An Open Letter to the Grain Foods Foundation

Readers: I am reposting this letter in order to help disseminate the arguments. Please feel free to reproduce this letter any way you see fit.



Ms. Ashley Reynolds
490 Bear Cub Drive
Ridgway, CO 81432
Phone: 617.226.9927

Ms. Reynolds:

I am writing in response to the press release from the Grain Foods Foundation that describes your effort to “discredit” the assertions made in my book, Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health. I’d like to address several of the criticisms of the book made in the release:

” . . . the author relies on anecdotal observations rather than scientific studies.”
While I do indeed have a large anecdotal experience removing wheat in thousands of people, witnessing incredible and unprecedented weight loss and health benefits, I also draw from the experiences already documented in clinical studies. Several hundred of these studies are cited in the book (of the thousands available) and listed in the Reference section over 16 pages. These are studies that document the neurologic impairment unique to wheat, including cerebellar ataxia and dementia; heart disease via provocation of the small LDL pattern; visceral fat accumulation and all its attendant health consequences; the process of glycation via amylopectin A of wheat that leads to cataracts, diabetes, and arthritis; among others. There are, in fact, a wealth of studies documenting the adverse, often crippling, effects of wheat consumption in humans and I draw from these published studies.

“Wheat elimination ‘means missing out on a wealth of essential nutrients.'”
This is true–if the calories of wheat are replaced with candy, soft drinks, and fast food. But if lost wheat calories are replaced by healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, meats, eggs, cheese, avocados, and olives, then there is no nutrient deficiency that develops with elimination of wheat. There is no deficiency of any vitamin, including thiamine, folate, B12, iron, and B6; no mineral, including selenium, magnesium, and zinc; no polyphenol, flavonoid, or antioxidant; no lack of fiber. With regards to fiber, please note that the original studies documenting the health benefits of high fiber intake were fibers from vegetables, fruits, and nuts, not wheat or grains.

People with celiac disease do indeed experience deficiencies of multiple vitamins and minerals after they eliminate all wheat and gluten from the diet. But this is not due to a diet lacking valuable nutrients, but from the incomplete healing of the gastrointestinal tract (such as the lining of the duodenum and proximal jejunum). In these people, the destructive effects of wheat are so overpowering that, unfortunately, some people never heal completely. These people do indeed require vitamin and mineral supplementation, as well as probiotics and pancreatic enzyme supplementation.

I pose several questions to you and your organization:

Why is the high-glycemic index of wheat products ignored?
Due to the unique properties of amylopectin A, two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar higher than many candy bars. High blood glucose leads to the process ofglycation that, in turn, causes arthritis (cartilage glycation), cataracts (lens protein glycation), diabetes (glycotoxicity of pancreatic beta cells), hepatic de novo lipogenesisthat increases triglycerides and, thereby, increases expression of atherogenic (heart disease-causing) small LDL particles, leading to heart attacks. Repetitive high blood sugars that develop from a grain-rich diet are, in my view, very destructive and lead to weight gain (specifically visceral fat), insulin resistance, leptin resistance (leading to obesity), and many of the health struggles Americans now experience.

How do you account for the psychologic and neurologic effects of the wheat protein,gliadin?
Wheat gliadin has been associated with cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, gluten encephalopathy (dementia), behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism, and paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations in people with schizophrenia, severe and incapacitating effects for people suffering from these conditions.

How do you explain the quadrupling of celiac disease over the last 50 years and its doubling over the last 20 years?
I submit to you that, while this is indeed my speculation, it is the changes in genetic code and, thereby, antigenic profile, of the high-yield semi-dwarf wheat cultivars now on the market that account for the marked increase in celiac potential nationwide. As you know, “hybridization” techniques, including chemical mutagenesis to induce selective mutations, leads to development of unique strains that are not subject to animal or human safety testing–they are just brought to market and sold.

