Better living through chemistry

PJ left this comment on the Wheat Belly Blog. What I found interesting is that this thoughtful reader came to similar conclusions by just reading the scientific literature, even before stumbling on Wheat Belly.

I just graduated from college with a degree in Chemistry. For my senior capstone project I decided to delve into the inflammatory response promoted by carbohydrate intake. After a year and a half of sifting through scientific journal after scientific journal, my conclusions became more and more clear. Inflammation is hugely promoted by consumption of bread and wheat products. As I continued my studies, I stumbled across Wheat Belly. I ordered it on my Kindle immediately and began reading. After a few solid days of in depth reading, not only had I finished the book, I was sifting through the referenced journal articles confirming the blanket claims. Beautiful.

There is a reason for all of this background. My mom is diabetic (Type II). I began my research because I wanted something more firm to present to her in defending my reasons for not eating bread or wheat products. This book finally gave me the “reader friendly” version of all the studies I had accumulated.

It was time to initiate a new diet plan for my mom.

I started her on the Wheat Belly diet program approximately two weeks before my graduation day. Now (three weeks later), she has dropped 10 pounds!!!

This is HUGE! My mom has struggled with weight loss for YEARS and now she has finally seen that the things I am telling her are true. Not only is she losing weight, she’s starting to feel better!

Her love for sweets has also been cured. I got onto the website and weekly I make her something from the sweets recipes. She loves cheesecake, so I have made her two! It is perfect for when she has the craving, she has something she can quickly grab without having to wonder whether or not she can “cheat.”

Dr. Davis, I want to thank you. These changes I truly believe are just the beginning to a whole new transformation for my mom! I have been looking into to attending MD or DO school in hopes of promoting similar changes on a larger scale. The only thing holding me back is what you had mentioned: I don’t want to be taught curriculum coinciding with whole grain consumption. I want TRUE nutrition as what you have researched in the book you had written.

Thank you again for creating awareness and above all . . . citing your sources!!!

PJ left this recent update: Her blood pressure has dropped from a whopping 159/90 to
112/76!! (I just took it today.)

PJ came to similar conclusions, reading much of the same medical and scientific literature: The data already exist. The health destructiveness of a diet based on grains is lost on the majority who never look beyond the “whole grain products are healthier than white flour products” line of thinking.

PJ and his Mom are also learning that the occasional craving can be satisfied without consequence by using the recipes for cheesecake, muffins, and cookies. Having a slice–or two or three–of the cheesecake, for instance, created with non-wheat, non-sugar ingredients allows you to indulge but without 1) stimulation of appetite, 2) high blood sugar, 3) high blood triglycerides, 4) triggering formation of small LDL particles, 5) weight gain.

We need young people like PJ who are willing to question and explore conventional notions of nutrition and health, peeling back the dictates often created by marketing, unclear thinking, and “research” funded by sources with hidden agendas (specifically Big Pharma and Big Food).

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Comments & Feedback...

    • Rong

      Yes, those 30 years I spend on a low fat diet getting fat, high cholesterol, type II diabetes and in constant hunger were the ABSOLUTELY best diet for me. This silly low carb grain free diet I am now on that has reduced my weight by 30+ pounds to my high school weight (I’m 68), lowered my cholesterol to rock bottom, nearly eliminated my type II diabetes and completely removed my constant hunger is killing me.

      What a stupid, science devoid exercise that video was. If the facts aren’t on your side, appeal to emotion.

      • Rong

        And another thing… Dr Atkins, in the video, is said to have died of a heart attack and 60 lbs. overweight. He died of complication of head trauma from a fall on the ice. His heart problems two years earlier were caused by infection of the heart according to his cardiologist. But of course, the facts shouldn’t be allowed to confuse you if you are a vegan.

  1. Yea PJ and so happy your mom listened to you . I hope you do go on to become an MD or DO so you can reach more people. Wish you well.

    • Piper

      Thank you Anne!!
      I really appreciate that!

      Unfortunately the update on my mom is that she has decided to go back to grain. After seeing all the positive effects, she just… Doesn’t care.

