Wheat Belly: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re wondering what the heck this whole Wheat Belly thing is all about, here’s a good place to start.

Is wheat really that bad? I thought that whole grains were good for you?
First of all, it ain’t wheat. It’s the product of 40 years of genetics research aimed at increasing yield-per-acre. The result is a genetically-unique plant that stands 2 feet tall, not the 4 1/2-foot tall “amber waves of grain” we all remember. The genetic distance modern wheat has drifted exceeds the difference between chimpanzees and humans. If you caught your son dating a chimpanzee, could you tell the difference? Of course you can! What a difference 1% can make. But that’s more than modern wheat is removed from its ancestors.

Why do you make the claim that removing all wheat from the diet results in weight loss? ?
Because I’ve seen it happen–over and over and over again. It’s lost from the deep visceral fat that resides within the abdomen, what can be represented on the surface as “love handles,” “muffin top,” or a darned good imitation of a near-term baby, what I call a “wheat belly.”

Typically, people who say goodbye to wheat lose a pound a day for the first 10 days. Weight loss then slows to yield 25-30 pounds over the subsequent 3-6 months (differing depending on body size, quality of diet at the start, male vs. female, etc.). When you remove wheat from the diet, you’ve removed a food that leads to fat deposition in the abdomen. Factor in that the gliadin protein unique to wheat that is degraded to a morphine-like compound that stimulates appetite; remove it and appetite shrinks. The average daily calorie intake drops 400 calories per day–with less hunger, less cravings and food is more satisfying. This all occurs without imposing calorie limits, cutting fat grams, or limiting portion size. It all happens just by eliminating this thing called wheat.

When you examine food labels in the grocery store, you see that wheat is in nearly everything. Is it really practical to remove all wheat from the diet??
Yes, it is. It means a return to real food from the produce aisle, fish and meat department, nuts, eggs, olives, and oils.

It raises a crucial question: Just why is wheat such a ubiquitous ingredient in so many foods, from ice cream to French fries? That’s easy: Because it tastes good and it stimulates appetite. You want more wheat, you want more of everything else to the tune of 400 or more calories per day. More calories, more food, more revenue for Big Food. Wheat is not in cucumbers, green peppers, salmon, or walnuts. But it’s in over 90% of the foods on supermarket shelves, all there to stimulate your appetite center to consume more . . . and more and more.

It also means being equipped with recipes that allow you to recreate familiar recipes that you might miss, like cheesecake, cookies, and biscotti–without wheat, with little to no sugar or carbohydrate exposure, yet healthy. That’s what I’ve done in Wheat Belly.

So does it mean going gluten-free??
Yes, but do not eat gluten-free foods! Let me explain.

Wheat raises blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods, including table sugar and many candy bars. The few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even wheat include figs, dates, and other dried fruits, and rice starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch–the most common ingredients used in gluten-free foods. A gluten-free whole grain bread, for instance, is usually made with a combination of brown rice, potato, and tapioca starches. These dried pulverized starches are packed with highly-digestible high-glycemic index carbohydrates and thereby send blood sugar through the roof. This contributes to diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, heart disease and growing belly fat. This is why many celiac patients who forego wheat and resort to gluten-free foods become fat and diabetic. Gluten-free foods as they are currently manufactured are very poor substitutes for wheat flour.

Anyone who consumes gluten-free foods, like gluten-free muffins, should regard them as an occasional indulgence, no different than eating a bag of jelly beans.

What can you eat on the diet you advocate? ?
Eat real, natural foods such as eggs, raw nuts, plenty of vegetables, and fish, fowl, and meats. Use healthy oils like olive, walnut, and coconut liberally. Eat occasional fruit and plenty of avocado, olives, and use herbs and spices freely. Eat raw or least cooked whenever possible and certainly do not frequent fast food, processed snacks, or junk foods. While it may sound restrictive, a return to non-grain foods is incredibly rich and varied. Many people’s eyes have been closed to the great variety of foods available to us minus the wheat.

Recall that people who are wheat-free consume, on average, 400 calories less per day and are not driven by the 90-120 minute cycle of hunger that is common to wheat. It means you eat when you are hungry and you eat less. It means a breakfast of 3 eggs with green peppers and sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and mozzarella cheese for breakfast at 7 am and you’re not hungry until 1 pm. That’s an entirely different experience than the shredded wheat cereal in skim milk at 7 am, hungry for a snack at 9 am, hungry again at 11 am, counting the minutes until lunch. Eat lunch at noon, sleepy by 2 pm, etc. All of this goes away by banning wheat from the diet, provided the lost calories are replaced with real healthy foods.

What exactly is in wheat that makes it so bad??
Gluten is only one of the reasons to fear wheat, since it triggers a host of immune diseases like celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, and gluten encephalopathy (dementia from wheat).

The protein unique to wheat, gliadin, a component of gluten proteins, is odd in that it is degraded in the human gastrointestinal tract to polypeptides (small proteins) that have the ability to cross into the brain and bind to morphine receptors. These polypeptides have been labeled gluteomorphin or exorphins (exogenous morphine-like compounds) by National Institutes of Health researchers. Wheat exorphins cause a subtle euphoria in some people. This may be part of the reason wheat products increase appetite and cause addiction-like behaviors in susceptible people. It also explains why a drug company has made application to the FDA for the drug naltrexone, an oral opiate-blocking drug ordinarily used to keep heroine addicts drug-free, for weight loss. Block the brain morphine receptor and weight loss (about 22 pounds over 6 months) results. But there’s only one food that yields substantial morphine-like compounds: yes, wheat.

