Jelly beans and ice cream

What if I said: “Eliminate all wheat from your diet and replace it with all the jelly beans and ice cream you want.”

That would be stupid, wouldn’t it? Eliminate one rotten thing in diet–modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat products that stimulate appetite (via gliadin), send blood sugar through the roof (via amylopectin A), and disrupt the normal intestinal barriers to foreign substances (via the lectin, wheat germ agglutinin)–and replace it with something else that has its own set of problems, in this case sugary foods. How about a few other stupid replacements: Replace your drunken, foul-mouthed binges with wife beating? Replace cigarette smoking with excessive bourbon?

Sugary carbohydrate-rich foods like jelly beans and ice cream are not good for us because:

1) High blood sugar causes endogenous glycation, i.e, glucose modification of long-lived proteins in the body. Glycate the proteins in the lenses of your eyes, you get cataracts. Glycate cartilage proteins in the cartilage of your hips and knees, you get brittle cartilage that erodes and causes arthritis. Glycate structural proteins in your arteries and you get hypertension (stiff arteries) and atherosclerosis.

2) High blood sugar is inevitably accompanied by high blood insulin. Repetitive surges in insulin lead to insulin resistance, i.e., muscles, liver, and fat cells unresponsive to insulin. This forces your poor tired pancreas to produce even more insulin, which causes even more insulin resistance, and round and round in a vicious cycle. This leads to visceral fat accumulation (Jelly Bean Belly!), which is highly inflammatory, further worsening insulin resistance via various inflammatory mediators like tumor necrosis factor.

3) Sugary foods, i.e., sucrose- or high-fructose corn syrup-sweetened, are sources of fructose, a truly very, very bad sugar that is metabolized via a completely separate pathway from glucose. Fructose is 10-fold more likely to induce glycation of proteins than glucose. It also provokes a (delayed) rise in insulin resistance, accumulation of triglycerides, marked increase in formation of small LDL particles, and delayed postprandial (after-eating) clearance of the lipoprotein byproducts of meals, all of which leads to diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

I think we can all agree that replacing wheat with jelly beans and ice cream is not a good solution. And, no, we shouldn’t have drunken binges, wife beating, smoking or bourbon to excess. So why does the “gluten-free” community advocate replacing wheat with products made with:

rice starch, tapioca starch, potato starch, and cornstarch?

These powdered starches are among the few foods that increase blood sugar (and thereby provoke glycation and insulin) higher than even the amylopectin A of wheat! For instance, two slices of whole wheat bread typically increase blood sugar in a slender, non-diabetic person to around 170 mg/dl. Two slices of gluten-free, multigrain bread will increase blood sugar typically to 180-190 mg/dl.

The fatal flaw in thinking surrounding gluten-free junk carbohydrates is this: If a food lacks some undesirable ingredient, then it must be good. This is the same fatally flawed thinking that led people to believe, for instance, that Snack Well low-fat cookies were healthy: because they lacked fat. Or processed foods made with hydrogenated oils were healthy because they lacked saturated fat.

So gluten-free foods made with junk carbohydrates are good because they lack gluten? No. Gluten-free foods made with rice starch, tapioca starch, potato starch, and cornstarch are destructive foods that NOBODY should be eating.

This is why the recipes for muffins, cupcakes, cookies, etc. in the Wheat Belly book and in this blog are wheat- and gluten-free and free of gluten-free junk carbohydrates. And put that bottle of Jim Beam down!

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Yvon

    All good and valid points for sure. However, lets not be too alarmist here shall we? I mean, I understand that you should not exchange your daily dose of wheat products for a daily dose of gluten free bread or pastries but for the rare indulgence, lets say once a month or once every two months, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with having some of what you call gluten free junk. It’s not like you’ll become diabetic just because you have some “gluten free” junk 4 or 5 times a year. People just need to understand that switching one junk for another junk on a regular basis is not good. On those rare indulgences, why worry! Stressing over that is probably more harmful to one’s health than what that kind of rare indulgence actually is for health. Just food for thought.

  2. Mara Carney

    I think Jelly Bellies also have (wheat-based) modified food starch in them, which would render them off-limits anyway!

  3. Jackie

    How about fructose from fruit? I eat a lot of bananas as a substitute for ice cream and other sweets. I would say at least 4 a day. I will also drink at least one veggie/fruit smoothie a day with bananas in it.This seems a bit much even to me, but as I am trying to cut out wheat, soy, corn, and vegetable oils I am having a hard time figuring out what to eat so I will just reach for the easiest and (what I think is the) healthiest thing I can get my hands on. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Dr. Davis

      I’ve seen many people think they are eating healthy by eating lots of fruit, only to find that they are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

      Sadly, sugar is sugar. Fructose is the worst. Go have some eggs.

