Book Review: Wheat Belly

      368 Comments on Book Review: Wheat Belly

I receive occasional emails and comments from people who can’t believe wheat isn’t health food. Some have quoted Bible passages about our daily bread, the staff of life, breaking bread with family, etc. Others have pointed out that Americans ate plenty of bread and other wheat products 100 years ago, but weren’t as likely to be fat and diabetic as people today.

I usually reply that the wheat products we consume today aren’t the same as those consumed by people in Biblical times, or even in more recent times. But I didn’t realize just how different today’s wheat is until I read Wheat Belly, a terrific new book by Dr. William Davis, the cardiologist you may already know from his Heart Scan Blog.

The title, of course, refers to the big gut that so many people today are carrying around in front of them these days.  While he’s no fan of sugar or other refined carbohydrates, Dr. Davis believes wheat is a primary (if not the primary) driver of the rise in obesity we’ve witnessed in the past quarter century, and he makes a strong case for that belief.   But getting fat is hardly the only price we pay for our love of bagels, breads, cereals and muffins. As Dr. Davis explains in the book’s introduction:

While much of the Wheat Belly story is about overweight, it is also about the complex and not fully understood range of diseases that have resulted from it – from celiac disease, the devastating intestinal disease that develops from exposure to wheat gluten, to an assortment of neurological disorders, curious rashes, and the paralyzing effects of schizophrenia. Documented peculiar effects of wheat on humans include appetite stimulation, exposure to brain-active exorphins (the counterpart of internally derived endorphins), exaggerated blood-sugar surges that trigger cycles of satiety alternating with increased appetite, the process of glycation that underlies diseases and aging, inflammatory and pH effects that erode cartilage and damage bone, and activation of disordered immune responses.

And later, in Part One:

There’s hardly a single organ system that is not in some way affected by wheat products. The health impact of Triticum aestivum, common bread wheat and its genetic brethren, ranges far and wide, with curious effects from mouth to anus, brain to pancreas, Appalachian housewife to Wall Street arbitrageur. If it sounds crazy, bear with me. I make these claims with a clear, wheat-free conscience.

In the rest of the book, Dr. Davis back up those claims. He delves into quite a bit of nutrition science and some biochemistry, but writes in a clear (and often humorous) style that makes for easy reading. As a doctor who’s treated thousands of patients, he has the added advantage of being able to cite case histories from his own practice – patients who came to him unknowingly damaged by wheat, but were cured by wheat-free diets.

One patient, a thirty-eight-year-old woman, was told by her doctor that she’d have to have part of her colon removed and replaced with an external bag. After Dr. Davis talked her into going wheat free, her colon healed itself. Another patient, a twenty-six-year-old man, was experiencing so much pain in his joints, he could barely walk. Three different rheumatologists failed to identify a cause. When he visited Dr. Davis for a heart condition, Dr. Davis suggested he try a wheat-free diet for the joint pain. Three months later, the young man strode into the office pain-free and reported he’d been jogging short distances and playing basketball. His heart condition had cleared up as well.

Before the chapters detailing the many ways wheat can damage our bodies and brains, Dr. Davis begins by recounting the history of wheat itself. It’s a fascinating story — in a Stephen King sort of way, that is. Here are a few quotes from that chapter, which is titled Not Your Grandma’s Muffins: The Creation of Modern Wheat.

Bread and other foods made from wheat have sustained humans for centuries, but the wheat of our ancestors is not the same as modern commercial wheat that reaches your breakfast, lunch and dinner table. From the original strains of wild grass harvested by early humans, wheat has exploded to more than 25,000 varieties, virtually all of them the result of human intervention.

The first wild, then cultivated, wheat was einkorn, the great-granddaddy of all subsequent wheat. Einkorn has the simplest genetic code of all wheat, containing only 14 chromosomes.

Shortly after the cultivation of the first einkorn plant, the emmer variety of wheat, the natural offspring of parents einkorn and an unrelated wild grass, Aegilops speltvoides or goatgrass, made its appearance in the Middle East. Goatgrass added its genetic code to that of einkorn, resulting in the more complex twenty-eight-chromosome emmer wheat.

