In the mood for a little excess?

“I found myself in a ditch along the side of the road.”

So Ken told me, describing his trip to southern France to ride his bike along the French rural backroads.

“I was wheezing so bad, I could barely breathe. Next thing you know, I’m in the ditch, lying on my back. The doctor said I had asthma, so he gave me prescriptions for two inhalers.

“So I come back to the States and I see a pulmonologist here. He asks whether I’ve been evaluated for acid reflux that could have triggered the asthma. I tell him ‘no,” so he writes me a prescription for Aciphex to block the acid.

“I’m feeling better now except for the pain in my right knee. I’m thinking I might have to get it replaced.”

This conversation transpires while Ken walks the treadmill during his stress test, being performed to further evaluate his coronary disease. Due to an inherited predisposition to having oodles of small LDL particles, Ken has a lot of coronary atherosclerosis in his arteries.

“Gee, Ken,” I tell him, “asthma, acid reflux, knee arthritis. This sounds an awful lot like you’ve got a problem with wheat.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You already gave me that song and dance. But, you know, I figure: It’s not wise to eliminate an entire food group. My Mom always said: ‘Everything in moderation.’ ”

Personally, I prefer Oscar Wilde’s attitude: “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”

“Everything in moderation” is one of those nonsensical, meaningless mantras meant to provide solace to the indulgent masses, similar to “Everything will all be alright” and “We all make mistakes.” Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but everything won’t always be alright and we all do indeed make mistakes, but this provides no justification for the specific mistake in question. The Huffington Post may be many things to many people, but they certainly have impeccable timing; here’s their post for The ‘Everything in Moderation’ Myth.

The “excess” I had in mind, of course, is the complete elimination of a “food group.” Who said wheat and other grains constituted a food group, anyway? What if I fail to recognize something that is tantamount to a human poison as a food group and regard it as a contaminant instead? Is hydrogenated cottonseed oil okay in moderation? How about agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup? How about teosinte, modified via centuries of hybridization to create modern corn, now carrying genes from other plants, such as Bt toxin or wheat germ agglutin, inserted by geneticists? Does corn occupy a special “food group,” too? Just because something has been consumed for centuries does not justify its continued consumption in light of new scientific insights. And what if the food group in question has undergone extensive and uncharted genetic changes at the hands of geneticists?

So Ken has acid reflux, asthma, coronary disease, all being “treated” with a panel of medications. Why not just treat it with the elimination of the food group that causes this specific collection of abnormal health conditions, namely wheat?

“Everything in moderation” makes as much sense as justifying a fatality caused while driving drunk as “just a mistake.” Everything in moderation is definitely not okay. It is a silly notion that, like other outdated notions, will fall by the wayside as yet another form of nutritional roadkill.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Lisa

    Somewhere I read that there is a French saying:
    It is easier to abstain than to restrain.
    I think so, too.

    • PJ

      I love that, Lisa! I am so going to use that phrase with my clients. Trying to have “just a little” is so much worse than having none at all. I’ve tried.

  2. Rong

    Tell members of AA about alcohol in moderation or drug rehab programs about coke or heroine in moderation. Folks, grains and wheat in particular are addictive and the only logical reaction when learning that fact is to abstain.

  3. Roger


    In different capactites, I have tried to help people with chemical addciton problems, since I was 18 years of age.

    I have come to the conclusion that I can only do so much, as an educator and support person, as I am not an entire net-work. Moreover, I am not a walking school, as many know more, or have forgotten, more than I ever will.

    What I find true of Substance Abuse, I find true of other things–that many will not think for themselves, and have not been taught the art and sciences of critical thinking.

    I cannot give some one a crash corse on critical thinking, and fact assessment–because they would be offended at my implicaitons. Some have the emotional stabiltiy of a Parrot. I will still love dependent type people, but I have to admit, the world of their own making, is most taxing to me. I cannot pull some one out of a pit, by jumping in, and being stuck in the same pit.

    Even if I had a Ph.D. and all the top credentials of my chosen profession, I would just be a voice, among experts–and I sure that there would be some one that would be more expert than I, that would disagree–and have a counter argument for every thing I hold dear and true–within the laws of reason, seeming reason. Little would matter of my or somone else in authority–as a pool of experts or Govt. endorced positions would hold sway. Still, if one cannot think critically, and has little to no skills at checking and weighing evidence–a raw appeal to an authoritive figrue, is not a gurentee of valid information. True Science is ruthless, and does not recognize consensus or any central figure, for that matter.

