Gluten-free is for sissies

Gluten-free means avoiding the diverse group of proteins lumped together as “gluten.” Being gluten-free means avoiding foods that contain either gluten proteins or other proteins that cross-react (immunologically) with glutens. This includes modern wheat, spelt, and kamut; barley; rye; and oats (though variable).

The gluten-free movement is expanding rapidly. In fact, analysts are predicting that the gluten-free food industry will boom to $5 billion by 2015.

The unfortunate situation this has created, however, is that it leads people to believe that, if they are not gluten-sensitive, there is no benefit to eliminating wheat. Wrong. Flat wrong. It would be like avoiding venturing into the bad part of town because the pizza there isn’t as tasty–there are plenty of other reasons not to go there.

What is in modern wheat beyond gluten? The biggies:

1) Gliadin–Gliadin is a subfraction of gluten. Even if you are not gluten-sensitive, continued exposure to wheat means you are still exposed to the unique and plentiful gliadin proteins that have emerged from the genetics laboratories, the gliadin that is a very effective appetite stimulant. Eat wheat: get hungry, eat more. Gliadin explains why we have all-you-can-eat lunch buffets and why overweight athletes.

2) Amylopectin A–This is the highly-digestible carbohydrate that accounts for wheat’s high-glycemic index and ability to increase blood sugar higher than table sugar or candy.

3) Lectins–The wheat lectin, wheat germ agglutinin, that is resistant to digestion in the human intestinal tract, is the protein that “unlocks” the normal intestinal barriers to foreign substances. Not everything that goes in your mouth should have access to your bloodstream, so intestinal cells are designed to be selective in allowing or preventing various components in foods to be absorbed. Wheat germ agglutinin disables this selectivity, allowing all manner of foreign substances to gain entry. This is why wheat consumers have more inflammatory and autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

You might not be gluten-sensitive, but you can still get fat, become diabetic, get arthritis, cataracts, acid reflux, irritable bowel symptoms, and lose emotional control from consuming wheat.

Wheat elimination is not just for gluten-sensitive. It’s for everybody.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. I can agree on many levels, but come on now, being deathly ill when eating gluten and, therefore, avoiding it does not a sissy make.

  2. Angela

    Completely take offense at this title. If you are a Celiac like I am, that does NOT make me a sissy… Choose your words carefully, especially if you are wanting to create a bigger following. Shame on you.

    • Ryan

      I think he was being funny… Kinda mocking people like my friends that call me a girly man because I can’t eat wheat without having to visit the restroom within 20 minutes of eating it.

    • Deanna

      I didn’t get that out of it at all. What I read said that being a Celiac or gluten sensitive are not the only reasons for going wheat free.

  3. Jane

    I’m trying to understand your “sissies”. I’m hoping you aren’t saying those of us living with celiac are weak and lazy?? Please explain yourself. Why would you want to offend and exclude a large part of your following?

    • Doc means that ‘gluten free’ is for the sissies that lack the motivation, conviction, willpower, commitment, discipline or self control it takes to drop ALL wheat and wheat fractions entirely from your diet, not just the gluten part of wheat.

      Gluten free is NOT wheat free, the two terms are not synonymous. For all you people that love saying ‘gluten free’, synonymous means ‘not the same’, the one does not equal the other, they are different. If you are merely eating ‘gluten free’ it means you are still eating wheat. It also means you are eating an UN-natural, manufactured, industrial processed ‘food’ that has ONLY had the gluten removed but which STILL contains and damages your health with the gliadins, amylopectins, lectins, glucose that cause high triglycerides and body fat storage, raises your blood sugar, glycates your proteins & thickens your blood causing clotting & thrombosis, stimulates insulin causing pancreatic stress & beta cell burn out & insulin dependent Type 1 diabetes, and on and on.

      Do not think that because you are eating gluten free that you are eating wheat free, you are not. And do not think that because you are eating gluten free and have relieved your irritable bowel, celiac or a few other issues that you are healthy. You may only be marginally healthier for now because the long term cumulative effects of the gliadin, amylopectin, lectin and glycation damage often don’t show up until much later, the latency period in the development of cancer and certain other diseases are measured in decades.

      Being gluten free is just a tiny little first baby step on the path to health, but don’t fool yourself, it’s not the destination. Take the leap and go completely wheat free, it’s the only way to get to the destination and real health.

      • Pattye

        I am really confused by this post, since gluten is in all wheat, if you remove gluten from your diet you have to also remove wheat. How can you make a wheat with no gluten in it?

