The South Beach Diet . . . improved

In the South Beach Diet, Dr. Arthur Agatston brought legitimacy and mainstream popularity to the limited-carbohydrate notion. Cast into the spotlight of trendy, sexy South Beach, Miami, along with the weight-losing advantages of an Atkins-like carbohydrate restriction, many people lost weight, some substantially.

But the problem came in phases 2 and 3 of the South Beach Diet in which Dr. Agatston caved into conventional dogma and added back “healthy whole grains.” And that’s when many people regained the weight they lost . . . not to mention re-experienced all the health disruptive phenomena of wheat, such as acid reflux, leg edema, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, mental “fog” and depression, etc.

It appears that Dr. Agatston might be inching towards the notion that adding back “healthy whole grains” might not be such a good idea, after all. See his comments about “gluten sensitivity” on an interview here.

Of course, anyone on these pages knows that it’s not just about gluten sensitivity, it’s also about the gliadin protein that stimulates appetite, the lectins that create abnormal intestinal permeability and allow access to all manner of unwanted foreign proteins into the bloodstream, the lectin effect that blocks leptin receptors and leads to obesity, the amylopectin A that accounts for wheat’s ability to increase blood sugar higher than table sugar and candy bars, and the thousand or so other components of wheat which have been fingered as causing such diverse conditions as exercise-induced asthma to death. And don’t forget neurologic deterioration, including ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, and dementia from wheat gluten in addition to the intestinal destruction it wreaks.

South Beach Diet would achieve far greater–and long-lasting–benefits if Dr. Agatston would make a wholesale embrace of complete elimination of all things wheat, gluten sensitivity or no.

Wheat Belly is not about gluten elimination for the gluten sensitive. It’s about wheat elimination for everybody. I hope Dr. Agatston catches on, else he’ll end up with dough on his face.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Marsha Moseley

    If the problem is with modern wheat, which has been genetically altered beyond recognition, what about heirloom varieties of wheat? There are some small, organic growers who raise and even mill their own flour from 18th and 19th century varieties.

    • Margaret Klomp

      Please share the contact info on these organic growers! Are they selling their product to the retail public?

      • Marsha Moseley

        I have ordered from Anson Mills, which is located in South Carolina and which is a certified organic grower and miller of heirloom varieties of wheat. The flour is *much* more expensive than a bag of all-purpose nasty stuff at the supermarket, and you can’t just substitute it for flour in ordinary recipes, since it behaves differently. Fortunately, the website does provide some recipes, which are a good place to start. And since the flour is so spendy and I make the products myself, I use it more judiciously than when I used to just pick up a loaf of bread at the store or make a batch of muffins from regular flour. Check out their website at http://www.ansonmills.com.

    • Be careful: Heirloom varieties of wheat, as well as spelt, emmer, kamut, and einkorn, while better than modern 2-foot tall high-yield strains, they are still, at their genetic and biochemical core, wheat.

      They lack the most deleterious effects of the “D” genome of modern wheat. But they still contain lectins, gliadin, glutens, and other components that have potential for adverse effects. They are undoubtedly more benign, but not necessarily entirely benign.

      • john mid-wheatectomy week2

        So, Dr. Davis, I have just read the first and third sections of your book (as I try to cut to the chase and think about implementation of the new diet plan for my family). I clearly understand the glycemic index and D gluten problems of modern frankenwheat.

        What I am unclear about is HOW MUCH of an improvement can be achieved with sorghum, amaranth, millet, buckwheat and tapioca starch flours as alternatives to modern wheat flour. Your response to Marsha Moseley above was not as clear as I had hoped.

        In your book you demonize modern wheat – which given all the genetic modifications done to it, your argument makes much intuitive sense to me. I have long believed Western diets contain some fundamental flaw that is causing all the allergies and cancers we are seeing – not unlike the Roman Empire’s lead plumbing system was making them crazy.
        But being a highly capable and motivated cook, I have been experimenting with alternative flours and recipes from celiacs on finding a good tasting wheat bread substitutes for my three kids (and in fact found a pretty good one on glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com.

        BUT your answer to Marsha’s question above suggests I am wasting my time. If all heirloom (ie NON-modern) wheats are EQUALLY bad as MODERN wheat, then your book is seriously flawed by minimizing the problem to only modern wheat. I really want to believe in the idea that eliminating MODERN wheat can improve our health substantially. I would be disappointed and discouraged to find that the real problem is in fact ALL wheats.

        So… can you clarify your answer to Marsha please?
        If using “heirloom” wheats or alternative flour varieties solved 80% of the problems of modern wheat, I can live with the remaining 20% because the rest of our diet is exceptionally healthy, made from scratch 90% of the time, no celiac or gluten allergies (though my son has a tree nut allergy, making almond flour off limits) . But if these wheat alternatives are only modestly better (ie 10-20% better) than modern wheat, our wheatectomoy takes on a whole other (and serious) turn. And frankly, I would have preferred you made that more clear in the first part of your book.