    All I can do, is give my before and after story, and look the picture of health, I am becomming.

    All my life I have had symptoms, and I just accepted that as fact, and tried to live my life around them, as best I could. Until a few months ago, I was sure I was going to lose my body or mind.
    Now, at 50 years of age, I have a brand new life–and I have nothing to compare it to, as I was never like this, in all my years. I have had Chiropractic adjustments since 1998, and, as of 1 Mar. 2012, I have the subtraction of Wheat. I had to check out facts, as I hated both Chiropractors and Medical Doctors–but I had to check out facts!

    Not all Medical Doctors are going to try to issue me drugs to wreck my mind and body, and Chiropractors, with their rediculos claims of Brain/Body/Central Nervous System, correction of nerve interferecne by hand adjustments, are QUACKS! As I took Chiropractic adjustments, life-long symtoms began to dissapear–as I took the Wheat away, other forms of life-long symptoms began to dissapear! Ko-INKY-Dink? I think not!

    The medical persons (that examine my X-rays) that are not Chiropractos, are astounded at the near perfection of my spine, at my age–and the medical Dr. that I trust, believes me, concerning my abstinace of Wheat, for he can read my blood work, etc. and can see the results. That sounds like hard evidence, to me!

    I am a severly disabled Veteran, that is gettig better at 50 years of age–and this is not the normal situation–for it is all over, after 40, according to conventioal wisdom!

    I have to watch what I say, concerning Wheat, as this Toxin seems more sacred than religoius doctrines–and tell them to buy a copy of Wheat Belly, as they will more likely read it, if they buy, rather than borrow at a libary.

    This site is my support Net-Work, as I watch those I love, consume Human Rat Poison. Yes, a few listen, but many think I my litlle Choo Choo has rounded the bend too fast, and flew off the rails.

    Even so, they cannot deny the before and after, if they knew me, before I read, examined the evidence–and eliminated WHEAT, FOREVER!

    I cannot thank you enough, Dr. Davis!

    Chins UP–ALL OF YOU!

    Roger, OHIO

    • Dr. Davis

      It’s not easy, Roger, reorganizing a life after having had it kicked and beaten by this thing passed off to us as food has been removed.

      Stay strong: The best is yet to come!

      • Roger

        Really angry about having to scratch HUMAN RAT POISION off my shopping list (some call it Wheat-based products) but, I will have to find it in my heart to forgive you, Dr. Davis.

        I am still having a difficult time with the fellow looking back at me, in the mirror. Excellent health is a dirty job, but someone has to do it, sooooooooooo, it may as well be me.

        I miss the old me, sometimes–as I could have made my own Reality T.V. Show, based on how I looked and felt, could have been called CRAP-ZILLA.

        OH WELL.

        Roger, OHIO

  4. Janne

    Thank you for this, Dr. Davis. I had a “little bit” of wheat on Friday (Panko on crab cakes I believe was the culprit) and spent 3 days paying the price with diarrhea, insomnia and morning cough. A little bit of poison is still a poison.
    Do you have any info on anxiety and grains?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yup, no question there is an association in some people.

      You can see this play out in some of the stories told here in this blog.

  5. JillOz

    Well, the HuffPo articfle still recommends whole grains!!

    Dr Davis, awhile ago I read the book the end of Overeating by David Kessler.
    A great book, but I took another look at it recently and he still ends the book by recommending people eat whole grains to stop eating (restaurant andf fast) food laden with fat, salt and sugar.
    The sugar I get, but in light of what you’ve revealed about whole grains and fat, surely the basic thesis of his book is at fault??

    • Dr. Davis

      Remember, Jill: Though well intended, Dr. Kessler’s story was told from the perspective of regulation and industry, not at the street level of what happens to real humans.

      After all, he legislates and thinks from an office, not from dealing face to face with people. He’s pretty darned smart. Perhaps he’ll catch up to us near future!

