Have a happy wheat-free New Year!

2011 marks the year when many people became acquainted with the astounding health and weight benefits of doing away with wheat. Had this message been followed by story after story of NOTHING happening, then it would have rightfully died on the vine within a few weeks.

Instead, stories of weight loss and health transformations continue to pour out each and every day, and the Wheat Belly movement continues to gain momentum. Though the book has now been on bookstore shelves for four months, the enthusiasm and number of success stories have not faltered–they have exploded.

I believe 2012 will mark the year when a critical mass of people will become acquainted with the notion that, not only is consumption of wheat and “healthy whole grains” not effective for health, they are the most destructive foods ever created, responsible for untold disease, suffering, and weight gain.

The situation with wheat reminds me of the Berlin Wall: After years of oppression and being told that the wall was there for the protection of East Berliners from capitalist and fascist regimes, the wall was torn down. We are tearing down the oppressive wall of “healthy whole grains.”

Here’s to a happy, healthy, slender, and wheat-free 2012!

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99 Responses to Have a happy wheat-free New Year!

  1. Marv says:

    Hi Doctor! Dec 16th is when you CHANGED MY LIFE sir.
    I purchased a glucose meter in the past to evaluate food response and was getting concerned that it was routinely in the 120′s in the morning. One week after reading one chapter in Wheat Belly it was SEVENTY-TWO, one hour AFTER a big breakfast without healthy whole grains! “Thank you” sounds so trivial.

    This IS your (our) year Doctor. Thanks again for a much better life. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Very nice, Marv! If that’s what happened after reading just one chapter, think what will happen by the time you get to the end!

      You can see that the answers are really quite simple. The problem is that all “official” advice tells you to do the OPPOSITE.

  2. Holly says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the blessing you have been to my life! About a year before I read your book, I was diagnosed with probable celiac disease or gluten intolerance (life-long stomachaches, gas, bloating, diarrhea, esophageal gurgling, severely low serum ferritin levels, migraines, etc.) but thank goodness, my physician told me a gluten-challenge with intestinal biopsy was not necessary with how radically my symptoms improved when I removed gluten from my diet.

    Unfortunately, my road to gluten-free resulted in major weight gain and an awful muffin top for me. I read books which stated that some patients do experience this phenomenon on a gluten-free diet as a result of intestines healing and taking in nutrients again. (In fact, I read that some patients choose to go back to eating gluten and have diarrhea, etc. to control their weight ~ crazy!) I also had reached perimenopause, and wondered if I would have to accept the fact that this may just be a fact of life – as many women had shared with me their fight with a “menopot.” My weight gain was seriously unbelievable. I felt like Tim Allen in the Santa Clause movies!

    Here is where your book was so beneficial to me. In your book, you discussed the reasons you don’t recommend any gluten-free products. It was a light-bulb moment for me! That day, I pretty much removed all grains from my diet, and the results were simply astounding. I was amazed how quickly I started to lose my “wheat-belly.” My “Santa-Clause” phenomenon reversed SO quickly I could hardly believe it. It seemed like daily I would wake up and my stomach was getting flatter and flatter. I also finally started to heal from a weird balance issue I had been experiencing. I will be forever grateful to you. Thank you SO much!

    On a totally different subject, I would also like to share with you some observations I have experienced in my professional field (I am a dental hygienist). Years ago, while I was attending a continuing education course, the lecturer was discussing the fact that periodontal (gum) disease is one of the autoimmune diseases. He encouraged us to watch for a group of symptoms in our patients which would point to potential problems with their immune system – respiratory infections, skin and scalp infections, diabetes, arthritis, (this list of symptoms really stood out to me because he could have been describing my mother!). Oh. My. Goodness. – he could have been discussing problems with…WHEAT!! So, are we going to someday add periodontal disease to the list of diseases potentially influenced by wheat…and is this really the cardiac connection between the two??

    Daily, I update my patient’s medical histories and am saddened by what I am observing…acid reflux, arthritis, digestive issues, diabetes, skin issues, headaches, cholesterol problems, etc. etc… I have also read that canker sores and geographic tongue (where the tongue looks like a map) can be signs of a problem with wheat. When it feels acceptable, I share my story with them. I tell my patients because I am not a physician I am telling them these things as a friend, and not a medical professional. I share your blog and encourage them to read your book. Unfortunately, the most common response I get is, “That sounds like me…but I could never give up my bread, pizza,… (fill in the blank).” Regardless, I hope I have at least planted a seed that they think about !

