I’ll bet you pride yourself on living a pretty clean life.

It’s doubtful that I’d stumble on you in some alley, track marks up your arms, lying in a puddle of your own urine, unconscious from a night of shooting up heroin, snorting coke, or smoking crack. And you probably have all or most of your teeth, unlike the toothless addicts on methamphetamine.

Perhaps you even avoid or minimize your use of the softer recreational drugs in cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. You likely adhere to healthy practices and keep such indulgences to a minimum.

The truth is that you’ve been doping it up for most of your life. You’ve been doping it up with an opiate, not unlike heroin, Oxycontin, or morphine. You’ve been doping it up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. No tracks, no toothlessness, no pee stains on your trousers, no cardboard sign reading “I’m homeless and need help” . . . but you’ve still been doping it up.

You’ve been cleverly disguising your opiate of choice as muffins, bagels, breakfast cereals, and sandwiches. As with many of the dark and fascinating hidden issues surrounding modern wheat, this is the effect of the gliadin protein of wheat.

Gliadin is digested via stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes to a collection of polypeptides (small proteins) called exorphins, or exogenously-derived morphine-like compounds. The message to take from the research is quite clear: Wheat-derived exorphins bind to the opiate receptors of the brain (the delta class of opiate receptors, for you neuroscience people). Different wheat exorphins, such as the A5 fraction, differ in their binding potency, but as a whole, the wheat exorphins exert an opiate-like effect.

For unclear reasons, wheat exorphins do not provide relief from pain, nor the “high” of other opiates. They “only” cause addictive behavior and appetite stimulation. People who consume wheat increase calorie consumption by around 440 calories per day, every day.

Just as the tobacco industry doped their cigarettes for years with added nicotine to increase addictive potential, so Big Food has likewise been doping their foods by adding wheat to every conceivable processed food. Wheat is in nearly all breakfast cereals, granola bars, canned tomato soup, powdered instant soups, taco seasoning, and licorice. Show me a processed food product and I’ll show you something that contains wheat.

Just as the sleazy drug dealer selling you your next hit of crack or heroin profits from your continued addiction, so Big Food acts as your opiate dealer in the wheat exorphin world of addiction. And, just as the drug dealer knows you will be back, else you will suffer withdrawal, sweating, hallucinating, finally begging for your next hit, so Big Food knows you will be back within hours as you begin the exorphin withdrawal process—tremulous, cranky, and foggy . . . until you get your next hit of a bite of pretzel or bread.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. 11 months wheat free = 111 pounds lost, no wheat belly, excellent sleep and tons of energy for exercise! I’m so glad I’m not doped up anymore!

  2. I saw this new post in my news feed this morning, and I thought OOOH another Dr. Davis post I can share! Until I read…
    “…no cardboard sign reading “I’m homeless and need help..”
    Love your book, love your work, love your message, love how I am feeling, now wheatless for 10 weeks, and this line won’t keep me from your blog, but your point was made nicely about addiction without including this statement that, when read in context, reads “homeless people = addicts.” In the current economic clime, many are just one job loss, medical emergency or natural disaster away from becoming homeless, and this kind of flip association only increases heartache and stigma. I don’t mean to nitpick, I just really want to share this post and this line makes me hesitate. Thanks for reading my note – back to your regularly scheduled awesomeness. :)

  3. After reading your book and your blog posts, I really wish I hadn’t given up wheat three years ago! If I hadn’t, I could give it up now for a better reason than it just being high carb. Needless to say, your research and point of view are compelling. Even though I gave up wheat, in the past three years I have had it as birthday cakes, Christmas cookies and at other special occasions. But after listening to you, I’m not going to have it at all. Ever. Thanks!

  4. Olivia

    That is why I haven’t eaten wheat or gluten for 5 months! (and have NO plans on eating it again). I don’t miss it at all.

  5. Margo J. Kipps

    While I have found it very easy to give up wheat, convincing others of your point of view could be enhanced if you– like Dr. Fuhrman on the opposite side of this argument, would give some scientific sources. Perhaps my “addiction” is affecting my believe-whatever-someone-says center, but I need the science.

    • Read

      I’m really glad not to have a book/audio/kindle with all the scientifics, preferring to feel the difference first hand, and be a living example of health and well-being, people can believe it or not. This is yhe biggest dose of – now obvious – truth I’ve had regarding hralth, and I work in hospitals seeing the victims of the modern day diet and diet advice, coupled with the medical industry ever so willing to cut something out and administer drugs, if you have private health cover especially. This book will be a game changer in society for anyone willing to read it. I want to display bumper stickers of Wheat Belly book cover, for my bicycle ;D, or to have book cover stickers to put in strategic places. My aim right now is to convert just one nurse in each of the various departments of the hospital I am working at, but first to have them notice my decreased weight and enhanced appearance as I lose the last of my 50 pounds.

  6. Janne

    For years I worked for an Aboriginal social service agency, developing programs for addictions, diabetes, healthy living, mental health. We ran a tight ship in terms of sobriety with zero tolerance for using. But at every gathering (and there were many every week), staff fell like vultures on fry bread, donuts, cakes, buns and bread, wraps and cookies.

    We ran AA meetings that were centered around cake! I managed to ‘convert’ staff to whole grains, but still our clients (and staff) stayed fat and presented with a host of ailments.

    We brought in an expert in traditional Aboriginal foods, Dr. Jay Wortman who studied diabetes in a remote community to explain that grains including wheat did not belong in a healthy diet and had the data to prove it. As soon as he left that community and the people went back to the SAD, all the benefits were for naught.

    It’s all very sad.

    • Rong

      The list of cultures where high fat diets dominated and grains and wheat in particular were nonexistent is long. That same list is also devoid of heart disease and diabetes. Coincidence? I don’t think so and that too is very sad. Our wheat dominated culture is overwhelming them one by one.

