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. Dan Galpern says:

    Greetings:
    My wife and I are following your program fairly strictly. We don’t seem to have gluten intolerance or allergies to wheat, but we seek to lose some weight and gain fitness.
    My question: Are all forms of modern wheat equally bad? I used to enjoy whole wheat berries with salads, etc.
    Thanks!
    Best,
    Dan

    • Lizzie says:

      No wheat is a good wheat !.. abandon it in all forms. You can make some great muffins with almond meal.. there are recipes in the blogs

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, unfortunately, Dan. Wheat is wheat and it is all bad, for all practical purposes.

  2. Susan Graham says:

    What are your thoughts on red rice yeast? Also have you heard of cholest off which is some kind of natural statin and do you know if you can take these two together. Thanks

    • Debra Walker says:

      My mother has been taking Red Yeast Rice for her elevated cholesterol level since 2004 (as recommended by her Asian doctor)and she only takes one capsule daily. The total level dropped by 30 points within 3-6 months and she really didn’t even change her diet at that time. It’s inexpensive and is a natural substance, with no side effects noted.

  3. JWS says:

    Great read so far doc. Starting WB at 260#. Wondering as a CABG kid 5 way in 2004 am I looking at another version of Atkins; which worked very well for me, got down to 230#. But I did end up on the table just after the Atkins experience. I did read ahead just a bit to see what you talk about in the way of foods. I like what I’m seeing, just that Atkins 5 way fear. Are those fears I should just put on the shelf?
    Thanks.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      No, they are well founded, JW.

      In the case of coronary disease, lose the weight gradually and slowly, else you flood your bloodstream with fatty acids originating from the fat stores. Such a flood has implications for the behavior of your coronary arteries.

      Unfortunately, there is only one other option: liposuction.

      • JWS says:

        Thanks doc for the insight. Liposuction, have to think that through and talk with my docs on that one. I am going to proceed with WB…taking it slow and get myself back into the gym. WB seems to be much more forgiving than Atkins ever was. I’m in the Chicago area, maybe I’ll drive up and buy you a WB free lunch once I reach my final goal. Again thanks doctor, will keep an eye out for the cookbook too.
        Jim

  4. TH says:

    I have not finished reading the book yet, but became wheat free about four weeks ago. I have lost 10# and feel fantastic, no cravings and no hunger pains. However, I was very surprised to see on the elimination list corn and rice products. What is the reason for this? I have been eating more corn and (unprocessed)rice products, since eliminating the wheat. Like substituting corn tortilla chips instead of flour tortillas. I gave up all processed food about 2 years ago and went all whole grain and organic trying to get my cholesterol down and it went up. I am in the gym at 5 am 5 days a week and can’t loose any weight. I am 50 yrs old, 5’6″ and 140#, but have a belly that I find annoying no matter what I do. After 4 weeks of being wheat free, my belly is virtually gone. The thing that surprises me the most is that I use to eat those 6 small (under 300 calorie) meals per day and was starving by my next meal. All those meals contained some kind of whole grain. Now I am basically eating 2-1/2 meals a day and feel fine with no hunger pains. I went cold turkey and cheated one day while traveling as I couldn’t find anything to eat on the run in the airport except pizza. I could tell almost instantly as my belly started to bloat and I felt awful. All these things really surprised me, because I am such a skeptic and never fall into fads. That is what my family keeps telling me this is. I hope it isn’t and that I don’t regret it someday, but for right now I feel really good.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I plan to discuss this whole non-wheat grain issue extensively in the coming months and years, TH.

      Suffice it to say that NO grains are truly suitable for human consumption, least of all wheat. The issues have been inadvertently made worse by the manipulations of agribusiness.

  5. Lauren says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    There is a lot on the internet regarding gluten-free soaps and products, mainly geared to people with celiac disease. What is your view on non-gluten free products such as shampoos, lotions, soaps, deodorants, cleaning products? How stringent should we be about those kind of products with wheat? Thanks!

    • Boundless says:

      If you are celiac, or in the 5% of non-celiac wheat sensitive, you need to avoid all products contaminated with wheat, barley and rye, and their by-products.

      The real question is: why is wheat in these products in the first place? In 1960, wheat was never used so gratuitously. Quite the opposite – the big scandal then was that bakers were cheating on bread, and padding it with sawdust.