The complex carbohydrate unique to wheat, amylopectin A, is another problem source. The branching structure of wheat’s amylopectin A is more digestible than the amylopectins B and C from rice, beans, and other starches (i.e., in their natural states, not the gluten-free dried pulverized starches). This explains why two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar higher than table sugar, higher than a bowl of brown rice, higher than many candy bars. Having high blood sugars repeatedly is not good for health. It leads to accumulated visceral fat–a “wheat belly,” diabetes and pre-diabetes (defined, of course, as having higher blood sugars), not to mention cataracts, arthritis, and heart disease.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are even other components of wheat that are harmful, such as the lectins in wheat. Lectins are glycoproteins that have the curious ability to “unlock” the proteins lining the human intestinal tract that determine what substances can enter the blood or lymphatic system and what substances cannot. The intestinal tract must be selective in what is allowed to enter the human body else all manner of diseases can be triggered, especially autoimmune diseases. Wheat lectins disable these proteins. This is the suspected explanation for why wheat consumption has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, skin diseases like dermatitis herpetiformis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and a variety of other inflammatory diseases.

Beyond gluten, there are over 1000 other proteins in wheat that also have potential for odd or unexpected responses. You might say that wheat is a perfectly crafted Frankengrain that almost appears like it was created to exert maximum health damage in the most desirable, irresistible form possible. I really don’t believe that this monster was created on purpose to hurt people. But the astounding collection of adverse effects, all packed into one food, pushed on us by the U.S. government and other “official” health agencies, explains why this one thing has exerted more harm on us than any foreign terrorist group can inflict on us.

If I go wheat-free, is there any harm in having an occasional bagel or cupcake?
It depends. It depends on your individual susceptibility to the effects of wheat.

If you have celiac disease or any of the long list of inflammatory or autoimmune diseases associated with wheat (rheumatoid arthritis, cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, dermatitis herpetiformis, etc.), then wheat and gluten avoidance should be complete and meticulous. There’s now way around this and compromises can be disastrous.

If you have an addictive relationship with wheat, e.g. one pretzel makes you want to eat the whole bag, then complete avoidance is also advisable. Because wheat consumption in the 30% of people with this problem cannot stop themselves once it starts, it is best to avoid wheat-containing foods altogether.

Yet another odd observation: Many, though not all, people who have removed wheat from their diet for at least several months have what I call “wheat re-exposure reactions” usually experienced as abdominal cramps, gas, and diarrhea (just like food poisoning); asthma attacks in the susceptible; joint swelling and pain; and emotional effects such as anxiety in women and rage in men. I’ve witnessed many people go wheat-free, feel great, lose 30 pounds, then have an emotional blowup at a birthday party after indulging in just a small piece of birthday cake, then spending the next 24 hours on the toilet with diarrhea.

There are indeed a percentage (20-30%?) of people who can get away with occasional indulgences. Sometimes it’s a matter of running a little test yourself to gauge your reaction. Anyone with a history of autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, or having had celiac markers like an anti-gliadin antibody test positive, however, should not even try this.


If I stop consuming wheat, won’t I develop deficiencies of fiber and B vitamins or other nutrients?

Absolutely not–provided the lost calories are replaced by real, healthy foods. If you replace lost wheat calories with Twinkies, Hohos, and corn chips, then deficiencies can indeed develop. So it’s important to replace lost calories with healthy foods.

If the calories formerly dominated by wheat are replaced with vegetables, raw nuts, cheeses, meats, avocados, healthy oils and other healthy foods, then no deficiency develops. Fiber intake is easily the same or greater than a wheat-containing diet. No deficiency of any nutrient develops: no deficiency of riboflavin, folate, selenium, thiamine, etc. All nutrients are provided in adequate quantities just by returning to real, unprocessed and healthy foods–not a bagel or ciabatta in sight.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Gary

    Hello all. I must say after years of exercising and eating what I thought was “healthy” I have finally started losing that stubborn weight that refused to let go. I have been on this diet for almost two weeks and have already lost 5.5 LBS, energy level is much greater, sleep is much more sound, etc.

    Now onto my biggest concern. Muscle loss. I am eating plenty of lean proteins, veggies, beans, nuts, etc and I am hoping along with my lifting routine that I will be able to minimize muscle loss.

    I am hoping that someone (Doc) can tell me that based on the above that I will be able to minimize muscle loss and lose predomonantly fat????? Thanks.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes: add strength training.

      If you are really serious about muscle growth, many people do great with creatine supplementation.

  2. Gary

    Thanks doc. My concern with creatine is the side effects namely bloating and bringing weight loss (fat) to a halt. That doesn’t concern you? Thanks

      • Gary

        Thanks again Doc. Just ordered some creatine. This just keeps getting better and better. Energy level is up. That stubborn belly fat that wouldn’t go away because of that evil damn wheat is FINALLY dissipating. No more of that “healthy” bowl of Cheerios or oatmeal for breakfast. No more of that turkey on “healthy” whole wheat for lunch.

        Today’s breakfast-Three organic egg omelette with spinach, bell peppers, onions and sharp cheddar cheese. Yum.

        Lunch-Grilled sirloin pork chop topped with pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic. Homemade of course. :) Along with a steamed vegetable medley.

        Dinner will be a grilled chicken breast salad with organic baby spinach, red bell peppers, jalapenoes, 1/2 serving of black beans, almonds, broccoli, plum tomatoes and topped with the above homemade salad dressing.

        How’s that look Doc? I’m so excited about what’s going on. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

  3. Gary

    Good morning my fellow wheat eliminators. I have a question that hopefully someone, anyone can answer.

    We are going to a family reunion next week and the beer will be flowing. Well, I’m not touching the stuff. I was just wondering so I won’t be a bump on the log if there is some type of alcohol I can consume without interfering with my progress? I was thinking vodka and unsweetened cranberry juice?

    Thanks!

    • There are gluten-free beers out there, such as Bards, and if I recall correctly, Bud Lite. Mind the net carbs, if the container even tells you, which Bard’s does.

      Wine is fine too. Your vodberry plan looks OK as well, and could even be sweetened with various safe alternative sweeteners.

