It ain't Rhight

Among the changes introduced into wheat in the 1960s and 1970s was dwarfism, i.e., plants with short stature. Short stature meant a shorter stalk that “wasted” less energy and required less time to grow, tolerance to larger quantities of nitrogen fertilizer, and larger seeds heads to increase yield. This reduction in height is due to mutations in the Rht genes. Here’s an example of the effects of several different Rht alleles (gene variants):

From Pearce 2011

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Kimelah

    I equate the physical changes in wheat with what”s happening to the people who eat it. It USED to be tall and thin, now it”s short and FAT. Not cool.

  2. Richard

    My maternal grandfather was a Kansas wheat farmer and when I visited his farm in the 1960”s, I recall the fields full of wheat looking like example Rht-1 or Rht-B1d. I never saw a field full of wheat example Rht-D1c!!!!!! That”s just hard to believe “they” did that to this plant.

      • Daniel Bartok

        Dr. Danis…If this wheat (einkorn) is still grown in parts of Europe, Why is it so hard to get in the USA??? I understand that the pasta in Italy is still made from older forms of wheat.

        • Dr. Davis

          Einkorn is hard to get in ALL parts of the world, not just the U.S.

          But I do not want my comments in the book to be construed as advice to consume einkorn. I do not believe that humans were meant to consume wheat in any form. Einkorn is undoubtedly less harmful than modern wheat, but it is not harmless.

  3. Dr. Davis, I”ve done some of my own reading of the literature based on what I”ve read on your blog. I think it”s important to note that in crossing wheat with goatgrass to create the modern hybrid known as “dwarf wheat”, they”ve introduced so many new genes that the plant sold as “wheat” should really be called goatgrass, if there was any truth in advertising in this area.

    Physically, modern wheat is nearly indistinguishable from goatgrass, and as you”ve noted most of the genome comes from goatgrass, not wheat.

    And obviously, goatgrass is for goats. No traditional culture eats the seeds of goatgrass. The tests I”ve read about feeding goatgrass seeds to animals indicates that goatgrass does a fine job of passing unaltered through the gut of animals; due, no doubt, to the toxins that make the pest-resistant goatgrass so appealing to the geneticists.

    Telling people that what they”re eating isn”t wheat any more should make it alot easier for folks to understand what”s gone wrong. Ask them what would happen if you crossed grapes with poison ivy, for instance.

    Of course I”ve heard you explain what”s wrong with traditional wheat as well, it”s a terrific explanation.

      • Beverly

        we do not eat GE wheat in this country- read article in cban (Canadian Biotech Action Network.)

        • That”s right, Beverly: NOBODY eats “genetically-engineered” wheat because it has not yet entered the market.

          What you are being sold is the product of efforts that were imprecise, unpredictable, far WORSE than genetic engineering. The issue is not about the method used to generate the genetic variants, but the fact that they were changed–and its suitability for human consumption and your health was not a consideration.

  4. Tyrannocaster

    So could I think of the one on the left as “Legolas” and the one on the right as “Gimli”? :-)

  5. Kelvin

    Dr. Davis,
    This is my 5th week off all wheat. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been overweight/obese for most of my life and now after eliminating wheat from my diet, I no longer have the cravings I”ve always had. And my desire for wheat has completely vanished. I”m losing weight and my body is being fed the nutrition it has been wanting all my life. Your book is a blessing to me in so many ways. I”m telling everyone about your book and about the terrible side-effects of consuming today”s “wheat”. Thank you!

    • Great, Kelvin!

      This effect alone, in my mind, is sufficient to condemn wheat. But it”s also so much more than that.

      Nonetheless, you are liberated!

