The Grain Producers Respond to ‘Wheat Belly’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  1. Andrea Lynnette

    While not surprising, this kind of willful stupidity is driving me nuts! My health is improving since I went low-carb and no-grain. I’ve lost 20 pounds in the first month! But thanks to advice like this pro-wheat malarkey, people I know are still suffering.

    My mom’s a diabetic, and while she knows she needs to “restrict” her carbohydrates, they’ve given her some complicated accounting system to use, and she’s eating this whole-grain store-bought bread like crazy. She won’t do low-carb because her doctors are telling her that cutting out grains would be dangerous, that she needs them especially BECAUSE she is diabetic! WHAT?!

    It’s enough to make me want to go to medical school, just to have that little MD after my name. Then maybe she’d listen to me….

    Maybe your mom would read Dr. Bernstein’s book or Dr. Steve Parker’s. They both have “MD” after their names.

    Reply
  2. Stephane

    Wow, if that’s all the GFF has to say, they’ve only increased my confidence in “Wheat Belly”.

    I’m one week into a “no grain” experiment myself. So far, main observation is that I don’t get hungry during the day (as opposed to required snacks every 2 hours before)… We’ll see how it goes.

    Their response was pathetic. They would have themselves less harm by ignoring the book.

    Reply
  3. Nina

    One thing I like about Dr Davis is that he doesn’t claim that wheat is responsible for all ills. He also talks about sugar, vitamins/minerals and how we function. He’s also not just a salesman for his books and programme, but truly willing to share information and admit when he’s learnt something new that has changed his previous advice. The latest interview with Jimmy Moore is refreshingly free of the old ‘buy my book and you’ll get the details of…… on page 37 in my book, I explain how….. blah blah blah.’

    Of course the grain groupies go after him, because they can’t diss him for peddling a product. Loads of people read his blog and follow the guidelines without buying anything from him.

    I’m grateful for your point by point responses to their argument. They compelement Dr Davis’ detailed quotes from the book.

    Slowly slowly we’re making progress.

    Nina

    He deserves whatever success the book brings him, but yes, he gives away his knowledge on his blog all the time. He clearly cares about helping people regain their health through a change in diet.

    Reply
  4. Firebird

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

    But…but..but…they’ve been saying that cutting out one specific food (fatty foods) was realistic AND good for us.

    My head scratching has led to blood loss.

    My head-scratching led to hair loss.

    Reply
  5. Firebird

    Also, “enriched” doesn’t “enrich” me with confidence. They leave out the part that says enrichment is nothing more than taking out the nutrients that were already there, refining the product, then placing then nutrients back in. If I am not mistaken, during the enrichment process, 74 nutrients are stripped, but 4 are added back.

    From what I understand, grains are “enriched” to prevent the deficiencies eating refined grains can otherwise cause.

    Reply
  6. deMuralist

    I seem to remember that the last pyramid (or maybe the one before) had us needing to eat 11 servings of grain. So even the USDA is moving in the right direction.

    Dr. Davis’s science versus big wheat money-for the health of the American people, I sure hope science wins!

    The original food pyramid called for six to eleven servings of grains per day. Where they came up with eleven (why not ten, or twelve?) is anyone’s guess.

    Reply
  7. marilynb

    I don’t think the GFF bloggers are knowledgeable enough to be able to actually cite studies to prove their points or to respond intelligently to the questions raised by commenters. They are just trained to repeat the party line.

    Even if they had the expertise, they just don’t have the ammunition to refute the science.

    Reply
  8. Beowulf

    You know, it’s amazing that people survived at all in southern China where rice is the staple, and it’s a good thing that the settlers made it to America when they did, because the First Nation people were literally going extinct without a steady diet of wheat. That’s why the Lakota were so sickly and weak…oh wait, that was the settlers.

    I believe the rallying cry among the Lakota at Little Big Horn was something like “Take your wheat and stick it, Yellow Hair!”

    Reply
  9. LCNana

    Thanks for this Tom.

