Wheat Belly: Quick and Dirty

For everyone who asked for a simplified, essentials-only version of the diet I advocate in Wheat Belly, here it is.

This is the very same diet I advise for patients in my office that achieves spectacular reductions in small LDL particles (the #1 cause of heart disease in the U.S), as well as unraveling diabetic/pre-diabetic tendencies. The diet starts with the biggest step: elimination of wheat. But a healthy diet cannot end there, else you and I could eat no wheat but fill our calories with soft drinks and jelly beans. So the next step is to limit carbohydrates if your goal is to lose more weight and correct metabolic distortions like high blood sugar and small LDL particles.

Eliminate:
All wheat-based products (all breads, all breakfast cereals, noodles, pasta, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, pretzels, crackers), oat products (oatmeal, oat bran), cornstarch-based products (sauces or gravies thickened with cornstarch, prepared or processed foods containing cornstarch, cornmeal products like chips, tacos, tortillas), sugary soft drinks, candies

Enjoy unlimited:
Vegetables-except potatoes; fresh or frozen, never canned
Raw nuts and seeds-raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews; dry-roasted peanuts (not roasted in oil); pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Healthy oils (unheated)-olive, flaxseed, coconut, avocado, walnut
Meats-red meats, pork, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs. (Consider free-range, grass-fed and/or organic sources.)
Non-wheat grains-ground flaxseed, chia seeds
Teas, coffee, water, unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or coconut water
Cheeses—real cultured cheeses only (not Velveeta or single-slice processed cheese)
Avocado or guacamole; hummus; unsweetened condiments, e.g., mayonnaise, mustard, oil-based salad dressings; ketchup without high-fructose corn syrup; pesto, tapenades; olives

Limited:
Fruit-No more than 2 servings a day (one serving is a level handful), preferably in this order (best first): berries of all varieties, citrus, apples, nectarines, peaches, melons. Minimize bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and grapes
Fruit juices-only real juices and in minimal quantities (no more than 2-4 oz)
Dairy products-No more than 1 serving per day of milk, cottage cheese or yogurt, unsweetened (Fat content does not matter.)
Legumes/beans; peas; sweet potatoes and yams; rice (white and brown); soy
Dark chocolates-70-85% cocoa or greater; no more than 40 grams (approximately 2 inches square) per day
Sugar-free foods-preferably stevia-containing, rather than aspartame

Never:
Fried foods
Fast foods
Hydrogenated “trans” fats
Cured meats-hot dogs, sausages, bacon, bologna, pepperoni
High-fructose corn syrup containing foods; honey; agave syrup; sucrose
Processed rice, rice flour or potato products-rice crackers, rice cereals, pretzels, white breads, breakfast cereals, potato chips
Fat-free or low-fat salad dressings
”Gluten-free” foods

Quick tips:
For healthy breakfast choices, consider ground flaxseed as a hot cereal (e.g., with soy milk, milk, or unsweetened almond milk; blueberries, strawberries, etc.). Also consider eggs; raw nuts; cheese; consider having “dinner for breakfast,” meaning transferring salads, cheese, chicken, and other “dinner” foods to breakfast.
Add 1 tsp or more of taste-compatible healthy oil to every meal. For example, mix in 1 tbsp flaxseed oil to ground flaxseed hot cereal. Or add 2 tbsp olive oil to eggs after scrambling. Adding oils will blunt appetite.
If you suspect you have a wheat “addiction,” use the first week to add healthy oils to every meal and reduce the amount of wheat by half. In the second week, aim for elimination of wheat while maintaining the oils.
Reach for raw nuts first as a convenient snack.

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877 Responses to Wheat Belly: Quick and Dirty

  1. Jeannine says:

    One comment…………talk about bad timing for your cook book. Wouldn’t that be an excellent Christmas gift.
    Being from Canada that is not going to happen. I have been on the diet for a week and I have used up the recipes from the book that interest me.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Something I had no control over, Jeannine.

      In fact, I had to work nearly 24 hours a day just to get the cookbook out by that date. Whew!

      But I believe you will love the many recipes me and the Rodale test kitchen staff came up with. (The 3 professional cooks at the test kitchen helped me immensely in testing the recipes, assistance that allowed us to write/create/test the 150 recipes in such an ambitious timeline).

  2. Jeannine says:

    While I wait for the book is there any place I can find more recipes?

  3. doreen says:

    Hi Dr. Davis-
    i ordered your book today…can’t wait to read it.
    i know you must get sick of people asking and hoping it’s ok to eat just a little of this or that grain…you’re probably thinking ‘geez Louise people! Just give up the grains already!!’
    :) NOW LET ME JOIN ALL THE OTHER GRAIN ADDICTS and ask about pearl barley since I havent seen any specific info on it. i like it occasionally as a sub for pasta and it looks like it has a low glycemic number but the carb count is really high? what’s up with that?
    THANKS!
    Doreen

    • Boundless says:

      > … pearl barley …
      High carb count alone would tend to disqualify. It isn’t obvious from the book title, but the recommended diet ends up being 50 grams or less net carbs per day, and no more than 20 per meal. If you’re trying to lose weight, the numbers are lower.

