Wheat Belly: Quick & Dirty 2

In view of the many new readers on the Wheat Belly Blog, many of whom have not yet had an opportunity to read the book but are eager to get started, here is the updated Wheat Belly Quick & Dirty summary. It summarizes the essential dietary strategies of the Wheat Belly approach to 1) avoid all products made from high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat that wreak health destruction, and 2) create a diet that is otherwise healthy and appropriate for all members of the family.

This is the same diet I advise patients in my office to follow that achieves spectacular reductions in weight, provides relief from joint pain and acid reflux, reduces triglycerides, shoots HDL upward, reduces small LDL particles (the #1 cause of heart disease in the U.S!), and unravels diabetic/pre-diabetic tendencies. The diet starts with the biggest step of all: elimination of wheat. But a healthy diet cannot end there, else you and I could eat no wheat but fill our calories with soft drinks and jelly beans. So the next step is to limit carbohydrates if your goal is to lose more weight and correct metabolic distortions like high blood sugar and small LDL particles. Then, we choose our foods wisely to avoid the common boobytraps set for us by Big Food and Agribusiness, not to mention the friendly dietitian at the hospital! Diet in the 21st century is no longer just about carbs, proteins, and fats–it is also about being savvy about the changes introduced into our foods by food producers.

All wheat-based products (all breads, all breakfast cereals, noodles, pasta, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, pretzels, crackers), oat products (oatmeal, oat bran), corn and cornstarch-based products (sauces or gravies thickened with cornstarch, prepared or processed foods containing cornstarch, cornmeal products like chips, tacos, tortillas), sugary soft drinks, candies.

Avoid processed foods containing wheat, such as soy sauce, Twizzlers, Campbells Tomato Soup, salad dressings, taco seasoning–examine ALL labels and avoid any food with mention of wheat. (It’s not a bad idea to avoid foods with labels! Cucumbers and spinach, for instance, generally don’t come with labels.)

Enjoy unlimited:
Vegetables-except potatoes; fresh or frozen, never canned
Raw nuts and seeds-raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamians; dry-roasted peanuts (not roasted in oil); pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and chia seeds
Healthy oils (preferably unheated, whenever possible)-olive, flaxseed, coconut, avocado, walnut
Meats-red meats, pork, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs. (Consider free-range, grass-fed and/or organic sources.)
Ground flaxseed, chia seeds
Teas, coffee, water, unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or coconut water
Cheeses—real cultured cheeses only (not Velveeta or single-slice processed cheese)
Avocado or guacamole; hummus; unsweetened condiments, e.g., mayonnaise, mustard, oil-based salad dressings; ketchup without high-fructose corn syrup; pesto, tapenades; olives

Fruit-No more than 2 servings a day (one serving is a level handful), preferably in this order (best first): berries of all varieties, citrus, apples, nectarines, peaches, melons. Minimize bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and grapes and only in the smallest of quantities (since they are like candy in sugar content)
Fruit juices-only real juices and in minimal quantities (no more than 2-4 oz)
Dairy products-No more than 1 serving per day of milk, cottage cheese or yogurt, unsweetened (Fat content does not matter.)
Legumes/beans; peas; sweet potatoes and yams; rice (white and brown); organic soy
Dark chocolates-70-85% cocoa or greater; no more than 40 grams (approximately 2 inches square) per day
Sugar-free foods–preferably stevia-containing, rather than aspartame; other safe sweeteners include erythritol and xylitol
Polyunsaturated oils–safflower, sunflower, mixed vegetable

”Gluten-free” foods made with rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch
Fried foods
Fast foods
Hydrogenated “trans” fats
Cured meats–hot dogs, sausages, bacon, bologna, pepperoni “fixed” with sodium nitrite
High-fructose corn syrup containing foods; honey; agave syrup; sucrose
Processed rice, rice flour or potato products-rice crackers, rice cereals, pretzels, white breads, breakfast cereals, potato chips
Fat-free or low-fat salad dressings

