Freak

This story might freak you out. So put the kids to bed, close the door, and make sure no nosey neighbors are watching.

Okay. Imagine you and I are evil scientists. We want to know what happens when we mate a 6 ft 4 in-tall blonde Swede male with a 4 ft 5 in-short Mbenga Pygmy tribeswoman from the Congo. We obtain the offspring, a child somewhere in between mom and dad. Once it reaches sexual maturity, we mate this Swede-Pygmy with yet another Pygmy, but this time chosen for the shortest stature among this short race. We repeat this process several more times over several more generations. We also introduce mates that have other characteristics, such as resistance to malaria or hairlessness. We also ignore some of the unexpected genetic characteristics that emerge, such as peculiar facial features, impaired intelligence, or unique metabolic derangements.

Then the really creepy part starts. We mate our Swede-Pygmy descendant with some non-human primates, such as an orangutan. The offspring are not always viable, but that’s not our concern. We just keep our creations alive with whatever artificial means are required. We also take pregnant mothers and expose them to chemicals that induce mutations in the developing fetus in utero, and use gamma radiation and high-doses of x-ray, also to induce mutations. Most of the mutations are grotesque and non-viable. But, every so often, we are lucky and the mutant survives. It may be really weird looking and have peculiar health problems, but that’s also not our concern.

At the end of this process, repeated over and over again, what do we call the poor creatures we’ve created? We can’t call them Swedish humans. We can’t call them Pygmies. They are some artificially-created thing that bears no name, no resemblance to anything that occurs in nature because we used unnatural methods to create it. But maybe it’s a 3-foot tall creature that, permitted some mix of synthetic food for sustenance, provides some unique service that we’ve sought, e.g., climbing trees to harvest coconuts.

Thankfully, nobody outside of Nazi Germany conducts such horrific practices in humans and our close primate relatives. But such practices are commonplace in plant genetics.

Apply something similar to wheat of the early 20th century, repeated crossings to winnow out specific characteristics like short stature, ease of release of the seeds, extreme oil production to discourage birds, resistance to mold and fungi; occasionally mate with non-wheat grains to introduce entirely unique genetic characteristics; and expose the seed or embryo to chemical or radiation mutagenesis to induce random mutations that occasionally are useful . . . well, those are the techniques used that companies like BASF like to call “traditional breeding methods.” These are the methods that lobbyists for the wheat industry, such as those at the Grain Foods Foundation, hide behind because there is no gene-splicing technology used as in modern genetic modification techniques.

So the truth of it is that “traditional breeding methods” used to create modern semi-dwarf, high-yield strains of wheat are worse than genetic engineering–cruder, less controllable, much less predictable, with consequences outside of the intended characteristic. Yet it makes it to your supermarket shelf, your dinner table, your gastrointestinal tract–no questions asked.

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Comments & Feedback...

    • Heather

      Okay. I don’t know what to make of this entirely – but I do think it’s because I am wheat free (since May 15, 2011.) I am a caregiver to an elderly man. He fell just a few days ago (Saturday night I think). I was not able to stop him from falling – but I was able to slow him down. I KNEW I would pay for it with a sore back. Par for the course as it were. BUT here is where I am feeling quite amazed. My back was extremely sore for the better part of 2 days — and have been doing stretches I found for back injuries (very gentle ones) and have been taking motrin. Am into the 3rd 24 hour stretch with motrin on board but noticed dramatic improvements in my back very quickly each time I lay down to nap. My naps would be about 2 to 3 hours. As of now I still have a tender spot but have full mobility!! Before being “wheat free” a back injury would take well over a week to heal to this point!!! I am so glad to have gone wheat free even before finding “wheat belly” blog!!