Emmer wheat, Dr. Davis explains, was probably the wheat of biblical times. Later the emmer wheat mated naturally with another grass and produced Triticum aestivum, the forty-two-chromosome wheat that humans consumed for centuries – right up until the past 50 years or so. That’s when the story of wheat becomes a bit of a modern Frankenstein tale.

Like Dr. Frankenstein, the scientists who created today’s wheat had good intentions: the goal was to produce more wheat per acre in a shorter span of time, thus vastly increasing yields and preventing worldwide starvation as the planet’s population swelled. To that extent, they succeeded. Geneticist Dr. Norman Borlaug, who created the short, stocky, fast-growing “dwarf” wheat most of us consume today, is credited with saving perhaps a billion people from starvation.

The problem is that dwarf wheat varieties were developed through a combination of cross-breeding and gene splicing. The result is a mutant plant with a genetic code that never existed in nature before. In fact, today’s wheat literally can’t survive in a natural setting. Take away the modern pesticides and fertilizers and it’s (pardon the pun) toast.

Perhaps overjoyed at the prospect of the feeding the world, the developers of modern wheat varieties weren’t interested in conducting tests to see if these genetically-modified strains were actually fit for human consumption. Dr. Davis believes they’re not. At the very least, we’re now consuming wheat that’s genetically different from what our ancestors consumed:

Analyses of proteins expressed by a wheat hybrid compared to its two parent strains have demonstrated that while approximately 95 percent of the proteins expressed in the offspring are the same, five percent are unique, found in neither parent. Wheat gluten proteins, in particular, undergo considerable structural change with hybridization. In one hybridization experiment, fourteen new gluten proteins were identified in the offspring that were not present in either parent plant. Moreover, when compared to century-old stains of wheat, modern strains of Triticum aestivum express a higher quantity of genes for gluten proteins that are associated with celiac disease.

Hybridization efforts of the past fifty years have generated numerous additional changes in the gluten-coding genes in Triticum aestivum, most of them purposeful modifications of the “D” genome that confer baking and aesthetic characteristics on flour. It is therefore the the “D” genome of modern Triticum aestivum that, having been the focus of all manner of shenanigans by plant geneticists, has accumulated substantial changes in genetically determined characteristics of gluten proteins.

In other word’s, this ain’t your grandma’s wheat.  Little wonder that when researchers compared blood samples taken from thousand of soldiers 50 years ago to blood samples from today’s soldiers, they found that celiac antibodies are five times more common today among today’s soliders.

Dr. Davis recounts an experiment he conducted on himself to compare the different impacts of ancient wheat and modern wheat on his blood sugar. He managed to find some einkorn wheat and made bread from it. Two slices of that bread raised his blood sugar from 86 mg/dl to 110. Not bad. Then he made bread from modern whole wheat – you know, the stuff the USDA says is the key to great health. Two slices raised his blood sugar from 84 mg/dl to 167. That’s diabetes territory. As Dr. Davis writes in another chapter after explaining the specific types of carbohydrates found in wheat:

Wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than virtually any other carbohydrate, from beans to candy bars.

As the graph I displayed in a previous post showed, the typical American consumes somewhere around 1,000 calories per day in the form of sugars and grains.  Our dominant grain by far is wheat — wheat that was never part of the human diet until 50 years ago.

The rest of the book details the damage modern wheat can do to our bodies and brains, with plenty of references to both academic studies and case histories from Dr. Davis’ medical practice. He covers the addictive properties of wheat, the effects wheat can produce in our brains (including actual brain damage), and of course the many ways wheat can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Compared to those chapters, the chapters on skin conditions, accelerated aging, and heart disease seem almost tame. Sure, it’s not good to produce mostly small, dense LDL … but heart disease will kill you later. Untreated celiac disease will make you miserable for life – and most celiac sufferers are never diagnosed.

This is an excellent book, and also an important book. A story a co-worker told me last week illustrates why: his wife suffered from debilitating headaches for years. She went from doctor to doctor, but none could offer an explanation or solution, other than pain medications that basically knocked her out. Then a few months ago, she mentioned the headaches to some acquaintances over dinner. One of them – not a doctor – told her the headaches could be caused by a reaction to wheat gluten and suggested she try a gluten-free diet. She did … and headaches went away.

