You might be a Wheat Belly when . . .

Alright: Stifle your guffaws, because this is serious stuff!

We all know that consumption of modern wheat is associated with an astounding list of health problems, such as acid reflux, joint pains, behavioral and learning difficulties in children with ADHD and autism, depression, eating disorders like bulimia and binge eating, diabetes and pre-diabetes, and on and on. But the signature abnormality, the one clear-cut red flag on the surface: the infamous wheat belly, the probuterant “love handles” or “muffin top” that hints at underlying visceral fat, a hotbed of inflammation.

So how might John or Mary Q. Public know when they’ve got one? Well:

You might be a Wheat Belly when . . . 

You haven’t been able to look straight down and see your toes since high school.

You thought pizza with low-fat cheese was a perfect healthy meal.

You thought you’d pass some gas quietly and unnoticed, only to realize it was the solid discharge of last night’s pasta dinner.

You can navigate traffic hands-free, maneuvering the steering wheel just by shifting your butt left or right.

You think a dinner of whole grain pasta, Italian bread, and tiramisu is a well balanced diet.

You’ve laughed and popped your jeans open.

You considered shoving a little kid aside so that you could get the last muffin at the breakfast bar.

You have to ask your husband to read your weight on the scale.

You dread putting on socks or pantyhose as much as a colonoscopy.

Your dental hygienist puts on a Haz-Mat suit to clean your teeth.

You believe that sprouting wheat seeds in water and labeling them with a God-like name magically transforms them into a healthy food.

You go to Krispy Kreme and they greet you by your first name.

You thought a bowl of sawdust every morning disguised as bran cereal was essential for healthy bowel movements.

You’ve remarked, “Why eat dinner?” after eating all the bread and rolls the waitress served before the entree.

You think fast food can be healthy if you just don’t eat the fries.

You thought a caramel macchiato with a reduced-fat banana chocolate chip coffee cake at Starbucks was a chic breakfast.

You only have to fill the bathtub halfway.

You thought Lite beer was the greatest invention since sliced bread.

You’ve often thought that McDonalds was underrated.

You ate the last half-donut in the box at work.

Okay, okay. You see that I could go on forever with this! (Thinking about this stuff, I couldn’t help hearing comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s voice: “You might be a redneck when . . . “)

Can you come up with any?

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. I Love it! I’ve got some more

    Tying your shoes is a cardiovascular workout!

    You look down on me for eating Bacon, Eggs, Sausage, and Ham at breakfast

    You pick your belt based on how much it hurts your belly when you sit

    It’s okay, I can make these jokes ’cause I used to be fat :D

  2. The coffee shop employees recognize your car and begin toasting your english muffin before you walk in the door.
    This sadly, was me, before I read Wheat Belly. The good news, the english muffin monkey is off my back!

  3. Ani

    …you wake up in the middle of the night, “dying” of hunger and it’s only after you stuff your face full of crackers that you can fall back to sleep again!!!

    This used to be me… thank GOD and thank you to Dr. Davis for helping us all on our journey to better health!!!

  4. Peggy Holloway

    You might not be a wheat belly if you look like this: (I’m not sure how to share photos, but really want readers to see these:


    Ken is 70 and I am 59! Hope the links work. If not, can someone tell me how to share photos on a blog?

  5. Fran

    I was never a fan of cereal, but always thought Bran cereal looked & tasted like a bowl of sawdust! I’m so amazed at how my appetite has changed….I don’t get hungry or have peaks & valleys anymore. Dr. Davis, it must annoy you to no end when you see TV commercials for various ‘healthy’ cereals, as it annoys me! I am also annoyed by family physicians telling me to eat whole grains, bran etc. My quest now is to find a doc in my town that is aware of the harmful effects of wheat & it seems to be very challenging.
    Thanks a million for your book & this blog!

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, Fran, it is amazing that this widespread information continues to thrive. This message, as you see, destroys health, has made a major contribution to the obesity and diabetes crisis, yet continues to be embraced by official agencies of the U.S. government, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, etc. They all, in effect, agree that destroying our health with a high-fiber, “healthy whole grain” way of life is advisable and if you gain weight, experience health problems, and become diabetic, well, that’s YOUR fault!

  6. AllisonK

    You sit down at the table while on the phone with a friend and commence to eat an entire (large Safeway loaf) of white bread all on it’s own.