      Is wheat now in everything that touches or enters your body merely because it’s a cheap filler foisted by Big Grain marketeers on clueless facial formulators? Or does the contaminant have some undeclared sinister side effect(s) useful to the product purveyors and their cronies (possibly in the drug industry)?

      I suggest that the answer here doesn’t matter in terms of purchasing decisions. Avoid grain contamination in all products. We do.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Probably–probably–not an issue except for people with celiac and/or gluten-sensitivity.

      We have no data on such exposures. It doesn’t hurt to avoid or minimize them, but I do not know if they have any health implications with just skin exposure.

      • Kelly says:

        Now that you mention it, I always had sores on my head. Not now, wf for 5 mons tom. I still have the tongue sores. I had them checked I thought I had cancer as they has this weird black outline, and super irritated. They suggested a tongue biopsy to confirm celiac, but I declined. I remember as a kid my tongue was always coated with a yellowish looking film. Normal for you – NOT. So I make sure there is no wheat whatso ever in any product that touches my body .

        Thanks for this blog Dr D, it feels good to read about everyones journey thru hell, to live and tell about it. I’m looking forward to posting my success story.

  6. Roxann says:

    Quinoa. I am assuming quinoa is a wheat product too?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      No. Quinoa is an unrelated food that only causes weight gain, high blood sugar, diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, dementia, heart disease, and cancer!

  7. carole dardin says:

    this is interesting reading but by the time we cut the grains out there isnt much left to eat…a very boring menu and diet! i dont eat much meat now as it is..and i dont really eat much grain except maybe one or two slices of flax bread for breakfast and a piece of rye bread once in a while and those specialty flours are expensive..if i knew i would lose wt on this i would try it..i already lost about 12 lbs on the belly fat cure using hardly no sugar and a lo carb amount…any comment on this please?

    • Tanya says:

      There is a lovely varied menu left! All variety of natural meats (not ‘deli meats’) salads, vegetables, berries! The past few nights I haven’t eaten the same thing for dinner twice: salmon & asparagus one night, baked chicken thighs with paprika with stir-fried zucchini, pork riblets with mushrooms sauted with garlic another night, a lovely quiche with cheddar & veggies another, pork chops with salad topped with tomatoes & radishes another.. endless variety! I’m not bored on this at all!

      And I’ve gone from 166 to 144 without even trying. Not increasing exercise at all either (I have fibromyalgia)

      This is fun.

  8. Pat H says:

    Can you elaborate on the quinoa reply?

  9. Alana says:

    Yes…please elaborate about quinoa. Also, I’m confused why no oat products (oat meal, oat bran).
    I’m vegan, so this will really be a restricted diet for me — esp. less fruit intake (I usually make a fruit
    smoothie daily with a scoop of raw vegan protein powder, and often use a banana, some mango, and pineapple! Guess it will be more berries mixed with veggies from now on)…..but I’m going to give this diet a try.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Both oats and quinoa send blood sugar through the roof.

      High blood sugar causes glycation which, in turn, leads to the irreversible changes that lead you down the path of cataracts, arthritis, hypertension, insulin resistance, visceral fat accumulation, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.

      So any food that provokes glycation is potentially very bad. These foods provoke glycation.

    • Paul says:

      Eat some meat. Problem solved.

  10. Friday says:

    What about Popcorn? Corn on the cob? With butter!

  11. Holly says:

    Why not oatmeal? Oatmeal are from oats, not wheat, right?
    I eat little animal products. Any suggestions for breakfast besides egss and cheese?

  12. Brenda says:

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I am brand new to Wheat Belly and very enthusiastic. I am looking forward to ridding my house of all the products you mention. What can you tell me about your existing cookbook? My sister use to work for you and is looking for hers but cannot remember exactly what’s in it. Is that cookbook similar to the 1 coming out for wheat belly?

  13. Piper says:

    I just read the book, Dr. Davis, and am planning on stopping wheat for good! However, I am a vegan (with the exception to fish). Is it safe to live off of nuts, fish, veggies and few fruits?
    And also, I am having a hard time believing that nuts can be consumed in unlimited quantities…..I thought that they were only to be eaten in moderation, due to the high calories…….is that just another lie from the Dietetic associations?
    Thank you!!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Enjoy all the nuts and seeds you want, Piper. Yes, limiting nuts is pure dietary fiction, yet another one among many!