  4. Biscones- are my go-to LCG&WF baked good. I linked to your greatness here- Seems like we’ve nabbed the wrong guy in all this… cholesterol gets the bad rap for sugar’s role in arterial plaque formation. Priceless is your promotion of interventions that serve to control what is causing the damage in the first place. My Mom recently had stent #1 placed and although she received excellent care, the heart healthy/diabetic diet she is encouraged to follow is higher in carbs, wheat, and gluten than her current diet! Any face to face Track Your Plaque offerings in NC. So, are we to assume Johnny Walker is Okay?

  5. Debby F.

    DR. Davis,
    OK I have had no problem giving up the wheat and anything with wheat in it. My big downfall has always been ice cream, and for that reason NEVER buy it, and NEVER have it in my freezer. I do however, about twice a year, make my own. It has been a family tradition since I was a little girl. It to me is the best ice cream ever! It is probably why store bought ice cream does not taste that good to me. Home made ice cream is so pure I think that is why I can justify it once in a while. The only ingredients are eggs, SUGAR, milk , cream and vanilla. So that being said, if I were to find a way to cut back on the sugar wouldn’t it be ok on rare occasions when you need to splurge? Certainly better than the store bought brands with all the junk in them? P.S. If I were granted one food before I die it would be home made ice cream!

    • What about adding some low glycemic fruit instead of ANY sweetener? Fresh strawberries or blueberries, in season, would be awesome, especially if you are liberal with the cream, which has a pleasant sweetness all it’s own. I can’t wait to try this myself when the berries are ripe! Who needs added sugar/sweetener???

      • Dr. Davis

        Yes, a very nice alternative, Janknitz. I do this for more kid-friendly recipes in particular.

    • Winnie

      You could try making a fructose free icecream with dextose (powdered glucose) instead! My sister made some a while back and it was absolutley delicious!!! You will still get the blood sugar effects from the dextrose but for an occassional treat it is lovely, and no nasty artifical sweetners required.

      I don’t have the recipe, but you could probably find via the Sweet Poison facebook page. (They are all about cutting out fructose from the diet.)

  6. Christina

    How dare you speak badly of Jelly Beans and Ice Cream (may their names be forever blessed)! After several months wheat free I’m able to eat more dairy — I look forward to the day when I will again have sweet, delicious ice cream. I do not like the agave-sweetened substitutes.

    (fyi – this is mock horror – I’m well aware that eating jelly beans and ice cream with every meal like bread would be terrible).

    • Dr. Davis

      You scared me for a moment, Christina!

      I started to reach for my glucometer, then realized you were joking!

  7. Wayne D Johnson

    It’s probably my fault, but I can’t seem to find any RCTs that prove high serum insulin levels lead to insulin resistance. I have no difficulty accepting your overall conclusion that sugar isn’t very healtny, however.

  8. hitfan

    One good argument that I use against those who believe that “fat is the source of all things that is nutritionally evil” is: jelly beans have ZERO FAT. Does that mean people should eat as many of them as they want?

    I was out with some friends at a steakhouse restaurant the other day. My meal consisted of steak, onions and mushrooms. For the fun of it, I spread some butter on my steak. There were a few gasps from the others and I was admonished for endangering my cholesterol!

    Never mind that these very same people had eaten a few buns of bread (with butter!) as appetizers just minutes earlier. True, using butter in the manner that I did might seem socially gauche, but I wanted to reveal the cognitive dissonance in regards to the “fat=evil” meme.

    • Ha! The same exact thing happens to me every time I eat at Applebees- I get the largest steak they have with two sides of double steamed broccoli, hold the seasoning (I salt it myself), then I ask for two sides of butter. I slather the whole plate in the stuff and I always, 100% of the time, have people ask me how in the world I’m so skinny eating like that!

      Granted, I’m now unsure Applesbees butter is actually butter… But that’s a whole different story!

    • They do realize that all the best steakhouses slather their steaks in butter, right? If not butter, then a marrow sauce of some sort. Mmmmmm….

