April 23rd, 1979

“Hey, Stan: You’re not going to believe this!”


“One of the food science guys, Finkel-something or other down in R&D, told me they had this funny thing happen in one of their taste tests.”

“What’s that?”

“So they get, like, 15 women in a room to taste their new baked whatevers. The ladies eat them, say, yeah, yeah, they’re okay. Not a whole lot better or worse than other stuff on the shelves. But Finkelstein notices that, after they’re all finished, they all start asking for more–every last one of them!”

“So what’d he do?”

“So he gives them more! You know, he’s got tons of this stuff they cooked for other taste tests. Well, they’re talking and talking and talking. Before you know it, these Mary Janes have eaten something like three, four times the usual amount!”

“No kidding? What the heck?”

“That’s not all of it! So they’re all packing up their purses and fixing their lipstick, when they start grilling Finkelgruber to find out when and where they can start buying his stuff!”

“Wait a minute here. You mean to tell me that they didn’t think it tasted all that good . . . but they still ate a ton and wanted more?”

“Yeah! That’s it! Don’t you get it? It doesn’t taste all that different, but there’s something in the ingredients that turns on their appetite!”

“Gold mine! Ka-chingggg! Wait: So what’s the ingredient?”

“So I grill Finkelnuts on just what the heck is in the food. He hems and haws, talking about some new process they’re using, but he says he’s not really sure—except that they have a new supplier for flour. The supplier says they’ve been getting flour from some new sources that they’re growing from a new strain of wheat that’s supposed to be higher yield but cheaper. So they just switched over.”

“Alright. This is too big to just let go. Tell Finkelman to do it again, but try another test food but use the same flour. If it works, man, this is golden: Eat more of this flour, the ladies can’t control themselves. You know what this means if we take it on the market?”

“Oh, yeah!”

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Kimelah

    I wouldn”t doubt it, not one bit.

    Who cares about the humans. Procreation is exponential. Even if half of them die, the line goes around the corner and Never Ends. There”ll always be more and more humans to dupe into buying this crap, even if it kills them.

    There was a movie like this, wasn”t there, where the people are just shoving crap food in their mouths, expression dumbfounded as to why they feel the need for more even though it”s disgusting. They grow bigger, get sicker, but still reach for another piece, still lick their fingers to pick up the last bit of crumbs. Brainwashed into gorging themselves on poison, no matter how disgusting it is.

    It”s variations of Soylent Green: will people stop eating it once they find out what”s really in it? Or are they too “hooked” to quit?

  2. Linda B.

    I read Wheat Belly. Impressed by all the scientific research cited. Read your blog for further reputable info. NOT for fiction or slanderous daydreams. If this anecdote is true or even “true-ish”, please provide proof. We get enough “truthiness” on the rest of the intertubes.

    • Suzi S

      Calm down woman… A little humour to lighten things up around here won”t kill you….well not before the wheat gets to you anyway :)

    • Christine Smith

      I have to agree w/ Linda, I”d prefer more science-based posts, but if everyone else digs this stuff, I”m always free to go roam the ”tubes. Hope everyone has a great day.

  3. janet

    Lighten up folks. Dr. Davis just put in real speak what probably happened down the hall from the corporate board room. He just left off the ” corporate speak.” Just consider the past with the tobacco industry. There is a different worldview going on–serving the god of profit. That only. Period. Our health is not in the equation. This is not new.

  4. Linda

    Sorry, but no. What “probably” happened belongs in the realm of conspiracy theorists and/or religion. This article dilutes the Wheat Belly brand/reputation with fiction when it”s science that is needed. Just the facts. We can all nod and gossip about what probably happened, but basing ones health on such phantasms is not for me.

        • Christine Smith

          I have a sense of humor and loved the book. Linda is right, this dilutes the message. I love wearing wigs and dressing in costume to freak out the people at Publix, so don”t lump me in with the stodgy. I just know when to hold ”em.

    • JDW

      I”m sorry… did you hire Dr. Davis as your personal blog writer? I didn”t realize that he worked for you and that you had a strict “just the facts” policy.

      And, as someone who has worked in advertising for a long time I can promise you that this funny dialogue did not dilute the brand AT ALL! In fact, it probably fostered more brand loyalty via the ability of people to relate to the doc on a more human level.

      Doc – it was a very funny and probably somewhat accurate scenario… gave me a chuckle (albeit in a horrified, “I can”t believe sh*t like this happens” way).

      • Christine Smith

        Science and branding don”t belong in the same conversation – that”s kind of the point being made.

        • JDW

          Look back at the original comment…it was Linda who said that making this funny post somehow diluted the Wheat Belly Brand. HER words… not mine. I was simply stating that she was wrong in her assumption.