    Funny how these things go.

    First when one’s position is questioned one becomes instantly defensive – that’s only human I guess.

    Second, when once the defenses are up, one completely ignores any facts that show even the slightest possibility one’s position may be incorrect.

    Third, instead of explaining, expanding, augmenting your facts or showing with proper science that the opposition’s facts are false, one simply repeats the original statement. Yup, works every time. Does nobody study logic anymore? I’m right because I’m right just doesn’t cut it.

    Tom, I must thank you also for helping me see how poor most of the thinking “on the other side” really is – good people with good hearts, we must suppose – but as for thinkers? Sorry.

    All they can do is make a weak appeal to authority. They can’t dispute the science.

    Reply
  10. The Older Brother

    “The original food pyramid called for six to eleven servings of grains per day. Where they came up with eleven (why not ten, or twelve?) is anyone’s guess.”

    Man, that’s an easy one — George McGovern must have been a huge fan of Spinal Tap.

    Cheers.

    “This plate goes up to eleven.”

    Reply
  11. Justin B

    I hope all of these individualized research projects don’t segment the community, but rather reinforce specific beliefs, combining into a whole of healthy guidance. I’m scared that there will be Wheat Belly followers who believe that sugar and potatoes are ok, and Bitter Truth followers who believe that whole grains are alright, etc. I just watched Andreas Eenfeldt’s AHS lecture, and Lustig’s comments at the end kind of brought this to my attention. He’s so concerned with sugar, that he’s on a personal mission to prove that sugar is the only evil in nutrition.

    I say skip the sugar and the grains to be safe.

    Reply
  12. shutchings

    I little off subject–but I had a friend whose husband went to the doctor and was diagnosed with several health conditions, one of which was fatty-liver disease. His doctor told him there’s nothing they can do about the fatty-liver disease. I thought recently someone in the low-carb community posted a study showing great improvement in fatty-liver disease by following low-carb or maybe more specifically a ketogenic diet, but I can’t seem to find it. Just thought I’d ask if you might know where I could find it (if it exists)? Or is it true: once a fatty liver, always a fatty liver?

    I don’t believe it’s a permanent condition:

    http://diabetesupdate.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-reverse-fatty-liver.html
    http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6459

    The focus of the book “The Six Week Cure For the Middle-Aged Middle” by Drs. Eades and Eades was on reducing visceral fat, including fatty liver.

    Reply
  13. John

    Your response to the “Too Good to Be True” line had me cracking up. The odd thing is this implies that grain producers hate their own product. Like they’re thinking something along the lines of “Yeah, we’d ALL like to be able to give up grains, cause they taste so bad, but we HAVE to eat them for health reasons.”

    I guess they view grains the way some kids view broccoli.

    Reply
  14. Mike P.

    I read the GFF blog when I read Dr. Davis’s post [he referenced it as well]. Once I saw you were going to dissect their post [I really enjoy when you do that by teh way…very funny], I was SOOO looking forward to your reaction to the ‘gold standard of scientifically sound nutritional advice’. I was laughing out loud in the middle of the office when I read it.

    Keep up the great work!!

    Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Bill Davis

    I ordered Wheat Belly for Kindle sometime early to middle August – pre-release date. I woke up Aug 30 to find it sitting there in the kKindle ready to be read and I must say I did enjoy and learn from it.

    I went wheatless over two years ago at Dr Davis’s recommendation primarily to reduce small LDL particles, a major player in my cardiovascular disease.

    One of the unintended side effects of wheat elimination for me has been a loss of approx 25 pounds. So I have begun that “not only unrealistic, (but) it’s dangerous” journey into oblivion. And I do miss those “essential (and disease-fighting!) nutrients it provides including fiber, antioxidants, iron and B vitamins” which are for sure are not present in my now ‘real food’ kind of eating. So I guess I’ll have to eat more real food to try to somehow gain those now absent nutrients maybe that will counteract that unintended side effect.

    I approached it from the opposite direction. I gave up grains to lose weight, then found that several ailments went away.

