Gluten-free muffin top

I know I’ve said this many times before, but it bears frequent repeating since so many people are waylaid by this “gluten-free” notion:

NOBODY should be eating gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch. These starches in the dried, powdered form provide an exponential increase in surface area for digestion, thereby leading to sky-high blood sugar and all the consequences of extravagant glycation (glucose-modification of proteins), such as diabetes, visceral fat accumulation, hypertension, cataracts, arthritis, low HDL/high triglycerides/increased small LDL particles, heart disease, and cancer.

Here are comments from Holly about her experience with gluten-free foods before she learned about their dangerous health effects:

About a year before I read your book, I was diagnosed with probable celiac disease or gluten intolerance (life-long stomachaches, gas, bloating, diarrhea, esophageal gurgling, severely low serum ferritin levels, migraines, etc.) but, thank goodness, my physician told me a gluten-challenge with intestinal biopsy was not necessary with how radically my symptoms improved when I removed gluten from my diet.

Unfortunately, my road to gluten-free resulted in major weight gain and an awful muffin top for me. I read books which stated that some patients do experience this phenomenon on a gluten-free diet as a result of intestines healing and taking in nutrients again. (In fact, I read that some patients choose to go back to eating gluten and have diarrhea, etc., to control their weight–crazy!) I also had reached perimenopause, and wondered if I would have to accept the fact that this may just be a fact of life, as many women had shared with me their fight with a “menopot.” My weight gain was seriously unbelievable. I felt like Tim Allen in the Santa Clause movies!

Here is where your book was so beneficial to me. In your book, you discussed the reasons you don’t recommend any gluten-free products. It was a light bulb moment for me! That day, I pretty much removed all grains from my diet, and the results were simply astounding. I was amazed how quickly I started to lose my “wheat-belly.” My “Santa-Clause” phenomenon reversed SO quickly I could hardly believe it. It seemed like daily I would wake up and my stomach was getting flatter and flatter. I also finally started to heal from a weird balance issue I had been experiencing. I will be forever grateful to you. Thank you SO much!

So we don’t replace one problem–modern semi-dwarf wheat–with another problem–gluten-free junk carbohydrates in this dried, pulverized form.

This is such an incredible blunder that is growing because, as more people embrace the idea of being gluten-free, they turn to these foods that are now found in most grocery stores.

So let’s be absolutely clear: NOBODY should be eating these awful gluten-free foods made with junk carbohydrate ingredients! It may be “organic,” “multigrain,” “sprouted,” “fair trade,” or pink with purple polka dots . . . gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, tapica starch, and potato starch KILL people and no one should eat them!

And, you know, it has often struck me as odd that some of the objections to the ideas brought forth in Wheat Belly come from the celiac and gluten-free communities. Take a look, however, at some of the gluten-free magazines, websites, and blogs and you will see prominent ads for–yup–gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, tapica starch, and potato starch.

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Comments & Feedback...

      • Ron Fuller

        1. Fat slows the glycogen replenishment and should be limited in meals after a workout.
        2. When someone performs a weight training workout, the glucose transporters are wide open in the muscle cells and not the fat cells. This is the best time to consume high glycemic, high molecular weight foods that digest quickly and replenishment glycogen stores quickly. These items shouldn’t be consumed unless this replenishment environment is available.

    • Dr. Davis

      No, because you should NOT need to replenish glycogen unless you truly are engaging in long-duration effort, e.g., an 8-15 mile run.

  1. Lisa Z

    What about actual potatoes? The whole potato.
    I’m not talking about eating them everyday, but aren’t they nutritious?

    Thanks

    • Kim

      My husband uses potatoes to gain weight. It works great for him as he needs to keep weight on and can consume about 3000 calories/day when he’s working hard. If he doesn’t eat starch (irish or sweet potatoes/yams) he will loose weight. So, since I want to loose weight – I stay away from potatoes and all starches. I learned from Dr. D then I applied it to my diet and found I lost weight only on the days I was starch-free completely – even a small cheat and forget it.

      So the question is, do you have weight to loose? If so, stay away from the starchy carbs. If you read about them in the Wheatbelly book, you’ll understand even more.

      • Louise

        “even a small cheat and forget it”
        I’ve noticed this too! In any case, it seems easier to abstain completely, as the cravings go away. If I have any If
        If I have any carbs, the cravings rush straight back in again!

    • Dr. Davis

      Many unhealthy foods have a few healthy components.