  9. Colin Conn

    Dr. Davis:
    Please tell me if I’m wrong. I’ve gone wheat free, candy free, mostly alcohol free, mostly starch free—and when I say mostly, I mean enough potatoes to cover the palm of my hand every other week or so. My big splurge is 80% cocoa chocolate, which I’ve developed a taste for—where I might consume a 2 inch square a day, now and then, 2 squares a day. Everyone asks me what I eat, and while I feel like I’m eating like a king, it sounds a little boring: Eggs, vegetables, meat sticks, string cheese, fish, salads, coconut milk and nuts. Earlier this week I was losing weight so fast (a pound a day) that I became worried that I was over-doing it—wondering if I was hurting myself. But Dr. Ray Strand, who wrote RELEASING FAT made note of the fact (not sure this is a fact) that glucagon is not as responsive as insulin is to blood sugar levels—that it kind of has to get going. Through my own experience with his book and yours, I’m beginning to think that once your body makes a physiological transition from needing insulin all the time to needing glucagon to balance blood sugar levels, it finds its sweet spot (so to speak) and the glucagon starts mining your visceral fat for sugar every bit as effectively as insulin puts it in there in the first place. I think my body found that sweet spot—thought it may have been just a calories in and out thing. Not sure. But I’m down 30+ pounds since January 26, 30 to go. Curious as to your thoughts about my thinking on glucagon because my pants no longer fit. Actually, they didn’t fit before but they no longer fit the other way now!
    Thank you for your blog and please keep up this wonderful work.

    • Murray Braithwaite

      I made the leap to 100% chocolate. As my consumption of sugar and sugary fruit declined, my sensitivity to sugar increased. Now, uncultured dairy is too sweet. Romaine lettuce is often too sweet. I taste the residual sugar in 100% chocolate and savor it as others drink coffee without added sugar. There is a lot more flavor in 100% and the theobromine seems more potent as well. I can feel a chocolate high with just 10 grams of quality 100% low-temperature, low-shear processed chocolate. (Extra-virgin chocolate?)

      I find chocolate balances well with some peppery extra virgin olive oil or some butter. I still have some summer-milk butter (i.e., grass grazed cows) in my freezer that was churned from organic creme fraiche (i.e., cultured) with about 87-90% butterfat. Divine with some salt and 100% chocolate.

      • Dr. Davis

        Excellent ideas, Murray!

        I never thought of the peppery olive oil idea. Gotta give it a try!

        • Dr. Davis

          Hi, Colin–

          I’m not sure what role glucagon plays in this wheat-free weight loss experience.

          However, I would not be frightened by the pound-a-day rate of weight loss. Enjoy it while it lasts! Of course, note that there is no calorie restriction necessary.

  10. Sarah

    Is rice flour the same thing as rice starch? Is starch just another name for flour?

    My kids and I have really enjoyed the Bob’s Red Mill Biscuit & Baking Mix. The ingredients are “stone ground white rice and garbanzo bean flours”, followed by baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt.


    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, sorry, Sarah: It’s awful.

      Perhaps okay for an occasional indulgence for the kids. But us big kids should avoid as much as possible.

      • Julia

        My husband and I started living primal in June/July 2010. My husband and I lost 25 pounds each and have been able to keep it off without effort. Just recently we were thinking some bread sound good, so I found the gluten free red mills wonderful bread. I must admit this tasted wonderful, but it had a couple of bean flours in it, which we found gave us stomach aches the next day. We have decided it is not worth it.

  11. Zomg, I ate so many SnackWell cookies as a kid. They had just come out, and my mom was firmly on board the low-fat bandwagon so she jumped onto these right away. I was only supposed to have two or three at a time, but I was always hungry, and would just keep running back to the drawer where they were kept to grab another one. Mom didnt seem to care, because they were “healthy.”

    Yet I got yelled at for trying to eat pats of butter at Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner (which were the only times we had real butter in the house; the rest of the year it was margarine).

    • Dr. Davis

      I fell for it, too, back in the 1980s and paid the price with a big SnackWell belly and blood sugars.

      Thank goodness we survived!

  12. Dr. Davis, funny you should mention how harmful tapioca starch is. I normally am a fan of Dr. Mercola, but lately he is touting his Cocoa Cassava Bar (he calls is an “All Natural Health Energy Bar”) and I was tempted to try it. Lo and behold, I found out that, unless I’m terribly wrong, “cassava” means the bar is made with tapioca starch. Definitley not something a Wheat Belly fan like me would try.

  13. Dana

    Glucagon mines your glycogen stores for sugar. You don’t have any sugar in your body fat stores. Someone who is low-carbing won’t have much glycogen, but glucagon also encourages your liver to engage in gluconeogenesis. So yes, it would seem that it’s a good thing to get your glucagon production running smoothly. Your body’s perfectly capable of making the glucose you need and responding to it appropriately if you’re not constantly bombarding it with glucose from elsewhere.

    Calories in/calories out is pretty meaningless in my book. When people discuss this phenomenon it is nearly always in terms of:

    calories in = food you eat
    calories out = the exercise you do

    But. It can also mean this:

    calories in = fatty acids released from your adipose tissue, or ketones you burn (made from those released fatty acids)
    calories out = amino acids you use to maintain muscles and organs, amino acids you use to make neurotransmitters, fatty acids you use to make hormones and cell membranes

    No one has figured out how to calculate the latter, so they just ignore them. Even BMR doesn’t take account of them. And I checked.