      You might try to vary your diet along these lines: varied vegetables, varied nuts, varied fish and shellfish, olives, olive oil and other oils, coconut products, chia, hemp, some (non-GM) soy (if you can find it, as nutrient deficiencies are common among vegans/vegetarians.

      • Piper says:

        Thank you for the reply, Dr. Davis!!
        Another question ( probably my knowledge is based on more dietary fiction): I thought that shellfish was not good to eat often…….and I have heard that eating too much tuna can result in dangerous mercury levels.
        Any word on those?

        • Dr. Davis says:

          Yes, this is indeed an issue in our modern world.

          Eat shellfish, but do so with the knowledge that frequent consumption means you might have to consider having a mercury level checked.

          • Piper says:

            In the book, you mention that the only reason to count calories is because wheat interferes with metabolism. Once wheat is eliminated, calories are no longer an issue……can you expound on that a little?
            ^Last question, I promise, haha^
            Thank you so much!!

  14. Shelly says:

    I’ve been following WB @ 4 months now. Finally I’ve lost the excruciating pain in my hands no one could ever explain! I cheated Thanksgiving & it came right back! I won’t be doing that again. Haven’t lost much weight though. Would that be because I still eat large quantities of food? (I bought the book, just haven’t read all of it yet)

  15. Shelly says:

    I’ve been following WB @ 4 months now. Finally I’ve lost the excruciating pain in my hands no one could ever explain! I cheated Thanksgiving & it came back immediately! I won’t be doing that again. Haven’t lost much weight though. Would that be because I still eat major quantities of food? Could I be taking unlimited too far? (I bought the book, just haven’t read all of it yet) I do feel great. My skin looks amazing, and I also have no more gas or indigestion!

  16. Shelly says:

    Oh, I am wondering about no fried foods. Is it okay to stir-fry & sauté?

  17. Homero says:

    can someone please tell me if corn tortillas are safe to eat?

    • Shelly says:

      Great question! I really don’t know the answer. Been married to my husband from Mexico 25 years, and we’re not eating the same food anymore since I’m on WB. At least not the beans, rice, tamales, tortillas etc. The only things I’m missing a LOT! Homemade nut flour bread’s easy to make though & you can do surprising things /w it. I’ve been using this recipe a lot, substituting the honey for something else. http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-bread/

    • Boundless says:

      If they are just corn (and other, safe, non wheat ingredients),
      and it was non-GMO corn,
      and it was not fried in the same oil used for wheat flour items,
      then it is merely a matter of glycemic load from the carbs,
      and corn is pretty high in carbs.

      • Boundless says:

        More thoughts on corn, although I suspect Dr. Davis will have more to say on the matter, perhaps afield of the carb and oil issues.

        Here’s a typical corn chip that is at least trying to be less toxic: Garden of Eatin’ Blue Chips. These are labelled as non-GMO, organic, and of course, Gluten Free.

        However, they still contain canola oil (expeller pressed, for whatever that’s worth), and safflower or sunflower oil. If you can find baked nGMO/og/GF chips, they might be free of these oils, which alas, are probably the majority of what little fat is in this food.

        But the major problem may be simply the carbs. A mere 8 chips has 18g (16 net) carbs, which is an entire meal’s worth at suggested WB intake levels. This is probably equivalent to just one entire small tortilla.

        Betcha can’t eat so little.

  18. GenGee says:

    I’m still confused about the proscription of quinoa. It is a seed, not a grain. Why is it so bad? According to the Livestrong site, quinoa’s glycemic index is 53, but its glycemic load is only 13. Unless I missed it, you do not address glycemic load in WB.

