Heart Poison

Claire has small LDL particles. Small LDL particles are the #1 most common abnormality leading to coronary disease, heart attack, as well as procedures like stents and bypass surgery. (No, it’s NOT high cholesterol!)

At the start of her program, Claire had 870 nmol/L small LDL particles (measured by the NMR lipoprotein method), a moderately high value, representing 60% of total LDL particles. It was certainly not attributable to being overweight (as is often argued), as she was quite slender, only 115 pounds at 5 ft 3 inches. So I counseled Claire on how to eliminate wheat and limit exposure to other carbohydrates, especially other grains, corn, and sugars, to reduce the expression of small LDL. Most people who follow this regimen drop small LDL particles to zero within just a few months–not with cholesterol drugs, but with this shift in food choice.

But Claire failed to hear me say “Never eat gluten-free foods made with the junk carbohydrate ingredients, cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, and potato starch.” Because her daughter was “gluten-free” due to a “gluten-sensitivity,” Claire started purchasing gluten-free pasta made with rice starch, along with occasional gluten-fee multigrain bagels and rolls.

A repeat lipoprotein panel showed 1597 nmol/L small LDL particles—a near-doubling of her starting value.

The most common ingredients used to replace wheat flour in gluten-free products–rice starch, tapioca starch, cornstarch, and potato starch–are chosen because they provide a reasonable facsimile of wheat flour in baked products. But these are among the few foods that have a glycemic index higher than even that of wheat! So, sure, gluten-free multigrain bread or pasta does not cause appetite stimulation like the gliadin protein of wheat, nor do they cause intestinal destruction like the wheat germ agglutinin in wheat, nor do they trigger allergies like the alpha amylase inhibitors in wheat–they “only” cause sky-high blood sugar and, with it, formation of extravagant quantities of small LDL particles.

Those nice people who make gluten-free foods with junk carbohydrate ingredients don’t know that their products cause coronary disease and heart attacks, cataracts, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, inflammation, and growth of visceral fat. Note that the small LDL particles triggered by gluten-free carbohydrates, as in Claire’s example, persist for 10 days after one indulgence. In other words, if Claire only has a gluten-free slice of bread or a bagel every 10 days, she has small LDL particles and risk for heart disease 7 days a week, 30 days a month, 12 months a year.

So, among the several deleterious effects of gluten-free junk carbohydrates is triggering of small LDL particles, the most common cause for coronary disease and heart attack in North America today. Gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, and potato starch are poisons to your heart.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. ThatWriterChick

    So glad you turned this into a blog post! I was startled, big time, when you explained the 24/7/365 phenomenon to me. Suddenly, those occasional ice cream indulgences, summertime peaches and ears of sweet corn aren’t so appealing anymore!

    • Tracey O'Connell

      Dr. Davis- This really frightens me. My kids have Celiac disease. We have a gluten-free household. I make excellent healthy, “paleo-esque” meals for dinner at night- and recently served almond flour/coconut flour pancakes for breakfast, which they actually loved. In general, however, it is really hard to prepare foods for children that do not include GF substitutes (e.g. breads, pastas, Bell & Evans GF chicken fingers).
      My kids eat Chex cereals for breakfast- and my boys will eat eggs and breakfast meats but my daughter won’t. For lunch, they have sandwiches on Udi’s bread because their school won’t let them use a microwave to heat up leftovers. I know what is best for them to eat- but I don’t think i can cram any more vegetables in them than I already do. They eat fruits- which you state should be given in small quantities.
      My children are very active and athletic. They are all underweight. They think they are eating “healthy” foods.
      They already sacrifice many desirable foods bombarding them at school, birthday parties, and advertisements- as well as their classmates’ diets. It is very distressing to see what all of their classmates and friends eat: processed fake foods full of wheat.
      My kids eat mostly whole foods- aside from the breads and potatoes and rice and Chex cereal and occasional GF cookies for a treat. Yet, I feel that I am still “poisoning” them- because I have always assumed exactly what you have said in today’s blog entry: these GF substitutes aren’t good for blood sugar, either.
      This is particularly worrisome, additionally, because those with Celiac disease also have a higher risk for developing diabetes over the general population.
      I think mental health is as important as physical health. How can I keep my kids eating the “right stuff” without making them even more neurotic or developing an eating disorder?
      Do active children’s high metabolic rates counterbalance the elevation in blood sugar associated with high-glycemic foods?
      Tracey O’Connell

      • Dr. Davis

        Yup. The issues for the kids are much the same as for us Big Kids, just less severe.

