Who is Dr. William Davis and why is he saying such nasty things about "healthy whole grains"?

By way of introduction in this new blog, here’s a little bit about me:

If you want the usual “eat this to be heart-healthy” line, then don’t call me.

You won’t get any endorsements of new drugs for weight loss or cholesterol lowering, or gushing commentary on the newest defibrillator or heart transplant device from me. What you will get is plain talk about the largest dietary blunder ever made on an international scale: Cut your fat and eat more healthy whole grains.

There is a germ of truth in this whole grain disaster: Whole grains are indeed healthier than white flour products–just as filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered cigarettes. So should you smoke more Salems in place of your Marlboros? I don’t think so!

Since 2004, I have served as Medical Director of the heart disease prevention and reversal program, Track Your Plaque, an international meeting-of-the-minds to generate a collective effort to find better solutions to the scourge of heart attack and heart disease. In an effort to assist people, as well as my patients, reduce blood sugar–high in over 80% of people nowadays–I asked them to eliminate wheat, including whole grain products, based on the simple fact that wheat products increase blood sugar more than nearly all other foods. The unexpected result: Incredible weight loss; relief from acid reflux and the gas, cramping, and diarrhea of irritable bowel syndrome; increased energy, more stable moods, and deeper sleep; relief from arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis; dramatically improved cholesterol values; reduced blood pressure and inflammatory measures, and on and on. It became clear that this was no coincidence. This was real. And it was all due to eliminating this thing being sold to us called wheat.

‘Cause it ain’t wheat. It’s this stocky little high-yield plant, a distant relative of the wheat our mothers used to bake muffins, but genetically and biochemically lightyears removed from the wheat of just 40 years ago. We have geneticists and agribusiness to thank for this transformation from 4 1/2-foot tall “amber waves of grain” to the 2-foot tall semi-dwarf genetic variant now sold to us in the guise of “healthy whole grains.”

The unexpected results I witnessed in my heart disease prevention program led me to believe that these observations applied to more than my patients and online following. This was a widespread societal problem. It became clear that “wheat” consumption was responsible for an incredible amount of the human illness, obesity, and suffering we are all witnessing on an unprecedented scale. So I wrote Wheat Belly.

So Wheat Belly represents the distilled experience and lessons I’ve learned over these last several years, lessons learned by accident in my quest to help solve the dilemma of heart disease. And, by the way, I hardly ever see any heart attacks any more.

I am a 1985 graduate of the St. Louis University School of Medicine and the Ohio State University Hospitals for training in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases. I even trained in advanced cardiac catheterization techniques and coronary angioplasty in the Case-Western Reserve University system in Cleveland, Ohio. But I’ve essentially left that training in the dust of new-lessons-learned, including this incredible wheat-free world I’ve stumbled into.

I practice preventive cardiology–hardly a stent in sight!–in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I base my practice, writing career, blogging and other activities. I live with my beautiful and triathlon-crazed wife, Dawn; my University of Wisconsin-Madison attending son, Bill; my professional tennis player daughter, Lauren; my still-figuring-out-what-to-do-with-his-life 13-year old, Jacob; and my two unruly and barely tame Boston terriers. And, no, there are no bran muffins or pretzels in the cupboard.

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590 Responses to Who is Dr. William Davis and why is he saying such nasty things about "healthy whole grains"?

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  2. Hans Stoger says:

    Dear Dr Davis – I am reading your book Wheat Belly with great interest and also believe in your recommendations but recently in Concord NH I bought a book called the Starch Solution by John McDougall MD , he recommends exactly the opposite ,lots of good carbohydrates but otherwise a vegan diet and no added fats. You cannot both be right, would you care to comment ? ( I am not arguing , I am simply confused how 2 good doctors can arrive at such opposite conclusions thank you Hans (in Montreal Canada)

    • John Temple says:

      Perhaps both Doctors are correct, depending on who is listening? Until we can positively identify exact genetic/epigenetic causes for why some get/have Coeliac disease and others do not? Or how cold/flu viruses rewrite our bodies codes? The problem is there are so many unknown variables, eye color, skin color, height, weight, allergies, environment, and on and on, that it is a mistake to think everyone is alike an must follow the same rules on diet? Family history is almost never taken by physicians, nor do most patients have accurate history because people hide or lie about their imperfections. Doctors, in most cases, make decisions on 15 min of conversation, statistics of normal populations and current accepted medical knowledge that a physician can retain in his head. Not to mention, lack of specialty interactions due to time constrains, ego or pure sloppiness. In my experience, when a doctor runs out of ideas they resort to protectionism legal tactics rather then “I don’t know”. My point is that things are far more complex and time & money constraints are too restrictive to “individualize” proper medical care to any degree of accuracy. In most cases it is purely a “shotgun” approach as a catch all which works only most of the time.