        • Wrong, if you remove gluten from your diet you do NOT remove the wheat, you have ONLY removed the gluten but do not remove the remaining wheat fractions. Gluten is not the wheat, it’s only one fraction or part of wheat and the glutens can be removed without removing the remaining wheat fractions. There is no such thing as gluten free WHEAT, only gluten free flours, doughs and manufactured gluten free food products that are made gluten free by washing the glutens out, but the rest of the wheat fractions remain.

          This is why Dr Davis wrote this post, it’s a simple concept but one around which there is MUCH confusion. The ‘food’ manufacturers know this too, and not only intentionally exploit the public’s ignorance and lack of knowledge but are often the very people that are creating and perpetuating the confusion.

          • Thanks, Cancerclasses!

            It is confusing for many people, unfortunately. It is a theme I will repeat often so that the message gets through.

          • mack

            I also am confused. In order to remove all wheat from my diet, I need to remove all gluten-free foods. Is this correct?

          • Pattye

            I am still confused, and truly, I have read your book twice. I can follow what Cancerclasses is saying, but I am having trouble grasping why if some removes gluten from their diets and maybe has a “gluten free” packaged product, that you both are saying that they are still eating wheat. That is what is tripping me up.

          • Hi, Pattye–

            The most common situation is not the wheat in gluten-free products; it’s the carbohydrate content, very high-glycemic index carbs, in gluten-free products. That is by far the most common problem. Gluten-free wheat products are fairly uncommon.

          • Pattye

            okay, got you both now. I am going to keep it simple and keep all grains out of my diet, just like I’ve been doing, and leave all that other stuff alone. Thank you!

          • Yeah, might have been a little more accurate to have said “you may or can still be eating wheat, wheat fractions and/or glutens.” And as it turns out, they are so pervasive in food manufacturing that you can be eating a processed food product that you think is not made from wheat and gluten but can still be eating those. If you wanna read something really scary click on this:
            “Gluten, especially wheat gluten, is the basis for imitation meats resembling chicken, duck (mock duck), fish, pork and beef. When cooked in broth, gluten absorbs some of the surrounding liquid (including the taste) and becomes firm to the bite, so is widely used in vegetarian and vegan foods as a meat substitute.”

            “Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often as “dextrin”.
            The term gluten-free is generally used to indicate a supposed harmless level of gluten rather than a complete absence.[5] The exact level at which gluten is harmless is uncertain and controversial. Regulation of the label gluten-free varies widely by country. In the United States, the FDA issued regulations in 2007 limiting the use of “gluten-free” in food products to those with less than 20 ppm of gluten.[6][7] The current international Codex Alimentarius standard allows for 20 ppm of gluten in so-called “gluten-free” foods.[8]”

            And also: “…many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, and thus not acceptable.” “Gluten is also used in foods in some unexpected ways, for example as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products like ice-cream and ketchup.[9][10]

            Although many foods contain gluten, it is not always included in ingredients lists. This lack of inclusion is because gluten is not used in the formulation of the product, but in the preparation (or manufacturing) of listed ingredients. One example is the dusting of the conveyor belts in the production facilities with gluten products to prevent the foods from sticking during processing. “Natural Flavoring” is also suspected to contain gluten. This type of gluten contamination may not be labeled; information confirming whether this form of gluten is present in a given product may only be available by contacting the food manufacturer directly.”

            Conveyor belts!?!?!

            “People wishing to follow a completely gluten free diet must also take into consideration the ingredients of any over-the-counter or prescription medications and vitamins. Also, cosmetics such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip gloss may contain gluten and need to be investigated before use. Glues used on envelopes may also contain gluten.”

            ENVELOPE GLUE!! So THAT’S why on “Seinfeld” George Costanza’s fiancée Susan died!!! Like Paul Harvey said “And now you know… the rest of the story!

          • Among my hopes, Cancerclasses, is that our discussions and the raised awareness we bring will spark broader awareness that these are not the crazed carryings-on of a few eccentric people; these are crucial issues for millions. Only then will industry yield and stop such practices.

      • From
        “Gluten is extracted from flour by kneading the flour, agglomerating the gluten into an elastic network, a dough, and then washing out the starch. Starch granules disperse in cold water…, If a saline solution is used instead of water, a purer protein is obtained.
        In home or play dough cooking, a ball of wheat flour dough is kneaded under water until the starch disperses out. In industrial production, a slurry of wheat flour is kneaded vigorously by machinery until the gluten agglomerates into a mass. This mass is collected by centrifugation, then transported through several stages integrated in a continuous process.”

        Therefore, gluten free ‘food’ products equal play dough.

        • Pattye

          I highly doubt anyone goes through all that to make a gluten free wheat bread or product. All the celiacs that I know must give up all wheat products to be gluten free but some use advertised “gluten free” products that use tapioca or potato flour, which is what Doctor says also spikes the insulin. But truly, I really think most celiac sufferers must drop wheat as the prime offender. He is just suggesting that you pretty much drop all “gluten free” packaged foods. I also suggest dropping all grains, period.