Quick tips:
For healthy breakfast choices, consider ground flaxseed as a hot cereal (e.g., with coconut milk, organic milk, or unsweetened almond milk; blueberries, strawberries, etc.). Also consider eggs; raw nuts; cheese; consider having “dinner for breakfast,” meaning transferring salads, cheese, chicken, and other “dinner” foods to breakfast.
Add 1 tsp or more of taste-compatible healthy oil to every meal. For example, mix in 1 tbsp coconut oil to ground flaxseed hot cereal. Or add 2 tbsp olive oil to eggs after scrambling. Adding oils will blunt appetite.
If you suspect you have a wheat “addiction” and are struggling to break it, use the first week to add healthy oils to every meal and reduce the amount of wheat by half. In the second week, aim for elimination of wheat while maintaining the oils.
Reach for raw nuts first as a convenient snack.
Use the recipes in the Wheat Belly Blog and book whenever cravings hit: cookies, muffins, brownies, coffee cake, cheesecake from the recipes can quell appetite with no downside.

This entry was posted in Wheat Belly--The Book, Wheat Belly: Quick & Dirty. Bookmark the permalink.

495 Responses to Wheat Belly: Quick & Dirty 2

  1. Denise says:

    It says limit potatoes. How much/per day/per week/never?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      A useful rule of thumb to avoid/minimize the adverse consequences of carbs, such as those in potatoes: Try to restrict to 15 grams “net” carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per meal or less.

  2. Denise says:

    I forgot to add. Should I be watching caloric intake? And what about exercise?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I don’t know anybody who benefits from counting calories, Denise.

      Well, this is a blog about wheat and, to a lesser degree, overall nutrition. So I try to keep it focused on those issues. So, yes, of course you should be physically active, including exercise. My bias: Engage in activities you enjoy and are fun, not necessarily a routine such as walking or running on a treadmill.

  3. Sandy says:

    This seems to contradict a few things from the book, which is correct? For example, the book states that chia seeds are “not as undesirable as wheat, but do take a metabolic toll”, and recommends that they be used only in moderate quantities after grain withdrawal is over. The above list puts chia seeds on the unlimited list. Which is correct?

  4. Dan says:

    Hello Dr. Davis:

    With regards to the consumption of nuts and seeds, should we be concerned about the levels of phytic acid and Omega-3 in the form of alpha-Linolenic acid?

    re: this blog post

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I am skeptical that the phytates of nuts and seeds are a practical concern. The data, to my knowledge, on this issue are skimpy. Likewise, the potential overexposure to the linoleic acid of nuts.

      The alpha-linolenic acid is a great thing for diet. Not as powerful as the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, but nonetheless quite beneficial.

  5. Brenda says:

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I am new to the Wheat Belly and very enthusiastic about cleaning on my house and my body of all wheat products. I am looking forward to the Wheat Belly cookbook but I understand that you have another cookbook. My sister, who used to work for you is looking for her copy and cannot remember what is in it. Is it the same principle as Wheat Belly? If so where can I get a copy if she cannot find hers? By they way she says great things about you and what a privilege it was working for you. Thanks

    • Brenda says:

      Oops that should be cleaning out my house and body

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Well, Brenda, I hope you clean your house with different cleaners than the ones for your body!

      Anyway, there is only one Wheat Belly Cookbook, though the publisher, Rodale, has also released it in a Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight edition, though otherwise identical. (I wonder if your sister had access to a small cookbook that we had printed just for our internal office purposes. But this was not sold to the general public.)

      Please thank your sister!

      • Brenda says:

        Yes and no regarding cleaning out my house. I meant cleaning out food cabinets of all wheat, sugar, starch etc. food….so it will inevitably be the same cleaning. Started yesterday. WOW are my cabinets & refrigerator empty. Guess I will need to go shopping this weekend.