    Reply
  16. marilynb

    Interesting – this morning I posted a comment on SixServings with a link to Jimmy Moore’s “2010 Dietary Guidelines Committee Member Joanne Slavin: ‘There Is No Scientific Basis For The U.S. Dietary Guidelines'”. It’s still awaiting moderation, even though they’ve posted other comments made hours after mine.

    They must be taking another long weekend.

    Reply
  17. Angel

    Awful nice of the Grain Food Foundation people to stir up a controversy for Wheat Belly. Free publicity, anyone? I think Dr. Davis should send them a free copy of his book as a thank you gift. 😀

    My thoughts exactly. Their response was so pathetic, they only strengthened his cause.

    Reply
  18. Andrea Lynnette

    While not surprising, this kind of willful stupidity is driving me nuts! My health is improving since I went low-carb and no-grain. I’ve lost 20 pounds in the first month! But thanks to advice like this pro-wheat malarkey, people I know are still suffering.

    My mom’s a diabetic, and while she knows she needs to “restrict” her carbohydrates, they’ve given her some complicated accounting system to use, and she’s eating this whole-grain store-bought bread like crazy. She won’t do low-carb because her doctors are telling her that cutting out grains would be dangerous, that she needs them especially BECAUSE she is diabetic! WHAT?!

    It’s enough to make me want to go to medical school, just to have that little MD after my name. Then maybe she’d listen to me….

    Maybe your mom would read Dr. Bernstein’s book or Dr. Steve Parker’s. They both have “MD” after their names.

    Reply
  19. LXV

    “I’ve never understood people’s attachments to food stuffs. Seriously?”

    I’ve got one very strong food attachment. I love Mountain Dew. It’s really hard giving it up, and not just because of the caffiene (although that really doesn’t help in kicking the soda habit). Part of it is identity. I’m a gamer and comic book geek. Mountain Dew and Red Bull is part of that cultural identity**. The caffiene and fructose hit has fueled me through so many late night gaming sessions, D&D campaigns, road trips to cons, writing jags, and 24 hour comic book challenges. Happy memories. 15 years of constant psychological reinforcement of “this is both the trigger and the reward for intesne fun and/or work.” Not to mention the physiological hit of sugar and caffiene (and with a mild ADD there’s the additional bonus hit of being able to focus much more intently). There’s a reason it was the last bad food I gave up. And it is difficult on an emotional level, I am changing what was once part of my identity. Some people eat for fuel, some people make a deeper connection with their food. (Neither is a wrong approach to food).

    **Obesity, ADD, obscenity, and poor fashion choices problems are also all too frequently part of this identity. Obviously I don’t want the health problems or poor fashion and am willing to give up soda to make that happen. I am, however, keeping the vulgarities. (And there’s frakk all anyone can frelling do about it.)

    Reply
  20. cancerclasses

    “A little story of the development of white flour will illustrate this point. In the last couple of centuries white flour went from being only available to the rich aristocrats to being available to the middle class. Traditionally, wheat was ground into whole-wheat flour by the local mill. With the growing numbers and affluence of the middle class in England, the millers found that they could make more money selling white flour because people could afford it and would pay more for it. After all it was a delicacy that previously had only been available to the rich – and everyone wanted to live like the rich. The byproduct of making white flour is a lot of wheat germ and fiber (where most of the nutrition and all of the vitamins in wheat are found). The millers found that they then could turn around and sell this to farmers for animal feed to “fatten” livestock – making even more money from the same raw product. Thus, was born the food industry as we now know it.

    But wait, the story is not quite over. Along comes World War I and England is trying to fill its draft quotas and it is having a problem. Too many men are not healthy enough to pass the physicals or are under the height requirements. A government investigation discovered that the health status of people was declining across society due the wide use of white flour and the resulting vitamin deficiencies. So what was done? They decided to mandate that synthetic vitamins be added back into white flour to prevent these vitamin deficiencies. The result was “enriched flour.”