      • Should have said “Gluten free is not always wheat free” sorry to be adding to the confusion. As Dr. Davis says below most gluten free products are not made with or from wheat, but there are many hidden forms and labeling name trick used by food processors.

  4. David

    That’s not what Dr Davis is saying. Maybe he should of said “Gluten free is for Sissies-NOT!”

  5. Mer

    Setting aside how some may understandably be offended by the title, it’s also misleading and confusing. The content of the post suggests you feel eating gluten free shouldn’t be restricted to just those who have a gluten sensitivity/intolerance/Celiacs, but the title totally contradicts that. And then to throw in how big the GF industry is getting? What is your stance? Is this a good thing or bad thing?

    • Ryan

      He has stated many times he likes people eating Gluten free diets. However he also is not a huge fan of Gluten Free labeled foods because instead of using Wheat they just use other processed carbs that raise blood sugars nearly as high as wheat.

      IMHO: Gluten Free Bread is a lesser evil than regular bread, but neither are good for you. I avoid both as well — once you go wheat free for long enough — you don’t really crave bread.

  6. Nicole

    “You might not be gluten-sensitive, but you can still get fat, become diabetic, get arthritis, cataracts, acid reflux, irritable bowel symptoms, and lose emotional control from consuming wheat.”

    Those symptoms are exactly what people with gluten sensitivity experience.

    I think your title is confusing at the very least, as well as insulting to the people who CAN NOT eat wheat/gluten. For them it is not a lifestyle or a way to be healthier. It is the ONLY way they can eat.

    • Libby

      Dr Davis means that avoiding ONLY gluten is for sissies. He is saying that total avoidance of grain is where we will maximize our health and strength. It is a play on words. If you have read Dr Davis’ work you know that he is nothing but sympathetic to those who suffer from ALL wheat born problems.

  7. Anthony

    Maybe he should’ve titled this, “Gluten-free is for crybabies.” Jeez. Can something be said without people being so darn sensitive?

    Keep up the great work Dr. Davis! Those of us with a backbone support you!!

  8. Libby

    He is saying that gluten is only part of the problem. Wheat has many more problems than just gluten.

    • Joe La

      What part does wheat Dextrin play in gluten diseases of the body? There is no mention of it in the book or any of the blogs, yet is the main ingredient of Benefiber, a best selling fiber additive.

  9. He’s talking about the perception of gluten free foods as being for “sissies”. He’s not calling people who eat gluten free foods sissies.

    My perception is the marketing of sweet treats as being “gluten free” is going to mean people are still eating too many carbs. I notice the less I eat wheats and sweets the less I’m craving them. Picked up some gluten free cookies and now I just want to eat the whole bag. So it’s that reward thingie going on — the sweets are still rewarding my brain for eating them, just like the gliadin does with the wheat. If I eat nuts or some other non-sweet snack, I don’t have that problem…

  10. Jondy

    Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. I wouldn’t spend time scratching my head over a post title when the post itself is very clear.

    Your blog has been very informative for me. Now I know why I eat the whole bag of Twizzlers when I’m driving- I thought I was just bored.

  11. Brad

    Has anybody here read the book from end to end? Start there and then throw “donuts”, if you will. It is not just the gluten but the rest of those things he mentions. Dr. Davis says to drop wheat, then see what it does for you, then, if you are still unsatisfied, come back and complain. Too many people across too many practices are seeing remarkable change in the patients, long before “Wheat Belly” was published, many years of history. Dr. Davis just brought it together, backed with science and facts and people find that hard to accept. The book, “Wheat Belly” is not an ‘easy’ read, but one I am sure I will reread, more than once. It is not just about gluten and being gluten free, but about being wheat free and being healthy and changing your life. Seven days after going wheat free I have lost 11 lbs, I will never go back, no matter any of the addictive qualities of wheat, I have reclaimed my life and body. God Bless You, Dr. Davis.

    • Thanks, Brad.

      Perhaps I should have added, “And wheat-free is for men.”

      Yes, it was meant in a lighthearted vein. After all, it’s all about wheat-free, gluten-free is just a part of it.

      • LOVING the book, spreading the word and wanting to post this article to my FB page!

        PS I found a local farm that is producing emmer/farro flour, if you can believe it. I can get it at a local food shop. It has a simpler chromosomal structure, lower gluten level and higher protein percentage than modern wheat. That said, I’m not sure what constitutes ‘healthy emmer/wheat”. How many chromosomes, how much (if any) gluten? Etc…? Thanks a ton!! Kelli

        • Hi, Kelli–

          I can’t say that emmer/farro are entirely benign. They are less harmful than modern wheat, but not necessarily entirely benign.