As my co-worker told me, “I’m glad someone finally gave her the answer, but why did she have to hear this from some Joe Schmoe after years of suffering? Why didn’t any of the doctors we consulted think of that?”

The doctors didn’t think of that because they weren’t trained to think of that. Ask the vast majority of doctors for dietary advice, and they’ll tell you to limit your fats and eat your “healthy whole grains.” They can’t teach what they don’t know.

I hope you all read this book. But more than that, I hope you buy a copy and stick it in your doctor’s hands. The next time a patient shows up suffering from splitting headaches (or irritable bowel, or stomach cramps, or acne, or psoriasis, or depression, or emotional problems, or high triglycerides, or high blood sugar, or arthritis, or asthma), perhaps the doctor will take a careful dietary history and suggest trying a wheat-free diet before reaching for the prescription pad.

Next week I’ll be posting a Q & A with Dr. Davis.  I have a list of questions I want to ask, but if you have questions of your own, post them in a comment.  I’ll pick some to add to my list.

 


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368 thoughts on “Book Review: Wheat Belly

  1. Gary McRiddle

    I can’t help but think… is this book the answer to all the high-carb paradoxes? The Kitavans, the Japanese, why our grandparents could eat meat AND bread with no ill effect? It seems like this book might lead us to the Unified Theory of Low Carb! Fantastic.

    I’ve wondered that myself. Dr. Lustig says avoid sugar, Dr. Davis says avoid wheat. Maybe if we avoid both, we’ve eliminated the major offenders.

    Reply
  2. Kim

    Hey folks! For einkorn pasta go to jovialfoods.com My local gourmet and healthfood stores carry it. Haven’t tried it tho.

    Reply
  3. HS4

    This is a great review of Dr Davis’ book. I’ve been following the Heart Scan Blog (now on the Track Your Plaque site) for some time and watched with interest as Dr Davis tested einkorn vs modern wheat with feedback from some of his readers.

    Several Einkorn wheat products can be found at Whole Foods (cookies, pasta – not sure if they have the flour). There are also online sources for Einkorn so just try googling ‘einkorn’.

    Reply
  4. Galina L.

    Hello, Tom!

    I recently came back to Florida after long visit to Russia. I managed to put my mom on a LC diet. Results of glucose-meter after eating bread were the same as in Dr.Davis example – 167 – 163, even though bread was made out of rye and wheat. I also manage to convince mom that eggs are not dangerous and animal fat is better than sunflower oil. Giving up bread was the hardest thing to do for her. Things like candies and cakes didn’t matter much. Ironically, eating chocolate candies after LC dinner didn’t produce significant raise in BG. She lost 22 lb, got from blood pressure medication and achieve serious relief from a gastric reflex problem. I am the only child, as it is common in Russia, live now in USA because mu husband works here, and mom doesn’t want to move from her environment. I am glad my intervention was a success. At least, I was able to do something that improved her health.

    Nice that you were able to help your mom. Kudos.

    Reply
  5. deMuralist

    I was chatting with someone the other day and after I told her that I had stopped eating wheat and grains she said basically that “celiac disease” is the new “in thing” to have so she didn’t believe it was real! I said well maybe, but I was having joint pains and had figured it was worth a shot, stopping grain worked for me and it was easier/cheaper to stop grains than to take pain pills. She said she would rather take the pills. So it is more than the doctors.

    p.s. dh and I were wondering last night…what percentage of commercials do you think are now about drugs/prescriptions. Cannot imagine my grandmother worrying about “inadequate eyelashes”.

    Some people assumed celiac diagnoses were on the rise simply because more doctors are aware of the disease. Comparing blood samples from soldiers 50 years ago to soldiers today showed that celiac is indeed on the rise, not just being diagnosed more often.

    Reply
  6. Dina

    Thanks for a great review! Almost don’t need to buy the book now 😉

    A question for Dr. Davis: Does his research only relate to wheat? Does he know whether other crops (e.g. rye) have been manipulated in the same ways?

    The review only captures a fraction of the interesting information in the book. I’ll add the question to my list.

    Reply
  7. Pauline

    I have to say that when I gave up grains a year ago, a myriad of symptoms vanished…migraines, heartburn, acid reflux, gas/bloating..GONE! I applaud Dr. Davis (and YOU) for getting the word out! I was however a little disappointed when on his blog he had included LOW-FAT yogurt in his recommended daily meal plan. Tom, maybe you can set him straight on the good fat/bad fat thing?