        I am working frantically to help food manufacturers bring truly healthy “gluten-free” products to market for busy moms like you. But this takes time.

        In the meantime, you have to make it yourself. I am about to make a large batch of the focaccia bread recipe (from this blog) for sandwiches for over the weekend, as I will be traveling and would like a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich to go!

  2. michele

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m new to this whole concept & have been indulging in the gluten free foods you reference. I have gained about 5 lbs in less that 2 wks! So clearly i will have to eliminate them make this weight loss work. Thanks!

  3. Linda

    Rosie O’Donnell routinely posts pics of her “heart friendly healthy” meals on twitter and today’s pic is more damned pasta. I just sent her a link to this article.
    Hope she reads it.

  4. Unfortunately the downside to your wonderful book is that many people are turning to gluten free! Ahhhhhh…..
    Even here in New Zealand there is a prolifieration of gluten free goodies everywhere you go and people think it is a healthy alternative.

  5. GrannyM

    Love this! Very clear and informative. I also sent it to my son. Wish @Rosie would read this stuff. She had a heart attack recently and has gone vegan. Sad to think how many people do that without reading the science!

    • Linda

      GrannyM:

      She sure has! I’ve contacted her several times on Twitter, asked her to plz read several of the blogs we all follow such as Dr. Eades, FatHead, and of course, Wheat Belly. She is just not interested, is totally convinced that she must follow a “plant based” eating plan filled with crappy pasta. She posts twit pics of her meals, lots and lots of veggies, many mixed with pastas of varying sizes and shapes, and not a drop of fat or meat in sight. She tells me she has to “follow her heart”. I assume she dropped some weight and is now convinced that this is the way to go. Sigh……………………….

  6. Burnsaal

    Here’s a question, Dr. Davis: the one GF manufactured food I’ve been eating is Blue Diamond’s crackers—they’re easy to find because Blue Diamond is already a big player, and they’re delicious (they’re called Nut-Thins). The primary ingredients include rice FLOUR (not starch), and almonds. Potato starch is listed as an ingredient way down the line. Do I have to worry about the little bit of potato starch in this? These crackers aren’t something to eat daily, but they’re a nice happy hour/ appetizer alternative for cheese and hummus.

    • Dr. Davis

      You will find, Burnsaal, that if net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) total 15 grams or more, then there will be problems.

      If below, you are usually on safe ground.

  7. Megan S

    I learned the hard way the first year after learning I had Celiacs. I gained 35lbs by eating less and exercising more (but trying to keep the carb lovers happy in my family with GF substitutes). I was one of the many who was not told to avoid those foods or why, and had to figure it out for myself. I avoided your site (and FB page) for the longest because of the ‘lose wheat, lose weight’ comment at the top – it appears that all you have to do is remove wheat from your diet, but it’s not the whole picture (as this post details, for example). Thank you for the post!

      • Neicee

        I’ve been asked by family and friends why I can’t eat some of the products they have on hand for snacks and it’s hard to give them simple answers. Many are getting on the gluten free bandwagon without knowing why. But, giving them a run down doesn’t help all that much, because that’s all they take away from the conversation. My new response is for them to buy the book, read it, understand it, and put the recommendations into practice. It’s so simple, but taking a few bullet points away from a conversation and never making the effort to understand the real reason is lazy.

  8. Steve Brecher

    Pretty strong claims based on ONE observation of a particles change with no data about NMR particles variance, no controls, no other dietary information, etc.

    • Dr. Davis

      This is an EXAMPLE, not the proof of the concept.

      Perhaps you have this blog confused, Steve, with a medical journal. You will find that elsewhere.

  9. Neicee

    Thank you for posting this. I get this all the time from family and friends…..you simply cannot pound on the subject hard enough. Many are doing the gluten free gig for weight loss. I know what gluten can do to you if you’re only mildly to severely unable to tolerate it. I’m still not so sure I wasn’t celiac, never got to the point of being tested and it’s too late now because I’ve now been completely wheat free for over a year. Did flirt with some of the gluten free products like a chip made in Colorado, but could tell by the way I felt it wasn’t kosher. Too much of an insulin kick. It’s one day at a time, and humans will go back to a lifetime of eating something, if only in their imagination. Instead, like atheletes today, hold a vision of what I will do and can do to salvedge whats left of my life – enjoying health.