  4. Tina Redd

    Dammit I love the ranch nut thins! No we can’t have patato starch. I think they’ll just have to be my guilty pleasure.

  5. Gary

    Hey Doc. Still going strong and have dropped 9 LBS in about a month. I’m eating quite a bit of eggs for breakfast with sautéed (olive oil) spinach, peppers and onions topped with some sharp cheddar cheese.

    My concern is am I eating too many eggs? Worried about heart issues in the future. Eating eggs about 4-5 times a week. Three organic eggs per omelette.

  6. Elizabeth

    I have a question about bread. I have made the Basic Bread recipe (with almond flour, chickpea flour and flaxseed). I like the taste and have made it using loaf pans and my bread machine (in an attempt to speed up the process). The difficulty is I do find almond flour a bit expensive and I do find making the Basic Bread to take a bit of time. What would you suggest to be a healthy alternative? Breads made from other grains (e.g. Kamut) are still related to/similar to wheat and Gluten Free Breads raise your blood sugars. What is the lesser of the two evils? Other grain breads or Gluten Free Breads? Or do you have suggestion I haven’t thought of?

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Use Trader Joe’s Almond Meal ($3.99 per lb.) instead of a higher cost almond meal. You can buy Julian Bakery Breads at some stores or have them ship it to you, but this is much more expensive. I paid $8 – 10 per loaf and these were not nearly as tasty as Dr. D’s recipes.
      Why don’t you make 2 loaves of bread at one time. Slice and freeze them.
      Paleo web sites have lots of recipes using coconut flour and chia seeds too.

      These breads quite filling so you eat less.

  7. Gary

    Can anyone answer this question?
    Will going wheat free help eliminate subcutaneous fat also?
    Of course following the diet guidelines applies.
    Also, could someone answer my questions regarding eggs a couple of posts back?
    Thanks,
    Gary
    BTW. I am down 10.3 LBS thus far. Energy level is ridiculous….in a good way. :)

    • Erica in RSA

      Wheat free (and low carb) should help with the subcutaneous fat.

      Eggs are not a problem unless you’re highly allergic as I am. If you’re thinking about all the “conventional wisdom” cholesterol warnings regarding eggs, dietary cholesterol has virtually no effect on serum cholesterol. It’s the high carbs that do the cholesterol damage.

        • Barbara in New Jersey

          Hi Gary,

          When eating so many eggs, try to purchase the best quality you can find and afford. There is a difference! Organic, free range, no antibiotics,etc.
          An exhausted, caged, stressed out chicken fed on chemicals really does not produce the best quality eggs. If there is a farmer’s market near you, try purchasing them there or perhaps a local co-op or health food store .

          I found that my taste buds are much more sensitive now and I can taste the difference between the store brand and a farmer’s market organic egg. Blind taste test convinced my family too!! The fresher the egg, the more nutrients. Just think of it like this: do you prefer a tomato in January that is pale and tasteless or a tomato from your garden grown in season and is red and flavorful? Can the nutritional value be the same?
          It is not just the sugar content either!

  8. Carolyn

    Hello, I just came across this website while researching wheat. I apologize for my questions as I have not yet read the book. I wondered if the following foods were considered problematic: brown rice, beans, quinoa, chia, hemp, chickpeas, couscous, potatoes, and yams or sweet potatoes? Also, I wondered if this eating lifestyle was similar to the Atkins plan? Thanks for any information you can provide!

  9. Carolyn

    Hi again, I’m looking for more information on net carb limbs. The recommendation of 15/meal and 50/day, does that include the carbs in unlimited foods like nuts, seeds and certain vegetables or are the net carbs to be counted on limited foods only? Thanks for your help!

  10. Cynthia

    After watching a youtube video with your conference my husband and I decided to do the experiment for 1 month. We have been wheat-free for about 3 weeks, it’s not as hard as we thought it would be but, every day I have diarrhea in the morning, I noticed it started since we went wheat-free. I have gained 5 lbs and feel like I’m getting “thicker.” I have been eating as clean as I can, I had eliminated sugar about 2 months ago so I don’t understand what is going on. I’m really confused, I thought eliminating wheat would help me loose the muffin top. I keep going over my diet and trying to figure out what it is but can’t put my finger on it. I’m eating protein, fats (lots of nuts), fruits and veggies. I do feel good, at least I’m not bloated anymore, but a little sad that instead of loosing I am gaining weight. My husband has lost 10lbs, I know it’s different for man but I haven’t lost even 1. What could it be?

    • antje

      that happened to me too at the beginning. I had to cut back on fat/nuts quiet a lot. I also had to give up milk for sometime.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Cynthia,

      Probiotics, water (48+ oz) daily and making sure you consume about 15 carbs per 6 hour period (50 daily total) are all very important. Your bowel problems tells you that the flora needs help in adjusting to a grain free way of living. The 50 billion cfu recommended by Dr. D. is very helpful. You can buy this at any drug store or health food store.

      Keep reading this blog for additional information. On the left side there is a category for nutritional supplements recommended. Everyone reacts differently to grain withdrawal. High glycemic foods are not the best for you right now. Neither are lots of nuts which have carbs that quickly add up! Make sure that you are following the guidelines: see Wheat Belly Quick and Dirty.

      If, after following these suggestions, you are still not losing the weight, read the part on “Lost the Wheat but didn’t Lose the Weight.”