    That’s one of the questions I want to ask him.

    Reply
  8. LCNana

    Morning, Tom. Thanks for the review of Wheat Belly – every time I weaken and think I simply must start eating ‘like everyone else’ because I miss all the bread, pasta, etc. you come along and kick me in the pants – er, sorry, I mean the skirt…

    As I age my digestive system becomes more and more sensitive to any fibre, and gassy foods, and all sugars. But how weak I am! So thanks again. I’ll consider myself kicked.

    Reading this book definitely firmed up my resolve not to eat wheat products. Maybe twice per year when I’m Chicago and want that stuffed pizza, but it’s not worth the potential health issues just to enjoy a hamburger bun or bit of pasta.

    Reply
  9. Be

    WOW! That was quick! My advance order copy was sent to my Kindle just yesterday. My first thought was excitement to start it once I finish the book I am reading and my next thought was, “I can’t wait to read Tom’s review!”

    I was in the grossery store yesterday wearing your “Wheat is Murder” tee shirt and the only thing I bought was a loaf of Bimbo bread (no HFCS, but it isn’t for me) and boy, did I get stared down! A checker then asked why wheat was murder and I ran off a long list of side effects and he seems stunned. Later the same day my vet chided me for not feeding our dog grains (who by the way is feeling much better since he went Paleo with us).

    Bottom line – since following your advice over a year ago I’ve lost 40 pounds, feel better and my HDLs (at 90) suggest I’ll live a long life (of course my Doctor wants to put me on statins because my total cholesterol is high at 245 (duh!).

    BTW, if you haven’t read it, you would love the book I am reading now: “Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road to Bankruptcy and Bailout-and Beyond” by Paul Ingrassia – excellent example of the effects of collective thought.

    Great review – thanks for staying out here getting the word out.

    Sounds like a good book. I’ll give it a look.

    Reply
  10. Judith Miller

    2 or 3 sample meals would be appreciated before buying the book.

    I don’t want to type out entire recipes, but there is a recipe section in the back of the book. Sample meals: no-grain granola, bakes salmon with wasabi, three-cheese eggplant bake, almond meal cookies, eggs with pesto and feta, chicken tortilla soup, wheat-free pizza.

    Reply
  11. Nancie

    Thank you for this information…I knew white flour was not good for the body, I just didn’t know exactly how bad modern wheat was. I have been educated, so thanks again!

    Reply
  12. Deliciously Organic

    I’m so glad I read this review. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic the last few weeks and I’m glad to see there is a book that explains this recent phenomenon. I ordered the book and will tell my readers about it too. Thanks!

    It’s a great read. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

    Reply
  13. bullinachinashop

    Thanks Tom, I’ll check this book out for sure.

    As for those recipes, it seems to me people should focus more on redefining the food we like, instead of re-inventing them so we can eat grain-free grains. What’s the point of a grain-free granola? Granola tastes like barf without massive amounts of sugar, we should just forget granola altogether.

    I spent a couple of years trying low-carb versions of the high-carb foods I missed, but as my tastes changed I realized I no longer wanted pancakes, low-carb or otherwise. I hope people treat some of those substitutes as transition foods.

    Reply
  14. Diane

    What do you and/or Dr. Davis think of sprouted wheat?

    I’ll ask him. In my opinion, it’s not as bad for you, but certainly not necessary in the diet.

    Reply
  15. Marilyn

    Thanks, Tom! Interesting stuff. My dad used to raise wheat — Pawnee and Turkey Red were the varieties — and I used to drive the combine at harvest time. But the area I grew up has gone almost entirely to corn — plus, I’ve been gone 45 years — so I wasn’t aware of all the changes in wheat.

    I personally went gluten free a couple of years ago, but so far haven’t had any miracle cures. Wheat products do seem to give me digestive problems if I indulge — sometimes, sometimes not — but I’ve had those same problems for 65 years, so it can’t be the “new” wheat in my case. Whatever. Gluten free is so simple on a low-carb program, it’s basically automatic.