    I think counting calories can be a useful measure of whether you are eating enough food daily, but I think monitoring vitamin/mineral intake and macronutrients is more useful. Calories are a legal fiction, really, but you need vitamins and minerals, and how much of each of the macronutrients you get plays a huge role in how well your endocrine system works. At the end of the day, fat accumulation is about how your endocrine system is working. In short, when a fat person says “it’s my glands,” they’re not kidding. I don’t hear that “excuse” mentioned as much these days and it’s a shame, because it’s more accurate than calling a fat person a lazy glutton.

  14. Dana

    Aaand that was meant as a reply to Colin C., but when I forgot my captcha, it messed up my reply and made it a regular comment instead. D’oh!

    • Janet

      Hi, Dana,
      I have seen you around in the Paleo blogs and always appreciate your comments and take on whatever is being blogged about at the moment–reasoned and sensible and smart! I am new in the Paleo world, but Wheat Belly started me off (thanks, Dr. Davis for mentioning Mark Sisson) and my life has changed so much since November 2011. Good to see you today.

  15. Pam

    i found a cook book from 1969 for wheat free cooking and besides lots of starches to replace wheat she uses “rice polish”. I can’t find that and am guessing it’s what we call “rice bran” today – yes? No?
    Oddly her husband wasn’t overweight ande sickly, he was underweight and sickly.

  16. Uncle Roscoe

    I see a couple of problems:

    1. Comparing after-meal blood glucose spikes is good for comparing harm done by sugars. Glucose is supposed to spike after carb ingestion. It is a sign that your body is handling sugars well. If a sugar causes a rapid tall spike the sugar is causing problems.

    When blood glucose spikes and stays spiked? That’s a BIG problem.

    2. The human body is quite adept at handling amylose starch. Its amylopectin relatives? ….not so much. Saliva amylase breaks amylose into maltose. In the small intestine maltase breaks maltose into glucose.

    Glucose gets transported through the small intestine wall via a couple of GLUT transporters. Maltose is a relatively stable, benign sugar in the small intestine. And maltase is time released. This all means that, upon ingesting amylose starch, the intestines are not seriously damaged, and the intestines do not normally flood the blood with glucose.

    None of these principles apply to the ingestion of pure glucose or fructose. Pure glucose and fructose normally get digested rapidly. They cause big blood glucose spikes. Fructose is harmful in ALL stages of metabolism. Table sugar is half glucose and half fructose.

    So the harm done by starchy vegetables is not done by amylose starch. It is done by other sugars, and by associated proteins. The gluten damage from wheat is becoming well documented. Potatoes contain a harmful nightshade protein called solanine in widely varying concentrations. Rice contains benign proteins. White corn proteins are pretty benign. Yellow corn contains a couple of harmful polyphenol dyes. I’m becoming convinced that glutamates and aspartates are big problems. They are sugar/protein hybrid molecules. Starches and fruits contain glutamates and aspartates in widely varying concentrations.

    The point? Learn about the starches you eat. It’s like voting for a political candidate. Just because we don’t know anything bad about a candidate doesn’t mean he’s good. It just means we don’t know anything.

  17. Paul B.

    Yes… put the bottle of Jim Beam down and pick up Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve!
    Actually, I prefer barley based whiskey and whisky (different spelling based upon where they come from) over bourbon.
    This is a good article for people… Trying to explain to people that I stopped eating grains… they kind of get that, but they then offer me gluten free foods… no matter how much I explain it to them, they can’t understand why I stay away from those too. The carbs are good myth is so indoctrinated, and critical thinking is not taught, that even my results aren’t convincing people.

    So yes… alcohol… alcohol is the one area that I’ve found that is difficult for me to bypass since reading and implementing your book in October. The alcohols that I typically drink are Guinness, scotch, or a red wine (typically shiraz or cabernet). It’s such a large part of culture (being in the military and living in the DC area), and I like it! I’ve tried to, and have been partially successful, at choosing wine over the Guinness or a scotch, but after about two glasses, even the dry stuff tastes too sweet for me (even before changing my diet).

    No real point to this ramble other than to echo the ‘put down the Beam’ sentiment!!!!!

  18. MaryK

    I’d like to venture off topic a bit. I seem to remember Dr Davis not liking too much fruit in Wheat Belly, comments?