  11. Kelly

    Hello Dr. Davis et al,
    I hope all is well with you. After reading your book and cookbook and taking your advice to go completely wheat-free, I’ve been feeling fantastic (thank you!) and saving up questions as I’ve been going along over the last several weeks. Any advice/input will be appreciated:
    (1) In your book, you mention that cheese is high in AGEs, yet you recommend eating it a lot. Since I’m sure you’re not steering us wrong, I’m guessing I’m missing something. Will you please elaborate a little on this issue so that I understand why it’s okay to eat a lot of cheese when it’s so high in AGEs? Also, the thought crossed my mind that cheese made from raw milk might be more healthy and likely less AGE-forming – will you please advise?
    (2) I use a cast iron skillet, treated with olive oil, which basically gets fried right into the pan. Is the oil an issue, causing me to somewhat deep-fry my food without meaning to? Should I just stick to using stainless steel or something along those lines?
    (3) I thought I read in your blog somewhere that you said it’s fine to drink unlimited coconut water. I bought young raw coconuts and broke into one tonight and tried the water, which seemed very sweet. Is the sugar content okay for blood sugar levels?
    Thanks very much!

    • Dr. Davis

      Dairy is not without its own problems, but cheese is probably the least problematic of all dairy. Yes, AGEs are a problem in dairy, though there is some debate about the validity of the methods used to make those measurements. As Wheat Belly is not a book about the ideal diet, but a book primarily about wheat, I chose to not fully explore all the issues in diet. I think that most people can consume cheese without long-term implications, but unlimited quantities does have some potential for glycation/lipoxidation issues. And I do not believe these are reduced by using the raw, though there are NO data on this.

      Real coconut water has something like 6 grams “net” carbs per cup, a modest quantity that only becomes excessive if two or more cups are consumed.

  12. Susan

    Hi,
    I am completely new and I have a first question: I can’t find regular non-low-fat buttermilk anywhere. But I did find Kates buttermilk (katesbutter.com). It is cultured buttermilk: containing active yogurt cultures, L. bulgaricus, s. themophilus. Are those okay?
    Thanks,

    • Dr. Davis

      It’s a crime, isn’t it? Fat phobia has made it difficult to find full-fat dairy products. Fat was the healthiest component of dairy!

      Yes, this sounds otherwise fine. And it really helps to choose only organic dairy products to avoid many of the adverse issues introduced into dairy.

  13. Gary

    Dr. Davis. I really need you to answer this. I have recently added flaxseed to my diet per your recommendation, but after reading up on it’s benefits I’ve also read the following and it deeply concerns me. Could you PLEASE give your opinion on the following quote?

    “Because the body can’t effectively convert ALA into EPA/DHA, the excessive ALA floating around can be problematic. Men with high blood levels or high intake of ALA have been shown in clinical studies to be at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Flax is high in ALA, and actually flax oil leads to even higher blood levels of ALA than the seeds do.”

    • Dr. D. addressed this question lately in another thread that I can’t find, due to limitations in searching this blog.

      I suspect this is related to a study recently released that was almost certainly glycemic-confounded. Re-screen the data to isolate the wheat-free low-carb subjects in the population, and I’d bet the correlation disappears. They may not have even had any WF-LC subjects in the study.

      WB doesn’t advocate using pure flax oil as far as I know, just the whole seeds.

    • > what exactly do i ask for in , before , a blood test ?

      What exactly are you desiring to learn?

      The most common tests that a GP will request are not very useful. There’s a good chance that your GP has never requested informative tests, and won’t know how to read the results. You may get a referral to an internist or specialist. This may or may raise insurance coverage issues. Your National Disease Maintenance plan may entirely stymie the effort.

      I’d like to see Dr. Davis weigh in on the lipids question specifically, and we need to use specfic terminology that our under-informed GPs will understand, and the specialist won’t misinterpret (as I’m beginning to think one did for me lately).

      Blood Lipids: Ask for:
      * NMR LDL-P (not LDL-C)
      * Apoprotein B
      For more than you want to know (yet more than your GP knows), see:
      http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-iii

      Thyroid: Ask for:
      * Free T3
      * Free T4
      * Reverse T3
      * thyroid antibodies
      You’ll probably also get TSH (which is really a pituitary response) and the useless total T3, total T4 and FTI. Search this blog for “Thyroid Tune-up Checklist”.

  14. Gary

    Hello Dr. Davis. I REALLY need you to answer a question for me. I’ve recently added flaxseed to my diet (two tbsp. daily) and have read the bountiful benefits of flaxseed, but I have also read some very disconcerting info and I hope you can give your opinion on the following quote that concerns me.
    “Because the body can’t effectively convert ALA into EPA/DHA, the excessive ALA floating around can be problematic. Men with high blood levels or high intake of ALA have been shown in clinical studies to be at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Flax is high in ALA, and actually flax oil leads to even higher blood levels of ALA than the seeds do.”

  15. Dr. Davis

    I’m not sure how to reconcile the varied observations on flaxseed and linolenic acid.

    We do know that the bulk of observations suggest (do not prove, but suggest, given study design) that linolenic acid is a healthy (and, by the way, an essential–you cannot do without linolenic acid, else it is fatal) component of the diet. These sorts of analyses can only raise questions, not answer them.

    So we await further data. My bet is that, on the whole, flaxseed products are benign to modestly healthful.

    • Gary

      Thanks so much boundless for your replies.

      Also, thank you Dr. Davis. Based on your answer, should I hold off on using flaxseed until further researched? BTW. I am using organic ground flaxseed.
      Here I am changing my way of eating and then studies like this come out. It’s frustrating when you are doing the right thing, seeing results, but someone comes along and rains on your parade.
      If that flaxseed article wasn’t enough, there was a recent study on a possible connection between fish oil and prostate cancer. Sigh.

      Sorry about the double posts regarding flax. The original post wasn’t showing up at first.

      • > …. should I hold off on using flaxseed until further researched?

        I’m not. It’s a question of relative risks (if any risk).

        In the specific case of cancer risks, it is quite likely the case that going grain-free LCHF (low carb / high fat) will turn out to be seriously protective against all cancers. This is due to dramatically reducing what cancer prefers to feed on (glucose), and dramatically reducing inflammation (which triggers cancer).

        > Here I am changing my way of eating and then studies like this come out.
        > It’s frustrating when you are doing the right thing, seeing results, but
        > someone comes along and rains on your parade.