        • Heather

          I am not a doctor – so I have no idea why I know am feeling better sooner then what I have experienced with previous back injuries. I am however, EXTREMELY grateful! If it has to do with not being as badly inflamed then so be it. My allergy doctor said that I may not be reacting to wheat but rather the preservatives added to the grains to keep them from spoiling. I am now doing a food journal with the intention of selectively testing wheat — organic cream of wheat (farina) soon. I did get oatmeal and the following day had a “migraine” type headache. So, am being very mindful of medications etc that am both prescribed and OTC. and WHY am taking them.

  1. kimelah

    When we mess with Nature, she messes back. It’ll be unassuming and seemingly benign. Just as we attack her through genetics, so she will attack us through our genetics. She will make us sick, but not sick enough to keep us from procreating. But our pro-creations will be a little bit different each time, until those creations cease to be human (maybe not in form, but in thought) and will consider themselves the ultimate master of this world and will seek to own and command it at every level, every cell. And then we’ll self-destruct, and Nature will rule once again.

    • David MacPhail

      Kim,
      What you refer to is called the rebound effect. Through our arrogance we are bending nature like a spring. But the more we bend the spring the harder nature will rebound when the spring eventually rebounds as it inevitably will.

      • Well said, Kimelah and David.

        I am hearing more and more stories of just how little the geneticists comprehend in what they are doing. They simply look to achieve one simple thing, such as short stature, but do not seek out all the unintended consequences.

  2. Curmujeon

    Frankenwheat! It’s ALIVE! It’s helping to feed the strving hoards of the famished 3rd world. It makes the American farmer more productive. People who get sick from it shouldn’t eat it unless it’s the last resort. It’s so sick that anybody of modest means in the first world would eat the Frankewheat. They just don’t know better. Good luck fighting this war Dr. Davis.

    • I’m hoping that another collection of crops emerges to take the place of wheat in the third world. This is a process that will unfold over several decades.

    • Hi, James–
      It’s like Occupy Wall Street: We’re pitching tents and starting campfires, all discussing how this thing will get done. But it starts with spreading the information and gaining understanding of the issues.

      • Linda

        LOL Unfortunately some people get a little prickly when you try spreading the word, so to speak.
        I attempted to do that on a blog created by a person who creates low carb recipes. She says she reads this blog as well, however, she has not gone “wheat free” and still uses ingredients that I would not chose to use. When I attempted to add my alternate opinions about this, she was not happy. I was more or less told to go elsewhere for my recipes.

        • SP

          I think some people just not ready to accept how potentially harmful consuming wheat may be. it is such a big part of life in NA. Witness kids who subsist on goldfish crackers and pasta, moms who bake ‘healthy’ homemade muffins and cookies and the sandwich lunch. Blaming wheat is too big of a threat to most people as it rocks their belief system too much – “What; you mean I’ve been feeding my family unhealthy and dangerous food all these years.”

          Two family members are gluten intolerant with much improved health after going wheat free. I’ve now banished wheat from our home. Friends think I speak gobbledy gook when I mention this so I no longer do. My family’s health is what matters most.

          I’ll let you continue the good work Dr Davis. It seems that your work is getting more coverage in the mainstream media as I’ve had several friends send links to interviews and articles over the past few weeks. The moremthey hear this stuff the more likely it is they may believe it.

          • That’s how it works, SP: You tell people around you, they pay no attention or think you’re nuts. Then they hear it in the media and think you’re a genius!

  3. I am your wheat free groupie ! I am spreading the wheat free gospel to all that will hear! My family thinks I’ve lost it , but they keep eating all of my WF muffins and cookies.

  4. Sarahbearah

    When I took my almost 3 year old twins off of wheat, I was amazed at the detox effects. One of my twins would tantrum so bad that he would roll on the floor and even work himself up so much he would vomit. It was really scary. The week of detox was so bad that one of my (nosy) neighbors even called the police to my house to investigate for child abuse because they screamed so much that week. I was HORRIFIED! After watching my kids detox like that, I don’t want them to ever suffer the toxins of wheat again. We are all wheat free and couldn’t be better.