Why does the wheat industry continue to call chemical mutagenesis, gamma irradiation, and x-ray irradiation “traditional breeding techniques” that you distinguish from genetic engineering? Chemical mutagenesis using the toxic mutagen, sodium azide, of course, is the method used to generate BASF’s Clearfield herbicide-resistant wheat strain. These methods are being used on a wide scale to generate unique genetic strains that are, without question from the FDA or USDA, assumed to be safe for human consumption.

In short, my view on the situation is that the U.S. government, with its repeated advice to “eat more healthy whole grains,” transmitted via vehicles like the USDA Food Pyramid and Food Plate, coupled with the extensive genetic transformations of the wheat plant introduced by agricultural geneticists, underlie an incredible deterioration in American health. I propose that you and your organization, as well as the wheat industry and its supporters, are at risk for legal liability on a scale not seen since the tobacco industry was brought to task to pay for the countless millions who died at their product’s hands.

I would be happy and willing to talk to you personally. I would also welcome the opportunity to debate you or any of your experts in a public forum.

Wiliam Davis, MD
Author, Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health(Rodale, 2011)


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Comments & Feedback...

  1. PJ

    Dr. Davis:
    Would you answer a question for me, please. I have looked at information on the internet and your Heart Scan Blog but I cannot find information on what the acceptable VLDL level may be. Is there a desirable LDL/VLDL ratio? Or maybe you can point me in the right direction for the information.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi, PJ–

      Because triglycerides track VLDL so closely, and the data relating VLDL size to atherogenicity (plaque-causing potential) is so weak, I’ve chosen to not track VLDL, only triglycerides. We therefore aim to keep triglycerides 60 mg/dl or less.

      • PJ

        Dr. Davis:

        Thank you so much for your feedback. I reasearched further and can understand why you consider Trigs more important than VLDL.

        The reason I contacted you is because I was kind of panicking since got the results of my latest labs from my MD today. Since my insurance pays for tests by an MD that they won’t by an ND, I had some blood work done last week because I wanted to know where I stood since giving up wheat last year. I have to admit that when he said “You’re headed for trouble, young lady” it scared the bejesus out of me. I never worried about anything like this until my husband developed severe heart disease and died a couple years ago.

        (A year ago I gave up all wheat products and lost 33 pounds in about six weeks while adding plentiful animal fats to my diet.)

        My last labs were in May 2010 while eating moderate carbs; about 50-100 gms per day:
        (These numbers have been pretty consistent for the last couple decades, except for VLDL because they didn’t measure it then.)

        Total 229
        LDL 139
        HDL 75
        Trigs 75
        VLDL 15
        hsCRP 2.5
        Vit D 45

        Last week:
        Total 244
        LDL 145
        HDL 90
        Trigs 45
        VLDL 9
        hsCRP .5
        Vit D 65

        I walked out of my MD’s office with a 60 day prescription for 60 mg Lipitor w/10 mg Zetia. He told me that at the rate my total was going up, I was certain to develop heart disease very soon if I didn’t stop it now. (I’ve learned to nod, smile and not argue with him because he’s pretty intimidating.) I was picking up my labs on the way to an appointment with my naturopath. I told her what my MD said and she chuckled and said I had nothing to worry about. Being a vegetarian based ND she said she doesn’t necessarily approve of my animal based diet but over the years “has learned not to argue with me”. (I lent her my copy of “Wheatbelly” because she seemed so interested about my changes. Yeah, I carry it in my purse.)

        All my hormone levels were close to what she wanted to see and my cortisol was down.

        I have to admit that he wears a white lab coat when meeting with patients and she wears t-shirt and blue jeans. Guess which one I had the strongest reaction to. What is it about the white coat?!

        Okay, now I’m asking a heart specialist . . . are my numbers really okay? Do I need a new MD?

        • PJ

          Oh! BTW I would never take a statin drug and did not have those prescriptions filled. I may be intimidated, but I’m not crazy.

        • Hi, PJ–

          The sad truth is that you’ve been given what I call “fictitious” LDL and misleading total cholesterol.

          First, your total cholesterol is high because your HDL is very high–this is good, not bad. It causes a falsely exaggerated total choleserol.