  6. JillOz

    I had a look at the almond milk for sale in my spuermarket. Of the two brands available, both featured only
    3% almonds!! The rest was filtered water, agave nectar syrup, and another substance I don’t recall, but nothing almond-related!!
    I’m sticking to a bit of cow’s milk for my coffee, for now anyway. But I won’t be buying that “almond” milk.

    • Joe

      Yeah, milk meant by nature for a baby calf that takes only 3 to 4 years to reach FULL maturity sounds really good for you.

      • Tyson

        Goat milk and cheese can be a good alternative. I use goat milk to make my Kefir (grains bought from Yeemos specifically for goat milk) because I’m trying to build my “good” gut bacteria up again. As someone who struggled with addiction and cravings (sugar and alcohol), I’ve tried a bunch of things to deal with them but nothing cut the cravings like doing goat milk kefir.

        Plus, as you note, cow dairy is made to take a rather large calf and make them into an even more huge adult cow. Goat milk is designed to take a kid from a similar size as a human baby to an adult goat smaller than an adult human. Plus the Casein is different, as is the type of lactose.

        I’m not a huge proponent of dairy in general, but if you are gonna do it, goat dairy is almost certainly the way to go.

  7. Tyson

    Giving up wheat and sugar can be just as hard as giving up alcohol. I know, as I’ve had to work through that process with each of those substances. Wheat, even in moderation, leaves me feeling awful, and craving more wheat! Alcohol induces binge drinking and leaves me feeling awful, but craving more. From a “drug seeking behavior” standpoint, they are virtually identical.

    I should point out that they share another similarity that makes them particularly difficult to deal with – cultural acceptance. Everyone “knows” that healthywholegrains are good for you! And a bit of alcohol is also good for you “in moderation”. But the problem is, the studies that link alcohol and wheat to better health are observational studies, which is to say they are scientifically worthless for establishing cause and effect. Since both substances are treated like toxins in the liver (same as fructose), and they both have strong addictive potentiality, they are worth removing from the diet entirely.

    Sugar, Grains, Alcohol, “Vegetable” Oils – I call them the 4 Horsemen of the Metabolic Apocalypse.

    • Ulli

      I hear ya!! Sober since 03/15/2003 and wheat-free since last summer, unfortunately I don’t remember the date but it was also from binge wheat eating to zero overnight, and not a single grain of wheat since, and no looking back.

  8. Neicee

    Have spent the morning re-reading various sites and some of their guest authors. The idea you can have a cheat day is completely foreign to me. The idea you can make a dessert with just a ‘little bit’ of sugar is also foreign. If it’s only weight loss you’re after, perhaps you can gett away with it. Those that are gluten sensitive/gluten intolerant that continue cheating will end up with full blown celiacs. Picking your own battles is very cleansing for your soul. I went completely sugar free Jan 1, 2012. I knew I had to lose the taste and craving for it. I finally bought a container of stevia and find, though it tastes good, most things now taste like they should, natural. The wheat was easier to give up because after flirting on and off again with it I simply had to say, enough. Read another interesting article on sugar deprivation and cancer research. There are some great things going on. I’m grateful for those like Dr. Davis and his esteemed colleagues have got enough of us on board they can now make their voices heard with authority.

    • Lisa

      Bless you, Neicee, for giving up sugar, too, and I hope you will be able to stay off it.
      I’ve been wheat/gluten free since Feb. 8th, 2012 and so many positive changes have occurred.
      It’s been very easy for me to do this, but that’s because I still kept corn and sugar in my diet.
      I have to get it thru my head that sugar is a poison, too. And corn is not my friend, also.
      I’ve eliminated it from my diet before with great results but it seemed that in February – I could only eliminate one thing at a time.
      Maybe that’s good – so I can know the effects of going off wheat/gluten. Now – when I go off sugar – I can know the additional benefits of that…
      The worst part is the beginning. A person just has to come to the “end” with it and shed it like a bad relationship! Maybe it would help to have some kind of little “ceremony” where I officially banish it?
      Keep up the good work!

