I lost the wheat, but didn’t lose weight: 2

Yes, it happens: Rid your life of all things wheat and you get relief from acid reflux, joint pain, and mood swings . . . but not weight loss.

While most people enjoy rapid and dramatic weight loss with wheat elimination due to the loss of the appetite-stimulating effect of wheat gliadin, the loss of repetitive glucose-insulin provocation of amylopectin A, the reduction of inflammation (that blocks insulin) of the combined effects of gliadin/wheat germ agglutinin/amylopectin A, and the leptin-blocking effect of wheat germ agglutinin, this doesn’t happen to everybody. Or you lose, say, 10 pounds, only to have weight loss stop for an extended period with another 50 to go.

Why? Elimination of wheat is an extremely powerful strategy for regaining control over health, appetite, and weight. But it cannot correct or undo every abnormal situation that causes weight gain or blocks weight loss. The list of solutions to break a weight loss failure is rather extensive and there is often more than one answer. There are more but these are the biggies. Let’s consider them one by one:

1) Lose the carbohydrates
Many people have high blood levels of insulin with resultant resistance to insulin that has to be undone for weight loss to occur. Beyond getting rid of wheat and its extravagant insulin-raising effect, it therefore helps to restrict other carbohydrates. This is among the reasons I condemn gluten-free foods made with rice starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch. So cutting carbohydrates may become necessary, e.g., no more than 15 grams “net” carbs per meal (i.e., total carbs minus fiber). (I use a free iPhone app called FoodFacts to get quick listings of various foods or an old-fashioned handbook of nutritional content of foods works fine.) Another way to manage carbs: Get a fingerstick glucose meter and check blood sugars immediately prior to meals, then 1-hour later; aim for NO CHANGE in blood sugar. This works for many people and can be conducted in concert with counting carbohydrates.

An occasional person will actually require a ketogenic state to achieve weight loss, i.e., complete elimination of carbohydrates in order to metabolize fats, evidenced by the fruity breath odor of ketones or urine dipstick testing positive with Ketostix.

2) Revel in fats and oils–Fat is satiating and reduces appetite. Liberal fat intake, contrary to conventional “wisdom,” does not make you fat; it helps you get skinny. The only fats to avoid are fried (high-temperature), hydrogenated, and highly-processed polyunsaturated seed or GM oils like safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soybean, and canola.

You can add fats/oils to many foods, e.g., add 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive or coconut oil to scrambled eggs or soups. Some people even choose to consume coconut oil “straight.”

3) Lose the dairy–The problem with dairy is not fat; it’s the whey fraction of protein. Some people are susceptible to the “insulinotrophic” action of whey–a tripling of insulin output by the pancreas, a situation that stalls weight loss. The solution: Avoid all dairy when trying to lose weight. I know of no other way to confidently identify this as the culprit . . . except a trial of elimination. This approach does, however, make the diet very restrictive, so this may be necessary for only as long as you are trying to lose weight.

4) Thyroid dysfunction–VERY, VERY common. Thyroid dysfunction is really part of a broader modern problem in human health: Endocrine disruption from environmental organochemicals. We are witnessing more obesity, diabetes, pituitary, thyroid, ovarian, and other endocrine gland disruption due to chemicals such as perchlorates (residues of synthetic fertilizer in produce), polyfluorooctanoic acid (non-stick cookware), bisphenol A (polycarbonate plastics, resin lining of cans), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants), along with many others. The end result of decades of exposures: disruption of endocrine status. The most common: Impaired thyroid hormone production, both T4 and T3.

Problem: Even if diagnosed, most of my colleagues prescribe the T4 thyroid hormone only (Synthroid or levothyroxine), while failing to address T3–even if it is abnormally low. This is a big mistake, since many of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals we are exposed to are blockers of the 5′-deiodinase enzyme that converts T4 to active T3. If you are deficient in T3, you will not lose weight, no matter how much T4 you take. Also, ideal TSH? 1.0 mIU or less–NOT the 3.5 or 4.0 many doctors are content with. The key: Find a practitioner willing to explore this question, usually a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath, virtually NEVER an endocrinologist.

Some people (proportion varying by region, age, ethnicity; this represents about 20% of the people I meet with underactive thyroids in Wisconsin) have underactive thyroids due to iodine deficiency. (I am, in fact, seeing a rise in goiters–enlarged thyroid glands due to lack of iodine). This will respond to the simple supplementation of iodine, e.g., 500 mcg per day from kelp tablets or iodine drops from the health food store. (Adverse reactions are rare but need to be explored to rule out, for instance, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or active thyroid nodules.) Supplementing iodine is no more dangerous than salting your food with iodized salt. Take iodine for at least 3 months to observe the full effect.

But if even marginal thyroid dysfunction is present, or undertreated hypothyroidism, it can completely block weight loss. Correct thyroid status to ideal and weight loss proceeds.

5) Lose drugs that block weight loss–Obviously, this should be undertaken with the knowledge of your healthcare provider. Beta blockers, such as metoprolol, atenolol, and propranolol; antidepressants like amitryptiline, doxepin, paroxetine (Paxil), and trazodone, thought nearly all antidepressants have been associated with weight gain in some people; Lyrica for fibromyalgia and pain; and insulin. I’ve seen 20, 30, even 50+ pounds gained within several months of initiating long-acting insulin preparations like Lantus. This is only a partial list, as there are many others.

6) Straighten out cortisol–Not so much excess cortisol as disruptions of circadian rhythm. Cortisol should surge in the morning, part of the process to arouse you from sleep, then decline to lower levels in the evening to allow normal recuperative sleep. But this natural circadian cycling is lost in many people represented, for instance, as a flip-flopping of the pattern with low levels in the morning (with morning fatigue) and high levels at bedtime (with insomnia), which can result in stalled weight loss or weight gain. Cortisol status therefore needs to be assessed, best accomplished with salivary cortisol assessment.

7) Get adequate sleep–Sleep deprivation increases adrenaline, cortisol, and insulin, while increasing appetite, all of which add up to stalled weight loss or weight gain. Adequate sleep, occurring in 90-minute “packages” (e.g., 7 1/2 hours, 9 hours) is crucial. (Note that chronic sleep deprivation can even increase mortality–death.)

8) Fast intermittently–Intermittent fasting of, say, 15-48 hours in duration, can be a wonderful way to break a weight loss plateau. However, this is best undertaken after you’ve confidently removed all wheat, concluded your wheat withdrawal experience, and all the above strategies have been explored and squared away. Be sure to hydrate vigorously, as dehydration is the most common reason for failing and experiencing symptoms like lightheadedness, nausea, and unexplained fatigue. (People with diabetes or hypertension need to talk to their healthcare provider about the advisability of taking their drugs during a fast.) Also, Intermittent fasting should not be confused with the habitual skipping of meals, e.g., always skipping breakfast; habitual and consistent meal skipping actually causes weight gain. If you skip meals, do so in an unpredictable and random pattern, so that your body does not adjust and ratchet down its metabolic rate.

9) Drink coffee–By no means a big effect, else all coffee drinks would be skinny. But 2-3 cups per day of caffeinated coffee, via caffeine and possibly chlorogenic acid (below), can yield a modest weight reduction.