          Second, because you are low-carb and have successfully lose a substantial amount of weight, the calculated LDL cholesterol you’ve been given is potentially very inaccurate. Better measures: NMR LDL particle number or apoprotein B.

          However, on the surface, your values are actually quite excellent!

          It’s not good enough to wear a doctor costume and intimidate patients to control their behavior. You need a more informed opinion.

          • PJ

            Thank you so much, Dr. D. You’ve got a great bedside (blogside?) manner. I know now to ask for apoprotein B. Yeah, those “doctor costumes” (well put) are probably worn for effect, cuz it works. I think I’m going to be doing some doctor interviewing.
            Yea for lo-carb, wheat free high fat! There’s no going back.

          • matthew pearson

            To understand why wheat is good, we must take it apart from the very basic biological level. There are separate parts to the wheat; the endosperm, which is the most commercially used and viable portion, the bran, notable for certain “cleansing” effects, and the wheatgerm, which is a goldmine for humans.

            wheatgerm, is removed from most commercial products. Reason being, it is so healthy nutritious and delicious that the bagstacking storage people can’t keep it away from bacteria. “the secret life of plants” is an excellent book that details the development of the grain industry circa world war 1 in england, when the urbanization of the population made it requisite to store grains for longer. (having a noticeable impact on the populations health).

            saying wheat is unhealthy is like saying almonds are unhealthy because a person could extract cyanide out of them. it is the refinement process and not the original product, it is the growing process, not the original product that is unhealthy. So, the real question is, now that you have money having sold your book, why dont you commit yourself to a study of countries where those changes have not been made so that you can conclusively demonstrate in a repeatable fashion your assertion that wheat is unhealthy.

            Thank you.

    • In my view, the overwhelming likelihood is that you will.

      Not sick in terms of vomiting and diarrhea. Sick in terms of knee and hip arthritis, acid reflux, diabetic and pre-diabetic sugars, small LDL particles leading to heart attack and stroke, the phenomena of glycation like cataracts, neurologic impairment like ataxia, peripheral neuropathies, and dementia. You will likely not even suspect wheat had a role in your deteriorating health. You will, more than likely, just wither away and spend eternity in the great wheat field in the sky.

  2. Peter

    Wheat is the new tobacco. Keep saying it. It took about 30 years for tobacco to become the pariah that it is. When I started college in 1979, you could smoke in the classrooms. My high school had a smoking area. My first office job, in a building w/ sealed windows, allowed smoking at your desk. You could smoke on planes, in hospitals (ask my mother w/ her Winstons at the nurses station), at any table in any restaurant. It’s actually hard to imagine when you think back. Dr. Davis is right, someone will lawyer up and eventually a huge award will follow. WHEAT IS THE NEW TOBACCO!

    • Wow, Peter. Great line!

      Wheat is the new tobacco. Wheat is the new tobacco. Wheat is the new tobacco . . . it’s got a great ring to it!

      Yes, indeed: Today’s darling is tomorrow’s pariah.

  3. Liza

    Since going gluten free about a year ago, please explain the 15+ weight GAIN I’ve experienced. I largely stay away from typical gf replacements of breads, baked goods, cookies and other treats. I eat meats, fish, veggies, fruits,nuts & seeds. I try to limit starchy carbs, potatoes, rice and rice pasta to once a week or so. I’ve been told my body is now absorbing nutrients, hence the weight gain. I feel lots better, but I’m really not happy about gaining! I’m also exercising regularly.
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced this unwanted side effect.

    • Hi, Liza–

      While this approach–wheat elimination on the background of limited carbohydrates–is extremely effective for the majority, there can be booby traps.

      Number one most common: Eating something that you were not aware causes weight gain. For instance, I’ve seen people pile Craisins into their bowl of raw nuts; this will easily impair a weight loss effort.

      Number two: Thyroid dysfunction. This is far more common than you’d think. And it takes someone smart about thyroid matters to diagnose. (Read: NO endocrinologists. If you want a closed-minded, head-stuck-in-the-mud opinion, consult an endocrinolgist. Free T3 impairment is a VERY common cause of weight loss failure.)