  7. Rong

    The sun rises, the sun sets. Packaged food producers absolutely know the addictive qualities of wheat. It is GREATLY in their own financial self interest and so it is hidden under four or five different names on the list of package ingredients.

    Best advice to avoid reading virtually unreadable lists of ingredients and trying to cipher what is wheat and what is not, give up packaged foods in favor of real meats, cheeses, eggs, vegetables and fruits.

    • kelly

      They put it in shampoo, lotion, make up, toothpaste, dogfood,horse feed, perscription medicines……
      Its a conspericy.

  8. Esme

    When I stopped eating wheat – it was before I read Wheat Belly – I was surprised that, after a week or so, I stopped wanting to eat when I still had food in my stomach. I stopped wanting evening snacks. I lost the urge to constant munching. After a couple weeks, I was amazed when I started to know when I was full from eating a meal. omg – I’ve never known that in my life! Not even as a child. I’m 65 now. Better late than never!

  9. Steven Tanner

    Not sure if it’s a result of being off wheat for 6 weeks or just a shift in habits, but I’ve also noticed way less cravings for sugar in general — and when I do have something sweet (dark chocolate, fresh fruit, ice cream, etc.), I find the experience nearly overwhelming, and must have smaller portions than I used to have.

    I feel very similar being off wheat as I did after I finally kicked tobacco/nicotine. It’s so liberating, and you’ll find that the nostalgia you once had for cake and cookies will seem quite trivial in comparison to your newfound health.

    • Dr. Davis

      Well said, Steven.

      Yes, the addictions overlap in many ways. Alcohol/opiates/wheat–they share similar brain effects, overlap in activating brain receptors.

      • Roger

        Tooooooooooooo Bad YOU cannot write that response in the sky, in Permanent INK! Dr. Davis!

        Roger, OHIO

  10. Hopefully this analogy to a hard core drug addiction will open the eyes of some of the uninformed out there. I really like your approach to awakening the American public. Keep it up. I linked this article to my website and blog. We all need to spread the word.

  11. DanT

    Old “Lays Potato Chip” slogan. “Betcha can’t eat just one!”

    How many times have you seen someone eating a bag of some type of chip and commenting “these things are addicting”!

  12. Kelly

    Dr. you are right on! I believe I am finally waking up after being wheat free for 11 days – I feel like I can finally think and calm down and be rational. I am generally pretty anti-social, a home-body, and not on the social networking scene. In my mind I’ve always been considered a bit strange by other people. For instance being constantly misunderstood and I can’t help it but when I’m nervous I smile – not a cheshire cat smile but just a lil grin and I don’t even realize it. Anyway, now when I go out people are rushing around like crazy acting like morons now I know why. Now when I’m dealing with the craziness in this world I have waaaaay more patience with them as I know they don’t know what they are doing.

    I would consider voting for any civil servant who happens to be wheat/grain free regardless of their party. In fact maybe it should be a requirment for anyone wanting to run goverment. Just a thought. With one exception I won’t vote for a socialist president wf or not.

    I would like to form a club that the only requirment for joining is being free of “healthy whole grains”.

    My husband has also been elimating the evil wheat from his diet and he tell’s me his back ache has disappeared and the has less muscle pain in general, like 20 – 30 %. That huge since it’s only been such a short amount of time. Before we were freed from wheat he had sleep apnea but lately I’ve noticed he is breathing normally when he falls asleep – snoring to beat the band but it doesn’t bother me cause I now at least he’s breathing normally.

    I also need to share this – I read in another post how a blogger was getting thoughts of crossing the yellow line when driving especially when it was a big rig approaching. I also was having these thoughts but thankfully didn’t listen to that demon in my head. I never really shared that with anyone cause its so shamefull.

    Now I know it’s not my fault , it’s not your fault, as our good Dr. tells us and it’s true. I am so thankfful to be waking up from a “fog” I didn’t even know I was in.

    I propose we form a club that the only requirment be that your body is wheat/grain free. I really am starting to feel anger and an increasing need to tell the world and help free everyone from this scrouge that I call only describe as evil in it’s insideous form.

    Kelly – WA

    • Dr. Davis

      Ah, Kelly: Welcome to the world of wheatlessness!

      As you have learned, it’s almost as if we have insights into health and life that the wheat-consuming do not!

    • Rong

      Not that my approval counts, but I am pretty sure that Dr. Davis would say NO! I would say HELL NO! This is the additive’s description:

      “It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spraydried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy.”

      A starch that absorbs as quickly as glucose? Why not just have a Snickers bar it’s healthier. Or, at least less unhealthy.

    • Aerobic1

      Sugar, by any other name, or in any other form, is still sugar. Maltodextrin is a long chain carbohydrate that theoretically takes a little longer to metabolize than table sugar and supposedly results in a lower blood glucose spike. It will still raise BG and release insulin into your bloodstream. Get a blood glucose meter and see for yourself. Best bet is to avoid all foods with maltodextrin.

      • Roger

        Though old, it is not out-dated!

        I suggest Sugar Blues, by a man named Dufty.

        I have other books, studies etc. and know of massive studies, worthy of reading, but Mr. Dufty was a victim, and used his writing and re-search skills, to write a masterful book, quoted and revered by top ed. people of many disciplines.

        Also, the late Jack LaLanne has a timeless perspective on Table Sugar–as his take was bizzzzzzzzzzare, but, now well grounded in current data. A man way ahead of his time!

        That book by Dufty, dove-tails with Wheat Belly.

        This post and like sections in Wheat Belly, are burned into my mind, and are such a part of me, that I will never forget! Could not help but remember Sugar Blues, written by a non-scientist, when I read parts of Wheat Belly, written by a Scientist!