Beyond this, there are the speculative relationships between bowel flora and weight, with some data, such as this trial of fructooligosaccharides (prebiotic inulin) resulting in modest weight loss. At present, however, the precise species of bowel bacteria that facilitate weight loss and/or prevent weight gain have not been worked out. Other supplements, such as green coffee bean extract/chlorogenic acid, white bean extract to block carbohydrate digestion, and medium-chain triglycerides have shown effects in limited trials, though I have not witnessed substantial effects in people trying them.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. For the folks who can’t find a doctor who will prescribe Armour, a good source of such doctors is a local compounding pharmacy. If you don’t know whether your area has any, google for the international list of compounding pharmacies, or click on this link (not sure if Dr. Davis allows links to be added) http://www.project-aware.org/Resource/Pharmacy1.shtml and find your country, state/province, and city. It is generally the pharmacist who will give you the information about doctors in your area. I’ve just done this for friends in Canada and Florida. Good luck! (P.S. Have just ordered the book).

  2. Alex

    Hi Dr. Davis
    I was wondering if you could elaborate on the cortisol point. How would someone regulate their cortisol levels after they determined weather or not they were off?

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s a whole conversation of its own. Suffice to say that correcting diet and lifestyle factors such as adequate sleep, minimizing stress, etc. should be the first step. Then, efforts such as taking hydrocortisone in the a.m. if there are low levels, high-dose melatonin at night, etc. are among the efforts available to help restore the normal circadian rhythmicity of cortisol.

      This issue really needs to be tackled with the assistance of someone savvy about cortisol/adrenal issues.

  3. Hi Dr. Davis
    I was meaning to ask you these questions while you were in Calgary and found this particular blog similar to my situation. I have been basically wheat free for over 5 years and was a raw vegan for a long time. I started gaining weight back as soon as I started to eating animal proteins or nuts. I can only keep my weight down if I am raw vegan and do not eat a lot of nuts. I even find eating starchy cooked vegetables will put weight back on me. I am blood type A. Is there a correlation to a sensitivity to proteins and blood type? I absolutely love to eat meat, especially beef but find it effects my digestion and weight gain. I have not had my thyroid checked, but find I am fairly healthy and don’t have any of the common thyroid symptoms. We eat a really healthy diet of only grass fed meats, raw grass fed milk, organic, only the highest quality, etc. My husband is super healthy but I find I can not eat like him. Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks. TONYA

    • Dr. Davis

      Then there is something wrong with your health, not with your diet, Tonya.

      I would urge you to undergo an evaluation by a functional medicine or naturopathic health practitioner. Something is impeding gaining ideal health and weight and it is likely something endocrine or gastrointestinal.

  4. Annie

    Hello Dr, it is now five months that I eat as you recommend, without derogation. I have not lost any weight and my thyroid results are normal. I would try a little fast, but I do not know how. It scares me! Do you have any advice to give me please?

    • Dr. Davis

      Annie–

      Please obtain your thyroid values and post here. Let’s talk about whether they are “normal” or not!

      • Jen

        I am having the same problem as Annie. Wheat free, gluten free, no more than 50g carbs/day, cardio and strength training 5x/week and I haven’t lost any weight. I also wake up feeling bloated and puffy. Have limited my sodium intake, drink plenty of water..I’m at a loss! How long should it take before I start seeing results? TSH w/ reflex to free T4: 1.91

  5. Peter

    My wheatbelly belly refuses to go away!

    I’m a man, age 60+, with 10 months wheat-free, carbo-free, sugar-free.
    But my wheatbelly belly refuses to go away.

    Friends are starting to joke with me, “Peter, are you pregnant?!”
    Something is wrong, but what?

    I bought both books, and studied and followed carefully.
    Appetite diminished a lot.
    Food cravings gone.
    Acid reflux gone.
    Minor skin itching gone, and skin is smoother and softer.
    More strength and endurance for normal tasks of working around the house and climbing stairs.
    Sleeping more soundly and wake up refreshed.
    All good.

    And another benefit.
    Dr. Davis doesn’t promise this, but it’s sure a pleasant benefit.
    Being wheatfree must have put a sparkle in my eye, because I’m getting much more attention from ladies than in many years.
    Very nice.

    I’ve lost fat from shoulders and chest, so shirts fit more comfortably.
    However, my belt is still on the same notch as 10 months ago.
    And so my belly appears to protrude even more than before.
    What am I doing wrong?

    I supplement with iodine and magnesium and lots of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.
    Also coconut oil.
    I drink 2 cups of mild coffee per day — a coffee blend that claims to promote weight loss.
    I drink a lot of water, from a filter machine at 9.5 pH.
    I get a bit of exercise by walking and rebounding.
    I lie out in the tropical sun for about an hour, 3 times a week.
    No drugs at all; none.
    But, after 8 months, the wheat belly is still with me.

    I’m at a loss for what else to do, so I’m asking here.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

    – Peter
    Bangkok, Thailand

    Peter4@allmail.NET

    • James

      Hello Peter,

      What is your diet exactly (what, how much, when) ? Do you keep some sort of food diary or journal in order to analyze whether your still present belly has anything to do with the diet ? You have to first figure whether the diet is the issue. It could well be hormonal but this is more tricky to figure out.

      J.

    • Dr. Davis

      Please have each and every item on this list discussed in this blog post assessed, Peter.

      Your answer might be as simple as correcting your thyroid above and beyond that of iodine supplementation.

  6. Amy

    Thank you Dr Davis for your knowledge and inspiration. I am new to wheat free and I am a very picky eater. I have no problems adhering to the rules throughout the day, however, breakfast is difficult for me. I need something quick and so I have been having a couple of tbsp of real, natural peanut butter and unsweetened, natural applesauce for breakfast…is this acceptable?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, just go lightly with the applesauce, Amy. You want fruits in their most crude form, preferably an apple over applesauce.

  7. Ricki

    Hello Dr. Davis,

    It’s wonderful to ‘e-meet’ you. I recently was introduced to Wheat Belly and this life-changing lifestyle. My husband urged that I try this out because I’ve been fighting Multiple Sclerosis for the past 5 years (I’m taking Gilenya to manage the MS). After just 1 week of being on the diet I felt better than I did in years. The brain fogginess, which has been my main MS symptom, cleared up significantly and I had more energy. The holidays came soon after I started the diet and went off of it for about 3 weeks so I re started again it 2 weeks ago. I’ve been very ‘good’ on the diet and haven’t cheated but I’ve hardly lost weight (lost 1-2 pounds). I should mention that I also have thyroid disease. After going through your blog, my best guess was that my thyroid was off.
    I just had blood work done this week and my levels were: TSH: 0.2, Free T4: 1.6, T3: 2.6. I’m currently taking Levoxyl 125 dose.

    My endocrinologist keeps my TSH around the 0.2 range as I suffer from depression if that number is ‘off’.

    How do these numbers look to you? Could this cause the lack of weight loss?

    I read on your blog that T3 should be below 1.0. Anything higher prevents weight loss. Could this be a factor in my case? I also read about liothyronine on your blog. Is this something you would recommend that I look into taking? I’ve also suffered from depression for years and am currently taking wellbutrin (300mg). The dr suggested I take another antidepressent on top of this because although I’m better, I’m not feeling quite 100%. Over the 10 years that I’ve had thyroid disease, the Dr has tried different medication doses and while some symptoms did get better, the depression persisted. I’m 40 years old and really just want it fixed. Perhaps taking that may also help with some of the depression I’m experiencing? If you do recommend that I try the liothyronine, would that interfere with the Gilenya I’m taking for my MS?