      There are other, less common, causes, e.g., high cortisol from stress, that can also work against you. You might consider obtaining the assistance of someone. Locally, the best people I’ve seen for this are, to my surprise, the naturopath community.

        • Michael

          Indeed, who should one consult. I have a PC and an Endo, and they all seem to not want to tinker so long as my TSH is in normal range.

          • HI, Michael–

            Losing weight can be exceptionally easy an simple, given the right advice. Slashing risk for heart disease can be a simple matter, given the right advice. Minimizing or even curing diabetes can be simple, given the right advice. And achieving ideal thyroid status can also be simple and yield great benefits . . . given the right advice.

            Sadly, the toughest part of the equation in thyroid is finding a health practitioner who 1) is genuinely interested, and 2) understands how to deal with thyroid issues. I can count the number of practitioners in my area who I would trust with my thyroid health on one hand out of several hundred.

            It means a serious search for that practitioner who is open-minded and engaged in thyroid issues, which means less than 1% of practitioners.

  4. I wonder whether a call for the FDA to test new strains of wheat like they test GMO’s could help spread the message. A follow up lawsuit (they won’t do anything of course) may clinch it. I, and in my opinion many Low Carbers / Paleo followers will be willing to contribute towards such a lawsuit..

    • Thanks for the ideas, Miki.

      I am also pondering on how to take this message beyond that of individual choice, but to absolutely and conclusively demonstrate to the powers, like the FDA, that, not only is modern wheat not healthy, it is probably the most destructive crop ever created by agricultural geneticists and agribusiness.

      • Annie

        Off topic but I think soy is right up there. It messes with our health. I am a farmer and it is difficult to get animal feed without soy unless you want to pay through the nose and then you get fishmeal instead to provide the protein level that soy gives. And this may be farmed salmon that was fed soy anyway.

  5. kathleen Turner

    Dr. Davis –

    I am in the process of reading WheatBelly and trying to go wheat free. I have been low carb (around 50g) a day for 5 months and have lost only 5 lbs. I am an insulin dependent diabetic (I’ve decreased my meal time insulin a ton) so I had been attributing my slow weight loss to still being on the insulin, but after just 3 days of no wheat, my weight has dropped 1.5 lbs. This is exciting, but I am not getting my hopes up too much. I am into this lowcarb/wheat free for the A1c benefits mostly. My doctor nearly jumped up and down since my A1c went from 7.4 to 6.3 in 4 months time. I was concerned because my cholesterol number was pretty high. I cannot take statin drugs because I have intensely bad reactions to them. I only have the 3 numbers for Cholesterol.
    TRIG: 47
    HDL: 81
    LDL 186
    Should I be really nervous about my LDL, or is it OK? Should I be watching my sat fat intake?

    Thank you, and thanks for your book! I have recommended it to many people so far.


    • Hi, Kathleen–

      You should join my discussions in my other blog, The Heart Scan Blog, where you will learn that the number your doctor is trying to treat is fictitious, not real. Yes, subject you to drugs based on a fictitious observation. (LDL cholesterol is really a value calculated by something called the Friedewald equation.)

      You need either an NMR LDL particle number or apoprotein B to know what the real number is. Your doctor should know how to get this, but don’t count on it. Personally, I would not accept a fictitious value in the form of LDL.

      • kathleen Turner

        Thanks for the information. I will check out your other blog. I’ll also ask my doc about the other test. I am truly impressed that you not only responded, but responded so quickly to my question. thanks!

  6. K Clayton

    I also wonder whether the increase of people with celiac disease is due to GM Wheat! When we change the molecular composition of a crop, and do not extensively test to see how this will effect humans after consumption we risk the possibility of situations in which our bodies will reject this foreign protein. We do not realize how much of our food contains GM foods, including wheat. The frightening fact of the matter also is that everything that has GM foods in it, doesn’t require to disclose this information. We are at the mercy of the federal government’s food quality systems like the USDA and the FDA, and the only way (supposedly) around it is to eat certified Organic foods, which are “technically” not allowed to contain GM foods. I’m sure if we go back 300-400 years to see how those who ate whole grains all of the time fared, we will see less instances of wheat allergies but the question then is, is it because of GM wheat, or is it because the medical technologies 300 years ago would not allow for proper diagnosis of wheat allergies?

