Wheatopia

Just think of the enormity of the impact of wheat consumption on the human condition.

Consumption of modern high-yield semi-dwarf wheat leads to:

Weight gain–especially visceral fat in the abdomen, i.e., inflammatory fat
Diabetes, pre-diabetes–via the appetite-stimulating effects of modern gliadin, the blood sugar-raising potential of amylopectin A, and the inflammatory effects of lectins
Hypertension
Joint pain, arthritis–mostly due to lectins, perhaps gluten
Acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, worsening symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Peripheral neuropathy, cerebellar ataxia, dementia–probably due to gluten
–”High cholesterol“–via increased triglycerides
Migraine headaches–your guess is as good as mine why this occurs!
Depression
Water retention, edema–likely via the increased bowel and vascular permeability of lectins

And those are just the common phenomena. In fact, look at the list above and you will be hard pressed to find someone who is not afflicted with at least one, if not all, of the listed conditions. It means that much of what we do in healthcare treating diabetes, joint pain, acid reflux, etc. is really just treating wheat consumption. We are treating the misguided advice to eat more “healthy whole grains.”

Acid reflux alone afflicts some 60 million people and results in 100,000 hospitalizations every year. In my experience, it’s a rare person who does not obtain total relief from acid reflux with wheat elimination. Eliminate wheat and watch hemoglobin A1c, the value that reflects your previous 60 days of blood sugar, plummet, converting many of the nation’s 28 million diabetics and 70 million pre-diabetics to non-diabetics and non-pre-diabetics.

While we fret about spiraling healthcare costs, the reorganization of healthcare delivery, the deterioration of the health of Americans, there is an incredibly simple and accessible solution to a big chunk of the problem: Eliminate the wheat.

This entry was posted in Allergy, Brain effects, Celiac disease, Constipation, Diabetes, Inflammation, Joint pain, Migraine headaches, Neurologic consequences of gluten, Premenstrual syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Wheatopia

  1. Michelle Sommers says:

    I suffer horribly from migraine headaches that just don’t go away — this last one has gone on since Thanksgiving, with very little relief. I am ready to jump into the wheat belly program, but I am wary that the change will make my bad headaches even more unbearable. Any suggestions? Also, in your book, maltodextrin always has a (?) next to it…what does that mean? Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated! BTW…great talk at Whitefish Bay HS on Tuesday!!!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      It is likely that headaches will worsen during withdrawal. Beyond the usual measures you take for headaches, I now of no specific way to get around this effect. After all, it is a withdrawal from an opiate.

      • Rhonda says:

        Hi Dr. Davis,
        I’m sure that you have so many wheat related topics you would like to explore further already, but if there is any room on that list, I’d sure love to see you look closer at the migraine/wheat link. I read a great article recently about “gut migraines” and would love to read more about how wheat ties into that. I have been slowly moving towards wheat free (started in August and am almost completely there) and have seen some improvement in migraines but not enough to completely give up my daily migraine medication (almost 30 pounds lost and off my blood pressure medication, so I’m not complaining!) I’m hoping that once I make the complete 24/7 leap into wheatlessness the migraines will disappear. Have you had any patients talk about how giving up wheat affects migraines? Boundless, maybe you can let me know if there’s a migraine conversation on here that I’ve missed.
        Thanks!

        • Dr. Davis says:

          Actually, Rhonda, MANY people have weighed in on their migraine experience, with the majority reporting total or near-total relief.

          This needs to be formally explored and understood. But, until then, it seems to me that there are at least a subset of people who obtain extravagant relief from wheat elimination.

          • Rhonda says:

            That’s wonderful! I hope to be able to have the same results soon. Thank you for the quick response.

        • VibeRadiant says:

          Dr Perlmutter discusses wheat/migrain connection in his book Grain Brain. Worth a read.

    • Ellen says:

      One thing to do is drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. If the brain is even slightly dehydrated it will cause headaches to one degree or another. Usually migraines are chronic dehydration according to the doc who wrote hte book recommended below. Dehydration occurs quickly if you do not take in regular water…. not juice, not milk, not coffee or tea, but water. So do that and also your brain really needs the sugars from ONE piece of fruit per day so start your day wtih a piece of fruit with your breakfast. Those two things should really help. Dry lips, dry skin, constipation to any degree, dry eyes, and many other signs are signs of dehydration. You can become dehydrated just from doing a workout, so it doesn’t take days or weeks, it can happen in a couple of hours depending on how much you take in versus how much water you expend. Urine should be “water colored” or colorless to very light yellow if you are hydrated, and yellower to dark yellow if you are dehydrated. Anyway, that should help. I know I used to get massive headaches, then I read a book a few years back called Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, and that changed my life so much! Now I have the WB lifestyle to add to that… six days in and I think between the two I will have a really healthy body and lose some of my ailments, like chronic hives. Go figure… I’ve been looking for six years to the answer to chronic hives and the allergist had no clue to it either except “autoimmune urticaria”. Hoping this is it! But do drink the water and make it daily, and the piece of fruit. If you are dehydrated now, drink 2-3 glasses, about 4 times today and tomorrow, and load the body with water that way quickly. Sipping water does not hydrate you. The average person needs 8 to 10 glasses of water, if you are overweight add a few more, but don’t overdo water either with gallons of it.
      Hope that helps.

      • Boundless says:

        > … your brain really needs the sugars from ONE piece of fruit per day …

        Disagree. The brain (and the rest of your body) can run just fine (better, some assert) on ketone bodies from metabolizing fats. Glucose is not absolutely required.

