Wheat Belly

Over a half decade ago Professor Jared Diamond, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel, famously wrote

“The adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered.”

Dr Diamond was referring, of course, to the devolution of human health that took place as mankind suffered the corporal transformation driven by the mismatch between hunter-gatherer genes and an agricultural diet and lifestyle. Smaller stature, decreased cortical bone thickness, obesity, increased incidence of infectious diseases, dental caries, periodontal disease, vitamin deficiencies, and even famine – all common in agriculturists – were not, for the most part, the lot of pre-agricultural man.

Humanity doubtless gained more than it lost in this hunter to farmer changeover when viewed in a big-picture sort of way.  Farming made possible larger communities filled with workers, workers who, for the first time, made specialization of labor a possibility.  And fewer people could till the fields and provide food for the many, freeing the others to pursue the arts, business, politics, and warfare.

Stephen Budiansky, author of one of my favorite books, Covenant of the Wild, describes how domestic animals formed a pact with humans in which the animals traded a period of safety and survival for their lives.  Had this covenant not been made, it is highly likely – virtually a certainty – that cows would now be extinct.  Big, slow, stupid and tasty, had they not been amenable to domestication and entered into the covenant with their domesticators, cattle would have been hunted to extinction long, long ago.  But they did – however unwillingly – make the covenant and so exist by the tens of millions today.  The deal they cut was a phenomenal deal for cattle as a species, but not a particularly good deal for the individual cow when the time comes to pay up at slaughter.

Homo sapiens entered an almost mirror image of this same covenant when they domesticated cereal grasses.*  We gave up our independence and mobility for the promise of a constant and plentiful food supply.  But, as with our covenant with domestic animals, there is a catch.  And this time it’s with us.  Humans emerged from this deal with the short end of the stick.  In the same way as did cattle, we made a good-for-humans-as-a-species/bad-for-the-individual-human trade.  Like it or not, we traded the health of the individual human for the overall good of mankind and the development of civilization.

We traded a diet based primarily on fat and protein with a little carbohydrate thrown in from roots, shoots and tubers for one centered predominantly on carbohydrate.  The main source of the carbohydrate was cereal grains, chiefly ancient forms of wheat, the predecessor of the wheat that now occupies a large part of the human diet everywhere.  Ancient forms of wheat didn’t do our forebears a lot of good, and, according to Dr. William Davis’s new book Wheat Belly, the modern forms of the grain do us even less good.

Before we get to the problems modern hybrid wheat causes us, let’s take a look at the afflictions a diet of primitive wheat visited upon our predecessors.

The ancient Egyptians consumed a diet that would be considered optimal by many people today.  Both wealthy and poor Egyptians consumed primarily bread and a type of cloudy, almost gruel-like beer.  To these staples were added a variety of vegetables (mainly onions), and a small selection of game, fish and meat.  The bread was made from coarse ground, whole grain emmer wheat, a primitive, high-protein wheat.  Sugar didn’t come on the scene until about 1000 AD, so the Egyptians used honey sparingly (it was expensive) as a sweetener along with figs.  In short, these people consumed a diet the vast majority of modern nutritionists would prescribe to people to prevent obesity, heart disease, high blood presssure and the rest of the diseases associated with the Western diet.

But, as their mummified remains and their contemporary artwork demonstrate, the ancient Egyptians were often fat and were riddled with heart disease, dental caries, bad periodontal disease and no doubt diabetes and hypertension.  Many people have argued that since only the wealthy were mummified, the mummy data applies only to them, and since the wealthy ate more red meat, the rates of obesity, heart disease and the other disorders common to them didn’t apply to the rest of the population.  Even the common man, however, was often portrayed as obese in Egyptian artwork, and despite greater consumption of meat, the main staple of even the wealthy was bread and beer. And it didn’t do them a lot of good.

The 5,300 year old mummy of Ötzi the Iceman found in the Italian Alps showed a bad case of dental caries and periodontitis along with a stomach-full of einkorn wheat (another primitive variety). Said the researchers who examined Ötzi:

Although the Iceman did not lose a single tooth until the his death at an age of about 40 years, he had an advanced abrasion of his teeth, profound carious lesions, and a moderate to severe periodontitis.

In particular, the molars of the upper jaw showed loss of alveolar bone as a sign of periodontitis (inflammation of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth), while evidence of “mechanical trauma” was found on two teeth.

…the most surprising find is the high frequency of cavities.

These dental pathologies are a sign of change in the Neolithic diet.

We already know that he was eating grains, such as einkorn or emmer. The contained carbohydrates clearly increased the risk of developing dental diseases

One would assume these findings would be common among the rest of Ötzi’s contemporaries, who doubtless consumed a similar diet.

Sadly, these same findings are also common among modern man who consumes a more malign version of primitive wheat.

Until I read Dr. Davis’s book Wheat Belly, I didn’t really think much about wheat other than its being a major source of carbohydrate in the American diet.  It never had occurred to me that the wheat we eat today is not the same wheat of our great-grandmothers cooked with nor probably even our grandmothers.  And it really hadn’t dawned on me how pervasive wheat is in the diet.  Since reading Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma I had been conscious of the amount of corn in our modern diet, but I hadn’t thought much about wheat.  As Yogi Berra supposedly said, “You can see a lot just by looking.”  So I went out and looked.  And I can tell you that we are much more Children of the Wheat than we are Children of the Corn.

In most grocery stores, an entire aisle is devoted to nothing but bread in all its forms.  Then there is typically another large aisle full of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, tarts, sweet rolls, bagels, croissants, brownies, and other sweet baked goods.  The vast majority of the cereal aisle displays products containing primarily wheat.  And if you look at processed foods of all kinds, you’ll find wheat in there.  If you make or buy gravy, roux, or just about any kind of sauce, you’ll find it’s thickened with wheat flour. (MD bought some demiglace a few days ago, and noticed as she was removing it from the container that even it had added wheat.) Then there is the aisle full of different beers, many of which are made with wheat.  These are just a few of the items you can find containing wheat in a grocery store; don’t even get me started on restaurant fare.  Wheat is everywhere – corn should be so lucky.

When I was roaming around looking for pictures of dwarf wheat (more about which later), I came upon the website for the Kansas Wheat Commission that listed a few facts about wheat.  Here are several that caught my eye.

Wheat is the primary grain used in U.S. grain products.  Approximately three-quarters of all U.S. grain products are made from wheat flour.

More food is made with wheat than any other cereal grain.

U.S. Farmers grow nearly 2.4 billion bushels of wheat on 63 million acres of land.

About half the wheat grown in the United States is used domestically.

A little back-of-the-envelope calculating using the above statistics tells us that each of us in the United States consumes about four bushels of wheat per year.  Another statistic from the linked website states that each bushel of wheat makes about 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread.  So, we all eat the equivalent of 360 loaves of bread per year, or approximately one loaf per person per day. That’s a lot of wheat, in fact, it’s almost approaching ancient Egyptian levels. (Moreover, since MD and I don’t eat any, that means two other people out there are each eating two loaves per day.)

It would be bad enough if we consumed all this wheat as emmer or einkhorn or other primitive varieties, but we don’t.  We get most from a hybrid of Triticum aestivum – our great grandmother’s wheat – called dwarf (or semi-dwarf) wheat, which now comprises more than 99 percent of all wheat grown worldwide.

As Dr. Davis tells it, the hybridization of wheat came about in an effort to improve yield, which is now about tenfold greater per acre than it was a century ago. Older strains of wheat were taller and more prone to damage from wind and rain.  And

When large quantities of nitrogen-rich fertilizer are applied to wheat fields, the seed head at the top of the plant grows to enormous proportions.  The top-heavy seed head, however, buckles the stalk.  Buckling kills the plant and makes harvesting problematic. A University of Minnesota-trained geneticist…is credited with developing the exceptionally high-yielding dwarf wheat that was shorter and stockier, allowing the plant to maintain erect posture and resist buckling under the large seed head.  Tall stalks are also inefficient; short stalks reach maturity more quickly, which means a shorter growing season with less fertilizer required to generate the otherwise useless stalk.

In the photos below you can see the difference between wheat grown in the Middle Ages and the dwarf wheat grown today.

Dr. Davis writes that modern wheat is approximately 70 percent carbohydrate by weight.  The carbohydrate is in the form of a starch called amylopectin A.

The most digestible form of amylopectin, amylopectin A, is the form found in wheat.  Because it is the most digestible, it is the form that most enthusiastically increases blood sugar.  This explains why, gram for gram, wheat increases blood sugar to a greater degree than, say, kidney beans or potato chips.  The amylopectin A of wheat products, “complex” or no, might be regarded as a supercarbohydrate, a form of highly digestible carbohydrate that is more efficiently converted to blood sugar than nearly all the other carbohydrate foods, simple or complex. [Italics in the original.]

But what about the much vaunted whole grains.  Won’t ‘whole grain’ bread or wheat products be better?  Not according to Dr. Davis:

…the degree of processing, from a blood sugar standpoint, makes little difference: Wheat is wheat, with various forms of processing or lack of processing, simple or complex, high-fiber or low-fiber, all generating similar high blood sugars.  Just as “boys will be boys,” amylopectin A will be amylopectin A.  In healthy, slender volunteers, two medium-sized slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar by 30 mg/dl (from 93 to 123 mg/dl), no different from white bread.  In people with diabetes, both white and whole grain bread increase blood sugar 70 to 120 mg/dl over starting levels.

And aside from the blood sugar and, consequently, insulin problems caused by the consumption of too much wheat, there are other problems.  As with almost any food, the newer the food, the greater the likelihood that it will be problematic to some humans who consume it.  Since dwarf wheat has been around for less than 50 years, it should come as no surprise that it does indeed cause it’s share of problems.  Dr. Davis spends the better part of his excellent book detailing many of these problems and describing his clinical experience in helping many of his patients shuck their wheat habit.  He describes the increase in celiac disease over the past 50 years and believes, as I do, that celiac disease is a continuum.  The severe form of it that is recognized as celiac disease is pretty easy to diagnose (if a doctor has sense enough to look for it), but there are milder forms that manifest themselves as anything from mysterious rashes that come and go to diarrhea and other GI disturbances to arthritic aches and pains. And we can’t forget a number of other afflictions that may well have their basis in wheat intolerance that include osteoporosis, acne (bagel face?), neurological disorders, and the creepily- dubbed ‘man boobs.’

It’s good to learn in Wheat Belly that Dr. Davis has finally shucked his bred-in-the-bone cardiologist’s antipathy toward fat in general and saturated fat specifically and has come over to what most of his peers must view as the dark (read: low-carb) side:

The fat phobia of the past forty years turned us off from foods such as eggs, sirloin, and pork because of their saturated fat content — but saturated fat was never the problem.  Carbohydrates in combination with saturated fat, however, cause measures of LDL particles to skyrocket.  The problem was carbohydrates more than saturated fat.  In fact, new studies have exonerated saturated fat as an underlying contributor to heart attack and stroke risk. [Italics in the original.]