    I think this is a great point to focus on eliminating wheat from our diets, but also we should not lose sight of the possibilities of other reasons for these allergies as well, and taking our control of our crops back!

    • Hi, K–

      Interestingly, wheat has been among the few grains that has NOT been genetically-modified. But this is more of a semantic game than anything else.

      GM means insertion or deletion of a specific gene. Instead, wheat has been the recipient of an extensive array of extreme, sometimes bizarre, “traditional breeding techniques” that includes practices such as chemical mutagenesis, gamma irradiation, x-ray radiation, as well as repeated and purposeful crossbreeding and introgression.

      What is ironic is that genetic modification is an improvement over “traditional breeding techniques.” I am no defender of genetic modification, but while all the negative publicity is focused on genetic modification, something far worse has been going on for 50 years . . . and is still going on.

      • smgj

        I’m a hashimoto’s sufferer (well, not really anymore since I’ve acquired a GREAT doctor + Erfa) and removed wheat from my diet after (finally, with my MDs help) understanding that my sinus congestions/inflammations, cubital syndrome and swellings in my joints actually are some form of grain intolerance. For me it’s not only wheat, but also other gluten containing grains (I’m no celiac). Especially barley and rye seems to cause a similar reaction. For the first time since early childhood I can breathe freely through my nose – all the time. It’s a novel relief. And as a “side effect” of loosing grains (+ sugars and additives) I lost approx. 30 pounds. 

        Well – in addition to praising my doc helping me getting rid of grains (I do eat corn and rice in moderation, but no oaths, rye, barley or wheat) I’d like to mention that anecdotally some celiacs can tolerate slow/cold risen sourdough (12-24 hours) and/or bread from spelt, which is an old grain and probably not subjected to the same “crossing” as wheat (but I wouldn’t trust it since all grains are wind pollinated and easily interbred as long as they are closely related….

        • Hi, SMGJ–

          You highlight some excellent points: oats, rye, and barley can yield effects similar to wheat, though less marked.

          Sourdough lactose fermentation and older forms of wheat, such as spelt, might be tolerable by some gluten-sensitive people, while others cannot. It all has to do with what gluten is contained and what gluten generates the immune response in the individual. My solution: Junk it all, since nobody is going to run immunological panels on people to assess tolerance. And don’t forget: Gastrointestinal tolerance does not necessarily translate into tolerance by other organs. For instance, someone might tolerate a specific strain of ancient wheat like emmer without diarrhea and cramps, only to develop neuropathy.

          • smgj

            Thank you for your kind words. For me it was very strange – because I had definite stomach symptoms when re-introducing milk. But none on grains. All my symptoms on grains (which in sum was far more scary) where non-abdominal (no craps, no diarrhea). I think my intestines have given up telling me off grains years ago.

            By the way – I’m now re-introducing milk products again and I now seem to tolerate at least sour products and cheese. My MD tells me that the reaction to milk the first time probably was a secondary intolerance due to a damaged gastrointestinal tract and that I now – after half a year whith treatement (mainly probiotics and l-glutamine) can use milk products again in moderation.

            And regarding your warning I fully agree – and as a person with a known intoleranse plan to stay away from grains completely the rest of my life – even though sourdough bread was one of my favorite foods. That’s the way it has to be until the authorities accept that “grain damage” are much more widespread than what’s commonly accepted – and until we have good, reliable tests for different types of grain intolerance. I don’t count on it happening in my life time. ;)

          • SM–

            It sounds like you’ve come a long, long way! And it also sounds like you have an uncommonly well-informed advocate in your healthcare provider–few know that dairy intolerance can be a secondary phenomenon to wheat intolerance.

            I’m impressed . . . and grateful!

          • Thanks, SM.