    My other observation is wondering if wheat has a possible connection with dental decay. I would never neglect to note that the main causative factors of dental decay are poor brushing and flossing, poor diet, and specific bacteria, but what if there’s something else? From my limited research I am wondering if tooth decay could be influenced by at least three other contributing factors, all related to wheat – poor enamel formation due to poor absorption of minerals from damaged intestines, acid reflux, and a possible breakdown of an invisible shield (enamel pellicle) which protects the tooth from acid attack.

    As an example, a couple of months ago, I saw a little boy as a patient. Every baby molar in his mouth had been restored with crowns. His 6 year molars were starting to come in with hardly any enamel on them at all. His lips were surrounded with eczema. I started to talk to his mom about my observations. She interrupted me with, “Don’t even go there, he is SUCH a picky eater, and besides that, three of my sisters have Celiac!” Hmmm…maybe he’s a “picky” eater because his body knows what makes him sick?!

    Finally, I recently attended two other continuing education classes – one on pediatric dentistry, the other on diabetes. It was interesting how items discussed at both seminars included childhood obesity and how young some of our American children are being put on cholesterol and diabetic medications (at ages 4-7!). Toward the end of the pediatric lecture, the speaker was discussing how many children we are seeing that have erosion on the cusp tips of their molars due to acid reflux. It made me sad when he supposed that these children are stressed and are most likely “Type A” children. I wanted to jump up and down and say, “Maybe it’s WHEAT!!”

    Thank you again, Dr. Davis. May you be blessed with a wonderful 2012 as you have been a blessing to so many others!

    • Neicee says:

      Holly, you’re speaking to my choir about the dental problems. I’ve tried for 15 years to convince my dentist/perio/and then oral surgeon that my dental problems were due to a flaw in our diets. The bone holding my teeth has been receding, leaving some teeth loose. I actually asked if osteoporosis could be a marker for weakening bones in other parts of the body and perhaps starts in the jawbone? I am very conscientious cleaning and disenfecting the brushes and tools I use. My teeth are cleaned every 3 months, for awhile once a month after oral surgery on the gums. I’ve had bone density tests and they’ve come back good/excellent. They’ve blamed it on coffee, tea, perhaps the cigarettes I smoked years ago, I didn’t drink enough milk as a child……everything it could be but isn’t.

      I’m with you and perhaps the dental community will someday admit there is a lot more to learn about what causes dental problems and it’s connection to heart disease. Even my hygienist has remarked that cleaning my teeth are a joy now because there is so little plaque, but the deep pockets must be investigated for further problems.

      If you want your teeth to feel like satin, after brushing place a 1/2 tsp. of coconut oil in your mouth. Let it melt, swish it around, then rinse. Helps with your gum tissue as well. TSA have given me weird looks when spotting the hand-labeled container but have never confiscated it, since I’m more than prepared to eat it. ;)

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Wow, Holly. I agree with you on all counts!

      The dental connection is among the least well-documented, but I am convinced there is a connection.

      You are witnessing first hand just how much education is going to be required for people to even start to give this incredibly powerful strategy a try. Even when the answer is crystal clear in front of them, some people choose to not see it. This is how it is for any addiction, because that is what it is for many.

  3. Jean says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    I wanted to thank you also for your book. I think it is the missing link for me. I’ve tried for years to lose my post-pregnancies weight. I exercise quite a bit and eat well (I thought!), but nothing was budging the weight. After reading your book, I reduced my wheat consumption by limiting it to 2 days per week for the month of December. Even with such a small change over just a few weeks, there was a significant improvement in the edema I’ve had in my legs for years, and a small but noticeable reduction of the fat around my middle. And most notably, by isolating the days I ate wheat, it finally became apparent to me how much it affected how I felt. So now I’m going entirely wheat free and can’t wait to see what happens. Each of our family members publishes our top 3 books of the year in our holiday letter, and yours was one of my picks this year! So that means about 150 other people got the word about your book – if they didn’t already know. Thanks so much!!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Thank you, Jean!

      Having edema makes me concerned that you have developed abnormal tissue permeability and/or water retention, both of which can signify hidden inflammatory phenomena.

