Lose the wheat, lose the . . . addiction

Wheat Belly Blog reader, Ang, left this fascinating comment about her break from wheat addiction:

I have been wheat-free for 9 days after reading the article in Woman’s Day (which I NEVER pick up — don’t know why it struck me that day to read it). I cannot believe the PROFOUND DIFFERENCE in my life.

I have spent 43 years in the throws of what I will call a “food addiction” problem. The CONSTANT fight to win the battle of not -eating too much, not-eating the wrong foods, not eating, exercising more, etc. has taken a toll on my life and is time wasted I can never get back. But my husband described this best when he said “it’s like you’ve been a wheelchair and can walk again.”

Cravings have been ELIMINATED. I mean COMPLETELY ELIMINATED. The ability to recognize ACTUAL HUNGER is so foreign to me that when, in the past eight days, it happened, my husband and I were GIDDY. I actually KNOW when I am hungry. I have NEVER KNOWN what hunger felt like.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: We were at a ballgame and there were few options available and I was, as my husband, GENUINELY hungry. So I ordered a sausage and peppers without the bun and the fries that came with it. Now, I have NEVER, EVER, EVER LEFT FRIES on a plate and called them a “trigger food” for me for years. But, with out the wheat trigger in my life, I easily knew when I was full and, lo and behold, half the fries were left. NOW LET ME BE CLEAR: I am not saying I’ve replaced bread with french fries, I get that carb-porn/fried or otherwise can be problematic and I am eating plenty of vegetables, lean meats, brown rice and healthy choices, but when I was in a situation where real genuine hunger and VERY limited choices made a poorer choice the only option — without WHEAT, I was able to eat like a NORMAL human being, recognizing the signs of FULL and not feeling deprivation or the need to “WILL” myself not to finish the fries. I have NEVER had that ability!!!!!!

Oh — and I’ve lost eight pounds in the eight days.

The “pull” of wheat for many is crippling. Removing wheat can be like being released from the hold of a powerfully addictive drug, as Ang’s experience illustrates. Thanks for sharing your story, Ang!

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Dr. Davis – Just finished your book (now my husband is reading it), and I wanted to thank you so much for it! Awesome book! Sharing it everywhere I can. Thanks so much for a great resource.
    Diana J.

  2. Jill

    This is so true! Before, I would never leave food on my plate. I have noticed doing this several times since I dropped wheat! It seems strange to me, but wonderful!!!

    • Hi, Jill–


      Yes, it returns control over appetite to you, restoring normal physiological triggering of appetite: You eat because you need to, not because something is artificially stimulating hunger.

  3. anthony

    Dear Dr. Davis:
    My wife and I enjoyed reading your book on our flight to and from Paris. FWIW, while in Paris, Chartres and Normandy, we ate portions of French wheat at every meal we ate: I, two croissants with chocolate at breakfast; she, two croissants, plain. Baguettes for lunch and dinner. Now, in fairness, we also walked cumulatively approximately 14 hours in the 9 days we were there.. Neither of us experienced the tell-tale signs of the “addictive response. No joint pain; no “fogginess” ; zip, nada of the other symptoms. What we surprisingly continued to find is that we were just not hungry, as might have been predicted She maintained her weight and BF%. When we got back, my first weigh-in showed a 2.2# weight loss and a 2.5% body fat drop. Not bad for a 73 and 70 year old, respectively. So, relative to an earlier post, French wheat is not American wheat, or, alternatively or in interaction, the energetic output associated with our walking about in that incredible city and countryside – each walk, by the way, took place virtually immediately after eating – mitigated the insulin response associated with the wheat intake. FWIW, I’ve ordered my first package of http://growseed.org/einkorn.html. Back to baking our own :)
    I’d be interested in your and others thoughts.
    Excellent work, sir, and inspiring posts, all. You have done a major medical service intervention!

    • Hi, Anthony–

      I’m glad you had a wonderful time in France. I am dying to go myself, having done 4 CD courses in the French language.