    “A study following 200,000 men and women for 24 years
    found that those who ate lots of blueberries, apples, and pears
    had a 23 percent reduced risk for developing diabetes (American
    Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online February 22,
    2012).  Fruits are loaded with flavonoids which help prevent
    diabetes, heart attacks, and cancers.  Fruits reduce your chances
    of developing diabetes, even though they are rich sources of
    sugar and raise blood sugar levels.  Eating whole fruit does not
    raise blood sugar levels nearly as much as drinking fruit juice. 
              Whole fruits contain solid substances, such as fibers
    and pectin, which markedly slow the absorption of their sugar
    into your bloodstream.  When you eat, the pyloric sphincter at
    the end of the stomach closes and the stomach muscles squeeze
    only a liquid soup into the intestines. Solid material is held in
    the stomach until it is small enough to pass with the soup into
    the intestines.  An orange can take as long as five hours to pass
    into the intestines.
              However, all sugars in liquid form pass immediately
    into the intestines to cause a rapid and high rise in blood
    sugar.  When blood sugar levels rise too high, sugar sticks to
    the outer surface of cell membranes to destroy the cells. This is
    just the latest of many studies showing that fruits help to
    prevent diabetes, while drinking fruit juices increases risk for
    developing and worsening diabetes.”

    • Dr. Davis

      Be careful with these epidemiologic studies, Mary. They can only suggest an association, not prove it. People who eat fruit also tend to be healthier overall, less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise. That’s why it’s impossible to know from such studies whether there is a true cause-effect association.

      That said, I agree that fruit, especially berries and citrus, are wonderful sources of flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and nutrients like vitamin C. Just got to be careful about glycation.

    • Murray Braithwaite

      How many people in this study ate very little sugary fruits or starchy vegetables, or their equivalent in processed foods?

      Suppose a study tracked alcohol consumption where 95% of the subjects drank alcohol. The study might show those who drank half a bottle of red wine daily fared better than those who drank equivalent beer or spirits. So should the non-drinkers start drinking a bottle of red wine daily?

  19. Markus

    It’s only been a week and I can’t tell you what a difference cutting out bread has made for me. I used to eat a box of doughnut holes a night, and wondered why I always ate more then everyone else. I’ve already lost 4 pounds as I am really active. It’s very peculiar to me that I was always so active and always ate foods low in fat and still had a beer gut. I would run miles and miles every day and seriously limit my diet but all it would do was make me smaller, not the gut and man breasts. Yesterday I had to tighten my belt from 2 notches to 3 and I am very excited looking forward. Maybe I’ll finally have the body I’ve always wanted.
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s terrific, Markus!

      You can appreciate the absurdity of conventional advice, now that you see how easy it is to undo it all. Lose the wheat, lose the wheat belly, lose the moobs!

  20. Em

    How does Dr Davis know that I had ice cream and jelly beans for my weekly treat last weekend? This headline did actually startle me. I must rethink my weekly treat!

    p.s. Dr Davis,
    I love this blog and the great information that you continue to feed us!! Thanks!

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Em–

      Actually, I’ve got this crazy two-way camera on my computer and I could see you eating them!

  21. Terry May

    “Buyer beware” is my comment on the food industry. I am grateful for my learning experiences and thank Dr. Davis as well as many of the kind folks who post infromation on this blog. The “gluten-free” products and “health-smart” products and bla, bla, bla: What a ruse! I shop like Sherlock Holmes now and am astonished when I read the products that I used to eat with cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato starch, rice starch, and on and on it goes. Yet it was all under the guise of “healthier eating.” For those of us who used a glucometer, the results were truth-telling indeed with sugar spikes galore and cycles of personal frustration.

    On March 22, 2012, I celebrated my first full month being insulin-free. For the sceptics, my fasting blood sugar this morning was 5.3 mmol/L (95.5 mg/dl) and stable all day, again…with no medication. My weight loss is now over 40 pounds. Yet, I often still get the “deer-in-the-headlights” stare when I explain to people that I beat wheat and, as such, these many wonderful changes occurred. Then many often try to persuade my poor deluded self that it is just that I made a “lifestyle change” and not necessarily giving up wheat and grains that brought about these amazing results. God forbid that a person give up the “Holy Grail” of the food industry. After all, I so miss benefits such as the glucose-insulin roller coaster, the exhaustion, the fatigue, the mental fog and the neuropathy (yes that’s cleared too). In closing…wheat sales are down 100 percent at my house too.

    Wheatless in Canada,

    • barnaby

      hi terry may—congratulations! sounds like you have really settled in to your new way of eating. at my house, it is my husband who is diabetic, but we are both reaping the benefits of wheat-free eating. how long did it take you to get your blood sugar down to its present level? were you also on oral agents beside the insulin, and if so, did you decide to elminate them first, then the insulin all on your own or have you had a physician overseeing your care?