            Yes, indeed: Thyroid dysfunction is one of the many organs that have been linked to wheat consumption, probably via lectins and their ability to “open” the otherwise closed intestinal barriers to foreign antigens. It is incredible that we invite this thing into our diets and it then invites all manner of unwanted strangers.

      • Eric

        Correct, genetically modified wheat is not yet on the market, although Monsanto continues to pressure governments worldwide to approve their genetically modified RoundUp Ready Wheat…
        In any event, I was shocked to read from Dr. Davis how mutated our current wheat is, as a result of decades of bizarre breeding techniques. I didn’t know that! Talk about total madness! No wonder why so many people now can’t tolerate eating wheat! I’ve personally stopped eating wheat over the past 10 years — as a result of adverse reactions. But how many others will be able to figure it out on their own?

  7. Mona

    Thank you so much for doing all this research and telling it like it is. I am recovering from the debilitating manifestations of Celiac on my entire body. It’s unbelievable how much havoc this grain has contributed to various systems in my body. I have also had to cut out all grains…I was consuming gluten-free oats thinking those were safe. Wrong. So, I am now grain free and primarily on a Paleo diet, and feel much better.
    I recently saw a doctor presentation on Celiac. He mentioned a drastic increase in Celiac in Sweden between 1985 and 1995 among young children. Apparently, the infant formulas these children consumed as babies contained high levels of gluten.
    Keep spreading the news!

  8. Owen McCall

    Dear Dr. Davis,

    Please reconsider your use of the term “genetic code”. Both in your book and blog you use that term when referring to what should be described as a genetic sequence, DNA sequence, gene allele, or some equivalent synonym. The term “genetic code” has a very specific meaning that differs from your usage. It refers to the three-base RNA sequences within the anticodon loops of the various tRNA molecules that are complimentary to their cognate mRNA codons within the coding regions of gene transcripts.

    I would also like to defend characterizing chemical and irradiation mutagenesis techniques as “traditional” as opposed to “genetic engineering”. As one whose research career in mutagenesis has spanned this transition I can confirm the usage. Historically, traditional plant and animal breeders have patiently relied upon spontaneous, random mutations to confer desirable characteristics on their breeding lines. Since most mutations are “silent” or deleterious rather than helpful, this is a very slow and inefficient process. Chemical and irradiation mutagenesis simply speed this up, providing more (still random) mutations per generation. (These agents do not provide mutations directly, they simply damage the DNA molecules. For a mutation to appear the organism must repair the damage to their DNA in an error-prone fashion.) So this is just like what Gregor Mendel did with his famous pea plants, only accelerated. It is therefore “traditional” breeding. On the other hand, genetic engineering, as the term is most commonly used, involves some form of “gene splicing”. That is, the genetic sequences are manipulated outside of the organism, in very specific and non-random ways, and then reintroduced into the plant or animal. Your concern is that these genetic changes may be having other, unplanned effects, ones that might be making wheat even less healthy than before. Therefore, we might logically fear these accelerated traditional breeding methods more than recombinant DNA technologies. The former are undoubtedly introducing thousands of silent or undesirable genetic changers for every desirable change that is noticed. (But of course exactly the same thing has been happening, albeit at a much slower rate, since the first agriculturalists of the neolithic.) Genetic Engineering technologies, while perhaps sounding much scarier than “Traditional”, are at least rational, targeted and localized.

    The above niggling points notwithstanding, I am greatly enjoying the book!


    J. Owen McCall, Ph.D.

  9. Theresa

    Dr. Davis,
    As a physical therapist specializing in older adults, and converted to low carb eating by Dr. Mike Eade’s books, you’re answering one of my most pressing concerns. I’ve been wondering what is behind the epidemic of peripheral neuropathy (especially stocking-pattern numbness) in my older, non-diabetic patients. It is everywhere. Very few patients have ever had monofilament testing to determine if their protective sensation is intact, and many deny numbness – but can’t feel a 10 gm. monofilament. It is widespread, and elevates fall risk considerably.