    In this way the millers could continue to sell the vitamin-rich wheat germ and fiber for animal feed, the government could have relatively healthy men for the trenches, and the public could continue to eat like aristocrats. Everyone got what they wanted. Of course, in the long term, a number of these same people would later suffer from diverticulitis, obesity and diabetes or die of colon cancer and heart disease, but nobody was keeping track of that.” http://goo.gl/7IjZi

    Reply
  21. Stephane

    Wow, if that’s all the GFF has to say, they’ve only increased my confidence in “Wheat Belly”.

    I’m one week into a “no grain” experiment myself. So far, main observation is that I don’t get hungry during the day (as opposed to required snacks every 2 hours before)… We’ll see how it goes.

    Their response was pathetic. They would have themselves less harm by ignoring the book.

    Reply
  22. Andrea Lynnette

    Firebird, you’re right in principle.

    There are about 40 nutrients in wheat that are necessary for humans, contained primarily in the germ and bran of the kernel. The endosperm, which is almost entirely starch, is the part that is ground into flour. When the process of separating bran, germ, and endosperm was perfected back in the 1870’s, beriberi, pellagra, and anemia became major health problems.

    The health industry of the time asked flour millers to go back to using the whole kernel, but it was too late. The small, local mills were already out of business, and white flour was here to stay. Instead, they artificially added iron, niacin, riboflavin, 3 B-vitamins, and thiamine back into the flour. Some 30 other nutrients are left out.

    Reply
  23. Nina

    One thing I like about Dr Davis is that he doesn’t claim that wheat is responsible for all ills. He also talks about sugar, vitamins/minerals and how we function. He’s also not just a salesman for his books and programme, but truly willing to share information and admit when he’s learnt something new that has changed his previous advice. The latest interview with Jimmy Moore is refreshingly free of the old ‘buy my book and you’ll get the details of…… on page 37 in my book, I explain how….. blah blah blah.’

    Of course the grain groupies go after him, because they can’t diss him for peddling a product. Loads of people read his blog and follow the guidelines without buying anything from him.

    I’m grateful for your point by point responses to their argument. They compelement Dr Davis’ detailed quotes from the book.

    Slowly slowly we’re making progress.

    Nina

    He deserves whatever success the book brings him, but yes, he gives away his knowledge on his blog all the time. He clearly cares about helping people regain their health through a change in diet.

    Reply
  24. Firebird

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

    But…but..but…they’ve been saying that cutting out one specific food (fatty foods) was realistic AND good for us.

    My head scratching has led to blood loss.

    My head-scratching led to hair loss.

    Reply
  25. Firebird

    Also, “enriched” doesn’t “enrich” me with confidence. They leave out the part that says enrichment is nothing more than taking out the nutrients that were already there, refining the product, then placing then nutrients back in. If I am not mistaken, during the enrichment process, 74 nutrients are stripped, but 4 are added back.

    From what I understand, grains are “enriched” to prevent the deficiencies eating refined grains can otherwise cause.

    Reply
  26. BW

    You reference in your post “The only reason we question those guidelines is that there’s nothing scientific about them, as even one of the committee members later admitted.”

    However, have you looked into that claim closely? Every reference I can find to this is from a single ‘anon’ source, I’ve been completely unable to find any supporting evidence.

    Have you seen some? Just to be clear.. I’m not questioning the USDA’s lack of science in the guidelines, just the supposed admission of Joanne Slavin.

    All I have is the link I posted.

    Reply
  27. Zachary

    As soon as she cited the USDA dietary guidelines as some sort of unquestionable gold standard in dietary advice, I face-palmed so hard there’s probably a permanent mark on my forehead now. “It is the most credible information available and we will continue to rely on them for our recommendations.” Especially made me chuckle.

    But I’ll have to say, the comments on both those blogs are amazing. It seems the word is really getting out about how unhealthy grains are seeing as most all of the comments are, like you said, negative. I have a feeling if that post came out 11 years ago the comments would have been overwhelmingly positive.

