camp ought to be respectful of each other’s intelligence and autonomy, and I don’t see how we are respecting either if we engage in that kind of exaggeration.

            Reply
    2. Pierson

      Not for nothing, Galina, millions of folks stayed healthy and lean for thousands of generations eating corn, wheat, oats, rice, millet, quinoa, barley, etc.. It’s really more of a question of quality than anything else, as high-fiber orgainic grains can be quite healthful in the context of a healthy lifestyle and whole-foods diet. Even eating oats, rice, and (a little) wheat daily hasn’t negatively impacted my blood sugar, provided I walk after each meal and avoid junk food

      Reply
    3. Namu

      Interesting factoid: buckwheat has long been a traditional staple in french Britanny, much like ancient oat, rye and barley were to slavic people.

      As an aside, I’ve remarked I’m much more sensitive to lectins than gluten – products with added gluten but no wheat or legume in them do not cause much problems, whereas peanuts and soy can wreck me easily.

      Reply
  12. Ulfric Douglas

    You watched the “Fast Show”?

    So I casually mentioned that Dr. Davis and I were seated at the same dinner table on the previous year’s low-carb cruise, that I’d roasted him and the other speakers during the pre-cruise dinner, that we correspond occasionally, and yes, I was familiar with his work.

    …which was nice.

    You have to watch it.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Interesting. Now I’m wondering why more bias against obese women than men (assuming, of course, the study is solid).

      Reply
    2. Kristin

      Disturbing little study. I do think it is likely to be rife with confounders but I also do not doubt that this is a real issue. And it has always been my observation that society is a lot more judgmental about heavy women than heavy men.

      Reply
  13. The Older Brother

    Annnnnnnd…. BOOM!

    There goes another $12 on my Barnes & Noble nook account. I know I’m going to pick up a hard-copy version, too. Some books are just too good not to be able to hold in your hands and flip back and forth.

    Cheers

    Reply
  14. Mathieu Gagné

    45g a day is too low! Sure it can help alot of people, but advising everyone to basically be in a ketogenic state all the time is probably not a good idea. A moderate range of 100-200 is probably more realistic for most healthy people. I think that was target for the PHD diet.

    Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        I’m a fan of Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet because I believe some people will indeed feel better and be healthier at 150 grams per day vs. VLC. But that’s some people, not all people. Others will still do better at a lower carb count. There’s no one prescription for everyone.

        Reply
        1. Mathieu Gagné

          I agree that there’s no one prescription for everyone and I didn’t read his new book yet, but 45g as a broad recommendation seems wrong to me (maybe it is just to kickstart your health coming back from wheat?). 150g per day of carbs is not a level to be feared if it is in the context of high (good) fiber diet. It seems he now stresses the importance of resistant starch which does wonders in my experience. VLC dieters don’t seem to have a good insulin sensitivity after some time and it even seems they can have higher glycation due to higher methylglyoxal levels. I did VLC for a while and I felt great, but it is not easily sustanable (like very low fat) and now feel much better since I reintroduced good amount of parboiled rice, sweet potatoes, beets and green peas. I should point out I never had weight issues.

          Reply
          1. Tom Naughton Post author

            Well, again, I think it depends on the individual. Some people simply don’t tolerate starches well, and I don’t see any harm in going to <50 grams per day in their case, unless they exhibit symptoms of what Paul Jaminet would label a glucose deficiency. For a healthy person with no underlying metabolic issues, I think something closer to PHD is a great place to start and then track the results.

            Reply
          1. Tom Naughton Post author

            I’d go by glucose reaction. People who don’t tolerate starches well get higher glucose reactions, as Denise Minger explained in her book. It’s not just how many carbs, however. It’s also a matter of which ones spikes your blood sugar, which will also partly depend on what else you ate. So it’s not an exact science.

            How high it should go an hour after meals depends on who you ask. Paul Jaminet likes to see it stay below 140. Dr. William Davis prefers to see it stay below 120 and preferably near 100.