  6. Nancy says:

    Can you explain why you can have unlimited amounts of cheese but only one serving of other dairy (milk, yogurt, etc) a day? Thanks for all you do!

    • Tanya says:

      I think I read somewhere else that milk provokes high insulin due to the lactose, but that the lactose in cheese has been changed so your insulin response isn’t nearly as bad?

      Someone can correct me if I’m wrong?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      It’s an effort to limit the insulinotrophic effect of the whey fraction of protein, least of an issue with cheese.

      Recall that insulin leads to fat deposition and/or stopping fat mobilization/loss. So triggering insulin over and above its already high level in most people is not a good thing. Some people even have to eliminate all dairy in order to lose weight due to this effect.

      • Birgit says:

        How about plain, full-fat yogurt? Isn’t most of the lactose in there eaten by the bacteria?

        • Grace says:

          I have been eating full fat Greek yogurt – it’s yogurt with most of the whey strained out of it. It has a lot more protein in it as well. I’m thinking this is probably a better option than regular yogurt?

  7. Mark says:

    I read the book and I am a week into the diet. Few questions:
    1) are whey protein shakes ok? dont think there is any wheat in them.
    2) are gluten free muffins from starch breaking the diet completely? I still have snack urges at different times (i.e. at night or when my kids have some dessert).
    3) is a little fruit recommended or not? wasnt clear to me if I should be having a little fruit.
    4) is sushi something I can have or is the rice against the rules?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      1) They’re okay, not great. Whey triggers the pancreas to triple its output of insulin, an effect that causes hyperinsulinemia and potentially insulin resistance that can lead to stalled weight loss, weight gain, or diabetes. So just be careful. I now of few reasons to use it with any regularity.

      2) Yes: They are awful! Throw away or feed it to the rats in the basement so they get sick and don’t come back!

      3) Yes, a little fruit. Most people tolerate 15 grams “net” carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per meal.

      4) It’s a bit tough to overdo rice in sushi. I will be addressing this frequent question as part of a series of discussions in coming blog posts.

      • Melissa says:

        Dr. Davis,
        What about egg white protein shakes? I had gastric bypass surgery and I have to have a lot of protein, which is easiest for me to get in the form of shakes, it seems.

        • Dr. Davis says:

          They are okay, Melissa. However, I have a bias towards eating real food.

          More often than not, we discover that there is a hidden wisdom in consuming natural whole foods, such as whole eggs.

          • Melissa says:

            I agree with you, Dr. Davis. I don’t have the stomach capacity anymore to get enough food in. Sad but true. At least now I’ll feel better because of the food choices I’m making. Thank you.

      • Jennifer says:

        I’m confused on your response to the whey protein powder question. Isn’t that one of the ingredients in your book for the Berry Shake?

  8. Mary Anne says:

    Thank you so much for posting this “quick and dirty” list. I took the book out of the library in January, read it in one day, and started immediately. Over the months, I really needed to refer back to it, especially since I haven’t lost more than a few (less than 10) pounds, but there’s always a waiting list to get it from the library. I finally bought the Kindle edition in September, but was really looking for a concise list like this. This I can carry in my purse, and I also now see what I’ve been doing wrong. I have noted total relief from my reflux and have been preaching no wheat to anyone who will listen. I didn’t recall the part about canned vegatables, so that surprised me.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, it’s a bisphenol A (BPA) issue. Sadly, the canning industry has been reluctant/resistant/slow to respond to this concern, despite the developing data that are relating it to multiple adverse effects.

      • Birgit says:

        So I guess that means vegetables and tomato sauce in glass jars are ok?