    That’s what I love about the internet age. We can educate ourselves and ignore the self-interested “experts.”

    Reply
  28. The Older Brother

    “The original food pyramid called for six to eleven servings of grains per day. Where they came up with eleven (why not ten, or twelve?) is anyone’s guess.”

    Man, that’s an easy one — George McGovern must have been a huge fan of Spinal Tap.

    Cheers.

    “This plate goes up to eleven.”

    Reply
  29. Justin B

    I hope all of these individualized research projects don’t segment the community, but rather reinforce specific beliefs, combining into a whole of healthy guidance. I’m scared that there will be Wheat Belly followers who believe that sugar and potatoes are ok, and Bitter Truth followers who believe that whole grains are alright, etc. I just watched Andreas Eenfeldt’s AHS lecture, and Lustig’s comments at the end kind of brought this to my attention. He’s so concerned with sugar, that he’s on a personal mission to prove that sugar is the only evil in nutrition.

    I say skip the sugar and the grains to be safe.

    Reply
  30. reduceCrapohydrates

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

    Eating eleven servings of grains can make you lose weight.Celiac disease,diabetes and crohn’s disease all have weightloss as a symptom!!!.Are they planning to fight obesity by making people chronically ill.

    Good point. Let’s get sick, then skinny.

    Reply
  31. shutchings

    I little off subject–but I had a friend whose husband went to the doctor and was diagnosed with several health conditions, one of which was fatty-liver disease. His doctor told him there’s nothing they can do about the fatty-liver disease. I thought recently someone in the low-carb community posted a study showing great improvement in fatty-liver disease by following low-carb or maybe more specifically a ketogenic diet, but I can’t seem to find it. Just thought I’d ask if you might know where I could find it (if it exists)? Or is it true: once a fatty liver, always a fatty liver?

    I don’t believe it’s a permanent condition:

    http://diabetesupdate.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-reverse-fatty-liver.html
    http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6459

    The focus of the book “The Six Week Cure For the Middle-Aged Middle” by Drs. Eades and Eades was on reducing visceral fat, including fatty liver.

    Reply
  32. John

    Your response to the “Too Good to Be True” line had me cracking up. The odd thing is this implies that grain producers hate their own product. Like they’re thinking something along the lines of “Yeah, we’d ALL like to be able to give up grains, cause they taste so bad, but we HAVE to eat them for health reasons.”

    I guess they view grains the way some kids view broccoli.

    Reply
  33. Mike P.

    I read the GFF blog when I read Dr. Davis’s post [he referenced it as well]. Once I saw you were going to dissect their post [I really enjoy when you do that by teh way…very funny], I was SOOO looking forward to your reaction to the ‘gold standard of scientifically sound nutritional advice’. I was laughing out loud in the middle of the office when I read it.

    Keep up the great work!!

    Thank you.

    Reply
  34. marilynb

    Interesting – this morning I posted a comment on SixServings with a link to Jimmy Moore’s “2010 Dietary Guidelines Committee Member Joanne Slavin: ‘There Is No Scientific Basis For The U.S. Dietary Guidelines’”. It’s still awaiting moderation, even though they’ve posted other comments made hours after mine.

    They must be taking another long weekend.

    Reply
  35. LXV

    “I’ve never understood people’s attachments to food stuffs. Seriously?”

    I’ve got one very strong food attachment. I love Mountain Dew. It’s really hard giving it up, and not just because of the caffiene (although that really doesn’t help in kicking the soda habit). Part of it is identity. I’m a gamer and comic book geek. Mountain Dew and Red Bull is part of that cultural identity**. The caffiene and fructose hit has fueled me through so many late night gaming sessions, D&D campaigns, road trips to cons, writing jags, and 24 hour comic book challenges. Happy memories. 15 years of constant psychological reinforcement of “this is both the trigger and the reward for intesne fun and/or work.” Not to mention the physiological hit of sugar and caffiene (and with a mild ADD there’s the additional bonus hit of being able to focus much more intently). There’s a reason it was the last bad food I gave up. And it is difficult on an emotional level, I am changing what was once part of my identity. Some people eat for fuel, some people make a deeper connection with their food. (Neither is a wrong approach to food).