Dr. Davis wraps up his meticulously researched book with a straightforward plan to help free the reader from the tyranny of wheat, while at the same time providing instructions for a delicious and satisfying wheat-free diet.  He furnishes an extensive list of wheat-containing foods that should be avoided and imparts his caveats about going facedown in products advertised as being gluten-free.  And best of all, he provides a short section filled with matchless wheat-free recipes for many meals that would otherwise be wheat-laden. (MD and I have tried a few of these recipes and found them to be superb.  I especially enjoy his wheat-free granola recipe even though I go a little easy on the rolled oats part of it.)

Wheat Belly hit the New York Times Bestseller list shortly after it came out (and has been there for two weeks now), which I can tell you from experience, is not an easy thing to do.  As a result (because being on the NY Times list means a book has had big sales numbers), the wheat producers have not taken their hits lying down.  They’re fighting back with full venom, because a book like this one can do them serious economic damage. Expect it to get worse. (Remember all those shelves in the grocery stores stuffed with wheat-containing products? They don’t want to see that go away.)  You can read about some of their tactics here and read Tom Naughton’s interviews with Dr. Davis here and here.

I can’t recommend this terrific book highly enough.  Wheat Belly is fully referenced and indexed (unless you somehow got the little freebee paperback review version that I received from the publisher), and is a must have for the library of any serious low-carber or anyone concerned about health.

*MD and I wrote about this domestication of humans by grains in The Protein Power LifePlan.  In that book we referenced an interesting paper by a couple of Australian researchers on the hypothesis that the addictive nature of cereal grains helping this domestication along.

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223 thoughts on “Wheat Belly

    • Yes, the ancient Egyptians have mummified remains that are examined today. Do the slaves who worked for them – consuming fewer calories and expending a lot more energy – also have mummified remains? This whole idea of focusing on someone who ate X and had the Y disease – in historical context, going by some remains or artifacts – um, no. It doesn’t tell you much. When someone trying to ‘sell’ a diet dregs up other civilizations (not present ones, but ones from the past are particularly popular!) to prove points as they try to ‘sell’ the diet – ugh, it’s just… predictable.

  1. “Farming made possible larger communities filled with workers, workers who, for the first time, made specialization of labor a possibility.”

    I’ll see you the above statement and raise you one:

    “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

    I don’t agree with everything Robert Heinlein ever wrote, but it’s worth noting that the more different we strive to make ourselves from one another in any human culture, the more unequally we are treated. Also that the more specialized each of us is in some task or another, the more society comes to depend on such specializations and the more lost we are if society collapses.

    We feel an urge to defend the way things are because we’re wired to hold our early acculturation in the same esteem as certain other animals hold their own instinctive drives. Culture has *replaced* instinct for the most part. But the dread we feel at being told our culture is wrong, or harmful for ourselves or our local (or planetary) ecology, pretty much occurs at the biological level. So I understand why people say, “Yes, agriculture was bad for us, but think of all the things we gained.” It probably takes a person who has never felt like they were truly part of society to be able to look outside the box, which is not going to describe most of us. So as a relatively alienated individual, I’m saying it: Most of what we view as wonderful advances for humanity are so much pointless junk–and we could be just as happy without them and, generally speaking, healthier as well, as we are *with* them.

    It is a difficult thing to admit, and even more difficult to act upon it, as no human being survives well alone, so even someone who realizes what a sham most of our “accomplishments” are can hardly go back to a saner way of living. No one else is going with us. It’s why people tend to die when they try to go back to the wilderness by themselves. Even when they know how to survive conditions, they’re vulnerable to accidents and to the elements with no one there to spot ’em. But maybe if enough of us spoke up who don’t quite buy into the whole “cultural evolution” mythology, if enough of us understood we were not alone in our thinking, we might start to create alternatives to the current dietary and societal madness. I’m seeing signs of this beginning in the Paleo/primal and rewilding communities, and hopefully the process will continue.

    P.S. There have always been workers in human society. Agriculture hardly created them. Although I daresay we had a lot more free time before we went inventing jobs we hadn’t needed to do in the first place.

    I’ve heard it said that agriculture was first developed so people could brew more beer, and that wide-scale agriculture was developed from that so that tribal leaders could throw bigger parties. It makes more sense than claiming it was for the avoidance of starvation; you don’t sew your parachute after you’ve jumped out of the plane, after all. And the idea fits in with what we already know about agriculture creating or exacerbating (depending on the existing culture) social and economic inequality.

  2. Another thought (I could share many more, but this isn’t my blog):

    “And fewer people could till the fields and provide food for the many, freeing the others to pursue the arts, business, politics, and warfare.”

    We were already free to pursue the arts, business, politics, and warfare. All agriculture did was limit who was allowed to procure food at any given time. Daniel Quinn says the defining trait of our culture, Eastern or Western (it’s all the same culture at bottom), is that the food is locked up.

    I have to laugh when I see libertarians speak of individual liberty and, in the same breath, extol the virtues of private property. When they (you?) speak of private property they speak not of jewelry or automobiles but of land. Land equals food, no matter how you procure that food or which kind it is. The land being owned and fenced off means some people will own the food and some will not. Access to food is the primary defining factor of how much liberty any individual can enjoy. No food = no freedom.

    Everyone cannot own enough arable land to sustain themselves. There will always be some people who own land that provides food, while others cannot access it. This will become more and more true the more of us exist on this planet.

    If we could at least expand our definition of “food,” which culturally differs from the concept of “edible” (how many people reading this find the idea of eating grubs appealing? Grubs are edible, but to most of us they are not food), then at least we’d have the option of pursuing animal prey instead of farming–but then, someone always owns the herds too, and if they own them, no one else can hunt them.

    I imagine these problems will solve themselves eventually, at the rate we are going socially and ecologically. But the solving won’t be pleasant.

    • you are saying that owning land to procure food is the end all, be all. Civiliaztion is built on trade. If you grow food and I am a healer and your child is sick, we both survive,

      Then again, we both can hunt down our food and no trade is needed. That is what man did for thousand of years.

      • Maybe we can both hunt down our food, or maybe we can’t. Around here there are quite a few laws about who may shoot what, where, when, and how many. I believe similar laws apply to fishing. And, of course, if one lives in a city the only things available to hunt may well be rats, stray cats, and pigeons.

        This is not a new phenomenon. In medieval Europe, game lands belongs to the nobility, and poaching was potentially a hanging offense.

  3. I am on the final chapters of this really well written and informative book.
    Dr. Davis has a friendly writing style that allows complex topics to be easily understood. I particularly enjoyed the success stories taken from his medical practice.

  4. It gets worse, Dr. Eades. Take a trip over to Petro Dobromylskyj’s Hyperlipid blog, and look over the entry for September 22nd. I found the article a bit tough to read, but I also found it VERY important, and it explains a lot about my personal predicament (which I am in the process of documenting on my own blog).

    My current theory: The Ornish/McDougall (QUACK!) diet at least semi-permanently damaged my metabolism, which set the stage for my rapid weight gain to 350 lbs. The low-carb diet (most recently, your 6wc diet) and Fred Hahn’s slow-burn weight training have partially repaired the damage, but the damage may well be permanent. This could explain why even low-carb won’t let me get down much below about 240 lbs.

    While I find Petro’s information depressing, it also gives me some hope — when the mechanism for an illness can be understood properly, it increases the chance that a cure might be found.

  5. Thanks for this. I’ve been aware of the prevalence of wheat in the American food supply since the 1970s, when my mother was struggling to find foods she could feed my sister, who suffers from asthma and has a number of allergies, including wheat. I can remember her complaining to my father about the prevalence of wheat in everything processed back then.

    It was much easier for my mother to help my sister avoid wheat, because she was a stay-at-home mother on a cattle ranch where we grew much of our own food. But it is odd where wheat will turn up as an ingredient.

    ow, my mother complains about the prevalence of wheat in everything because both she and my sister have been diagnosed with celiac disease, which is another complication of our cereal-based food consumption.

    I don’t have celiac — I was tested — but I am now in my second week of following your plan, and I find that by cutting out all of the bread — as well as other carbs — I’m feeling better and losing weight. I’m also noticing that my ankles are no longer swollen and I no longer stiffen up with joint pain in general. I haven’t had my blood sugar tested recently, but I have been pre-diabetic for years.

    I’m beginning to think that, given my family’s history with allergies and celiac, that I just can’t “go there” any more. I find I don’t mind too much — after the first couple of days of going through the carb withdrawal — and I look forward to my annual checkup in a month or so to see what’s what.

    • Kathy – I found the same thing with regard to the reduction of swollen ankles and reduction of joint pain & stiffness…what a good thing!

  6. Dr. Eades,

    Thank you very much for this timely article. Quite a few people I know are skeptical about my insistance that grains are not good for them. I will point them your way, and they can make up their own minds from there.

    Take care,

    • Kane, it’s amazing how many people are skeptical about cutting grains out of the diet, including dietitians and doctors. Many would slap your wrist for following a nutritional plan that eliminates grains and limits other modern foods, probably arguing that you would be sacrificing intake of important nutrients. And they would be absolutely incorrect. Eliminating grains – especially gluten grains – is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health.

  7. I was hoping you would review this book. I got my copy last week and loved it. Dr. Davis has already gotten push back from the Grain Foods Foundation
    on their ” grains are healthy” blog.. It was hilarious to read all the comments from the public, because they were all stories of how each person had improved their own health by giving up wheat. Dr. Davis challenged the grain people to a debate, but they are not taking the challenge.. I’d hide too if I pushed a product that made people sick..

  8. Where have you BEEN?!? :) Your blog is a mainstay for inspiration and maintaining dietary focus! I was starting to get a little bummed out! :)

    Thanks for the review! This book has been popping up on the radar all over the place. With the lastest trend these days of emotionally demonizing grains, it’s nice to know that there are people taking the time to thoughtfully substantiate. It makes my life easier when working with people still entrenched in the food pyramid paradigm. I’ll be certain to pick up a copy.

    Thanks, thanks!

  9. My wheat consumption is limited to a few beers every now and then, and low-carb tortillas that I use for hamburgers. I’ve tried everything under the sun to come up with something better to hold my burgers (revoloopsie rolls, almond flour and coconut flour pancakes, pounded down and sous-vided chicken breasts, cheese….) but nothing really satisfies. I also try to just go bunless but usually find myself reaching for the tortillas…

    Anyone out there got any ideas?

  10. Great post Dr. Eades. I am grateful to you , Dr. Davis, and Gary Taubes for setting me on the right track. In The Low-Carb Comfort Food Cookbook some of the recipes contain Vital Wheat Gluten which I have now eliminated from my recipes. I realize this book was written some years and things change.
    Now ,how about a rewiew of The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek?
    Thanks again for your amazing blogs
    Joan Mercantini

  11. Great review! My review copy was a time-limited on-line version, but it contained all the references. Once I get a real job again, I’ll buy a copy.