        Modern Wheat is a DRUG! Are YOU on Drugs?

        Roger, OHIO

  13. Tom Marks

    Been WHEATFREE since memorial day… My morning blood sugar was in the 120’s taking metformin.

    my Fasting Blood Sugar this morning was 84 which I believe is normal… Going to the doctor in a week to see if I can get off or reduce the metformin.

    Making Lasagna today and instead of pasta noodles will be using Zucchini strips as lasagna noodles.

    I am going to build a statue of Dr. Davis and place it in my yard.

    By the way, thanks for 12 lb weight loss as well… plan on getting in my skinny jeans by my birthday in two months..
    A most thankful patient and ardent follower.

    • Dr. Davis

      Ha, ha, Tom!

      Surely you could use a more attractive lawn ornament!

      And very nice on the blood sugar.

    • Dr. Davis

      I don’t believe anyone knows, but they may also participate in emotion and appetite effects that help in survival. They just happen to also rect with these opioid compounds.

    • allisonk

      My theory….
      When you are a hunter/gatherer and come across a small patch of wheat/seeds etc… you’re supposed to pig out and store up for famine. Therefore, the people that did pig out survived and passed on the opiate receptive genes.

  14. Sara

    I am a 23 year old female. I am 5’3″ and 117 pounds and very healthy. I work out 4-5 times a week and I eat according to my blood type (o) which means no wheat, potatoes, etc. it’s very similar to this philosophy. I always knew that bread and pasta made me feel super bloated and sick. I started eating less and less wheat and then i found the blood type diet and everything seemed to make sense. I’ve been eating according to my blood type for about two years now. I have always had a little belly as a kid. Even after giving up wheat, I still have a significant amount of fat in my belly. Keep in mind, I am very athletic and muscular except for my mid section. Whenever I talk to the doctor about it, he seems to shrug it off and say that it must be stress? I gave up wheat but I see no changes in my mid section! Could this be from eating wheat my entire childhood and college life? Do I literally have a wheat belly that has haunted me from my childhood? It’s very discouraging and makes me want to eat wheat knowing that there won’t be any changes in my abs!

    • Neicee

      Dr. Davis would have to have the last say on this, but I’m one that had just a tiny little pooch – but since giving up the holy trinity of rice/potatoes/corn….it’s gone. To wake up and feel your pelvis bones and a flat tummy is beyond good.

    • Roger


      I am on my way to looking like I did, when I was 20.

      The best part will not be my abs, it will be the life-long things I do not have, since I was born!
      The powerful abs I have spent years to build, will finaly be stipped of their wheat-belly vaneer, as this 50 year old will not look like 50!

      Sara, hang in there, for your body will adjust and you will consume the unspent carbs around your mid-section, and you will have the cool look and confindence you desire! You could consult an N.D. about possible insuline sensitivity, about some types of foods you may not know about, but the M.D. is correct about the cortisol/stress factor, and belly fat. He or She is not necessiarliy right, in all cases.

      One cannot spot-reduce–as your body will flatten and tone up, the more you stay away from wheat and other type sugars. My wife lost very little weight, but her body flattend up, and she looks great!

      Not many know or understand eating according to blood type, as you do, but, if you keep at the discipline, you wil have the thin-skin, toned look you desire!

      Just do not dehydrate your self to do this! Water is essential to good all around good health, and fat metabolism.

      Roger, OHIO

  15. Uncle Roscoe

    It would be easy to dismiss the opiate qualities of wheat, and say, “So what. I like the high.” …..except for its physical effects.

    Exhorphin opiates affect us because they mimic our own body-produced opiates. The body uses its opiates for pain relief and for producing a feeling of euphoria. But the body also uses its opiates as chemical signaling devices. When we consume wheat opiates they induce unpredictable responses when there are no stimuli, and block responses when there are stimuli.

    Wheat opiates interfere with the body’s basic chemical operation. They produce DEVASTATING health effects.

  16. Alan Moore

    I am wheat free five months now. Last month a friend cooked pancakes for me, I felt too polite to decline and suffered with bloat and tiredness for two days, plus resurgence of aches and pains. Will refuse in future.
    Another thing: has anyone taken a Calcium- Magnesium supplement and been bothered by muscle cramp?
    Seems when I take mine, it causes awful arthritis in my hands.

    • Neicee

      Alan, all I did to get rid of the leg cramps (oddly, even my toes and arm muscles cramped) was to increase my sodium and yes, a magnesium supplement. Course, this was after reading the current hoopla about calcium increasing a woman’s chances of heart problems. So far, so good.

      Like so many millions of us, I’d been raised to think all fat is bad, never add salt to anything, and live in dread. Dang, I didn’t remember how good food could taste with enough sodium, spices, herbs, and a good splash of olive oil.

    • Jackie

      Alan, Try taking only magnesium as it helps reduce cramping. I read somewhere that calcium and magnesium need to be taken separately as they affect each other’s absorption.

    • Roger


      Check with an N.D. on dosage, for Magnesium, Sea-Based Iodine (from Kelp), and extra D. and Calcium, are the bare minimum I ever take, as the U.S. Govt. declaired our soils dead, in the early 1930’s.

      Our soils are depleted, and the nutritional density of our plants, are a joke.

      Long lived and healthy societies, (such as the People Group of Okinahwah, Japan) cosume large amounts of Coral-Based Calcium. In the interior of Japan, as it relates to fast food and the Westren Diet, they are having the same problems we, here, in the U.S.A .

      One should take on a lot of water, when doing mineral supplements, and increase the consumption of positive fats, (both plant and animal) as it will take a while for one’s body to re-adjust, from years of comsumption of Wheat Toxins . . .