      It’s sad because she is and always has been, such an influential woman in my life and it is hard to watch her fall off the wagon again and again.

      She was doing great! But, my dad isn’t one to change his diet what-so-ever and feels my efforts are far beyond ridiculous (he makes this very well known). His support therefore, is non-existant. So. Instead of having everyone around her helping supplement her efforts, she gets pushed back into the same routines via constant criticism.

      Which makes me wonder – Dr. Davis,
      How do we reach people like my dad? He is incredibly hard-headed, have hypertension and has decided on his own that… He’s perfectly fine.

      When obviously, he is not.

      • Dr. Davis

        I fear you cannot, Piper.

        I won’t pretend to perform psychoanalysis over a blog post, but there are surely internal struggles that allow such irrational behavior.

        Do what you can with those who are willing to listen. Let the others follow in their time. I believe that is all you and I can do.

        • Piper

          Thank you Dr. Davis.
          I really appreciate your insight into the situation.

          I’ve turned a close friend onto the diet and she has decided she will start the 1st of September. I’m excited to see her efforts.

          Also – I just watched a “Modern Marvels” episode on curing bacon..
          Wow.
          They use over 100 needles filled with:
          Sodium Erythrobate
          Sodium Nitrates
          Sugar

          and other stuff. It was terrible.

          People eat so much bacon, but aside from the labeled chemical toxins.. Sugar resides right there as well! To think – lunch meat used to be my “go to” protein source.
          Now? I opt for peanut butter.

  2. Susan

    Dr. Davis,
    Do you know of any educational paths that would help pursue this line of scientific inquiry and discovery?
    Thanks,
    Susan

    • Dr. Davis

      I wouldn’t have said this just a couple of years ago, but I believe the naturopathic community are emerging as champions of health and nutrition.

      Having come to know several over the last 2 years, I have been thoroughly impressed with their sophistication in nutrition. As a group, they tend to know far more than the majority of my colleagues.

      • JillOz

        Dr D, I saw a naturopath years ago and it was one of the best things I ever did for my health – physically anyway..
        You still need to know enough to choose a good practitioner though, just like doctors, dentists etc.

      • Connie Miller

        I saw my naturopath for the first time in November 2011 at about the same time I read “Wheat Belly” and between the two, my life is totally changing. Without the wheat I have had major changes in my digestive issues, edema, heart palpitations, joint pain, headaches and skin irritation and rashes. My BP is down to 117/84 and I have lost 31 pounds. I still have several issues to deal with, but eliminating the wheat “uncovered” them so that Dr. Perkins could identify and treat them. We have just succesfully treat the leaky gut syndrome that I didn’t even know I had, and are currently working on my adrenals. Seeing a naturopath is probably the best decision I have ever made because she is eliminating the cause of my health issues, not giving me pills to treat the symtoms. It’s expensive but so worth the money because I figure this will save me so much more in the future when I am perfectly healthy and don’t need to be taking the handful of pills 3 times a day like my parents. I have also gotten my sister to go to the naturopath too, and between Dr. P and myself have convinced her to become wheat free too. She is off her blood pressure meds that she has been taking for years.
        Thank you Dr. Davis. Without “Wheat Belly” I’m not sure I would have taken the giant step to go to the naturopath to begin with, but after reading the book I realized I needed someone who could guide me out of the mess my health was in.
        Blessings,
        Connie

        • Dr. Davis

          That’s wonderful, Connie!

          Yes, I have been having great experiences with the naturopaths in my area. They seem to be a lot more open minded than my colleauges and seem to be achieving very nice results in multiple conditions that have been neglected or failed by conventional approaches.

  3. JillOz

    Ah, i think I had better begin making some of the ‘sweets” here. That’s where I’ve been falling down….:)

  4. Ok, Dr. Davis, I have a question for you that I have been meaning to ask since the cruise. Suppose all (or even a large majority) of the folks in the US suddenly stopped eating wheat, sugar, and trans-fats, and started eating real food… and, as a result, got slimmer, healthier, and happier… What would you do for a living, then?