    @Kathy, in the book Dr. Davis notes many people in his practice that have been told they test negative for celiac disease, but they are nevertheless sensitive to wheat in ways almost identical to celiac disease. It’s worth a read for the section on this, as he has both the science and the stories from his own practice in the book.

  12. Very nice post Dr. Eades. The China Study data abundantly supports the notion that wheat flour is one of the worst additions to the Chinese diet.

    Interestingly, the only antidote to that seems to be the consumption of a certain amount of animal food, above a threshold.

    That threshold would be 221 g/d, in that sample:


    • Interesting, to be sure. But despite its enormous length and plethora of data points, the China study is still nothing but a massive observational study showing thousands of correlations. And as we all know, correlations cannot prove causation. Since it is simply an observational study, albeit a massive one, it doesn’t matter how much the data in it is sliced and diced, it still doesn’t prove anything. The only way we can know if a threshold of 221 g/d of meat consumption would be protective against any adverse effects of concomitant wheat consumption would be to do a randomized control trial. At least that’s the way I see it.

      • Even the randomized control trial would have some serious problems. Among others, one cannot control for everything, and controls tend to lead to rather crude data segmentation – e.g., no wheat vs. wheat treatment conditions, as opposed to a continuous variable reflecting wheat consumption.

        The only way forward, in my view, is to take ALL study results with a grain of salt, and as parts of a bigger puzzle. This applies to longitudinal, cross-sectional, observational, controlled, and even theoretical studies.

        • Agreed. All the Egyptian mummy data is observational because that’s all we’ve got. It’s difficult to do RTCs on ancient Egyptians to see if really is their diet causing the problems from which they suffered.

          • That may be the case, but it’s still fun to bring up that it may be in fact grains that causes atherosclerosis from the mummy data. Especially to people who are still confused about saturated fats and cholesterol. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, “The grains are protecting themselves somehow!” :-)

  13. Great Connection between Guns, Germs, and Steel and Wheat Belly! I devoured both of them. This “wheat is bad” idea is so foreign to so many that we need as many great books as we can find to support it.
    I wonder what our grocery store aisles will look like in 10 years…

  14. I’ve been hearing so many fabulous things about this book, and reading this article finally pushed me over the edge. I just ordered a copy from Amazon. I hope it has a real impact. Thanks for the interesting review.

  15. “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” was published in 1999, over a decade ago. A tremendous book, one of the most influential in my life. Although it doesn’t contain anything like dietary recommendations, when I chanced to read “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution” shortly after reading GGS, I saw the logic of low-carb instantly. High-carb, low-fat diets for humans do not exist in nature; they require technology. For years I followed macrobiotic diet and philosophy, and one of the things I often heard was, “The story of grain is the story of civilization.” In macrobiotics, that’s supposed to establish how important grain is for human health. Now I know it points to its relevance to the wide variety of problems (disease, poverty, social injustice) thereof, as well as as the nice things like art literature and comfortable housing.

  16. Welcome back, we’ve missed you! I just finished Gary Taubes new book and am waiting for Amazon to deliver “Wheat Belly.” (and yes, I used your link for Amazon)

      • You might record them on a little MP3 player (I recommend the Sansa Clip — which I have playing nearly all the time! Love those podcasts!) and farm out the recorded audio files to some of us out here to transcribe. Then you have a written file you can edit and amend and add to and it’s already 3/4s-written! You should know that a lot of us would volunteer to do one or two a month! (Where there’s a will — and a microphone — there’s a way!) {wink}

          • There is also Dragon Naturally Speaking ($49 on Amazon: http://sn.im/drnspk). The latest version is actually usable, although it will take a couple of hours of practice to get really good at it (DNS will definitely hone your speech and pronunciation!).

            I got interested in DNS when I got a surprisingly detailed and thoughtful reply to an email I wrote to a local politician, and discovered that he used DNS to compose all of his email.

            I haven’t completely mastered the use of DNS, but it already looks promising for doing things like blog posts and emails (The first few I did that way took *longer* than typing them, though — I touch-type fairly well). Unfortunately, I can’t use it at all in my day-job cubicle farm, otherwise I would have gotten up to speed much faster.

            However, I still find that I tend to express myself better writing than with speech. I suppose (hope) that will change with practice.

            @Susan: I wish that had been original, but it isn’t. Gene Fowler beat me to it. By several decades.

  17. I was wondering about examples of the Egyptian art that showed obesity. From what I remember, people were shown thin to moderate enough, except for small belly paunches. Also we must consider the role abstraction and idealization plays in art. Were the paunches and or obesity accurate reflections of reality or were they symbolic of personal wealth and/or propaganda of the success of the regime in providing?

    Another thing from an anthological perspective, is that agriculture in leading to an explosion of population, has enslaved that population for it’s own sustainability. The more agriculture, the more people. The more people, the more that agriculture is needed. It’s a problem without end.

    Lierre Keith also makes that case that agriculture (especially the modern factory forms) is a radical environmental ecocide that doesn’t happen with controlled grazing. Of course the human race is way past the point for that kind of ecology to sustain itself.

    • Most ancient Egyptian art portray people in idealized forms, much in the same way magazines today use people with perfect bodies as models. If you based your notions of obesity in America only on pictures you saw in Vogue or almost any other magazine, you would think Americans were all svelte. But we know that’s not the case. There are much Egyptian artwork – statuary, paintings and reliefs – showing the average Egyptian of the era, and many are depicted as being obese to some degree. I have numerous photos that I’ve taken in various museums around the world showing this, but unfortunately, they are on 35 mm slides that I haven’t converted to digital form. Many of the statues of males show both protuberant bellies along with ‘man boobs’ that are a function of the phytoestrogens in the wheat that was the mainstay of their diet.

  18. I also was intrigued by all the other effects of modern wheat. Dr. Davis really does a great job… although I think that maybe he missed the mark a little concerning supplementation. If he did mention it, I may have missed it entirely, though I wonder if some may end up with muscle cramps and lethargy from electrolyte imbalance mainly from potassium and magnesuim? After being on PP, PPLP and 6WC it was definitely something I noticed. :)

    After reading Wheat Belly, I did my own wheat-ectomy, (though being a PPLP-er I didn’t eat much at all anyhow) I noticed a radical difference in, well, let’s say for politeness sake, lady issues. Wish I had known this about 15 years ago!

    Sure is hard to eat wheat-free at restaurants though, you never know where it’s hiding. Having a SVS really helps though! 😉


  19. I just started reading Wheat Belly yesterday. I was struck by the fact that modern wheat cannot survive without human intervention– kind of hard to claim it’s “all natural” when it can’t survive in nature. Makes me wonder what other genetically modified food might be as natural as the wheat we’re currently being fed. I never understood until now why organic produce, especially locally grown, is important for long term health.

  20. Dr. Eades, I admire your writing style and your good grammar. I used to homeschool my kids so I’ve been curious about how people become good writers. Do you attribute it to certain teachers?

    • That said, and it’s true, I was concerned about your abuse of the poor old apostrophe (its/it’s) in this blog. I know you are a stickler for pedantry around such things (I still balk at “healthy food” thanks to you), so you have no-one to blame but yourself for the following:
      it’s = it is
      its = belonging to it. ( as a rule for remembering, his and hers have no apostrophe).

  21. “an entire aisle is devoted to nothing but bread in all its forms.”

    I’ve noticed that the big supermarkets are moving pastries and breads out to the front of the store so you see the bagels and pieces of chocolate cake on the way in or out…guess they know their customers??

  22. Great to have you posting again.

    I’m looking forward to reading Dr. Davis’ book, but as good as the writing sounds, his biggest accomplishment has got to be that title, which in my view is probably why it’s on the NYT Bestseller list.

    That title is so “sticky” and makes such intuitive sense to the layperson (and hits them right in their pain-point) that it has got to be scaring the crap out of Big Wheat.

    (The cover design is a home run as well.)

    • Dr. Davis had an even better photo on his blog when he first used the term “wheat belly.” It was of a very impressive wheat belly! Probably too controversial to use on the book…

  23. Fantastic. Hogan and Braley’s “Dangerous Grains” is a good read if you want more detail about gluten and autoimmunity, celiac spectrum, etc.
    A proline-rich protein like gluten can put a wide variety of antigenic peptides into the body after (partial) digestion and it’s impracticable to test for antibodies to all of them. Skin tests are useless; it’s not wheat or gluten per se that we react to, but a varied mix of digestion products.
    It’s likely that gluten sensitivity is what sets us up for other food sensitivities, such as dairy, by first disrupting gut immunity and tight junctions.

    On another subject; saw a doco about the Karluk shipwreck which had the “death by protein poisoning” line.
    However, 2 things were obvious: the Karluk survivors were on starvation rations; they couldn’t have overdosed on anything. And the pemmican supposedly was a canned mix of meat and vegetables. If we need another explanation, might I suggest wet beri beri, which was hardly known in 1914, perhaps combined with scurvy. Dysentery,
    Beri Beri, acute nephritis (kidney failure) is listed online as cause of death for POW on starvation rations in japanese camp in WW2.

  24. “Arsenic poisoning causes alterations in cellular metabolism resulting in blockage of thiamine use which results in thiamine deficiency without any dietary shortfall.” What if there was arsenic in the cans? – Eating some species of raw fish – which was definitely a food the Karluk survivors were exposed to – can also inhibit thiamine. As death occurred in one camp and not another, perhaps differences in cooking or fishing luck were critical?

  25. That was ironic.

    I left you a comment on the last post a few weeks back with a link to an interview with the author wanting your thoughts on it.

    Comment is still waiting moderation, but I ended up with something better, an entire blog post on it :)

    Thanks, Dr. Mike!

  26. I put my money where my mouth is and I have, so far, purchased 10 copies of ‘Wheat Belly’ (did this also for several Eades books) and I’ve given them out. I plan on purchasing more. I feel so fortunate that I have this profound and life-saving information about the nature of the SAD that I must spread it and ‘pay it forward’. As I’ve read in ‘Fat Head’, if someone has this information but chooses to ignore it, that’s one thing, but for the sick and ailing who don’t know about all of this stunning news, that’s a tragedy. If I can reach some of my family and friends with this miracle, simple, satisfying, preventative ‘diet’ ( a diet of low-carb, zero wheat, high animal protein, fat and cholesterol) and it improves the life of just one other person, as it has mine, then that makes me ecstatic.

  27. Hey, the doc’s back! Yay! You must have been pretty busy? Very happy to check today and find an update.

    I am increasingly fascinated by the agriculture thing and happy to see new reading material! I always meant to read ‘Germs, Guns’; now I have another reason to do so.

    To a certain extent I feel that the obesity issue clouds the deeper, root problem.

    For example, most of my family members have always been very slim — so they understand MY decision to stop the sugar and starch. They can ‘see’ how ‘too much’ of those things could be bad for you — and being family, they can certainly testify that I always ate more of those bad things than they did.