    • Debbie B in MD

      I hear you on this one. I took my 17 year old son off of wheat about 2 months ago. I had him read some of Wheat Belly and he was ready. My daughter and I have celiac and have been gluten-free since January. She has been grain free for about 2 months. (Unfortunately, I still eat corn chex for breakfast soemtimes and I always regret it.) Anyway, back to my son. He was a very happy baby until 15 months old. He then underwent a drastic personality change. He was sullen, angry, would pull hair, bite, and even from birth would throw up if he got too excited, both happy or angry. We blamed his change on the fact that we moved, had a second baby, and moved again within 5 months and immunizations. My husband is now retired from the Navy and we have moved a lot. His mood never improved. He would have terrible tantrums, meltdowns, etc. We worried at 6 about what we would do when he was 16 if things didn’t improve. About this time we learned about the Feingold Diet. Our son no longer ate any artificial colors, flavors, BHT, and BHA. THh change was drastic and welcome. Of course, when he accidentally had any of these things LOOK OUT, All of the behavior would return. He still had a short fuse, but it was much better. At age 10 he was diagnosed with Aspergers. Now he is 17. He is/was addicted to pasta, pizza, spaghetti, cereal, hot pockets, etc. His behavior has improved dramatically over the last few years. Thankfully he has matured greatly. Even with the wheat products. He certainly has a lot of acne though.

      So he gave up wheat 2 months ago and his disposition was not pretty. Not quite like he was, but for the first few days he was definitely detoxing, withdrawal, and so on. Now that it is out of his system, he is so much better. His face is clearing up, but there have been some cheats with the wheat, but definite improving. He is 6’2″ and has lost about 8 pounds eventhough he didn’t really look like he needed to. The only difference is the wheat. His church pants are so loose he thought they would fall down. He had to move his belt over another hole. :)

      I am glad your wheat detoxing tantrums are over. I am so happy for your children and for you that you have accomplished this at 3 rather than waiting until 17. I hope as my son becomes more 100% that his outlook on life will continue to lighten, that his face will clear up, and he will grow healthier. Thanks Dr. Davis for your work.

      • Debbie B in MD

        My son’s face is clearing up so much. It is amazing. My husband is truly impressed. He told me I can start fixing him wheat free lunches if I can find things to put in them!!!! Whoo hooo!!!! I think I can manage that!

  5. Oh, I forgot.

    I just put together a nifty post on my blog connecting weird, leptin, wheat elimination, Liquid Mind Music, Spirituality, Metaphysics, and spontaneous healing from Acute Bipolar Mania.

    Works for me.

  6. Todd

    Let’s say that the small intestine immune system recognizes a harmful pathogen by a particular protein sequence it presents. The immune system reacts by releasing an enzyme. The enzyme arrests digestion by making the small intestine walls porous, by washing the partially digested intestine contents into the bloodstream.

    Let’s say that the resulting flood of partially digested antigens and sugars is responsible for virtually all metabolic and autoimmune disease.

    Let’s say that a particular food presents the same protein sequence which the pathogen presents. As a result the immune system reacts in the same way, with intestinal porosity and a flood of partially digested antigens and sugars.

    How much of this food protein would have to be present in the small intestine in order to invoke this reaction?

  7. Linea

    I will probably gradually wean my family off of wheat. the problem is that some alternatives don’t taste as good. Information that is coming out these days is scary. It seems like everything from bread to shampoo causes cancer or other illnesses.

    • Boundless

      Linea: It seems like everything from bread to shampoo causes cancer or other illnesses.

      Usually based on a single flawed study that missed the bigger picture, or was funded by someone with agenda.

      Wheat-out is not the oscillating food scare of the month. This is not a red-wine/coffee is bad for you one week, good the next.

      The evidence against wheat is broad, deep, and old. The dots have been waiting to be connected for half a century or more, and the technowheat hazard today is more serious now than it was then. Dr. Davis isn’t even the first to connect the dots. He may be just the first to do it in an NYT BSL title.