      Oats, for instance, have beta glucan, a healthy fiber, but they also send blood sugar through the roof. The incomplete understanding from dietitians therefore makes them say stupid things like “oats are healthy.” No, they’re not . . . despite the beta glucan.

      Likewise potatoes: Overall, unhealthy due to potential for sky-high blood sugars.

  2. Alysse

    Thank you, I needed this clarification. So if I’m giving my daughter rice noodles instead of regular pasta, is that fine for her health? It’s made of two ingredients: rice and water.

    I can’t wait until your cookbook comes out, Dr. Davis.

    • Deb

      You can get konjac noodles, also called miracle noodles from the Asian grocery story that
      have very little carb impact. They are made from shirataki flour and are in the refrigerated section.

      • Kim

        Yep, or slice zucchini into strips and lightly steam. For kids, you may need to peel the green skin so it looks just like pasta. With sauce they won’t really notice, if they’re young.

    • Dr. Davis

      No, sorry, Alysse. It is awful. Perhaps in very small portion sizes, along with other healthier foods.

      Have you tried spaghetti squash or shirataki noodles? Both are healthy and benign.

  3. Joan

    Been on the WB Way since June and have lost 3″ on my waist & 2″ from my hips… I’ve got my waistline back which I thought was lost forever. No more muffin top and I’m not shaped like a block anymore!

  4. Neicee

    The doctor is so right about the insulin and it’s debilitating effects, some today, but awful for your future. Read an article in the Guardian newspaper by George Monbiot about Type 3 diabetes (some researchers have been calling it that since 2005) aka Alzheimers Disease. We’re dealing with a 92 yr. old mother-in-law that suffers from it. I would rather die tomorrow with all my faculties intact than make that journey. So, if you want to continue eating all the items that do spike insulin be forewarned what those foods do to you in the end. Hint: nothing spikes insulin like wheat/corn/rice/potatoes and sugar.

  5. I’ve been strictly following the Wheat Belly Nutritional Approach as outlined in Dr Davis’s book since spring. In the “consume rarely or never” are gluten-free foods. Although I was sometimes tempted to get a “gluten-free” brownie, I didn’t give in.

    My muffin top is gone as well as my bagel face and biscuit butt.

    Besides looking good on the outside, I’m also looking good on the inside. I recently had my bloodwork done. Here are some of the numbers…

    TRIGLYCERIDES 38mg/dl
    HDL CHOLESTEROL 113 mg/dl
    LDL CHOLESTEROL 71 mg/dl
    GLUCOSE 85 mg/dl
    HEMOGLOBIN A1c 4.9% of total Hgb

    I’ll never go back to my old carb heavy, wheat based diet. It feels too good to be wheat-free.
    Thank you Dr Davis!

      • Thanks Shelly!
        I’ve been following Dr Davis’s diet 100%, even his ample use of cheese!

        I like to do marathons and other long distant races. Before Wheat Belly I “carbo-loaded” the night before a race. Pasta, bread, etc. Now I eat protein and fat and feel great! Last month I did a 12 hour race. I had bacon and eggs before the start and had nuts and jerky during it. No sugar laden “energy” gels. My energy level stayed stable, I wasn’t tired or cranky (like I used to be).

        Next month I’m doing a (wheat-free) 24 hour race!

    • Dr. Davis

      Spectacular values, Lori!

      These are the numbers my colleagues see and declare, “She must be on high doses of statins!” You and I know better!

  6. Nicole

    I follow the WB diet (I lost 15 pounds and said goodbye to my migraines since I started WB several months ago and I got 2 family members to read the book!!) My kids, 5 & 2, get a lot of fruits, veggies, meats, & nuts, but they do like GF pretzels & GF breads. Are gluten free foods ok in moderation for kids?

    • Dr. Davis

      Not with these ingredients, Nicole.

      Instead, try buckwheat, garbanzo bean, millet, and ground golden flaxseed. Adults do not handle excessive carb loads as well as kids do.

  7. Dee

    So I guess my main concern is I can never have a waffle, bread or pizza ever again? While I have cut wheat out a week ago and love fish, chicken, salads and vegetables I just don’t think I can have a 100% carb free diet.

    • Tori

      In my opinion I use those things as treats. Every 2 weeks or so I’ll have something I used to eat daily (pizza, muffin or whatever you like) it’ll keep you focused on being good the rest of the time. It is a TREAT not a CHEAT because this change is not temporary, it’s a lifestyle.

    • Marv

      “So I guess my main concern is I can never have a waffle, bread or pizza ever again?”