    **Obesity, ADD, obscenity, and poor fashion choices problems are also all too frequently part of this identity. Obviously I don’t want the health problems or poor fashion and am willing to give up soda to make that happen. I am, however, keeping the vulgarities. (And there’s frakk all anyone can frelling do about it.)

    Reply
  36. cancerclasses

    “A little story of the development of white flour will illustrate this point. In the last couple of centuries white flour went from being only available to the rich aristocrats to being available to the middle class. Traditionally, wheat was ground into whole-wheat flour by the local mill. With the growing numbers and affluence of the middle class in England, the millers found that they could make more money selling white flour because people could afford it and would pay more for it. After all it was a delicacy that previously had only been available to the rich – and everyone wanted to live like the rich. The byproduct of making white flour is a lot of wheat germ and fiber (where most of the nutrition and all of the vitamins in wheat are found). The millers found that they then could turn around and sell this to farmers for animal feed to “fatten” livestock – making even more money from the same raw product. Thus, was born the food industry as we now know it.

    But wait, the story is not quite over. Along comes World War I and England is trying to fill its draft quotas and it is having a problem. Too many men are not healthy enough to pass the physicals or are under the height requirements. A government investigation discovered that the health status of people was declining across society due the wide use of white flour and the resulting vitamin deficiencies. So what was done? They decided to mandate that synthetic vitamins be added back into white flour to prevent these vitamin deficiencies. The result was “enriched flour.”

    In this way the millers could continue to sell the vitamin-rich wheat germ and fiber for animal feed, the government could have relatively healthy men for the trenches, and the public could continue to eat like aristocrats. Everyone got what they wanted. Of course, in the long term, a number of these same people would later suffer from diverticulitis, obesity and diabetes or die of colon cancer and heart disease, but nobody was keeping track of that.” http://goo.gl/7IjZi

    Reply
  37. Andrea Lynnette

    Firebird, you’re right in principle.

    There are about 40 nutrients in wheat that are necessary for humans, contained primarily in the germ and bran of the kernel. The endosperm, which is almost entirely starch, is the part that is ground into flour. When the process of separating bran, germ, and endosperm was perfected back in the 1870’s, beriberi, pellagra, and anemia became major health problems.

    The health industry of the time asked flour millers to go back to using the whole kernel, but it was too late. The small, local mills were already out of business, and white flour was here to stay. Instead, they artificially added iron, niacin, riboflavin, 3 B-vitamins, and thiamine back into the flour. Some 30 other nutrients are left out.

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  38. Dana Carpender

    At one point I talked to my publisher about a diabetic cookbook; I pointed out that all the diabetic cookbooks I could find included grains, often in recklessly generous amounts. My editor asked “Is it safe to assume that’s because there are nutrients in grains we can’t get anywhere else?” My answer was a flat-out “No.” I have looked it up. There’s not a single damned vitamin or mineral in any whole grain you can’t get from another, far less carby, source. Period.

    Whole grains are actually a pretty poor source of nutrients, and even of fiber. They only look good next to refined grains. Next to liver and a salad? Not so much.

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  39. TonyNZ

    “remember that weight control is all about one key equation: calories in must equal calories out.”

    Really? So if I want to control my weight, all I need is to adjust my calorie intake? So it doesn’t matter whether I cut if from fats, grains or whatever.

    You can’t have it both ways…

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  40. Galina L.

    I am sure if that Grain Foods Foundation placed their piece on CNN web-site, it would generate more than 50% support from bread lovers. It feels like it is more than just honest misjudgment on their (CNN) part. Every health advice there contains the whole grain tune. Dr.Sanjay Gupta is not stupid. Just today I saw some commercial by Kellogg on CNN Chanel about health benefits of Cocoa-Puffs, Lucky Charms and some more crap for children consumption because such cereals provide healthy grains. With childhood obesity on the rise it feels like I witnessed some criminal activity. It will be low-suits the the future!