            Reply
    1. Bret

      Mathieu, I agree 45 g seems on the low side as a baseline — with the caveat of individual variability of course.

      As for ketosis in perpetuum, I am seeing more and more anecdotes such as linked here that lead me away from that lifestyle as well. Certain audiences surely have a higher than average incidence of metabolic damage and may benefit from that kind of strategy. But for me, and I dare say even for the average person, the cons seem to outweigh the pros.

      Reply
  15. Boundless

    WBTH is WB rev 2.0. It’s a major release, and it’s probably not the last major release. Dr. Davis has shifted his opinions over the years, and goes with what works, which may or may not include directions suggested by the science, which is often hopelessly confounded when diet is the focus.

    There’s not much in the way of personal anecdote in his books, but from his various web sites we learn that by rigorously following consensus diet and exercise advice decades ago, he got fat, diabetic and asthmatic (and is no longer). The wheat thing seemed to fall out of his suggesting, to his cardiac patients, abstinence from it, and then being confronted with an unexpected spectrum of ailments vanishing.

    He has wound down his conventional practice now, for as I’ve put it elsewhere: he’s saving more lives writing cookbooks. He reported toward the end of practice that he wasn’t seeing any new heart attacks in his patient base. No more 4AM calls for bypasses, stents, angioplasty. Yep, that’s the sorry state of consensus medicine today – mostly unnecessary if you eat a real human diet.

    What might be next for WB? Hard to say, but I get the distinct impression that with the high noise of high-glycemic high-toxin diet turned down, genotype-specific diet is beginning to demand some attention. ApoEε4, for example, and it’s not clear that clear answers are at hand.

    Reply
    1. Brenda Huff

      Interesting that Dr. Davis had not seen new heart attacks in his patient base. Did he say that in an interview, or was it in this new book? I’ve got the book, but my mind has been on too many other projects to tackle reading it as of yet.

      Reply
      1. Janknitz

        I remember reading this in one of his Track Your Plaque blog posts. He was practicing “preventative cardiology” which was rather unique and not well appreciated by the hospital he affiliated with because if he wasn’t doing procedures he wasn’t making money for the hospital. There was ONE patient who had a heart attack. He was a priest whose parishioners brought him all sorts of cookies and cakes and he didn’t refrain from indulging.

        It looks like the blog is no longer accessible. Too bad because there was some great stuff there and you could trace Dr. Davis’ evolution from fear of saturated fat in the early days to embracing it.

        Reply
  16. Estelle Davis

    I have the books and in four months it has changed my life. When I read ‘Wheatbelly’ it was liked someone who knew me really well turned on a light.
    I am pleased that you have given him a considered review – he deserves accolades for his honesty and ability to make a point succinctly and often humorously.
    We are on the other side of the earth, but his message is just as relevant to New Zealanders.
    Thank you for your encouragement of this brilliant doctor.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      That’s the great thing about the digital age. He can live in Milwaukee and change lives in New Zealand.

      Reply
  17. Ulfric Douglas

    You watched the “Fast Show”?

    So I casually mentioned that Dr. Davis and I were seated at the same dinner table on the previous year’s low-carb cruise, that I’d roasted him and the other speakers during the pre-cruise dinner, that we correspond occasionally, and yes, I was familiar with his work.

    …which was nice.

    You have to watch it.

    Reply
  18. Stephen

    Funny, the Total Health cover photo isn’t as scary as the original Wheat Belly bagel stack. Or maybe you just have to know what to look for 🙂

    Good to know that Dr. Davis was a long-time LC advocate. A lot of cynical people think he just wrote Wheat Belly to cash in on the GF craze. It doesn’t work like that. It’s near impossible to convincingly take a long-term position in something you don’t believe in. (But what about Arianna Huffington?)

    Congrats to Dr. Davis on his success. You’ll tell us how many Rolexes he wears now, right?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Just got back. Not a Rolex in sight.