      Gotta jump in for a second Dee:

      Search this site for focaccia bread, then make it as listed but push it into a pizza pan and bake 15 minutes. Brush the rim with olive oil, THEN top with usual toppings (Hormel makes uncured pepperoni!) and bake for another 10 to 15 mins. This is pick-up-and-eat, hearty pizza and i’d be lost without it.

      It’s true that flour crust, bread, waffles need to be off the list, but give the substitutes a try. I think you’ll be satisfied. What’s better than guilt-free pizza??

    • Jan J.

      I thought I wouldn’t be able to give up some buttery bread a few times a week but I have found some wonderful almond flour recipes and am not missing it at all – honestly! It’s amazing.

    • bill

      I had waffles this morning. Made it out of butter, cream, coconut flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and eggs. Topped with whipped cream (with vanilla and cinnamon) and blueberries, it was a meal fit for a gourmet magazine!
      We’re giving up NOTHING! We’re just eating the good stuff!
      Nobody needs any starch to mess it up.

  8. Anne Sullivan

    I totally understand the idea of not eating gluten-free foods, but my daughter is 12 and wants a cake for her birthday. How can I make that happen?

    • Marci Wyzdyx

      I make flour-less chocolate cake. For each serving:
      1 Tbsp butter
      2 Tbsp cocoa powder
      pinch of salt
      1 egg
      1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      1 Tbsp sour cream
      4 packets Truvia (Splenda makes berries & chocolate taste bitter)
      1/2 tsp baking powder
      Melt butter; whisk in cocoa and salt. Whisk in egg, then remaining ingredients until smooth.
      Single servings can be microwaved for 2 minutes on high. I prefer to bake larger cakes in a standard oven at 350 for approximately 30 min.
      Ice with sweetened cream cheese.

    • Ellen

      Anne, come talk to us on the Wheat Belly facebook page, where you will find a wonderfully supportive community with all kinds of recipes and great ideas for baked goods that are fully Wheat Belly compliant. Ground almonds and walnuts, unsweetened coconut, nut flours and coconut flours form the basis of many of the recipes. They really are scrumptious! Even my husband, who is not yet on the program loves when I make him a WB treat.

    • Dr. Davis

      Use a combination of almond flour (from blanched), garbanzo bean flour, and coconut flour, along with lots of eggs. You will likely need to make 2 layers.

      This cake will be nutritious, introduce no health problems, and delicious.

      The new Wheat Belly Cookbook will include just such a recipe.

      • JIllOz

        Anne,

        another possibility is to make lots of almond flour pancakes and make a”layer” cake out of them with various ingredients between individual pancakes.
        layer cream, chocolate, strawberries, banana etc between the layers and go as high as you like!! :)

  9. Tracie

    I am very new to this. I was on one website and wrote down loads of recipes…tapioca starch, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch to name a few things to use. If I understand correctly, Dr. Davis is staying stay away from : CORN STARCH, RICE STARCH, TAPIOCA STARCH AND POTATO STARCH. So, is it ok to use the other gluten free/wheat free flours? It is confusing enough to want to show a large wheat muffin in my mouth! I need ideas for recipes, but many have these BAD ingredients in them. Where do I go??

    • Brian

      Besides the recipes on this site (if you’re looking for something in particular, like granola for example, you’ll have to use the site’s search function because the recipes aren’t indexed in one location yet), you can try elanaspantry.com and http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/ and http://18hourkitchen.blogspot.com/ for recipes. For bread, since that seems to be the biggest hurdle for most people, the Bread 2.0 on the 18 hour kitchen site is really good, as is the foccacia bread on this site. Just made a loaf of the foccacia bread tonight, actually.

    • Dr. Davis

      The gluten-free flours are just combinations of these awful ingredients.

      See the recipes on this blog, Tracie, for an alternative way to recreate muffins, cookies, and breads.

  10. CJ

    My problem is the love/hate relationship with cheese…I love it …it hates me…sort of a milk allergy thing…whats a girl to do…don’t really want to do the soy cheese route..soy is a bit of a problem too…and a lot of the veggie cheeses are laden with artificial ingredients..if someone has found a good alternative to cheese please let me know…♥

    • Dr. Davis

      Have you tried goat or sheep cheeses, CJ? Different flavor, but close.

      Some people respond just like cow’s milk-sourced cheeses, while others do not.

      • JIllOz

        CJ, ages ago I found a hard yellow goat’s cheese called Caprakaas. A tad expensive but a great mild delicious cheese.