    • Boundless

      Why, of course, the good doctor would become one of the judges on the Iron Belly cooking show.

    • Amanda

      Howard that is a dream, a beautiful dream, I work in a hospital and I have been talking to my peers about all this for a while, most people are so addicted to bad food as some are addicted to drugs and alcohol, they will never change.
      I think wheat affects the brain in a way that they are slaves to it. The other problem is that nobody wants to cook anymore, have you seen the food served in hospitals? It is worse than fast food!
      I told my husband that if I ever go to a hospital I would starve because I am not even going to touch it. He said don’t worry I will bring you some real food. I just hope we can do that if we ever go to a hospital.

      • Neicee

        Thank you Amanda for telling the truth when very few working in hospitals do. I too live in fear of being there. Told my hubby that I guess I’d have to lie and tell them I’m celiac….gluten intolerant, but never tested for celiacs.

        My sister passed some weeks ago now in a hospital in Oregon. I looked at her food tray and gagged. Toast, bagels, and assorted cereals. Then, eggs or whatever the product mimicked, applesauce so sweet even a carb lover like she was grimaced.

        • Cher Turvey

          I am so sorry to hear about your sister Neicee. Amanda, I recently had to leave the job on the floor that I loved. My Dr. told me that I had to find another area of nursing to work because I never could get well enough while working there. I even deveolped respiratory issues while working there. But I do have to say that the food was good. I rarely ate any wheat, but the veggies were to die for…no pun intended there,

      • Roger

        Amanda,
        I am a Substance Abuse Addicitons Counselor, and have been doing this type of work for over 30 years, at different capacities.

        I have worked with people that have meatal and physical problems–and have had to reamin silent, as people with more advanced degrees have ill heath, due to shoveling crap down their pie-holes. Some of the Professionals looked as bad or worse, compared to their patients.

        Addiction is Addiction is Addiction–as I am familiar with other types of addictons, though I do not claim to specialze–most people I know, that are specializing in other areas, say essentially the exact same thing I do. What burns me, is that I never made the connection, beteen my own food addcitons and cravings–before Wheat Belly.

        So what if all ate as Dr. Davis suggests–and if all crimes went away, Lawyers, Judges and Police would find something else to do–my response to Howard’s post. If sin went away tommorow, Ministers that preach against sin (as defned by overt, behavior-based actions) they would be out of a job . . . ha, ha, ha–TEE HEE HEEEeeeeeeeee.

        Human Nature is Human Nature–and no one is going to be perfect, all the time, in every way, in every circumstance. Long Term State Highway Patrolmen will tell you, that, if they follow anybody, long enough, they will see a violation!

        Dr. Davis, keep it up! You have saved my mind, and, if the truth was told, you also saved my body, as I was losing both.

        The only way I can thank you is with my continuing good health–and my willingness to tell others. Even if they think me crazy, no one that sees me, can deny that this 50 year old, looks better than most, half my age.

        Roger, OHIO

    • Dr. Davis

      That would be good, right, Howard?

      I’m not worrying about it. We have a long hill to climb to spread this message. It will easily occupy us for many, many years!

  5. Uncle Roscoe

    Our current expanding drain on the healthcare system largely springs from a push and a pull. The FDA, Dept of Agriculture and big pharma have pushed Americans into eating wheat, sugar and other harmful carbohydrates. Our healthcare system has pushed us into relying on constant medical treatment to keep us alive on this diet …….unhealthily alive.

    Our reliance on these sugars and proteins has pulled us into both addiction and declining health. The addiction has blinded Americans to the facts. We have the ability to get ourselves out of this morass. With increasing frequency the level of healthcare which many Americans have been sliding into will no longer be either affordable or available. The option of continued health maintenance to support our hazardous diets will be squeezed out of existence.

    The writing is on the wall. The government won’t get sick when it makes money saving choices. Patients will. People need to start paying attention to Wheat Belly, and to diet gurus like Drs. Davis and Kruse.

    • Dr. Davis

      Thank you, Uncle.