  6. Serdar

    It”s been about 3 weeks (after you replied to my first email) that I didn”t receive a reply to my second email.
    I can see that you are active on this post. Considering the unlikely possibility that your email account might be down; I wanted to try this channel to get a response from you.
    As a reminder: I contacted you about translating Wheat Belly to another language. Your initial response was that; you were to check with your agent.
    Even (for what ever reason) you or your publisher don”t want your book translated to another language (or prefer another channel for translations); a clear reply would at least conclude the subject in my mind.
    Thank you

    • What language, Serdar? Sorry, but I don”t recall the conversation.

      We”ve got Wheat Belly being translated into French, Spanish, Korean, German and some others.

      • OhDaesu19

        Dr. Davis,

        When you state “We”ve got Wheat Belly being translated into French, Spanish, Korean, German and some others”, would others include Italian? If so, when would it be available? If not Italian, then when would the Spanish version be available?


        • Dr. Davis

          Sorry, no Italian contract yet, nor Spanish.

          Wheat Belly is coming to about 10 countries, but not those.

    • GrainFog

      I read about the free language translation service in an anti-fraud article in a magazine. The translator offers free translation, but eventually rips off entire posts and puts them on other websites without credit. Imagine ripoff wheat belly posts sprouting up on foreign websites that sell goatgrass supplements. How about a simple buzz off instead of thinking about it?

  7. Dr. Davis,
    Did you see where we are going to give North Koreans food?. In the news report was a burlap bag labeled with wheat. So they do not care what little children eat and they are pawning our dwarf wheat onto unsuspecting innocents.
    Thank you for all your dedicated work.

    • Hi, Anne–

      You put your finger on one of the most troublesome issues from a government and economic advantage standpoint: How do we deal with the fact that the U.S. is a major net exporter of wheat? If wheat is a source of major revenues, a source of economic leverage in other countries, a currency to exert diplomatic muscle, how do we deal with its diminishing role?

      I don”t have an answer, but I trust answers will present themselves as this discussion gains traction in future.

      • Boundless

        North Korea could provoke some intense international drama.

        They are already a culture at peak paranoia. No one there dares admit that their hereditary thugocracy is a continuing catastrophe. Therefore, the festering failure has to be someone else’s fault. The U.S. is the Usual Suspect.

        I’m sure they routinely wonder if the food we send them is poisoned. Just wait until they discover that the wheat actually IS poison.

        They are apt to make charges about being victims of biological warfare. That it was “unintentional” is not much of an excuse.

        • Dr. Davis

          Oh, boy, Boundless.

          You may have touched off an international incident!

          Grab your kimchi and run!

  8. Robin

    Hi Dr Davis
    My sister-in-law used to be very slim. She has been overweight for years. She has always? had compromised kidneys and her weight has caused lots of joint pain and a hip op. She is scheduled for surgery to remove some of her stomach. Her husband had a band fitted a while ago and, of course, lost lots of weight. He was very overweight too. He is putting some of the weight back on now.
    I emailed my SIL, letting her know that I”d just read your most important book and would she consider postponing her op while trying a wheat-free diet. I outlined some of the cases from your book. She wrote back to say that she”d tried everything and that the surgery will do her a whole lot of good because she couldn”t stick to a healthy option, that it had worked very well for her husband and she assured me he was now very healthy. She said she has her father”s fat gene. Neither her father or mother was/is fat, nor are her two siblings. Is there such a thing? She also said that at least she”ll never get diabetes. Even with weight loss, is it still possible to get diabetes if you”re still eating wheat and sugar products? Her & her husband”s families love their bakery goods, cakes, etc. Anyway, she goes under the knife on Monday and is 100% sure it”s a better option for her.
    I was just wondering if she will still be at risk of diabetes and is there really a fat gene or is it more that one might be susceptible to putting on weight if eating too much of the wrong sorts of food?
    [I”ve got your book from the library and went to get a Kindle copy but there isn”t one. Will there be in the future?]

      • Robin

        Robb ~ Further to this, I”ve just discovered that the Kindle version is not available to the area I live in (Pacific/Asia). That”s why it”s not showing up in the list of formats. Thanks for letting me know though.