  11. This is a good article, but it fails to state what I think is an important point: as wheat substitutes for *occasional* use, these alternative starches are far better choices than wheat flour. Yes, when you go gluten-free, you should replace all that wheat in your diet with real food: meat, eggs, and vegetables, with smaller amounts of fruit, nuts, and seeds. Once a person has done that, then, assuming he/she is in good health (i.e. not overweight, not diabetic, etc), having a bit of these alternative starches a couple of times per month is probably not going to be harmful in any significant way.

    • Kim

      On the one hand, I agree with you. But I do so with great caution. Triggers can get tripped, and many folks will end up back in cravings not knowing why they want the old junk food. Thin or not, glucose still spikes – how you handle that, now that’s another story.

    • Dr. Davis

      I think you missed one of the essential points, Anthony.

      Consume gluten-free foods made with these flours, for instance, and small LDL particles–the #1 most common cause for heart disease and heart attack–is triggered for 7-10 days after each indulgence. In other words, 2 indulgences a month means you have increased risk for heart attack for up to 20 days out of 30. Do this over and over again over a year and you’ve substantially exposed yourself to heightened likelihood of heart attack, progression of coronary atherosclerosis, hypertension, need for heart procedures like stents, angioplasty, and bypass surgery.

      Everything in moderation? Hell, no! Moderation kills!

  12. Carmen

    There are lots of recipes around if you google paleo recipes. Cakes etc made with almond or coconut flours etc I personally don’t believe in making any of these cake like things as for me it would trigger me into eating loads and loads of them and no doubt gaining back a lot of weight ( I’m an all or nothing person, I hope as I stay on this way of eating, in the future my tendency to fall off the wagon and then think I’ve blown it now will deminish and I can enjoy having some self control)
    Anyway for everyone else who has more control over themselves and for kids and birthdays etc I’m sure these recipes would be handy :-)
    I have a 6yr old and a 2 yr old. I do feel mean sometimes. But you are giving them health and well being what could be better for them than that!

  13. Jeanne

    You might try one of Maria Emmerich’s wonderful recipes . Go to Marianutrition.com
    Dr Davis introduced me to her here on this blog. She has recipes for whatever you feel you are missing! ;-)

  14. Jeanne

    Oops, my last comment was directed at Anne Sullivan. Your daughter will be happy with a cake from Maria’s recipes!

      • Neicee

        Please do Dr. Davis. I can easily go through 2 pots of coffee a day. Yet, I’ve not never had a reaction to it like the gluten sentivity or intolerance that I experienced before going gluten/carb free. Does not sound like the doc on the link really respects much of the coffee to start with, and I’m not only considered a fanatic but obsessed drinker of the stuff!! Would love to hear more about your findings.

        • wrotek

          2 pots ? Woow, i get sever diarrhea just from one expresso. Gluten in wheat also can cause diarrhea right ? Maybe it is the same mechanism. Tea is less problematic this way

  15. Louise

    I understand that the easiest rule of thumb is to eat fresh, whole foods, not packaged. However, it would be nice if companies could make things a little easier for consumers by labelling their food as “NATURALLY gluten free” where this is the case. I’m relatively new to gluten-free lifestyle and still don’t have the confidence to make the call for myself. My sister recently bought a Nakd brand pecan nut and date bar which, according to the ingredients list, contained only nuts and dates, squished together in the shape of a bar. As far as I can see, this would be naturally gluten free. It would be nice to be able to force the food companies to make that distinction.
    Having said that, I mostly eat fresh whole foods and find packaged food less attractive all the time. In fact, I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I now prefer eating at home, cooking for myself, than dining out. At home, I have fun thinking of new concoctions and experimenting with them. When I’m out, I struggle to order as cleanly as possible, and still don’t enjoy my meal as much as I would at home. I used to look for excuses to eat at restaurants – now I look for excuses not to!
    In the beginning, I simply left out the carbs when preparing my meals – now, with what I’ve learned from Dr. Davis and other blogs, I’m getting more adventurous and creative: I use cauliflower to make “rice” and mash, and courgette (zucchini) to make spaghetti (or, as I call it, “courgetti” ;-) ).
    Thank you, Dr. Davis, for making the journey so interesting and fun!

  16. Melissa

    i’m pretty new to being gluten-free and can’t seem to find an answer on whether or not rice flours or tapioca flours are ok??