        Now, if you dont have the data and just dont know, please say so. If you have an educated guess of a relative comparison, that would be helpful. What I hope you DON’T say is “better safe than sorry” in absence of any knowledge. Eliminating wheat is a big deal – practically AND culturally it is sown into our society. So, its elimination is not to be taken lightly.

        • Marsha Moseley

          I’m interested to the answer to the post above, too. I have two young children who refuse to eat the flatbread (either from flaxseed meal or almond meal) I make for myself and my husband. But they will eat bread from a store. If I make a loaf of bread using flour from heirloom wheat, and it is better for my kids than bread from the store, then I will be happy. Let’s not make the better the enemy of the perfect, especially when it comes to finicky little ones!

  2. Jenni

    I just requested this book from my library this morning! Cant wait to see what he says! Maybe now my sis in law will agree with me about grains since she uses this diet!

  3. Brian

    I just listened to the interview and it really sounds like he read your book! A lot of his comments seem pulled right from Wheat Belly’s pages.

    • I got that same impression, Brian. Though I thought he fell short of true understanding, since he still painted this as a “gluten-sensitive” issue, not a fundamental problem with the wheat itself in ALL wheat-consuming people.

      • Boundless

        Dr. Davis: … I thought he fell short of true understanding, since he still painted this as a “gluten-sensitive” issue, not a fundamental problem with the wheat itself in ALL wheat-consuming people.

        When enlightenment strikes those who are processing, selling or advocating wheat, they have to decide what to do about it, and how to present the new posture to the public. We may have to be satisfied that they got the wheat out, even if the press release seems less than fully eyes opened.

        I suspect that numerous lawyer-client discussions are taking place at the fourth hole, out of earshot of the caddies, and off the record (this is, evidently, the actual point of golf).

        No lawyer is going to recommend: “We eliminated wheat from our program/product because we realized we’d been pushing pure poison for years, which was maiming and killing clients.” That invites lawsuits, whether immediate or deferred.

        Expect instead to see: “We decided to eliminate wheat because 90% of people with wheat sensitivity don’t know it.” This is both true, and admits of no deeper comprehension of the wider wheat problem. Those sneaking away from wheat may hope that by the time the truth is widely known, those who stopped hustling wheat early, and from all appearances, innocently, won’t be on the legal radar.

        • Very well said, Boundless.

          Perhaps he will catch on once the facts I’m trying to bring to the surface become the topic of mainstream discussion. And, yes, I sure am glad I’m not in the wheat baking industry!

          • Boundless

            Dr. Davis: And, yes, I sure am glad I’m not in the wheat baking industry!

            You may eventually be glad you aren’t in the State Department either. Although wheat is grown world-wide, the genetic malpractice that lead to today’s killer strains can be traced to just a few countries.

            Recall the outrage over pets being killed by Chinese melamine in the pet food. That will seem a trivial misunderstanding compared to the backlash over entire populations being sickened, lives shortened and national economies being accelerated into insolvency due to needlessly exploding healthcare costs.

            Compared to wheat, we’re at less risk from above-ground nuclear warhead testing, and most of the world has zero tolerance for that.

            Don’t let Tom Clancy find out about wheat. :)

          • That’s great, Boundless!

            Yes, I shudder to think what could happen if legal fingers are pointed at the culprits behind this incredible mess that has likely led to the deaths of 10s of thousands of people and untold suffering.

  4. Kristin Smith

    Dr. Davis,
    Do you have an opinion on autism, adhd and epilepsy and wheat? One of my sons had generalized seizure disorder starting at 14 months, and resolved about a year or so ago. Our neurologist said something like 85% of childhood epilepsy is ideopathic. In my research about epilepsy, it seems that it is related to adhd and autism (in the same parts of the brain.). Could diet be the thing that is causing this surge in autism over the past 30 years?

    • AllisonK

      I have seizures(from a head injury years ago) that have been successfully treated by a low carb-high fat diet. The last time I had one, was after a “cheat” day binging on tasty desserts at a family function.
      When I stick to my diet, I don’t have any grand mal or simple partials either.
      My son has autism, and we’ve noticed amazing results by him also going on a low carb diet. At first, we noticed sugar was causing him to have bad days and cut that out, then we noticed that on days when we had eggs rather than toast/cereal for breakfast he’d have a much better day. Then we cut out dairy except for one glass a day, and we’re considering cutting that out too. Now, we have eggs every morning for breakfast. Pasta and bread is no longer a staple in our diet. I can actually have a conversation with our son now. Whenever he consumes those things again, we usually start noticing a recurrence of all his old issues within a few hours and takes a few days to get him back to normal.
      Based on my research and the wonderful results we’ve seen with our son, I believe the standard American diet (or Canadian in our case) plays a huge part in autism.