      Anyone who talks to the man knows it’s genuine passion motivating him, not scheming to cash in on any craze. He was stunned by the success of “Wheat Belly.”

      Reply
  19. Stephen

    Funny, the Total Health cover photo isn’t as scary as the original Wheat Belly bagel stack. Or maybe you just have to know what to look for 🙂

    Good to know that Dr. Davis was a long-time LC advocate. A lot of cynical people think he just wrote Wheat Belly to cash in on the GF craze. It doesn’t work like that. It’s near impossible to convincingly take a long-term position in something you don’t believe in. (But what about Arianna Huffington?)

    Congrats to Dr. Davis on his success. You’ll tell us how many Rolexes he wears now, right?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Just got back. Not a Rolex in sight.

      Anyone who talks to the man knows it’s genuine passion motivating him, not scheming to cash in on any craze. He was stunned by the success of “Wheat Belly.”

      Reply
  20. Lynda

    Fantastic review! Please pass on to Dr Davis just how much he has helped me in my life. You were the first to switch on the lightbulb about carbs and insulin etc, Jimmy Moore was the one to then direct me to more information and through him, I read Wheat Belly. My life was never the same. We have been wheat free for over three years and live a low carb lifestyle.

    I met Jimmy Moore last Thursday night and told him all of this. He said he’d pass this on to you (nice guy that Jimmy). I’ve yet to meet you and Dr Davis but hey – you never know. There are so many like you out there now changing people’s attitudes and perceptions. Your “wisdom of the crowds” is certainly coming to fruition.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I didn’t get to the blog comments until after returning from Milkwaukee, but I’ll pass it along via email. I hope Dr. Davis knows by now how many lives he’s improved.

      Reply
  21. Galina L.

    I believe it is also very important to be a talented motivator when writing about a diet, and Dr.Davis definitely has such quality. Most people who told me they stopped eating wheat did it after reading WB. Atkins is a diet devil in mass opinion.

    Reply
  22. Galina L.

    I believe it is also very important to be a talented motivator when writing about a diet, and Dr.Davis definitely has such quality. Most people who told me they stopped eating wheat did it after reading WB. Atkins is a diet devil in mass opinion.

    Reply
  23. Firebird

    I just met up with my first girlfriend (7th grade). She is 51, bad knees and has had surgery. I think one of the things she could do to improve her health and ease some of that pain would be to lose 20 lbs. or so and do it on Wheat Belly as I feel there are foods like grains that can be inflammatory (bad oils/fats, too). But the key is, how do you broach that subject to a woman without getting whacked in the face with a frying pan?

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      The only polite approach to bring up such subject in a conversation is telling the story about somebody else who has got a relieve in a similar situation . It is important not to tell something like “I think you should try it too” – it is very possible it will make the person you are having the conversation with to clam up because such suggestions are often perceived as a criticism . She probably knows loosing 20 lb will be helpful, just at 51 may think it is not possible. May be telling about LC as a diet to PREVENT a weigh-gain during recovery due to inactivity after her surgery will not be taken as a personal offence.

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        I am hoping to have her over some time and watch Fat Head with her on Hulu to kind of broach the subject. Maybe that will get her asking questions. Anything to avoid getting whacked with a frying pan. 😉

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Galina L.

          Good luck! Most probably she would kill to get relieve for her issues, but very self-conscious about it. Many females are ashamed of being fat and out of shape, like it was their lack of discipline to get there, and the discussion may be to painful emotionally.

          Reply
  24. Perry

    Back in the day Dr. Davis advocated the 60/60/60 in his heart program espoused on his website, I.e,, target for LDL, trigs and Hdl. He was strictly anti saturated fat as well. Any of this changed?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      It’s definitely changed. He said during our interview yesterday that there’s nothing wrong with saturated fat, which has been his position now for some time. That’s what I mean about him being that rare diet guru who’s always researching and willing to change his mind.