  8. Lynn

    Thank you for your message and outreach. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of your book, and can’t wait to read it.

    My spouse, myself, our children, and several first degree relatives have gluten/casein intolerance/celiac. We had fabulous results going wheat free. We also started to limit corn and soy and sugar as well. That was harder than wheat. Corn and soy is in EVERY.THING. Salad dressings, mayo, condiments, potato chips, processed meat and restaurant meat (as a cheap filler)….

    My husband and I make our living farming :( so the frankenfoods subject is always troubling to me as it hits home.

    I had a chance to talk with a high-ranking Monsanto researcher last winter, and I really do think most people, even those in the THICK of it– are unaware, unprepared, largely innocent, and being blindly led into an outcome no one sees coming amidst the highest commodity prices in years and the thriving support industries that these crops helped bring to our normally-struggling rural economy.

    I admire your ‘calling it like it is’ and I agree with it. I think most people, though, who are actually in the agriculture industry still continue to view the big seed companies as being helpful and supportive because they have allowed us to make much larger profits and see instant results and increased yields/etc.

    It is all very similar to the drug companies and the medical community. By the way I also greatly admire your efforts at stressing a modified diet and avoiding drugs… :)

    My husband and I, and a few others, have been having some very hard discussions lately about how to move forward. We are trying to find a viable option beyond the ‘usual’ (corn and soy have now replaced wheat production. wheat was king in 1950, now, corn is king and soy is ‘queen’). I think we will see more and more ‘corn’ allergies and adverse affects from soy consumption, as a result. So, maybe growing some kind of vegetable or seed crop rotation would be better. I really have no idea, though. Still learning!

    Any research links, agriculture university programs/studies, or contact information of others doing likewise, would be very appreciated as we navigate how best to move forward. I’ve also thought about the original Native American diet as a source of inspiration–I’ve heard that in addition to meat they ate a lot of root vegetables that grew wild or were cultivated.

    Keep up the great work! Thanks!!

    • Hi, Lynn–

      I hear your frustration.

      I am impressed that you are among those in agriculture trying to understand how to find a better way. While I witness the effects of what agribusiness has done, I won’t pretend to have all the answers that help solve the dilemma from a farming viewpoint. I am hoping the solutions will present themselves in near-future as people like you and me start raising these questions.

      Stay tuned!

  9. Larry

    Is this Frankenwheat stuff a reason why there seems to be so many auto-immune and other digestive diseases lately ?
    For ex….a friend of ours, who is 35 years old has to go into the hospital next week for a bowel resection due to Diverticulitis. She’s had stomach/digestive problems for many years now.
    I can remember my grandmother having that…but she was in her 70′s.
    I tried to suggest to her friend that she should be Celiac or Gluten tested in addition to giving up wheat. That suggestion went over everyones head btw.

    • Yes, I believe so, Larry.

      My belief is that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg; it will become apparent, I believe, that the situation is worse than it appears.

  10. My husband and I are in week 3 of our new wheat/gluten-free life. Reading “Wheat Belly” was, to put it mildly, a real eye-opener for both of us. It’s interesting to us that now when we see the numerous commercials on TV promoting the frankenwheat-filled products, we experience a distasteful, nauseous type of feeling. When we see others around us filling up on glutenous products, it’s like watching someone consume what we now know to be, poison. It’s hard not to grab everyone you meet and tell them the truth about the foods they’re choosing to eat, and what that choice is doing to their bodies, minds, and spirits.
    We thank Dr. Davis for caring enough about mankind to make this information available to all of us. It is a vast undertaking coupled with determination and bravery and we want you to know that it is not only greatly appreciated, it is probably saving our lives.
    Keep on keeping on, Dr. Davis. We need more voices like yours out there.

    • Wow. Thanks, Lisa!