    They know better than to honk off their advertisers.

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  41. BW

    You reference in your post “The only reason we question those guidelines is that there’s nothing scientific about them, as even one of the committee members later admitted.”

    However, have you looked into that claim closely? Every reference I can find to this is from a single ‘anon’ source, I’ve been completely unable to find any supporting evidence.

    Have you seen some? Just to be clear.. I’m not questioning the USDA’s lack of science in the guidelines, just the supposed admission of Joanne Slavin.

    All I have is the link I posted.

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  42. Zachary

    As soon as she cited the USDA dietary guidelines as some sort of unquestionable gold standard in dietary advice, I face-palmed so hard there’s probably a permanent mark on my forehead now. “It is the most credible information available and we will continue to rely on them for our recommendations.” Especially made me chuckle.

    But I’ll have to say, the comments on both those blogs are amazing. It seems the word is really getting out about how unhealthy grains are seeing as most all of the comments are, like you said, negative. I have a feeling if that post came out 11 years ago the comments would have been overwhelmingly positive.

    That’s what I love about the internet age. We can educate ourselves and ignore the self-interested “experts.”

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  43. WildFlower

    If Dr. Davis had his patients remove wheat ALONE from their diets and saw these supposedly miraculous improvements, that would be significant. However, wheat avoidance is just one change among many he has his patients make. He takes people who mostly have been eating the disgustingly unhealthy standard american diet and has them avoid refined sugar, vegetable oil, and processed food of all sort. He has them increase their omega-3 intake. He emphasizes exercise. And perhaps most importantly he puts them on a diet low in all carbohydrate.

    And what a surprise, their health improves. Must be that mutant wheat, haha.

    Have them eliminate wheat, but let them carry on with their soda, french fries, ice cream and deep-fried factory farmed chicken wings. We’ll see how much their health improves then.

    It is laughable to use his multifactorial lifestyle recommendations, and the improvements they achieve, to conclude that wheat is destroying our health. That brings new meaning to uncontrolled variables. You of all people shouldn’t be touting this, Tom. Unless you have something meaningful – like a controlled study in humans comparing the health effects of modern wheat vs. heritage wheat, or non-gluten grains – you should probably cease the nonsensical scare tactics.

    Yes, Tom, we all know you eliminated grains and became LESS fat. You also suffered self-diagnosed insulin resistance, and chose to go on a low-carbohydrate diet. Your story doesn’t offer the slightest flicker of evidence that wheat is unhealthy for people with proper glucose control.

    You once took a look at the public and questioned the existence of the “obesity epidemic”. Perhaps you should look around and see all the skinny, healthy people eating turkey sandwiches and pasta salad. If wheat is toxic, it’s for a minority of the population. The same can be said about any food. I get congestion and inflammed skin if I eat to much grass-fed beef – I haven’t the slightest clue why – does that mean beef is toxic in general?

    Call me naive, but I still think most people would benefit from switching from wonderbread – bleached flour with HFCS, soy oil, and a number of unpronounceables -to organic, unbleached or whole-grain, sourdough artisan bread.

    It can at least be said the ‘Wheat Belly’ is a serious case of exagerration and sensationalism.

    I have a wild, crazy, out-there suggestion for you: read the book before critiquing it. Dr. Davis has had many of his patients remove wheat ALONE from their diets (as stated clearly in the book) and still saw remarkable health improvements.

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  44. WildFlower

    If wheat is toxic at one point did it become so? Let’s look at the possibilities beyond evil, goverment tampering:

    – White flour is the basis for many, if not the majority, of processed junk food engineered for overconsumption with a quite a few questionable ingredients.

    If that doesn’t explain it, and wheat flour itself is toxic, let’s look at the variables there:

    – Most of the white flour we eat is bleached with a number of additives with known health effects.
    – We add iron and other minerals to the flour – an unnatural process that is perhaps detrimental.
    – We don’t prepare wheat the way we used to.