      • Incredible, Allison.

        Imagine the alternative: Intractable seizures, medications, procedures, greater difficulties in school and life for your son. Instead, you just eliminate wheat, limit carbs, and regain control over health. That’s great.

    • Yes. See Allison’s comment (below).

      Cause-effect associations can only be proven by a trial of wheat elimination along with carbohydrate restriction. In other words, to my knowledge there is no test to make the association, only a trial of elimination.

  5. brian

    Dr. Davis,

    Big fan of your work. Almost through WB, and I think I’ve listened to all your various podcast interviews on LLVLC, CCK, etc.

    The one thing I see as missing — and maybe you know of an information repository — is a wheat argument attacking the so-called benefits of wheat; that is, ‘flipping the script’. We always hear about the great stuff in wheat, well, what exactly? Fiber? Added-back vitamins? Most of the arguments for wheat seem to stem from lame epidemiological studies where, as we know, you can show almost anything you set out to prove. Like in science, the person proposing the wheat is good theory should have to support it instead of the other way around.

  6. Liane

    Been on SBD for 10 years. Every time I move to the second phase I stop losing and start gaining. Noticed a long time ago that phase one resulted in constipation so I started taking Metamucil as recommended in the book. Eliminating the grains in phase one also cured my GERD so long as I stayed off grains. But as soon as I added them back, the reflux returned. I went back on phase one after my MD told me to get off OTC Prevacid which I started on when Pepsid Complete disappeared from the market. Tums did not work plus it contains sugar – a lot if you take a dozen or so a day. I tapered off the Prevacid but was in agony so went back to phase one, with one “cheat” – beets, sweet potatoes and carrots. That was about 6 weeks ago. Reflux gone, no more meds and have lost about 10 lbs. Agatston says to not do phase one indefinitely due to boredom leading to cheating. Well, let me tell you, boredom is way better than GERD and I feel so much better I do not have time to be bored.

    Read about Wheat Belly on Sisson’s blog. Thank goodness for some logical scientific explanation for what I have experienced.

    BTW, eliminating all the cheese on SB fixed the constipation issue. I am not eating snacks at all (Jack Kruse, Leptin Resistance correction eating pattern). Eating enough healthy fat takes that hunger away. I also eliminated all the non- real foods on SB. There is only one thing better than being a careful label reader, and that is buying foods that have no ingredient lists. Makes life easier, shopping faster and saves money all at the same time.

    • Yes: More than anything else, it’s the wheat that causes weight gain and all the other disturbing health phenomena.

      Remove sugars, lose a few pounds perhaps . . . but nothing else. Remove soft drinks . . . lose a few pounds, that’s it. But lose the wheat, weight “corrects,” but so does acid reflux/GERD, arthritis, high blood sugars, leg swelling, mood swings, mental “fog,” etc.

  7. Wendie

    Really struggling today. I have not only lost weight but have gained! After 4 weeks of Zero wheat! And I even added 500 mcg of Kelp / Iodine. Today is Bagel day at work & I am feeing so vulnerable to giving up and giving in. Just wanted to check in here for some support and inspiration. I haven’t really been tempted like this previously. Wheat had really lost its appeal. But bagels are my Achilles heel I think. I have had so much hope that this was the answer, but how can I be gaining weight when eating so healthfully and avoiding all wheat & sugars and their deriviatives? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I can understand losing slowly, even plateauing, but not gaining. Not fair at all! :0( Wendie

      • Wendie

        I am certainly trying not to, but I was relying on some Atkins products and do chew a couple of pieces of xylitol gum as well. I am weaning myself off them and making my own shakes now so we’ll see if that makes a difference, thanks!

    • Wendi, I have the exact same problem. I have been wheat free for about month and half maybe longer. I dont use artificial sweetners either. I have cut so far back on my consumed calories, and yet, I lost 6lbs and then gained 2 back. I really need to lose 20lbs. But that doesnt seem to be happening. I consume enough fat, and have pretty much taken all advice here, but still no weight loss. Had my thyroid checked and that is suppose to be fine. My answers are none at this time. BUT, I have noticed a tremondous difference in my wanting to eat. I just dont feel like it. I dont have the cravings I use to, and I do feel better. Not a whole lot of energy, but I am active. Im glad to hear Im not the only one with this problem. But, dont give up, because Im sure sooner or later we will definately see some results somewhere. Im only saying this, because I have NEVER had cravings stop before in any diet I have ever done. AND I just dont feel like Im dieting with this. I have always been a bread and pasta lover, and I dont have the taste for it anymore. I dont know what to think other than Dr. Davis is right about wheat causing people to eat more!!!! Stay with it and dont give up.