    • Hi, Robin–

      There are indeed genes that predispose to obesity, an area still in its infancy. It may relate to such things as leptin, ghrelin, and other signalling proteins.

      I see this too often: People eager for the easy fix that doesn”t require effort. These are the same people who regain the 50, 100, or 150 pounds after their procedure. I suspect these are the same people who would respond to opiate blocking drugs like naltrexone, i.e., the gliadin-addicted people.

      • Robin

        Thank you for that. I appreciate your reply and I will let her know to be aware of that. Not sure if it”ll make any difference though. :( I know that people put the weight back on over time because they haven”t changed any patterns apart from not being able to eat all they used to at the one sitting. The thing was, that before her husband had his stomach band op, he had to lose weight – which he did! But even though he learned he could lose weight by being more careful about what he ate, he still went for the quick fix, I guess so he could get back to the sugary desserts, cakes & pies he loves and won”t give up. As I said, he”s putting weight back on now. [shrug] And you can”t preach to people and they won”t listen anyway if they”re not ready.

  9. Jules

    Hi Dr. Davis!

    I, too, found your book through Prevention Magazine only about a week ago. I am currently on chapter 13 (its an audio book… great for people on the go!) and am on day 3 of being wheat free. I have been battling a yo-yo scale for years now… one marathon, 3 half marathons, and a handful of triathlons didn”t seem to make a difference in my weight and I am consistently 10 to 30 pounds overweight. VERY FRUSTRATING! I am lucky to not be dealing with any major health issues but I would never say I felt “Great”. So… I am now on day 3 and for 3 days have not had heart burn once and I am already down a pound! Cautiously optimistic!

    I do have an odd question for you though… is it true that wheat in Europe is different? I have a bunch of (skinny!) friends who tell me that pasta and bread across the pond don”t make you fat. I have spent time in France and Italy REALLY enjoying the local cuisine, but attributed my lack of weight gain to the endless kilometers I walked! I even have a friend who goes to Italy every summer (oh to have family in Tuscany!) and comes home with enough pasta to last her and her husband for the entire year. So what do you think? Is this genetic manipulation unique to North America or is this just a myth that European pasta is different?

    Thanks! My culinary enjoyment of France in April is in your hands!!! :o)

    • anthony


      I””m not Dr. D :) However, I can tell you of my experience eating wheat in Paris/Chartres/Normandy last year – I had not a single issue with it, and I was, as with my wife, eating croissants with chocolate filling at each morning meal; baguettes for lunch and dinner, every single day for two weeks. Now, she and I averaged 4-6 miles per day, walking about those wonderful cities/regions, so that may have contributed to the absence of wheat engendered symptoms. I don”t know. I will also add that when we got home, after reading Dr. D”s book on the way over and back, we both went totally wheat free. We both experienced the loss of body fat as gauged by clothing size that is characteristic of being wheat free. At some point, we decided to experiment with Einkorn wheat offered by Jovial Foods; I brewed up a loaf of that stuff – btw, it”s Italian Einkorn, NOT, French – and BAM, crummy (sic) wheat intake symptoms: foggy head, lousy sleep, low energy, etc., etc.
      Also, FWIW, in my stupid relative youth, over a period of 8 years I completed over 20 marathons, attempted 8 ultra-marathons, completing 4 at the 50m and 50k distances, and I did the weekly mileage required to do that. I ate a pure Pritikin Diet, had a water weighed BF% of 7.2 to 7.9% and weighed 142#”s. At the time, I had episodes of paroxysmal tachycardia, hypoglycemic episodes w/ associated dissociative symptomatology, coupled with left ventricular hypertrophy, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, but I was sure in shape!!! NOT. The best advice I can give you out of that experience is this: YOU CANNOT OUTRUN A DOUGHNUT. Oh, I ran a 10k in Erie, PA 2 weeks or so before Jim Fixx dropped dead.