      What bothers me is how many of the people from within the agencies pushing the grain agenda actually understand how destructive this advice really is? I suppose it’s one thing if they are simply ignorant. It would be an entirely different thing if they understood the harm they were inflicting, yet sticking to this agenda for other motivations (build the economy, support exportation, golf buddies with the CFO of Big Food).

  6. Connie Teague

    Dr. Davis, I would like further information about your reason for saying that we should not eat raw peanuts. I understand that they are a legume, but why not eat them raw?

    • Dr. Davis

      Because they are actually potentially poisonous when raw due to the aflatoxin, disabled by heating.

      • Lisa

        Dr. Davis,
        What about peas, then?
        I like to eat them raw – out in the garden.
        They would be better cooked, too?
        And green beans – some say we shouldn’t eat any beans.
        In the past I’ve canned many jars of green beans every year.
        I’m wondering if we shouldn’t have a few fresh and sell the rest at the Farmer’s Market.
        Do you know if we should eat peas and beans?
        Thanks, Lisa

        • Dr. Davis

          I believe you are good with the green beans. The peas, however, are richer in carbohydrates and potentially expose you to excessive carbohydrates effects. Keep portion sizes small, e.g., no more than 1/2 cup cooked.

  7. Peggy Holloway

    I’m glad your mother is doing so well, However, be aware that those of us with sufficient insulin resistance to have the chronic high blood sugar condition called “Type II Diabetes” are very sensitive to sweets. An occasional treat is OK (I posted recently that I made the Wheat Belly coconut flour cupcakes for my daughter’s wedding reception), but eating sweets, even those with “acceptable” artificial sweeteners, on a regular basis should be discouraged. Just say no – and the cravings will decrease. I know that I have insulin swings from anything that tastes sweet, and even had a major spike/crash the first time I drank a stevia-sweetened soda. I believe that the sweet taste triggers an insulin release and it is high insulin levels that cause inflammation and fat storage. So, be cautious with the cheesecake, muffins, and cookies.

    • Amanda

      Peggy that is a fact, is like an alcoholic drinking alcohol free beer, its a waste of time, money and missing the opportunity to eat antioxidant loaded food.

  8. JoAnne

    As we’re on the topic, I have some questions that I haven’t been able to find answers to by reading older posts on the blog…I know chia seeds are good, but what kind? The black or the white chia seeds? And regarding coconut oil — there are so many kinds: Virgin, extra virgin, refined, unrefined, cold-pressed, no hexane, expellar pressed.., etc. Which coconut oil is the healthiest one to use? I’d appreciate any answers. Thanks everyone!

    • Dr. Davis

      I don’t believe that there are big differences in the varieties of chia, at least from a nutritional viewpoint. I’ve only cooked with the black and it was a bit odd. Better, I think, as pudding and as a minor part of baking, rather than the primary flour.

      Beyond trying to stay organic and expeller-pressed, I’m not aware of any big issues with coconut oil. If you learn otherwise, please come back and educate us!

  9. Roger

    JoAnne,
    Look up Dr. Mary Enig, if she is still alive, as she is a major player in the fats issues, especially the Soy Vs. Co Co Nut issues of the early 1980’s. I have most of her books, and many publications from her–and have ferreted out many other learned peoples, on the subject of heatly fats, as most of my Service Connected Disibilites are of a neurological nature (multi-body Trauma)–which involves the Brain, Central Nervous System and Spinal Cord.

    Also, you may want to look up Aspartame–and its effects on turning the brain and Central Nervous System into Swiss Cheeze. Love the man and the packed FDA that approved this, as there is no place in Hell that I think is good enough for these vermin. I mix Aspartame with warm water and a little honey–to kill ants, as nothing else I have ever tried, works. My wife and I are still not over the initial shock, that happend to the ants. The ant is complex, to include the Brain/Central Nervous System–on a small scale.

    Moreover, Tropical Traditions has excellent products, minnimally refined, from Asian countries, much the same way, for milinia.