      • Wendie

        Thanks so much, I really appreciate your encouragement! Friday was a tuffie but like you I really don’t want to cave and go back to wheat. I do feel a lot better. But I have a significant amount of weight to lose (70+ lbs) and was really hoping that this would be the key to achieving that. I am going to tweak it a bit, lower my overal carb levels to closer to 20 grams ( I’m probably at 30-45 most days) and increase my activity levels since I am fairly sedentary. I think I might be eating too much protein, nuts, fats &dairy (cheeses, cream, sour cream & butter). I haven’t been watching calories at all. I am determined to make this work for me. I lost weight on Atkins but did not eat nuts or a lot of dairy. I did find a nice Icelandic Kelp supplement that I am trying for my thyroid. Maybe I just need to give my body more time to heal up and get into gear. I will Hang in there!–you do the same!! :0)

    • PJ

      Wendie, I know what you mean about “those days” at work. We have “Pizza Day”, “Krispy Kreme Donut Day”, “Subway Sandwich Day”, “Bagel Day” and “Everything Chocolate Day” . . . EVERY MONTH. Our reward for meeting daily goals is to be handed a handful of candy. All the while, our company pushes their “wellness program” emphasizing exercise, healthy eating, calorie counting, vaccinations and hand washing to try to reduce health care costs. During training, we were warned that new people gain, on average, 40 pounds during their first six months. ABSOLUTE INSANITY! (It’s like having an open bar at an AA meeting!)

      Wendie, though the scale may say you have gained weight, are your clothes looser? If not, how are you doing on other carbs? Are you choosing those high carb “gluten free” products? So many people make the mistake of high carb substitutions when going wheat/gluten free. (A woman at my work actually gained 30 pounds in one month after eliminating wheat. Of course she didn’t understand that pounding down those gluten-free cookies and breads was the culprit.) “But they’re gluten free!” she would tell me. Grrr!

      Personally, if I don’t eat ENOUGH good fats or allow ANY carbs to sneak back in, my weight shows it. I know when I start thinking about calories, I don’t eat enough to keep me going. Calories are absolutely useless and can be counterproductive.

      You might want to evaluate the amount, and types, of carbs you may be getting. Also, try incorporating a couple tablespoons of coconut oil into your diet, too. Do not focus on Calories! This is a waste of time, and can prevent you from eating enough of what you need. Wendie, you don’t sound like the kind of person to give up. Hang in there, you’re just starting on your journey. In the meantime, only use the scale as an additional tool for what you’re doing. Focus on how you FEEL, not how much you weigh.

      You will figure out what works for you. Keep us updated.

      • Wendie

        Thanks so much PJ! Wow your work environment sounds way more challenging than mine! Whew! It’s good to know I’m not alone! I agree that I need to go more by how I feel and not the scale, but it’s such a hard habit to break!! As you can see from my post above, I may very well be overdoing the coconut oil, & good fats etc. My appetite is finally dialing down. But it has not disappeared or drastically reduced. I think I am eating a lot more calories, not 400 less per day that was mentioned in the WB book. I can easily eat 4oz of cheese or 1/2 cup of nuts at a sitting. I think I need to fill up on veggies and veggie soups and shakes more often and not munch away on such calorie dense fare. ( I guess “unlimited” is not a good word to use around me!! :0) Thanks again for taking the time…i really appreciate it!

    • This is a typical thyroid story, Wendie.

      I will cover the thyroid this weekend. The answers to thyroid are really quite simple. Hardest part: Convincing your doctor that, yeah, you really do have a thyroid dysfunction.

      • Wendie

        Thanks doc, maybe I need to up the kelp (now that I know I’m not sensitive to iodine) and give it more time to work. My sister is on Thyroid meds but I am really hoping that I don’t need to go on them. I am way too needle phobic to be checking levels etc!!

    • Wendie,
      I have found that with myself if I limit the quantity of food I eat in a day, that makes the difference in whether I gain or lose. When I pig out at an evening meal (but only eating healthy stuff like lots of butter and meat or seafood with some veggies), the next morning I weigh myself because I am thinking I have gained a few pounds. Much to my surprise, it shows that it did the opposite–I lost a couple pounds.
      Also, what I have learned about myself is that if I overtrain with the exercise, it causes my body to be stressed and the cortisol starts to play havoc on distributing some pudge around the abdomen.
      My daily diet consists of high fat (3 whole eggs, 4-5 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp EVOO, 3-4 tsp chia seeds and fish oil supplement, skin from poultry when that’s on the menu, nuts on occasion), high protein (meats, poultry, seafood as much as I desire) and minimal carbohydrates (veggies and very few fruits). Sometimes I will load up on the veggies if I’m in the mood.
      I exercise a total of 1 to 1 1/2 hours a week, which is all I need.
      What I am trying to say is when you keep all of the deleterious foods out of your diet, you can eat as much of the healthy foods in a day as you want and find you will lose weight quicker and keep it off. The body will be taken out of starvation mode, and will gladly give up the extra weight knowing it has plenty of food coming at the next meal. I do not count calories. I do not weigh portion sizes at each meal. I just eat.
      Hope this helps and good luck to you.