      Because I see the evidence of wheat-freedom every day, it’s really no struggle to continue this campaign. Just hearing the stories of how lives have been transformed by this experience renews my commitment every day.

    • Debbie B in MD

      I know just how you feel. You just want to shake them and ask what do they think they are doing to themselves. I was waiting for my daughter to be finished with ballet yesterday. A 20 ish year old sister was waiting for her sister. On Saturday they have a bake sale at the studio to raise money for the competition teams. (That is a whole different topic though.) There were bagels and cupcakes left. The 20 year old was downing the stuff. She is a dancer too. She told her mom she was helping her clean up and that she just couldn’t stop eating the stuff. I told that wheat is addictive. She agreed that it might be, but said she just couldn’t stop eating it. Wow, a seemingly very fit young woman and she had no control because of the wheat.

  11. Boundless

    Dr. Davis: Yet it makes it to your supermarket shelf, your dinner table, your gastrointestinal tract–no questions asked.

    Once the truth is known, food safety testing is going to become a fiercely debated matter.

    The political battles that led to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 will seem like a minor skirmish. As that worked out, supplements must be sanitary, and sold with a claim of safety, but are not required to be pre-tested as drugs are. Food is only required to be sanitary.

    I’m not an advocate of giving the FDA or CSPC additional power, but with the food supply as genetically tainted as it is, we are about to enter a sobering new age. Someone will need to be testing, or we’ll need warnings on every item in the grocery store.

    • Yes, I fear that something like this will become necessary, Boundless.

      How else can we avoid health landmines like modern high-yield semi-dwarf wheat BEFORE the fact? The FDA and USDA have been caught sleeping on the job and there clearly needs to be some form of oversight over this process that essentially allowed a life-threatening product into the marketplace without question.

  12. Brand New Blog Alert!

    To go with the brand new Blogger!

    All the old favorite Wheat-Belly posts, and a bunch of newly-written stuff about how profoundly kicking wheat has affected areas of my life I’d never imagine!

  13. Catherine

    Don’t quite know where to post this but completely freaks me out: – did anyone hear that US Congress just classified pizza as a vegetable (due to the tomato paste used on the base) ??? This was apparently voted today 16 Nov – Needles to say this was a proposal put forward by the Agricultural Dept – Dear beloved Americans, I AM glad I’m in Europe;-)

  14. Ray Coots

    is Ezekial Bread also frankenwheat, overheard someone talking about it and just wondered. Its everywhere you know. Thanks

  15. Tedwardy

    Hi Dr Davis,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few days now and I’ve order your book. I’m in Australia and so am egarly awaiting it! I’ve been wheat free for 2 days now (i work in an artisan bakery so not as easy as it sounds)..It would have been 3 days but I went out for dinner…sushi..thought I’d be safe and just get some tamari…but no, soy was in everything! So, a little frustrating.. But started again the next day.
    I’ve been looking at some wheat free/gluten free cooking books (don’t have your recipes yet) and so many of these books use things like xanthan gum or the potato flour, rice flour alternatives…. Now, I’ve not read your book yet but surely these wheat substitutes and thickeners cannot be good for you. I mean, isn’t xanthan gum corn derived?

    I look forward to reading your book and will let yo know how I go!

    Cheers.

    • Hi, Ted–

      You are a brave soul, trying this while working in an artisan bakery!

      Absolutely correct: It’s best to avoid most of the wheat-free ingredients many gluten-free recipes advocate. The xanthan gum I find is minimally helpful, if at all, so I don’t believe you are losing anything by avoiding it. It is pretty benign stuff, however, particularly in view of the micro-doses used.

  16. Love your book and philosophy. As a trainer and wellness coach for many years, I’ve always innately believed that carbs like bread, pasta, etc weren’t good for either your body or your weight. While I’d outwardly tell clients it was okay to limit their consumption of whole wheat products, I completely eliminated them from my own diet because I felt better and was able to keep my weight at the appropriate level as I got older. But I heard so much flak from clients, trainers, and nutritionists, who’d quote study after study about the benefits of whole grains. I was thrilled to find you and your blog, as I now feel justified in my beliefs! Great work.