  17. karine hinton

    Dr. davis, completely support your book. My husband was cured of syndrome x issues and sleep apnea, by going on a simple carbohydrate diet Elaine Gotschild (basically no complex carbs). I also had my fibromyalgia, arthritis, and migraines disappear. After a few years, we stayed away from wheat, but I fell into the gluten·free trap and thoug some products were ok. I now know better but I am still struggling with health issues. [my naturopath and I figured through many years of trials that grains and gluten were affecting me, as well as all beans and soy.) Two question: is is there any starch out there ok? I can do some rice, teff, and quinoa…but I am not sure any more. Secondly: also my doctor advises now against any grain fed meats…I noticed nothing on this topic…any research? Seems that I am getting very sensitive to many type of complex carbs. Meats too?

    Thank you
    Karine

    • Dr. Davis

      You are getting at the issue of individual carbohydrate tolerance, Karine. Most adults can tolerate up to about 15 grams “net” carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per meal.

      Yes, livestock fed corn, wheat, and soy tend to have different fatty acid composition, especially polyunsaturates like linoleic acid, as well as reduced linolenic acid and other healthy fatty acids.

  18. Kurt Dreger

    Dr. Davis,

    I enjoy making spaghetti for my boys. I bought a gluten-free, wheat free spaghetti noodles, made by a European company. The labeled said it was made from “corn flour” and “rice flour.” Are these flours the same as “cornstarch” and “rice starch” respectively?

    Kurt

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, sorry, Kurt.

      They cause diabetes, high blood sugar, high blood insulin, insulin resistance, visceral fat accumulation, inflammation, cataracts, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

      It is a darned shame that the stuff is even sold. It should be sold with a warning stating something like the above.

  19. Janice

    Dr Davis, I have just started reading your book and am enjoying it very much. In march of this year I eliminated wheat and greatly reduced the intake of other starches from my diet for weight loss purposes and have lost 30 lbs, going from a size 12 to a size 6 in just 4 months. I also put my 5 year old autistic son on a gluten/casien free diet, and saw an incredible improvement in his speech, behaviors, and obsessive tendencies. I often say that I felt as though I ‘met’ him for the first time again once we changed his diet. I admit though, in my ignorance I have substituted into his diet many of these ‘gluten free’ products because he still asks for pasta, sandwiches, muffins, etc. After reading your “Be Gluten Free, But Don’t Eat Gluten Free” passage in your book I realize that I am going to have to completely re-think the way I approach my son’s diet. I’m nervous about how I am going to accomplish this with an already VERY picky eater, but I am encouraged by the thought that removing these ‘gluten free’ food products may bring about even more improvements in his development.

  20. Tracy

    I’m so frustrated trying to find good childcare around here. Everyone seems to be following the government mandated food plan, and they all require me to have my toddler’s doctor sign off on even a gluten free eating plan, much less a grain free eating plan. They will go along with my requests to limit sugar without one, at least, but I want more. Educating all the doctors is much too slow.

  21. elaine

    Dr Davis- I started reading your book and i love it! its very enlightening. My Danish boyfriend has celiac so he has been gluten free for years (though eating gluten free foods), but he is athletic and has no weight problem. I still ate gluten until I started reading your book. I’m wondering if Ezekiel Food for Life breads are ok to eat- I have been eating their sprouted wheat, flourless breads, but i see they offer gluten free breads made with black rice flour and brown rice flour. Is black rice flour better for you than white rice flour? Is there any type of commercially available breads made with almond flour or something thats ok to eat?

      • James

        Hi there,

        Two things:

        1- why do you need bread ? Your message sounds desperate but I may be wrong.

        2- make your own with almond flour. Plenty of recipes out there, even my own somewhere on this blog :)

        • Lizzie

          I have been wheat free for 3 weeks and loving it! James, I found your almond bread recipe and happily went home to make it for my daughter (15). She has been wheat and dairy (mainly to control acne) free for 1.5 weeks and is in the craving stage… where you crave crunchy breadrolls/bread sticks etc.. She loved the almond bread, so hopefully this will help her through the cravings and she can come out the other side happy to be wheat and dairy free ! Thanks again.

          • Darlene

            Lizzie,
            How is your daughter’s acne doing? Hopefully gone by now! I’m looking for a solution for my 16 yr old daughter’s acne problem…so hope this is the answer. Although she is a very picky eater & already very skinny so this will be tough!