    • A brief response to a complex question, Jules: Yes, there are undoubted differences in the strains of wheat grown in different farms, regions, and countries. Problem: Nobody charts who, what, which are responsible for various diseases, so you never quite know what you are getting.

      The lack of an obesity effect, for instance, in one area is not confident evidence that the current wheat is safe. And also note that it”s not just about weight, but dementia, acid reflux, osteoporosis, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, etc. etc.

  10. Great work Dr. Davis. The fact that this staple food has been so utterly adulterated is along with it”s glycemic index- easily the most informative and useful data I”ve seen in years! Thank you.

  11. Robin

    Hi Rob
    Where did you get your copy from? It”s not showing on Amazon, just a hard copy and an audio. Is there some place else you can buy for Kindle?

  12. Nicole

    Dr Davis,
    Referring to the above question from Jules: “… is it true that wheat in Europe is different?…”
    I, too, would like to know the answer to this because I”m currently living in France, and the French are not overweight like they are in North America, and they LOVE their bread! Is it that they have different wheat, or is it due to other factors?

    Thank you!

    • Hi, Nicole–

      Please go way back in this blog to the first couple of months and you will find the discussions centered around French wheat.

      Yes, wheat in France is different, prepared differently, and occurring in a different set of dietary habits. But, also remember: It”s NOT just about weight. The French can experience just as much dementia and inflammatory diseases as Americans, for instance, with consumption of various cultivars (strains) of wheat.

    • Claudia

      Holy moly – my aunt, who is now in her 70’s, and who has lived in France since her early 20’s, is overweight, has struggled with heart disease for many years and also has diabetes

  13. The plus side is, should society collapse and drive us back to subsistence agriculture, pastoralism, and/or hunting-gathering, dwarf-wheat will likely go extinct really fast, since its short-stature means it cant compete for light amongst other taller plants, and many native plants and “weeds” grow tall fast. Dwarf-wheat can only survive in large mono-culture fields, which means it is 100% dependent on us.

    Pity we, as a society, think we are so dependent on it. xP

    • Excellent insght, cTo!

      And to think that, during a debate with a PhD nutritionist, Professor of Nutrition at a major university, as well as VP for Research at a major agricultural corporation, he remarked: “The farmers made it short so they could see over the fields!” No kidding.

  14. I was interested in this book.
    I really liked it and could taste that wheat wasn’t right.
    However, I was crest fallen when the wheat free diet suddenly turned into a low carb, low glycemic index diet.
    I only need to loose a few pounds and have a great diet and health, other than chemical sensitivity, which I mostly cure with diet, detoxing and mind body. I did feel tricked with the” lose the wheat, lose the weight” promise. I guess the publisher pushed that.
    Since, my diet is pretty much lacking any processed food, I don’t expect to lose weight and I am not going to watch my bean or quinoa intake either. I can give up wheat, beer and whiskey, but have never had success following a ‘diet’. Anyone on a low carb, low sugar diet will lose a lot of weight. I am thin by US standards. I am more into health.
    So I stopped the wheat a few days ago and will see how it goes. I liked the book, but did feel it was false advertising.
    I made a video in English and Spanish reviewing the book. I just figured it would be in Spanish already.

    This wheat and fat thesis seems feesable as a piece to the fat puzzle…I suspect that GMO food, corn and corn syrups, microwave, plastic packaging, aspartame, transfats, endocrine disruptors and toxins are also a factor.

    I was shocked that you microwave in plastic… Microwaving degrades the nutrition of food and microwaving in plastic is very toxic!

    Anyway, congrats over all.

    • Cnajarian

      I agree with Eve. I was very interested and will no doubt consider wheat-free diet when in the US. However the final diet exposed in the WheatBelly sounded like the Aikens diet- high fat,very low carbs and high protein. As a vegetarian concerned out getting the right amount of B vitamins (without using supplements) and minerals diet Dr. Davis recommends would not work for me.

      But thanks for all the info. I have begun researching and will pass on to others.