  10. What is wrong with peaches, corn ?
    I know what is wrong with ice cream,,,,
    Your information is scary about the LDL particles
    I sent this info to my daughter
    I’ll have to watch what I buy too
    A BIG thank you

    • Dr. Davis

      Hmmm. Perhaps a topic for future discussion, Linda.

      This relates to individual carbohydrate sensitivity. See a prior blog post called “Can I eat quinoa?”

  11. Becalope

    One comes across wheat-free, gluten-free pasta all the time. But even if one knows to nix the potato starch, cornstarch and rice flour options, some products are hard to fathom. It brings up questions. Such as “what about corn flour?” and “Huh, here’s pasta made using oat bran flour.” Is the corn flour really just jumped up corn /starch/? Is oat bran flour okay? And what’s this brown rice pasta? I’m trying to wean the teen off wheat and it is way easier if I can find alternatives to some of the standard “teen chow.” !

    • Dr. Davis

      It’s ALL bad, Becalope, at least the way it is produced today.

      This is why I am advising interested food manufacturers to dump these replacement flours and use almond meal/flour, coconut flour, and similar but benign flours to make their products.

      In a few months, you and I will be able to buy such things, as well as make them ourselves . . . without health worries!

  12. Dr. Davis — As many times as you have explained this exact phenomenon (that gluten free products are replacing one evil with another and to steer clear of them)…this post lays it out so crystal clearly, that the only way someone could not understand it after reading it could mean only one thing…that they were stupid.
    P.S. — I am now 7 weeks (as of yesterday) without wheat or grains. I initially started WB to address my sky-high triglycerides and small LDL, hoping that this might be the answer for me and to keep my doctor from adding yet another medication to my routine. After many years of losing weight, exercising, and replacing whole grains for the “white stuff” per my doctors orders to address my triglycerides (and it failing)…I finally decided to give your program a try. I have been a regular reader of your Track your Plaque Blog for years…(way before WB) where you also talked about abstaining from all wheat to address high triglycerides. I will be honest with you…I started WB hoping that it would work…but fully expecting it not to. I assumed this was just another fad eating program of some sort. I finally decided that I needed to know if it could be my answer once and for all…so I dove in 110%. I intentionally did NOT exercise…I wanted to put it to the test and see if the results of just abstaining from wheat/grains would do anything for me. It just turns out that I had a physical before starting the program…and my bloodwork came back bad…again — bad enough that my doctor had me return in 3 weeks to recheck my BP and some of my bloodwork. Here is the surprise — after 3 weeks, my triglycerides were cut almost in half; I had lost 16 pounds…yes 16 pounds. I gave my doctor your food plan that I printed out from your website (the quick and dirty)…she said it must be working for you…continue and come back and we will run your bloodwork again in 8 weeks. At 4 weeks on WB, I am down 21 pounds…who knew it could be so easy??? That would have taken months to do at any other time in my life. This is the first time I will be looking forward to my blood test results (early October)….I started this plan intending to prove you wrong….I am 7 weeks into this plan wondering where you have been all my life!!! I thank you from the bottom of my heart….and I have never been so glad in my entire life to have been proven wrong. I will keep you posted on my progress (I have not weighed since the 4-week mark…but I am shrinking before my own eyes…it is astonishing to say the least). Thank you, thank you….thank you!

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Gourmet–

      Saw your Facebook post, too.

      I’d like to post your comment as a follow-on to this blog post, it is so helpful.

      Thank you for sharing!

    • ORapunzel

      I read your post GGC, and I liked everything you had to say (from a certain point on). However, you detract from your message by calling those who do not fully integrate what’s being shared by calling them “stupid”. Please, give people some patience if you want your message to be received more widely. Dishing an insult is the fastest way to have someone quit reading, which is what I, initially, did until I saw Dr. Davis’ comment and went back to read the rest. Many people have no respect for those who see others through a veil of thinly disguised disgust.

      Kindly remember that people have been programmed for sooo long to believe things are a certain way, and you (and so many others) suddenly expect them to believe otherwise…in an instant? It’s like asking those who believed the world was flat for thousands of years to suddenly grasp that the world is round. Doesn’t happen that way. It takes people a while to open their minds to begin to fully see the truth of what is being presented. In fact, this is akin to dropping water on to a stone. Initially nothing seems to happen, but over time, those gentle droplets create an impression that is indelible.

      No doubt, the lightbulbs will go on for more and more people, but this process will take a while before the world-at-large embraces it.