      Reply
  25. Firebird

    I just met up with my first girlfriend (7th grade). She is 51, bad knees and has had surgery. I think one of the things she could do to improve her health and ease some of that pain would be to lose 20 lbs. or so and do it on Wheat Belly as I feel there are foods like grains that can be inflammatory (bad oils/fats, too). But the key is, how do you broach that subject to a woman without getting whacked in the face with a frying pan?

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      The only polite approach to bring up such subject in a conversation is telling the story about somebody else who has got a relieve in a similar situation . It is important not to tell something like “I think you should try it too” – it is very possible it will make the person you are having the conversation with to clam up because such suggestions are often perceived as a criticism . She probably knows loosing 20 lb will be helpful, just at 51 may think it is not possible. May be telling about LC as a diet to PREVENT a weigh-gain during recovery due to inactivity after her surgery will not be taken as a personal offence.

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        I am hoping to have her over some time and watch Fat Head with her on Hulu to kind of broach the subject. Maybe that will get her asking questions. Anything to avoid getting whacked with a frying pan. 😉

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Galina L.

          Good luck! Most probably she would kill to get relieve for her issues, but very self-conscious about it. Many females are ashamed of being fat and out of shape, like it was their lack of discipline to get there, and the discussion may be to painful emotionally.

          Reply
  26. Perry

    Back in the day Dr. Davis advocated the 60/60/60 in his heart program espoused on his website, I.e,, target for LDL, trigs and Hdl. He was strictly anti saturated fat as well. Any of this changed?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s definitely changed. He said during our interview yesterday that there’s nothing wrong with saturated fat, which has been his position now for some time. That’s what I mean about him being that rare diet guru who’s always researching and willing to change his mind.

      Reply
  27. eddie watts

    I’ve been avoiding adding further “avoid grains” books as so often they just have the same information and I am seeking to avoid excess confirmation bias.
    but this sounds a great book so will have to go on my wish list I think!

    Reply
  28. eddie watts

    I’ve been avoiding adding further “avoid grains” books as so often they just have the same information and I am seeking to avoid excess confirmation bias.
    but this sounds a great book so will have to go on my wish list I think!

    Reply
  29. Ali

    I’m going to throw a spanner in here. I do wonder if how well, or badly we digest carbohydrates/starches/grains etc. has as much to do with whether we carry parasites or not. I am convinced that at least some parasites, particularly worms are perfectly capable of disrupting our glucose metabolism for their own ends.

    Parasites are commonly viewed as a Third-World issue. We in the West don’t have any less of a problem (although we may have different parasite strains), we are just far less aware of them. If you go to a doctor in say, India, parasites may be one of the first things he will look for. In the West, it would not even be the last thing that would be looked for, it would be off the radar….

    Our ancestors weren’t stupid. They knew the dangers of parasite infestation. Up to 50/60 years ago it was common to take regular concoctions to clear out the gut. Why was that dropped? Did we suddenly become immune? All creatures are vulnerable to parasites. We too are creatures. “So you think you’ve got parasites? Have you been abroad recently?” No, but then neither’s the dog and he’s got them…… Duh.

    There are thousands of people out there in ‘civilised’ countries who know darn well they have parasites, but not only will no one believe them, they are more likely to be sent to a shrink than a parasitologist. Some doctors in the US and other countries who are aware, estimate from the ratio of infested patients they see, that as much as 95% of the World’s population is infested with one or more parasites.

    Most of the time they lurk quietly, insidiously hijacking our nutrition, and our health. Sometimes they are blatantly obvious. They can be in an individual for years undetected. They can breed incessantly, perpetuating the infestation. This is a huge silent problem.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Interesting idea. I had a friend in California whose husband ended up feeling exhausted all the time. He went from doctor to doctor with no answers, but finally ended up seeing a more holistic doc who checked him for parasites and found one. (Don’t remember what it was, sorry.) After getting rid of the parasite, he was fine.

