Among the most ignorant about wheat? Celiac experts!

The University of Chicago Celiac Center’s Facebook page contained this response to my CBS This Morning interview from a Dr. Stefano Guandalini:

I was quite surprised to see that CBS news would provide unquestioned credibility to Dr. Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, on CBS This Morning on September 3rd, with no knowledgeable physician on the program to present a more accurate, balanced viewpoint on such an important issue as the role of wheat in nutrition and disease.

The assertions made by Dr. Davis (a cardiologist, not a nutritionist nor a gastroenterologist) are not grounded in fact, let alone any evidence-based research. Gliadin a new protein? Gliadin proteins are major components of gluten and their existence has been known since Dicke and Van de Kamer studied wheat in the 1940s. It is not a new protein created by genetic modifications; and it is indeed a poison, but only for those with celiac disease. Gliadin an opioid that binds to the brain? Sure this is a stunning statement. What is the evidence? Aside from an obscure article that appeared almost 30 years ago reporting an opioid-like activity for some gliadin fractions, nothing else is available in the literature and certainly no data are there to show any binding to the brain.

There is enough confusion around celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and the issue of who benefits from a gluten-free diet (only those with wheat allergy, celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, I might add). Regrettably, CBS This Morning has added to the confusion and did a disservice to its viewership to allow such questionable information be portrayed as fact.

I have no ties at all to the wheat industry, nor do I have any interest in “protecting” it. My interest, as a physician and specialist in celiac disease lies only in protecting my patients and the public from those who would perpetuate unsubstantiated health claims as fact.

Stefano Guandalini, MD
Professor and Chief, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology
University of Chicago
Founder and Medical Director, Celiac Disease Center”

This is the nonsense that comes from an “expert” in celiac disease, the very same people who advocate that people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to consume gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, and potato starch.

Here’s the problem: It’s NOT about gluten, nor is my primary concern people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivty. I am primarily addressing the other 90% of people who have problems with:

1) The new forms of gliadin–Dr. Guandalini is correct on one account: Gliadin is not entirely new–it’s the forms of gliadin (the amino acid sequences) that are new. But we should not be surprised at his ignorance of this well-documented fact, as he would only know this if he were to read the agricultural genetics research and/or talk to agricultural geneticists. The gliadins of 2012 are NOT the gliadins of 1960, nor are they the gliadins of the 19th century, the Bible, or of pre-Biblical times.

2) Shall we ignore the opiate effects of the new gliadin proteins that stimulate appetite to consume 440 more calories per day? This has nothing to do with celiac disease nor gluten sensitivity. It just makes us eat and eat and eat, makes us hungry much of the day, and makes a major contribution to the diabetes and obesity epidemic. The very same new and unique gliadin proteins also cause behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism, paranoia in schizophrenics, mania in bipolar illness, and food obsessions in people with susceptibilty to bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating. None of these people have celiac disease. Exposing his ignorance, Dr. Guandalini claims that only one study documented this effect 30 years ago. He must have missed the other several hundred studies, the very same studies that have explored the area of opiate/opioid brain receptors that has culminated in an FDA application for naltrexone, the opiate-blocking drug, for a weight loss and appetite-reducing indication.

3) How about the direct intestinal destruction wrought by the lectin protein in wheat, wheat germ agglutinin? Unlike the indirect immunologic activation triggered by gluten, wheat germ agglutinin directly damages the intestinal lining. That’s why experimental animals fed purified wheat germ agglutinin develop extensive destruction of the lining of the small intestine. And what about the Trojan horse effect of wheat germ agglutinin that allows foreign substances to gain entry to the bloodstream, likely underlying the activation of immunologic and inflammatory diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and Sjogren’s disease? None of these people have celiac disease.

4) And what about the high glycemic index of wheat products that explain why two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar? High blood sugar is followed by high blood insulin, the cascade that leads to insulin resistance, visceral fat accumulation, inflammation, and diabetes–no celiac disease required!

5) Shall we ignore the explosion in wheat allergies in children, likely due to the unique alpha amylase inhibitors of modern semi-dwarf wheat? These kids get rashes, diarrhea, asthma and other allergic phenomena–none have celiac disease.