    However, they take issue with my suggestions that they should do the same. Their logic is: if I am slim, then I must be healthy.

    But put to them the idea that humankind is in poor(er) health (than we could be) because several thousand years ago the great majority of us stopped being hunter-gatherers and they look at you with pity — it’s clear that in your diet frenzy, you’ve crossed over into whoo-hoo loony conspiracist territory, and they silently hope you will get over this phase soon.

    I ‘saw the light’ seven months ago and no longer think of myself as being on a diet. I still wrestle with a sweet tooth, bread and pasta still make my mouth water — but I will never go back to eating the way I did!

  28. Yes, wheat is everywhere, which you really find out once you make the decision eliminate it from your diet.

    Just for kicks, read the ingredients list on a bottle of standard soy sauce.

  29. If anyone wants to read more about how agriculture was a monumentally stupid idea, read this set of theses written by a writer by the name of Jason Godesky. Writer with an anthropology degree who claims the evidence “swayed” him to question EVERYTHING he believed about out civilization. I recomend you all read this, very eye opening.

    Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy:

    Emergent elites led the Agricultural Revolution:

    • This kind of stuff drives folks like me nuts. It takes a certain arrogance to assume that all farmers are somehow “lesser” beings because they choose to raise animals for food and grow food, while others choose to pursue other occupations.

      My cattle rancher father doesn’t consider himself a “nonelite.” In fact, he often tells me he feels sorry for those of us who are cooped up in offices, because he gets out in the sun and fresh air and exercises while the rest of us have to make do with HVAC, sun lamps and treadmills. And he has a point.

      It was the development of agriculture that freed humans up to pursue all kinds of other activities, including law, philosophy, the arts, etc.

      Have we been as smart with our agricultural practices as we should have been? Clearly not. And more and more, people are starting to make the changes to push those agricultural practices in a more healthy direction. The growth of CSAs, the continuing trend toward eating more protein and fewer carbs, and the success of books like “Wheat Belly” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemna” are all indicators of that healthier trend.

      But to assume that the hunter-gatherer mode of living was some sort of paradise is grossly overstating the point. No system is perfect, because humans are responsible for designing said systems.

      Let’s indulge less in that kind of thinking and focus more on improving the systems we now have in place.

      • Did you even read the links? Here are more to indulge yourself in, and everything you said about law, philosophy, art….do you have any research to back up that hunter-gatherers DIDN’T have their own laws, philosophy and art? I’m open to new ideas, as long as it’s backed up with evidence. Forager life was far from perfect and we should not romanticize it, but the “nasty, brutish, and short” notion has been debunked many times. Forager life always gives back more than it takes from nature, which is why it’s sustainable and agriculture is not.

        Civilization has no monopoly on knowledge:

        Civilization has no monopoly on art:

        Agriculture or Permaculture: Why Words Matter:

        • You ignore my main point, which was, in essence, “yes, agriculture has made mistakes. Humanity makes mistakes. Let’s focus more on improving the current system and less on demonizing the decisions and choices of our past.”

          Otherwise, there’s little point in even making changes in our diet and lives.

      • That’s not what he said. Your modern farmer is an elite of sorts, but not so long ago farms were either slave plantations where 99% of the people doing the work had no pretensions to culture and precious little protection under law, or peasant smallholdings where things were just as bad.
        Also, humans probably did not “design” hunter-gatherer lifestyle at all. Does a spider monkey or a leopard design its way of life? That’s a later human stage, surely.

        • However, he speaks nonsense when he writes

          These horticultural practices slowly became more and more intensive. Eventually increasing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere enough to counteract the general cooling trend. These two trends canceled each other out maintaining the climate as one that would support intensive horticulture and even agriculture.

          Right; neolithic man produced enough CO2 to warm up the planet. I see. No wonder there are climate change skeptics today, if even Neolithic farmers had to put up with this kind of criticism.
          This guy does seem to do justice to anthropology, but the trouble with climatology today is that everyone has become a self-appointed expert; expertise in anthropology, for example, does not provide the means to understand what is an incredibly complex and confusing field of physical science, processing a mind-boggling array of physical data from the entire planet, from the ocean depths to the ionosphere and beyond, and from aeons of Earth’s history, as well as the laboratory.

          • That link about the post “During The Middle” was written by someone else, not Jason Godesky (the writer whose work I linked). I’m not familiar with Benjamin (wrote what you linked), but I believe he comes from a less “academic” point of view than Jason.

      • Kathy, you can’t decide where to go if you don’t know where you are.

        Methinks you a bit too sensitive, reading disdain for individuals in agriculture from seeing what it has done to us, both better (as you mention some) and worse (finding out more every day.)

        We love to talk about our accomplishments, but I ask, “Was the archaic H-G unhappy?” All evidence of extant groups, or those observed in the last several hundred years would imply substantially that the answer is a resounding “No!” In fact, probably a lot happier than many moderns.

        I don’t think anyone is dissing your uncle or other ranchers and farmers.

  30. Thanks for drawing attention to the potential dangers of wheat consumption! My road to health (and weight loss, which was my primary concern at the time) started with GCBC by Taubes. That lead me on a reading frenzy, which is how I found you and many other helpful authors.

    My journey for useful information was compounded about 2 years ago when my hair began falling out in huge patches. It is alopecia, an autoimmune disorder. After seeing traditional MD’s for about a year with no good results (they all just wanted to use steroids), I sought out the advice of a couple different ND’s.

    I had a gut feeling that there was a connection between my hair falling out and grain/wheat. For one thing, I felt completely out of control around foods like cookies, brownies, bread and pasta. I would eat them until I literally felt sick.

    I asked my MD to test me for celiac. She ordered a blood test and told me that the test showed negative for celiac, so it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to eliminate wheat and other gluten containing grains from my diet. She never gave me a copy of this test (and apparently she didn’t know how to interpret the results either). Eight months later when my ND obtained a copy she said that I absolutely should eliminate wheat because the test revealed that I had extremely high antibodies to gliadin protein (like gluten, it is a protein found in wheat). These elevated antibodies are indicative of an autoimmune disorder.

    My hair continued to fall out in huge clumps. Last July I was forced to shave my head and resort to wigs. I even started to notice that my eyebrows were thinning. This was extremely disconcerting for me as a woman. But, not only was my hair falling out, I felt like crap too. The blood tests ordered by my MD had also revealed that my ferratin (iron) level was 8; which is extremely low. This didn’t make sense to me because I ate red meat nearly every day. I was also having severe leg cramps, numbness in my feet, and my hands and feet were freezing all the time. I was also referred to a cardiologist for a heart murmur that was severe enough to be of concern to my OBGYN who found it.

    Bottom line, I am allergic to wheat and unable to properly break down the gliadin protein. When these maldigested proteins get into my blood stream my body sees them as invaders and creates antibodies to kill them. Over time, this has put my immune system on hyper alert because I was eating wheat at nearly every meal. Autoimmunity is caused when the immune system becomes confused by this hyper alert state and then picks a protein that is part of “self” to also destroy (in this case, my hair).

    Eating wheat had also damaged my intestines so that I was not absorbing any of the minerals that I was eating. Hence all my symptoms of mineral deficiency (the numbness, cramping, heart murmur, etc).

    It has been a year now that I have been gluten free and I feel much better. The bread cravings are gone. I have been supplementing a lot of minerals and now all those bad symptoms are gone too including my heart murmur. And, my hair has stopped falling out and is growing back. I hope to be able to stop wearing my wigs in another couple months. I am really grateful to the two wise ND’s who helped me understand that my body can heal itself when the dietary stressors are removed the nutrients I was lacking are made available.

    I really enjoy your blog, Dr. Eades. Thanks!

  31. ‘Dr. Davis wraps up his meticulously researched book with a straightforward plan to help free the reader from the tyranny of wheat,’

    This sums up the entire Eades post here. Some will find that edifying. Some will find it downright hilarious. I do!

    • Gosh, it looks like “CarbSanity” is taking a break from her relentless trashing of Gary Taubes.

      She is the biggest wackjob on the internet.

  32. @ Kate
    What is edifying/hilarious here? The quote, the entire post, or your thesis that the quote summarises the entire post?
    A close reading of your sentences supports the last interpretation. You are finding your own thinking funny. I envy you.

  33. Dr Mike,

    This isn’t an appropriate comment for this article necessarily, but I wanted to ask if you could do a piece on the cost/benefit of losing and regaining weight, vs just staying fat. I understand there has been some research on this topic lately and as far back as 50 years ago… I’d like to get an idea of how damaging losing weight is to your cardio vascular system by itself, how damaging it is once you regain the weight, and how damaging it is to just stay fat all by comparison based on whatever research is available.

    Like 97% of people who ever get obese, I keep yo-yoing, and it’s scaring me that it’s already too late for me to achieve reasonable longevity or quality of life as i’ve gained and lost 50 lbs probably 5 times, lost/regained 80 pounds once, etc.

    I just did it yet again and am starting over… and wondering if maybe i should just give up and accept my fate before i do this again 10 more times in my life.

  34. Just ran across a new paper out on the causes of type 1 diabetes (T1D). Check out this paragraph:


    In 1993 we discovered that hydrolyzed diet protects against T1D in NOD mice (107). It was new and not generally accepted that changes in the diet could influence the incidence of diabetes.

    Six years later, the study was extended more specifically to gluten-free diet, which lowered the T1D incidence from 64% in the chow-fed control NOD mice to 15% in the experimental mice (108).

    In a more recent study in which the gluten-free diet-treated animals had never experienced gliadin (a gluten protein), not even in fetal or neonatal life, the decline in incidence of T1D was from 61% to just 6% (109).

    Sure, it’s mice, but still, a compelling reason to avoid wheat and other grains.

    • I’m getting to this post late but still timely as just last night I watched a Nova episode on Otzi where they extracted the contents of his stomach. There was a lot of wheat and some ibex. Interesting to note, he also had arterial calcification. The principals decided to interpret this as evidence for the human genetic predisposition for heart disease, but I immediately wondered about the wheat. Fascinating to consider that even at this earliest point in the change of human diet, evidence of disease presents.

      Great to see another post, Dr. Eades. I like the idea of you considering a recording device into which you unload your brain for our benefit.

      Will check out Wheat Belly.

  35. Really appreciate your post. You are one of the few authorities I use as a go to simply because I trust your intellectual honesty and commitment to letting the data speak.

    I am reading Wheatbelly, and while it is good, I confess I think it would have been better if the author had collaborated with you (and no this is not intended as a suck up post); my reason, I am finding it to be a little thin on supporting data, though better than most.

    BTW: Go Razorbacks! 18 pts down at half followed by a last minute comeback win. Can’t get much better than that.

  36. OK, I should know better than to comment on a book before I finish it. Please ignore my previous “thin on references” comment.
    Good book and giving me a lot to think about.