          Everyone needs to quit being so sensitive and stop complaining about the content on a very well written FREE source of information. The Doc works hard on his blog and he has the right to enjoy a little levity without being lambasted and told to “stick to the facts.”

          • Christine Smith

            JDW, come on. There is no “free information” in this post. Nor is there any lambasting in the comments section. The doc, indeed, has the right to write whatever he wants – nobody is disputing that. We do have the right to debate whether the post, as presented, is consistent with the message in the product we”ve purchased (Wheat Belly) – just as you have the right to be his biggest fan and defender. It”s all good in the hood of critical thinking.

      • Christine Smith

        Don”t forget, we”re all on the same gluten-free team. The comments I”ve made on this subject are a message to the good doctor that in the absence of some kind of qualifier of humor (yes, I get that it”s humorous to many), or a reference, I”m less likely to recommend the book to the people in my professional sphere. Feedback is good. He can take it or leave it.

  5. Amrita

    I agree with Janet and respectfully disagree with Linda. One of the things that distinguishes Dr. Davis” book and blog posts from others is his use of humor to illustrate numerous points. Finding and using the means to increase profits is how corporations succeed. People imagine that corporations are constrained in all sorts of ways that they are not! In fact if a CEO or any executive does anything to interfere with that process and causes their company to lose money when they could have made money, well they are breaking the law – sounds crazy, but it is true. There”s no “conspiracy theory” being expressed here. I recommend you watch an excellent documentary “The Corporation”. It”s available on Netflix. For example, the reason particular colors are used in fast food restaurants is because they stimulate the appetite. TV, radio and print advertising know how to push your buttons and your children”s! You might want to research the history of advertising. It”s just business as usual. Dr. Davis in this post is merely illustrating it in a very humorous way. Thanks Dr. Davis!

    • Christine Smith

      It is absolutely 100% conspiracy theory, no matter how much we all intuitively, viscerally believe this kind of thing, until someone puts a reference, citation, or footnote next to it.

      • This is the exact opposite of a conspiracy theory; it beautifully illustrates that a conspiracy is NOT required for the result we as a society actually got.

  6. Birgit

    I thought it was pretty funny. :) We need some humor once in a while or all this gets too depressing.


  7. Leslie

    I have a much dimmer view of humans” recognition of cause and effect than you, I”m afraid. If people can”t see the health problems of wheat now, even with a mountain of data and their obesity crushing them, I can”t begin to believe even one person put it together back at the beginning. If the new flour was cheaper, it was just cheaper. As my 10 year old daughter says, “Most people say the universe is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. They forget about morons.”.

    Seriously, I think most people already have a critical problem accepting responsibility for anything, let alone educating themselves about how to keep healthy. Advancing a conspiracy theory, even in jest, just gives another possible excuse for the masses to duck the onus of having to do something hard.

  8. Katherine

    I take your point–it might all be about money (but can we please not use Jewish names (“Finkelstein”, “Finkelbaum”) and stereotypes to make such points–thanks!)

    • Tyrannocaster

      Yes, I think this article discriminates against women, too. And humans in general, as well. Hell, let”s just kill the whole thing, while we”re at it; that way we won”t offend anybody. Some of you have absolutely no sense of humor and your levels of political correctness seem elevated, rather like my triglycerides used to be.

  9. smgj

    I – as a former wheat-a-holic – find it funny an the theme plausible, although not in the details. (Add corporate-speak.)
    Show me _ONE_ corporation that wouldn”t change to a “new wheat” if it sold more buns than the old for the same cost … If a board member opposed such a change he wouldn”t stay a board member for long.

    Me on wheat: chronic sinusitis from age 14-15…
    After I lost the wheat I lost the sinusitis, edema, cubital tunell syndrome and swollen middle ear – and at least a couple of colds each year … To bad I had 20 years of troubles before realizing the connection!

    • Yes, excellent point, sm.

      But one thing really bothers me: How then do we account for the fact that wheat is in virtually everything? In other words, it”s added to foods in which it is not necessary for taste and texture.

      I say it”s there because somebody or some organization recognized its new appetite-stimulating effect and put it there, increasing revenues.

  10. Bruce

    Having worked for a very large multinational food manufacturer, there is more truth to this then you think. We would joke that our unofficial motto was “Cheap, if not cheaper”. If we could get you to buy an empty wrapper or box, we would have done it. Many of our ingredient suppliers were chosen by price, not by quality.
    A company similar to the above story will not change the ingredients 100% in a day, it will take place in increments over a few years until the consumer doesn”t realize they are eating nothing that tastes at all like the original product. I call it killing your taste buds. That is why home made, real food, real fresh ingredients, taste sooooo much better. Even, yes I dare say it, items made with wheat.