  22. Terry May

    Hi Barnaby: I was diagnosed Type II in April 2005. I was on oral agents for about the first 5 years but then on insulin only for about the past 2 years. I was using 90 units of long-acting insulin at bedtime and about 15 – 20 units with each of the three main meals daily. So…about 130 units total per day. When I read “Wheat Belly” and decided “this is for me” my glucose readings dropped so dramatically that I had to cut back on insulin or risk hypoglycemia, and I just kept cutting back. The last time I injected 10 units at bedtime about one month ago my morning FBS was 3.5 mmol/L (63 mg/dl) and I stopped using medication completely.

    Please note… I “took the bull by the horns” but am NOT asserting that anyone do this without medical consultation. I wish, however, there was more advise like that of Dr. Davis’ . I was meticulous about charting my glucose readings, medication changes, and pre to post meal outcomes. I did “stick to my convictions” and followed the suggestions in “Wheat Belly” and, as such, baulked many traditional ideas about diabetes and diet; in particular, the daily servings of modern wheat and grains. But that was my personal choice and, obviously, I do not regret it. I did advise my diabetes education clinic and physician but, to be honest, after the fact.

    I am a proponent of the “Wheat Belly” approach. For many folks, I just encourage to set your own personal goals and stay on track. My results are amazing. My wife has been on board with me and has lost 20 pounds over the same period of time. Although that’s half my weight loss, I encourage her as well as she encourages me to not compare results but rather celebrate progress. Stay in the company of those who encourage you to succeed. Every positive step is a step in the right direction. Oh ya…exercise too!

    Wheatless in Canada,

    • Terry May

      Barnaby: I do not think that I made clear the time frames. I have been on the “Wheat Belly” approach for about 15 weeks now. For me personally, the blood sugar changes began to occur within weeks.

      Wheatless in Canada,

      • barnaby

        we are both impressed by your results. we haven’t cheated, although at first i missed the part in the book that suggested for those looking to reverse diabetes, to stick to 10 gms of carbs daily….and i think i allowed my hubby more in his diet than i should have (a potato every 3rd day). however, his sugars are dropping steadily and he is now off of his actos, which was twice a day and is hoping to keep dropping his sugars so that he can eliminate the metformin. he’s only been using oral agents for his 6 years of type 2. even on those, the doctor had to increase them—first on metformin daily…then twice daily…then a stronger dose…then one actos…then twice daily actos……yikes!!! he was skeptical, no doubt about it, but i think now, after 2 weeks, he is a believer!

  23. Neicee

    I am so proud of all of you! I have friends and relatives that are either pre- or full blown Type 11 diabetics. The hardest thing in the world to watch is leaving for home, after enjoying a lovely meal out, and a relative has to take a sample to know how their blood is reacting. Or, having them for breakfast and they are the first to ask where the bread is kept? Yet, they are the first to challenge your way of eating (I keep reminding them it isn’t a diet, or something I’ll get over like measles). Good job, and healthy eating.

  24. Terry May

    Neicee: Thanks so much.

    I have heard it said in one example that “heart disease is a major killer and the first sign is usually death.” Indeed, the human being is an anomaly. You would think that efforts at reversing a medical condition would be at least attempted diligently if the consequences for not doing so eventually could be serious complications and/or eventual early death. It’s that cognitive dissonance thing; our neural pathways usually take the most familiar route and change is difficult. I am convinced that we often keep only one step ahead of it until IT “bites us in the backside.” I speak as one familiar to the experience and not as a stranger to the anomalies that we manifest.

    It’s a balancing act much of the time. We don’t want to run around paranoid about dying; otherwise, we would worry ourselves sick. At the same time, we don’t want to “stick our heads in the sand” when it comes to personal health. To ignore something is a very risky choice. I read “Wheat Belly”, chose not to ignore the advice, and became a former wheat eater. It was a very good choice! But change is a slow process so just keep spreading the word.

    Wheatless in Canada

  25. Cadence

    Dear Dr. ,

    Can I still continue taking whey protein shake after my workout while adhering to Wheat-Free Diet?

    Thank You

    • Dr. Davis

      You raise the issue of the safety of modern dairy.

      Given the improvements in diet when wheat-free, the whey protein, while not perfect, is not such a big problem.

      You might want to follow the discussions on these pages as they relate to dairy, an increasingly contentious issue.

    • Dr. Davis

      Well, perhaps she’s well-intended and truly believe what she is preaching as a mom . . . but this is nuts.

      She does hit on some important issues, like cortisol and the need for metabolic correction, however.

  26. Mellinda

    Do you know if they use dwarf wheat in Germany? My father lives in Germany, and makes his own rye bread, but has expressed a feeling of weakness, lately.