        Fruits, of course, don’t usually contain just glucose. They also contain varying proportions of fructose, which is something you want to avoid as much as possible. Some fruits are as high as 3:1 fructose:glucose

        Fructose never makes it to the brain as such. It has to be metabolized by the liver, which gets distracted by that process, much as it does with alcohol (and kicks you out of ketosis, if being there was your intent). Dr. Davis has written on the other hazards of fructose at:
        http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/11/goodbye-fructose/

        Know your net carbs and fructose content of any fruits you eat. Some fruits are extremely high in sugars by weight. Fruits are way far from purely beneficial.

        All-natural organic fruit-fueled disease is just as unpleasant as wheat- and HFCS-fueled disease. Steve Jobs was often on a fruitarian diet. The actor who lately played the late Jobs in a movie found himself in hospital after going fruitarian to prepare for the role.

        Humans are not well adapted to fruit as significant food source. This seems to be a combination of factors:
        1. we aren’t well adapted to carbs generally, and
        2. access to fruit was seasonally brief for most humans.

        • Sedena says:

          Thanks, Boundless. I’ve been grain, dairy and sugar free since September 2012, and essentially fruit free too. I haven’t missed it at all, and now I know why!

  2. ncstorace says:

    I’m wondering if you’ve seen any impact of going wheat-free and the reduction in sinus-related issues (stuffy nose, sinusitis, allergies, etc.)?

    • Ellen says:

      I have. I’ve only been wheat free completely for six days now, and on day 3, my sinuses were clear overnight and clear during the day. Then I ate something that had wheat in it by accident (didn’t check the label and assumed it shouldn’t havea any wheat) and that night my sinuses stuff up again. By late the next day they were clear and as long as I read labels especially on spice containers that you presume don’t have wheat added in in some sneaky form, then my sinuses are rearlly clear. It actually feels odds to be able to breathe so deeply through my nose! Just really watch all lables. Even soya sauce has wheat in it. I didn’t even know before I was so snesitive to wheat but I guess I really was. I have also had allergies and rashes/hives for the past six years, diagnosed with autoimmune urticaria. I am hoping that in a few weeks that goes too. I have to take a Benadryl every night, but this next week I’m going to cut it in half, then every other night then off to see if my hives return. I’m guessing I had them due to wheat causing massaive inflammation in my body. Anyway, the sinuses should clear as inflammation reduces but it takes a while apparently for residue of wheat to leave your body… a few months in fact.

      • ncstorace says:

        Thanks so much for your reply–really helpful! I am hoping that going wheat-free will really help my allergies (mostly related to dust, mold, cats–I have 3). Interesting that you mention urticaria, which I also have (but it is triggered by the sun in the summer). I am also wondering if that will change on a wheat-free lifestyle. I’m not entirely wheat-free yet, but nearly there–probably later this week when my schedule is a bit slower. Thanks also for the tip about spices and soy sauce (which I just had today). Will really be reading those labels on everything!

        I’ll report back on my experiment and let you know how it affected my allergies, etc.

  3. ncstorace says:

    Dr. Davis, could you comment more about allergies/sinus issues?

    • Boundless says:

      Wheat-free alleviating or aggravating?
      Food, pollen or other allergies?

      It is not uncommon for people to report that food allergies have vanished when re-challenged some time after wheat removal.

      • ncstorace says:

        Just wondering if Dr. Davies’ patients have reported relief from sinus congestion and allergies after eliminating wheat and, if so, how long it took. This is one of the major reasons I’m going wheat-free, although there are lots of other potential benefits, too.

        • ncstorace says:

          Forgot to add … I have allergies to dust/mold and also cats. I’ve only had cats for the past 2 years, but have suffered from congestion my entire life.

          • Lisa Jo says:

            NCSTORACE:
            My enviromental allergies are gone after 40 years of taking medication everyday just so I could breath. It took about 4 months for me to experiance great improvement for this particular ailment. I had to give up all dairy except Ghee, all soy products, all sweeteners including fruit (for 7 months) including those that Dr Davis recommends and eggs for a few months too. I never did give up lemons or limes because I use them in my salad dressings and had no bad reaction to either. My diet was therefore very restricted to meats, fish, yummy fats such as EVOO, EVCO, Ghee, Walnut oil and lots of veggies, small amounts of nuts and seeds but it truly was not a sacrifice. I enjoy my food more, I eat less and it taste better. All of it. What more can you ask for? Regaining my health was and still is everything to me. I’ve reintroduced some eggs although I cannot eat them often, Erythritol and Monk Fruit extract (you can purchase from Wheat Free Market) and a very small sprinkle of berries ever so often. I can tolerant them now in small amounts. We are all different but just keep readingthe blog and experiment. Your body will let you know what is working for you and what is not, that you can be sure of. Good luck on your journey to wellness.

  4. Kelly C. says:

    I guess I’m a rare person, because I’ve been wheat/gluten free for six weeks now and have only traded acid reflux symptoms. My horrible, chronic cough has gone away – a relief, for sure – but now I’ve got heartburn almost daily, which is a completely new symptom for me. And I’m still gassy and bloated. I don’t eat or rarely eat the most common heartburn-causing foods like pop, caffeine, tomatoes, onions, and peppermint. I’ve also limited dairy. So I’m frustrated that I’m having pain on a wheat-free diet. I suspect I’m gluten-sensitive or even Celiac, but I should be getting better, then, not just kind of blah with different symptoms…?

  5. Valerie says:

    Hello All:

    I started the WB diet a couple of months ago and started to feel great. I got off track and am hurting more now than (I think) I did before. I am currently looking for a support group in my area so I can learn more and stay encouraged. I have the WB book and the WB cookcook. I think I’ll get the WB 30-min CB as well. There is a lot of (shall we say, confusing) information on the ‘net about going wheat-free. No one, I’ve found so far, does it the WB way. So, I did get off-track and paid the price and will continue to read the WB blog for more pointers.

    Thank you all for your help. I look forward to your advice and comments. I wish you all success, too.