    Just wondering: How would gluten affect people who have never ingested HFCS, msg, aspartame, canola oil, Blue No. 2, . . . yadayadayada ? Use of those things, too, has risen over the past 50 years. Might they be co-partners in crime?

    That’s a good question for Dr. Davis.

    Reply
  16. Fred Hahn

    Good review Tom.

    I have a question – why do so many people who eat wheat and a lot of it seem to have no issues whatsoever? I have a vegetarian friend who eats tons of wheat, bread and other glutenous crud and he’s lean, fit, and healthy.

    I’ll shoot that one by Dr. Davis.

    Reply
  17. StormCat42

    @Erica – I just went to Amazon to download it for the Kindle and it’s telling me that it’s available…

    @Tom – Thank you for reviewing this book… I’m new to IBS/Celiac and have been off all gluten products for a month now… To my amazement, almost all of my IBS/Celiac symptoms have disappeared, I seem to be more clear headed, and I’ve lost over 20 pounds! Who knew? The nice thing is, I’m finding many of my local restaurants are posting gluten-free menu items on their website!! (Makes being out with my friends soooo much easier!) I had no idea before this that wheat/gluten was so bad for us! But seeing is believing and brother, I’m a believer now! *smile* Thanks again for sharing this book! I can’t wait to read it tonight!

    Glad to year about your improvement.

    Reply
  18. Rebecca

    The first I’ve heard of this was wondering is this talking about “gluten” free or “just wheat free”

    Depending on your sensitivity to gluten, you may need to go completely gluten free. Some people are fine with gluten in smaller amounts.

    Reply
  19. Linda

    @deMuralist

    dh and I were wondering last night…what percentage of commercials do you think are now about drugs/prescriptions. Cannot imagine my grandmother worrying about “inadequate eyelashes”.

    I don’t watch as much tv as I once did, but, during those periods where good stuff is on, I am also noticing how often we are subjected to another crappy ad regarding yet another drug that we just absolutely NEED to take, especially since we are looking into the eyes of some “tv doctor in a white coat” who is so sincere and helpful! Then, in the background, we listen to the lengthy list of side effects while the actors are strolling happily through the park or engaging in warm and fuzzy social activities. I want to throw shoes at my tv screen but it is a new one and I’d hate to damage it!

    Reply
  20. Dave Dixon

    I wonder if some day Norm Borlaug will be remembered as the man who destroyed the Earth? Created toxic wheat to fuel a population explosion to further deplete resources and ultimately cause the collapse of civilization…you weren’t kidding about it sounding like a Stephen King plot. All we need now is for Borlaug to rise from the grave and take his rightful place as the Dark Lord of All Bagels…

    I believe he meant well … but then again, so did Karl Marx.

    Reply
  21. Deborah M

    that is fascinating. i’ll order a copy. it’s amazing what we don’t know about our food. the fact that the wheat available all over the world now is so different from what it was just 55 years ago is frankly terrifying.

    unfortunately, although i come to your site frequently to be strengthened in my low-carb resolve, i find it personally frustrating to read about all the health issues that go away when people stop eating x,y,z because it hasn’t happened for me. i’m glad for them, i just wish it worked for me too! i’ve been a low carber for a decade now. i lost a lot of weight the first few years, and my skin problems also went away – and i maintained my weight loss for a further 4 years – but then when i got pregnant the psoriasis and seborrhitic dermatitis came back, as did 30lbs of weight, and once i gave birth no matter how well i ate more weight went on. so now i have an almost 3 year old, am still a low-carber, but am 50lbs heavier than i was 4 years ago and the skin problems won’t go away. i don’t feel like a very good poster child for low-carbing anymore, which is also frustrating. telling people i eat low carb,and high fat isn’t going to make any of them jump to eat like me, unlike 4 years ago when they could see i was maintaining a 100lb weight loss. and i can’t keep my blood test results at hand to show people – if they looked at those, they’d assume they belonged to a 120lb 25 year old woman they’re so good! that’s what keeps me going when i’m tempted by carby foods – but it is a harder struggle these past 3 years when nothing i do seems to result in any weight loss.

    anyway – that wasn’t really on topic. just getting my whining off my chest. sorry!

    You may allergies to specific foods that don’t bother the rest of us. Some low-carbers, for instance, find they have to give up dairy too.