        Be cautious about the Food Fright of the Week.
        Be skeptical about all food risk reports from consensus sources.

        Wheat Belly is primarily empirical. It’s about long term actual outcomes. Theoretical diet advice tends to ignore both context and relative risks.

        > … there was a recent study on a possible connection between fish oil
        > and prostate cancer.

        It’s baloney. The conclusions conflict with those from similar work, and all of them are studying oil effects in a population on a full-time high gly diet. When alarming results appear that are isolated to gfLCHF subjects, then pay attention.

        • Dr. Davis

          I’m with Boundless: I say flaxseed is a relatively benign food to include in some of your baking. Perhaps we don’t allow it to dominate our diet, but I am skeptical that the data (weakly constructed, on the whole) are sufficient proof.

  16. Gary

    For those looking to add more veggies and fruit (one cup per day :) ) may I recommend a high quality blender. Kale is now a staple in my diet along with a variety of other veggies along with a variety of berries all blended into a smoothie. Believe me when I say you’ll see the health benefits. Ever since going wheat free and adding a plethora of veggies to my diet my BP has been averaging 116/68, energy is up, skin looks phenomenal and so on.

    Many times I have started a diet and even stayed with it for some time only to think it was okay to “indulge” every now and again. I was always frustrated at the lack of results because I was eating well (so I thought) including plenty of whole wheat products (hmmm), veggies fruit, occasional indulgence and exercised…… a lot. I would always get frustrated because I couldn’t get rid of that stubborn belly fat. “What eles do I have to do!” I would ask myself. Well, stumbling across the WB diet has been a Godsend. 8 weeks in and 13.5 LBS down! Will be picking up the exercise so I can only imagine what lies ahead results wise.

    If you stay true to this diet and yourself, you WILL see results. I just went on vacation and stayed “true” to the diet. Was so proud of myself and it’s really not that hard to follow the protocol of this diet.

    Remember, stay true, see results and wake up happier everyday.

    • Jeanine

      Hi Gary! Would you share what goes in the blender? We had been doing this, but I put the brakes on because I wasn’t sure about the coconut milk we were using (ingredient list surprised me). I is our kale smoothies! Thanks, Jeanine

    • Dr. Davis

      Very nice, Gary!

      Yes, wheat is the one fatal blunder people all make. Recognize this fundamental error and so many good things come your way!

  17. Gary

    Hello Jeanine. I add the following to my smoothie.

    1/2 cup of water
    2 tbsp. of ground flaxseed
    1/2 serving of Greek yogurt (go with plain and watch ingredients)
    85 grams 91 serving) of Kale
    1 serving of carrots
    Blend the above first the add the following (makes it easier to blend)
    Tomato (usually a plum)
    1 serving of berries (blue, straw, black and rasp)
    Blend and enjoy your nutritional powerhouse!

    The beauty of blending is you can experiment. The berries allow you to add those veggies you would never touch because those berries disguise most of the veggies.

    Give it a try and let me know how you fare.

    Also go organic as much as possible.

    • Jeanine

      Thanks! I’ll let you know how it goes. We use similar ingredients except the tomato and carrots. Interesting! Do you use Whey protein ever?

  18. Gary

    Yes Jeanine I have indeed used vanilla whey before, but I like to save my whey for my post workout drink.

    BTW. I also add celery to my smoothie. I was using broccoli for a while but the consistency was not too kind.

  19. Gary

    Anybody know any uncured bacon brands that can be store bought? Having difficulty finding it.

    Yes, I know there is Google, but figured someone here would know.

    • Neicee

      Gary, I’ve only been able to find it at a specialty meat market (you know, like those our parents used to visit and knew everybody in the store). Not happy with the price at over $8 lb.. I already make my own sausage and freeze about 15 lbs. of it at a time, so guess it’s time to investigate how to make smoked bacon. I smoke lots of meat so why I’ve been lazy on this one…?? Guess I’m afraid it won’t taste as good as those from a huge giant corporation which is now owned by China.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Trader Joe’s has uncured bacon and even uncured meaty ends and pieces. Whole Foods too.
      Many supermarkets are starting to carry uncured bacon, hot dogs, salami, and sausage.

  20. Gary

    Okay. Since nobody was able to answer my bacon question I have a few others.
    1.Knowing that carcinogens can be released when oil reaches it smoking point would be safe to assume that sautéing veggies is safe at medium heat?
    2.What is acceptable oil to use when seasoning my cast iron skillet? Flax oil?
    3.Now for a “too much information” type question. Is one of the good side effects of being wheat free is great bowel movement? You know? Snake like? I didn’t know how else to put it. My issue before was loose stools.

    • Neicee

      Gary,
      1. You can use just a smidgen of oil to sauté veggies (very much like a stir fry) then if you think it needs more, then add your butter/ghee, olive oil or butter.
      2. I’d season my cast iron pan with lard. Cast iron is porous and will absorb oils and such. BTW, it takes hours to do so. If you need to know how to clean up after usage ask away. I had a friend that threw away his grandfather’s pan over a 100 yrs. old because it was rusty. Wanted to know where to find another and I told him to go dumpster diving. We saved his pan!
      3. Sorry, staying clear of that one. :)

  21. mikah

    I read this article based on info from my chiropractor, I agree that I am noticing visceral fat around my tummy area even though I eat better. What is starting to be more and more confusing is trying to find which “eatliung style” works best. I have cut meat out of my diet and will only allow myself 2 meals with meat incoproations a week. I also don’t use any dairy products, I am extremely sensitive and they aid in sinus congestion. I am trying to follow the “china study” and eat more plant based, but this article is saying eat more meat. Isnt wheat just as bad dairy and meat items?