    • Linda

      In debate, as in popular “science” an anecdote or a conspiracy theory is “Cheap, if not cheaper”. Sure, this story is humorous, and I get the joke. But there is nothing there – just “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”. Without something to back it up, this is an easy joke, an anecdote, “an empty wrapper or box”.
      I suppose if it helps people to think of corporate America is evil – then it is easier to boycott the junk food – then fine, joke away.
      But I fear the general public has become used to claims that are just tossed out there because it is easy to follow . Their mental taste buds have been killed – they”re no longer used to what a REAL argument or debate is like.

      • Bruce

        Sorry, I did not realize this was a website to promote proper ways to debate.

        I thought this was a website to promote finding out more about the good and bad about wheat. As such, I related a story, all true by the way, of what it like in the food industry. Take it all with a grain of salt, unless you are on a low salt diet. I am trying to show that all food needs to be looked at and scrutinized. Look at the ingredient labels. Look at the nutritional labels and know what they are really telling you. I do not think that corporate America is necessarily evil, nor do I state it in my original post. They are selling a product, and we are buying it. Their job is to make a profit, for them and their stockholders and that is getting harder to do. Sites like this and others are promoting knowing your food. If some humor or (god forbid) first hand knowledge falls into play. Great!! Especially if it teaches someone or at least gets them to think about it what they are putting into their mouths.

      • PJ

        “Without something to back it up, this is an easy joke, an anecdote, “an empty wrapper or box”.
        Linda, that”s all it was . . . a joke. Geez! Drama much!

    • Ah, priceless, Bruce!

      Please feel free to elaborate without naming the company. As in many things, it all boils down to everyday people doing things to suit their own agenda. I was trying to show how this could easily happen without some broad conspiracy or knowledge of science, just some simple observations applied into the service of the food industry.

  11. Lynda

    I had to laugh; I”ve been in some of those meetings. They were exactly like that, just add profanity.

  12. Mary

    Hi Dr. Davis:
    I think you have already detailed the science enough, and for those of us who have tested the science personally by eliminating wheat I think there is no need for further debate. I”m personally waiting for “Wheat Belly – The Movie” to come to a theater near me. Humor is a powerful tool, not to be underestimated. It ignites the imagination. Maybe not scientific but certainly though-provoking. And I note that since being wheat-free, my own sense of humor had gone back to super healthy levels, so I laugh all the time and take great joy in life! Thanks for the laugh!

  13. Jeanine

    Dr Davis – how do I send in my before and after photos? I finally took an “after” photo now that I”m down 32 pounds.

    • You should have editing controls when you post. It might be listed above your box as “img,” allowing you to post your photos. And please do!

  14. Little Sister

    If Dr. Davis” humorous “what if” above sounds far fetched, consider reading “The End of Overeating” by Dr. David Kessler for an inside look at the way the food industry intentionally manufactures irresistible tastes and combinations of salt-fat-sugar to increase sales of disgusting fake foods that are harmful to living creatures.

  15. smgj

    I”d reccomend the books by John Virapen if you really want to see what lengths corporates will go to in order to make money.

  16. The joke is brilliant. It is hard to blame companies for doing it though, since most people would probably do the same. Unfortunately, money seems to outweigh most things in life.

  17. Wendy

    Wow, this funny post got out of control. Such a shame we just can”t read each post without bashing! Dr. Davis, you are great and I love all of your posts, scientific as well as humor! Some people just need to learn take their bad days elsewhere. Such a shame, I was starting to enjoy this website until now! :(

  18. Uncle Roscoe

    I suppose if it helps people to think of corporate America is evil – then it is easier to boycott the junk food – then fine, joke away.

    The basis of survival is self reliance. Western society has lulled its inhabitants into abandoning self reliance, and replacing it with reliance on social institutions. When our tires need air, we return our cars to dealerships. When we need our clothes altered we either take them to tailors or rely on a social institution to “recycle” them. When our diets make us sick, we rely on the medical profession to provide us with life-long drugs.

    Our addiction to social institutions is complete. But is this addiction justified?

    The answer is a resounding ……..”NOooooooooo”.

    We have been ripped off so frequently and blatantly that we pay extra for insurance …….another social institution which provides us with nothing but a false sense of security, that these needs will be covered without our involvement. Reliance on insurance companies has ripped us off so completely that we are demanding that government become our ensurer. And government is the very institution capable of quashing our needs ……the ultimate ripoff artist.

    We”re so reliant on social institutions that we build our tort laws around them. So we SURELY have some vetting process to ensure that only entities which hold our fiduciary interests above their own interests survive and become social institutions ……..Right?