      Reply
  30. Ali

    I’m going to throw a spanner in here. I do wonder if how well, or badly we digest carbohydrates/starches/grains etc. has as much to do with whether we carry parasites or not. I am convinced that at least some parasites, particularly worms are perfectly capable of disrupting our glucose metabolism for their own ends.

    Parasites are commonly viewed as a Third-World issue. We in the West don’t have any less of a problem (although we may have different parasite strains), we are just far less aware of them. If you go to a doctor in say, India, parasites may be one of the first things he will look for. In the West, it would not even be the last thing that would be looked for, it would be off the radar….

    Our ancestors weren’t stupid. They knew the dangers of parasite infestation. Up to 50/60 years ago it was common to take regular concoctions to clear out the gut. Why was that dropped? Did we suddenly become immune? All creatures are vulnerable to parasites. We too are creatures. “So you think you’ve got parasites? Have you been abroad recently?” No, but then neither’s the dog and he’s got them…… Duh.

    There are thousands of people out there in ‘civilised’ countries who know darn well they have parasites, but not only will no one believe them, they are more likely to be sent to a shrink than a parasitologist. Some doctors in the US and other countries who are aware, estimate from the ratio of infested patients they see, that as much as 95% of the World’s population is infested with one or more parasites.

    Most of the time they lurk quietly, insidiously hijacking our nutrition, and our health. Sometimes they are blatantly obvious. They can be in an individual for years undetected. They can breed incessantly, perpetuating the infestation. This is a huge silent problem.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Interesting idea. I had a friend in California whose husband ended up feeling exhausted all the time. He went from doctor to doctor with no answers, but finally ended up seeing a more holistic doc who checked him for parasites and found one. (Don’t remember what it was, sorry.) After getting rid of the parasite, he was fine.

      Reply
  31. Michael

    Does the book contain information on amylase-trypsin inhibitors? It’s yet another reason to avoid wheat:

    http://ultimateglutenfree.com/2012/12/natural-pesticides-wheat-role-gluten-sensitivity-celiac-disease/

    quote:
    “The latest paper by Y. Junker and co-workers studied proteins in wheat called “amylase-trypsin inhibitors” (ATI), which as act as natural pesticides. They found that ATIs trigger “innate” immune responses that are similar to those caused by gluten. It is possible that consuming ATIs might be important in the early stages of celiac disease. Also, since ATIs provoke an immune response in the intestinal tissues of non-celiacs, it is conceivable that ATIs might also be the culprit in non-celiac gluten sensitivity.”

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I don’t have my copy of the book with me at the office, but I’d be surprised if Dr. Davis doesn’t mention that. There’s a lot of info on how wheat screws up the immune system.

      Reply
    2. Boundless

      > Does the book contain information on amylase-trypsin inhibitors?

      Not in the Index, but I did find a mention on p55, in a list of bowel toxins from wheat. There might be other mentions, but you’d probably need an ebook edition to search exhaustively.

      Reply
  32. Michael

    Does the book contain information on amylase-trypsin inhibitors? It’s yet another reason to avoid wheat:

    http://ultimateglutenfree.com/2012/12/natural-pesticides-wheat-role-gluten-sensitivity-celiac-disease/

    quote:
    “The latest paper by Y. Junker and co-workers studied proteins in wheat called “amylase-trypsin inhibitors” (ATI), which as act as natural pesticides. They found that ATIs trigger “innate” immune responses that are similar to those caused by gluten. It is possible that consuming ATIs might be important in the early stages of celiac disease. Also, since ATIs provoke an immune response in the intestinal tissues of non-celiacs, it is conceivable that ATIs might also be the culprit in non-celiac gluten sensitivity.”

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I don’t have my copy of the book with me at the office, but I’d be surprised if Dr. Davis doesn’t mention that. There’s a lot of info on how wheat screws up the immune system.

      Reply
    2. Boundless

      > Does the book contain information on amylase-trypsin inhibitors?