      Again, I suggest an N.D. not an M.D.–as most M.D. types cannot see out of their Text Books and Medical Model, to make the connection between ill health and diet, especially the dangers of Genetic Modified Wheat.

      Dr. Davis, M.D. is the exception to the rule.

      Roger, OHIO

        • Roger

          My wife, who will reach a certain age, will not be coverd by Obamacare–as she will be considered a “Unit,” and will be given “comfort measures.” She, in fact, will not be considered a “Person,” worthy of saving, as in a younger person, that can contribute– If I do somthing to save or extend her life, and get caught, I will be in violation of Health Care Laws, and will be considered an Out Law.

          My People were not considered “Persons,” and were not considered protected under the U.S. Constitution–and if the Govt. program would have been more efficiently implimented, I would not have even been born. Kinda like an American Govt. spin, on the Final Solution, for the Indian Question.

          I know of, and have read of certain non-persons, or, translated “Life unworthy of life,” that survived a German Govt. Program, in the late 1930′ s and early 1940’s.

          There are many things not covered under Obamacare, as thousands of new laws, regulations are generated, even as I write this.

          If a person wants to take charge of their own life, health, and welfare, it would be wize to forgo some junk food for a few months, and that would free up more than enough money to privite pay for an N.D.–while you still can.

          Just a suggestion, as I would not trust the best of the best Govt. agencies to run a Kitdde Lemon Aide Stand, for the thousands of regulations, and certain bank-rupt status, let alone trust the Federal Govt. with my mind and body. Govt. is about force, not compassion and Govt. is about power, not reason.

          If some wants to waite for Obamacare, they may as well munch on some Govt. endorced and subsidized wheat products, while they waite. Again, just a suggestion.

          I have a suggestion where the FDA and other Fed. and State Govt. agencies can shove their FOOD PYRMID, but I will keep the details of that suggestion, to my self, as I am sensitive to the fact that many are dependent on Govt. and see Govt. as the FINAL SOLUTION to the Human Condition. With all the Toxins passed by the FDA, as fit for Human Consumption, they that see the Govt. as the Final Solution for the Human Condition, just may be right.

          Roger, OHIO

    • allisonk

      Just like Neicee, I started taking the supplement and my leg cramps that had plagued me for years went away. I noticed when I don’t take it for a week or so, I start getting leg cramps back again. Take it, and they are gone that night. Have not noticed any joint pain anywhere.

    • Jillm

      I had a very similar experience after visiting a friend. I had to stay in bed. I think we need extra magnesium but I don’t take calcium.

  17. Patience is a Virtue

    I went to a party a couple of nights ago and ate some wheat–not a lot, but enough–after 4 weeks wheat free. Last few days, I again have cravings and stomach issues. I am convinced.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yup: On again, off again, Patience.

      It proves the cause-effect relationship. But it’s not a nice experience!

      • JillOz

        This whole issue is just so absurd, never mind horrifying!!

        How does stuff like this get to this awful stage?

        Gossip, vested interests, unintelligent people doing bad science, intelligent people purposely fudging results, unintelligent people people making snap decisiions, entering governemtn, hiding information…..

        Bizzarro world…

        Good on you Dr Davis!!
        Despite my sugar battle, I’m eating better and can see good results and improvements in several areas. My doctor is pleased too (so far!). The next year or two should be most interesting…

  18. Hi Dr Davis,
    I have been about 95% gluten-free for seven months and it has helped my arthritis and my CRP levels went back into the normal range after only one month (after years of taking sulfasalazine which made absolutely no difference). One problem it has not helped (yet) is my iritis which has become chronic. Opthalmologist is now talking oral prednisone and eye surgery for the eye pressure problems caused by the prednisone drops. I am almost finished reading your book and have started 100% gluten-free as I don’t want to go down the prednisone path if I can help it.

    I am keen to remove wheat from my six year old daughter’s diet but I find even the thought of it quite daunting. She is a good eater but does favour all the high carb foods. She is a healthy weight and has no medical issues apart from the occasional eczema and hayfever. Any hints for changing young children over to a wheat free diet would be most helpful.

    Thank you for your fabulous book. It has helped me commit to going all the way with wheat avoidance.

  19. Rose

    I just realised that we Wheat Free people are Courageous. Going against convention takes a fair bit of courage and helps explain, for me at least, why so many I talk to about going Wheat Free don’t/can’t do it.

    • Tyson

      For a long time, it was thought that tobacco was not unhealthy, so it made no sense for people to give it up. But then evidence started mounting. Some people quit right away, others did not. Finally the evidence was overwhelming and most people quit (or at least tried to). But not everyone. Some people continue to smoke despite the health issues.

      Wheat will follow exactly the same pattern.

  20. Becalope

    A friend told me she wouldn’t consider excluding wheat in her diet because, and I quote, “I eat for pleasure.”
    * Blink * As opposed to eating for penance? Addicts! :D That’s why everyone’s so crazy against a wheat free diet. Addiction makes people think funny things. And get angry irrationally.

  21. Lilly

    I’ve been gluten/wheat free now for a while. It’s very addictive. I have to be strong to not have wheat at all. How long will this last? The cravings are always there. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but my symptoms are much better as long as I avoid wheat and barley, anything with gluten. Still, it has that hold on me and I do slip from time to time only to feel horrible for several days afterwards. I have to stop this and stay wheat free forever. I wonder if there are any supplements that help fight the cravings?