  12. Katie

    9 days ago i watched “Fat Head”. I gave up grains then and there and this is the first day i feel fantastic! Last week was a blur of headaches, hunger, lethargy, light headedness and just feeling BLURGH. Today i am finally over all that and feel like i have the energy of a kid again and i’ve noticed my belly has started to reduce a bit too. To those who have just started this journey, hang in there. It is hard in the beginning but gosh does it get better :) I ordered the book last week and have just received it. Look forward to putting the kids to bed tonight so i can start reading. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction Dr. Davis! You rock!

      • Amy

        I think the somewhat nasty withdrawal is a good thing. I hope it’s not like having a baby where after the pain is gone, everything is beautiful…..and you go do it again! I HOPE I remember well …..always…..exactly how this feels and what caused it!

          • @Deanna, That’s sort of a joke about how universally appealing bacon is, people generally like bacon and would like to eat more of it but most have been scared away from it by the lie that saturated fat clogs your arteries and causes heart disease, and by peer pressure from the self appointed bacon and saturated fat police that run around spreading that lie. So what could be better for beating an addiction than bacon? Maybe ice cream, if it wasn’t for all the sugar.

            The degree of your carb addiction is relative to your previous intake levels, you may have been eating more carbs than your husband and may have been more addicted than your husband, therefore more withdrawal symptoms than your husband.

          • @Deanna, Oh, also sometimes when people have trouble kicking the carb habit it’s because they’re not eating enough good fats. Proteins like chicken breast and turkey can be too lean, dry, and leave you still hungry afterwards because there’s not enough fat in them. It’s the fat that’s satisfying and filling, so bacon helps with that too. That’s also why you see foods wrapped with bacon, both for the fat and the flavor. Personally I like bacon wrapped with bacon. :-)

  13. Polly Ester

    SO sad that people are so sensitive, if you actually read thisit is NOT saying you are a sissie, damn…., calm down and maybe get some help from your being to sensitive, he is mearly trying to get EVERYOne off of wheat. Thanks DR!! Thinking he says u are a sissie says WAY more about you than it does about the good Doc!! ~ xo

  14. Be

    LOL – I guess I am a sissy.

    Actually I gave up refined carbohydrates almost two years ago and feel GREAT since then. I lost 40 pounds and kept it off and am never hungry and never snack anymore. I indeed am one who read Wheat Belly cover to cover the first week it came out. For all of you out there just starting down this trail or considering it, keep it up. It really is an addictive food that you will NOT miss after 30 days. Actually, at some point you will detest the smell of wheat and all refined carbs.

    If you read his book you understand two things. First, Dr. Davis has a good sense of humor (when I exhibit his type of wit my wife calls me a smart ass). So if he calls me a sissy, I consider the like minded source. Second, you understand that while he principally attacks wheat, he really is including other refined addictive “white powders” and does not condone substituting one evil for another.

    Having said that, one of the things I have started doing since I read his book (and he did NOT suggest this) is to tell people I am gluten intolerant. I ask for gluten free menus for the same reason. Frankly, it is easier to explain than to read of a list of things I don’t want and at lest SOME places get it (though I had potatoes on my “Carb Special ” breakfast the other day). All of the rest of the crap I don’t want is easier to identify and at least I usually start with a shorter list of poisons. Although, sugar is hidden in dang near EVERYTHING! Maybe this is offensive to someone with celiacs who really could be devastated by even the indirect contact with wheat, but I figure that the more of us requesting this when we have to dine out, the sooner the world will start to respect our wishes. Frankly, we have such a long way to go that we shouldn’t be fighting within our ranks!

    Don’t wheat, be happy!

    • Yes, Be: It was all in fun.

      Among my points was that we shouldn’t have to have foods designated as gliadin-free, amylopectin A-free, wheat germ agglutinin-free, as well as gluten-free. Just be wheat-free and that covers all bases.

  15. Julie

    My slant on the title, though I had to think about it, was either, he was saying it as if he was an insensitive muscle bound, between the ears, ape.
    Or that just being gluten free is not enough, it has to be the whole hog. Its has certainly got people talking about it.
    A very tight, informative post.

    I’ve started doing the wheat intolerant explanation as well. In my case though, considering the reactions my body has given to accidental re-introduction of wheat, it is true. I have even had a manager back down in a cafe when I have taken my own cake out of my bag to eat, as they didn’t have ANYTHING that was gluten free to eat as a snack, except for a couple of very old, dry and wrinkly apples.
    I may even start saying I’m diabetic as well to get the low carb idea across to eating establishments, what do the real diabetics think about that? Would it help diabetics if they had more people asking for low carb food or not?