  27. Davide

    Question: My doctor told me that dried wheat pasta (as opposed to fresh) does not raise blood sugar nearly as high has wheat bread or fresh, refrigerated pasta. I also read this somewhere. Is this true?

    • Dr. Davis

      This reminds me of saying something like “Putting a filter on your Marlboros makes your cigarettes healthier.”

      No, sorry, Davide, it ain’t true. This is the flawed logic that continues to fool my colleagues and many nutritionists.

  28. Tracey

    Wow – what an amazing blog and book! My eyes have been opened! Today was day 1 of being wheat free for me. I have lost a little over 50 lbs since last June but have been stuck at a plateau ( with the last 10 to go) since Christmas. I don’t eat that much wheat right now – but now and then I definitely do. I’m trying to get my husband on board. He is 36 years old and a type 1 diabetic since age 14. He has about 30 pounds to lose, and absolutley horrible heart history in his family. We have 4 young children and I’d like to curb the wheat for them as well but a little nervous about how that will go. I’m hoping that my starting it will bring good results and my husband will agree to jump on board! I am a bit nervous though about managing my carbs. I am training for a half marathon I’m May, and cross train and weight train as well. I workout six days/week, running 5 mi 2 days a week and a long run ( this weekend it will be 9 miles) on the weekend. I’m afraid to cut out all carbs due to my training/exercising. I just don’t know how much is the right amount. I’m thinking I will get most of it from fruit (low sugar) and maybe steel cut oats? Would sweet potatoes be good to add into my diet or some legumes to my salads?
    Thanks for any advice… I can’t wait to progress in this new lifestyle!

    • Dr. Davis

      How about bananas and other fruit, and cooked sweet potatoes, with only occasional glucose/sucrose/fructose sources like Goo?

      You will also find that, the longer you are wheat-free and limit junk carbohydrates, the less carbohydrates you will need for training and competition.

  29. Linus

    I can attest to the gluten free alternatives reaking havoc. I have celiac disease. I learned about it in June of 2011. Before that, I had cut back on starchy carbs because I was getting hints from my body. My lipid penel levels dropped. My problems from celiac did not stop due to the occasional bread and other sources of gluten that I ate. June 2011 arrives and I learn of my celiac contition. I pretty much followed the dietary guidlines on this website before I was aware if for 6 weeks because I had no knowledge of gluten free alternatives. I felt better than I ever had felt in my adult life. Later, People everywhere started telling me about gluten free alternatives. I started eating them. I still felt fine, but my lipid panel came back abnormal for the first time in 2 years. Increased absorbsion for the first time in life flooded my system with excess carbohydrates. Problems resulted from the starches in my gut. A damaged intestinal system takes time to heal. It cannot break down the polysaccharides (starches) as well as a normal instestinal system. Bacteria takes over the startch breakdown. Bacically I was back to a smaller version of Celiac minus the joint pain. Three months of gluten free alteratives had a profoundly negative effect. Gluten free alternatives are not healthy and they are finacially costly. Since Nov 2011 I have avoided starches, and I feel much better. Every May I go in for a lipid panel. We shall see what tyoes of results are gained.

    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Linus!

      I am shocked that the gluten-free industry has gotten as far as it has, given its false and unhealthy premise.

      Be wheat- and gluten-free, but don’t rely on gluten-free junk carbohydrates that most manufacturers wrongly think are better.

    • Coleen C.

      I too had serious intestinal problems for months after I gave up gluten in Oct. I just figured out what was causing it after eating several GF cookies that I had baked! I seem to do best on the paleo diet (no grains, legumes, diary, etc.).

  30. anthony

    So, where does all this info fit in the context of a person who has a chronic history of acute episodes of pancreatitis?? What is the impact on pancreatic episodes of prominent spikes in insulin response? What are your thoughts about the recommended diets of low carb, low fat diets, where low carbs consists of whole grain breads, melons, bananas, etc.


    • Dr. Davis

      I’m afraid that’s too complex an issue to handle in a blog, Anthony. There are too many variable that can enter the picture that I am not privy to, not having your medical history in front of me.

  31. Lynn B

    I am still confused! I see that brown and wild rice is allowed in limited quantities – does that go that same for Brown or wild rice pasta or are those considered “processed” and should be eaten rarely or never. Thanks

  32. Laurie-Ann

    I have been wheat free for over a month and have been feeling great. The reasons I stopped ratting wheat were, to lose weight, stop my prediabetes, help my high blood sugar and to stop the arthritis pain I have. Actually just get healthier. Anyways, I havent had any cravings into yesterday I was craving Mac and cheese, so I looked in the gluetin free section and found one so I had that for lunch and for dinner I had a gluetin free pizza (small) well I have had the most bloated belly and belly cramps. Do you think it could be fro
    eatting the high carb gluetin free foods? In a month I have not had any gluetin free foods because of what the books says about replacing 1 bad food with another isn’t good. Stupid me for giving into mr cravings. Back to just eatting my veggies, and proteins.