    • Stephanie


      I began following an hCG program (hormone shots along with a 500 calorie no flour/no sugar diet). I heard a lot about cravings and took the advice to do a Candida cleanse to help with that problem, as I was horribly addicted to both. The cleanse worked wonders for cravings!! (I used RenewLife brand Candi-gone)I had bad headaches, but I assumed that it was the hCG. I was losing weight, so I tolerated it. After a week the headaches stopped. I spent hours and hours educating myself about health & nutrition, eventually stumbling onto ‘Wheat Belly’. I now realize that those headaches were wheat withdrawl!! After my 40 day round of hCG, I stayed with the no flour/no sugar diet, but changed to the high (healthy) fat/ low carb diet that is the next phase. I have not touched wheat (or it’s nasty friends) since. I am on my third round of hCG, but have not had headaches at the beginning and I believe it is because I have stayed away from wheat.

      Good luck to you!

  22. Roger

    I wish there was some way to have all I know and love, read what Dr. Davis says, especially this post.

    I have worked with people with substance abuse issues, since I was 18 years old, and took formal training, while in a Master’s progam–while my mind and body was waisting away, like that of a long term addict, and I had no idea how to connect the dots to Genetic Modified Wheat!

    I am not on drugs, so how is it, that I am having symptoms like an addict, while my mind and body is wasting away? I am developing hard fat, especially around my belly, and why is it, that no one, no specialist can figure this out? Weight, Blood Pressure, Symptoms–all escalating! WHY?

    A flyer came in the mail, advertising a book, written by a Medical Dr. on . . . WHEAT? I thought the idea so absurd, I almost trashed the flyer. Had I consigned the Flyer to the circular file, I am sure I would have lost my mind, by now–or somthing major would have happend to my body–as my situation was that serious!

    1 Mar. 2012 is the date I chose to follow Dr. Davis, after reading and taking profuse notes from Wheat Belly. I had almost 3 weeks of withdrawl, and, it was the exact same thing, feelings, depression, hunger etc. as many that I have helped, spoke of, over the years.

    It is still mind boggeling how this plant controlled my life, yet it is still worshiped in story and song, by, not only the U.S. Govt. and U.S. Experts–is seems many in the world Parrot our Experts–like mindless birds.

    In my mind, I place the Genetic Modified Wheat plant in the exact same catagory as the Poppy and Co Co Plant–as that helps me gain perspective–in a like substance analogy. Opium, CoCaine and Wheat Products–all addicting, all dangerous to the body and mind! All can, have and will continue to Kill! One is legal–the others, not.

    I had no idea some of these life long symptoms, I had–and they intensified as I aged, were long term symptoms of Wheat Toxins! Prior to Wheat Belly, I have not even read or heard a minute portion of what is written in Wheat Belly.

    It has only been a few months, and yes, I have fond memories of smell and taste–as I went almost 5 decades of Wheat and Wheat Product comsumption–but the price of eating Human Pesticide is too high, too costly–and not worth reinfecting my mind and body.

    It would do all that read these Posts, well, to take notes or copy this post–and warn those you love, of the long term consequences of Genetic Modified Wheat consumption, while taking note of some of the extreme forms of sensitivity, such as Celliac Disease.

    I cannot thank you enough, Dr. Davis, for saving my mind and body from this Man Made Pestilance!

    Roger, OHIO

  23. allisonk

    Is it really a conspiracy, or just the fact that it’s super cheap, easy to obtain and a super versatile ingredient and does not usually affect the flavor of processed foods. Cheap=increased profits and I think that’s all there is to it.

    • Boundless

      > Is it really a conspiracy …

      A few in the industry know, suspect, or actively avoid understanding. They rely on legions of useful idiots (nutritionists, endocrinologists, regulatory stooges) to parrot the profitable party line. No one wants to rock the boat. “It simply can’t be true” is the usual reaction that keeps them from investigating.

      But some in industry know. Big Grain has long acknowledged that ~1% or the population (the celiacs*) are acutely reactive to their product, and probably always have been back as far as humans have been eating grain. In the last year, BG has admitted that another 5%, who are non-celiac, are also acutely reactive. They have to have looked into why. Hint: it’s not the humans that have recently changed.
      * We’ll ignore, for the moment, the question of whether celiac, and diabetes, and acne, and a long list of other ailments, are really diseases, or just a response to a toxin.

  24. Lynn

    My 52 year old, in shape, firefighter husband ditched wheat as a last resort, after poor cholesterol scores. Within two days, his aches and pains disappeared…fogginess left him…and the chronic constipation he has suffered with for years is GONE! Thank you Dr. Davis!

    • Dr. Davis

      Very nice, Lynn!

      Let’s now convince people that elimination of wheat shouldn’t be the LAST resort, but the first question that comes to mind.

  25. Claudia

    here’s a wacky thing that happened to me – I’m an alcoholic, sober over 14 years and am pretty well-versed in addiction (from practicing so hard at it lol) – what free for last 3 1/2 months – so anyways, I got really worked up after having an argument with a family member a couple of weeks ago and, suddenly, out of nowhere, I WANTED WHEAT, pizza, chinese food, whatever – it was remarkably like my alcohol cravings – I didn’t cave and the craving passed in about 1/2 an hour – but it was wacky

    • JillOz

      Stress induces a rise in cortisol levels and creates a desire for sugary/”comfort” foods, I think to replenish serotonin levels which fall…
      something like that.

      • Roger


        Many substitue one form of addiction for another.

        Since this is so, in addiciton prone persons (either DNA or Social made) one could find a positive substitute addiction.

        JillOZ, you are right about the stress/physical aspects of Cortisol, as some persons subject to chemical type addictions, have low neruo-transmitter levels, and crave sweets and carbs. Seratonin and Dopamine are the two we know most about, though there are more.

        Some were born broken (addicition prone), but there are choices (with education/discipline) that can be more of a solution to their particular situation.