      • Neicee

        Lisa, it was hard. I’ve never been one to eat breakfast early but lunch…yum. Spent over 20 yrs. at work having nothing more than a Snickers bar. Was about 90 lbs. or less. It was only when I started eating those wonderful whole grain designer breads, with some kind of lovely processed meat, sprouts, etc.. that I start to gain, then gain a little more. You know the drill. Found I was gluten intolerant about 1995 (no test, the doc just told me to try it to see if I felt better). But, all of the advice for that was to give up gluten, but that I could still have the potatoes, rice, and corn. Bought Dr. Davis’ book, Gary Taubes, and a couple of others and said I have to give them all up. Death by carbs is not how I want to live. Good luck on your journey too.

        P.S. – I have a lovely husband that’s stradling the fence right now. Eats what I serve at home, eats what he wants with his friends and business luncheons and is gaining weight. I’ve given up trying to tell him you can’t do both.

  9. marcia

    I’m a pharmacist and just read your book about a month ago. I have been wheat free for 3 weeks, and I feel great….no more sleepy afternoons. I have lost 5 pounds (weight is not an issue for me). The biggest change so far though is that I have no more stomach pains. I have popped donnatal, levsin, etc… for years with no relief for what was diagnosed as IBS. I just filled a prescription for a woman for Donnatal and Zantac and I really wanted to tell her to quit wheat!

    I’m still having a hard time with the sugar!!!

    • Dr. Davis

      Nonetheless, Marcia, I believe that you have likely achieved marked improvements in health beneath the surface.

      Give it time: The appetite-stimulating effect of wheat gliadin will recede and sweet things will become far less interesting to you.

  10. Roger

    There is an element of suppressed physical problems, that are masked in long term drug users. Once clean, or the Addict in question, leaves the substance of abuse, there are physical problems either masked, or caused by long term drug use. Many Addicts, that have months of clean time, in which the drugs of abuse have ceased their intended effect/affect, reveals the damage. When one is intoxicated, one does not feel or notice things wrong, as, say, a non-drug user. In an ever intoxicated state, one could function for years, with undiagnosed problems, until the fruition or full manifestion of undiagnosed (threfore untreated) medical problems comes to a head.

    I have seen this many, many times, working with people, with Substance Abuse addictions.

    This makes me wonder about long term use of Genetic Modified Wheat, and what it causes or masks.

    As I am not a Medical Dr., I still wonder about some of the people that post here, on this site–and the patterns I see, especially among long term users, like my self, when the symptoms were consolidating, and adversly affecting/effecting my body and mind. It took a while to be messed up, and I understand it will take a while for things to get un-messed up, and I am surprized at the results, after just a few months of a Wheat Free life.

    Having said that, I am not sure if this iodine post is that far off topic, for we are just scratching the surface of long and short term problems, caused by Genetic Modified Wheat. As a Govt. ordained “Heart Healty” food, it will take many years to come, and much more devestaion, for an out-raged public to put the Govt. in its place, to get the Fed. Govt. to cease and desist from endorcing this Human Rat Poision.

    It seems that there are many masked or caused actual diagnosible metabolic problems that can be easily catagorized, and treated, if Wheat is given its proper place, as a Toxin, amidst other Toxins.

    I will rest more easily, when the Wheat Plant is seen in the same line up, with the Poppy Plant and Co Co Plant.

    As I see it, an informed Public is going to have to challege this, on many levels–as a grass roots, bottom-to-top social change, for the Powers That Be, (elected and non-elected) seems to be stuck on stupid–and will suffer the same fate, or worse, that I and many on this site, did, before reading and applying the removal of this Human Frankenfood Toxin.

    I am an ex-long term user of a Toxin, and I only hope and pray that I do not suffer long-term ill physiologal and psychological effets/affects of this Addictive Substance. Thus far, my trusted M.D. has given me a remarkable clean bill of health, per my blood work. I hope I am young enough to recover from the damage, and that my metabolic anomolies will re-regulate, with “clean time,” from wheat.

    I have what few have, and that I have never had, in my entire life: HOPE.

    Roger, OHIO

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, Roger: Hope.

      And start Phase 2 of your life, renewed, reinvigorated, and enlightened. And help others see the light!

      • Roger

        That, Sir, is just what I want to do.

        It pains me to see so many I love, and so many I meet, killing their minds and bodies with spoons, knifes and forks. Consumption of Wheat-based products is still cheap, even in a bad economy–and it pains my of the Predictive Validity of the eventual out come, of long-term consumers of this man-induced Pestilance. The short-term types, at least can rid them selves of this Toxin, as their extreme and early sensitivity is a blessing in discuise.