      All the Best to You and Yours! :-)

  13. Robert Golubski

    You know – when I first read this book I thought there might be something to it. Stay away from wheat and things will get better. But as time goes on, it’s not only wheat – it’s rice flour, potato flour, etc. So it’s not just about the wheat anymore. This is just another version of the adkin’s diet.
    I think it’s a fad that will end because it’s not just about the wheat anymore.
    I will repeat what my grandmother used to say, “everything in moderation including the amounts.
    Doc, you keep adding more and more conditions.

      • Amy Allison

        Yes, it does work! I’ve lost 14 lbs since end of May on a WB / low carb diet & have cut back on alcohol. If the bod has to burn alcohol or carbs, it aint burning fat…and it’s probably storing fat instead. Many thanks to Dr. D, Dr. Gary Taubes and Dr. Atkins for their books and for cluing the public in on how the chemistry REALLY works. I will be forever greatful!

      • Allen

        I concur that it works also. I’m 5 weeks into the WB eating plan. I’ve also cut out oats, most sugar, eat plenty of eggs, cheese, meats, veggies, nuts and seeds. I’m down about 14 lbs in 5 weeks (started at 6’2″ and 190 lbs). I haven’t checked blood work yet, but blood pressure has dropped, I’ve cut my bp meds in half with the goal of cutting them out in the next week or two if everything stays normal (actually bp has been around 110/70). Thanks Doc!

    • Rong

      Perhaps you haven’t read the book. The book talks about avoiding gluten free products so it’s no surprise to me when the same information shows up on the blog. I have done Atkins for years. I have had Type II diabetes for many more years that was made better via Atkins. However, I had a very hard time staying on it as I was constantly fighting hunger. I read Wheat Belly (yes the whole book) and suddenly low carb became very, very easy. I had been eating low carb bread at nearly every meal not realizing that its wheat was standing in the way of my success and commitment. I have posted my results here before but at 68 I can say that they are astonishing to me and to my doctors since going grain free. I’ll put your suggestion about moderation on carbs on the shelf with moderation on cocaine, heroin other addictive drugs. Wheat has a wide spectrum of problems of which elevated blood sugar is but one though an important one. Eliminating only wheat doesn’t eliminate elevated blood sugar is you replace it with substances that elevate sugar even higher.

  14. Ok anyone or “Dr. D” ~

    We aren’t buying a bunch of gluten free products.. eating lotsa raw nuts for snacks, great big ol honker salads with all kinds of goodies in them.. in fact our salads (spinach etc) and the bowls I put them in look more like feeding bins for some kind of animal.. well, not quite but they’re big!! I’m not snacking (anymore) cause I’m just not hungry.. nor am I even thinking about food..(just blows me away!!). But, we’d been buying and trying different gluten free breads to use.. not bagels, no rolls.. !
    The one we’d been eating does have the rice starch in it.. no other starches but that one..
    So, we should not be eating gluten free bread? Or once I get home from traveling and have my real kitchen back I should make my own … (bought almond flour for future use…).

    I learned when I’d bought gluten free cookies over a week ago and made myself feel really crummy the next day.. The live and learning moment!!

    Anyone??? Thoughts.. Help!!
    Kate

    • Dr. Davis

      Sorry, Kate, but current gluten-free foods are awful. I’ll repeat: CURRENT GLUTEN-FREE FOODS ARE AWFUL.

      This is why I provide recipes, so that you and I can make our own “gluten-free” but HEALTHY foods.

      • Terry Duncan

        I too did the gluten free products when trying to “wean” myself of wheat — WRONG. There is just so much information and I think our mindset has our focus on getting rid of the wheat and looking for a substitute — we have been poisoned in our thinking by the food industry — we have to have candy, pasta,chips, sodas, beer, or a substitute. Dr. Davis has provided us with a means – through his book, blog, facebook pages — and now since I have more energy and don’t need the wheat induced sleep (8 or 9 hours and a possible nap) — I can get up at what used to be my middle of the night or stay up later and read and be informed. It is so good to know you have other “buddies” on this journey. (2 months off wheat/gluten/grains/gluten free products and low carb and 23 pounds down – need to measure—biggest of all— I feel better –mentally and physically)

        • Dr. Davis

          That’s great, Terry!

          Like you, I’ve had to learn many of these lessons the hard way: blundering around and figuring it out.

          But once you find the answers, it all becomes so simple, doesn’t it?

      • Ok, gotcha “Dr. D.” !!