      • Wendie

        Wow Eva that sounds like heaven to me! I really hope that after some time, my body will normalize and function much the same way. Maybe it just needs to heal from all the abuse I put it through while on the Weight Watchers carb fest a few months ago. After an initial weight lost of around 6-8 lbs my appetite went through the roof and I could not stop bingeing on every diet food you can imagine and loads of fruit as well. Then, after quitting WW, I found it very difficult to get back on the wagon and started really pigging out on pure junk foods. So my body’s been through a lot. It may take a few months, and some nutritional support to get my metabolism normalized and functional again. I hope so! Thanks for the inspiration!! :0)

  8. Since I am a WB newbie, I am not familiar with any on line purveyors of staples at reasonable prices. Any help? Also, I believe Dr. Davis that you promised one of your readers last week that you would give out the pizza recipe. I tried the one with the cauliflower crust and it is the only thing so far that didn’t work. The recipe that I meant was the one that included a video of a guy ,obviously working out of his home making a great looking pizza. I can report that I have lost about 3 inches off of my waist. No significant weight loss but I have scaled back my fruit and every other hidden sugar I can find. I am on some meds and think that they may be playing a role in weight loss. I continue to preach your message and about 5 people I know are going to try it.
    Thanks for your work!

    • Shirley

      Three inches off your waist is awesome! Sometimes it’s not all about the scale. When I lost my 45 lbs in 2001 (Atkins), I would switch between losing on the scale and losing inches.

      Now at 54 and menopausal, I’m only up 5 lbs, but I’ve got that belly thing going. I know without a doubt that I’m gluten sensitive. I feel so much better when I’m off of the stuff (although I’ve yo-yo’d the wheat thingy the past few years).

    • Great, Kassie!

      I plan to play around a with dough recipes in the coming weeks. Perhaps one of the results will be a pizza dough that is holdable.

      Stay tuned!

      • Roz

        Almond flour pizza dough –contains nuts, eggs and cheese

        1 3/4 cups almond flour
        1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
        2 large eggs
        2 tbsp olive oil, + more for drizzling
        1 tbsp oregano
        1 tsp ground rosemary (or omit both spices, however the dough usually winds up being quite thick and the crust needs some flavor)

        Preheat oven to 350
        Line a pizza pan with parchment paper.
        Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir well with wooden spoon. Dough will be super thick.
        Pour dough out onto the pan and press out into a 11-13″ circle, by hand. Drizzle top with olive oil and brush to coat in a thin layer. This dough does not rise. However thin or thick you spread it out will be how thick the final result is. Keep in mind for load-bearing purposes!

        Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven. Carefully flip the dough. I found the best way to do this was line a baker’s rack with parchment paper, put it parchment paper side down on the pizza pan, invert both, remove the old parchment paper from the pizza pan and slide the pizza crust on its new parchment paper liner from the baker’s rack onto the pizza pan. Otherwise the crust tried to split down the middle.

        Add toppings and place back in oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and turning brown (if using cheese)

  9. DezzySmith84

    I was on SB a few years ago….and gained it all back and then some on phase 2…I had no idea what I was doing wrong…
    I finally picked up Wheat Belly and Why We Get Fat and What to Do About it (by Taubes)…
    Taubes basically suggests no more than 20 grams of carbs (from vegetables..cheese..) a day….It is like Atkins (in my opinion)…
    That being said….I have followed the diet of protein, fat, and veggies (with occasional cocktail or glass of wine) since August 26th…I have lost six inches from my waist…I feel so much better with no sugar or bread…The cravings are gone….I sleep better and think better…
    I hope South Beach gets updated because those phase 2 and 3 kill the whole diet…..