      But it isn’t just about the carbs with respect to barley. Barley and rye have been subject to much the same genetic malice as wheat, and may well contain not just gluten, but some of the other insidious toxins of modern so-called wheat.

      Ditch it (and yes, this means all of the beers based these 3 frankengrains too).

      • Anne says:

        No, it isn’t obvious from the title, nor it is obvious from the allowable food list. I think there is some confusion surrounding wheat free vs. low carb – is the reader to assume these two are synonymous? In that case, it begs too much inference from the average reader, in my opinion. Quite frankly and no offence intended, the title is misleading because of the ‘lose the wheat, lose the weight’ – oh, and by the way, 12 grams of carbs per meal….

        I have embraced the wheat free lifestyle with gusto and have experienced ups and downs thus far (week 6 and more ups), but I’ve come to the conclusion that small amounts of fruit and legumes such as blueberries, apples, and chickpeas are to be a part of my regime to lose weight, get enough fiber, and not overdo it on red meat and dairy. I’ve learned that caution should be undertaken when eliminating almost an entire food group (carbohydrates) and that depending on the individual (me), it can be very hard on the body (will spare the details)

        Sorry for weighing in here…and I do admit I’m in a bit of a grumpy mood because of a mysterious illness that hit earlier this week and has yet to resolve..

        Bye the way, totally agree with staying the heck away from barley :) Quinoa on the other hand….

        • Boundless says:

          > … nor it is obvious from the allowable food list.

          We’ve been following the guidelines for over a year now (one family member simply must not eat wheat, and I’m primarily interested in discovering what an ideal human diet is). I’ve only recently concluded that what falls out of what Dr. Davis recommends amount to three separate and distinct problems with conventional wisdom about diet:

          1. Borderline or ketogenic metabolism is the goal. Glycemic metabolism is a mistake. This implies very low net carb, at least a modified Paleo. If you were already doing this, you probably wouldn’t be eating much grain, perhaps none at all.

          2. The very first item to ditch from your short list of allowed carbs list is techno-wheat (and its techo-barley and techno-rye pals), and not just because they are sky-high glycemic. They contain multiple-threat subversive toxins. If you’re not ready for recommendation #1, do not skip this one.

          3. The next item to dump is fructose (and sucrose, aka “table sugar”, because it’s half fructose). You’re better off consuming pure glucose (at less than 20g per meal, of course).

          > I think there is some confusion surrounding wheat free vs. low carb – is the reader to assume these two are synonymous?

          It’s not, and people don’t. If you ditch only wheat, there are massive benefits. But more benefits lurk.

          > Bye the way, totally agree with staying the heck away from barley :) Quinoa on the other hand….

          Quinoa is actually in at least one WB book recipe. I seem to recall that Dr. Davis has lately admitted that he regrets including it. Be very judicious with your high GI carbs.

  4. Anne says:

    Thank you so much Boundless! Will keep all of this in mind…Your experience is extremely valuable.

    “Multiple-threat subversive toxins” – I love this line!

    How do you know if you’ve reached a borderline ketogenic state?

    Thanks again…

    • Boundless says:

      > How do you know if you’ve reached a borderline ketogenic state?

      50 to 80 grams of net carbs per day seems to be the borderline. 100 and up won’t do.

      I’d actually like to see Dr. Davis weigh in on this topic with some additional detail.

      My general impression is that if you consistently stay below 50 grams, you’re likely to lose muscle mass unless you’re exercising and/or strength training, and that going below 20 could be risky.

      And many sources, Dr. Davis included, seem to allow switching to glycemic mode during periods of extended exercise.

  5. Ripski says:

    Hello-
    I have been gluten free for over a year now. After years of intestinal distress and no positive tests for Celiac, I opted to remove all gluten from my diet. I am interested in your diet now because it seems to offer a more defined approach to eating without wheat. I am concerned however, that I have not lost any weight and have in fact gained more than 8 lbs. I am a healthy eater, mostly lean meats, veggies and nuts. I do not eat sugar or sugary foods and rarely eat fruit. My go to snack is natural popcorn in the microwave (the kind you make yourself in a brown bag) with olive oil and sea salt. When I review what I am eating, I think this must be the culprit maybe because it is corn based snack. I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong but would love to lose 20lbs or more. Any suggestions are appreciated.
    Thanks

  6. Pingback: Diet 101: Wheat Belly Diet

  7. mc says:

    Dr. Davis,

    I would like to know about organic wheat. Is this wheat a GMO product? Thanks

    • K. O. says:

      mc

      From sources I have encountered 6 years ago I have been left to understand that the True organic wheat has been eradicated. Though it is that it may be there are a few strains still held by select old school farmer. Finding these strains may prove to be difficult. Umm…
      I myself have eaten most any so called organic wheat out there…. none seem to be better, and in fact some of these even seemed to be more toxic to my system.
      I endorse organics with out a doubt, though be wary of who says their products are organic.