    WRONG. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The concept of social institutions and our abdication of individual responsibility is a blatant and irresponsible copout. Nothing about the structure of food or seed companies warrants any reliance or confidence whatsoever.

    The entire point? The Westerner social institution paradigm is vapor. We can”t rely on profit-motivated food companies any more than we can rely on the guys who sit around their lunch rooms. But we never could. The social institution paradigm is the addictive process which addicted our entire society to the opiates and sugars of dwarf mutant wheat.

    And that”s what this blog is all about.

  19. Neicee

    If we want to engage in controversy via debate and argument we can all hit the political or social justice websites. Dr. Davis has been gracious enough to provide this avenue for us to learn from each other and gain his expertise when he comments. We have many posters where they suffer life threatening issues. To highjack a thread for whatever reason is offensive to me. I got the joke, didn”t need it explained to me, and frankly – thought it was a hoot. Thanks also to Uncle Roscoe – always shedding a new angle on things.

  20. tamm

    After cutting wheat and sugar, make sure your diet doesn”t get too alkaline. At least have some black tea. Trust me.

    • Neicee

      Dr. Bailey does a skincare website – drbaileyskincare.com where she has an article about the Alcaline Mediteranean Diet and also Alcaline Diet. I have an acquintance suffering life threatening cancer and she is trying to go totally alcaline? Old concept that needs total research because some people have found it useful. As far as the black tea, does 3 12-cup pots of coffee a day count? ;)

  21. I recognized the piece as fictional humor immediately. Like Mary, I was envisioning a scene from the movie, a sort of Mad Men meets Network meets Dr. Strangelove satire.

    Unfortunately, I feel a little too much kinship to those women with their lipsticks and purses and their 4th helping of Gutbuster Gluten Delights. Yeah, Stan, I know what it means alright. I just wish I”d known what it meant 30 years ago when you guys didn”t have this conversation and I still weighed 125 lbs.

    I”m laughing, but it hurts.

  22. Al Reford

    Strange that this fictional tale created such controversy. Given that research into new wheat strains have been going on intensively since at least 1943 it is logical to assume that at some point food corporations saw the correlation between new wheat strains and people eating more and more of food with no or little nutritional value that increased food sales exponentially and increased health issues exponentially as well. This created profit opportunities when the people buy the food as well as soon as the health issues appear.

    So either it is all a big coincidence not planned by anyone or it is a series of deliberate criminal actions that deserve to be explored. I agree with Christine and Linda that getting proof of what actually happened is a great idea. I would also remind both of them that we are still fighting the tobacco industry when the first rumours of their illegal and despicable actions surfaced in the 1960s. So they have continued their practices for over 50 years. I suggest the food and medical industries will do the same. So a little humour that exposes actions not yet provable in a legal sense is a great way to engage people. It certainly has kept many of us going during the tobacco wars.

    It will take industry whistleblowers to get the proof. This will take years. I loved the tale and Dr. Davis THANK YOU. I have lost 13 lbs in 8 days. I feel better. I am not hungry constantly and I find what I am eating satisfying and I feel energized after a meal NOW. I will keep turning people onto your book. Thank you for sharing your research in such a great way. Glad you have a great sense of humour.

    • Thank you, Al.

      Yes, getting the evidence of such behavior will be very tough, perhaps impossible. I keep hoping that someone from within the industry steps forward and blows the whistle. As time passes, I am finding it more and more difficult to accept this situation as just a series of incredible blunders.

  23. Louise

    I enjoyed reading this post..thought it was funny and also not far from the mark in the industrial, corporate world of food.
    Dr. Davis, I am hoping you will respond to the recent study out from Harvard that got lots of media attention, linking red meat with cancer and heart disease. Now that I don”t eat any wheat, other grains or starchy foods, i am relying more on red meat ( grass fed) along with poultry and fish and the lower carb vegetables. But I do have red meat just about every day.. Should I be worried or is this another case of correlation does not mean causation and maybe it”s the wheat and potatoes people are eating with the beef that”s the real problem?

    • Louise–

      The study was, in a word, silly.

      Gary Taubes and Zoe Harcombe did admirable jobs of dissecting it apart. See the blogroll at the left navigation bar of this blog for their blog addresses.

    • Pilot Mark

      Try ground flax seed recipes. It works for tortillas and substitutes for other flour made items. Lots of good fiber compared to carbohydrates.

  24. VibeRadiant

    I came across a Youtube video with an excerpt from the 1960s where the voice over says that scientists fixed the glutens in flour. I think Dr Davis is right about a conspiracy. If interested check out TRUTHstreammedia (starts at 2:41).