    • Liane

      Taubes book diet is derived from the Duke Univ diet whic is the same diet as the Westman Phinney Volek version of Atkins in New Atkins For a New You. Hence the similarities. Dr. Davis cites their work in WB.
      Not sure if this link works since I cannot do fancy formatting on my iPad but read this interview or search for Eric Westman. This is from Jimmy Moore’s blog.

      http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/1638/dr-eric-westman-explains-the-most-important-book-of-2010-episode-338/
      See also
      http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2010/03/24/eric-westman-duke-university-md-on-low-carb-high-fat-new-atkins-diet-password-protected-until-march-24th/

    • Karen

      Dezzy – congrats on your success. I just read Wheat Belly last weekend and I am on day 8 of no wheat. I noticed you mentioned Atkins. Unfortunately – the brief reference to Atkins Wheat Belly has was wrong! He says that Atkins recomends zero carbs and even in Phase 1 (Induction) he says up to 20 is fine, as long as none of it is coming from wheat – green veggies only. I just wish Wheat Belly got this right, because the book is a perfect compliment to Atkins, not a relacement. I am doing a combination, but not worried about losing weight or keytoning because I am pregnant. Congrats again Dezzy! Keep it up.

      • AllisonK

        I think that excess wheat and carb consumption can cause morning sickness too. Of course, everybody and every pregnancy is different. My first baby I was sick through the entire pregnancy. My main diet was bread, toast, pasta…. My second baby I had some nausea, but found that when I cheated was when I would actually get sick and feel much worse throughout the day. I wonder if it’s the body’s way of keeping that crap away from your baby. The most ridiculous part is what everybody recommends for morning sickness. Crackers and toast!!

        • This seems to be the emerging wisdom, Allison, from you and other young mothers: It’s the carbs.

          Having little experience with pregnancy for the last 20 years outside of my own kids, I don’t have a good gut (sorry!) sense of how consistent this response is. But colleagues like Dr. Michael Fox swear that extreme low-carb works like a charm.

          • greensleeves

            Both Drs Eenfeldt & Wortmann’s wives were low-carb in their pregnancies, to great reported benefit.

      • DezzySmith84

        Yes…Induction allows 20 grams of carbs (from veggies). I just feel better when I don’t go over the 20…Congrats on the baby!!
        If you are interested in the scientific and the why…read Taubes (Why We Get Fat) Great stuff…I totally agree Wheat Belly is a compliment to Atkins…Best wishes!:)

        • Karen

          Dezzy – I read Taubes a few weeks before wheat belly. I think I am finally figuring it all out!
          I would agree that carbs make morning sickness worse. I just wish mothers-to-be got better “official” advise.

  10. Jeff

    The problem is not ONLY with modern wheat. Even heritage forms of wheat have gluten, gliaden, lectins and amylopectin A. Modern what has these in greater abundance, but a little less of a bad thing is still a bad thing. Heritage shears, organically grown or not, are still wheat.

  11. This is what I’ve noticed; that the name of a “plan” becomes the plan. It is followed until it fails, then another “plan” is attempted. Eliminating wheat is not a plan. It is an aggressive statement of purpose, of activism, and of hope. Going wheat-free generates so many positive effects – some that are totally unheard of – that one would have to be crazy to go back. Because there is no upside in going back.

    Finding out what we really need to eat, as opposed to what we’re told to eat, is the essence of honest living.

    “Wheat Belly” is a social movement, not a plan. It is a serious stick in the spokes of the Grain And Drain people, and the more people hear about it, the more surprising positive effects can manifest.

    I’m never going back. That’s my plan.

    • PJ

      Nail on the head, James. It’s not a diet, not a plan, not temporary . . . it’s a lifestyle. Like you, I am never going back.

    • Eloquent and direct, James!

      Yes, a “social movement.” You know, the only reason I included a diet was that the publisher felt that it was not right to point out the problem without providing a solution. I agree. But it also seems to paint the picture in some people’s minds that this is nothing more than a diet. It is not; it is indeed a “social movement” that will undo the incredible damage done by “official” agencies, Big Food, and Agribusiness in the name of increased yield and feeding more for less.

      • Pattye

        But i think you’re doing a good job Dr. Davis, in all of your radio and TV interviews, but reinforcing that the Wheat Belly book is not a diet — it is a revolution!

        • Thanks, Pattye!

          You could, I believe, follow any number of diets, e.g., South Beach, Atkins (after induction), Sugar Busters, etc. but just eliminate wheat and you will have a far more effective diet.

  12. Sally

    Agree with you Wendie! I am struggling as well. I’ve been wheat free about 5 weeks. I lost 6lbs at first, also 2 inches lost in the waist. Then, weight loss stopped for 2 weeks and I have now gained 2 lbs, changing nothing in what I was doing. I have not had any grains, restricted sugar, nothing artificial. I feel like throwing in the towel also, except I still have no cravings for the wheat. So, anyone feeling inspired to encourage…I’d appreciate it. I need to lose about 20-25 lbs. I exercise regularly, eating lots of veggies, very little fruit, and drink water and unsweetened tea. The meats we eat are all local, grass fed, etc. I did have my thyroid checked this year and it came back as normal. I’m at a loss and on my own doing this. Thanks for any advice.