    • Last laugh, eh, Tina?

      Yes, that was part of my intention. I knew that there were many nice people like you trying to educate people about this topic, but were not armed with all the data that already existed that should have sent wheat to the garbage bin decades ago.

      If I’ve made your job easier, then I’ve done my job!

  17. Yvon

    I’ve been pretty much wheat free for 3 weeks now. I’ve noticed a few things since. First of all, I haven’t lost weight that much more quickly in those three weeks than the previous 2 months. However, I was already down to only one slice of bread a day with minimal fruit intake so that may explain things a bit. More importantly though, is my right hand’s middle finger is almost pain free now. That finger had been bothering me for the past 5 years or so. I was even telling my wife that I thought I had arthritis in that finger. A few days after going wheat free, I could crack my middle fingers knuckles without wincing. Same with my left hip and knee that had been bothering me for quite some time. Now my hip is almost perfect and I can do proper squats when I work out too, something I was having great difficulty with before going wheat free.

    As for the less appealing subject of bowel movement…. I had been having a hard time going lately and it’s not that much different now. I still can only go once day which by most people’s standards is great but by my standard not so much as I used to go twice or thrice a day. Eating less and better may have something to do with it the fact that I don’t need to go as much. However, one big change is that, once I go, I don’t feel like something was left behind as I did before. I’m also no longer bloated or have gas. Plus, eating less carbs as of the last week (after I finished reading the Wheat Belly) I have pretty much stopped snacking between meals or at night. I will have the occasional handful of nuts in the afternoon if I need it. That’s another battle almost won right here although sometimes I really need to make a conscious effort to think about if I’m really hungry or if it’s only a habit of snacking knocking on the door. More often than not I’m simply just not hungry and would have been eating by habit had I not stopped to think about it. So far it’s only been good on the wheat free diet accept for the odd cravings or when I don’t have control over what’s being cooked if I’m invited over someone’s place for dinner and such.

    • The relief from joint pain alone, Yvon, makes me wonder about the other inflammatory phenomena that will likely recede the longer you remain without this inflammation-provoking grain in your life.

  18. Christina

    Interesting. Do you know if there was a change in the strain of wheat recently? I have two younger sisters and about 2008/2009 we all started having digestive problems. I always felt sick after eating and eventually connected it with lactose and cut out all dairy products. One sister also went lactose free (this the one who used to drink a glass of whole milk every day) and the other had her gallbladder removed and now cannot eat anything.

    I’ve been attempting gluten free for about 2 months now, but have not been doing well. It’s in so much stuff and I get the feeling there is more of it hidden in products as some term I cannot pronounce. I have noticed a increased tolerance to lactose (hard cheese and yogurt) – but other than that I’ve felt very sluggish and tired. Perhaps I’m just trying this at the wrong time of year since I suffer from SAD as well.

    “Thankfully, nobody outside of Nazi Germany conducts such horrific practices in humans and our close primate relatives.”

    Sadly this is not true. Labs around the world have been trying to do human cloning and create chimeras for years on embryos. I can’t remember if it’s legal or not in the US.

    • Christina

      I take that back, attempting gluten free failed because I was simply eating a lot of Chinese food (which I assumed would not have gluten). Since I don’t have time to cook I guess I’ll be living on almonds, hummus and veggies for a while :-/

  19. Juan

    Just curious, are there any “heritage” varieties of wheat that don”t have the detrimental effects of this frankenwheat? Will I never be able to enjoy another chocolate chip cookie? That”s my main concern. LOL.
    Seriously, are there no longer any non-GMO wheat seed varieties out there? What about producers of non-GMO wheat? Is old fashioned non-GMO still bad for the body? Thanks!