      • sara

        I’ve noticed that every time someone asks a question regarding rice, the question is either dismissed with a “I will be discussing that in following years” or completely ignored. I want to know why. I’ve been scouring the blogs trying to find a post in which the question was answered. I am a major proponent for the low-carb anti-wheat idea ever since I first saw fathead. Every time I eat wheat, flour, simple carbs my body lets me know it’s pissed. But I also know that I get sick of eating meat, veggies and cheese all the time. I recently found organic brown rice spaghetti at TJ’s, it’s ingredients are water and brown rice. When I eat it I feel perfect. Same with brown rice bread. So why no brown rice? What is the correlation to wheat? Same goes for milk, why only one serving a day?

        • Judy

          I agree. I want to know why. Also, I have read another book, called the Insulin Resistance Diet, which teaches you to pair 7 grams of protein with 15 grams of carbs, and to eat no more than 30 grams of carbs in any two hour period. That diet works. However, I really do think that wheat is causing me the problems with muscle and joint pain, brain fog, and constipation. SO, I am cutting out the wheat and gluten. However, I don’t see why the IR diet principles wouldn’t work if you wanted to substitute gluten free foods. I understand from Dr. Davis that the added starches raise blood sugar a lot, but if you are linking and balancing those carbs with enough protein and not eating them by themselves, I don’t see why you couldn’t include them in your diet as a substitute for gluten containing products. As I understand it, the protein mitigates the carbs, and keeps them from entering the bloodstream all at once.. thus keeping your blood sugar more stable and avoiding the spikes (and valleys of hypoglycemia). It has worked for me in the past, even when I was eating wheat, so I’m going to try it.

          All of the above to say, I’m going to experiement. I’m taking wheat and gluten out of my diet ALTOGETHER, and I’m going to go ahead and include some gluten free foods, I’m eating corn, rice, and potatoes, as well as real sugar. BUT, I’m following the Insulin Resistance Diet principles while doing so.

          I think those two diets together are the key.

          • Boundless

            Until we get more word on rice, which may be peculiar among carbs, I’d suggest:

            Avoid rice flour entirely, and be highly suspicious of processed foods containing rice that is not obviously in whole grain form.

            Avoid or minimize sticky white rice (sushi) as this has a very high GI.

            Tend toward wild or brown, long grain.

            Mind the net carbs.
            30 grams in a 2 hour period may or may not spike your blood sugar, but even if it doesn’t, it will keep your metabolism strongly skewed toward glycemic, slowing/delaying fat metabolism (and slowing or delaying weight loss, if that’s the goal).

  22. Louise Fitzgerald

    Dr. Davis – I read your book last night and found it fascinating and informative. It really reinforced my own belief that low carb eating is the way to go. I did the Ideal Protein plan for a month or so and the belly fat just fell off – it was amazing. Of course, there is no wheat on that plan! But i want to do something a little more natural and eat more “real food”, as opposed to meal replacements. Thus, my exploration – i think I’m sold!
    I do have one question – several people who have read and agreed with your book have recommended to me that i try Ezekial Bread (which i love) or rye bread (which i also like), arguing that these are metabolized somewhat differently than regular whole white or white bread. I was wondering what you think about that? I don’t have celiac disease and can do without wheat/pasta/rice fairly easily – but virtually all my fat is around my middle and when i slip up, i bloat up like a balloon. I don’t really get cravings but I do like a piece of toast or a sandwich every now and then – are these products “safe” in small doses?
    Again, thanks for the book. I wish I had found you when I was still living in Madison – i was looking for a preventive cardiologist and had not much luck!
    Louise

  23. nancy

    Dr Davis. just finished reading your book great read with so much information. I have decided to make a change I will keep you posted on how I do.
    Nancy

  24. Leah

    Dr. Davis,

    Please explain to me how you expect an endurance athlete to survive on a “diet” like this. I find it extremely impractical to follow something like this 100% when training requires something more than fruits and nuts.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, this lifestyle is not articulated to accommodate endurance exercise. However, a growing number of athletes are beginning to appreciate that they have been ruining their health with overexposure to grains and sugars and that practices like carb-loading are enormously destructive.

      Once you have reconditioned to a wheat-free low-carb lifestyle, which requires around 4 weeks and involves impaired physical capacity, then most people do fine just supplementing carbs like bananas, Gu, baked sweet potatoes, and non-wheat energy bars DURING an event.

  25. Jillian

    My mother-in-law is 51 years old and has suffered from ulcerative colitis for 20 years, topped off with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis 5 years ago. Last year she began to eat paleo (part of which involves eating NO grains) and her MS was almost completely reversed within 8 months, along with significant improvements with her colitis. She “cheated” on her birthday and had a piece of cake…which put her in the emergency room to receive IV fluids after two days of being extremely ill. She doesn’t cheat anymore!