    • AllisonK

      If your protein consumption is too high it could cause insulin secretion. Dr. Davis could probably elaborate on that?

        • AllisonK

          I bought a case of sausages for a school fundraiser and they were ultra lean turkey/chicken sausages with maybe 1 gram of carb per sausage(they were big huge ones, not like little breakfast sausages) and almost no fat. In other words almost pure protein only. They were all natural ingredients. I couldn’t stop eating them, even though I was so full, I kept going back for more. I actually ate so much of them that I got sick later and gained about 8 pounds in a week. I thought it was a one time thing, but it happened every batch I cooked. With normal sausages with higher fat content, I get full and everything is all good.
          I realize this is a one person experience, but it’s totally convinced me that too much protein is addicting and not good.

          • Julie

            Most sausages have a ‘rusk’ as a binding agent. This rusk has wheat flour in it. Unless they give the exact ingredients, or you know they are at least gluten free, or you make them yourself, assume that all sausages have some wheat in them.

    • Before you declare your thyroid “normal,” Sally, take a look at the discussion we’ll have this weekend on thyroid.

      Many, many people are told they have no thyroid problems when they actually do. Unfortunately, the primary care doc who declares your thyroid “normal” often makes that judgment by looking only at your TSH value and using outdated “reference” values.

    • Anya

      Sally! I feel your frustration, I really do. The comment I have, other than support, is that I have recently read that exercise is actually not all it is cracked up to be and can cause harm when trying to lose weight. Check out Gary Taubes’ interview series on Youtube. He talks about how before the 1970s, obsesity doctors suggested bedrest for patients losing weight and talked about how there used to be a phrase “working up an appetite” associated with exercise, meaning how it makes you so hungry. Then, there was a big push towards exercise sometime in the 1970s and it has gone strong ever since but with no real studies proving its effectivness in promoting weight loss.

      Something to do more research about!

      • You are right, Anya. I have found doing less is way healthier for me than when I was going gung-ho with the boot camp classes. They gave me a quick endorphin high, but wouldn’t last very long. I think it had something to do with when you overtrain, it is a stressor on the body. Then cortisol is pumped into the system to deal with that stress, which then causes irritability, depression and abdominal weight gain to mention a few symptoms, if it is not used up; which in most cases, it’s not. I have weak adrenals, so overtraining affects me very quickly.

        • Sally

          Thanks for the support and advice. I will stick with it, frankly because I don’t want the wheat back in the first place. I will keep exercise moderate and make sure I have healthy fats. What are some suggestions on how to get good levels of healthy fats without eating too many extra calories? For instance, with breakfast if I have 2 eggs and have an almond flour muffin…add butter to it? Or are the muffins not a good idea with extra carbs. Just trying to figure out the balance. Also looking for suggestions on how to use coconut milk?
          Thanks again.
          Dr. Davis I look forward to more thyroid info. So if it’s not “normal” I’m assuming you’ll give us great advice on what to do.

          • Sally,
            The eggs are awesome; I have three a day myself. Do your almond muffins have any kind of high-carb ingredients? The butter is fine to add to anything and everything as long as your carb intake for each day remains low. If you stay completely away from all grains, all gluten-free products that replace wheat, legumes and keep your intake level of carbs from fruits to one fruit a day, you don’t have to worry about how many calories, portion size or whatever. I eat butter by the tablespoonful right out of the container plus add it to every meal I make. Click on my name to go to my website and go to the link ‘My Story’. It will show you before, after and 2011 pics of me. The 2011 pics are the result of eating a strict paleo diet. I don’t keep track of numbers, but I do keep a food log as to what I eat at every meal. I use this to track what foods might cause symptoms that I don’t want to experience. When eating this way, getting plenty of good fats, there is no such thing as too many extra calories. It’s nice to be free of the worry that I will get fat if I don’t exercise enough or from eating too much fat. What a weight lifted off my shoulders!

      • Julie

        My daughter is an Ironman competitor. She has just finished the World Championship in Hawaii and has dropped the more strenuous exercise regime, she fully expects to lose weight as she reduces the exercise as thats what has happened before.

  13. This has been my personal experience…I am finding that when you have enough healthy fats (butter, EVOO, fish oil, etc.) in your daily meal plans, then your weight will fall off quickly. I have read that when you are going from a high-carb diet to a low-carb diet, the carbs need to be replaced with more fat as the healthy fats become our source for energy. It takes a period of time for the body to convert over to using the fats for energy instead of carbs and you may feel tired during that time; but once it changes, your energy levels are normalized. The logic behind it is, and correct me if I’m mistaken Dr. Davis on any of this, when you consume enough healthy fats, then the body fat will be released as fuel for the body. But you have to eat enough fats daily; you’re energy level will tell you if you need more or less.