      French bread is indeed different for a number of reasons, including higher fat content in the flour, some effort to use older forms of grain (einkorn is still grown in parts of Provence, for instance), aging of the dough. I suspect there may be other modifications unique to the French experience.

      Having not observed the metabolic consequences of this version of wheat products, I can’t comment on such phenomena as triggering of blood glucose, small LDL, etc. My suspicion is that it all does occur, just to a lesser degree compared to the American version. As in other health questions, the French always seem to pose a “paradox”!

  4. Paulina J!

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    I received my book and I’m only up to page 50, but as of tomorrow we will no longer be consuming any wheat products. I will be taking before and after pictures and send them at a later time and update you on our progress! My husband has already lost 50lbs, but can’t seem to shake the last pounds and belly that are tormenting him. Of course, we’ve been eating “healthy” wheat bread, but are just stuck. Thanks for the insight; we can’t wait for the results.

  5. Amine

    Hello friend,

    I cannot Thank you enough for the incredible wealth of information. It is very humbling to see individuals like you step up and do the right thing to uncover health hazards with wheat products.

    I surf, Play Tennis (ex college played) and run constantly and couldnt figure out why I was stuck at 197 pounds. I also has a problem of eating too many sandwiches one after the other. I come home and bread is just too convenient to make sandwiches. Problem is you don’t stop at one sandwich.

    I have been completely wheat free since 9/3 and lost 5 pounds so far. I also dropped all the sugar stuff after I read Sugar Shock. I couldn’t believe that I actually had a sugar addiction and couldnt believe the efforts I used to do in order to go acquire chocolate. Then I would go run for 45 minutes to compensate….I had a problem that I didnt realize. It is like nicotine…

    Getting rid of sugar is not the only problem. Wheat is also a big big problem.
    I feel incredibly good and super light on my feet….:)

    No urgency to eat a lot and also feeling satisfied. I’m only though 57 percent on the kindle version and will be dropping additional items you have mentioned in the chapter I read today such as beans and excessive fruits. I will have absolutely no problem adopting your diet since I love love veggies. I feel already slim…:)

    I will be back home in Morocco next month in south Morocco and will go after all the organic veggies in the markets….:) Spices etc

    Moroccan cooking is all meat and veggies. We call them Tagines…:)
    My favorite tagine is artichok, green peas and meat. best tagine ever..:)

    Just wanted to simply Thank you again. I will keep you posted..:)

    FYI: Your book and programs have incredible future potential…..It will be incredibly successful.
    Amine (The Moroccan who lives in Florida..:)

    • Hi, Amine–

      Thank you!

      It is amazing how many cultures evolved diets that were healthier than our current, industrialized diet. “Those who fail to learn from the past are destined . . .”

      Please come back and tell us about your diet adventure while visiting Morocco!

  6. teri sassin

    Just started this diet today as seen in the magazine article. It does not give much info on what beverages you can have. Is water the only choice? Was wondering about crystal light and things like that.

  7. Christy

    Dear Dr. Davis: Two weeks ago I ordered the audio version of your book through Audible.com and I’ve listened to it twice (during my commute to and from work) and now going through it a third time. I also ordered a printed copy from Amazon today as I want to make some notes and am eager to review the recipes. I’ve been wheat-free for about 7 days and so far, it seems effortless. I’m excited about this journey and I’ve enjoyed your book very much — I’ve learned so much! Thank you!

    • Hi, Christy–

      You’re welcome!

      I’ve been listening to the audio CD version, just because I had no role in the recording process. They sure picked a reader with a great voice. It felt like I was listening to something I’d never heard before!

  8. Victoria Kruger

    I am thinking of becoming wheat free and would like to start right now. I need to test the water, so to speak.

  9. Francesca

    Dr. Davis,

    I heard your interview on Jimmy Moore’s podcast. I am looking forward to reading your new book.

    If you do come to Paris, please let me know and I will be happy to be your guide. I live here and I can speak enough French to manage quite well and it gets better every day. I also know much of the city like the back of my hand.

    Regarding wheat in France. It would be interesting to know if it really is different from the wheat in the U.S. In the meantime, I am trying to stop eating it which is not easy especially if you go out early in the morning and pass a boulangerie and smell that wonderful aroma coming from the baking bread.