  15. smendez

    I’d like to know if there are versions of this book in other languages? such as spanish, and where I can get a copy?

    • Dr. Davis

      So far, only French and Swedish versions are out. Ten other languages versions are being translated, including Spanish.

      So it will likely be a minimum of 6 months before available.

      • smendez

        Awesome I’ll be waiting as I am interested in getting this information out to loved ones whom mainly speak spanish.

  16. Esther

    I don’t know if you can address this or not. I need to gain about 10 lbs., which is very hard for me. I’m lactose intolerant, and when I eat wheat, I get head tremors. Have you ever heard of this as a reaction to wheat? Do you think if I could find non-gmo wheat, I wouldn’t have the same reaction? Thanks for any help you can offer.

  17. Donald Thomason

    I am a missionary in Brazil. My sister in-law told me about the book “Wheat Belly” after my heart attack which happened while I was in the USA on furlough. I am 79 and I have returned to Brazil to build a park-like playground for the children. It took a while for me to stop all breads, sugar, fats but I returned about 45 pounds lighter. ( 234lbs to 195lbs. my goal is 175lbs -179lbs.) my knees are now no problem.
    Is anyone out there who can tell me where I can get the “Wheat Belly” book in Portuguese or in Spanish? On my return to Brazil I realize that the people here have the same weight, stomach and health problems as stated in the information which I have been reading about. I want to help them. Thank you.

    Don (Donald) Thomason

    • Dr. Davis

      Both are in the works, Donald, in the process of translation. So it may be a while before they are available.

      Wheat Belly is in the process (or has been) translated into 18 languages. I have not been the most diligent in reporting which countries, which I will remedy in near-future.

      • Turbo Dan

        The U.N. reported today that Mexico moved ahead of the USA as the fattest nation on earth,, Dan

        • Neicee

          Turbo Dan, I too read that. What a disappointment and yet, they failed to also explain to their readers the explosion of diabetes and heart problems the general Hispanic population are undergoing here. I have a former sister-in-law in CA that used to weigh 89/90 lbs.. She and I are the same height (4′ 11″) and weighed about the same back then. She has now mushroomed to about 145 lbs. (or more) and recently hospitalized. Her daughter, my favorite niece, is huge. I gave her a copy of WB and from what I’m told she’s not done anything with it. I tried to explain her grandmother died with severe problems with diabetes, even having one foot amputated – which then became infected and she died when the poison traveled to her heart. This is our future in America for all races/ethnic groups if we don’t do some serious preaching to everyone.

  18. Justyna

    I was wondering about other grains… I can see how wheat is no longer good for us but what about rye and oats for example? Have these grains also undergone genetic modification? If not, why do you recommend taking these grains out of our diets as well? I don’t have any gluten or wheat intolerance, but would it be reasonable to go wheat-free but not gluten-free and still enjoy the other grains?

    • Dr. Davis

      While no other grain is as destructive as modern semi-dwarf wheat, that does not mean that other grains are thereby good.

      Non-wheat grains are still the seeds of grasses and thereby mostly pose blood sugar issues, followed by all the phenomena of glycation (cataracts, insulin resistance, visceral fat growth, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia) distortions of bowel flora, weight gain, leptin resistance, etc.

  19. Monica

    I cut out wheat approximately 28 hours ago. My daily belly pain is about10% of what it usually is. Normal bathroom trips as well (without over sharing, THAT was becoming a problem). I can’t believe I will actually lose weight or think clearer, but if belly pain reduction is the only thing I can hope to expect from this diet change, it’s well worth it! Thanks for sharing this concept, it’s already made my life a little easier!

  20. Sihem

    Hi Dr Davis,

    I’m wondering when or if the book ‘wheat belly’ will be available in arabic language. Could you please inform me on that? I am living with my parents in the Netherlands and the only languages they know are dutch and arabic. I really want them to be able to read the book, because it has helped me so much.

    Thanks in advance!