      • Dr. Davis says:

        “Organic” wheat, K.O., simply means that your brand of poison has no pesticides or herbicides. But it’s still . . . poison.

    • Boundless says:

      …. organic wheat …
      Analogous to organic hemlock. Possibly slightly less toxic than non-organic. See:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/02/kick-it-smack-it-sprout-it/
      … Is this wheat a GMO …
      No wheat is GMO {yet}. See:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/09/worse-than-genetic-modification/

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You will find your answers in detail in the Wheat Belly book, MC.

      NO commercial wheat is genetically-modified, at least in the way this term is used by geneticists. It is the product of techniques that are far WORSE. Organic or no, makes no difference.

  8. Nick says:

    I am starting WB diet tomorrow and am confused about oats and quinoa. In the granola recipe, oats are used and I believe quinoa is used as well in another recipe I saw. Can these be used or not?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, but they should be used only in small quantities, if at all.

      Most people can tolerate up to 15 grams “net” carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus fiber) before they start to develop adverse phenomena like high blood sugar and provocation of small LDL particles that lead to heart disease.

  9. Amanda says:

    Hi Dr. Davis,
    Does the 1/2 and 1/2 in my AM coffee count as my 1 dairy? I usually have about 1.5 oz (3 TBSP) a day.
    Thanks!
    Amanda

  10. Nick says:

    Correct me if i am wrong, I thought that we cannot have cornstarch? I used baking soda and the first ingredient is cornstarch.

  11. Lizzie says:

    Hi Dr Davis, I am in Australia and was wondering whether raw macadamia nuts and oil was OK?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      They are excellent, Lizzie! Just a bit costly, so I don’t talk about them much, as they tend to beyond the budgets for most people.

  12. Nick says:

    I am on day 4 of wheat belly and have been doing great! I don’t know what I was thinking because I ate Italian sausage and peppers. I looked on the approved list and saw that sausage is a no no. Did I mess things up??? Help!!!!

  13. ET says:

    Are dry roasted almonds, pistachios, considered ” raw” if they contain no oil and are just the nut and salt?

  14. Laura says:

    Finally bought your book and am in process. Look forward to learning the difference between being wheat-free and gluten-free. This is confusing as some people tell us ( with Hashimoto autoimmune disease) that we must be 100% gluten-free and will lose all progress with each tiny slip. That seems very different from what you advocate, Dr. Davis. So far in your book, it seems that benefits can be had doing the best you can to eliminate just wheat gluten? Thank you! Laura

  15. Susan Graham says:

    Dr Davis
    I started diet a week ago. On day 5 I had my cholesterol checked. My total cholesterol was 275. Can this be due to starting the diet. Should I get on meds or have a recheck in a few months after being on the diet.
    Thanks

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Be careful and do not put too much stock into cholesterol values during a diet effort of any sort. Your doctor will likely not know this, but the flood of fatty acids that accompanies successful weight loss typically cause considerable distortions in these values.

      I generally ask people to wait about 2 months after their weight plateaus before trying to make any sense of the numbers.

  16. Bosco says:

    Can you have Canola oil on a wheat free diet?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Canola is increasingly being scrutinized with adverse effects being documented, including the provocation of trans fatty acids with the high-temperature processing required to remove the erucic acid, along with hypertensive effects in an experimental rat model. While I don’t think that the usual arguments against genetic-modification apply to an oil (as opposite to a protein), there are other problems with this oil sourced from GM-rapeseed.

  17. Nick says:

    I am still confused as to your list of no sausage and bacon but on your Facebook page a lot of people eat bacon and sausage. Can you please clarify. Thanks

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I was referring to cured/processed meats, Nick.

      Whenever possible, try to purchase the uncured/unprocessed varieties. While this science is not fully sorted out, there are data to suggest that the ill effects previously ascribed to saturated fat and cholesterol were really due only to the cured, processed meats.

  18. Susan Graham says:

    Hi what are your thoughts on the home digital cholesterol test kits? Are they accurate?

  19. Laura says:

    I am reading the book and appreciating it. I think I will have little trouble doing without wheat, but I admit I am confused about whether I should do without potatoes completely. Chips and fries I understand, but is a baked potato forbidden?

  20. Cathy says:

    Just started the wheat belly diet. I am excited to see if it helps with my allergy symptoms that seem to come for no reason at all. I’ve read the book and see how “wheat” is not what it appears to be. So how do I cope with this wheat belly diet and an anorexic in the recovery process in the house? Any suggestions?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Well, that’s a bit complicated to settle on a blog!

      Suffice it to say to not make a big deal out of it. Just do it and don’t make extravagant declarations about what you are doing; just enjoy the incredible benefits!