  7. Paulab

    …you can’t think of a single thing for lunch that doesn’t include “sandwich” or a bun or tortilla. Soup and sandwich, chicken sandwich, burrito, hamburger, sub…oh wait, there’s always pizza or pasta salad!
    …your Thanksgiving dinner side dishes are stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, AND macaroni and cheese.

  8. Belinda

    ok…I lol’ed. :-) These are great!

    When I worked as a waitress, at one point the restaurant was on a big “promotion” of their double-crusted pies served ala mode. The manager pulled me aside and told me my sales of this item were lowest of the entire staff! I looked around the dining room, where people too fat to squeeze into booths were sitting in chairs (chairs w/o arms to “accommodate” them) and said to him: “I suspect I could be charged with homicide or manslaughter if I “pushed” it on these people.”

    @Allison~been there, but with an entire box of saltines. Not just a sleeve…the entire box! Wha????? Where’d it go???

  9. Jana

    You make a double batch of cookies so no one notices you ate a whole batch. That or you eat so that instead of three dozen you’re left with two dozen.

  10. You enjoy waking up at 2am so you can eat a bagel. Yup, that was me. Now I was never obese but my belly was bloated with gas.

    • Dr. Davis

      I suspect the nocturnal eating under the influence of wheat is a lot more common than people let on, Anne!

  11. Month 7 on wheat free diet. Had 5 (five) potato chips last night that were covered in *seasoning*. 4 hours later I craved cigarettes and ice cream. Amazing what chemistry can do to create cravings.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, Jerald: Be aware and thereby be armed to defend yourself against the onslaught of hidden ingredients in processed food to increase appetite.

  12. aerobic1

    Yesterday, I intentionally fell off my wheat-free/low carb wagon as an experiment. Had lunch with one 12 ounce cold “wheat” beer, pork sandwhich made with a wheat bun and breaded (with wheat) onion rings. One hour postprandial blood glucose was 155. Today I feel like I have a hangover (foggy, lethargic and unmotivated). I am glad I did this reality check as it serves to reinforce the typical and undesirable side-effects of wheat.

  13. Susanlyn Fish

    Tub half full ….how about no baths, only showers… and no jeans, only elastic waist pants. and when you hide bags or cookies from the rest of the family… these comments are funny, but actually heart breaking too.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yeah, I know, Susanlyn.

      But you will indeed find them increasingly amusing as you get farther and farther down this road!

  14. Denise

    When you’ve pushed yourself away from the Thanksgiving dinner table and before the dishes are done you are opening the refrigerator to see what there is to eat!

  15. Denise

    When you are looking for something to eat before the Thanksgiving dishes are done.

  16. You would have been talking to me about three months ago. I’m in the Army. I did PT every morning. I thought I ate healthy with “heart healthy whole grains”. I did two rounds of Insanity. And I STILL had a wheat belly. It finally took dropping the wheat and switching to a Primal diet to watch the Inches disappear off the wheat belly. And today I go in the Dining Facility (I’m deployed to Afghanistan) and almost everything on the menu has some type of grain in it. With all the Soldiers walking around with wheat bellies, you’d think they would learn.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s wonderful, Tre!

      You are among the few in the military who are just beginning to appreciate this issue. But this will empower you for a lifetime of health.

      You may start a new awareness in the military that, minus wheat, you will experience greater physical capacity, greater mental ability, improved alertness. Personally, I am shocked that complete and avoidance of wheat is not the default position!

      • Neicee

        My brother while in the service used to adhere to the old Marine Corps. diet. Steak, eggs, veggies and a little fruit. He and all his friends claimed you couldn’t eat carbs, as well as, rice/potatoes/corn and still drink every night. Way ahead of their time. I thought they were nuts at the time, didn’t listen, and suffered all the rewards of wheat and the rest of the bad guys on the menu.

  17. Debbie2

    You are exersizing three times a day and eating plenty of “Healthy whole grains” in an effort to lose weight and your clothes keep getting tighter…and tighter…and TIGHTER!

  18. Josie

    I have suspected that I may have an issue with wheat for some time now so, having kept a food diary, I decided to go wheat free for a fortnight. Health improved over the time and I decided there must be something in it but, to make sure, I had small bowl of cereal yesterday and had such an extreme reaction, sudden drop in blood sugar, shaky hands, bloated stomach and the back of my heels and my fingers felt tight and started to hurt within one hour. This reaction was more extreme than normal…could this be worse because of the break? Anyone ever had the same thing? Reading all your posts with great interest :) Thanks ….