        • Rebecca says:

          Hey Birgit,
          I am not sure myself about glass tomato sauces but I do know they contain unwanted sugars and starches used to thicken. I have for the last two years since my daughter was born avoided feeding her any canned or jar food including baby food ( which is ridiculiously unhealthy and a bad idea for first steps to eating in my opinion). I have made home made sauce for spegetti and just last night adapted my sauce for the wb diet. I do it in a crock pot and it cooks for two days on high , then low heat, if you like to try your own I use,
          3 cups of filtered water( can be unfiltered)
          4 large tomatoes
          1 half of a large green pepper
          1 avocado, 1 package of mushrooms sliced
          3 tablespoons of almond ground to thicken
          Spices: dill , fresh or powered garlic, green onions( sometimes), pinch of salt and pepper, sometimes lemon if want to really bring out fresh taste

          With spices I mix and match have even made on with chipotle chili pepper for hubby who loves stuff hot.

  9. Jess Lyman says:

    OK. Here I am back again only a few days later with more news. My husband Tom had a colonoscopy and endoscopy this morning 4 weeks before we leave to travel the world for the next 5 or more years. This was the fifth time he had these tests (he’s turning 60 in a few weeks and just retired from 42 years on the railroad), getting progressively worse each time over the past several years; Barrett’s Esophagus, many polyps, irritable bowel disease and on and on.

    Today, 16 months after reading Dr. Davis’s book and committing to a low carb, wheat free, starch free, grain free and sugar free lifestyle, his tests were perfect! All signs of disease are gone! Gone!!! His gastroenterologist was amazed at how healthy everything looks! And, Tom has lost 50 pounds in 14 months without any sense of dieting, deprivation or hunger. Just healthy real food.

    I’m saying it again! Thanks, Dr. Davis! Now, we can go travel the world with peace of mind and a genuine aversion to all the bread, pasta, pastries, corn, chemical laden foods that got us both sick in the first place.

    I just wrote about Dr. Davis in our blog today at http://www.WorldWideWaftage.com telling how two senior citizens once sick and disabled are now able to fulfill a dream of traveling the world for as long as we want, fit, healthy, slim and happy. Grateful, very grateful.

    • Jeanne says:

      Wow! That is truly stunning! CONGRADULATIONS ! By the way…seriously jealous of your upcoming travels… ;-)

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Truly wonderful, Jess! I find that esophageal disease, in particular, highly responsive to wheat elimination. It is the exceptional person who does NOT respond to wheat elimination.

      I’d like to post your comment as a blog post. Thanks for posting! Bon voyage!

  10. BeBe says:

    I’m now reading the book and would love to get started. What do you do if you’re on fast-acting insulin? I recently had a scary hypoglycemic episode and was told I didn’t eat enough carbs during the day, which contributed to my extremely low sugars. How do I manage this with my insulin? My doctor won’t reduce my medication or take me off until there is improvement. Thanks.

    • BeBe says:

      Sorry…posted in the wrong section.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Such are the blundering ways of endocrinologists and primary care docs. If you have low blood sugar, their solution: Make your diabetes worse by consuming more carbs to “support” your use of medication. Can their advice be any more cockamamie?

      I tell my diabetic patients to slash their dose of both rapid-acting and slow-acting/overnight insulin to allow higher blood sugars, e.g., 150 mg/dl, but NEVER allow hypoglycemia to develop. High blood sugars only carry long-term implications, low blood sugars carry acute and dangerous implications. So I’ve done this many times: Eliminate wheat, slash carbs, but slash insulin dose. Typical example: Reduce bedtime Lantus from 30 to 15 units, reduce pre-meal from 10 units regular to 5 units.

      Note that reducing insulin is GOOD because you are becoming less diabetic! Unfortunately, the current level of sophistication among the majority of docs who treat diabetes is something close to kindergarten level.

      In my new cookbook (yes, I know: it’s “just” a cookbook!) has a section on just this issue.

  11. Noel says:

    I was surprised to see Non-Wheat Grains in the unlimited category, as I thought all grains were a no-no.