        Guess I’m gonna have to get crackin (or perhaps cookin) in the motor home, room or no room!

        I will admit as I ask myself.. “why don’t you just follow a recipe”.. And the truthful answer is that changing your mind set to get off of “what’s easy” and “quick” is really very new and somewhat difficult. And, that being said.. each day I am seeing a new me and I deserve to continue in the direction I’m facing.. forward, not backward!

        Com’on brain, kick in.. ! And I know better.. different is just different..and will be as hard at my brain wants to make it..!!

        Again, having this blog to go to for support and answers is such a comfort.
        Kate
        P.S. I am learning!!!

  15. Ron Fuller

    There is a perfectly correct time to consume these high glycemic foods. After a weight training workout while the glucose transporters are wide open. Since going completely gluten free, I consume 200-400 grams of these high glycemic foods within an hour after my workouts. My LDL’s went from an average of 160 down to around 100. My HDL’s which have never been over 40 are now between 46 and 48. A1C, C-Reactive protein and thyroid are all with range, which were all just above exceptable ranges. Haven’t had the particle size test recently. Could be please advise. Thanks.

  16. Ron Fuller

    After going completely gluten free. I consume 200-400 grams of these high glycemic carbs after my weight training workouts when my glucose transporters are wide open. My bodyfat percentage went from 24% to 12% in 7 months. My LDL’s went from an average of 160-180 to around 100. My HDL’s have never been over 40 are now 46-48. Blood Pressure 113/73, A1C, C-Reactive protein and Thyroid are all now within there proper ranges too. Calcium CT chest scan is a 4, equal to a 8 year old. I’m 53 year US Army veteran.

    • Dr. Davis

      Well, HDL is too low and, I suspect, if you were to measure small LDL, it will be sky-high.

      That is a potentially fatal intake of carbs, not matter what your weight training is like.

  17. Patricia

    How do you get your smal LDL measured in Canada and what are the values you quoted in mmol/l
    ?

    • Dr. Davis

      It’s tough, Patricia, given the system in Canada. You could ask your doctor, but will likely be denied or just poked fun at. In the U.S., there are direct-to-consumer services like DirectLabs.com that allow you to do it yourself.

      However, the values are the same here and elsewhere, no conversion required.

      • JoAnne

        Unfortunately for some of us, due to stupid laws by our state governments (like Maryland, where I live) Direct Labs Services not available in MA, MD, ND, NE, NJ, NY, RI, SD, and VT.

  18. Lisa L.

    I love it when people dismiss what you say, Dr. Davis, without really trying it. Oh…well maybe I am pointing a finger at myself because I dismissed Adkins just five years ago. I have lost 16 lbs., 5 inches, and have gotten rid of adult acne, dry skin, and the need for an afternoon nap. Ha Ha. I used a few gluten free items at first but now avoid them. Making my own meals from natural ingredients, fresh veggies, meat,, dairy is so much better than bland pasta, rice, and bread. Life is good.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, it’s the people who say things like “That’s too good to be true!” or “It can’t be that simple!” and never try it who are depriving themselves of one of the most powerful and effective strategies for overall health and weight I have ever witnessed.

    • Neicee

      Eric, I’ve been following the series about cholesterol by Dr. Peter Attia. A lot of it is way over my head, but having to read and reread something helps to keep the gray matter in check. The whole subject is fascinating – whether from the viewpoint of Dr. Davis or Dr. Attia. The only thing keeping us from making the breakthroughs needed to put this puppy to bed on cholesterol is well funded research.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, I know.

      I respect his thinking but I believe he is flat wrong on this issue. By the way, I have taken care of several thousand people with heart disease, do it every day, and see virtually NO heart attacks nor need for heart procedures.

      That’s okay. He is fighting the same battle we are fighting, just with a difference of opinion on this question.

      In my view, the number one MOST important value for anyone to measure for heart disease risk is NOT total LDL particle number, but the proportion/number of small LDL particles. Get rid of small LDL particles and heart disease/atherosclerotic plaque growth stops in the majority, regardless of total LDL particle number.