  3. chauvette Marine says:

    Excuse-me Doctor Davis but I dont skeak and read english good.
    i kike know if he arrowroot is good or no.
    thank
    Martine

  4. DEAR DR DAVIS

    I HAVE BEEN ON YOUR NO WHEAT DIET FOR 5 MONTHS W/DECENT RESULTS.I’VE LOST 12 LBS AND FEEL MUCH BETTER PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.BY THE WAY I AM 68 YRS OLD.I AM A FORMER HEAVY DRUG USER FOR 20 YRS.I DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR PLANA S STRICKLY AS I SHOULD SO I AM NOT GETTING THE 100% RESULTS.I HAVE SEEN AND TALKED TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE AND I ENVY THEM.I DON’T MISS THE WHEAT EXCEPT I DO LIKE AN OCCATIONAL HAMBURGER OR A BOWL OF RAMEN.I DO MISS THE PASTRIES TOO,HOW DOES A LITTLE CHEATING AFFECT MY DIET?I DO EAT SOME RICE W/MY MEALS.

  5. Scott Baehman says:

    Dr. Davis,
    Yesterday I saw an interview with Wayne Dyer and in this 14 minute interview he talked a lot about your book “Wheat Belly”. I bought it and it is on my Kindle and I plan on reading it next after I finish Dyer’s book. I am a Cardiac patient in Fond du Lac, WI. several years ago I was diagnosed Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy and I had to have open heart surgery in 2001 to fix the Obstructive part. I also had to have an ICD placed in me. Then in 2003 I went into A-Fib and my Cardiologist put me on Sotalol to keep me out of A-Fib. Since then I am 100 lbs over weight and I have been struggling with getting the weight off. I have even gone to a Vegetarian/Vegan way of eating, with little results for weight loss. I know I need to drop the pounds so my heart don’t have to work so hard. I have recently joined a fitness club and have been doing the treadmill for about 2 weeks now. I have dropped 2 lbs since starting. Now I hear about your book and how bad wheat and gluten are for us. I am going do what your books says and hope that the weight comes down, my Glucose (which is at 123 now) will come down. Thank you for writing this book and I am looking forward to start reading it and following what you say in it.
    Scott

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  7. dany says:

    which menu you Recommend? Vegan? Vegetarian? or something else? and what can replace the Wheat?

    • Boundless says:

      > which menu you Recommend?

      See any or all of the Wheat Belly books.

      > Vegan? Vegetarian?

      No and no.

      > … or something else?

      In a nutshell: Grain-free very-low-carb high-fat soy-free very-low-omega-6 organic GMO-free. Don’t bother counting calories, but do count net carbs.

      > and what can replace the Wheat?

      Almond or coconut flour usually.

      • JoAnne says:

        I am allergic to all tree nuts and some legumes like lentils and split peas. And I mean anaphylactic shock allergic, not mild itchy rash allergic. However, I am not allergic to coconut. Can I use coconut flour exclusively to replace wheat and still be able to follow the wheat belly plan?

  8. roberto says:

    I understand that the problems you mention are caused by the modern, genetically-altered form of “wheat”, and that you advocate eliminating all wheat from one’s diet. I have a couple of questions.
    1. Is “real”, pre-engineered wheat okay, and if so, are you aware of any sources for obtaining this wheat or flour made from it?
    2. To the best of your knowledge, are all beer brewers using genetically-altered wheat? I would think brewers using formulas that are hundreds of years old would go to great lengths to maintain sources for the ingredients in their old, unaltered state (if possible).

    • Boundless says:

      > … the problems you mention are caused by the modern, genetically-altered
      > form of “wheat”, …

      Not exactly, in my view (I’m not Dr. Davis). Wheat has inherent problems that were made substantially worse by the arrival of mutant semi-dwarf hybrid goatgrass (misleadingly sold to you as “wheat”). This exacerbation was compounded by the high yield, which has made this techno-toxin cheap and pervasive.

      > 1. Is “real”, pre-engineered wheat okay, …

      No. See: “Heirloom wheats” at:
      http://wheatfreeforum.com/index.php/topic,89.msg463.html

      > 2. To the best of your knowledge, are all beer brewers using genetically-altered wheat?

      Because no wheat legally on the market was mutated using explicit gene insertion (the industry definition of GMO), no wheat is “GMO”, and it’s impossible to tell from the bottle what the genetic status is of the wheat, rye or barley used (mutant gluten-bearing strains all).

      Stick with gluten-free beer (Bards, Omission) if you drink any at all (as the net carbs are stiil moderately high).

      > I would think brewers using formulas that are hundreds of years old would go to
      > great lengths to maintain sources for the ingredients in their old, unaltered state …

      They might, but unless they present credible evidence of that, you’re left guessing.

  9. Yarith Laguado says:

    Hello Dr. Davis
    You mentioned that your wife is a triathlete, what are her sources or carbs when she is training? I am a marathoner and when I’m training I have to do 10-12 miles after work a 3-4 times a wk and long miles on Saturday (16-18)
    Yarith

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