    Reply
  22. Paul

    Amazon have emailed me to say that my copy has been shipped. Just have to wait for it to cross the Atlantic and get to Blighty.

    Reply
  23. The Masked Tulip

    I had terrible asthma for several years which has greatly improved since I stopped eating wheat. I used to love breads and, looking back, I was ODing on bread products daily.

    In the past 18 months I had gone back and ate bread rolls on 3 occasions – just to test things – and within 48 to 72 hours my chest is tightening and my breathing noticeably declines. I then have to go 4 to 6 weeks without wheat again before I improve.

    There is a long comments thread on a forum online where there are hundreds of long-term asthma suffers pointing out that their asthma either improved or disappeared when they gave up eating wheat.

    When I eat wheat, I start to wheeze an hour or so later.

    Reply
  24. lwhod

    I know people who make their own bread from sprouting their own seeds from some types of wheat berries. I’ve just started reading up on it but the person who told me about it has had the health of her whole family turn around by making that change. I’m curious if he has any advice on what to buy, grinding the “wheat” yourself, and sprouting your own seeds for bread.

    Reply
  25. Erica

    I went to amazon.com and they say the book isn’t in the Kindle store. How is everyone getting it? I can download it from Barnes and Noble for the Nook for $9.99.

    Reply
  26. Robert

    Great review. Just went and bought it on amazon after reading this. (I love amazon prime, I’ll have it for some weekend reading!) Normally I like to buy books on my kindle, but I bought this in physical form so I can share with my parents.

    Hopefully this will finally convince them to try a low-carb/zero wheat diet. I’m hoping that maybe this will have an effect on a debilitating illness my father has been suffering from for over a decade now. No doctor can diagnose him and his symptoms are something I can’t even imagine living with everyday, much less work 60+ hours a week to provide for his family. He lives every day in constant pain, can sleep for 12 hours and been dead-exhausted, cannot lift his arm above horizontal without incredible pain, and a myriad of other issues.

    I’ve been especially concerned for him lately. I just found out a week ago he is on statins (with no prior heart disease of course) in addition to the cocktail of the other dozen drugs he takes to try and manage his pain. I’m honestly amazed I got him to agree to talk to his doctor about stopping them, and I have you to thank for that Tom. Without you, I would never have known. Maybe I can at least keep my father from forgetting who he is (as I’ve already seen his memory start to fade a bit) thanks to you.

    I’m a fathead for life now!

    Yeesh, statins. I hope he tries a grain-free diet. Worst possible outcome is that he misses grains for awhile.

    Reply
  27. Be

    My question for Dr. Davis is what is his take on sprouted and soured grains? Is it still a matter of the type of wheat being sprouted or is it all bad for us? Is he even suggesting that less engineered grains are okay to eat or just less bad for us? I feel bad asking these questions till I’ve read his book, but you did ask for suggestions! Thanks!

    Reply
  28. timmah

    I applaud the writer for making the effort to educate people. BUT…

    Maybe I’ve been watching too much Mad Men. I’m picturing food company execs in a Madison Avenue conference room with some Don Draper like guy explaining how this book changes the market, and the key to successful marketing to the health-conscious now is to play up the lack of wheat in products.

    “I realize your product is also grown with pesticides and herbicides. You’re missing the point: Your product is made from rice. Their product is made from genetically modified franken-poison.”

    When people substitute gluten-free fruity pebbles (they already play up the GF angle on the box) for their usual wheaties but don’t see any health benefit from it, they’ll decide that the book and the advice must be wrong and the Dr. is a crack-pot quack.

    We’ve seen it before. Conventional wisdom paints HF/LC diets as “extreme” diets where you lose only water weight and become nutrient deficient.

    Dr. Davis makes it clear in the book that gluten-free products that are high in other refined carbs aren’t the way to go.

    Reply
  29. Gary McRiddle

    I can’t help but think… is this book the answer to all the high-carb paradoxes? The Kitavans, the Japanese, why our grandparents could eat meat AND bread with no ill effect? It seems like this book might lead us to the Unified Theory of Low Carb! Fantastic.

    I’ve wondered that myself. Dr. Lustig says avoid sugar, Dr. Davis says avoid wheat. Maybe if we avoid both, we’ve eliminated the major offenders.