    I would love some clarity- seems like i am resounded to a life of salads, shakes and beans! :)

    • gingerbread

      Ok, i will take a stab. Grass fed meats and free range poultry will address the concerns for the possible additives in meat. Your body really needs what meat provides. Do a search on ‘China Study’ on this blog, as it has been discussed, I think in the comments as to why it is a flawed study. The amount of beans you consume will need to be checked as they are higher in carbs than you might think. Of the three: Wheat, Dairy, and Meat, wheat is the only substance shown in Dr. Davis’ references that can truly be called poison. No human does well on it for any length of time. I am intolerant to cow’s milk, but i can tolerate hard cheese that isn’t colored orange (food coloring anatto I think; not good). But if you can’t take even that, eliminate it and try goat. You may not even like dairy since you had to cut it. I use coconut milk in nearly everything and there are no congestive side effects. As to the meat, fish and poultry and a bit of real beef is really good for the body.

      Try to count your carb totals per meal, per six hours per day, not to exceed 15 carbs per meal every six hours, for a total of 50 carbs per day. This is very close to a ketogenic diet (no glucose for cells to feed on so they have to feed on ketones. cancer and disease cells are unable to process ketones so they die, mawhaha!). Try it for a month, you have nothing to lose.

  22. Katie

    I am having a hard time losing weight, especially around the belly, even though I’ve eliminated all forms of wheat and even most carbs (I’m very restrictive with the ones I eat). I was wondering about whey protein and drinking milk–which I love. I have a whey protein smoothie most mornings with strawberries and blueberries, and it’s delicious and holds me for quite a few hours. So, what’s your feedback? I keep hearing milk is good for weight loss and then others say “no”. Thanks.

    • gingerbread

      Hi Katie,
      please check your carb and sugar count for your smoothies. Also are you counting carbs every meal to make sure you are doing 15 carbs per meal, per six hours, with a total of 50 carbs a day? If not, you may be ingesting more sure and carbs than you think. Increase your fat intake of healthy fats; olive oil, coconut oil. Lastly, after doing the above for a few weeks and you still don’t lose, check the link “I lost the wheat but didn’t lose the weight”. Carbs are interesting as they are in juices, fruits, vegetables and all manor of stuff. My weight was slow to come off. I also had hidden cheats that I didn’t know about. Everybody is different. Dr. D. says that if you are doing everything right and you still don’t lose, that something is blocking your loss and it is time to start looking in other areas, like thyroid.

  23. Gary

    Hey Boundless.

    Does the WB diet also help with subcutaneous fat? My biggest issue is soft lower belly (subcutaneous) fat. Not only am I wheat free but have increased weight lifting and cardio. I would think in conjunction with those the WB diet would help rid me of the aforementioned belly fat?

    Also, is it okay to supplement with fish oil when consuming EVVO on a daily basis?

    How much daily EVVO consumption is safe and acceptable?

    • > Is this thing on?

      Two problems:
      1. Lacking the tools that the site admins have, I frequently miss replies directed to me, and many new replies generally, unless they are the most recent five. You might look into using Wheat Free Forum for more reliable user-to-user questions: http://wheatfreeforum.com

      2. I only answer questions where I think I know the answers. In this case, I suppose I can make some stuff up :)

      You didn’t tell us what your net carb intake is. Just being wheat free won’t always do the trick. If the diet contains enough carbs to keep you in glycemic metabolism, you won’t become an efficient fat burner, and may not dip into your “reserves” of fat at all.

      Fructose, for example, would be a major weight loss blocker if you are over-consuming fruits, or getting any added sugars (esp. HFCS). Humans are superbly adapted to packing on pounds when fructose (ancestrally fruit) is available (which, alas, is 104% of the time now), then burning it off in ketosis during deep food-deprived metabolic winter (which never comes any more).

      Assuming EVVO is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, my first question is: is it really? Adulterated olive oil is a huge problem. Once we know the brand and provenance, then we can look at the fat breakdown.

      • Gary

        I have to be honest bound. I’m guilty of not concerning myself so much with net carbs. I know, I know. My carbs come almost exclusively from vegetables and a serving of fruit a day. I have also added ground flaxseed to my diet.

        The fat is still coming off. It’s the tale of the tap that tells me so. It’s coming along just as the Doc said it would. Fast in the beginning then at a slower pace once the initial weight came off.

        I’ve seen various reports on adulterated EVOO and like most consumers it infuriated me. After doing some research I have settled with the Kirkland Organic EVOO. It did solidify in the fridge by the way. My main concern is too much EVOO consumption. I am averaging 2-4 TBS per day. I use a recipe that calls for 6 TBS when baking some Salmon and roasting veggies.

        I appreciate you taking you time to answer questions. Which by the way. Is it okay to take fish oil daily along with consuming EVOO?

        • > Is it okay to take fish oil daily along with consuming EVOO?

          We do. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that there might be such a thing as over-consumption of healthy fats (short of some pathologically high caloric intake, which isn’t likely once appetite triggers have been removed from the diet).

          • Gary

            Another thing my new found friend. I don’t know if this is good thing or a bad thing, but since I’ve been on this “diet” I am literally never hungry. I never have those hunger pings anymore.

            So what do yo think about my concerns about daily EVOO consumption?

          • > I don’t know if this is good thing or a bad thing,
            > but since I’ve been on this “diet” I am literally never
            > hungry. I never have those hunger pings anymore.

            That’s a known side effect :)
            Perhaps only 99.990345% of cases, however.

            > So what do yo think about my concerns about
            > daily EVOO consumption?

            I don’t know what else to say.
            I’ve already told you more than I know :).
            If Dr.D. doesn’t weigh in on this, so to speak, your best bet might be to ask in WFF.

  24. Justin

    I recently bought this book and was so happy to see how Dr. Davis goes about characterizing and explaining how wheat consumption can lead to so many diseases and debilitating conditions. As a graduate student in biomedical science this was so fascinating and informative. After reading I am convinced the future of medicine will stem from our dietary decisions and hopefully not drugs that solve one issue only to bombard people with 3 more. Great Work!