  33. Jill

    Hilarious that you chose to talk about ice-cream and jelly beans. These are my weaknesses, far more so than wheat.

    Thanks for your info

  34. Belly-Billy

    Just stumbled on your stuff yesterday and read enough to convince me to try going wheat-free for one month. Now as I read more, it looks like you’re saying potatoes are bad too? I’ll probably try some of the nut flours you recommend. But are there no starches I can have?

    • Dr. Davis

      This depends on individual carbohydrate sensitivity. See blog posts back several months for discussions.

      Suffice it to say that most people are miserably carbohydrate intolerant, given a lifetime of overexposure.

  35. Gen

    How bad is it to have a few Lite beers? (Not the gluten free ones?) Miller Lite has only 3.2g of carbs, for example.

  36. Hi Dr. Davis!

    I just wanted to give you a quick update, and share a chart that I developed in regards to carbohydrates and protein for various flours. I wasn’t sure where to put it, so this seemed to be as good a place as any! I also posted a link on your FB page for those who might be interested. I do hope that you approve of my analysis of the different flours, as I hold your book and information in the highest regard! If you feel that I should make some changes, please let me know.

    As for an update: 10 weeks in, my husband and I have each lost 20 pounds! That is in addition to no more migraines, joint pain, acid reflux, and even the stubborn IBS seems to be changing for the better! I know my story is not unique, but to someone who has struggled their entire life, it is transformational! The blog I started is a testament to the fact that it is worth it to me to spend my free time trying to educate people and help them with food choices as well. My husband AND teenage son thank me every day for the positive changes that have occurred in our health, and in turn I thank YOU!

    The link to my chart is:

    Take care, and will update again soon, and will start to share some of my recipes as well.
    Gretchen :)

  37. jonathan k

    Ice cream, in its most basic format – just cream, eggs, vanilla extract (ie; Hagaan Dazz Vanilla Bean) – is that allowed on this diet? Sounds silly, but had to ask since all ingredients are on the CAN list.

    thanks again Dr D.

  38. Dawn Yost

    Hi! I am very new at this wheat free diet! So new in fact, I have yet to actually start it, although last night while my family had pasta, I had Quinoa and a boneless, skinless chicken breast and a salad! My dr. just yesterday TOLD me she wants me to get the Wheat Belly book and follow it. I am prediabetic; now for the first time ever, have high blood pressure; I am ALWAYS exhausted (and I have 5 boys to raise), I have been exercising for 4 months 3-5 days a week and lost 0 pounds and during that time is when my blood pressure has gone up!! I hope to get the book soon, I plan to see if our library has it today until I get a chance to buy it. I REALLY hope this is the life changer I’ve been waiting for. I’m tired of being over weight, always tired, having “brain fog”, and just over all never feeling healthy!!

    • James


      If you can, try to adopt a paleo like diet. In general, go low carb and don’t try to count calories, etc. Use good fats and proteins instead. Quinoa is not good as the main course of a meal. It is quite glycemic, its index being close to that of table sugar. Meat, oil, vegetables and nuts / seeds with plenty of water, here is your new basic food.

      Avoid all grains, starchy foods, sugar, even fruits if you can (a little once in a while is OK) and dairy products.

      See what happens when you go low carb, wheat, grain and diary free. It sounds like a lot of limitations but it’s not actually. And you will have no cravings for the stuff you removed from your diet.

      If you do have a sweet tough, i always recommend xylitol as this sugar is the only one that has good health benefits (even for teeth, it helps repairing enamel) as it cannot be fermented by bacteria and does not feed yeast such as candida.

      My wife and I have been on this for 3.5 weeks now: we cannot report anything bad so far, only good consequences (weight loss, better sleep, more energy, no brain fog, better focus, etc).

  39. Dawn Yost

    Thanks for the advice James! Any help that I can get I appreciate at this point!! I haven’t been able to get the book yet, all the library’s copies are out right now so I have to reserve it when it comes back in. So even greek yogurt should be avoided? I’m not a huge dairy person (other than ice cream unfortunately), I do like fruit so that may be hard for me to leave behind. I REALLY want to get healthy so I’ll do what I have to. I’ve really got to get this book to start this journey!!

  40. GinaL

    Quick question… Does this also mean that we should stay away from rice grains and flours, potatoes, corn grain and flours too?? Or is it just the starches we need to avoid? I’m new to all this wheat free, gluten free, healthy eating world since two of my kids have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. One of their favorite meals is rice and beans with corn tortilla chips.