    • Anya

      Eva, I just checked out your website and your pictures are outstanding! You look great and really happy, too. I, too, was a raw food vegan and until about one week ago, was still a regular vegan. Your site provided me with a lot of inspiration!

      • Anya

        Correction: Not a week ago, about 3 weeks ago I changed, but you get the point! Isn’t it funny how vegan is promoted as so healthy. It is even hard to find information on the internet about some of its dangers. No matter what I type in, there will always be some site about the benefits of the vegan lifestyle. I am so suspicious of it now….

        • Right on, Anya! I had to stop being a vegan, because my hair started to fall out in large quantities and it became dry and brittle. I was diagnosed with the beginning stages of osteoporosis and my skin became extremely dry to name a few problems. Since then all this had reversed itself due to eating more condensed nutrition. And thank you for the nice compliments. I am very happy! Glad you are finding your way to better health through nutrition by leaving the vegan lifestyle.

    • Sally

      How long to you anticipate this might take…for my body to adjust? I’m working on about 5 weeks with no wheat and 2 of those weeks have been no weight loss. Just curious. Thanks for all the inspiration.

      • Weight loss is usually a smooth process. If weight loss is your goal and it has stalled, then something is out of whack. Please take a look at the recent Wheat Belly Blog post on just this question.

      • Sally, don’t be shy to eat as much healthy fats as you desire. As I became less afraid of consuming fats, I added more each day to see how much my body would allow me to eat without gaining weight. The result was my body dropped the weight more quickly, and it released the last bit it was holding on to, especially around the abdomen. So far I have not found my limit of consuming too much fat, so I freely put it on everything. All you can do is try it and go from there. What I found when I did increase my fat intake, my energy level soared and my appetite is completely under control. I never have to deal with hunger pangs anymore. Daily, I eat anywhere from 4-5 heaping tablespoons of raw butter (but a good European butter is okay, too, like KerryGold), 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, fish oils, 2-3 teaspoons chia seeds, 3 whole eggs, and plenty of high fatty meats and fish. I put butter on everything and even eat it right out of the tub with a spoon to make sure I’m getting every bit of it. I even lick my plate clean after a meal so none goes to waste. Everything tastes better with butter! Yeah, I’m a fanatical one, but a happy, healthy fanatic!!! ;-)

        • Oh, I should add that there was an adjustment period where my body had to switch from using carbs for fuel to now using the fats. During the adjustment period, I did have lower energy. This is temporary; mine lasted about two weeks. Everyone’s timeframe will be different as is the weight loss. But once your body adjusts, then your energy remains constant provided you get plenty of rest and sleep when your body calls for it. Also, you have to stay away from the high-carb foods for good so your body can continue using the fats for energy and not revert back to using carbs. I find if I do eat foods such as blue corn tortilla chips, brown rice, legumes, etc. at one meal, the next day the scale shows an increase in my weight by a pound or two. As long as I get right back to keeping the diet high fat, high protein and low-carb, the weight falls away just as easily. As long as you keep experimenting on yourself (which is a daily lifetime habit), you will reach your health goals and find your truth. Hope all this helps!

  14. Mike

    I would love to be able to throw some nutritious ingredients into a blender, shake things up, and enjoy a tasty treat in place of a meal. But I don’t have a clue as to what foods to choose. Please come up with some suggestions…

    • Wendie

      I just made a super easy and delicious shake you may want to try:

      1.5 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk ( Almond Breeze is my favorite)
      1 T Xylitol or 1/4 tsp of Stevia or favorite zero carb sweetener
      1-2 T Natural No Sugar Added / Peanut Butter ( Smuckers Natural is very good)
      1-2 T Unsweetened Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

      It’s very filling but you can tweak it and add low carb protein powder and or ground flax seeds,
      coconut milk etc to your taste. I’m not big on breakfast, leave very early for work in the am and am a busy mom, so this shake has been helpful and tastes better to me than the ready made atkins I was using. The carbs add up in a hurry (5-9 depending on your amounts / ingredients) but it is very tasty, easy, quick and pretty filling! :0) Wendie

  15. Gai

    Thanks, Dr. D—I love Wheat Belly and have been rather “evangelical” in promoting it to family and friends. ;-) So far, quite a few friends and family have purchased and read the book. Several have quite wheat. Excellent! I’m curious to know whether wheatgrass juice has all the problematic components that wheat-grain has?

    • Thanks, Gai!

      However, I remain uncertain on the wheatgrass question, as there have not been any formal analyses, to my knowledge, to show whether any of the components of the seed are also present in the grass. Should this become clear, I will post here.