  12. ryan says:

    Most of the list makes sense, but I don’t understand why sausage and cured meats is a never? The sausage and brats that I eat is just a blend of pork meat, fat and spices…

    • Dr. Davis says:

      This is the uncertainty introduced by largely epidemiologic (and thereby uncertain) observations that cured, processed meats have been associated with colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and heart disease. Just what component of cured meats–sodium nitrite, exogenous glycation/lipoxidation products, etc.–are the potential cause is unclear.

      Until we have clarification on this question, I believe we are best without the curing process.

  13. Cathy says:

    I went wheat free sept 15 – lost 3 lbs in 3 days. Stayed the same till now I’m down another 3 lbs. I’ve lost 30 lbs very very slowly on low carb over 18 months. My husbands loss is even slower and he was diagnosed as borderline hypothyroid so we are taking kelp ( as per dr Davis recommendations on this site) So on reading dr Davis’s comments on how common thyroid problems are I looked up the symtoms of hypothyroid. I was shocked to see low heart rate ( mine is sometimes in the 50′s at the drugstore) and adhesive capsulitis ( I had it in both shoulders – so did my brother – and my mother), I have been anemic ( so is my brother)……….. It goes on and on. My temperature was 96 this am – slightly more yesterday. So I need to see someone. Do you really recommend a naturopath rather than a family doctor or endocrinologist dr Davis? That goes against my better judgement, but the I wouldn’t have suspected i have this condition if it weren’t for your advice. Any tips on hw to choose a good naturopath?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Choosing a doctor remains a process that is still stone age, I fear, Cathy.

      First step: Never see an endocrinologist. They are worthless with only rare exceptions.

      Second: If you have an open-minded primary care person, they might be willing to work with you. I’d say 1 in 10 fits this bill.

      Third: Find a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath. But, except for word of mouth, I don’t know of any way to screen someone for quality. There are online services like Angie’s List that try to do this, but I believe that the ratings are still underdeveloped.

      • Birgit says:

        Here is the webpage for the Institute for Functional Medicine:


        • Cathy says:

          I looked up a local naturopath off that list. The ony prerequisite to get on that list was to attend a four or five day couse. The naturopath had 4 dieticians on staff – nobody else. i eat meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, berries, nuts, and cheese with haf a small apple. What the heck is a dietician going to do for me? Probably tell me to eat whole grains lol. If endocrinologists are useless, dieticians are even more so in my opinion. I think I will get my thyroid tested thru our regular physician paid by canadian govt for free. Or maybe even just hope that the kelp works.

          • JEY says:

            There are two other lists of physicians which may help point you in the right direction, at least none of them would advise eating wheat. Jimmy Moore’s ‘Find a low carb doctor’ and Robb Wolf’s ‘Paleo Physician Network”. Neither list is extensive, but may be a start.

  14. bobbycheetah says:

    Any advice regarding rice noodles? There is a dish at a local Chinese restaurant that serves it, with shrimp/pork/chicen/beef, along with usual Chinese styled veggies (I don’t use soy sauce). Also, what about whole kernel corn? I tend to stay away b/c it is a starchy (sugary) “grain”. Thank you! I’ve lost approx 55 pounds since Sept 2011!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Very nice, Bobby!

      While Chinese food is awfully tasty, it is filled with sugar and sugar-equivalents. Ask any type 1 diabetic and he/she will tell you that they need at least 24 hours to recover from the extravagant blood sugar disaster that comes from eating Americanized Chinese food.

      And I’m with you on the corn: Second as a problem after wheat.

  15. Birgit says:

    Just wanted to make one more comment. I listened to a talk by cardiac surgeon Dr. Donald Miller from the University of Washington that he gave in August of 2011. I thought his talk was a great summary of the history of the lipid hypothesis and low-carb/high-fat alternate hypothesis. I was wondering if you know him and what you thought. Here is the link:


  16. Vicki says:

    Wondering about the Bulletproof Coffee. I bought Coconut oil that says it is mechanically (expeller) pressed naturally refined organic coconut oil. Is that okay? Bought it at Walmart. Don’t have Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but just got a Cotsco. Anyway, I usually drink my coffee with cream. Do you coffee drinkers add coconut oil and butter besides the cream, and does that change the taste? I don’t like eggs at all, so I’m looking for something else for breakfast. I have been having ground beef and then my coffee with almonds or walnuts and sometimes a few strawberries.