    Over the last year I’ve watched her and several other family members and friends make dietary changes that all eliminated wheat (and grains to varying degrees) with incredible results, and I’ve felt like this lifestyle change has been hunting me down. After a year of half-heartedly making improvements to my own diet, my grandma gave me “Wheat Belly” and I loved it. My uncle’s lost 20 lbs since November, my dad lost 5 in a couple weeks, and I FINALLY decided to go for it 100% because I am young, healthy, and have no excuses to eat garbage when I have so many excellent examples of the healing power of whole foods. So I cut wheat (and really watch my intake of other grains) three weeks ago.

    Shortly afterwards I took my 6-month old baby boy to an allergy specialist due to really nasty eczema….guess what? Our son can’t handle wheat either! Now I’m not just doing it for myself, but my diet choices affect my baby as long as I’m nursing him. We’ve already seen improvements in his skin, and I am becoming pretty passionate about this whole thing!
    Thank you for a well-researched, delightfully controversial and life-changing read. I’ve never felt better!

    • Dr. Davis

      Excellent, Jillian!

      You can appreciate that NO human–young, old, male, female–should consume wheat, as nobody escapes its destructive effects!

  26. RK Dingman

    Dr. Davis:
    For a positive result with the genetic testing for gluten intolerance, what are the odds that a relative or family member will also have the gluten sensitivity gene? For example, mother positive, father negative: what % children will inherit gene?

    Thanks for a courageous and most comprehensive book.

    R K Dingman

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, a wonderful food. My wife is miserably dairy (cow) intolerant and we often use goat products instead.

      • Cynthia Boohene

        Thanks Dr Davis for confirming about goat’s milk
        What about arrowroot can that be used as a thickener and also for making bread? I came across a paleo recipe that uses this to make bread. let me know your thoughts
        Thanks
        Cynthia Boohene

          • Cynthia Boohene

            I didn’t explain myself well. The recipe uses almond flour 1.5 cups & then 3/4 cup arrow root. It gives the ”bread” the consistency of wheat bread? Is arrow root gluten free?
            Thanks

        • Dr. Davis

          Not the best choice, Cynthia.

          My first choice is coconut flour: It has none of the carbohydrate challenges as the arrowroot.

  27. Sarah B

    Hi Dr Davis,

    I went wheat/gluten free on January 1 after I started reading your book (not done yet, but it’s already helping). I lost weight quickly for the first 2 weeks, but stopped after that, and even gained a bit. I just read this post about the ingredients found in gluten-free food, so I went and read everything gluten-free I had in my cupboards – oh my goodness. I ended up throwing away everything!! I do have some packages of rice pasta, can you let me know if these are safe? (I miss pasta so much): There is only these 3 ingredients: whole-grain brown rice, rice bran & water. Thanks!
    I also bought your cook-book last week, looking forward to start making some pizza crusts and bread from scratch. Thank you so much for all this great info :)

    -Sarah

  28. Debbie

    Hi dr. Davis

    Just read your book and can see why gf is not enough. I have been diagnosed with celiac 14 years but gained weight which has been extremely difficult to lose any pounds. I feel your suggestions on iodine and no grain or sugar may be key.

    Can you offer any suggestions to curb cravings while my body adjusts. I am wondering if sugar and gf flours are addictive too, as I struggle with cravings on low carb diets.

  29. Toni

    Hi.
    I just came across this blog when searching for adverse reactions to starches in gluten free foods. I’m so glad I did. I have tested negative for celiac, but following a gluten free diet for suspected gluten sensitivity. I have not had any positive or negative symptoms come about from following the diet…. I feel the same. BUT, I have recently noticed a change in my mid section. I am a very active, fit person who exercises regularly and it is driving me mad. The only thing I have changed is my diet. I thought I had investigated and picked gluten free options that were low cal, lower in fat, lower in sugars/sodium, etc. So I start reading more into the ingredients….. STARCH EVERYTHING. I felt so stupid, as I read all labels and evaluate food nutrition like crazy! I was so disappointed in myself, maybe I was just so desperate to feel better. But I am bloated and puffy all of the time but yet I feel so starved!

    So my question is….. Is this really worth the trouble if I am not feeling any different? The bulk of my wheat intake comes from whole wheat bread (1 slice/day) and Multi-Grain Cherrios. I know gaining a few pounds isn’t the end of the world, but a few lbs on my 5’4 small frame is not acceptable if I am not feeling the benefit elsewhere, right?