      It means saying goodbye to wheat once and for all!

  4. Ellen says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    I’ve been wheat-free for 9 years. Initially, I lost 15 pounds, went from being an every day asthmatic to about once a year with cross-contamination, had more energy, was sick a LOT less, had much less seasonal grass allergy symptoms, slept less, my eczema is gone, and I no longer clear rooms with flatulance.

    My doctors, of course, did not believe me. My friends did not believe me. My husband did.

    I have been avoiding wheat for so long, without an official diagnosis, without any official doctor’s orders, it doesn’t even register that I can’t eat the cookies or the brownies or the birthday cake at social functions. I just look for the fruit, veggies, and cheese. When offered wheat products by the pushy social people, at birthday parties for example, I just say “no thanks”. I don’t explain unless they really want to know. My friends all have wheat-bellies, and joke that if they gave up cookies and cake and bread that they’d be as skinny as me, but they’re not willing, and I can’t do it for them.

    When I cheat, which is about once or twice a year, here’s what happens: I immediately feel my throat closing off, but then it loosens, then I start sneezing mildly, for about 30 hours. If I’m dumb enough to exercise within about 6 hours of ingesting wheat, I’ll have a breathing through a straw and itching lips/neck/chest asthma attack. Ditto with aspirin/NSAIDs within 6 hours. I could self-diagnose myself with Wheat-Dependant Exercise-Induced Asthma/Anaphylaxis, but I think I’ll just ignore labels and continue avoiding wheat. It’s not worth it!

    I weigh the same as I weighed in college. I didn’t gain any weight this Holiday season, despite spending it in a different State and having the in-laws cook, and being surrounded by delicious food that I could eat.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Same weight as in college? Hallelujah, Ellen! Few can make that claim.

      Yes, it is simply not worth it, especially now that the whole world of wheat-free baking is starting to come into its own.

  5. Maz says:

    Happy New Year to Dr. Davis and all the amazing people here looking to improve their lives!

    Thank you Dr. Davis for writing and publishing this wonderful and eye-opening book! I believe it should be mandatory reading as part of the health curriculum in every high school.

    As a Radiologist, I’ve read thousands of CT scans, Ultrasound, and MRI exams over the past 13 years. The trend over that time has been an increase in the number of patients with fatty liver and increased visceral fat along with IBD, rheumatologic diseases, and cancer. Although this sample represents a very small percentage of the U.S. population, I truly believe that it is, nevertheless, representative.

    I recently stopped eating wheat products for 1 week and lost 5 pounds, felt more energetic, and craved less food. I kept all other variables constant. My wife and 12 year old son have been amazed at the change and are striving to lower their wheat intake as well.

    I truly believe that this book is the first step in allowing us to regain our health.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Hi, Dr. Maz–

      Good to hear from a colleague on this side of the wheat-free fence!

      Yes, indeed, you are witnessing precisely what is happening to this population, thanks to the incredibly silly “healthy whole grain” message. I don’t think that your population is exceptional; I believe it is a perfect cross-section.

  6. Jamie says:

    i am also a physician, and have followed the wheat belly advice for about 2.5 months and lost about 20lbs, and feel great. i’ve noted many of the beneficial effects you describe, such as a dramatic reduction in hunger pangs,
    reduced frequency of mental fogginess (the 2-4pm period was occasionally brutal) and the ability to go 4-5 hours without the feeling of starvation setting in. over the preceding 2-3 years i had gained about 20lbs (80 hour residency workweeks didn’t help) despite regularly getting to the gym for resistance training and cardio exercise, and eating a low-fat, low-meat, high carb diet (which seemed right at the time).

    one question: i enjoy lifting weights, primarily with the intention of maintaining a healthy toned appearance, and secondarily as an attempt to increase muscle mass, in a gradual fashion. weight-lifting literature strongly supports boosting protein intake (~1-1.5g/kg), and suggests whey and/or soy protein supplementation as a means of doing so. i take 1-2 whey protein shakes (20-30g protein, 2g carbs with no sugar) each mixed with 250cc’s milk daily. how does milk and whey fit in with the wheat belly regimen? would you suggest other means of supplementing protein intake? is there too much sugar/carb in the milk?
    many thanks.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Hi, Jamie–

      Excellent!