    Reply
  30. Kim

    Hey folks! For einkorn pasta go to jovialfoods.com My local gourmet and healthfood stores carry it. Haven’t tried it tho.

    Reply
  31. HS4

    This is a great review of Dr Davis’ book. I’ve been following the Heart Scan Blog (now on the Track Your Plaque site) for some time and watched with interest as Dr Davis tested einkorn vs modern wheat with feedback from some of his readers.

    Several Einkorn wheat products can be found at Whole Foods (cookies, pasta – not sure if they have the flour). There are also online sources for Einkorn so just try googling ‘einkorn’.

    Reply
  32. Galina L.

    Hello, Tom!

    I recently came back to Florida after long visit to Russia. I managed to put my mom on a LC diet. Results of glucose-meter after eating bread were the same as in Dr.Davis example – 167 – 163, even though bread was made out of rye and wheat. I also manage to convince mom that eggs are not dangerous and animal fat is better than sunflower oil. Giving up bread was the hardest thing to do for her. Things like candies and cakes didn’t matter much. Ironically, eating chocolate candies after LC dinner didn’t produce significant raise in BG. She lost 22 lb, got from blood pressure medication and achieve serious relief from a gastric reflex problem. I am the only child, as it is common in Russia, live now in USA because mu husband works here, and mom doesn’t want to move from her environment. I am glad my intervention was a success. At least, I was able to do something that improved her health.

    Nice that you were able to help your mom. Kudos.

    Reply
  33. charliex

    I’m sure your doctor will appreciate you bringing a big pile of books that may or may not be related to what you think is wrong with you.

    People cured by acquaintances at dinner who aren’t doctors! Yes people all that science and training is probably a giant waste and they’re really just ripping you off, please feel free next time you’re at dinner to discuss your worst health problems, possibly bring along some blood and stool samples and any anecdotal advice you got from the neighbours who knows someone whos friend recovered from cancer by being zapped by a 9volt battery .

    But why stop there ? get your legal and business advice at the same time!! think of the money you’ll save getting advice from acquaintances at dinner! At the very least you’ll go home with a fully belly, but haha of course not gluten !

    Hmmm, let’s see … I’m aware of many cases where doctors failed to find the root cause of a condition, but some educated consumer figured it out, leading to a cure for the long-suffering patient. The smart conclusion: doctors don’t know much about nutrition and health, since they’re taught almost nothing about nutrition and health in medical school. The idiotic conclusion: only someone who went to med school is qualified to offer opinions on nutrition and health, even though doctors are taught almost nothing about nutrition and health.

    Reply
  34. Dina

    Thanks for a great review! Almost don’t need to buy the book now 😉

    A question for Dr. Davis: Does his research only relate to wheat? Does he know whether other crops (e.g. rye) have been manipulated in the same ways?

    The review only captures a fraction of the interesting information in the book. I’ll add the question to my list.

    Reply
  35. Patricia

    I would like to ask Dr. Davis if wheat could be a contributing factor in the apparent rise in fibromyalgia and MS. It seems that everyone I talk to knows someone, or has someone in their family, that has MS.

    My sister was diagnosed with both about 15 years ago. In spite of numerous mainstream medical treatments she just kept getting worse until she ended up in a wheelchair for the majority of her day about 5 years ago, unable to take care of herself. It was difficult for her to carry on a coherent conversation; her emotions and brain fog made it so frustrating to talk to her.

    About a year ago I came across an article from one of the many health newsletters I receive about the effects of wheat on the digestive tract. Since my sister was suffering from extreme cramping, diarrhea, nerve pain, headaches, muscle weakness and balance issues that prohibited her from leaving the house, I suggested that she eliminate all wheat and gluten products (all grains in all its forms). I was hoping that this would at least stop her digestive issues.

    Well, long story short, one year later her “MS/fibromyalgia” has mysteriously reversed itself. She no longer has digestive issues, pain, headaches or muscle weakness with balance issues. The wheelchair is collecting dust. She has stopped taking all the recommended prescriptions and only eats whole natural paleo type foods, high fat, no grains in any form, supplemented with select vitamins and minerals.

    The doctors can no longer find anything wrong with her (other than “high cholesterol levels – 225 total with HDL of 79). It amazes us that she is told that diet could not have had anything to do with it and it was probably the medications that helped, or she’s in remission. Yeah, after 15 years it’s about time for remission!