    I consume more healthy fats, since reading on this issue, years ago–and the only missing link, to my health was Wheat Belly, a Flyer in the mail–as, at first, I thought it was talking of Genetic Modified Soy! I was already convinced that Genetic Modified Soy was from the pitts of Hell, but I was not aware that Genetic Modified Wheat was from sub-hell, and is worse than soy, worse than I could imagine!

    I could get into details, but the sites and the ref. to Dr. Enig–is a great start for, not only the heatlh of your mind, but for the health of your body–as this has been a life long education. Since I was in my late teens, and Body Builder Mags. had nutritional Info. I was a sickly, uncooridinated child–and was convinced of proper nutrition–but, the Mags. pushed expensive wheat-based products. I had no idea the health that many talked of, also used roids, as many died horrid, untimly deaths.I did not get into roids–thank God.

    Through the years, I have had to mondify my thinking, as most of my assumptions were from Govt. experts–and other experts that Parroted experts–about Heart Healthy Whole Wheat and Wheat Products.

    I am not a big fan of placing Govt. within Ten Thousand Miles of anything that has to do with health. Some of my relaitves were on a Govt. program a few years ago, marked for Sterilization–and, bofore that, some were hunted down for exterminaiton. Gotta keep the Dominate Race free of contamination, so goes early Eugenics. Its a Native American Indian thing,

    I will, if called again, defend my Nation and People, but that does not mean that I have to love or trust the Govt.

    I guess Genetic Modified Wheat can exterminate all peoples, equally. Even so, I wish to opt out of this program–as Govt. and Experts have lost my vote of confidence. Any Expert that pushes Snake Oil my way, making claims? Easy. YOU drink it.

    I hope this helps.

    Roger, OHIO

    • JoAnne

      Yes, Roger, it helps. Thanks! I like reading everyone’s posts. By sharing our experiences we are able to help others too.

  10. Roger

    In many ways, this post is a dream come true.

    Many Real Experts, that have loved ones, or, want to see the human condition improve–will get on board with Dr. Davis.

    It is a trueism, when we help others, we help our selves, when we put the screws to others, we may reap what we sew.

    How much Aspartame and Wheat products can these “Snake Oil Peddlers,” (my term for Experts) consume of their own products–to include their childern–I do not know. If these Experts choose to do so, that is their choice–I chose no to!

    No person I know of, or ever heard of, wants to see somone they love, have invested emotional time, and cares about, wants to see them in a world of suffering and pain. Hitler, himself, so loved the Jewish Dr. that cared for his mother, he protected him–as he did, in fact, love his mother.

    Based on what I know of Human Nature–some of the postives, I can see that many more will get on board with Dr. Davis, as many will see the Wheat Titanic inch ever closer to the Wheat Stack, just ahead.

    Roger, OHIO

  11. Bee J

    I have been reading this site for about 3 weeks now, and find it very interesting. I thank you all for your comments.

    I am in my 70’s, a survivor of a drunk hitting a truck I was riding in — pelvis broken in 4 places, right hip crushed, left ankle crushed, and lower left leg broken in 3 places below the knee. Spent over 5 months in the hospital, and when I left none of the docs thought I would ever walk again.

    For over 26 years I walked in pain so great I had to mentally learn to swim above it to survive. I am not one who can take pain pills and operate mentally.

    Since getting off wheat and most all sugar, I am virtually pain free!

    I have noticed things that no one has mentioned here. I have a couple of fungal toenails. Since I got off wheat, they no longer hurt and are growing longer instead of thickening. I have had one for almost 10 years.

    For years instead of dark hairs sprouting on my chin, I had white hairs sprout, that were infected from inception.
    They stopped appearing. It was so bad that by the time I got home form work, my chin would be one painful area, all red and swollen.

    I also had places on my face that my Mom used to call tallow bumps — like a hard pimple under the skin. They have disappeared.

    The darkish hairs above my lip and any other hairs above my lip, are disappearing also.

    Had places near the corner of my eyes that looked like scars that appeared a few years ago and were growing in size — not sure what they are — that are also disappearing.

    Now, I have only lost about 6#’s, so I must have some undiscovered wheat still in my diet. But, I can breath deeper, walk further, and just feel good all around! Just found this morning that there is cornstarch in my fluid pill.