  16. Combatting the wheat propaganda to save our lives requires bold advocacy and direct confrontation of established norms. Using provocative language to draw attention to a topic doesn’t by definition disparage anyone who lives with any wheat-related disease. Seems to me there are huge areas of common ground here.

    The Wheat-Free Wanderer takes on the merry marketeers, whose only goal is profit for their masters, and our health be damned. I’ve already have visits from the FDA, the GSA, the State Department, and a few colleges. They come from The Wheat Belly Blog, so the message is getting out there.

    Time to be more bold, because the entrenched powers that be need us fractured and squabbling, not united and focused.

    • Susan

      Hi James!
      I checked out your blog the other day, and I really like how you express yourself. Since you are going to blog more about your way of eating I bookmarked you! I am looking forward to your next posts!


  17. Saving our lives by rejecting the marketing of poisons like wheat isn’t for the faint of heart, and requires bold advocacy and language. Dr. Davis wasn’t disparaging anyone, in my opinion. He was making the same point I do in my latest Wheat-Free Wanderer post: “Gluten-Free” Is A Marketing Gimmick”

    I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to endure Celiac disease and stay undiagnosed for so long before literally stumbling over the answer. I applaud any effort to find your own nutritional truth.

    IMHO, this “Wheat Spring” movement questions all propagandized medical paradigms from a new angle. And that’s a good thing.

    • OOPS!

      A draft of a comment went up and I thought it didn’t.

      Yes, I have a simple counter on my blog that tells me where people are coming from and I have never had many visitors until I started posting about wheat. Our buddy Brandon has been pinging me regularly, but he’s not getting anywhere.

      The FDA/GSA visits are obviously not official, but people lurking and reading. I expect a fair number of Wheaties, you know, wheat cheerleaders, are lurking as well, and maybe some of them will read the book.

  18. Amy

    People are entirely too emotionally sensitive and overthink things too much. I knew what Dr. Davis meant by the title at first glance and he is exactly on point. Giving up “wheat” is initially tough and it takes a good bit of creativity and an open mind to find solutions WITHOUT going the route of the “convenience” food aimed at these solutions……the many gluten-free products on the market. To simply say you’re going to give up wheat and then sub in all these gluten free breads, crackers, brownie mixes and the like…..IS the easy way out. Calories, sugar, chemicals….all still there….all doing unpleasant things. If you are a celiac patient doing fine on glute-free products, that’s wonderful. Down the road, though, if you discover that you have diabetes and other issues….then you might have to go through what you went through giving up wheat…..and give up your gluten-free goodies. I’d rather avoid it all from the start and find creative ways to get around not having wheat. And trying very hard not to be sad about it….and look at it as a wonderful thing that I have the power to do for myself. This is teaching me a lot about ME. It’s still seeming a little bit like a hassle to not slap together at sandwich at lunch but I timed it and I fried up a couple small boneless pork chops in olive oil and plopped some salad on a plate FASTER than I can build a sandwich. And yesterday when I just really wanted that mouth feeling of “bread” I went online and found a wonderful coconut muffin recipe at which is not only wheat, gluten and refined sugar free (the whole recipe has 3 Tbl honey in it) but it’s loaded with protein and the health benefits of coconut. It was a delicious muffin….and I had no desire for more….of anything. I am SOLD and I want no part of taking the easy way out by buying that rock hard gluten-free bread at the store, thank you very much.

    • Pattye

      Exactly Amy, plus if you have read the book and have been following Doctor’s blog all this time, I think you will have a real feel for the man himself. He is not only super brave, but very compassionate towards all who post asking questions and such, and he always comments quickly with great helpful information. Take that into consideration before jumping down his throat, that indeed he must have been making a funny, and not at the expense of anyone.

  19. Hey guys, If you got offended by this, then you’re just a sissy :-P.

    Kidding, guys.

    It’s just that people give the same reaction when I tell them that they should give up bread.

    They avoid simple facts like the plague.

    Stop ignoring your body and don’t be a “sissy.”

  20. Mary

    Dr. Davis I wish you would consider sending an autographed copy of Wheat Belly to NJ Gov. Chris Christie.
    I’m not really concerned about him in regards to his politics one way or the other. I just wince everytime I see a video of him. The poor guy looks like humpty dumpty, he looks miserably unhealthy.
    I’m an old RN and I have an automatic habit of physically accessing people and he looks like he would benefit greatly by going wheat free. Maybe I’ll order and send him a copy of the book myself. My problem is I know so many people who need this wheat free information maybe I’ll hand them out for Christmas instead of cookies.