  37. I have been eating very low carb for two months. I feel great, except that i tend to wake up feeling jittery and sweaty in my armpits, even though my blood sugar is normal. I eat plenty of fat and protein, averaging between 2000 and 3000 calories a day. Also, i should note that in the evenings, i like to have a few drinks, some wine and/or beer. I’ve drank like this for years while eating the SAD. What do you think is at the root of the morning episodes? They don’t necessarily subside as soon as I eat. That said, i’ve noticed that on the mornings that i go for a swim (fasted), even though i might feel jittery and sweating before swimming, afterwards i feel fine. Does that suggest something to do with adrenaline perhaps? I am a coffee drinker, averaging 1 to 4 cups daily. Anything similar reported from your patients?

  38. I do wonder — If the Egyptians and Ötzi the Iceman were already having significant health problems as a result of eating primitive forms of wheat, isn’t all the bashing of modern “engineered” varieties of wheat kind of “much ado about nothing”?

    • ‘isn’t all the bashing of modern “engineered” varieties of wheat kind of “much ado about nothing”?’

      That struck me as well. Reading the review, I was like — so, wait, I can go back to scarfing rice, potatoes, sugar … as long as I avoid wheat?

      And then I was like, Ah. Right. It’s a book about wheat. I guess it’s in the author’s interest to present wheat as the biggest threat to humans ever.

  39. Unrelated to this post, but I just had to say that I am utterly hooked on this blog. These past couple of weeks have been a real rollercoaster ride for me. I want to write about it because my head is still spinning, please all feel free to skip this post, I just have to get it out.

    I’ve been a vegetarian- an obese vegetarian- for 15 years, some of them boring, tasteless vegan years (B12 deficiency? You betcha). I started counting calories in June this year, and dropped about 20lbs up to around mid-Sept. Then I started researching diet and weightloss on the internet. Someone on a diet forum mentioned the FatHead documentary, so I watched it. I was initially sceptical (how could anyone argue fast food wasn’t bad for us?!), but I watch it and was intrigued.

    So I put a few search terms into Google. I found a talk by Gary Taubes on YouTube. OMG. Now I love to watch TED talks, I love having new, innovative ideas thrown at me, but seriously? This was just huge for me.

    But you know, I’ve been fooled before, I’m not going to take anybody’s word for it. The guy just wants to sell books, right?
    So I kept Googling things like “low carb trial”, “evidence low carb”, even “Atkins wrong”, or “low carb unhealthy”. I found Chris Gardner’s AtoZ study talk on YouTube, so I watched it. That nailed it. A fellow vegetarian telling me Atkins works, based on what seems to be a well-conducted study. Kudos to the guy for sticking with the science and not trying to cover an “unfavourable” result.

    So I tried it. A was a vegetarian low carber. What a complete disaster. A human being cannot eat that many eggs, it’s wholly unnatural! No amount of meat substitute provides enough fat to stop me being hungry! I just couldn’t get the calories up to a reasonable level. I know there are vegetarian low carbers out there, but I simply couldn’t do it. I had no energy, I couldn’t concentrate, ravenous all the time.

    So I bought a packet of bacon. You have to understand, I’ve been vegetarian my entire adult life. I didn’t remember the taste of bacon. I wasn’t even sure how to cook it. A butcher’s shop makes no sense to me, it’s a foreign land. Add to that the Fear of Fat that I didn’t realise I had so deeply internalised. I was less horrified by the thought of eating an animal than with the thought of consuming saturated fat. I was so convinced I’d blow up like a whale in days, put the 20lbs back on overnight.

    My very patient omnivorous other half listened to me going on and on about my dietary epiphany, and very gently introduced me to the world of meat eating. I must have looked ridiculous sat there with a bit of bacon on a fork, gingerly nibbling at a corner like a tourist trying grasshopper in South East Asia. I fried things in butter, hoping this wasn’t going to make my heart explode out of my chest (think John Hurt’s character in Alien). I told my other half, I’m going to do it for 3 days. If I lose weight, I’m sticking to it.

    I lost 2lbs.

    I lost 5lb total last week. Yeah, I got the leg cramps, a mild headache, a bit of fatigue and feeling bad, but it all pales in comparison to what happened when I ate some sugar after abstaining for a few days. The hangover next morning was horrendous.

    The most important thing is perhaps that my father (fat) and his mother (fat) both developed Type 2 diabetes. I knew I had to lose weight. I’m just lucky, so lucky to have found the right way to do it.

    My head is just all over the place. I haven’t yet sorted the cognitive dissonance- I still don’t like the idea of eating animals. I’ve seen other ex-veg*ns very quickly latch on to arguments against vegetarianism and embrace their new omnivorous life. I know I must do that, to keep structural integrity- our own narratives about the world must make sense and gel with our actions. At the moment, my views think one thing while my mouth and stomach are doing something else. I suppose I just have to wait for my brain to catch up. This is how we’re supposed to eat..saturated fat is not going to kill me….gotta get these things in my head properly. Big ol’ paradigm shift there.

    It’s far too early (and I’m far too wary of the placebo effect and confirmation bias) for me to report back on my general progress beyond pounds lost. But I will plough on, and keep telling people about your books, your blog, GCBC.Diet Delusion, and Fat Head. I’m just…stunned. And very grateful. Thank you. And sorry for the long maiden post. :)

    • Welcome aboard. Sounds like your head is swimming with the newness of it all. Congrats on the switchover. I’m sure you will continue to feel better and better. No problem whatsoever with the long maiden post – I enjoyed reading it as will others.

    • Rachel, congratulations! I read every word of it, and never thought “gee, this thing sure is long!” :-)

      On the matter of killing animals, I hope what I’m going to say will help you rather than upset you: It is next to impossible for humans to eat without killing animals. It is one of the biggest myths of all times that vegetarianism doesn’t kill animals. Hundreds of small animals die or are injured by the machines that till the land and harvest the grain or soybeans. More are poisoned at the grain storage places. I’m sympathetic to you for not wanting to kill animals. I’ve cringed from time to time myself. But I remind myself that the animal that was killed for me to have that steak, probably died under more humane circumstances than the small animals that would die in the fields for me to eat tofu.

      • Marilyn, don’t worry about upsetting me, please! I can’t afford to be squeamish about meat eating anymore. I agree with you about “collateral damage” in grain agriculture- something I never considered as a vegetarian. The veggie mindset is focused on THAT animal in THAT supermarket that I don’t pay MY money for and put in MY body. Nothing else really factors in.

        But you know, I think there are other things about being vegetarian that I am just over now, too. I’ve read some pooh-poohing of psychological/emotional reasons for overeating and/or obesity, but having lived it I’m not so quick to dismiss it. I think personal control, expression of individuality, and opposition to “society”, conspicuous selflessness to make one feel better about oneself, even- perhaps especially- anger- all these things probably led me to vegetarianism. It’s no coincidence that I come to eat meat a year after recovering from an acute bout of depression- the weight loss and this WOE I think is me FINALLY getting over all that junk from my childhood and embarking on Rachel 2.0, if you like. Which sounds like psychobabble when I read it back. *sigh* Short version, going veggie was probably less to do with animals than I thought at the time. Going omnivorous low-carb is about me and my health, for once, because (shock horror) my life matters too. Took me long enough! :)

      • Tom is an avid follower of Dr. Eades, and I’d bet money he reads every comment on this blog (as do I).

        Tom has at least 2 blogs that I know of.

        Hey, Tom! Gotcha beat! I have 6 blogs going right now! Ok, it’s not really a contest, but if it was, Tom has more traffic to FatHead than I have to all of my blogs combined.

  40. Thanks for this review.

    Sorry to nitpick, but:
    “So, we all eat the equivalent of 360 loaves of bread per year, or approximately one loaf per person per day. […] (Moreover, since MD and I don’t eat any, that means two other people out there are each eating two loaves per day.)”

    Let’s take a VERY optimistic assumption that 20% of people don’t eat any bread at all. So, take 100 people. 2 don’t eat any bread but this group averages 100 loaves/day total. That means that 98 people are consuming 100 loaves. 100/98 ~ 1.02 loaves/person.

    Lower that 20% assumption to something more realistic, average this over a greater number and you’ll see that it really doesn’t influence the average all that much.

  41. Type-A amylopectin is the type present in cereals. Type-B is present in potatoes. (“Introduction to food chemistry”, Owusu-Apenten, p.53). If wheat is bad because it contains a large proportion of amylopectin A, then so-called “sticky” rice should be as bad or worse as it contains nearly 100% amylopectin A and no amylose (http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/02_10/275.htm).

    I think the general take away advice, no matter how you slice it, is that high glycemic load diets aren’t all that healthful, regardless of the “type” of carbohydrate that causes the high glycemic load.

  42. very interesting discussion at jimmy moore site regarding “safe starches” and the opinions of many regarding if there are safe starches and the role in the low carb diet.
    Dr. Eades have you seen it and do you have a view?


  43. I’m skeptical about the ability of food producers to use healthy and humane ways to raise animals for market.
    the production processes are not well monitored and the addition of antibiotics and hormones are always available to increase yields.
    I often wonder if many who’ve been diagnosed with alzheimers disease are actually victims of mad cow…autopsy is required to ascertain this diagnosis and only a small percentage are done now in hospitals.
    with the beef industry being what it is…a powerful lobby capable of hding whatever it likes…I am not a fan of meat.
    are you concerned about this too?

  44. There couple quite reasonable negative reviews of the “Wheat Belly” http://huntgatherlove.com/content/wheat-belly and http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/10/slam-dunked-and-wheat-belly.html by members of Paleo-blogosphere.

    I agree with Dr. Davis’s message about avoidance of wheat, but I know from his blog that he could be carried away. May be it is the thing that allows him to convince majority of his patients. I know from the personal experience that people are influenced the most by simple but powerful explanations. I know because it took me 3 years to convince my mom to go LC for health management. The less science I used in my speech the better it worked. It is sad.

  45. Hi, DR. Eades :)

    A bit off point, I know…… But I would like your readers to see the credibility and reliability of Anthony Colpo to get out correct infomation is extremely poor.

    His information about women being protected from heart disease is completely off base and incorrect. His information is from many, many decades back and we now know it to be out and out wrong.

    Women ages 35- 44 are NOT proteced from heart disease. And the incidence among younger women is and has been on the rise for a while now and is worrisome. When younger women get heart disease, their outcomes are usually much worse than men.

    More women die from heart disease than men. The mortality rate from heart disease in women is about 4 to 6 times GREATER than that of breast cancer.

    So the next time this uneducated Internet charlatan attacks you ( or Gary Taubes) , this would be a GREAT point to bring up to expose his ignorance to all .

    Feel free to use this information anytime you would like to.

    Take care,


    • Raz, I would like to suggest you read “Sex, Lies and Menopause” by TS Wiley et al. Women’s sex hormones do, indeed, provide major protection against heart disease and cancer among other things.

      However, the widespread use of horse estrogen and synthetic progesterone (aka birth control pills) and stress induced early menopause are robbing middle=aged women (and at 35 you are pretty much middle aged whether you want to admit it or not) of that very protection which comes from NATURAL hormones.