    Of course, I, too eliminated wheat and all grains from my diet at the same time. My primary symptoms were weight gain, brain fog and fatigue. And I didn’t eat it but one or twice a week because I’ve always eaten low carb. HUGE difference since I gave up grains!

    We appreciate all you do, Tom.

    I’ll add that question to the list.

    Reply
  36. Pauline

    I have to say that when I gave up grains a year ago, a myriad of symptoms vanished…migraines, heartburn, acid reflux, gas/bloating..GONE! I applaud Dr. Davis (and YOU) for getting the word out! I was however a little disappointed when on his blog he had included LOW-FAT yogurt in his recommended daily meal plan. Tom, maybe you can set him straight on the good fat/bad fat thing?

    That’s one of the questions I want to ask him.

    Reply
  37. Peggy Cihocki

    @Erica, I got it on my Kindle App for my iPhone from Amazon yesterday. You should be able to get it–check again. But it isn’t any cheaper than the Nook version, so if you have a Nook and can get it on that for $9.99…either way, you should be able to get it electronically.

    Reply
  38. LXV

    I just finished the book (I preordered it on Kindle three days ago). Right now I’m eyeing my husband’s box of nutrisystem and wondering how mad he’d be if I threw it out. (Needless to say, we’re on different diets).

    Reply
  39. Joe Lindley

    A potential question for Dr. Davis: practically speaking do his patients usually go on wheat-free diet or do they go all out and go wheat-free and sugar-free. In other words, does it work to remove all the wheat-based carbs and still allow the dieter to have sugar. It seems like the sugar would derail the wheat-free diet. Thanks!

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  40. Jen

    The information about the soldiers and celiac antibodies is fascinating, especially taken in hand with the information about how wheat itself has changed. Hearing celiac disease (which I have) referred to as a “fad” has already become tiresome, not the least because wheat products are not healthy or nutritious anyhow! That there are doctor-types treating it as a fad troubles me, though. With all of the evidence stacked against wheat-eating, their continued clinging to it, even in the face of a real disease such as celiac, I don’t know how they can keep insisting people stuff themselves on grain products.

    Looking forward to the interview. I’ll be interested in the answer to Fred Hahn’s question myself.

    There is a tendency for a disease to be diagnosed more often simply because more doctors are looking for it. But in the case of celiac, comparing the blood samples is pretty clear evidence that the actual incidence has gone up.

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  41. Alexandra

    @DeborahM and Tom… I agree on the dairy.. In the paleo community, when someone wants to become leaner, they often mention cutting dairy entirely. Milk is, after all, designed to get a 60 pound newborn calf up to 500 pounds in a year or less. If memory serves, Dr. Atkins advised limiting cheese to no more than a few ounces a day.

    Best of luck!

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  42. Jim Anderson

    I’m pretty sure it was wheat that wreaked havoc on my digestive system for years before I went low-carb. That problem has resolved itself. From the sound of it, I got off lucky. I think I’ll wait a while before trying any of that old-time wheat, though. See how the rest of you do.

    Reply
  43. Diane

    What do you and/or Dr. Davis think of sprouted wheat?

    I’ll ask him. In my opinion, it’s not as bad for you, but certainly not necessary in the diet.

    Reply
  44. Marilyn

    Thanks, Tom! Interesting stuff. My dad used to raise wheat — Pawnee and Turkey Red were the varieties — and I used to drive the combine at harvest time. But the area I grew up has gone almost entirely to corn — plus, I’ve been gone 45 years — so I wasn’t aware of all the changes in wheat.

    I personally went gluten free a couple of years ago, but so far haven’t had any miracle cures. Wheat products do seem to give me digestive problems if I indulge — sometimes, sometimes not — but I’ve had those same problems for 65 years, so it can’t be the “new” wheat in my case. Whatever. Gluten free is so simple on a low-carb program, it’s basically automatic.

    Just wondering: How would gluten affect people who have never ingested HFCS, msg, aspartame, canola oil, Blue No. 2, . . . yadayadayada ? Use of those things, too, has risen over the past 50 years. Might they be co-partners in crime?

    That’s a good question for Dr. Davis.

    Reply

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