    I look forward to receiving your response.

    Many thanks.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, you should most DEFINITELY consider liothyronine, T3. But you will likely need a new doctor to do so, not the ignorant one who has been treating you with T4 alone with no attention to the T3 issue.

      I also posted a response to your Facebook message.

  8. Silva Harr

    Dr. Davis, I was so impressed by your message when you appeared on CBS ON Sept. 3, last year I stopped eating cereal grains the next day & ordered the book. I’ve been on WB ever since and I won’t go back. I’ve experienced many improvements, joint pain reduced, blood pressure good, no more daily gas bouts, triglycerides down, HDL up, etc. I’ve enjoyed the diet a lot. I’m eating all my favorite (many formerly forbidden) things. I’m sure you’ve started a revolutions. Thanks! I still haven’t lost weight though. I take Anastrozole (breast cancer). Cetalopram & Bupropion (depression), Tegritol (grand mal seizures), Levithroid (hypothyroid) and so on. I asked my HMO Dr. To test my free T4 & T3 & here’s the numbers; TSH 3.50, T4 0.9, T3 78. Could this be my problem? I’d love to know your thoughts on this. I’m female, 57 Years old, 5’3, 187 lbs and I would greatly benefit by losing weight too. Also my LDL’s still high; 191. Thank you SO much, Silva

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, indeed: Undertreated TSH and low free T3. Action points:

      1) Get a new doctor, preferably one who will openly discuss thyroid issues, perhaps a functional medicine practitioner, naturopath, or chiropractor. (Even if they cannot prescribe, they often will know who to consult to get the job done).

      2) Consider adding liothyronine (T3) to levothyroxine or replacing levothyroxine with Armour thyroid or Naturethroid that contain both T4 and T3.

      This is almost certainly a contributor, if not sole cause, of stalled weight loss if you are already wheat-free.

  9. Silva Harr

    Oh and I know that you said that you’ll like the ASH optimally to be a 1.0, what numbers should T4 & T3 be? I want to be very clear /w my Dr. As to what I’m needing to achieve. Thanks! Silva

    • Dr. Davis

      Because the ranges vary from lab to lab, a useful rule of thumb is to aim for the upper half of the “reference range” quoted on your lab results.

      • Silva

        Okay, I sure will. Thanks again. You are making such a difference. I really believe I’m going to live longer & feel better while doing it! I can hardly wait to feel what it’s like to have my TSH @ 1.0. Silva

        • Silva

          Dr. Davis, I’ve been working hard on/with my PCP since you advised me that I may have had undertreated thyroid. As you probably could have predicted, he didn’t have a clue. I couldn’t find another one better within the confines of Kaiser Permanente, where I’m pretty much stuck, due to financial constraints. I’m doing WB on a thread, not a shoestring, but I’ll NEVER eat any other way! The improvements in my health is monumental. I feel such a reduction in pain in my hands & fingers. I’ve no heartburn & never fart anymore! My blood pressure is now as it was in my 20′s again. All these changer were overnight, & I could go on. Since I started WB on 9/1/2012 I’ve lost 15 lbs. It doesn’t really matter to me anymore that I’m not already a size 6 again, my clothes wouldn’t fit anyway, but my oncologist was really impressed about my 15 lb weight loss. Turns out as I’ve been on Arimidex the whole time, I’m doing pretty well to have lost that! I feel so blessed to have heard your message, my overall health & feeling of well being has done a 180.

          • Dr. Davis

            Ignorance in thyroid should not be something you have to content with, Silva, but it is. When finances permit, it would really help to get it assessed and corrected, as it not only impacts weight but other aspects of health, too.

            But very nice results elsewhere!

          • Silva

            Yes, I’ve noticed. Since begining my journey back to health, then hearing your suggestion that I could have undertreated hypothyroid (I did/do) I’ve read about hypothyroidism for the first time. I’ve been undertreated for a very long time, and have many obvious symptoms. Thanks again for telling me. I’ll try to get it properly addressed when I can.

      • Katie

        Dr. Davis,

        I recently had a Thyroid test (not sure how extensive – not very I’m assuming since there is only one score) – My lab sheet says “TSH WITH REFLEX TO FREE T4″ – my results were listed as this “THYROID PROF (TSH w R” My score: 1.66 out of a range of 0.30 – 4.8 mIU/mL. I read in your article that anything over a 1.0 is out of normal range? Yet the doctor says it’s fine. What can I do to lower it to below 1.0 from 1.66? Simply take the Iodine or do I need medication? I am really struggling with my weight loss – cut out all wheat/grain/gluten and following your diet plan. Please help!! Thanks ;-)

        Katie

  10. Hi,

    I have been grain free/sugar free/somewhat dairy free for 3 weeks. The first 10-14 days I saw the scale go down but none of my clothes felt different. I felt less bloated, so I’m assuming I was just watching water weight decrease. I have been VERY strict with myself. I can say the first week or so I was still getting the hang of things, still added artificial sweeteners to things and a dab of honey on others but now have completely eliminated them for at least 2 weeks. I feel great on this diet. My sleep has improved drastically and I’m feeling more energy all throughout the day but am frustrated because I’m not losing weight.

    I consume TONS of veggies, mostly raw. I’m eating decent amounts of protein from eggs, cheese and meats (maybe not enough protein?) Good fats have been coming from avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, eggs…etc. Pretty much eliminated caffeine and water is keeping me satisfied.

    I don’t know what to do! I exercise 3-5 days a week (mostly spin). Oh, also, I’m 5″4 170lb 22 years old.

    I had my blood tested about a month ago. Dr. said I had nothing wrong with my thyroid. I know my dr. specifically looked at my thyroid because she thought it had a correlation to my lack of energy.

    I’ve been at the same weight for years. Even when I eat really bad, I never feel like I GAIN weight. I just feel bloated and lethargic. I really need and want to lose weight though.

    • forgot to clarify that all the veggies I’ve been eating are low carb. I’ve steered clear of anything starchy.

      Breakfast:
      1/4c. Hot Flax cereal w/ unsweeted cocnut flakes, coconut oil, slivered almonds and cinnamon. Made w/ water. (OR)
      Sometimes 1 coconut flower pancake and a scrambled egg. (OR)
      Sometimes 2-3 scrambled eggs in EVOO with mushroom, asparagus..really any veggie on hand.

      Lunch:
      1/4c. chinese cabbage. Topped with raw mushroom, tomato, cucumber, asparagus, sometimes roasted veggies (cauliflower, bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant) hard boiled egg, 2-3 oz. chicken breast, cheese and lemon juice/EVOO for dressing. (OR)

      Can of tuna w/ mayo or EVOO & lemon juice, spices, hard boiled egg eaten w/ fresh low carb veggies.

      Dinner:
      Cauliflower rice w/ some chicken or fish and lightly sautéed veggies in EVOO.

      Snacks:
      Roasted nuts (have recently switched to raw)
      Premier Protein Shake (30 g protein, 1 g sugar, 4 g fat)

      This is on average what my meals have looked like pretty steadily. Should I be losing weight eating this way?

      • Dr. Davis

        Your diet actually sounds pretty good. One issue is if the protein shake uses whey protein, which occasionally stalls weight loss.

        But I’ll bet that there is something else stalling your weight loss efforts. Have you gone through the checklist on this blog post?