      • steve

        Dr Davis: While i have great respect for your work, can you provide some science based evidence to support your claims of small LDL-P vs. total number of LDL-P?
        There are no outcome studies, and it would be enlightening to see some if you have them. Those who suffer with Familialhypercholesterolemia have large LDL-P and suffer from extreme heart disease.
        Also, if carbs cause the formation of small LDL-P how do you explain the low level of heart disease in populations that eat large amounts of carbs despite they being natural whole foods, and that would include large rice eating populations.
        There is not one leading lipidologist- Dayspring, Dall, Cromwell, Atvos, etc who seem to agree with you. Again it would be great to be able to see the studies that show these professionals are wrong.
        Please understand i am only looking to get further knowledge on this issue; it may be that you are right, but I cannot find any confirmation of this, and as you know the NMR says right on it that small LDL-P is associated with risk, but not after LDL-P is taken in to account.

        • Geisha

          Is it not enough that Dr Davis is having NO heart attacks in his 1000s of patients? Is it absolutely necessary to wear him out having him prove to all of us on this blog who are feeling heaps better because he dedicated the time to heal his patients, write books about it and set up blogs on the topic? So draining and time consuming. I’m getting lots of FREE information here, lots of inspiration, for which I’m extremely grateful to Dr Davis. And it’s not compulsory, personal choice to follow his advice on refraining from wheat, other grains, AND gluten-free products. Almost no doctor believed the Gerson Therapy in 1930 either, except his patients who were cured while on it – just approx 99% were cured. I recommend “Dr Max Gerson: Healing the Hopeless” (I have kindle version, about $10), excellent read. Would’ve been too extreme for me except that I’m “in charge” of my non-addictive food consumption these days, after reading Wheat Belly.

        • Dr. Davis

          This is not the place for this discussion, Steve.

          I invite you to join our discussions on the Heart Scan Blog and the Track Your Plaque program.

  19. Amine

    Hello Dr Davis, Just wanted to Thank you again. I’m now in the 180 range and abs are getting tighter..:)
    A family member told my wife that they saw me on the success story of the wheat belly blog. Haha, I’m now lean and famous…:)

  20. Neicee

    My own experience has been that I absolutely made a commitment to continue this for the rest of my life, much like the paleo/primal people have. This is not for 2 weeks/10 weeks, lose a few pounds, then I go back to eating what I want. When you learn about how our food supply has been messed with, and yes altered, why you’d want to go back to eating it is beyond me? I wandered over to youtube one day and ran across a video with Dr. Donald W. Miller it reaffirmed why I started on this journey. So heads up fellow travelers, this is for life (literally) and not a program to drop those nuisance pounds you’ve gained since college.

  21. Steve Helmer

    Hi Doc,
    I know you must be sick and tired of hearing the same old same old from me, and i applogize. But without your book( WB )and the knowledge that you have come to, we would still be on the same path with wheat, eating and being posioned.

    Up date doc, my energy is still bouncing around, all kinds of aches and pains, they come and go, l still think that most of my symptoms will disappear, but time will tell. According to the scare mongers out there we don’t have long on this earth, as the end of the world is about to happen, the banks are going to collaspe, and the story goes on and on. If I have to live my life on the edge of fear, worry about these things, then what quality of life would I have.

    Back to what’s happening with me. Doc, knowing what i do know about wheat and it’s incedious evil, makes me be a better person for not using it. Oh one thing I have noticed Doc, is my recall and clearity of mind has improved dramatically. I wonder if anyone else has had similar results?

    Steve.

  22. Sarah

    I recently found out my son is extremely allergic to tree nuts. The Wheat Belly book relies heavily on almond flour. What do you recommend to replace the almond flour without using the gluten-free baking mixes? I’m specifically interested in muffins, cakes, cookies, and “breading” for chicken. I suppose one could say that we really shouldn’t be eating that stuff to begin with, but that’s not terribly realistic for our family. When we celebrate my daughter’s birthday next week, I will make a white cake with wheat flour and without dairy (he has problems with cow’s milk, too). It’s not ideal, but I’m not sure what else to do at this point. Thoughts, resources, recommendations? Thank you!

    • Linda

      Sarah…………
      I have often posted a link to Linda’s excellent site, and here it is again.
      I love her recipes because she always tries them out before posting, she always gives honest appraisals after preparing them, she always provides pictures and, most importantly, she gives us the nutritional information regarding each recipe. For those of us keeping food diaries and still counting carbs, this is so important.
      Perhaps you could find a nice, healthy substitute there?

      http://www.genaw.com/lowcarb/index.html

      [Her Pound Cake is awesome!]

      • Linda

        Forgot to add:
        I use crumbled plain pork rinds as “breading” for both chicken and fish. Works great. I brush with home made mayo, then roll in the crumbs. Delicious!