      Not in the Index, but I did find a mention on p55, in a list of bowel toxins from wheat. There might be other mentions, but you’d probably need an ebook edition to search exhaustively.

      Reply
  33. sandy price

    How do you reconcile Drs. Jaminet’s work with Dr. Davis’ work? While they do have a great degree of overlap, they both rely heavily on science, and I can’t possibly figure out which path is the “right path.”

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      They’re actually quite similar. The main difference is that Jaminet recommends a somewhat higher carb intake. I believe his approach is correct for some, not for others.

      Reply
  34. sandy price

    How do you reconcile Drs. Jaminet’s work with Dr. Davis’ work? While they do have a great degree of overlap, they both rely heavily on science, and I can’t possibly figure out which path is the “right path.”

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      They’re actually quite similar. The main difference is that Jaminet recommends a somewhat higher carb intake. I believe his approach is correct for some, not for others.

      Reply
  35. Deb

    All I know at this point is that all of the digestive problems went away, my energy soared and I lost some weight within the 3 weeks I went grain free. (sounds like a plug but it’s true). It was like a “peace” came over me and I felt so good. Davis’s book is brilliant.

    Problem is, Davis proposes we eat grass fed meat, wild caught fish, cage free eggs, grass fed butter, organic veggies and fruit, coconut/olive oil, seeds and nuts (and their flours) for the rest of our lives. Now, my food budget is $200 a month. And I’m very creative. And I’m a damn good cook. But folks, I bet you most people, (esp with families to support) would have a REAL hard time with this, including myself. And food prices ain’t going down anytime soon. ($10 for almond flour. Really?).

    Yea, the diet is wonderful. Affording it is another thing.

    Davis’s next book should be titled, “Eating Grain Free on the Typical American Budget”.

    I’m researching low cost grain free meals/recipes and even those are pretty much out of reach. So, yea. The diet is wonderful. Affording it is another thing.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      All that wild-caught, grass-fed, organic, etc., is great, but I think it’s far less important than the big stuff. I’m a fan of not letting perfect get in the way of good.

      Reply
  36. Deb

    All I know at this point is that all of the digestive problems went away, my energy soared and I lost some weight within the 3 weeks I went grain free. (sounds like a plug but it’s true). It was like a “peace” came over me and I felt so good. Davis’s book is brilliant.

    Problem is, Davis proposes we eat grass fed meat, wild caught fish, cage free eggs, grass fed butter, organic veggies and fruit, coconut/olive oil, seeds and nuts (and their flours) for the rest of our lives. Now, my food budget is $200 a month. And I’m very creative. And I’m a damn good cook. But folks, I bet you most people, (esp with families to support) would have a REAL hard time with this, including myself. And food prices ain’t going down anytime soon. ($10 for almond flour. Really?).

    Yea, the diet is wonderful. Affording it is another thing.

    Davis’s next book should be titled, “Eating Grain Free on the Typical American Budget”.

    I’m researching low cost grain free meals/recipes and even those are pretty much out of reach. So, yea. The diet is wonderful. Affording it is another thing.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      All that wild-caught, grass-fed, organic, etc., is great, but I think it’s far less important than the big stuff. I’m a fan of not letting perfect get in the way of good.

      Reply
  37. Marty

    i wonder what other food to avoid i have found out the carnivore diet has a lot to do with the foods you are avoiding overall. there are so many great books out there has anyone tried this system yet it’s on my list but i am not sure if it will help with belly fat. there is a difference between feeling good and looking good. https://fatisgoneeasilycom.home.blog/

    Reply
  38. Marty

    i wonder what other food to avoid i have found out the carnivore diet has a lot to do with the foods you are avoiding overall. there are so many great books out there has anyone tried this system yet it’s on my list but i am not sure if it will help with belly fat. there is a difference between feeling good and looking good. https://fatisgoneeasilycom.home.blog/

    Reply

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