        Claudia, addiction memory, as some term it, happens when people, places, things and situations happen, that makes or prompts us to want to return to old habits. Congratulations in sucessfully fighting this urge. That fight is not easy, even in long term persons, with decades of clean time.

        I know you may know this, but, others with other forms of addictions, may not.

        Roger, OHIO

    • Dr. Davis

      Wacky, Claudia, but terribly true.

      Wheat is a drug. Just saying this causes fistfights to break out in the presence of wheat-consuming people. But it’s true whether they like it or not!

      Stay strong, Claudia, and don’t allow these things to control your life.

  26. Kaylana

    I’m saddened when I hear people say, “I’m too poor to not eat wheat.”
    I always want to tell them that eating wheat has contributed to their situation by causing excessive weight gain, foggy brain, etc. Only once they kick the habit will they be able to rise out of the squalor.

    Incidentally, our food budget has decreased since going wheat-free.

    • Neicee

      Kaylana, my grocery bill is less too. While I’ve always cookied from scratch, sometimes trying to find a new twist on potatoes and such took way more time than chopping up a salad and doing some sort of meat. The past week I made a salad for two days and it had over 8 different veggies in it plus the romaine lettuce. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the cost of the meal that some object to or the cost of their time? Buying a sandwich everyday rather than taking a salad to work would destroy some people’s budget for dinner….and, it takes imagination to cook rather than opening a box of hamburger helper.

    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Kaylana!

      At some point, I’d like to develop some means of formally tracking what it costs to follow a wheat-free lifestyle, at least in terms of dollars spent in food. I suspect that, for most people, it is a wash. But I believe that many of us can experience a reduction in costs.

  27. JillOz

    Dr Davis,
    one way of approaching some women about this is to compare wheat eating to the French way of eating, which, apart fromn baguettes and jam sometimes, involves lots of proteins, fats and fresh vegetables.
    Real food (most of the time!). You’ve probably encountered this ‘French” paradox, as it’s known.
    Quite a few women love the whole French aesthetic and if you explain to them that eating wheat-free will make them feel and look better “like the French” and get them closer to the French way, they will feel less frightened and more interested in giving it a go.
    Because initially when you first broach wheat-free and one is used to breads, cakes etc it can seem as if there is no other food!! Good or bad, it is still a habit to be acquired.
    By the time they feel terrific they won’t care about any other aesthetic, they’ll have been feeling good for a long time and won’t want to go back to their previous state! ;)

    After a lapse or two…:)

    • Neicee

      Jill, I’ve thought the same thing and even voiced it here. Wheat bellys sometimes can conjure up images of lazy, chip eating, sloths. I’m guessing nothing could be further from the truth. We need to come up with a slogan that sounds like you’re just not on the cutting edge if you eat wheat. Especially for young people. Scaring someone at 16 to put down the sodas and high carb foods may or may not get their attention? If they get the idea that it’s so old to consume those foods it might work? I’m not paleo but kids are watching that area of restrictive eating. They know what it means, and some are intrigued with it.

      • JillOz

        Teenagers are very conscious of food as they like to be attractive to the opposite (and sometimes same! :)) sex!
        With them it’s more about proper education about the WHAT rather than the WHETHER.

        Children are different, though some are already worried about their waistlines.
        this is where schools can do some damage if you have teachers pushing that “balanced” diet idea, which in publicly-funded schools means a wheat-based component of school-based lunches.

        however, again it’s up to the parents to start it and teach their kids. If kids who get hyperactive and tense from wheat learn wheat-free eating they will love feeling better and be motivated to eat better and look for the best foods for themselves.

        In Australia we have had for the past several years, a show on TV called Masterchef. One series (I don’t have a TV, so correct me if I’m wrong, any Ozzie here) featured the kids cooking – some very high-level cooking skills indeed.
        Apparently this show triggered great interest in cooking at home among kids, which is great IF: Parents are happy to have the kids cook and experiment.

        If Dr Davis is ready to get a series of kid-based cooking shows with kids cooking wheat-free meals that are easy to prepare, I can see only good progress being made.

        Actually Dr Davis, if you have kids, start filming their cooking efforts, if they’re amenable!
        Solicit entries to a cooking competition, wheat-free.
        Put it on your youtube channel!! :)

        Neicee, one term that might help you with some of the younger folk is the term “old-school.”

        “Wheat? Old school…” you might scoff casually in their hearing…:)

        • Dr. Davis

          I hear you, Jill.

          We do indeed need to broadcast this message in video/movie/documentary/cooking shows. It will happen!

  28. JillOz

    Another thing that has helped me get over the ‘but what do i eat if I can’t have wheat” problem has been to go to some cafes and examine their menus.
    First I exclude all wheat/grain-based dishes and make a selection from the rest.
    On one occasion for example, I eliminated the pastas, cous cous dishes and I selected plain good-quality beef meatballs in tomato sauce. Simple, quite inexpensive but a high-quality snack/meal (depending on how hungry I am!) Side dish options are good too, often things like green salads steamed vegetables etc.

    On other occasions if i buy a salad wrap or chickenwrap etc, i get a knife and fork, cut it open and just eat the filling.
    The advantage of this is that it shows me/reminds me of possible dishes to cook and eat at home, and is a good indication of what foods are available in the market.

    • Tyrannocaster

      Most restaurants add flour to their meatballs as a thickening agent. Restaurant eating is a minefield!

    • Dr. Davis


      Companies that spend advertising dollars enjoy at least partial protection in media that make their revenues from these advertising dollars.