    “According to the Glycemic Index Foundation’s database, a 150-gram cup of cooked quinoa has a glycemic index of 53. A food’s glycemic index doesn’t necessarily reflect its value as a source of energy or nutrients, however. Glycemic load is used to measure both the quality of carbohydrates in a food, as indicated by its impact on blood sugar, and the quantity of carbohydrates per serving. A low glycemic load is defined as 10 or under, a medium glycemic load is 11 to 19, while 20 or above is high, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A cup of cooked quinoa contains 25 grams of carbohydrates and has a glycemic load of 13. The balance between the quality and quantity of carbs in quinoa make it an effective energy source that won’t cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels.”
    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258598-quinoa-the-glycemic-index/#ixzz2Es7gy0oA

    • James says:

      GenGee,

      Yes, the GL is relatively small but it depends on the portion size and I guess, a GL of 13 is a typical “serving”. But depending on your insulin sensitivity, you may or may not experience a spike in your blood sugar level after eating the stuff. The only thing I could recommend is for you to have access to a glucometer and measure your fasting BS level, eat a portion of quinoa that will satisfy your appetite, and measure your BS level after 30mn, 1 hour and 2 hours. It would be very interesting to know your results but this n=1 experiment will only be applicable to your own case. I am almost convinced that I was gaining weight from quinoa, I was eating truck loads of the stuff because I read somewhere that it was on the alkalising side of the alkaline / acidic border. But your mileage may vary …

      J.

  19. Karen says:

    so what is the differnce between the Atkins diet and the Wheat Belly???

    • James says:

      Hi Karen,

      The Atkins diet is meant for someone to lose weight (excess fat deposits) by removing all carbs at the beginning (phase induction) and then, when the amount of weight to be lost has been dropped, you gradually reintroduce the carbs to a certain extent for weight maintenance. It is meant to fix a broken metabolism regarding insulin resistance mainly.

      The WB “diet” is not quite the same: yes, you lose weight by removing wheat and reducing your carb intake but the aim is more targeted at reducing health issues, be they excess weight, inflammation, IBS, etc, because the modern semi-dwarf high yield strain of wheat is basically a poison. Basically, the WB filestyle is more about being healthy overall and re-learn how to eat properly rather than just focusing on weight problems. Consider it as a truly effective metabolic detox cure.

      From what I could read about the Atkins diet (at least its implementation here and there), you find all sorts of things that I personally would not eat at all. I am not really into the details of the Atkins diet though and other people can add more nuance to what I just said.

      J.

    • Boundless says:

      Karn, who clicked an incorrect Reply link, said:
      “The only difference I see is the beginning of Atkins you eat no carbs and graduallly eat more carbs. So by the time you are at the last phase of Atkins you are basically doing the Wheat Belly”
      I disagree.
      Atkins apparently fails entirely to recognize the specific dangers of gluten-bearing grains in the later phases. In my view, this is the greatest hazard of Atkins, both because of the toxic effects of wheat, and because the appetite stimulation of wheat is apt to make staying on the diet more difficult.
      “Whole grains” aside, Atkins also allows you to increase your net carbs in later phases, and move solidly back into glycemic metabolism, as long as you aren’t gaining weight. Although Dr. Davis has yet to weigh in, so to speak, on the specific topic of keto, the WB recommendations appear to keep one on the keto side of the ketogenic/glycemic border.

  20. Becky says:

    Hi there,
    I haven’t bought the book yet, but I have been hearing more and more about it and really want to start eliminating wheat immediately. I was doing well, working out and pretty much stayed away from wheat and had lost nearly 30 pounds. I was just eating meats and veggies and yogurt mostly, but now that I have read more about this book and diet, I am getting really excited. I fell off the wagon and have gained back 20 pounds and my belly is so bloated and I feel terrible! I have been very bad and have eaten a lot of carbs and candy. I really need to stop! I have a couple of questions, is it ok to use artificial sweeteners of any kind? Can I eat regular salted sunflower seeds?
    Can you give me some good advice before I begin?
    Thank you so much,
    Becky

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You will find, Becky, that we use sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, and xylitol in our recipes.

      And the sunflower seeds themselves are fine, except they are often roasted in unhealthy oils, like partially hydrogenated sunflower, soybean, or cottonseed oils. So the best are either raw or dry roasted with no other added ingredients.

      • Becky says:

        Dr. Davis,
        Thank you so much for the information. I ordered your book and I have to wait until Saturday to get it! I am not much of a reader, because I get distracted so easily, but I am going to make this an important project that I do for myself.
        Thank you for the online support, it means so much to me already!
        Take care,
        Becky