    • Hi, Theresa–

      I share your suspicion that this is far more widespread than initially suspected. Unfortunately, we have large epidemiologic observations that gauge just how widespread it is. It also might be getting worse.

      When you think about it, it sure is pretty scary: Consume a food that leads to impairment of neurologic function. Under any other circumstance, this would be labeled a “poison.”

  10. Dayna

    Quick question is how to address wheat-free food that seems to be high in carbs and sugars. My husband suffers with IBS and is currently eating wheat-free and is feeling better. Many wheat-free foods are high in carbs and/or sugars, which up to this point, I have learned is negative in relation to weight loss and over-all physical health. How does that correlate in regard to weigh-loss efforts? Am I misinformed? Thanks so much for your time.

      • Dayna

        Wow, this is a challenge! So what I look for when buying foods is wheat free foods and avoid those that are both wheat-free and gluten free? Any how-to-books on what such a diet looks like could I refer to in order to better understand what such a diet will look like in our day to day lives?

  11. Karen Jones

    For those that are worried about high cholesterol when pursuing a wheat free diet, I strongly recommend adding quinoa and Chia to your diet daily. I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and was given lipitor which I had a very bad reaction to. I eat quinoa daily as a morning cereal with nuts, dried fruits and maple syrup (not bad tasting…) and my cholesterol level is in decline.
    I have just gone wheat free since reading your article in Macleans and am feeling the results just a week later! You book is a must read for me – thanks!

  12. Julie

    I recently finished Wheat Belly and found it to be absolutely fascinating and enlightening. My family has gone Paleo recently, so we were already off wheat, but it was nice to have the historical information at hand, and much of your research really punched up my desire to keep my kids wheat free–even more so than sugar free.

    I do have a question. I imagine you’re aware that in the Paleo community, a lot of folks recommend staying away from nuts because of the high Omega 6 content. I’ve been mostly doing that (some homemade trail mix here and there), but I do love nuts. I was wondering about your thoughts in that regard. Is the Omega 6/3 ratio something to be concerned about? Is the bottom line nuts in moderation (which is surely the case where calories are concerned considering they are so calorically dense).

    Thank you…and thanks again for writing such a thought-provoking book!

  13. Jacques Lavoie

    I have a few acres in my back yard. What if I grew wheat using heirloom seeds that are at least 50 years old? Would that wheat be healthy to eat?

    • Better, Jacques, but not necessarily good.

      Remember: People who overconsumed breads and muffins even in the 19th century became obese and, I’m sure, suffered other related health problems.

      But if I were to have an indulgence and had to choose between modern wheat and an heirloom strain, hands down it would be the heirloom strain.

      • Donna Ballard

        I am a Reader Services Librarian at the East Meadow Public Library on Long Island, NY. I purchased your book for our library as soon as I knew it had come out and its going gangbusters-so happy to spread the word!

    • Hi, Carolyn–

      I pride myself on being a bloke!

      After what I’ve been seeing, I don’t see how I could live with myself and have a clear conscience without saying what I truly believe.

  14. Tritia

    Dr. Davis,
    I am currently reading your book. I am studying to become a wholistic nutritionist, and would like to start a specialty bakery. Also I follow a number of diets including Dr. D’Adamo’s and Dr. Fiengold’s, and have been for years now. I tested negative for celiac’s, but due to my reaction to gluten my doctor and I concluded that I’m gluten sensitive. As a result I’ve switched myself and my whole family to spelt. This was quite easy since I already make everything I can from scratch including bread.
    My question is: Has spelt been subjected to genetic alteration too? I can’t imagine it being altered as much as wheat, but knowing how much would still be nice. I tried searching for this information and can’t seem to find any answers.

    Thank you

    • Hi, Tritia–

      It’s that same old flawed argument from the nutrition community: If something bad is replaced with something less bad, then a whole bunch of the less bad thing must be good.

      Spelt fits the “less bad” category. It is, without a doubt, less bad, since it has not been subjected to the extreme changes introduced into modern high-yield wheat. But it is not necessarily good. You can still become quite overweight and diabetic eating spelt, along with triggering of glycation and small LDL particles.