    • Patty Amidon

      Mary, it breaks my heart to see Governor Christie having to carry around all that weight when the solution would be so easy for him. Maybe as Dr. Davis’s message gets promoted more Gov. Christie will give wheat free a try.

  21. I like the title – eye catching which I think is important.

    Anyway, I have known for some years that I was sensitive to wheat. In a way I suppose I was ‘lucky’ because I get a reaction after eating bread so the link was easy to make. What I couldn’t understand was that I got a similar reaction eating wheat-free, gluten-free bread. I didn’t worry about it for long though, when I looked at the extremely long list of crap ingredients listed on the packet. Now I am trying to avoid processed food generally I view the gluten-free frankenfoods as little more than big business looking for more ways to make money.

  22. Julie

    Bacon and maggots in brain is an urban legend. Check out snopes the next time you hear a far fetched story.

  23. Michelle

    Dr. Davis, does consuming barley or oats produce the same symptoms of bloat (and the myriad of other health issues) that wheat causes? Are the culprits Gliadin, Lectins, and Amylopectin A all present in ANYthing with gluten? Or just wheat?

    • Hi, Michelle–

      Barley is a gluten source, while oats have a protein that can cross-react immunologically with wheat gluten. However, they will induce symptoms like bloat, etc. in only gluten-sensitive people. They do not contain gliadin, important lectins, or amylopectin A.

      Nonetheless, they are substantial carbohydrate sources that increase blood sugar, so be careful, even if you are not gluten-sensitive.

      • Michelle

        Ah, ok, thank you… Even before I was informed that wheat causes bloating, I suspected it on my own and decided to go off both wheat and gluten as an experiment. I have been wheat free and gluten free for about 6 months now and have noticed enormous differences such as weight loss, no more bloating, and no more “false hunger” as I like to call it. As an experiment I tried introducing wheat again very briefly, and I immediately noticed the bloated feeling and the same familiar false hunger I had always battled. (Kind of similar to wanting a caffeine fix very strongly). I was glad to have proven to myself that indeed something in wheat was actually doing this.

        So I quickly and easily went right off the wheat again. Now the question is whether I’m gluten-sensitive or just wheat sensitive. I was an avid cereal eater all my life, but now that I haven’t had wheat-based cereal in months, I am wondering whether something like muelsi (oats and barely) would be ok. I introduced it, and I definitely feel that false hunger, even though you say that the gliadin isn’t present in barley or oats. (Could “false hunger” as I call it be a result of simply eating very high GI foods? Blood sugar fluctuations?) I feel like oats and barley is affecting me in the same way that wheat does. In the past, I could never ever eat enough cereal (I could go through a box a day) and this kind of behavior was what led me to believe that wheat wasn’t good for me (I suspected wheat was “filler” in some way and just lacked nutrition). But so far, oats and barley seem to do the same: I could eat a ton of it and walk away feeling physically full but totally unsatisfied and consequently, feeling the false hunger.

        • Hi, Michelle–

          It sounds like you are very prone to blood sugar effects which, by the way, tend to signal a significant tendency towards diabetes.

          I, too, have this personally and cannot eat the non-wheat grains else I will have very high blood sugars and hunger is triggered, at least triggered at the insulin/glucose low.

          • Michelle

            Bingo!! Yes, my dad and his side of the family all have diabetes. I have come a LONG way from growing up eating junk food to now (at 27) eating almost 100% fruits and vegetables and no processed food. Knowing I had to watch out for diabetes, I had switched to low GI foods quite some time ago starting at around 23, but removing refined sugar (completely! no tiny exceptions), and finally wheat products seemed to be the final step. I noticed an unprecedented stability in mood and hunger control once I stopped these foods. After years of battling the blood sugar fluctuations (and eating out of boredom consequently, which I would continually punish myself over) I now ONLY eat when I am hungry!

            Ok, so wheat along with other high GI foods are simply foods I should avoid, primarily due to my blood sugar sensitivities. Looks like the cereal I’ve been missing out on isn’t something I can replace with muelsi .. it’s just too much sugar!

            Thank you for verifying all of this for me!

          • Deanna

            I have the same blood sugar effects and I too am a cereal lover. So I’ve been mixing a granola (nuts, seeds…pumpkin and sunflower…, unsweet coconut, raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon served with almond milk). I seem to be doing ok with that and it it has helped me not to miss cereal. It takes a lot of chewing though…lol. I am a little concerned about fat content, but it doesn’t take very much to fill me up.

          • Pattye

            Deanna, that mix sounds good but I would be cautious with the raisins or any dried fruit as it makes the sugar content more potent.