        I am not sure how I am going to go about this, but I am going to do what I can.

        Good health is positive, but it is an adjustment, never the less; positive, but a stressor, all the same. Before your book, life was easy, lose my mind, body, and die young–as I gave up.

        In the mean time, I am one of the best advertizments for your book, Wheat Belly.

        It is so out of Character for me to communicate, with all people, a Medical Dr. You had to step out of your box, and I had to step out of mine. Even an old War-Dog like me, can learn a new trick. These are ideas, Dr. but, it smacks hard of raw-guts Trench War Fare. The Battle for the Mind and Body–War Is HELL, or at least close. Prior to your book, is the closest thing to Hell on earth I want to encounter. I Mar. 2012 is my actual birthday–as the one on my birh certificate is just a number.

        A lowly Addiction Counselor and Personal Trainer–not much to work with, but I will figure out how to do something with so little.

        Do not know how I wil go about this task, but selling your book . . . . . .
        That is a start.

        Roger, OHIO

  11. Kara

    I have celiac disease (biopsied small intestine, originally diagnosed by my naturopathic doctor).
    I got stuck unexpectedly staying at my parents house due to a family emergency this past weekend. I used my mother’s shampoo, and it had wheat in it. I had HORRIBLE dandruff within three hours and I was pulling out my hair from the discomfort. I ran to the store to get wheat-free shampoo, and toothpaste (because naturally, my mouth had sores from the gluten-containing toothpaste!) Within two hours after reshampooing/rebrushing, and some benedryl, I was back to normal. Go figure.

    I can’t believe I used to deal with this everyday…

    I’m the health crazy “hyperchondriac” of the family. I mean, how could wheat cause such a variety of symptoms???

    Thanks for the support, Dr Davis & bloggers!

    • Roger

      I really feel for you!

      I am so thankful you have been properly diagnosed, and, therefore, properly treated.

      I had no idea, before the end of Feb. 2012, how devestating Wheat (as it has be genetic-modified) was to all, but, more so, to some.

      You know what the problem is, and you can deal with it.

      It was not until Dr. Davis, and his book, Wheat Belly, that I was aware of what was causing my own mind and body nighmare–though severe (as in decades to buid up in toxins) I was not as life-threatening severe, as you, but I was comming close. No one could diagnose me–as I was trying to figure out what kind of specialist to go to, other than a slew of Medical Doctors either trying to make a druggie or mental case out of me.

      You are not crazy, or a hypo–what ever, you know what your body has a reaction to, and you are doing something about it! That is not crazy. What is crazy, is the top-down Govt. and Expert endorcement of Genetic Franken-Crap, that will kill both Conservative and Libreal, as toxins are non-partisin. As Dr. Davis said, a while back, on a blog, that his only political statement will be that Wheat will kill Republicans and Democrats, equally.

      Roger, OHIO

    • Dr. Davis

      Yup, Kara: It’s WORSE than you think!

      Say goodbye to all things wheat and never look back.

  12. Helen Kennedy

    It is so hard to watch loved ones and friends deal with health issues that may be caused by wheat while they refuse to even consider going wheat-free for a short period of time just to see what might happen. I can mention wheat-free living in passing but I have to refrain from any longer statements or repetitions or people become annoyed. Who wants to deal with a fanatic?? I feel like I have seen the light but I can’t share it. Too bad.
    BTW, could there be any connection between frequent urinary tract infections and wheat?? I have searched the site and the net and have not found UTIs mentioned in connection with wheat. Anyway, since going wheat-free, my UTIs (2-3 annually) are gone. Along with other health issues too. It has been particularly wonderful and restorative to not suffer from insomnia anymore. Thank you, Dr. Davis!

    • Dr. Davis

      Not that I know of, Helen.

      Should you discover an on again, off again relationship with wheat and urinary tract infections, please report your experience back here!