  46. Glad to have you back to blogging, I missed you! Thanks again for yet another great post. (Still waiting for the conclusion of the Porky Story 😉 )

  47. the production processes are not well monitored and the addition of antibiotics and hormones are always available to increase yields.
    I often wonder if many who’ve been diagnosed with alzheimers disease are actually victims of mad cow…autopsy is required to ascertain this diagnosis and only a small percentage are done now in hospitals.
    with the beef industry being what it is…a powerful lobby capable of hding whatever it likes…I am not a fan of meat.
    are you concerned about this too?

  48. I have just finished the book, and I have really enjoyed it. Although a bit redundant (I think the message could have been explained in half the extension of the book) it is a nice read, easy to understand but full of science behind.

    Wheat is murder.

  49. Recently published studies show a link between high blood glucose levels and Alzheimers. Funny how hearing that has made me suddenly go on a diet – I can apparently live with the idea that my obesity (and the food regime that caused it) can cause heart attack, stroke, diabetes, gout, cancer or depression, but please don’t threaten my higher cognitive functions!!
    In the last few years, two overweight aunts, one from each side of the family (always a bad sign), have succumbed to dementia that lasted a couple of years before they died. Quite scarey.

  50. @ Jim, it’s pretty certain that all the major brain diseases, including schizophrenia and alzheimers involve disorders of carbohydrate metabolism similar to diabetes. Mad Cow disease manifests quite differently from Alzheimers; progresses much more quickly, motor functions lost, and there is always a connection to contamination. No-one could confuse the two diseases.
    Use of chemicals in production of vegetable foods is also a health concern, as well as the toxins that grains and legumes naturally supply, and which meat does not. BPA is hormonally active, used in packaging and found in processed veges and fruit juice, not in the butcher’s shop.

  51. Mr. Eades,

    I have been reading a TON on low carb diets and it was recommended that I read both yours and Gary Taubes literature. Thank you for this recommendation as well.

    I have always struggled with cravings, stubborn weight, and general tiredness. I’ve tried things like Miracle Noodles, only using sprouted grain breads (sparingly), switching to MCT oil in an effort to reduce the amount of carbs in my family. However, I don’t think I fully understand the (successful) method your followers use here except that it has to do with eating very low carbs. I can’t wait to learn more.

    I am just not sure which book to start with….Is there a guide? A beginning book?

    Thank you

  52. Dr. Eades, do you have an opinion on the current internecine warfare in the Paleo space between Stephan Guyanet and his “palatability” theory (not to be confused with “simple food” theory, and certainly not “low reward” food theory), and Taubes, and Peter @ Hyperlipid, and the various and sundry camp-followers, bomb-throwers, bores and egomaniacs (“Ok, forget PaNu…everyone call it Archevore. Because I said so. And I know Archevore is better, because my NADs tingle when I say it.”)?

    Not that I would blame you one bit for not wading into this odd mix of post-doc geekishness and junior high cliquery, but it’s hard to get a handle on what to eat.

  53. I used 6wc and attained a new tolerence for low carb lifestyle. My cholesterol stayed 182. My HDL went from 58 to 74. LDL from 100 to 90. Blood Sugar is stable. Lost more than 2″ from my wheat belly. My knees are pain free. (I still do crossfit 2-4 days a week, same as last year. These numbers were about 9 months after the initial diet and having several months of carbohydrate creep. I still strive to attain paleo plus dairy with a little BlueBell ice cream.
    My problem now that I want to go back to phase 1- My friend borrowed the book because she was so impressed with my results. Now I am piecing together the supplements from combing through your blogs.
    Thanks to you and MD I have been able to make a change like never before!

  54. I am reading my way through your entire blog and learning a lot. I worked my way down to low carb several weeks ago and started in earnest with high fat and low carb natural diet almost 4 weeks ago. I felt pretty crappy but knew it would be a struggle. I had an unquenchable hunger I couldn’t cure due to some extreme endurance exercise I participated in. I had to find something to stop the hunger or I would go crazy. High fat stopped it cold.

    I hoped for weight loss as well, but I am 46 and female. I have had a hysterectomy (no oophrectomy) and so have no idea where I stand as far as menopause, but have an inkling that my hormones are not what they should be. According to what I’ve read here, this could account for some of the difficulty losing weight. I would like to find a doctor in Santa Barbara who shares your point of view about hormones and diet and who takes my insurance. I sent a message via your contact form asking for a referral (I figure that you are doctor to the stars and I’m just a plebe with an HMO), maybe you will see it.

    Anyway, closing in on 4 weeks and suddenly I’m starting to feel a whole lot better. It’s as if something vital is waking up inside me. I don’t totally want to jynx it, but I think even the weight loss is finally starting to happen.

    Anyway, on topic, I like the Wheat Belly title, although I have not read the book. Every time I see a big belly out there, that phrase comes instantly into my mind. Brilliant.

    Thank you.

    • The book is really good!!! I have read a lot of books on why gluten is so bad for us. This was my favorite read. And great recipes as well:-)

  55. Saw a documentary on Nova last night about Ötzi the 5000 year old Iceman. At one point in the program, they find his stomach, and discover he had recently eaten a lot of einkorn wheat along with a substantial amount of some sort of goat meat. He had just had a good meal.
    Ten or fifteen minutes later in the program, they discovered he had signs of heart disease.
    Of course, they were baffled. How could this be? We thought heart disease was a modern problem! He obviously had an organic diet and got lots of exercise (they found him at 11,000 foot elevation after all)! He ate whole grains! Shocked, shocked!
    Me, I am banging my head and shouting at the TV, scaring my dogs and annoying my wife “Duh! Maybe it’s the wheat!!!”

  56. Dr. Eades, I really found Wheat Belly entertaining, but Dr. Davis needs to research his grains more thoroughly. He lumped in chia with other non-gluten grains with some warnings.

    Chia is not a true grain; it is an oil-seed, and any celiac/gluten intolerant can eat these freely, unlike other grains like, for example, even certified gluten free oats, which can cause trouble.

    I found Wheat Belly entertaining, but not a very good primer for those first starting a gluten free diet. Although not low carb, the book Gluten Free Living for Dummies gave me all the information I need to know about really going gluten free.

    I am so glad that gluten free eating is finally in the forefront of nutrition. Combining a carb reduced diet with gluten free living is a real winner for me!

    • Gladmore, entertaining is not the word I would use for Dr. Davis’s book, Wheat Belly. It has totally changed my life! I’ve lost 46 pounds along with losing arthritis pain, acid reflux, and allergies. I’ve been on the Wheat Belly WoE (way of eating) for nearly 11 months now. Entertaining–NO! Life changing–YES! You need to check out the Wheat Belly facebook page to see how people’s lives have improved.

    • And, by the way. We WBers are not gluten free. We are grain free! Dr. Davis never recommends gluten free products as they are full of junk carbs. Anyone who goes gluten free only will continue to have problems.

  57. I have known for about 10 years that wheat makes me sluggish and foggy minded and I fluctuate between eliminating it and falling off the wagon. Recently, I’ve been reading about using sourdough to make grains more digestible and made a great all rye sourdough loaf. I realize you are saying all grains are a problem but I wonder if rye may be at least less so. Thanks for the wonderful information that explains so much.

    • Ro, my understanding about rye sourdough is that it is higher in protein, so not as “bad” as wheat. But the truth is, it is more than how all the grains have been modified. It is about when and how they are harvested. If the grain is still heavy with moisture in the heads, and is not allowed to be sheathed to stand in fields, there will always be mould…aka disease causing microtoxins….aka cancer.
      See http://www.youngliving.com and contact Dr. Gary Young for the information on this. Young Living is Therapeutic Essential Oils business, that Dr. Young created. I am a wholesale member, and at one of our meetings, he informed us of this information. I have a friend who was brought up farming using the old fashioned method and can attest to these findings as truth.
      So, the short sweet version is- no, no grains should be consumed. There are ways to make even pizza using almond flour for crust. I would be more than happy to share the recipes with you if interested. Should you contact me, put on subject line “Katie-Wheat Belly blog” and I should see it or earmark it with a priority symbol. Have a great day!

  58. Thanks so much for your book and crusade.

    I posted the following comment on the Grain Foods Foundation blog post “August 30th, 2011 Our Perspective on “Wheat Belly”. I am reposting it here in case the moderators of that blog choose not to publish my comment.

    Wheat was my enemy for many years but I did not know it. Finally 12 years ago I was at the point of total physical collapse when a lucky remark from my sister saved me from a hospital stay. She mentioned that an alternative health care provider recommended she stop eating wheat. This caused me to try eliminating wheat out of desperation. Within 12 hours of no wheat in my diet I began to feel better and after about a week had recovered enough that I realized wheat was the problem. At that point I taught myself to substitute ‘rat poison’ for ‘wheat’ whenever thoughts of eating wheat crossed my mind. This allowed me to abstain from wheat permanently without feeling that I had lost something worthwhile.

    On another note, I started eating low carb about 2 months ago which means no grains at all. Just got my cholesterol results which are greatly improved. Also I am losing fat around the waist. In five weeks I have lost one inch around the middle. I am normal weight and weigh the same as when I was a teenager, but my waist measurement had increased by three inches. My current age is 56 and I am post menopausal, so the gradual increase of waist circumference is considered normal. Maybe abdominal fat increase is not normal, but another consequence of eating too many carbs, i.e. grains?

  59. Interesting take on Dr. Diamond book and how Dr. Davis’s work on grains compares and supports Diamond. I’ve been abiding by the suggestions found in Wheat Belly for several years and have lost forty pounds and am in the best shape of my life.

    Although the human mind has pushed us to unimaginable areas in life, our bodies cannot keep up or evolve at the same rate.

  60. Dr. Mike

    Just finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and thought if we could harness some of his observations the rest of the world might finally come to their senses, nutritionally speaking……

  61. Dr. Mike I have a question that relates to both Dr. Davis’s book and Dr. Jack Kruse’s blog. They both are against using whey protein powder. Kruse says “It is too insulinogenic and raises NPY.”

    I don’t know what NPY is. His blog (www.jackkruse.com) is like trying to decipher alphabet soup. It’s fascinating but difficult to follow because he’s speaking such a specialized language.

    ANYway. My question to you is, does the addition of fat to a whey protein shake mitigate the insulinogenic properties they speak of?

    I have your “6 Week Cure” book and although I have tried several times to stick with the program I just can’t seem to do it. All that protein (a) gives me an upset stomach and (b) I can’t get down THREE of those shakes in one day PLUS a meal.

    Kruse has a program for restoring leptin sensitivity which I feel closely parallels your 6 week cure in that he calls for a HUGE amount of protein at breakfast (50-70g). I can almost force down 50g but it takes some doing. And after 2 weeks I gave up. It’s too bad because I dropped 10 pounds. And I’ve been low carbing for nearly a year now and have also been totally wheat free but during that time I GAINED 20 pounds. So I do NOT understand why I can’t drop the weight. UNLESS it is because I am leptin resistant to a huge degree.