    I did have two questions that hopefully someone could answer…

    According to the book, polyunsaturated oils (safflower, soybean, sunflower) are to be avoided completely because they are linked to inflammation. According to wikipedia (may not be the best source), arachidonic acid an omega-6-fatty acid found in peanut oil, is converted into inflammatory compounds triggering an immune response. Is this true for only polyunsaturated oils containing arachidonic acid? Or do all polyunsaturated oils have some amount of arachidonic acid?

    My second question is why is coconut oil listed for unlimited consumption when it contains 90% saturated fat? Wouldn’t this be worse than the polyunsaturated oils?
    Source: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-coconut-oil-i4661

    • > According to the book, polyunsaturated oils (safflower, soybean, sunflower)
      > are to be avoided completely because they are linked to inflammation.

      … plus oxidation and other damage in the extensive complex processing they are subject to. Plus they are more readily incorporated into plaque. Plus they don’t seem to contain much we actually need. They are best left on the table for consumption by advocates of the Lipid Hypothesis. Get your Omega 6 elsewhere.

      > According to wikipedia (may not be the best source), …

      … or the most stable, and anything the least bit controversial is highly unstable.

      > … arachidonic acid an omega-6-fatty acid found in peanut oil, is converted into
      > inflammatory compounds triggering an immune response.

      Here’s an interesting 2012 article on AA:
      Straightening Out The Arachidonic Acid Debate
      http://robbwolf.com/2012/09/06/arachidonic-acid-animal-fats-limit-them/

      I don’t think Dr. Davis has weighed in on arachidonic acid here. Using an external search engine to probe this blog, your question is the only hit. There are multiple hits at trackyourplaque.com, but I’m not a member, and can’t see all the traffic.

      > My second question is why is coconut oil listed for unlimited consumption …

      Due to documented benefits from the MCT lauric acid. Indeed, I’m a bit concerned that this oil may get hard to find, or become very expensive, or be subject to severe adulteration, if demand exceeds supply. If, for example, data start pouring in on this stuff reversing, arresting or even preventing alzheimers, expect a run on the market (entirely apart from the growing widespread use of it in LCHF diets).

      > … when it contains 90% saturated fat?

      Saturated fat is not hazardous. It may even be preferred in LCHF. It is preferred in theraputic ketogenic diets, as it is metabolized to ketone bodies faster than other fats.

      > Wouldn’t this be worse than the polyunsaturated oils?

      You may still have lingering symptoms of Delusional Lipid Hypothesis :). However, WB does heartily (pun intended) endorse DHA and EPA Omega 3 polyunsaturated oils, as well as linolenic O3, but advises limiting linoleic O6 (thanks, scientists – how is the general public ever supposed to keep THIS straight?).

  25. Catherine Griffice

    Dr. Davis, I have been wheat free for 7 months and have enjoyed a migraine free life for the first time in 50 years. I am so grateful. However, since I have increased my natural fats I have suffered painful heartburn. I had my gallbladder removed about 4 years ago. I am now taking Cholacol before each meal and it takes away the pain but not the feeling of acid . I can lie on my right side and feel the acid flowing, so I move to the left side where there is some relief. Is there another supplement that I can take to aid in the fat digestion?

  26. Ron Unterreiner

    Dr. Davis,
    I am dealing with ALS and was wondering if the elimination of wheat can stop the progression of this seemingly uncurable disease. I have read Wheat Belly and I have your cookbook and if you were anywhere close I would give you a big hug and a kiss–okm maybe just the hug. I am wheat free for a month and the results are absolutely staggering. My brother followed me and his incurable rash that a dozen dermatolgists could not conquer over the past fifty years is gone–totally dried up. My 98 year old mother read your book at my request and the results on her aging insides is close to a miracle. I have about five more “friend” stories to tell but am waiting for their results. Now, give me some news on ALS and how the elimination of wheat may impact my progression.

    thanks…and my personal thanks for sharing your findings with the world. You simply can’t beat people from Wisconsin.

    ron

    • Dr. Davis

      There are no formal data, unfortunately, Ron.

      But there is absolutely nothing to lose. My prediction is that, given the extraordinary inflammation-reducing and neurological improvements of wheat elimination, there will be at least partial improvement. Note that neurological syndromes like ALS take many months to years to respond, unlike the quicker responses of non-neurological processes.

      Please be sure to report your progress here, Ron!

  27. Laurie

    Why does the wheat belly cookbook seem to have an aversion to natural sugars and instead lists substitutes in its recipes?

    • > … Why does the wheat belly cookbook seem to have an aversion to natural sugars …

      It’s not an aversion. Dial added sugars in your diet to zero.

      Simple saccharides, whether claimed to be natural or obviously manufactured (like HFCS), are a human toxin. They don’t just raise blood sugar, they spike it, even the allegedly low GI sugars.

      Further, they usually contain generous amounts of fructose, often mainly fructose, and often free fructose. This has a rap sheet all its own.

      Finally, most claimed “natural” sugars like agave, honey and maple syrup are all too often no such thing.

      • Brian

        Boundless, Do you feel Xylitol is a safe alternative to sugar and the artificial sweeteners you mention? I realize all Xylitol is not created equal and the brand we started with was manufactured in China with corn but now we have sourced a Canadian company that uses hardwoods. They claim 75% fewer carbs than sugar and measures 7 on the glycemic index.

        • > Do you feel Xylitol is a safe alternative to sugar

          Yes, but see more below.

          > … and the artificial sweeteners you mention?

          Actually, I didn’t get into artificial or alternative sweeteners. I was speaking of artificial simple saccharides, like HFCS and agave “nectar” (which is is actually even-higher-fructose agave root syrup, if it’s not just fraudulently HFCS faking it).