    Tom likes to flaunt his n = 1 improvements from wheat elimination. I’ll offer my experience for those listening. I eat organic pasta and sourdough unbleached white bread in amounts that I crave. I have no problems whatsoever. I’m lean, have good complexion, great energy, no joint pains, and not a hint of autoimmune issues.

    Admittedly, if I eat too much cake, doughnuts and cookies I don’t feel so hot, but I somehow doubt evil government experiments are to blame for that.

    Don’t read “Wheat Belly” and automatically embrace Tom and Dr. Davis’ orthorexic superstition. Simply listen to your body.

    Some people can smoke two packs of cigarettes per day and live to be 95. There are always exceptions, and your experience is also n=1. You may do fine with organic pasta. Others may as well. But the anthropological evidence makes it clear that many of our health problems began with the advent of grain-eating, and those weren’t bleached, mutant grains. Listen to your body, absolutely.

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  45. reduceCrapohydrates

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

    Eating eleven servings of grains can make you lose weight.Celiac disease,diabetes and crohn’s disease all have weightloss as a symptom!!!.Are they planning to fight obesity by making people chronically ill.

    Good point. Let’s get sick, then skinny.

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  46. bec

    How hilair that they are saying “cutting out one whole food group is dangerous”. Are they having a laugh as they say this? Because the idea of the same group of people who told us saturated fat is a killer now telling us to be cautious about cutting out another foodgroup is making me give massive bitch side-eye in response.

    I don’t think they’re laughing. I think they’re desperately clutching at straws.

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  47. Peggy Holloway

    My daughter ordered Wheat Belly and will loan it to me when she has finished reading it. I am very curious to see if there is any mention of the Mennonites who emigrated from Russian in the 1870s and settled the “wheat belt,” from Canada to Mexico. They brought Russian turkey red wheat, which is a type of winter wheat, and that is what turned this stretch down the middle of the continent into a wheat-growing region. (Winter wheat allowed wheat to lie dormant through the harsh winters and have an early start in the spring so it could mature and be harvested before fall frosts). My SOs ancestors were part of that Mennonite group. In the 1950s, his mother developed a de novo gene mutation that resulted in Huntington’s Disease ( a devastating neurological condition). Although her Huntington’s came from the mutated gene, she passed the gene down to one daughter who has the condition, and two of her children are now showing early signs of it. It may be a stretch, but since there are theories now linking insulin resistance to other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s (Ken’s mother also had Alzheimer’s), I am wondering if wheat consumption (the Mennonite diet was heavily wheat based, since that is what they grew on their self-supporting farms) could cause a gene mutation? (Ken would not be at all pleased to have me suggest that his ancestral livelihood caused this horrendous family affliction, but it has crossed my mind so I’m bringing it up) I’m interested in what Dr. Davis has to say about wheat and neurological disorders.

    He deals with that topic pretty thoroughly in the book.

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  48. Dana Carpender

    At one point I talked to my publisher about a diabetic cookbook; I pointed out that all the diabetic cookbooks I could find included grains, often in recklessly generous amounts. My editor asked “Is it safe to assume that’s because there are nutrients in grains we can’t get anywhere else?” My answer was a flat-out “No.” I have looked it up. There’s not a single damned vitamin or mineral in any whole grain you can’t get from another, far less carby, source. Period.

    Whole grains are actually a pretty poor source of nutrients, and even of fiber. They only look good next to refined grains. Next to liver and a salad? Not so much.

    Reply
  49. TonyNZ

    “remember that weight control is all about one key equation: calories in must equal calories out.”

    Really? So if I want to control my weight, all I need is to adjust my calorie intake? So it doesn’t matter whether I cut if from fats, grains or whatever.

    You can’t have it both ways…

    Reply
  50. Prunella

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

    Yeah, and deadly nightshade has antioxidants, too. Good thing we have other ways to get those nutrients.

    Exactly. There’s zero biological need for grains.

    Reply

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