      I think that dairy and whey are fairly small issues for most. They are insulinotrophic, i.e., they stimulate as much as a tripling of pancreatic insulin production. But I don’t believe this is such a big deal that we should avoid.

      • Neicee says:

        Dr. Davis, that is good news about dairy. For years (while eating wheat) I thought I was lactose intolerent. Even ice cream bloated me up. Then about 15 years ago I started noticing that bread gave me horrid headaches. When I cut out the bread I started craving whole milk – at least a glass every day. I’d also been unable to eat nuts because of setting off a full blown attack at 2 AM with throwing up, chills, intestines tied in knots, bowels completely out of control. After giving up bread I made a test run eating a few nuts and nothing happened? Hmmm? I’m still reluctant to try peanuts, but now I enjoy a handful of nuts every afternoon. I’d learned by trial and error what was causing so many problems, your book explained why.

        • Dr. Davis says:

          Hi, Neicee–

          Yes, I’ve witnessed similar phenomena many times: Apparent intolerances to multiple foods reverse with elimination of the probable real initial insult: wheat.

  7. Louise says:

    Dr Davis,

    HATS OFF TO YOU!! This movement of change is growing and word is getting out. Thank you for being our fearless leader. Thank you for writing the book and also a huge thank you for taking the time with this blog to provide support and guidance to those of us who are struggling to change our diet to grain free, to get healthy without the help of our own doctors.That is so appreciated. YOU ARE THE BEST!!

  8. Mike says:

    Please comment on the Quest bars. Are they ok?

  9. Boundless says:

    Data point from the New Year:
    We went out to eat at an Applebees a few days ago, as we knew they were supposed to have “special needs” menus. It turns out it’s not exactly like that. They give you a tabbed binder with one or more sheets for each allergen. Each sheet lists the menu dishes which are unlikely (not assured) to not contain that allergen.

    One of the tabs was “gluten”. It was out of date, and clumsy to match to current menu items.

    So today I went to the corporate web site, just to see if that’s where the problem was. They have all the allergen pages on-line (as a PDF).

    The list there appears to be up to date vs. the menu. The interesting bit is: in addition to the Gluten page, there is is also now a separate Wheat page. Hmmm.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      At least it’s a start, Boundless.

      I believe that California Pizza Kitchen tried having a gluten-free pizza, but did not allow for cross-contamination issues, which is an issue for some people with celiac and similar extreme gluten sensitivities. So it was pulled.

      Any restaurant looking to have gluten-free and wheat-free therefore needs to be clear on what they are trying to accomplish.

      • Boundless says:

        For people with Celiac, or who have acute non-Celiac wheat and/or gluten sensitivities, I don’t see how they can even take a chance at a restaurant that also serves items containing grain and its byproducts. The chances of cross-contamination are way too high.

        Applebees is at least clear that:
        a. cross-contamination is a risk, and
        b. check with management before ordering, because local ingredients may vary from corporate spec.

        Talking to management is doubly worthwhile, not just to confirm the menu. We also need to lean gently on restaurants that are at least willing to make some effort to offer allergen-free items. The alternative is that they’ll watch their patronage slowly decline and have no idea why.

        Print out the current corporate menu delta, and have it with you when seated.

        PS – can you release from moderation this [unrelated] post:
        http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/01/does-running-cause-intestinal-bleeding/#comment-30619
        Apparently, your blogware does filter for some possible abuses, but isn’t quite smart enough to recognize that the URLs are all to this blog itself.

        • Dr. Davis says:

          Hi, Bounless–

          I am impressed that you even see this stuff!

          Yes, the spammers have become increasingly effective and break through, while the barriers for nice people like yourself are raised higher.

          I will check the moderation list.

          • Boundless says:

            That article was out of waiting for mod, and is now back in. How does that happen?

            And will we ever have a way to report spam in way that will get read by your web wardens (who I hope are not you – what a waste of your time). The Press/Media > Bio page is largely spam, for example.

  10. Deb says:

    I went wheat free as of January 1st in an effort to lower my cholesterol (my doctor wants me on a statin). I was looking forward to feeling better as well. My problem is that since the day after I cut wheat out I’ve had an almost constant headache. Also, I have Trigeminal Neuralgia, and I’m having more episodes of pain. Is this normal? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I’m getting very discouraged.

  11. Sherri says:

    What about carob powder? good or bad?