          We are actually quite lucky that just as low-carb is taking off, there are multiple alternative sweeteners available. The new 30 min Cookbook lists, in priority order:
          stevia
          erythritol
          xylitol (with cautions due to that GI of 7)
          luo han guo (monk fruit)
          sucralose (with cautions due what it is blended with)

          See also:
          http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/10/in-pursuit-of-sweetness/

          > I realize all Xylitol is not created equal …

          This household is presently on a xylitol holiday, as the cook feels like it is causing some issues. It needs to be used in moderation.

          All of the other artificial sweeteners have larger issues, with the possible exception of tagatose, which is what Dr. Bernstein reportedly recommends for T1D. We’re still looking into it, and I don’t think Dr. Davis has opined on it.

          • Greg

            Hello Boundless, you are so nice answering questions I thought I’d ask you a few tohelp me on my new path! Why can’t we eat CANNED vegetables? Is butter acceptable on WBelly? I think it would help on my veggies! Are there ANY store bought salad dressings that are allowed? Can we eat bacon and other sausages ( summer sausage, jerky, porks, Aidells brand), I read they weren’t recommended due to sodium nitrate but there aren’t really any carbs so I don’t see why not. Those go good with eggs. It is kind of hard at first finding many things to eat.

          • > Why can’t we eat CANNED vegetables?

            Actually, I’ll have to look into that. My first thought are:
            AGEs from high packing heat, adverse agents blended in (esp. sugars), adverse chemicals from the container and/or can liner, and just general deterioration of nutrient value.

            > Is butter acceptable on WBelly?

            Yep. We use Kerry Gold (grass-fed). Unsalted is unnecessary.

            > Are there ANY store bought salad dressings that are allowed?

            We have looked, and have not found any. Make our own.

            > Can we eat bacon …

            Sure, but go for uncured (to avoid sugars), or just get side pork. The hazards of nitrites and nitrates when low carb are an open question. MSG (aka “celery juice” in the less honest brands) may not be a problem.

            > … and other sausages ( summer sausage, jerky, porks, Aidells brand), …

            It’s all about what else is in them. Frankly, in the average vending machine, the jerky may well be the closest to healthy of any of the junk in there.

            > Those go good with eggs.

            We go our own chickens last year to get free-range, hormone-free, anti-biotic-free eggs.

            > It is kind of hard at first finding many things to eat.

            It gets easier, and the market will eventually respond with more choices.

          • > Why can’t we eat CANNED vegetables?

            A quick look at the WB books indicates that the original Cookbook raised a concern about BPA. And this is a consideration for all canned products, including some used in WB recipes and only available in cans. Look for BPA-free.

          • Greg

            Thanks for answering those questions Boundless ! I got some Irish Kerry Gold at the store and found a nice selection of uncured bacon/meat at our local Publix.
            Is Pure Via sweetener (Stevia) ok to put in coffee? Also, can we eat the skin on meats like chicken or turkey? I’m curious how long on WB it will take to see a change in my cholesterol and glucose readings. Thanks again, I’ll probably have a few more questions in a few days!

          • > Is Pure Via sweetener (Stevia) ok to put in coffee?

            Hmmm. #1 ingredient is dextrose (sugar), under 1 gram per packet, but still. And it has cellulose powder (which could be wheat-derived). It would be easy for them to put a gluten-free claim on the product, if it really is.

            > Also, can we eat the skin on meats like chicken or turkey?

            Sure.

            > I’m curious how long on WB it will take to see a
            > change in my cholesterol and glucose readings.

            Glucose right away, if your are at or below WB net carb targets.

            The “cholesterol” readings depend to some extent on whether weight loss is in progress. See:
            http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/06/i-lost-weight-and-my-cholesterol-went-up/

            This depends to a greater extent on whether you are getting a standard, nearly worthless lipid panel, or an actually informative lipoprotein analysis.

            > I’ll probably have a few more questions in a few days!

            This blog format is not ideally suited to these sorts of chats. We’re already at the max nesting level. Until Dr. Davis stands up a real forum, you might use the Wheat Free Forum instead. Follow my user ID link.

    • > Is heavy/light cream allowed on the Wheat belly diet to add to coffee?

      In general yes. For example, I use heavy cream on my Wheat Free Market Food granola.

      Avoid cream entirely if you are dairy-sensitive, of course, and consider forgoing for a time if weight loss isn’t as rapid as you’d like.

      Avoid cream with added sugar.

      Use heavy cream rather than light.

      And look with great suspicion on non-dairy creamers.

    • > … vegetable oil (canola and sunflower) allowed on wheat belly diet plan?

      No. They are heavily processed high Omega 6 PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that are loaded with health hazards. They are suitable for consumption only by advocates of the fraudulent “Lipid Hypothesis”.

      There really is no such thing as canola. It’s actually massively mutated rapeseed, and is probably a gmo even when claimed to be “non-GMO”. The pure oil is 50% erucic acid, which is suspect for human consumption (and tastes terrible). It has to be highly processed just to make palatable. The Omega 3 is 100% ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), which does not balance the O6, and zero percent Omega 3 DHA and EPA, which would balance.

      On sunflower, see:
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/healthy-oils
      “Insanely high in PUFAs with little to no Omega-3s to balance them out, sunflower seed oil is a pretty bad choice …”

  28. Reality Check

    This question is specifically for menopausal/post menopausal women.
    I accept that, as a menopausal woman, the weight is very hard to loose, thus the dramatic results that a 30 year old may see simply isn’t going to happen in a 50+ year old. I find that if I go from 45grams of carbs per day to 55 carbs per day, weight loss stops or I can actually gain a pound. Other than exercising even more, is there anything that a menopausal woman should do to increase weight loss?
    The biggest advantage that I have found so far on this plan is the lack of hunger. For the first time in years, I simply don’t feel hunger pains three to five hours after eating a meal. A few times now I’ve been busy and looked at the clock and realized lunch was past and suppertime was here already.