  24. Michelle

    Bingo!! Yes, my dad and his side of the family all have diabetes. I have come a LONG way from growing up eating junk food to now (at 27) eating almost 100% fruits and vegetables and no processed food. Knowing I had to watch out for diabetes, I had switched to low GI foods quite some time ago starting at around 23, but removing refined sugar (completely! no tiny exceptions), and finally wheat products seemed to be the final step. I noticed an unprecedented stability in mood and hunger control once I stopped these foods. After years of battling the blood sugar fluctuations (and eating out of boredom consequently, which I would continually punish myself over) I now ONLY eat when I am hungry!

    Ok, so wheat along with other high GI foods are simply foods I should avoid, primarily due to my blood sugar sensitivities. Looks like the cereal I’ve been missing out on isn’t something I can replace with muelsi .. it’s just too much sugar!

    Thank you for verifying all of this for me!

  25. Gary Miller

    The New York Post had an article yesterday about the wheat-free trend and “killer loaves” of bread. Of course there were calming and dismissive naysayers quoted that said unless you have Celiac there was no concern, and that of course man has been eating wheat for “thousands – THOUSANDS of years.” Of course, not TODAY’S wheat!

  26. Billy

    Ok, quick questions.

    Are the three things at the bottom of the post exclusive to wheat? or are they also in the other grains containing gluten, like barley, and spelt, etc.?

  27. Billy

    Actually nevermind, I find out. The term “gluten-free” should be called “prolamin-free” instead from what I’ve gathered. By definition, “gluten” is the combination of a gliadin (the prolamin in wheat) and glutenin. So really no other grain contains gluten. However, other grains like barley and rye contain other prolamins. Due to the similarities between the prolamins, they all can cause problems for people with Coeliac disease. It makes a lot more sense. The term “gluten” free is just sort of a giant misunderstanding.

  28. MJ

    I think this raised awareness battle will probably be won one person at a time. A bunch of people yelling and marching in the streets have a problem getting a coherent message across. But a friend telling a friend about personal experiences going wheat-free is more personal and powerful. I can’t resist telling my friends about this, because I want them to be healthy.

  29. Christine

    I’m curious to know if rye would have the gliadin, amylopectin and leptins. I know someone asked about oats and barley. I have been promoting the metabolic balance approach which really tries to get people’s insulin levels down. The starch that people can eat initially is a wild yeast rye bread – which is low GI. But I”m curious about the other things.
    thanks, christine

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, it does.

      “Low glycemic index” is a nonsense concept. Snickers bars, for instance, have a very low glycemic index. By the logic of glycemic index, you should eat lots of Snickers bars.

  30. I just sent you a question by e-mail, then found some of the answer above. My apologies.

    But a question remains: In answering Michelle, above, you state that barley and oats “do not contain gliadin, important lectins, or amylopectin A”; here you say that rye does. If that’s the case, then, would you say that someone who is not gluten-sensitive should avoid rye more thoroughly than barley and oats, or is it a “trial and error” thing for each person.
    I personally find, for example, a couple of rye crisp breads (Ryvita or Wasa) with peanut butter to be a very sustaining snack, with none of the “false hunger” Michelle describes as following wheat consumption- which I’m very familiar with.

  31. Bud

    Is beer off limits? Beer is made with barley, unless it’s wheat beer.
    But is barley evil as well? I have no addiction or bloating, or any other issues with wheat. I don’t feel any cravings for wheat products.

    But I’d like to lose a few pounds. Problem is I really enjoy my beer. :)

    Please advise.


  32. Lister

    I’m curious about this too. The book talks extensively about the evil modified wheat, how it’s nothing like it once was. But I don’t think it mentions barley. SO, has barley gone through this metamorphasis as well? If not, I can’t see why there would be a problem with beer, other than the general carbs and calories.

    But we should let the experts comment.

    • Dr. Davis

      Barley is a potential problem for those of us who have celiac disease or have “gluten sensitivity” and/or are gliadin antibody-positive.

      It is likely benign for the rest of us, except for potential carbohydrate over-exposure.

  33. Les Jennings

    Dr. Davis
    I have been on the path to a nearly wheat free diet for 3 weeks, starting week 4 today.
    I have lost 13 lbs. I am very happy, as gastrointestinal issues have improved greatly.
    I switched to spelt as my source for lunch sandwich bread. Which I thought was a good choice.
    Today I found your posting of Oct. 5,2011 Gluten-free is for sissies. You put spelt in the same bad category
    as all the other wheat. I had not found this matter having searched you site before I started buying spelt.
    I never thought I had a gluten issue.
    I was drawn to you diet by hoping to get relief from inflammation and loose weight, I was diagnosed with IPF
    in early 2011. I am now working very seriously on improving my overall body health in this battle with this strange disease that has very limited medical help.
    I please that despite still eating bread it must be a healthier bread than the whole wheat we always ate. (lots of whole grains)
    I am follower of yours now and spread the word to everyone about your findings. I am a very technical individual and must prove that something really does work as is stated in someones book.
    I know the food industry is huge and they are going to fight big time, I have a good personal friend who farms several thousand acres of corn and soybeans, I have needled him for years about is bad for human crops, wheat trumps all of his crops.
    Best wishes,