        • Lindsay

          Thanks for the reply. Yes I’ve gone though the checklist. I suppose the only thing I haven’t tried is fasting. Today was the first time that after a 9am breakfast of 4 scrambled eggs I wasn’t hungry all day. I forced a salad I normally make down just to eat but didn’t finish around 5pm.

          Would fasting be an answer to jump starting weight loss?

          Also, I guess from the scale I’ve lost 2-3lbs (the scale dluctuates though) and I do take a spin class 3 times a week. So I could be gaining some muscle but again, my clothes don’t feel different to me. I’m beginning to get discouraged with no weight loss from reading of people dropping so much weight quickly, but have drastically noticed other positive changes so I will continue.

          • Gabrielle

            Good morning, Lindsay,

            This is just a suggestion: why don’t you completely eliminate dairy? I see that you include cheese, and I assume the protein shake contains whey. In a previous post, Dr. Davis mentions eliminating dairy as a weight-loss strategy. I have found that eating even too much of a good thing is not the best for me. Even though nuts are good for us, I need to eat less rather than more. I frame my diet against those diets of early humans: not everything every day. I am not sure we have adapted to the obvious surplus of food available. Some people can probably consume unlimited quantities of excellent, high fat, nutrient-dense food and maintain a stable weight. That doesn’t work for me. I enjoy all things in moderation. But never too much. And no dairy, sugar, or grains, and less of fruit, nuts, and animal products.

          • Katie

            I’m in the same boat as you, girl! I now feel even more discouraged if I have to give up dairy because I love my protein shakes made with whey powder and greek yogurt. I drink them everyday, do you? Maybe we should try the no dairy thing and see what happens. Restricting everything except meat, eggs and veggies is really tough on a person though so if I don’t see results in a reasonable amount of time I don’t think dairy was my weight loss blocker.

  11. jean

    Dr. Davis, thank you so much for your response. I downloaded the FoodFacts App and looked at our Net Carbs per meal (approx.). We are well within the limits. We are eating no starch at all. The dairy just may be the problem. We do eat some cheese each day – little grated cheddar on eggs – some for lunch with salad or veggies or a turkey or chicken flaxseed wrap. We probably drink 4-8 oz. whole milk a week (each of us). I have been having plain full fat greek yogure about once a week with your granola recipe and have made the ranch dressing twice (the one with mayo, sour cream and parm. cheese). Doesn’t seem like this would be the problem, however, we are going to eliminate the dairy entirely for a couple of weeks and see if this jump starts the weight loss. We feel great and would not ever consider putting the wheat, sugar, chemicals, etc. back in our bodies. I love knowing just exactly what I am eating. I will also get some kelp tablets or iodine drops from health food store and supplement 500 mcg/day if after 2 weeks of being dairy-free we don’t see results. We will see and I might add – very hopeful and encouraged. Again, thank you for your research and your book. I will definitely keep you posted.

  12. Jeff

    This is the first time I have asked my doctor for a full Thyroid work up. After reading your comments, I assumed my T3 levles may be off. I have been taking about 500 mcg of Kelp while waitnig for my test to be run over a two month period. The last blood work showed normal TSH levels. However this time, I was suprised to see my TSH level shoot up to 10.770. Could this be an adverse reaction to the Kelp? My T4 is 7.4 and T3 is 103. Any recommendations? I have been on wheet belly diet for over 4 months now and have not lost weight. I did however gain about 9 lbs when a business trip brought me to Italy for a week! Pasta!

    • Dr. Davis

      The only way kelp could do something like this would be if you were taking a toxic dose of iodine, e.g., 5000-10,000 mcg (5-10 mg) per day, and even that would be unusual in a short two month period.

      Much more likely: You have hypothyroidism to a substantial degree independent of the iodine. This needs to be addressed, preferably with a T3-containing thyroid preparation like Armor thyroid or Naturethroid. If your doctor refuses to discuss this openly and rationally, walk out and find a new doctor ASAP.

  13. Faith

    My husband and I have been on the diet for 2 weeks and have not lost a pound. He actually gained. I am back to where I started. We got the hang of the diet quickly. But were thinking we would lose weight from everything we have read. I have read this blog and not sure any of these are the reasons for what we are seeing. Any advise?

    • Dr. Davis

      “Not sure,” or you know for a fact?

      You will be surprised at how many people, for instance, think they are free of thyroid problems but have substantial hypothyroidism. If true, you will not lose weight no matter how perfect your diet. Wheat elimination is powerful, but it cannot correct all metabolic distortions that come, for instance, from perchlorate or fluorinated hydrocarbon exposures over a lifetime that block thyroid hormones.

      • Faith

        Dr Davis,
        We will track longer and see if we are successful. I will let you know! My husband usually loses faster than me normally. He does take synthroid 0.1 mg. I have had recent blood work and will check on my TSH Level. I do take coumadin, would this have any effect on my weight loss? I was dx with BL PEs in June and now feeling much bettter and wanted to lose the extra weight.

  14. kathy

    Dr. Davis,

    Is there a wheat free ‘grain’ that I can take that is similar to oat bran. I have been wheat free since July 2012, and have lost 19 pounds, but want to lose more. So I am going to try a ‘fad diet’ to jumpstart my metabolism, while being wheat free. But it requires oat bran and I cannot find gluten free oat bran. Any suggestions.

  15. jeff

    Dr. Davis, I’ve lost 20 lbs in 4 weeks but have been stalled for the last 2 weeks. I could cut out fruit and dairy to see if that will help. I have started exercising as well. Any other hints to help with the weight loss? I have about 40more lbs to go.

  16. patty

    I have been doing the wheat free for 4 weeks the weight is not coming off. I have to say that I am not binging like I was. and my muscles feel alot better. I do not feel so bloated, yet I am having alot of acid reflux. I too have had my Thyroid checked and the doctor says there find. I am not lossing weight yet before I started this program I have been gaining 2 to 3 lbs a week. Now on this program I am staying the same not gaining any more. I am trying to stay encouaged so I am not sure what else to do. I have tried some of the receipes and I am enjoying some of them. I will keep checking the blog to see how others are doing. thanks

    • Dr. Davis

      Patty–

      I would urge you to obtain the results of your thyroid tests so that you can view them. And feel free to post them here.

      I will bet you that they are NOT “fine,” but sufficiently abnormal to impair any effort at weight loss. This is incredibly common.

  17. Jane

    Hello Dr Davis,
    I have been Wheat Free for 10 days and have lost 5 pounds. I am disappointed since I would like to loose a total of 55 pounds. I feel great, my skin looks great, and I’m not hungry. As an aside, I am from Wisconsin and live in California now.
    My question, I had Thyroid Cancer and total Thyroidectomy in November 1999 with Radioactive Iodine in January 2000. I’ve gained the 55 pound since having my Thyroid removed. I am 5’11″ so I was thin and now I’m a little fat, not like 55 pounds extra when you’re 5’0. I’m wondering if I should do anything different to jump start my diet like fasting? Or cut out other foods. I’m eating chicken, salmon, lots of roasted veggies, raw veggies, tapenade, raw almonds and 1/2 cup wild rice each day. The only dairy is some chedder cheese. Any ideas? I’m also trying to walk 30 minutes a day but need a total knee-replacement so have to walk on days I’m not in too much pain.