  29. Dr. Davis,

    This was a great article. This is sad but true and I see it everyday. Not only are most American’s doped up on processed foods, but they are doped up on high fructose containing products like soda. We really need to start teaching this in our schools. My kids and I have been processed food free and sugar free for quite some time now and it is a challenge every time we go to any party. I do let my kids indulge every now and then, but now thay they do not usually consume these things, they tend to not want them. It has been quite a challenge having to explain why we don’t eat bread or sugar. People look at us like we are the crazy ones and they defend their bread and soda pop like it was their lives. That is truly an addiction, I don’t care what anyone says. When you defend things that deep down you know is causing harm, then you are addicted.
    How would you handle situations with family when they are defending these things and attempting to make you feel bad about not letting your children indulge? I don’t want my kids feeling different, but I want them to be able to eat healthy without having to explain themselves. Any suggestion?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes: Don’t bother.

      Some people have no intention of changing their thinking but just want to make you join their self-destructive misery. You’ve got better things to do with your time.

      Fight the battles worth fighting and enjoy your occasional victory.

  30. Thank you Dr. Davis,
    I really like reading your articles, as I need the support now.
    Our local Publix has an aisle dedicated to the gluten free flours, cookies, mixes, etc. However a lot of people do gluten free to be “cool” or in a groove, not knowing what it really means.
    I would not buy other books because of the title. I do not like calling other women the “Skinny B…” word, and I have tried every other diet including macrobiotics. I immediately loved/hated the title of your book. I thought it was another gimmick of the year diet. Even though I had read Carrolton Fredericks and all carb free books years ago, they did not make the point the way you did and emphasize all the side effects of wheat. I suffered from most of the horrible side effects. One very troubling one with menopause was the extreme dry eye. Never could leave home without expensive eye drops. Two trips to a very good opthamologist/specialist who could not name a true diagnosis. That symptom alone will drive you completely nutz. I believe I was on my way to Sjorgen’s for sure. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I take no drops and have to be reminded to see the eye doctor on occasion. Many times I am so amazed what happens to me when I happen to have a small taste of wheat containing foods. Many past symptoms return with a vengeance. Amazing how many of us suffer through mysterious and disfiguring wheat side effects.

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Patty–

      I’ve been hearing similar stories of relief from dry eyes from others, too. This was a new lesson to me.

      Even now, we are continuing to learn new lessons on unexpected ways that modern wheat destroys health. Just understanding this simple principle is the most powerful strategy in health I know of.

  31. Sue M

    I read this book 4 weeks ago and immediately gave up all grains. I had given up sugar in Sept 2009 in order to improve my health and I don’t miss the stuff, but I was a bread person, so I expected this to be much harder. Surprisingly, but probably because sugar had no hold, I found the main difficulty in giving up grain was what to replace my easy sandwich with!
    Now 4 weeks later – I feel clear headed, my sense of logic has returned, the impact of a breakdown and depression (suffered over 4 years ago) is beginning to improve, I smell cleaner, my teeth are brighter (weird hey?), my aches have improved dramatically and a very persistent, horrible, awful, terrible hormonal itch I suffered from (which even giving up sugar did not solve) appears to have gone!!!
    No conventional doctors ever discussed diet for this problem – only offered me drugs. I have suffered with this problem for over 10 years unnecessarily.
    My son is now trying to give up wheat too – but he is getting the full ‘carb’ flu impact. I think that has made him realize how nasty wheat can be though and he is hanging in there.

    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Sue!

      You can begin to appreciate the incredible scope of effects this destructive thing had on your health.

  32. Sue

    Hi Dr. Davis,
    I gave up wheat 4 weeks ago and have been feeling great! Almost all symptoms of ulcerative colitis have vanished..until two days ago. I ate canned tomato soup thinking that there was probably only a small portion of wheat and it shouldn’t hurt me.
    No such luck!! I have been feeling meserable. I’m tired, heartburn, gas, ,diarrhea, cramping and aches and pains. How long will this last and what should I eat to help me feel better in the meantime? I certainly won’t eat that again.
    I must say though that I have not lost any weight at all in the 4 weeks that I have been wheat free. I am wondering why that is so when others seem to be loosing lots of weight.

  33. Kelsey

    I have just purched the Wheat Belly book and have been wheat free for the past couple of days. I seem to be feeling hungry all the time, I am wondering why and if it will pass?

    • Dr. Davis

      You are experiencing withdrawal from the gliadin opiate, Kelsey.

      Eat more fats, grin and bear it. It will pass!

  34. Ann

    Dr. Davis:

    Thank you, THANK YOU, for your reasearch, this website, your book and for continuing to get the word out. This has changed so many people’s lives for the better.

    My question is for a family member who has struggled with drug addiction for 10 years. Since the wheat exorphins bind to opiate receptors, what are you thoughts as to a diminished craving for herion/illegal drugs once wheat is taken out of the diet? Do you think this would help the opiate receptors to heal faster than projected by quitting the illegal drugs alone?

    • Dr. Davis

      I suspect it will, Ann, but to my knowledge there are no data.

      Somewhat parallel, and purely anecdotal, I’ve have several smokers tell me that quitting smoking was much easier after losing the wheat.

      This is potentially a fascinating insight into addictions and how they are triggered.

  35. Tom

    Hi Dr. Davis,
    I just finished reading Wheat Belly. I couldn’t put it down. Thank you for writing this very detailed, scientific, and important book.

    I’ve been dealing with an unknown malady for close to 7 years. I’m 43 and lead a fairly healthy life with a “balanced” diet. My primary symptoms have been severe fatigue with very sudden onset after meals, where I indeed feel doped and drugged. I feel compelled to go to sleep, even in the middle of the day (and I work from home so frequently I do nap for hours in the middle of the day). The other major symptom is “brain fog”. It is fairly acute mental confusion that starts suddenly and can last a few minutes at a time. I hardly know my name during these episodes. I also will have trouble enunciating words, work recall, memory issues, etc. My doctor has diagnosed me with “Silent Migraines” as the main cause. I take Magnesium supplements and Nortryptyline as a prophylactic against the Migraines. I also avoid certain foods that are said to trigger migraines. These measures have decreases the symptoms, but not eliminated them.