    Back to his leptin cure … BAB (big ass breakfast … his words), NO snacking EVER, if you can skip lunch then do so, dinner within 4-5 hours of bedtime and NOTHING to eat after 7pm. He states that the average person should see a restoration of leptin sensitivity within 4-8 weeks. During the 2 weeks I managed to stick with the program I found I was never hungry during the day and skipping lunch was not a problem. I simply didn’t want anything to eat. Plus dinner was usually very light because, again, I wasn’t all that hungry.

    Your thoughts/comments would be greatly appreciated.

  62. Wow very impressive information. I really want to read your book. Too many books too little time. I cut wheat out of my diet 100% in 2003 and have never looked back. It did nothing but cause me constipation and constantly clogged me up.

    Thanks for spreading this info!

  63. Hi, Dr. Eades,

    I got this book last week. It’s a great book. Very recently, I have gone lower carb and I feel better. Too many carbs make me feel bloated etc.

    I have been experimenting with Gary Taubes’ breakfast, ( I believe it’s 2 pieces of bacon ,2 eggs and some tomatoes) and I get great results fueling my long walks.

    Happy Holidays to you and Gary !

    Best Wishes,


  64. Why not just find true spelt and a artisan bread maker who knows how to culture and ferment the bread? 1 slice of naturally soured dough spelt bread with raw butter and raw honey on it, is gastronomicly a dream come true. Dont try to beat wheat by not eating it, just use the wisdom of our ancestors.

    • “Why not just find true spelt and a artisan bread maker who knows how to culture and ferment the bread?”

      Because 1) It’s easier to just cut the grain.
      2) It’s healthier to just cut the grain.
      3) I enjoy not having arthritis anymore, thankyouverymuch.

    • Dave,

      You just found one!
      That’s what I’ve been doing for some time now, and recently began selling it locally.
      Customers (celiac, gluten-intolerant, and others) report how good it is and are willing to pay the (relatively, compared to mass-produced) price to get more.

      Don’t know what to say to Howard

    • Did you not read the part of the article about our ancestors? …. I’m thinking spelt, kamut, etc., may not be any better??

      As per, and copied from, the article above by Dr. Eades:

      The ancient Egyptians consumed a diet that would be considered optimal by many people today. Both wealthy and poor Egyptians consumed primarily bread and a type of cloudy, almost gruel-like beer. To these staples were added a variety of vegetables (mainly onions), and a small selection of game, fish and meat. The bread was made from coarse ground, whole grain emmer wheat, a primitive, high-protein wheat. Sugar didn’t come on the scene until about 1000 AD, so the Egyptians used honey sparingly (it was expensive) as a sweetener along with figs. In short, these people consumed a diet the vast majority of modern nutritionists would prescribe to people to prevent obesity, heart disease, obesity and the rest of the diseases associated with the Western diet.

      But, as their mummified remains and their contemporary artwork demonstrate, the ancient Egyptians were often fat and were riddled with heart disease, dental caries, bad periodontal disease and no doubt diabetes and hypertension. Many people have argued that since only the wealthy were mummified, the mummy data applies only to them, and since the wealthy ate more red meat, the rates of obesity, heart disease and the other disorders common to them didn’t apply to the rest of the population. Even the common man, however, was often portrayed as obese in Egyptian artwork, and despite greater consumption of meat, the main staple of even the wealthy was bread and beer. And it didn’t do them a lot of good.

      The 5,300 year old mummy of Ötzi the Iceman found in the Italian Alps showed a bad case of dental caries and periodontitis along with a stomach-full of einkorn wheat (another primitive variety). Said the researchers who examined Ötzi:

      Although the Iceman did not lose a single tooth until the his death at an age of about 40 years, he had an advanced abrasion of his teeth, profound carious lesions, and a moderate to severe periodontitis.

      In particular, the molars of the upper jaw showed loss of alveolar bone as a sign of periodontitis (inflammation of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth), while evidence of “mechanical trauma” was found on two teeth.

      …the most surprising find is the high frequency of cavities.

      These dental pathologies are a sign of change in the Neolithic diet.

      We already know that he was eating grains, such as einkorn or emmer. The contained carbohydrates clearly increased the risk of developing dental diseases

      One would assume these findings would be common among the rest of Ötzi’s contemporaries, who doubtless consumed a similar diet.

      Sadly, these same findings are also common among modern man who consumes a more malign version of primitive wheat.

  65. I am curious about energy. I am getting the book this weekend, but I am dying to know how an athlete would get the energy they need for their workouts? Be it a runner, swimmer, or a bodybuilder, they all need a significant amount of “fuel” to compete. Thank-you

    • I am a body builder and I get significant fuel from sweet potatoes, brown rice, red potatoes, and quinoa. I suffered from migraines from gluten and was glad to give it up. I now have competed in figure body building and have no problem with my energy:-)

  66. “Dr. Davis wraps up his meticulously researched book”

    That is the problem with the wheat belly – it is not meticulously researched. Even though Davis raises interesting questions that could have been meticulously research, this did not happen.

  67. Thank you for this well-written post and the interesting comments from your readers. The web is a marvel for anyone wishing to add to his knowledge.

    I have just a few quibbles. First is the indisputable fact that the human population exploded after the introduction of agriculture in Eurasia and America, so the new diet must have had an advantage over the old system – perhaps one we have not identified as yet involving fertility or infant mortality. Second, it is hard to ignore the fact that the world religions (which contain the wisdom of our ancestors) laud grain. The Egyptians claimed that Osirus himself taught them how to plant wheat, bake bread and brew beer. Jesus taught His followers to pray for their “daily bread” – and used bread and wine to represent His body and blood. (It seems to me significant that Jesus used two man-made products based on the bounty of nature and the process of fermentation for His analogy, but perhaps there was no great significance and they were chosen simply because of their ubiquitous nature.) On the other side of the globe the people who built the monumental pre-Columbian structures in Latin America clearly venerated their own grain, corn. Third, I have noticed that most people love the fragrance of bread baking, even though many nowadays do not recognize what it is. Our appreciation of that fragrance rivals our response to the luscious smell of bacon frying. Clearly our bodies do not warn us of any great danger from these products of the neolithic revolution, provided we ingest them in moderation.

    Many thanks for all of your work (“Protein Power” is consulted frequently in our house) and best of luck to all your readers.

    • Evelyn,
      To respond to your quibbles:
      First – of course the population became more stable if they didn’t need to wander and hunt to survive. That doesn’t mean it was a good thing – too many people on the planet…
      Second – the agricultural revolution happened centuries before any of the eras that you cite. And there is no evidence that it created a healthier lifestyle – nutritionally. Simply that fewer people needed to go out on murderously dangerous hunting expeditions to survive.

      Third – liking the fragrance of bread baking is an absurd reason to eat it! I like the smell of a shot of Jameson….

      Finally – our bodies do warn us of the danger – how can you ignore the fat, diabetic, foggy-thinking, cranky people out in the world?
      Our grains are not the ancient grains – and I’ll just avoid all of them anyway.

    • I agree with Linda – loving the smell of baking bread tells us nothing about whether it’s good for us or not. I love the smell of a good cigar – but I’m not going to claim that tobacco is therefore good for us.

  68. Just finished reading the book. Lots of good things to think about. But some major issues. Don’t know if I can trust someone who says that grapeseed oil is bad for you. Or honey and maple syrup. Why do people always go to the other extreme right away – everything in moderation is the wisest answer.

  69. I just finished Wheat Belly and am beginning Covenant of the Wild. Thanks to you for making me aware of both.

    I am curious what you think of Dr. Davis’ discussion of AGEs. I restrict carbs pretty severely and eat a lot of animal products. I was not aware of AGEs before I read Wheat Belly and am just beginning to research them. Do you have any references?

    Thanks – I really enjoy the blog.

  70. I think you are using a very broad brush here, in terms of equating all agriculture with wheat, and specifically with European agricultural practices. Equating average height with health is also racist; it is based not on science but on racist Edwardian ideas of the “ideal man”, who is supposedly tall and blonde. I suspect that you (and those you cite) do not intend to be racist, but when you talk about agriculture and ignore enormous swathes of human history (perhaps because they are inconvenient to your argument) you are in fact being Eurocentric.

    In addition, the person you cite as “one of your favorite authors” appears to be almost completely ignorant of the history of cattle and the domestication thereof. Cattle are slow and docile because humans have selectively bred them to be that way. When Julius Caesar encountered the Aurochs, the ancestor of domesticated cattle, he described them as fierce, fast, and quite dangerous. They became extinct only in the 27th century, due to habitat encroachment, disease from domesticated cattle, and yes, hunting. Without domestication, wild cattle would almost certainly not be extinct; it is domestication that caused their extinction, rather than preventing it.

  71. This book is on my reading list. One thing I have found in talking to people about LC eating is their absolute addiction to bread. I really can’t blame them as it is so prevalent in nearly every American culture and sub-culture. But overcoming the wheat addiction is a real milestone and turning point for anyone trying to become healthier and happier, in my humble opinion.

    Thank you for the great post.

  72. I have read, re-read your book. I love it. I have been troubled all my life with intestinal cramping, diarrhea, etc. I have eliminated wheat – and MIRACLE. I have had no cramping for the past three weeks – since I eliminated the wheat – and followed the recommendations in your book.
    I do water aerobics every morning for 45 minutes.
    I have not lost a single pound.
    Should I begin to count calories. I am eating no sugar, no ice cream, no cookies, etc. It has been such a radical change in my diet I thought the weight would fly off. I am 79 years old. Does this have anything to do with no loss of pounds?

    • I’m just curious, but do you need to lose weight? If you’re at a healthful weight for your body, you won’t necessarily lose weight by changing your diet. Also, overdoing aerobic exercise (daily!) can make it harder to lose weight. Weight lifting may be more productive.
      Just eliminating wheat but adding in other carbohydrates to compensate may also obstruct weight loss. Do you eat enough fat and protein?


  73. This book should be in every doctor’s hand. I’ve a feeling that the only physicians who would be violently opposed to this book would be the cutters who perform stomach altering surgery. I am losing (with my doctor’s okay) four pounds a week. Let me say that again I AM LOSING FOUR POUNDS A WEEK, I am never hungry and eat only when I get hungry.
    I am now able to WALK without excruciating agony. I knew if I lost weight that I could do that. Because of a massive stroke I survived in 1995, I am partially disabled and that caused me to grow in girth even though I ate a moderate amount of food…including WHEAT which I now see as poison.
    My niece (adult) bought the book and is dropping about 1/2 pound a day. Even my sister, after seeing the remarkable weight loss in the two of us has decided to join us and is dropping weight but slower since she can’t break off of a bread made with other grains.

    I’ve shown this book (I have it on my Kindle Fire) to some friends who were considering lap band surgery. They cancelled their surgery and are losing weight…of COURSE!

    In all honesty, I have to say that I do not consider this a diet; it is my new way of eating.