    Thank you,
    Jane

    • Dr. Davis

      Easy, Jane: Get rid of your current endocrinologist and find someone who will address your thyroid in a rational way and not allow you to gain 55 pounds from undertreated thyroid status.

      It means assessing and correcting your T3, as well as T4, thyroid hormone. You may need to find a functional medicine practitioner to get this accomplished. When you are back to a healthy size 6, write your endocrinologist a nasty letter complete with a photograph of you looking slender and young, telling him/her about their disservice to your health.

  18. Diana Adkins

    I’ve been off wheat since December 3, 2012. I lost 6 lbs. the first week and nothing since. I started the Wheat Belly Diet because I need to improve my lipid profile. While that is why I’m doing it, I was REALLY looking forward to the weight loss side effect. I need to lose about 80 more pounds.

    Looking at the list I can see that I need to explore some of the things on it. I have some questions that need clarification.

    1) When speaking of cortisol other than the flip flop experience, can flat out low cortisol stall weight loss. I did a saliva test the second week in December. My levels were very low. I still peaked in the morning but by late evening cortisol could not be detected. Then I got the flu and completely bottomed out. My doctor said it was adrenal fatigue and I’m now on supplements to help me. Could the low cortisol be a factor in not losing the weight?

    2) I take 60 mg of Armour Thyroid twice a day. At last check in October of 2012 my doctor was happy that my levels were at the upper edge of high normal. My question is could I still be low on Iodine and could that also stall weight loss. I have been deficient in it before.

    Any help would be appreciate!

    Frustrated but hanging in there!

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Diana–

      The low cortisol can impair weight loss if it results in decreased energy, mood, and the desire to engage in physical activity.

      While iodine is important, it should not impair weight loss if thyroid is indeed normalized. Keep in mind that true “normalization” of thyroid can also mean achieving a desirable level of free T3 (upper half of “reference range”). If this has already been achieved, but you continue to have symptoms of hypothyroidism and/or encounter a weight plateau, your doctor should consider assessing reverse T3.

      • Diana Adkins

        Thank you for the feedback. I will relay the information on the T3.

        And yes, the cortisol affects my energy level. Some days it’s almost debilitating. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and weed one thing out at a time.

        Thanks for you work!!

  19. Laura

    I have been on wheat belly for over a month and have lost nothing. My diet is egg whites and fat free cheese for breakfast, rolled up turkey with mustard for lunch, a piece of full fat cheese for snack, steak , chicken, or fish with peppers for dinner, apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter for dessert . Going to endocrinologist in a few weeks.

    I exercise for 35 min 6x a week on the elliptical machine.

    Help!

    • Lisa

      Laura- don’t waste your time at an Endocrinologist’s office. I have been doing that for too long. I finally have an appt with an integrative medicine doctor in April and I can hardly wait. Ever since I quit smoking 4 years ago and gained 30#, I have been unable to lose the weight. I probably killed my thyroid by smoking in the first place! The Endo I see has done biopsies and ultrasounds of my thyroid, bumped Synthroid up a bit since I’ve been seeing him but that’s about it. I asked him if he would entertain the idea of Armour or adding T3 to the Synthroid and he said no. That’s what made me change my mind. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Get on the right track from the get-go.

  20. Monika Bogovic

    Just wondering how is it possible to loose weight if you’re consuming such a high quantity of fat in this diet,such as one cookie equaling 21-30 grams of fat. Or one slice of bread being 12 grams of fat.Most of the foods that use nut flours are very high in fat?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, because fat is GOOD!

      Fat does NOT cause weight gain. Foods that provoke insulin cause weight gain, most especially carbohydrates. Wheat is the worst of all carbohydrate sources because it is not only among the most rapidly digestible and insulin-provoking, it also comes with its very own opiate appetite stimulant!

  21. patty

    I found out some of my thyroid numbers
    The TSH is 4.27 and then there was another one they took which he said was a small gland or something I didn’t understand , the doctor said that it show normal it was 6. The doctor is sending me for more test.
    yet, he says they are in the normal range. So what are my opions, what can I do? Where I live in the Maritimes in Canada we can not change doctors there is to much of a waiting list. Also you say and others have said that once they stop eating wheat they have so much engery. Well my friend and I have been doing this now for 5 weeks and we have no energy at all We feel like we are just dragging out bodies around.
    the one good thing i can say is that I am not gaining, not losing but not gaining weight, which before i was gaing 2 to 3 lbs a week
    i need something to work i am 5 ft tall and 260lbs.
    thanks for listening

  22. aparna

    Hi my t3 and t4 are fine but my tsh was highly increased so i wanted to know if this wheat free diet will help me lose weight. Thankyou for the article though.

    • Dr. Davis

      No, unfortunately.

      It is essential to correct thyroid function or else you will be frustrated by the failure to lose weight.

  23. Mario Paluck

    Hi, started the wheat Belly program along with my wife. She is diabetic type II and on metaforin and insulin. I am not diabetic but want to loose about 20 pounds. My wife needs to loose 45 pounds. I have the Wheat Belly and the Wheat Belly cookbook.

    We have tried some recipes and they work great. However, we both are concerned about the sodium levels noted at th bottom of the recipes. Are these levels not high risk to ones health? Please comment.

    • Dr. Davis

      Odd thing, Mario: As you lose the wheat and its sodium-retaining effects, salt- and sodium-sensitivity seem to go away with the wheat.

      In fact, many, if not most, people need to add some salt, e.g., sea salt, the farther they get into this lifestyle. People can become lightheaded and have to hydrate and use salt to keep BP UP!

  24. Linda

    Hi Lindsay
    When I went on the wheat free diet, 6 weeks ago, I felt happy, free, light. Within a few days, I was looking at the sprouted wheat bread I lived on for years and literally saying, ‘meh’. I don’t miss wheat one little bit.
    I’m not hearing a lot of joy in your strategy. It sounds like you’re on a strict campaign, and this is causing a lot of stress in your day? I’m wondering if you can you loosen your mind, and listen to your heart more when it comes to putting food in your mouth? I’d make a wager the food your body craves is simple, and mostly fresh and green.
    with joy,
    Linda

  25. Deborah

    I am following the low carb guideline to lose weight, and eating under 15 grams of net carbs a meal. However, I am feeling really unwell on this. I am extremely tired, weak, and my muscles ache after I excercise and they never use to. I have been low carb now for three weeks. Will this improve? Do I need to increase my carb intake? I am eating lots of pasture raised meats, fats (mostly raw almond butter, olive oil, and coconut oil), and lots of low carb veggies, and I am drinking a lot of water. Also, I am not really losing weight but right now I am more concerned with just feeling better. I ate low fat for over 20 years, is my body just not use to living of fat and protein? Will my body adjust?

    • Deborah

      I should add that I have been wheat free since Jan. 7 (other than one slip)so this is not wheat withdrawal. I also did check low carb sites on the Internet and they talked about the low- carb flu, but said this should only last a week. I feel really, really exhausted! Zero energy and I used to be very energetic .

    • Dr. Davis

      From the limited information you can provide as a blog comment, I can only tell you that, yes, many people improve long-term as they adhere to this approach.

      In effect, by wheat and junk food elimination, you are reverting back to the diet that humans were evolutionarily programmed to follow. If you feel bad at first, it is likely NOT due to the diet, but due to the maladaptation that has occurred due to the distortions of your previous diet. This may require several weeks to readjust.