In other words, I’m sure Dr. Guandalini is a very nice guy and means well. (“Protecting his patients”? Don’t know what the heck he’s getting at there.) But I fear he has blinders on and has fallen for the nonsense that whole grains like wheat are good for you and only pose a problem to people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Nope, sorry. Get your nose out of the gastroenterology books and open your eyes to the changes introduced into the entire plant. You will find that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are only a small part of the problem. I am sure he is doing a capable job in “protecting his patients” from gluten. But I am talking to the other 90% of the population that he chooses to ignore and consign to a lifetime of wheat consumption.

Want wisdom on wheat? Don’t ask a celiac expert, because he will likely tell you to eat it. Wheat elimination is not only for the gluten-sensitive. Wheat elimination is for EVERYONE.

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97 Responses to Among the most ignorant about wheat? Celiac experts!

  1. Leslie says:

    Um, I’m confused. He says that those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity should be gluten free. So all of us who have identified symptoms that are relieved by elimination of gluten should fit that diagnosis, even without gastric symptoms, correct? Are we not as helped simply because we don’t all have blood results or biopsies? The ability or desire to treat patients by how they feel seems to have been obliterated by the development of blood tests. Any trained monkey or relatively adequate piece of software can treat by blood numbers. I’m so tired of suffering untreated symptoms because a doctor says my blood work all looks ok.

  2. Leslie says:

    Oh, and a google image search revealed that he is not obese. But then neither was I. You couldn’t diagnose my hypothyroid, migraines, or asthma by looking at me. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t the wheat just because I was still slim.

  3. Sheila Pena says:

    Dr. Davis,
    Wow…Dr. G??
    I read the blog daily and love it. I don’t post because everyone else says it so well…..but I did want you to know from me that I am so thankful for you and your book!! A really great man I knew always said “Never Give Up”. I think at times like this we have to think like that. It is exhausting trying to help people sometimes. But I keep trying and passing along the Wheat Belly info. And you have given all of us the perfect tools. NO DIET….just happy health : ) And I can say from WHEAT-FREE (grain, potato, sugar etc) experience (which should count for some kind of research, right?) that you are right and it does work. I have been wheat free for almost four months and am loving it. My husband joined me on the quest and he is definitely more skeptical than I and he is doing great as well. Do you have any like minded Cardiologist suggestions in the San Francisco Bay Area??
    So as all those before me said….
    KEEP FIGHTING! (and we will do what we can to help spread the truth)
    and NEVER GIVE UP.
    (and I think I scored a perfect 10 on the wheat-belly-itis test…haha)

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Well, Sheila . . . Don’t keep so quiet!

      Nice people like you who have PLENTY to offer should speak your mind. I’m looking forward to hearing more!

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  5. pm says:

    Eliminating wheat reduces calory intake by 440 calories per day. How’s this measured?

  6. Alex says:

    This is what I now know, regardless of who is the “gluten or celiac guru”: if it was not for that CBS morning show, God know when and how I could find out about TODAY’S wheat we consume. Dr. Davis could have been a GED dropout and still I would have followed & looked into his “message” and nothing else. And boy I did listen to his message! I stopped immediately eating wheat related cookies, 5min noodles, cheese struddle to name a few.

    It is now 16 days and I’ve logged my daily weight from 190 to 185. Brain-wise, I feel a big cloud inside my brain has been moving away. I do take Generic Adderall and I have lowerd my daily take by 10mg about 4pm. Waking up in the morning is much easier for me by 80%. My manly breast that he mentioned in his book, they are there but I feel they are shrinking by at least 20-25%.. My level of physical excercise since I started? Zero: none: nadda.. nothing!! I’m just avoiding anything wheat.

    Now instead of this Dr. Guandalini to thank you for you contribution in outing the wheat Frankestien created with all the good intention sceintists, he is shooting the message and the messenger. He is not connected to wheat industry? I believe it after an independent lie detector testing. I now know gluten can sneak on you in so many way without saying “we are wheat lobby of ADM and alike”.