  30. Diane D

    OK, so now feel guilty about buying into the notion of eating GF cookies, etc and wondering why my wheat belly is somewhat reappeared…So, I’m getting that the best way to eat is a grain-free, Paleo-type diet? BTW, I love Trader J’s organic rice pasta…While common sense dictates eating it in moderation, I would like some clarification about this product…Dr. Davis, what say you?

    Thx, Diane

  31. Silfren

    Dr. Davis,
    I came here with the same question many others have been asking about gluten free foods. Can you name ANY at all that are acceptable at least in moderation?
    You advocate a non-wheat diet, but the practical upshot of your advice seems to be that you actually recommend a completely grain-free one altogether. Some clarification would be appreciated. But I find it very troublesome that even though you clearly do visit the comments section and respond to people, I’ve seen not one attempt from you to address people’s questions about gluten free products. It’s rather starting to look as if you’re deliberately avoiding this issue.

    • Jacqueline

      It’s been said over and over and over again! GF products are commonly high in carbs and are to be avoided like the plague!

    • Deborah

      Just an idea… but maybe you should read Wheat belly and/ or the Wheat belly cookbook. All the information on the disasterous consequences of gluten free foods on blood sugar and health are clearly explained.

    • Boundless

      > You advocate a non-wheat diet, but the practical upshot of your advice seems
      > to be that you actually recommend a completely grain-free one altogether.

      The recommendation ends up being low carb, specifically 15 grams net carbs per 6 hour period. Non-gluten grains would probably be otherwise acceptable, except that it takes only very small quantities to bust 15 grams. Some, like corn, have further issues (GMO).

      > Can you name ANY [GF foods] at all that are acceptable at least in moderation?

      The key is learning to read Nutrition Facts labels, and figure out for yourself what’s OK. If this blog were to list brand names, it would be outdated very soon. Most GF foods are sky high glycemic, way too low in fat, and often contain adverse saccharides (like agave and honey).

      Right now almost nothing on the GF aisle of stores around here is safe to eat. When that changes, the aisle name will probably become “Low Cal Aisle: or “Paleo Aisle”.

  32. JK Barefield

    Having read the comments about GF foods and pasta craving, I wonder if anyone here has tried the konjac flour noodles. I use the Miracle Noodle brand because they contain no soy. I have hypothyroidism and avoid soy. I find these special noodles are a great substitute for pasta and rice. Just this evening, I had some of the angel hair version, regular and spinach flavored. I had previously rinsed and boiled them. I put the noodles in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat and pan roasted them until all the water had evaporated. I added a teaspoon of unsalted butter, a couple of tablespoons of garlic alfredo sauce, some leftover red bell pepper sauce, and some diced green onions. I mixed it all together and when everything was warm, I scooped it onto a plate and had that and a side salad for a tasty, low calorie, grain-free dinner. The good doctor has included recipes (at least one) for these noodles in his Wheat Belly book and in the cookbook.
    Sunday was Easter and I was included in a family meal with very considerate people, one of whom baked GF bread and brownies just for me. I am a diabetic and knew I should not eat these food gifts, but felt a social obligation. The result was blood sugar level of 302 after 2 hours. Still fighting high numbers the next day.
    Before I found Wheat Belly, I had been using almond flour and ground flax meal to make skillet breads, pancakes, crackers and a fine substitute for the cornbread stuffing that is part of my family Thanksgiving tradition. I got off plan and have regained 25 of the 55 pounds I had lost over several years. Once I found Dr Davis’ book, I got back to doing what I need to do. I am now living in a household surrounded by wheat products, bread, crackers, cereals, cakes, etc. I am caring for my 85 year-old father in the home he shares with his third wife (the wheat and sugar addict). This round, I have been wheat-free since February 16, 2013. So, six weeks in I am now going back to grain-free as well. I know I will make it to my weight loss goal this time.
    Thank you, Dr Davis, for writing this wonderful guide back to health!

    JK

  33. tomieka

    I just read Wheat Belly and while I understand cutting out wheat and other forms of grains I didn’t read anything about the stance on sprouted whole grains, such as wheat, oats, quinoa and corn nor did I really get an idea of the stance on more ancient grains. Are sprouted whole grains and ancient grains still considered bad? I already bake with coconut flour and occasionally nut flours (I believe they are way too high in fat to use all the time), but I wanted to start using sprouted flours as well since it is recommended from the Westin A. Price Foundation. Any information anyone could provide would be great. Thanks!