    • debbie says:

      i am also wondering about this bulletproof coffee that has been mentioned several times here (which i never heard of before)… what does dr. davis say about this and what is the difference between it and the regular coffee with whole milk that i have been drinking… a response from dr. davis to vicki’s post would interest me… thanks

      • Dr. Davis says:

        Google “bulletproof coffee,” Debbie, and you can read the story.

        This is not really part of the Wheat Belly approach, per se, just something many here like to do. It is benign, however.

    • eema.gray says:

      Bulletproof Coffee is one thing I refuse to consume. I don’t know if there’s a “trick” I haven’t learned yet, or what but I inevitably wind up with a layer of hot fat that absolutely refuses to mix in to the coffee. So I drink my coffee with straight up grass fed cream every day and enjoy the h*ll out of it. :-)

  17. Malcolm says:

    Hello Dr. Davis:

    Your Quick & Dirty regimen says to eliminate oatmeal. I eat oatmeal once or twice a week, and it is a brand guaranteed to have no wheat content. I prepare it with unsweetened almond milk, a few blueberries and a bit of stevia. Is this okay? Or should I actually be more worried about the high glycemic nature of oatmeal and totally eliminate it from my diet?


    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, my concern is the high blood sugars that develop after any form of oats.

      I used to advise people to eat stoneground oatmeal and oat bran. Then we began checking 1-hour after eating blood sugars: frighteningly sky-high values. It became clear that oats, as well as other non-wheat grains, have awful blood sugar implications that are underestimated by measures like glycemic index and load.

  18. Pingback: Journeys and Journals… « Throw Momma From the Grain!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You have an enlightened doctor! That is terrific.

      It sure beats the 3 new prescriptions for diabetes drugs usually handed out, along with the advice from the diabetes “educator” who tells you to eat more “healthy whole grains” at every meal, then blames YOU for the inevitable weight gain and higher blood sugars.

      Please let us know what you experience!

  19. Daren says:

    Dr. Davis — as someone who was Paleo/Primal before Wheat Belly and was here in Week 1, I am so glad to see you and Wheat Belly gaining such widespread acceptance. The simplicity of the message and your great presentation of it are really making a difference. It’s great.

    One question on your food list: you mentioned processed meats were never and I saw in one of the comments above you cited the cancer and disease causing effects of cured meats (and the uncertainty as to why). What do you think of uncured meats, in particular bacon? I am talking about the premium ($7 and up a package) selections in food stores that are nitrate free and stated to be “uncured.”



    • Dr. Davis says:

      Probably okay, Daren.

      This discussion, while it never fails to result in online fistfights, is really not well sorted out, as much of it remains partially speculative, being based on experimental animal observations and epidemiologic data, not hard “placebo”-controlled, prospective data. There are also, of course, in vitro plausability data, such as that relating nitrosamine production from nitrites.

      It remains unclear to me how much the exogenous advanced glycation/lipoxidation issues are with uncured, unprocessed meats.

      So there really is uncertain surrounding this question that I hope becomes clearer in the coming years.

  20. Malcolm says:

    Thank you Dr. Davis for your prompt reply to my question about eating oatmeal. I started eating oatmeal (occasionally) to add some variety to my daily flaxseed regimen. But I will drop the oatmeal and resume with only flaxseed.

    Dr. Jonny Bowden is scheduled to be on the Dr. Oz show on Tuesday (Dec 11), talking about his new book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth,” (co-authored with cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra). I am currently reading this book. Their information on lipids, especially the importance of particle size, conforms to what Dr. Davis says (quite the opposite of a cardiologist I recently met with in Calgary who had no interest in particle size).