      • Deborah

        Thank you for the information Dr. Davis! I was beginning to think my primal ancestors lived near an apple tree and that I needed extra carbs

  26. veronica gregory

    Hi..I’ve been on the wheat free diet for 8 days and the last two has been awful…I’ve been having stomach cramps and diarrhea…I haven’t had any wheat…is this the withdrawals? How long will this last? Please help I’m afraid to leave the house.

    • Deborah

      Have you tried probiotics? Look in the column on the left under bowel flora, there is some good information there on treating symptoms such as yours with probiotics. Hope you feel better quickly.

    • Dr. Davis

      Many people who experience this part of the wheat-elimination experience do better by supplementing high potency probiotics, e.g., 50 billion CFUs for several weeks.

      It may represent the transition from abnormal to more normal bowel flora, accelerated with the probiotic.

  27. Howard

    I am a 55 year old male 5’11″ and currently 208 pounds. Obese by BMI charts and would like to lose around 20 to 25 pounds. Main reason for trying the wheat belly diet was to get off my meds for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. All these levels are within normal range but that is because of ALL THE MEDS! Not only do the meds cost a fortune but who really knows what other side effects they may have long term.

    I have been on the diet for 5 weeks and have lost 6 pounds the first couple weeks and since have stood still. I have carefully followed the diet and have cooked more in the last 5 weeks then I have done in the last 5 years. Anyway, I feel pretty good so I will stick with the diet.

    Tomorrow is the day of reckoning as I am going for my quarterly blood test. I assume that my low carb low sugar intake should have a positive effect on my blood sugar.

    Dr. Davis, can one expect a positive improvement in blood work results after only 5 weeks? If not how long before positive results can be seen?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, but it will likely underestimate the long-term benefits.

      This is because, as weight loss unfolds, you flood your bloodstream with fatty acids. This blunts or even temporarily worsens measures like fasting blood sugar and HbA1c.

      So the best approach is to stick with the program long-term.

      Your slow weight loss makes me wonder whether you are on any drugs that slow or prevent weight loss, such as atenolol, metoprolol, carvedilol, or other drugs.

  28. Sarah

    Hi Dr. Davis,

    I bought your book about a month ago and love it. I have been eating gluten free since September and Wheat free since December. I originally heard about you from another blog I follow, mariahealth.blogspot.com. I read the original post along with the following comments and am curious of what you think about my thyroid panel results.

    I am only 24 years old but have been suffering from many thyroid symptoms for about 4 years. I had to really push my doctor to test my TSH (didn’t know about t3 or t4 at the time) and it came back “normal”.

    2009 Results: TSH 1.893
    Cholesterol 219 Trig 111 HDL 71 LDL 126

    This past September I went to my doctor again to get my blood tested and was at my wits end with fatigue, excessive hair shedding, bloating, constipation, mental fog, anxiety, etc. Again, I had to INSIST that I get my thyroid checked. I was so frustrated that nobody was listening to me that I started to cry a bit which basically led the PA to suggest I go on anti-depressants. I got my results back again in the “normal” range.

    2012 Results: TSH 1.915 free t4 1.35 free t3 2.8

    Total Cholesterol 230 Trig 97 HDL 53 LDL 158

    Could you please let me know if I should pursue this any further? Thank You!

    • Dr. Davis

      While just short of ideal, the thyroid values do not suggest substantial thyroid dysfunction. There is a small possibility that marginal hypothyroidism can still be the cause for your feelings of mental fog,” as well as hair shedding, constipation, etc. But there may be other explanations, too.

      It sounds like your biggest problem is your doctor. I believe you would be far better off with a functional medicine practitioner who will consider all the possible explanations for your situation.

    • a_qt

      Sarah, Did you get your iron tested? I had all these symptome too, as well as low TSH and my thyorid was producing antibodies. I was so depressed and the expression “bone tired” really described how I felt a lot of the time. It turns I was extremely low in iron and somewhat low in vit B12. I can’t tolerate regular iron from the pharmacy, so I take “energizing Iron.” My thyroid is still a little wonky but now I’ve gotten my iron up a bit I feel a million times better!

  29. GStirling

    I am very happy with being wheat free, it was so easy and I don’t miss it at all. I am a 58 year old female, have lost the wheat (week 3)and no weight loss and haven’t been eating any gluten free things to substitute for wheat. I am going down the check list and decided to do the thyroid test and I am so sad but I think it looks fine……TSH 2.150 (should this really be 1.0?), triiodothyronine 2.6, T4 free, 1.16, Thyroxine 7.7, t3 uptake 33, and Free thyroxine 2.5, so now my plan is to take probiotics and eliminate the dairy as I already drink some coffee. Then after 8 weeks on probiotics if no weight loss I may do the bowel panel test. I do think I had irritable bowel syndrome and I think it is getting better. Does this sound like a game plan?
    PS I trained last year for a 2day 150 mile bike ride and you would think I would have lost some weight- nope.

    • Dr. Davis

      That sounds reasonable.

      The TSH is borderline: not confidently ideal, not confidently abnormal. If you have symptoms of low energy, feelings of inappropriate cold, or hair loss, it still may be worth pursuing with an openminded practitioner.

  30. Arhonda Cook

    Hello All,

    I purchased the audio version “Wheat Belly” on 02/23/13, and stopped eating most wheat, less what may be hidden in the foods I already have in the refrigerator. I feel so much better, and find that I am less irritable. Because of reading the book I now realize how my body reacts to wheat, as soon as I feel “funny,” I take note of what I ate, and avoid it. Because of all of the great benefits I have experienced thus far, I choose to continue to avoid wheat, still I have lost only 3 pounds. I read the post, “I lost the wheat, but didn’t lose weight: 2,” I was a little disappointed not to have outstanding results like the others. The way I feel helps me as if this could be a lifestyle not a diet.

    By the way, my stomach is softer and I dont feel sick all day! Yay! I do need to loose weight though, I am 5’4″ 264 pounds at the age of 31 and absolutely disgusted.

    • Dr. Davis

      Then it’s time to explore all the issues on the list in the “Didn’t lose weight” discussion, Arhonda.

      The health improvements you’ve experienced tell you that you have found a major disrupter of health. But there can be other factors blocking your ability to lose weight beyond wheat.

  31. Amy

    Is Whey Protein powder OK? Or is that considered a dairy? If so, what would you recommend instead?

  32. Gina Adkins

    I’ve been on the wheat belly diet since 1/5/13.
    I’ve lost about 15-20 Pds. I say that because I
    have plateaued and my weight is fluctuating
    every day. . I loose, I gain, I loose, I gain. Very
    frustrating and I have not cheated at all.
    Summer will be here soon and I am getting
    desperate to finish loosing my weight. I need
    specific things to do and not to do. I couldn’t
    find anything in the book on plateauing. I still have
    a lot of weight to loose, help! I am taking Mobic
    for feet problems.

  33. Gina Adkins

    My belly is NOT going down. I’m still carrying alot
    alot of weight high in my stomach. Any suggestions?

    • Nimbrethil

      See my post directly below. For some reason the reply didn’t thread under yours, even though I’m positive I clicked your reply button.

      • Boundless

        > For some reason the reply didn’t thread under yours

        On CAPTCHA retry, re-click the _Reply_ link under the Reply you are replying to.