  34. News on the GF front:

    The FDA has published their 20ppm rule for the use of the phrase “gluten free”. It’s not in effect until 2013-09, has a 1-year grace period, and of course, it will take months to years for remaindered non-compliant packaged foods to vanish from the shelves. So we’re looking at late 2015, and perhaps 2016 before “GF” on a product means 20ppm. Some products will probably stop making the claim.

    More significantly, however, this is apt to hit restaurants hard. Unless they are entirely wheat/rye/barley/oat-free establishments, which source nothing but 20ppm GF ingredients, I don’t see how they can possibly claim 20ppm compliance. The rule does apply to them, and they aren’t allowed to say “gluten free*” with a disclaiming footnote. My guess is that food service industries are going to have to come up with a new phrase, perhaps “BELG” (Best Effort Low Gluten).

    • Bea Pullar

      In November last year I fell victim of a major hotel/Casino here on the Gold coast in Queensland. When I accepted the invitation to attend an afternoon tea “Thankyou” function, I requested wheat free. On arrival I confirmed this with the waitress for my table. In due course, was presented with a plate of supposedly wheat free goodies. Within an hour and a half I was racing to the facilities – way down the corridor. When I called them to let them know what had happened and how serious it was for me an others they told me it was a mistake. On my next visit with friends, I planned to eat only my own nuts, but I saw that were using a new label for certain food items “ALMOST GLUTEN FREE”.
      As always – we have to be vigilant – if we don’t want to be inadvertently wheated.
      Thanks Boundless, I hope our laws change too!

      • > … here on the Gold coast in Queensland.

        It will be interesting to see if the rest of the world takes up the 20ppm rule.

        > … were using a new label for certain food items “ALMOST GLUTEN FREE”.

        Expect more of that as “gluten free” becomes legally defined, and represents a standard that many sloppy purveyors cannot reach (and haven’t been reaching to date).

        > As always – we have to be vigilant …

        GF, in food service, has always been a guess, misleading (well above 20ppm), false or flat out fraudulent in almost all cases. It is nearly impossible to assure 20ppm in food prep unless the establishment is scrupulously free of all ingredients with gluten-bearing grains.

        Every GF menu we have seen includes a cross-contam disclaimer. We’ve had one reactionary experience at a supposed GF deli.

        The new FDA rule here is going have the effect of removing the phrase “gluten free” from menus. That’s a benefit in that it no longer provides a false assurance. It’s a hazard in that it might result in restaurants giving up on even trying to accommodate the wheat free. Businesses that continue the effort are apt to need a new term or phrase to describe it.

        Another approach is to simply list all the ingredients in each dish, and let those with ingredient sensitivities puzzle it out themselves. And that might be OK. Once low-carb high-fat, grain free, sane O6/O3, non-GMO, organic becomes mainstream, less fine print inspection will be required anyway.

    • > … food service industries are going to have to come up with a new phrase …

      I just noticed a sign of the beginning of the decline of
      as an vacuous food labelling fad. GF is now serious business. The reality (and expense) of the FDA 20 ppm rule is starting to show up in the market.

      Quest Bars: Until the latest 3 flavors came out this year, these low carb bars used to sport a not terribly prominent “GLUTEN FREE” claim at the upper right corner of the package. That top line also had the other promotional claims, such as: “HIGH FIBER”, “ONLY 1g SUGAR” or “NO SUGAR OR SUGAR ALCOHOLS USED”.

      The new flavors now say at upper right:

      This phrasing is allowed in both the US and UK. See, for example, question 21 at:
      It means: “… consumers should not assume that the food meets all FDA requirements for a gluten-free food.”

      It is not cheap to source 20 ppm ingredients, nor to control your facilities to avoid cross-contamination to this spec. This is going to result in the GF claim morphing on many products, or disappearing altogether, and yes, dear celiacs, that means that many GF products today are not credibly GF, and never were.

      In the Quest case, it seems likely that either they’ll tweak their production to meet 20 ppm, or the GF claim will become an NGCI claim on their older Quest products, as opportunities arise for package updates. New production will need to be compliant by October 2014. You may see older packaging well into 2015.

      Product producers are going to have to get serious about GF. I expect many will assess the market demand for authentically GF products, and decide that it’s not worth it. It will be interesting to see what happens on those products produced by high-glycemic clowns who slapped a GF on the box because there was no legal penalty for it being false.