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, indeed: a typical wheat “re-exposure reaction.” They can indeed be quite dramatic.

      You can see how habitual consumption wreaks havoc in less dramatic ways, just ruining health in less perceptible ways, day in, day out.

      Bottom line: Wheat was ruining your health. Never eat it again!

  19. Soul

    Coming back from playing tennis this morning I saw a really large fellow hoping into the smallest pick up truck. Poor guy, looked painful to have all that weight to carry around. So I’ll say, you might be an excessive wheat eater if you weigh more than the family pick up truck.

  20. Firebird7478

    You go to the movies and order the extra large bucket of popcorn but tell them to hold the butter because you’re on a diet.

    You wash down cheese steak on a foot long torpedo roll with a liter bottle of Diet Pepsi. (I actually know someone who does this.)

  21. Firebird7478

    You drive and drive and drive around the mall parking lot, waiting for a space close to the front door to become available.

    • Neicee

      Or, you park in handicapped parking, walk to the front of the store unassisted, then get sideways with the greeter because the electric carts are all checked out. I park in the south forty so I’ll have to walk to the store, then do a full waltz around the perameters…..never, ever, go down the center isles.

    • Are you serious?? You don’t need a “DR” to tell you why diabetes is more prevalent among the poor. PRETTY OBVIOUS, they eat like shit because first of all they don’t give a shit (more important things to worry about when your poor… like if you’ll have the money this month to keep your water on) and second of all they don’t have the money to shop at Whole Foods or to be eating a chicken breast on a bed of romaine lettuce every night for dinner. Also under educated and would never see a website like this. Soooo over time all the “shitfood” eating adds up and BAM! …… Diabesity

      • JillOz

        Well Matt, there are plenty of affluent people eating tons of wheat products like pasta, bread, muffins, cereals etc, hence my question to Dr Davis.

        Poor people don’t necessarily need to go to Whole Foods to get organic top of the range real food. You can get normal real food from the supermarket, shop for specials etc., the crucial part being that they b uy non-wheat, non-corn etc, non-processed food.

        Don’t forget that many of the poorer people are also students, immigrants, older people and people with mental health issues. Students and immigrants tend to be able to eat well even if they’re broke, because they can research or buy fresh food to cook with coupons and smart shopping. take the entire fruglaity movement for instance, full of people who know how to shop and know about nutrition too.

        It’s a bit more complicated than whether you’re poor and eating processed garbage – you can be poor, knowledgeable about good food and shop properly to cook well and not get sick.

        I’m afraid I’m going to ignore your answer and wait for Dr Davis’ answer, since it will probably be more informative, more polite and far more specificf than your response.

        However, kudos for your term “diabesity”.

    • Aria

      I watched a youtube video on that where a doctor said that while the poor definitely have more diabetes than the rich, the gap is narrowing from what it used to be. Maybe because everyone is getting bad information?

      • JillOz

        That’s certainly an assumption I am making…there’s much more to this than a lack of money.

  22. Sorry for this being an out-of-place question. I keep looking and looking to find an answer to this. Is scotch whiskey an okay or a no-no?

  23. Roma

    You might be a Wheat Belly if….
    You see an old college friend & pat her stomach asking “So, when are you due?”
    Her response…”I’m not pregnant!” OOOPS! True story.

  24. Dr. Davis, please excuse the embarrassing nature of the question, but…
    During my adult life I have always, regularly, gone to the bathroom early in the morning each and every day. However, since becoming a member of the Wheat Belly community, I now go only twice a week. Is this common, and should I be concerned?

    • Dr. Davis

      This most commonly signals a slow transition from the bowel flora of a wheat consumer to that of a non-wheat consumer.

      You can accelerate the process by taking a high-potency probiotic that provides bificobacteria and lactobacillus, 50 billion CFUs or greater, for at least 4 weeks.

      Also, consider a magnesium supplement, e.g., magnesium malate, 1200 mg twice per day.