        Apparently due to some tweak to the blogware in the recent past, when you get a CAPTCHA error (timeout or incorrect code) now, and do a <- back, with or without refresh, it dumps you in the Leave_a_Reply dialog at the bottom of the article, and not under the Reply of interest. The behavior causes your reply to be to the article, and not the Reply.

        When you re-click _Reply_ under the Reply, your draft reply text is usually there.

        It also never hurts to quote a bit of what you are replying to, in case they get separated.

        A retry dump happened while I was composing this reply, and I had to re-click. The other factor here is that CAPTCHA timeout is too short for even short thoughtful replies. This short timeout is apparently another recent tweak, and may have been implemented to keep 'bots, spammers and trolls at bay.

  34. Nimbrethil

    We need more information beyond “I’m not losing weight,” because without it we have no possible way of knowing what the problem might be.

    Have you eliminated ALL wheat from your diet? Not just obvious wheat-products. You have to read labels, because a LOT of processed foods contain wheat that you wouldn’t think of. I had to give away or throw out a lot of bagged soup mixes that, even though they weren’t pasta-based, either contained wheat or were produced in a factory that processed wheat-containing products on the same equipment. Soups are a big offender. So are, I’ve noticed, a lot of processed meats, like the cheap tri-meat hotdogs. In the beginning, before you’ve gotten really used to the lifestyle, you HAVE to read labels.

    Are you avoiding or strictly limiting gluten-free grains and anything else that can spike your blood sugar? Are you eliminating wheat but indulging in too much junk food?

    Do you have a dysfunctional thyroid? This is a fairly common issue for people not able to lose weight.

    How long have you been wheat free? I realize that a lot of people report losing weight immediately and rapidly, but its a mistake to get carried away with that idea and assume this will be the case for every last individual, thanks to the wonder of metabolism. Some people’s bodies take longer to adjust.

    The long and short of it is that we need more info, you’ve given us nothing to go on.

  35. H Hadley

    I haven’t had wheat in 5 days now. I feel fine, but not better, and I have gained one pound. I have been diligent, reading every label and mostly cooking from scratch and trying recipes from Wheat Free/Meat Free websites. I am also a vegetarian. I haven’t bought any gluten free products, except some rice based, seed heavy crackers which I had a handful of yesterday.

    Seriously – I didn’t have any major health concerns and I am not obese, but I have a bit of a, well, Wheat Belly. I’m a little discouraged if I’m actually going to start GAINING weight. I know it’s only a pound, but I weigh myself at the same time every day, so a pound is a pound.

    Any input on this?

    • Dr. Davis

      Give it time: It is still early. While many people lose weight immediately, some do not but it develops over time.

      But lose all the gluten-free products, H. They cause extravagant weight gain.

  36. Cathy

    I read your book last nov.
    I went gluten free right after. Initially I lost a few pounds, but have gained those back.
    I must say I feel MUCH better.
    Joint pain is 90% better.
    Acid reflux- gone.
    Migraines- GONE!!
    Eczema- gone.

    I had my labs drawn this week. Cholesterol down 50 points :) (I am on Zetia too)
    I had hoped the cholesterol would have been even lower, but I’ll take it.
    I do drink wine, so those calories are probably what has prevented the big weight loss.
    I will stick to it though. I feel so good.

  37. Faith

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I am writing again since my husband and I have been on the Wheat belly diet for 2 months now and have lost hardly any weight. We are not eating any pasta, potatoes, rice, or store bought breads. I would have expected to lose alot taking these items out of my diet. I do make the breads, muffins from the Wheat Belly cook book. We eat alot of protein, frutis and vegitables. My husband has lost 6 lbs total and myself only1/2 lb. The weight stays stable and does not flucuate like in the past like on Weight Wachers. You may ask why we have stayed on it so long. We do feel great, alert, not bloated, no water retention, sleep better. My dental hygenist said my gums have never looked so good and she attributes this to the decrease or elimination of carbs. I did check with my Dr. after your last comment about the no weight loss in February. My thyroid blood work is totally normal.
    So what other reason can there be? Could I / we not be eating enough…………having protein for breakfast reduces my appitite and I hardly ever feel hungry.

    • Boundless

      > My thyroid blood work is totally normal.

      When a doctor tells you that the lab results for your thyroid are “normal”, you’ve usually been told exactly nothing useful.

      You need to ask for the actual numbers, and lab reference values, for:
      free T3
      free T4
      reverse T3
      for starters.

      Usually, the answer will be “Oh, we didn’t measure those”. Usually all that’s tested is TSH (which isn’t even a thyroid test, per se), and total T4, which is nearly useless. See:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/10/thyroid-tune-up-checklist/

    • Faith

      I have my Doctor run a thyroid panal. The TSH was 2.92, thyroxine total was 4.9 (L). I am now on medication and the physician said it will not change anything quickly but he wants my labs closer to the 1 range due to my lack of wt loss. Thanks for the support and advise. I will keep you posted.
      An aside:
      Cholesterol: 187
      HDL: 73
      LDL:94
      Triglyccrides 98

  38. Lynn Distler

    I have gone wheat free for the past 10 days and have decreased my carb consumption dramatically from what it used to be. I have lost about 2 pounds but I’m hungry all the time. Other people say they are full and don’t even want to eat. I fill up more quickly at meals therefore eating less but then I’m hungry again an hour later. Do you know what may be contributing to this hunger?

  39. J.

    I purchased this book after an extended period of spinning wheels and weight gain during which I gained about ten pounds over a year despite doing such things as cutting calories down to the 1200-1000 range (while exercising 3+ hours a day, six days a week…according to readings on an HRM I bought recently, my TDEE is anywhere from between 2900 and 4000 calories burned per day) and hiring a personal trainer. I wasn’t in terrible health necessarily but I wanted know why I wasn’t able to lose weight even though I was eating at a deficit and doing a lot of exercise. I thought maybe wheat was what had been sabotaging me, after reading your book, and went wheat-free at the end of October (Oct 28), quitting it cold turkey.

    I do all my own cooking and eat only whole foods such as chicken and vegetables, which was the case even before I gave up wheat (although sometimes before going wheat free, I would eat bread or pasta on occasion). I don’t substitute with GF snacks.

    Since giving up wheat, I’ve gained almost ten pounds. My body-fat percentage is up 2% to 24.5%. I can’t say it’s done anything else for me. My skin hasn’t cleared up (it was never particularly bad, anyway), I don’t have more energy… When are all these health benefits supposed to kick in? Because in five months, I’m sure not seeing them. I wanted to believe this would work, since apparently it does for some other people. I really don’t want to keep doing this if it keeps kicking my BF% up higher.

  40. a_qt

    My recommendation is to take sugar and processed carbs out of your diet, eat protein and omega 3 rich foods (flax, chia, salmon, grass fed meats) , and for darn sakes, if you live in a cold climate, supplement with vitamin D drops – 6-8 drops per day and vitamin k to help it absorb (see drmercola.com).

  41. Laurel

    I’m a living example of what gluten can do to you. About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, then I went through adrenal fatigue. Had been iron anemic for a long time. I asked my doctor about eliminating gluten, but he poo-poo’d it. About 2 years ago I developed a mystery illness with extreme debilitating exhaustion, hand tremors, muscle spasms all over my body, electric-like shooting feeling in my legs, leg twitches while asleep, brain fog, clumsiness/tripping/dizziness, inability to stand for more than 5 minutes, gut pain & diarrhea, later developed peripheral neuropathy which still lingers on. My bloodwork showed low iron, sodium, B12, protein. Doc and I agreed that there was some malabsorption going on, but that’s as far as he went. He never sent me to a neurologist and refused to Rx neurontin/gabapentin or Lyrica for the neuropathy.