      • Sarah

        Thanks, Linda, I will take a look. It’s tough to have to take out all the milk products (including butter), plus the tree nuts. I’m not quite sure where to look to find tasty recipes that work. I feel so much better without wheat, but I can’t seem to lessen it much for my kids.

    • Dr. Davis

      You will find these discussions peppered about in this blog, Sarah.

      It means turning to other any nuts he might not be allergic to, such as hazelnuts or walnuts, or coconut flour and flours from ground sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Garbanzo bean flour can be a nice flour, as well.

  23. Mary D.

    Dr. Davis,
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be saying that the reason these gluten free items are poison to your heart is because “they ‘only’ cause sky-high blood sugar and, with it, formation of extravagant quantities of small LDL particles.” But they don’t always cause high blood sugar, especially if eaten in small quantities. I watch my blood sugar carefully and I also eat a slice or two of gluten free bread every day. It has no corn starch but does have rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch. There’s nothing toxic about these ingredients and my blood sugar doesn’t go at all high after a slice. Also, isn’t it possible that baking a lot of your own bread with almond flour will give you too much oxidized omega 6? It’s hard enough for people to eliminate wheat. Why so alarmist about a little gluten free bread or pasta?

    • Dr. Davis

      The problem, Mary, is that the portion size of these gluten-free foods is so small as to be impractical. And that is certainly not what most gluten-free people are doing.

      The price: cataracts, arthritis, heart disease. These are NOT healthy foods. Why bother trying to stay below the radar and, for instance, restricting yourself to half a slice of bread when you can have virtually unlimited quantities when having foods made with truly healthy ingredients?

      Be sure to obtain omega-3s. The omega-6 issue is of secondary importance, if that.

      • Beverly

        I’m feeling anxious about the omega 6 issue. If baking with nut fours causes them to oxidize and create free radicals in our body how can this be a healthy alternative. Should I be limiting these baked goods to a rarely if ever treat? Would it be healthier to eat the cookie dough raw which is how I prefer it anyway.

  24. Leslie

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you and your grandma. Moderate consumption of a substance does not reduce or eliminate the negative consequences, and frankly I’m a little tired of this saying being used to refute actual evidence based arguments by people who don’t want to think logically because it conflicts with their (addiction based) desires. Does moderate consumption of narcotic pain killers for the moderate amounts of migraines I experience eating a moderate amount of wheat sound healthy? How about moderate usage of an inhaler for the moderate inciidents of winter asthma? I’ve come to realize over the years of striving for the best health I can achieve after having severe thyroid AI disease that breaking away from whatever the current group thinking may be is hard. It requires a large amount of personal commitment, research, and conviction. The only reward is what we personaly experience, and being somewhat isolated by our thinking. I’ve realized that most people DO NOT CARE about any of this unless their personal circumstances have brought them to the same place I am. Not my parents, not my siblings, only on of my two children (the other i do the best i can with). I find a very small percentage of friends that don’t glaze over when they ask why our family doesn’t eat wheat. I only give a quick synopsis of what improvements we have experienced, and then leave it completely up to them to ask further questions. If their personal issue is not bothering them enough, whether it be weight, migraine, thyroid, or whatever, they almost universally respond with “I could never give up wheat”. My personal point of being willing to try anything was when I had suffered a decade of under treated thyroid symptoms and worsening migraines. I actually consider myself lucky to have these other conditions. Since I don’t have a particular weight issue, I would not have changed my diet this drastically without debilitating health problems. I hope this heads off a nasty mid life diagnosis of something terrible, but at least I know I’m literally trying everything to live healthier. Others may have different paths; at least the information finally has enough coherence to make a logical argument thanks to such pioneers as Dr. Davis, Drs. Eades, Taubes, and others.

    This blog is a place of discovery and support. Posting nonsense cliches like “everything in moderation” announces that the author is finding it too hard to break free from group thinking and endlessly repeated mainstream media misinformation and propaganda. Why is it necessary for those steeped in the current thinking to try to wrestle the rest of us back into the group? Is it really so subversive to come to the conclusion that hybridizing our food sources upsets a very delicate balance? While I welcome the presentation of though out arguments, possibly with a reference or two, I find it sad that some are compelled to make passive statements of resistance to new thinking on supportive blogs. Most every publication, talk show, and even most medical professionals will back up anyone wanting to stay with the status quo. Seek your reassurance with them, because here you will only find rebels to that way of existing.