      • I must comment…I am about to post an amazing review for my blog readers on this book. 17 years ago a near homeless genius that I work with told me to not eat wheat and began to explain this…I am a believer, and I applaud this well resourced book. Doc, I will relentlessly advocate this book. I can tell you my simple theory on UTIs as I was getting them frequently. Wheat causes major changes/disturbances in the intestinal bacteria…candida over growth begins to run rampant , among other issues, and I believe can cause major irritation an can manifest in the urethra causing symptoms of urethritis…spastic urge like sensations. I use Udo’s probiotics both types for adults, coupled with elimination of wheat…incredible. I wouldn’t doubt it can cause issues in the tissue of the urethra. I wouldn’t doubt toilet paper has some traces of wheat or a similar substance that can inflame the tissue. I use to get kidney infections too (and painful boils). My skin was a wreck…not anymore. God knows what was happening to my insides. Thank you God for this book. Til the end of days….I am educating everyone I can reach. I can hardly wait for the cook book. I hope it has beautiful enticing pictures as I am a psychologist and understand human behavior in the sense that when changing habits, visualization is critical. Create the new reality. Good Luck Dr. Davis keep up the miraculous work. I pray the public will open their eyes…food is one’s biggest control source…when they are ready, they will grasp this wisdom.

        • Dr. Davis

          Hi, Red–

          Curious about your near-homeless friend. I’m not the only one to conclude such things!

          Thank you for helping spread the word. It is sobering to realize just how much we treat the effects of wheat consumption in healthcare. You might say that, for many in healthcare, Big Food, Agribusiness, and the drug industry, the invention of modern semi-dwarf wheat was the biggest cash cow of the century, yielding hundreds of billions of dollars in payoff.

    • Hi Helen,

      I DO think that there is a relationship between wheat/sugar and UTIs. I used to have them regularly as well, NOT a pleasant experience. I discovered that the UTIs need an acidic environment to thrive, and an acidic environment is caused in part, by sugar (wheat also breaks down to sugar as you know.) The last UTI I had was so severe (before going the WB way) that not even Cipro would help me get over it! I did a lot of online research looking for a home remedy as I was in misery, and this may sound hard to believe, but my pain was *immediately* eased by taking baking soda in water, which helped to restore the alkaline environment in my body.

      The UTI was gone completely in just a few days by continuing the baking soda water with some ACV (apple cider vinegar) added in as well. ACV may start out as acidic since it’s a vinegar, but it becomes alkaline in the body. Infections (and cancers) feed on sugar and acidic environments… get rid of the fuel for the bad bacteria, and the infections clear up pretty quickly! I am obviously not a Dr, but I strongly believe that my lifelong recurring UTIs were *directly* related to my consumption of wheat and sugar. I get a sinking feeling when I think of all those toxic antibiotics that I took over the years, when what I really needed to do was balance the Ph of my body!!

      Gretchen in Michigan

    • Rock

      Hi Dr. Davis – I know you get more responses on your blog than you could possible respond to, but I was hoping you could take a moment to consider this one. I’ve been eating more nuts since going Wheatbelly and I feel great, but the Paleo article about the imbalance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 cited in my earlier post has me concerned. What are your thoughts in this issue?
      Thank you for all you do.

      • Dr. Davis

        I’m not as concerned about this issue, provided you are supplementing omega-3s from fish oil, e.g., EPA + DHA 1800 mg per day.

        This is something we will need to discuss in future.

        Omega-6 consumption may serve as a surrogate for lack of omega-3.

        • Rock

          Got it. I’m taking cod liver oil currently but planning to switch to regular fish oil due to mercury concerns I’ve read about in cod liver oil. Thanks for your reply.

          I’ve lost 20 lbs in 4 months eating the Wheatbelly way without even trying. Amazing how easy it is to manage my appetite and stay fit when I’m not craving my next wheat fix. I’m in better shape, more productive, not counting calories, what a pleasure. Thank you Doc.

          • Dr. Davis

            Yes, Rock: Effortless weight loss because you have eliminated the appetite-stimulating effects of the gliadin protein in wheat.

            You have gotten this monkey off your back, no longer servant to Big Food and Big Pharma!

  13. thedrpete

    I had a question about carrots because of the sugars, but a search found your recipes, so I infer carrots are fine. A second question I had was about non_American wheat, say, in France. Is it relatively-unhybridized and, therefore not harmful? Or at this point is wheat wheat?

    The story above suggests the latter.