    Here is the diet I follow for Migraine prevention:

    I’m curious if you’ve seen similar cases in your practice? I’m wondering if Wheat intolerance could be the underlying issues that is causing inflammation and triggering Migraines (and in turn the brain fog/confusion). Your thoughts would be appreciated. FYI, I’m only on day 3 of Wheat elimination, so this is an experiment in progress. Also, my MRI was “normal” and I tested negative for Cealiac (though I don’t recall exactly what test was performed).

    • Dr. Davis

      Gee, Tom: Your experience sounds like a classic case of wheat intolerance! In fact, I would be shocked–shocked!–if this proved to NOT be the case.

      I’d love to hear what the next few weeks bring. I predict that you will have an extraordinary turnaround in all these phenomena.

      • Tom

        I sincerely appreciate your response. I hope you’re proven 100% correct! I’ll certainly let you know.

  36. Tom

    So I can report that a few days before Thanksgiving is not the wisest time to start a Wheat free diet. I relapsed when presented with Stuffing and Pumpkin pie. I’m now on 7 days without Wheat or any glutens, post Thanksgiving. I definitely have experienced a decrease in appetite and seem to be losing weight. However, I’m still experiencing the brain fog and sleepiness, thought with some slight improvement.

    Is there an average amount of days or weeks of wheat free living required before people experience improvements? What was typical in your experience?

    • Lizzie

      Hey Tom, I was like that for four weeks ! But am happy to say that I am now feeling great, much more energy in the morning (up and at ’em before way before the alarm ). The girls at work also say that my skin has improved quite a lot. Hang in there !

      • Tom

        I continue the process, but now suspect that wheat/gluten may not be my primary issue, at least when it comes to my acute issues of brain fog and fatigue. I reintroduced some wheat as a test over the weekend and have actually been feeling better since that time. I don’t attribute that to the wheat, but I have also gone back to strict adherence to the “migraine diet” recommended by John Hopkins. During the wheat free diet, I reintroduced some of the migraine diet items like cheese and dark chocolate.

        I’m keeping a detailed food and symptom log and now suspect that by avoiding wheat and introducing a few gluten free alternatives that were high in things like corn starch and modified corn starch, I may have stumbled upon an alternative suspect. I had one of the worse weeks of brain fog and fatigue I’ve had in a few months last week, while on the wheat free diet. I’m going to test corn more seriously now with an elimination diet and challenge test. The other most persistent symptom I did not previously mention is an eczema like rash in my arm pits and backside. the rash in the armpits has actually become a bit painful over the last week, though it has been improving over the last couple of days (I noticed my deodorant actually has corn starch in it too!). I’ve been at this too long to think its that simple, but its worth a test. I’ve always hoped to find a silver bullet, but so far the best results have come with the Migraine diet I linked to in my previous post along with Magnesium supplementation and migraine preventative Nortryiptiline.

        I still think very highly of the wheat free diet and intend to continue with it once (and if ) I definitively eliminate it as the primary cause of my acute issues. I definitely noticed weight loss and appetite control. I also found the long term health risks described in the book very compelling. I continue to search for the primary culprit and while I can’t say with total confidence that wheat/gluten is not it or at least a contributing factor, the evidence so far points to something else.

        Thanks for your comments and suggestions! I’ve recommended your book to many people. Any other thoughts appreciated.

        • Dr. Davis

          Gee, Tom: This sounds like a case of prolonged wheat withdrawal. Feel awful by withholding wheat, feel better with reintroduction.

          I would not necessarily interpret this as meaning you somehow respond positively to wheat, but that you have created an addiction to the gliadin opiate of wheat.

          However, I hear you on listening to your body. That is a wise thing. We just have to interpret the signals properly.

          • Tom

            Very good point. My problem, in my desperation for a solution, has been that I often change too many variables at once and then have a hard time connecting cause and effect.

            I’ve discovered that being the subject of your own experiments is very tricky! :) I’m finally using a detailed log and only changing one variable at a time. I have not ruled out wheat, but will test corn next. If that fails, I’ll go back to wheat and give the elimination period more time.

            What is a typical time for withdrawal?

  37. Rebecca

    Hey Tom ,
    I have celiac’s and I know I suffer for monthsg after exposure. I often have frequent painful headaches, brain fog, forgetfulness( even trouble remembering how to spell simple words when writing). I have what is playfully nicknamed celiac’s skin which will continue for a few months after exposure. I have read many different websites that write about the celiac condition most say 6 to 12 months after exposure till you are completely back to normal. If you continue on the path try to stay not just wheat but gluten free , follow the diet and watch out for foods that stress out your blood sugar levels. I think in a month you will really notice an improvement.

  38. Heather

    I’ve been on a wheat free gluten free corn free diet for about 4 months now, and only within the last 2 weeks have I noticed the cravings go away, the brain fog lift, and most of my skin issues clear up. My brother also read the book and he agrees that I’ve probably been going through wheat withdrawal for the past few months. I’ve also suffered from debilitating menstrual tantrums (for lack of better descriptions) for 1.5-2 weeks of every month for many years, and this past month, I felt normal! I’ve lost almost 40 lbs in the past 5 months (only 80 more to go!) I sleep better, a good majority of my chronic pain has gone away, my blood pressure is normal for the first time in my life… I could go on forever about the things I’ve noticed that are different. And i’m only 29. I only picked up Wheat Belly this past week, and I was thrilled to find that there are others like me and that I am not crazy, like some people (including doctors) had me believing.