    Ziplock has come out with Zip and Steam bags. Cauliflower and carrots cook in 1.5 to 2 minutes.

    Thanks, doc, you’ve literally saved my life!

  74. I have been wheat free for 2 1/2 months now. I loved this book. I have lost 8-9 pounds, flat stomach, lots of energy, complexion glows and my rheumatoid arthritis is in check with no meds! I have puzzling question. Dr. Davis has provided a recipe for a flaxseed wrap – cooked in the microwave. I have read that customary baking temps do not significantly alter the stabilty of flax. I am wondering if microwaves do alter and change flax to an unhealthy oil. Could someone please clarify? Thanks.

  75. I live in New Zealand and am nearly retirement age. For 6 months now I have eliminated wheat (and other grains) from my diet, and increased protein and exercise. I have 3 meals containing protein (and fresh veges) a day and 2 snacks of protein – cheese, salami and the like. I have lost weight, inches, and feel so much better and more active. The lower back pain I had suffered from for about 25 years has disappeared (what a waste of money for various forms of manipulation treatment).

    I put this all down to decreased levels of inflammation in my body.

    I have also tried to eliminate all sugar products as well. Supermarket shopping takes more time now, because of reading the labels. I am lucky though, I live on a lifestyle block, grow own veges and our own beef and pork, and eggs.

  76. I got the book back in Oct. and loved it. With protein power, when we were adding back carbs, we were adding wheat, thinking it was ok.
    The thing that got me to check it out was my youngest child. At 6, she started developing migraine headaches. By the time I got the book, she was 9 and having 2 migraines a week. She was also sick to her stomach almost every time she ate. She’s only 54 inches tall and 50 pounds. VERY skinny. I was about to take every drop of carbs out of her diet, because the sick tummy was happening with carbs. In a week and a half, the migraines and sick tummy was gone. Two weeks later, Grandma made her homemade soup. This poor child was sick for a week. Migraine hit within 1 hour of eating, and she was puking all over. The soup had barley. Since then, we’ve keep her wheat free, and the rest of out family has also gone wheat free.
    There have been further benefits.
    Also for my little one, (who is now 10) her concentration, comprehension, and patience as improved dramatically at school.
    My oldest is 15, and has had acne all over her chest, back, and face. It has receded to just above her nose on her forehead.
    I’ve lost over 10 lb without having to drop my carbs to below 10g/day. And I’ve had to lower my HRT. My HDL shot from 49 to 59.
    My husband had finally lost that last bit of done lap disease. (Where the belly done laps over the belt.)
    From here on out, we will keep away from wheat. But keep up our protein amounts.

    I do have a couple of questions concerning children.

    We used the Protein Power book to determine that my 15 yr old is only 14.5% body fat. How to I fatten the kid up?

    Will the charts in the book also help me to determine the 10 yr old’s body fat accurately? I strongly suspect she is also well below the % body fat recommended for her age. How do I determine how much protein she needs a day?

    • 14.5 percent body fat is probably about right for a healthy 15 year old. The charts should get you pretty close, but adolescent kids should have less body fat than adults.

  77. Hey Michael,

    I’ve been on the Conscious Wellness path for many years. I was familiar with much of what was going on in the food chain and the problems with wheat, but not to the depth outlined in your article and the book Wheat Belly. Read the book over two days and it will go on my recommended reading lists along with my #1 recommendation for regaining our health–Lose the wheat! Thank you for your valuable and much needed insights. I’ll pass along your blog to my readers and will be coming back here myself. Nice work!

    With admiration and respect,

  78. To PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt, Dr. Davis’ book “Wheat Belly” is true, after reading it, my sister and niece as well as I decided to follow it as though it was handed down at Mt. Sinai. Result? Both my sister and I have lost SIGNIFICANT amounts of weight. To date, I’ve lost 82 pounds, my sister has lost 55 pounds (sadly, my niece keeps cheating and has lost almost nothing). I am only 18 pounds from my interim goal and 38 from my “ideal” weight.
    We used to be sluggish all the time. Now, even though we are both in our 70s, we have more energy than any time since our 30s. Also, our intake of food has dropped dramatically; we’re simply not hungry all the time!

    We’ve totally changed our lifestyle. We eat only organic foods, including ONLY grass-fed beef, buffalo, poultry and eggs. Although we tend to use hard-boiled eggs as quick snacks, our cholesterol has nosedived!

    Eggs, meat, poultry form our basic diet with some veggies (organic) which we steam in Ziplock’s Zip ‘n Steam bags. Although I love cheeses, my digestive system isn’t as wild about it as I am.

    Summing up: It WORKS! It is not a diet. It is a total lifestyle change as far as I am concerned.

    Previously, I had five heart attacks (got to a hospital stat), a carotid endarterectomy followed by a massive hemorrhagic stroke from which I was told that I would never walk, talk or work again. Six months later, I returned to my work…I had a PASSION for what I did.

    Now my blood work is ideal, my blood pressure averages 120/55 and even my pulse has dropped from an average of 80 to 55!

    According to my physician, my weight loss is equal to people who have had bariatric surgery! Thanks, Dr. Davis, you’ve added years to our lives!

  79. Actually by nuclear activation analysis we are more children of corn. Even more than the Mayans the carbon in our bodies comes from corn.

    Much is fed to animals, but there is HFCS in almost all processed foods. People stay awake nights trying to figure out how to get HFCS into foodlike substances, or indeed to get more in. Even bread contain HFCS.

    Less of course for us, who don’t drink sodas and lean towards grass feed meats, but for the bulk of the population, corn dominates.

  80. Hi I read Wheat Belly last year more out of curiosity than need. I have been gluten intolerent, and therefore wheat free for 8 years. Still, it was interesting learning why I had problems.
    I was wondering if a simular situation could explain the rise in the number of people with peanut allergies. Are we eating the same peanuts we were eating years ago?
    I also think that the problems with milk could be because of homogenizing. My husband has problems with milk, but can drink the non-homgenized milk without problems. The problems seem to have grown with this proceedure.

  81. Davis was on Dr. Oz’s show talking about the book. I found it odd that in one segment of the show, they discuss the effects of carbohydrate on insulin response and resulting fat storage, but then in the next segment the emphasis is on removing wheat in order to stave off addiction and overeating as the method of losing weight.

  82. I am a 42 year old healthy woman who trains like a triathlete also including weight training 3 times per week. I desperately want to lose my “wheat belly” because I exercise A LOT and my trunk is very ‘over-fat.’ I realize genetics plays a role in where I store fat but honestly, there are women I know who have had 3 kids and my belly is just gross compared to theirs and I have NOT had children! So frustrating. Question: Should I cut wheat out of my diet? Will it help me become more lean?

    • Elisabeth, your situation is exactly what is talked about in the opeing chapters or maybe even the preface of “Wheat Belly”. The author’s wife trains triathletes and they were all over weight by 15-40 lbs until they took all wheat/grains out of their diets. There are things such as quinoa that are really good replacements. You might be able to eat einkorn wheat, as it is real wheat- same as what used to be eaten back in Egypt 7,000 yrs ago. It is mostly protein and very little gluten. IF you have not read the book yet, you will get it right from the start.

      • Katie, Thank you! You are correct. I read the beginning of the book after I wrote this comment. I did in fact feel that I was reading about myself. I already eat quinoa. Is there a gluten free “flour” I can use to make bread in my bread maker?

  83. 27 months on strict low carb, can’t even describe how much better I feel (relating to energy, sleep, psychological motivation, absence of depression, weight loss, lab results, etc.).

    I’ve lost 50 pounds of fat doing carbohydrate restriction which probably I’ll have to maintain the rest of my life in order to maintain health at this level. If I eat carbs beyond 10 g per meal I feel a definite difference.

    Having read Dr.Benstein’s Diabetes Solution and another of his, and many other similar books, I believe I am or was a type 2 diabetic and I believe my labs would reveal that to any doctor though my former one never mentioned the word.

    Anyway, I’m so thankful that when the light turned on in my head about my health situation, I bought a copy of PPLP and everything I had experienced for decades made perfect sense. I made a cold-turkey switch (no pun intended) and in about a week was seeing and feeling results.

    More than 2 years later I no longer struggle with weight or my health (very little pain from serious osteo arthritis), but I’m very careful to maintain the l-c lifestyle. I’ve been reading new information about the efficacy of saturated fat for weight and health maintenance and feel even better having raised in intake of sat fat. I’m more than happy with fatty meat as my mainstay and husband also appreciates it.

    Thank you Drs.Eades for the work you’ve done and that you continue to do.

  84. Im a 55 yr old male with a fairly physical job and have cut down on almost all garbage carbs for the last 2 weeks and it was easy. Im feeling better and looking better. I have lost 10 lbs in that time and really enjoy the diet change. I enjoy hummus with peppers, bean and bacon soups, tuna salad, salmon patties, lean pork cuts and no more beer. Instead of grains I now have rice. More fruit and eggs and I feel great. No more flatulence and bowel movements are much better too. The grains have been killing me, and I do not say that lightly.

  85. I’ve read the Wheat Belly book and although I am not one to readily give in to written word as being truthful rather than the authors opinion I was intrigued enough to give this wheat omitting thing a try. Too make a long story short its virtually impossible to remove all wheat from your diet as it is used as a filler and such in so many products. But after removing the obvious forms bread, cereals etc. I managed to lose approximately 50 pounds in eight months.

  86. I am a firm believer that a reduction in wheat (among other things) is extremely beneficial to our health. I recently encountered a person who refused to consider Wheat Belly or even Grain Brain on the basis that there is no published peer review for either of these books’ authors.

    Is there anything I can tell people like this, or is it best just to let it go and move on?

    • I would just let it go. I’ve tilted a way too many windmills like this in my life. I tell people what I think based on my knowledge and experience. If they don’t want to follow the advice, it’s their problem, not mine.

  87. “This just in.” as they used to say.

    I have a neighbor with four yappy little dogs. As long as I’ve known her, over a year, she has struggled with their constant itching and scratching to the point of drawing blood

    Four days ago she mentioned this to some kinda dog lady/trainer whatever and she said, “It’s their food. Find one without wheat or corn.”

    Four days after switching to something else, almost all scratching gone.

    An observation on said friend: She has bee vegetarian most of her life, then vegan, then raw vegan. She is, um, scientifically challenged. But I have to admit, it works for her! Slim, 63, energetic entertainer. I think it’s all those peanuts she eats, frankly. And she hasn’t figured out that roasted isn’t raw, ha ha. Anyway, a sorta proof that there are outliers there.

    BTW, I have found an incredible gluten free bread, Glutino. I found it in my Publix grocer’s frozen bread section. It has replaced Udi’s Gluten Free (sawdust) as the brand was recently bought by Udi’s. It tastes great! Incredible toasted! Mostly starches from potatoes and grains, little actual grains. Only ten grams of carbs per slice.

    A great carrier for gobs of good butter, ha ha. Nice to have a great tasting bread as a food option.