    I do feel so much better, though, when I have been off of it for a couple of months, but whether that is from not eating wheat or the fact that if you don’t eat it you are eliminating an incredible amount of other stuff that one shouldn’t be putting in their body.


    • Ah, bonjour, Francesca!

      I would love to take you up on your offer! I’ll have to brush up on my crude and CD course-learned French.

      There are indeed unexplored issues on the differences of the differences in wheat U.S. vs. France. As your experience highlights, it does not necessarily mean that the French have discovered some means of completely disabling the ill-effects. Better does not mean good.

  10. Jenn

    Nice to know about Eincorn, too bad it is so ungodly expensive. I guess I will stay wheat free!! I got really excited until I saw the price….maybe not expensive for some, but it is for me at the moment!

    • Dr. Davis

      I believe you are better off without the einkorn, anyway, Jenn!

      It’s better . . . but not necessarily good.

  11. Kat

    Dr Davis,

    I have what I hope might be a quick question. I have been wheat free about 1 week now. I have been experiencing a lot of joint pain/stiffness issues since I started. Left knee and feet especially. I have not changed my exercise routine or anything else. Though I am now backing off of my hour a day as it is that painful. I have been taking 3000-4000 MSM each day (for about a month, due to an old shoulder/neck injury and it has really helped it) along with fish oil, calcium and Vit D and of course a general multi-vitiamn. Is joint pain normal for withdrawal…or could it just be a coincidence that it recently started? I have an appointment with a orthopedic Dr but it is two weeks out.

    I wish you were closer I would make an appointment to see you in a heartbeat….no pun intended.

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Kat–

      While unusual, it sure sounds like an unusual form of wheat withdrawal.

      If this is true, you should have your answer any day now, as the withdrawal process subsides. Makes me wonder why you have such an unusual form of withdrawal: what was wheat doing to you in the first place to allow this?

  12. Cori

    I have been wheat free for a couple of years (off and on). That’s my problem. I can’t seem to stay off of it. It’s truly an addiction that I can’t break. I am desperate to lose 20 lbs after two pregnancies, but I find myself so hungry throughout the day, I can’t resist wheat and sugar. I feel so mentally weak and I don’t know where to start (emotionally) to give us this substance once and for all.

    • Dr. Davis

      I know of no secret to finally breaking the addiction, Cori. Yet you are the kind of person who is most likely to enjoy the most extravagant benefits.

      At some point, I believe it is in you and your family’s best interest to finally confront and deal with this addiction, much like an alcoholic has to confront their disease.

  13. Cher

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    I can’t wait to get started. I’m going to buy your book to get more in depth information and recipes.
    I had very severe and lasting allergies when I was born in the early 1960’s when no one knew of allergies. My parents had to feed me over the sink because I could not keep anything down as a baby. I lost 2-lbs in my first month of life. Luckily, it was found that I could eat rice and soybeans which I ate until I was three years old. Then began the fun task of trying to reintroduce other foods to check for tolerance. I supposedly “outgrew” my allergies as a teenager after years of allergy sensitivity tests and prescribed medication. I’m telling you all of this because I have been suffering with fibromyalgia for the past 18 years after a fall and developed breast cancer three years later. No food allergies have shown up when they do the skin testing for food sensitivities. I’ll bet hidden food allergies and reaction to wheat has been an insidious culprit this whole time and is the major contributor to my multiple conditions; fibromyalgia, OA, chronic fatigue, unrelenting sugar and starch based cravings, etc. Every time I have to take antibiotics, I get thrush (yeast bloom).
    Wish me luck.

    Do you have any wisdom to share concerning fibromyalgia’s causes? HAs anyone ever reported their symptoms receding once they cut out the wheat? No medical professional has ever been able to pinpoint the cause or offer real cures to me. Basically we are told to make the best of it and it is all in our heads, literally. (Perceived pain and hypersensitivity by the brain.)

    Thank you for finding this wheat issue and offering solutions that so many find life changing.