  25. Mike

    – Can’t button trousers unless your shirt is not in.
    – Almost all trousers had buttons replaced not only once.
    – Just before bed shovel plate full of sandwiches
    – In the car your belly touches steering wheel
    – Buying in secret box of cookies and eat it straight away
    – shirt button fired during meal.
    All above used to happen to me :)

      • JoAnne

        Dr Davis, Mike’s comment seemed like the perfect place for me to post this… On June 22, I posted that I work for a radio station and I’d LOVE to share the message of the WB movement with my station’s loyal audience. You said to let you know when I figured it out. I’ve got it figured out!! My radio station has an audience in 4 states and is located next to a military base. The military personnel listen to my station via online streaming wherever they get deployed – worldwide. If you’re interested and want details about the promotional idea I have in mind to get WB on the radio, tell me how to contact you. Thx!

  26. april inkpen

    I have been wheat free for a month. I find I have more energy but have been having severe bloating. Can you tell me why this is happening. I would have thought that I would have less bloating not more.

    • Dr. Davis

      Think probiotic, April.

      The shift in bowel flora from wheat-consuming to non-wheat-consuming involves a change in bowel flora. This does not happen overnight, but can be accelerated by taking a high-potency probiotic that provides bificobacteria and lactobacillus, 50 billion CFUs or greater, for at least 4 weeks.

      • Neicee

        Dr. Davis, I just visited my 91 yr. old mother-in-law at her nursing home. A little lady there, with celiacs, was sent home from the hospital with C. diff infection (sp?) after having her pacemaker replaced – they ‘naturally’ gave her antibiotics. This private in-home facility only has 5 patients. I asked her nurse, caregiver, if they planned to give the celiac patient probiotics? The nurse told me they are only giving her what the doctor ordered and didn’t seem to know what probiotics are. Good grief! I pray to never end up with such disjointed doctors and caregivers. Yea, I furiously washed my hands/arms when I got home.

        • Dr. Davis

          Yes, good idea, Neicee.

          Too bad you can’t wash the bad taste of backward medical care out of your mouth, too!

  27. Neicee

    You might be a wheat belly if……years ago in a major southern city, I was shopping with my daughter in a grocery store. A commotion of a young lady and her mother turned out to be a very pregnant teenager, at least 50+ lbs. overweight – she’s running after her mother, carrying the biggest bag of chips I’d ever seen crying “but mama, it’s only five bucks!” I about dropped to my knees laughing.

    That summed up why young people don’t always make the wisest choices and why they need guidance.

  28. wrotek
    pubmed/6989266 Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on
    insulin binding and insulin sensitivity
    of fat cells. Livingston JN, Purvis BJ. ”
    Abstract The plant lectin (wheat germ
    agglutinin, WGA) produces several
    alterations in the ability of fat cells
    to bind and respond to insulin. Although WGA markedly stimulated
    glucose oxidation, it caused only a
    modest stimulation of glucose
    transport. WGA (0.25-20 micrograms/
    ml) increased the binding of insulin by
    adipocytes, apparently by increasing the binding affinity of the insulin
    receptor. With low WGA
    concentrations (0.25-2.5 micrograms/
    ml), the elevation in binding was
    accompanied by an increase in the
    sensitivity of the adipocytes to insulin stimulation of glucose transport.
    However, the sensitivity of these cells
    to vitamin K5 and H2O2 was not
    altered. With higher WGA
    concentrations (5-20 micrograms/ml),
    stimulation of the glucose transport system by insulin, vitamin K5, or H2O2
    was markedly inhibited, an effect that
    is reversed by the addition of
    ovomucoid. These findings suggest that low WGA concentrations
    increase the affinity of the insulin
    receptor and the insulin sensitivity
    of the cells. At higher
    concentrations, the lectin appears to
    act at another site(s) to inhibit the activation of the transport system
    by insulin or other agents.”

  29. Gail Bjornson

    I bought the book 10 days ago. I told a friend who took my book so had to get the second one. I had to have the recipes. There is a big big improvement in my health and my belly. My husband is also on the wheat free diet. I have to say thank you. I need all the recipes I can get because I love the pain free feeling.

  30. Richard Gutheil

    I was just wondering if the belly shown belong to Jerry Seinfeld, you know the talking belly that said, “Hellooooooooooooooooooo” much to the dislike of his girlfriend.

    • Tanya

      LOL good one! It probably was a wheat belly, considering the colourful assortment of cereal boxes always in the background of Jerry’s kitchen!