    I believe many such organizations are out there first created by the industry to do one thing and ONLY one thing: to:” CONTAIN” the exposure of the zombie grain they’ve created and every year they are making it worse! so their storyline is that: ” you have to be a celiac pateint” to be alergic to wheat. And their 2nd line of story is: “only 1% of population is sensetive to wheat!!”.. So they prop up these fancy-dancy “firms”, and they try to take away the microphone from people like you that shows up in a morning show and says ( I’m rephrasing): “wheat is the AIDS that came out of sceince labs and has made all people fat. Want to lose weight? Avoid wheat.” period. End of story.

    I do not have celiac, yet in 2 weeks of avoiding wheat I see SOOO much improvements in my weight, emotion, concentration, reduced man breast size!!! So if I’m not medically labeled as a “celiac” person then what on earth do you call these changes in me in 2 weeks??

    I’m 500% sure that in 3-4 months I should lose at least 20 lb. And yes, I’m also eating gluten free cookies and still I feel much better than before.

    what freaks me out is after reading the book, about the vetran hospital testing on mental pateints by not feeding them wheat for a month and drastic improvement in their condition, AND starting the wheat feeding again and noticing same increase in mental problems they got!!! This is a and 60 minutes should have a 120 minutes story about it.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Welcome to the club, Alex!

      You can see what we are up against. You can also see how extravagant the benefits of wheat avoidance can be!

      Keep on telling us about your experience and you will help spread the word!

  7. chris says:

    Hi Dr. Davis.

    You mention an increase in wheat allergies in children. Can you link to a related source, as I’m curious to read more? I am raising two children, and am doing my best to keep them free of gluten.

    Also, I searched your blog for your opinion on white rice and occasional corn. I eat clean (paleo), but wondered what your thoughts were on those grains.


  8. Cody Code says:

    So true! Many of the celiac experts I am associated with tell only gluten tolerant people to avoid wheat….its crazy how the mainstream will not capture this subject to everyone. Oh wait, because it would compromise the wheat and GMO industry.

  9. Audrey says:

    Dear Dr. Davis;

    All I have to say is thank you….I am a diagnosed Celiac person 10 years ago. I agree with you that they still do not understand Celiacs disease or the “wheat” problem. Because I was told “You don’t have to worry about it unless you loose weight uncontrolably or have chronic diahria.” Guess what I’ always had a weight GAIN problem since I’ve been an adult. Just started your Wheat Belly Diet new years and all ready lost weight and feel much better… So Thank you.

  10. michelle says:

    My son had digestive issues,eczema and sensitivity to textures of food and we were able to treat(or so we thought) later got thrush and we treated and started gagging again over textures and slowly lost weight) Seemed to not digest or fat protein well either . Went to ND and found only a uti nothing else even after extensive testing(she never tested for celiac or gluten intolerence though. Got better and gained wait slowly back and 4-5 months later got thrush again and started getting sensitive to food textures and lost weight so fast ended up in hospital and fed tpn .Lots of testing done and I kept insisting it was something digestive finally it was found he has celiac gene.and slow motility of his stomach(gastroparesis)after while he was switched to a (still gluten free )formula and gas switched couple times but still gluten free but I did notice it has whey protein.He has had at least 4 more UTIs and they attribute to his brain since it caused some damage when he went into cardiac arrest. I’m wondering can your symptoms change over time? Is it likely he has food allergies to milk? I’ve read a book on celiac ,gluten intolerence andfood allergies and all of my sons symptoms are on the list and I have several but both his and mine have changed over time(his only the past year or2 and mine over past 20 or so years.

  11. Bob says:

    I happened across your web site in March of 2012. After reading for about an hour, I decided to stop eating wheat, or anything with wheat in it. Through the prior 35 years, I had developed 3 major health issues. Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, and Sleep Apnea. The symptoms were so bad that my consumption of pain relievers, of every kind, had become impossible to live with. I was under the care of 3 specialists and a G.P.
    Prescriptions, procedures, recommendations, programs, lab work and tests until I thought I was losing my mind. No one suggested removing the wheat from my diet. Now, I can honestly say I am living proof that wheat is a slow killer, and I have removed that threat to my life by a simple change in my diet. Since last year I no longer use a Bi-pap machine to sleep. The pain medications have been gone for over a year, and the joint pain went with it. I am also free of all the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis. When I started, I weighed in at 206. I now weigh 173. I encourage anyone reading this to give it a try. Within 6 months you won’t believe how much difference it will make. You will feel so much better. Thanks so very much for your web site.