    I paid $100 for a gluten anitbody test from EnteroLab and put myself on a GF diet 18 months ago. The gut issues went away pretty quickly. The rest of my symptoms are very slowly going away and I’m supplementing with plenty of B vitamins and good diet, and been giving myself B12 shots for about a year.

    I’m hoping with time that the neuropathy will be gone completely. Folks, trust your instincts. Don’t rely on your doctor to care about you as much as you do. Arm yourself with knowledge. It’s the only way.

    • Dr. Davis

      Very good detective work, Laurel!

      Damn shame you had to accomplish it all on your own, despite your doctor’s blundering.

  42. Minnie

    My glucose numbers have improved significantly since I eliminated all grains and began using the Wheat Belly Cookbook, but there’s been no weight loss to speak of. I’m suspecting that eliminating all grains is not going to be enough — not for me. I’ll continue eliminating grains because it’s lead to improved glucose numbers, but I’m also going to start watching my calories. For sure I can’t sit down and eat a loaf of bread, even if it’s made with almond flour!! Let’s see what happens.

  43. Tara

    I am reading a lot about people who lost weight initially and then it stalled. I too have been wheat free and cut out all starches. I am now gaining weight even though I am eating healthier now than I ever have. I feel ok. My sleep was better but now I’m back to restless leg syndrome and feel tired. I’ve been on this for 6 weeks, lost 8 pounds and have gained back 2. Very disheartening. While the premise of this diet sounds good, is it just another fad? I lost more weight eating a bagel for breakfast and counting calories. And while I gained back some of that weight because I wasn’t disciplined enough who’s to say this is the way to go? If you see no results whats the point? It’s suggested that people get their thyroid checked and most have come back normal. I really do miss the sugar in my tea though. Is one cube of sugar a day going to make this even worse? This diet is pretty complicated and time consuming.

  44. Peter

    Where can I find a Wheat Belly counselor?
    I’m one of those here who has lost the wheat, but hasn’t lost the weight.
    I’ll pay a fee for counseling, that’s how serious I am.

    I’ve bought both WB books, and studied carefully — making ample use of a yellow highlighter.
    I’ve thoroughly cleaned out my fridge and cupboards.
    I don’t buy foods in cardboard boxes any more.
    I’ve stopped eating at restaurants and started cooking at home.
    But I haven’t lost the weight.

    Instead of snacking on cookies, I’m eating raspberries.
    Instead of a bagel, I spread cream cheese and smoked salmon on a wedge of green pepper.
    Instead of pancakes for breakfast, I fry up eggs and bacon.
    But I haven’t lost the weight.

    There’s not a spec of wheat, rye, oats or barley in my house.
    My beloved maple syrup was banished long ago.
    No high-carbo bananas anymore, either.
    But I haven’t lost the weight.

    My skin irritations have cleared up.
    My acid reflex has disappeared.
    I have more energy and a better mood than when I was eating wheat.
    And I sleep much better and wake up more rested.
    But I haven’t lost the weight.

    Looks like I can’t do it alone.
    So I’m looking for a Wheat Belly counselor, who has the knowledge and the patience to advise me on every little detail.
    A paid counselor, because I don’t expect expert advice for free.

    I don’t need “motivation”.
    I’ve got plenty of that.
    What I’m looking for is nutritional detective work and then practical, problem-solving tactics.

    I’m tempted to say that I’ll pay $250 for every notch tighter on my belt.
    Four notches, 4 inches off my belly, I’ll pay $1,000, that’s how important it is to me.
    But I don’t think that will attract much interest.
    So I’m quite willing to pay an hourly fee or a monthly retainer to the right counselor.

    For the actual work of counseling — we can use email or Skype calls.

    To pay for this, I will use Elance.com, a web site specifically for hiring freelancers in any field.
    Elance uses an escrow service to be sure that freelancers get paid.

    If anyone reading this has the interest and the expertise, I invite you to contact me.

    Email: Peter4@allmail.NET
    (Please note the “NET” in my email address.)

    Thank you.

    – Peter

    Bangkok, Thailand
    12 April 2013
    .

    • Leslie

      Read next the new atkins for a new you. It is your next step on the weight loss journey as well as life time eating.

    • missymonypenny

      Hi Peter,
      Have you had any success since April? I thought maybe we could chat about what you are doing. I tried to draft an email to you but it didnt go thru. Do you want to try to email me?
      missymonypenny@gmail.net

  45. Allie

    Dr. Davis,

    I am 27 and underwent a total colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis for colonic inertia in 2007 at the age of 21. I was literally at death’s door at the time, weighing 83 lbs at 5’7″. Other diagnoses (Mayo) include gastroparesis (with significant anatomical changes to the stomach), chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction (CIP), and anismus. I have strictly followed the FODMAPS diet for years; haven’t touched dairy in over a decade, and eat a bowl of raisin bran a couple times a year because it helps with the persistent chronic constipation. Yes, that’s right- the constipation persists even after having a boatload of colon removed (the surgeon was stunned how long it was). “Long, torturous, and way too much for your little body” was what he said afterward. I realize that diet can only do so much in my case because of the nerve and muscle pathologies, and I never deviate from the “safe” list of foods, but I am curious as to why eliminating wheat (and all grains for that matter) hasn’t made more of a difference. I get small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) like there’s no tomorrow. The latest course of antibiotics was Xifaxan 550mg tid for 30 days. The only medication I am on is Zofran prn. The pain gets the “suck it up” approach. In one of your posts you talk about hypothyroid, and I was surprised and encouraged to see that you consider a TSH of 1.0 mIU to be ideal/normal, and not the usual 3.5-4.0. My mom is hypothyroid with suspicious nodules, and my brother has Hashimoto’s. I have always fallen into the borderline-to-normal group, but the lab values you list have me wondering if maybe there is a real problem there. Funny how I should come across this blog post today, as my PCP just drew TSH this afternoon. I have all of the usual symptoms – hair loss, dry skin, hugely fatigued (even after 9 hours of sleep), cold intolerance, constipation, etc. My question is, how do you get a physician to treat based on the TSH of 1.0 mIU as a normal value? Secondly, how is a T3 deficiency addressed/corrected? I am a graduate student at a large medical center in Chicago; truth be told, the medical care I have received here (simply routine follow-ups; nothing life or death) has not been impressive, so I have no objections to driving to Milwaukee or anywhere else if you have suggestions as to treatment or physicians who still like a puzzle.

    Thank you!

    • Dr. Davis

      While wheat elimination is one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed, it cannot undo or cure every facet of every gastrointestinal condition. Nonetheless, it sure tips the scales in your favor.

      I don’t you can persuade someone to manage thyroid correctly. It is much easier to find someone who already does it. Your best bet are functional medicine practitioners. I know there are several in Chicago, though I don’t know them personally.

      Correct T3 by taking T3, either as the combination T4 + T3, such as Armour thyroid or Naturethroid, or as added liothyronine. It’s really very easy.

  46. Jan

    Dr. Davis,
    I just received results on thyroid panel done recently. Can you tell me if they look normal to you or not please?
    Thank you

    T4 – 1.31
    T3 – 2.9
    TSH – 1.410