  31. zipi dachimp

    the ‘sawdust” in the bowl at breakfast is “oat bran’ recommended by a Dr. Dukan, in a diet book entitled ‘the dukan diet’.
    meanwhile, I’ve got 2 bags unopened and 1 on the go. all this conflicting advice is making me dizzy. My final loaf of bread was finished last week. Ice cream will be a bigger hurdle, although the oat bran mixes well with the ice cream!!!!

  32. Julia

    You might have a wheat belly if you can still fit on your maternity clothes and your youngest child is 16.

  33. Robin

    Great list! Except for having your husband read your weight on the scale, nope, don’t know a woman who would do that.

  34. Kelly

    You might need to read wheat belly if you have…..
    -pretzel brain
    -pizza face
    -muffin top
    -bagel butt
    -wheat feet

    I’ve been wheat free for a week and I’m not sure and is it too good to be true – but I think my skin is clearing up! A 50 yr old with acne – not a pretty picture. I have started the project of cleaning out my cubboards and filled a garbage bag ful of junk that I would not feed to a dog. Still have more to do but I’m feeling better just having it out of my house. Tryed the Ricotto cheese pancake with strawberries this morning. Awesome can’t wait to try the ginger orange loaf recipee. The flax wrap is also sublime almost remindes more of…dare I say bread. Love this blog – it has been my sole support and I really enjoy reading everyone’s story. So please keep sharing. And good luck to all that need to be wheat free.

    My new motto is WFF – WHEAT FREE FOREVER.


    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Kelly!

      And remember that skin is really the outward expression of internal processes, especially that in the gastrointestinal tract. I suspect that you have likely experienced marked improvements there, too, whether or not there have been perceptible effects.

      Yes: WFF!

  35. Renee Santin

    Quick question….I use carnation breakfast essentials no added sugar with my milk. Is this okay?

    • Dr. Davis

      Sorry, Renee, but I am not familiar with this product.

      HOWEVER, having seen their products in past, they were plain awful. So I have avoided them for years. It makes me doubtful that they somehow changed their tune.

  36. You might be a wheat belly if you ever catch yourself saying the following phrases:

    “I’m addicted to pasta/bread/rice.”
    “Oh, I could never give up pasta/bread/rice! I love it too much.”
    “I’m on a diet” while eating a very large toasted bagel with fat free cream cheese.

    Finally, you might be a wheat belly if you completely shun fat while simultaneously shoveling all the “healthy, whole-grain” products into your mouth as fast as you can.

  37. MaryMK

    This or similar may have already been posted but…You might be a wheat belly if you’re on a gurney in a hospital corridor or ER. Sadly, I have reason to say this since my husband recently suffered a stroke due to a clot in his heart. Can’t say his is the biggest wheat belly I’ve seen but certainly a lifetime of wheat products has done him harm. I understand the relationship between wheat and diabetis but a little unsure about wheat vis a vis stroke…

    While staying with him in the hospital, a patient with an enormous wheat belly was rolled down the corridor of the rehab unit on a gurney. Another victim of what the SAD has done to us. Yesterday I saw a mother with two young daughters–she with a big wheat belly and the little girls each with her own junior wheat belly. Makes me wonder how old the little girls will be before they’re visiting their mother in the hospital–or worse.

    I am devestated by my husband’s stroke. Our life has been unalterably changed and I’m grieving the lost parts of my husband that I don’t think he can regain.

    If you are reading this, please get your blood pressure checked and look into the Track Your Plaque program. Ironically, I joined just two months ago and was reading the information just before my husband suffered his stroke. Too late for me to influence him before disaster struck but a wake-up call for me.

    Oh, and if you’d like to make yourself sick while coping with a loved one in the hospital, eat all the crap available in the hospital’s cafeteria and on the paient’s plate and buy and eat the treats you and your friends and family members bring (me, for example) for the staff.. That’s exactly what I did out of fear, frustration, boredom, exhaustion and grief. Old wheat habits die hard or are easily resurrected under the right conditions. Maybe like zombies (that, ironically, eat people’s brains–just like wheat does) Just when I need to feel my best, I feel my worst.

  38. MaryMK

    Thanks, JL. Each day has it’s own challenges but a bright note is that after a few weeks eating bread, my hubby declined a sandwich today saying he rather not eat wheat! Yay! Little victories in the ongoing battle are to be celebrted nonetheless.