    I find all of these things happening to me so amazing!

    Thanks Dr. Davis for bringing this to light. And I also thank all you who have shared a testimony here.

    • Dr. Davis

      Wow, Bee, a very unique experience!

      I find it especially interesting about the pain relief from your old injuries. What is it about wheat that triggers this particular variety of pain and inflammation? I don’t know, but we’ve now heard similar stories a good number of times.

      Keep it going!

      • Uncle Roscoe

        I believe the pain comes from a progression of chemistry. First wheat causes zonulin release and small intestine permeability. The permeability cuts short digestion of proteins into adenosine.

        Normally complete digestion fills the blood with adenosine. The added adenosine boosts the liver’s metabolism rate, and causes it to stop producing bile acid and start producing choline and cholinesterase. The cholinesterase neutralizes and absorbs bile acid in the intestine. The choline goes to replenish choline at the junctures of nerve neurons. At nerve junctures acetylcholine facilitates nerve impulses, then choline stifles the impulses. So a shortage of choline causes heightened nerve activity.

        Offshoots from this pathway happen along bile acid and adenosine pathways. The liver’s delay in switching from bile production to cholinesterase production causes bile acid to permeate the lower intestine and cause damage. Adenosine is the body’s quell-er of inflammation. The wheat-caused shortage of adenosine causes inflammation all over the body, and is in large part responsible for the cascade of inflammatory cytokines seen in people with autoimmune and metabolic diseases.

  12. Lynda (FL)

    I have a very elderly friend currently in the hospital. While visiting her, I have noticed several things; one, I was one of the only two people in the building who was within their weight catagory and two, they are really pushing my friend to eat grains. Of couse, they can’t get her sugar level under control either. She keeps telling them she eats meat, vegetables and fruit and they bring her cereal, muffins, etc. It’s pathetic and borderline criminal.

    • Cece4184

      My good friend is a dietician and said that the rehab nursing home she works in couldn’t accommodate an injured man with celiac disease! He had to have his relatives bring in GF foods! (She doesn’t “believe” in the whole gluten intolerance “fad” and only believes celiacs should stay away from wheat/gluten and doesn’t think it has any effect on her Crohn’s. Meanwhile she eats wheat at every meal I’ve eaten with her and is on chemo drugs for the Crohn’s.)

  13. Mike

    Dr. Davis, one question I always have is whether you would support moderate (i.e., as with current rice/potato recommendations) consumption of wheat if some of the older strains were planted and harvested?

    • Dr. Davis

      I would not personally eat it nor encourage anyone in my family to eat it.

      At the very least, perhaps we could view older strains of wheat like millet or oats: No opiate effects, perhaps a less harmful lectin, but blood sugars and small LDL triggering, along with visceral fat accumulation, would still be issues.

  14. Piper

    To update on the chemistry – this is PJ by the way – I’ve just decided initials aren’t necessary.

    Anyways, during my chemistry presentation for the finally of my bachelors we presented posters… Mine titled:

    Sugar: It’s Swell
    (Ha! Get it?! It’s the key cause of inflammation!!)

    During the procession of the individuals walking through the isles and asking questions… People would look at my poster, stop, read a little bit of it and then turn away. It was like they weren’t ready to accept the fact sugar was not good for them.
    A young woman however, did stop. She read the entirety of the findings and then started asking me questions. She was a pre-nursing student and she said she had struggled with weight issues for years. I gave her the information I had personally found in my research and then directed her toward your book, she ordered it immediately off of Amazon via her cool high-tech phone! I was so excited!

    She looked at me and said, I cannot wait to try this! :)

    You’re moving the masses Dr. Davis. It’s appreciated in all realms of the scientific world!

    (PS I’m taking that MCAT in a week and two days… Hopefully more schools will allow this train of though to blossom to the public in it’s healthful and inspiring way!)

    • Dr. Davis

      Ah, PJ: A potential open-minded future colleague? Imagine that!

      And a very clever title to your poster!