  25. I am loving all of you who post your success stories,I read them daily … it keeps me going. I share everyones success stories with anyone willing to listen. I wanted to share that my BP has gone from 130/85 to 110/70 in just over 2 months. Eliminating the Wheat/grain/sugar was all it took. I have had so many benefits from eliminating these poisons from my body!
    I bought the book and read it a couple of times before passing it onto my son. I am sure I will be buying another copy for myself to have on hand for reference.
    Thanks again!

  26. Mary D

    Leslie,
    I’m not sure if you are referring to me because your comment doesn’t really make sense in reference to what I said. I don’t eat any wheat; i’m convinced by that evidence. But there is no such evidence against ingredients like rice flour, tapioca, or potato starch. And for most people, a serving of bread made from these is not going to send their blood sugar skyrocketing. Scaring people to death about these ingredients is unnecessary and possibly even harmful. Yes, I’ve read a lot by Gary Taubes and Mike Eades, also Paul Jaminet and Chris Kresser. I’m interested in the facts. This blog entry and some of the comments sound a bit like a religious cult.

    • Neicee

      Mary D – I too have read those writers. I’m curious though, can you please reference anywhere that Gary Taubes recommends anything close to your claim? If so, I’d love to see it. Or are you a drive-by troll? No we are not cultists, but are certainly concerned about our health. I don’t eat any wheat products, nor other grains. I wear a size 4 and slowly going for a size 2. I have never felt better.

  27. Laura F

    Darn, I had some gluten free banana bread in the oven when I read this. My gf flour is mostly rice flour, but 1/5 of it is arrowroot powder. Is that really so bad (sniff)? I can stay off this stuff myself, but two of my three kids go psycho if they eat wheat. They love to have a batch of quick bread or muffins now and then. How strict does one have to be with children and high GI foods?

    • Dr. Davis

      Not strict, Laura, but I believe they will be much better off in the long run not developing a taste for these foods.

      You might try, when baking, mixing in a greater proportion of truly healthy flours, such as ground almonds, ground golden flaxseed, and coconut flour, to blunt the excessive high blood sugars of the gluten-free flours. Though I don’t think us adults should do it, the kids might be better off also using millet, buckwheat, and quinoa flours.

  28. rick

    I know the starches are bad, to clarify, does that mean the rice flour, potato flour etc.. are bad as well?
    Looking online for wheat and gluten free breads is a pain in the butt!

    Thanks!

  29. Patricia

    Dr.Davis
    What is your opinon on Blood Group also affecting small LDL particles and your opinion on (Food for Life) “GENESIS 1:29″ bread. Please Respond

  30. carol

    Has anyone followed the diet and did not have improved cholesterol ? I’ve tried every diet recommended. Really, every one. None made any difference. I’m afraid to go get my blood tested now cause I don’t want to be disappointed again. I’ve been wheat free for a few months without significant weight loss. But my weight was not a real issue, but I’m afraid that means its not working for my cholesterol? Otherwise, feeling great. Love being able to eat foods I enjoy without gaining.

    • Dr. Davis

      But who cares about cholesterol, Carol?

      If you really want to know what is going on, you need lipoprotein testing, not the absurd cholesterol testing done in primary care offices.

      I use NMR lipoproteins, but there are others, such as Berkeley HeartLab’s test, VAP, and HDL Labs. The toughest hurdle: Getting a doctor who understands what this is, as most are stuck somewhere in 1980 in their level of sophistication about these things.

  31. That goes back to the statement paleo folks are best aware of: Eat real food, do not eat processed crap. Going gluten free has benefits for some, eating real food has benefits for many

    • Boundless

      > Going gluten free has benefits for some, …
      No, it has benefits for all. It’s just a matter of degree and decades. Those who consider themselves not especially gluten-sensitive (and I’m one) are making a real mistake if they think that the long term problems will all be found to be reversible when discovered years hence.

      Further, it’s not just the gluten. The gluten-bearing grains contain multiple threat stealth toxins.

  32. Karen

    My 78yr old Mother has aortic stenosis, and her cardiologist is recommending surgery for heart valve replacement. The only symptoms she is experiencing are shortness of breath during exercise and some heart palpations. My questions is if she becomes wheat free, how much of that would reverse her condition? And, would if prevent her from needing surgery?
    Her doctor measured the stenosis and said that it went from 0.8 to 0.7 in one year( I appolgize I do not have how that was measured in cm or mm, I am assuming mm) which is what prompted the rush for surgery.

    Thank you,

    Karen