  15. Eric

    Dr. Davis,
    I am/was an active artisan baker. Now that I am wheat free and following a Paleo food menu,I am losing weight and my blood sugar numbers are lower than they have been in over 20 years. I’m not missing staying away from grains but I would like to re introduce my 100% Rye sour pumpernickel bread. I see that you avoid a direct answer on questions as to other grains beside wheat. Do you have any data or supporting studies that speak to other grains like spelt and rye?

    I also see other Blog Dr’s say they eat corn tortillas 2-3 times a week while having Mexican foods. That begs the question about corn.

    • Boundless

      > … would like to re introduce my 100% Rye …
      See first paragraph of:

      Modern rye can easily be just as big a problem as modern wheat. Heirloom rye may be slightly less hazardous, as with heirloom wheat.

      > I also see other Blog Dr’s say they eat corn tortillas 2-3 times a week while
      > having Mexican foods. That begs the question about corn.

      Corn tortillas are definitely preferable to flour (I eat them), but require some caution. They are still high carb. They may be from BT or RR corn, with who-knows-what hazards there. For the acutely wheat sensitive, cross-contamination with wheat is highly likely; as an ingredient, from the work surface and from the cooking oil.

    • Great, Eric! You may be our first former artisan baker.

      I don’t believe, however, that I avoid a direct answer on the non-wheat grains. It’s just that there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

      Think of it this way: The carbohydrate sensitivity of an 105 pound, pre-menopausal 23-year old marathon runner will be different from a 297-pound, 60-year old sedentary truck driving male. There’s no way to generalize and cover all body types.

      You are dealing with the question of individual carbohydrate sensitivity. Please go back a couple of months in this blog to see those discussions.

  16. I’ve always been to the left side of normal in my field (blushing I look at the ground and admit I’m a dietitian). I worked in addictions & mental health for 11 years and found myself at odds with hospital staff/politics many times. I agreed with a mom that a gluten free diet may help with exacerbation of schizophrenia symptoms (The team basically said that there wasn’t enough evidence and too much of a pain in the butt to provide). I tried to make many changes to the hospital diet including recommendations for EFA addition, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit (god forbid). I can’t begin to tell you the hassle i went through trying to explain to patients that possibly margarine wasn’t’ the best thing for them I can tell you it was an uphill battle. I can tell you much to my consternation that every conference I attended for MY discipline was sponsored by the milk marketing & wheat / grain marketing boards. It’s been a bit of a road back from all the brain washing and Food Guide PUSHING. My private practice clients get to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Thank you for your amazing courage to take on an entire industry. It’s taken two years in private practice to separate myself from main stream thinking. My clients love me for it!

    Kind Regards,

    • Dr. Davis


      You are a brave soul!

      Please be reassured that you were right all along! The mental health community, as you well know, is woefully misinformed about the substantial effects diet plays in mentation and emotion.

      Eliminating wheat and eating real food, of course, does not cure most psychiatric conditions. But, even if it makes it “only” 30% better, why not include dietary changes as a basic requirement, rather than resorting to drugs as first-line treatment?

      You know the answer: There’s no money in nutrition. We’ve got to work to change that incredibly stupid perception.

  17. Adam

    You wrote:
    …the process of glycation that, in turn, causes arthritis (cartilage glycation), cataracts (lens protein glycation), diabetes (glycotoxicity of pancreatic beta cells)…

    Dr. Davis,
    First, thank you thank you thank you for your work. These processes of glycation that you mentioned above, can they be reversed with a good diet? I have cataracts and one eye was damaged by the surgeon, limiting my sight for the rest of my life. My other precious eye has a partial cataract. Also, I am most likely diabetic as I have that insulin resistant syndrome, so am concerned whether or not my pancreas can recover. Thanks if you can respond.

    • Dr. Davis

      Unfortunately, Adam, the consequences of glycation are irreversible.

      The key is to stop glycating immediately and halt making the situation any worse.

      • Adam

        It was very kind of you to respond. Thank you very much. I have definitely stopped the process thanks to your information!