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.

Eliminate:
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

Limited:
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

Never:
”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.

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Comments & Feedback...

    • Boundless

      “In a nutshell, fairly recent lab research has revealed that
      10% of coffee is a protein that cross reacts with gluten antibodies.”

      Well, there’s post-modern grammar for you.
      Is that 10% of cultivars, 10% of samples, or 10% by weight of all coffee (beans, presumably)?

      Anyway, those who know themselves to be celiac (and 90% of you don’t), and those with acute non-celiac wheat sensitivity (and there are 5 times more you than celiacs) might want to try going off coffee as an experiment, if there are any health problems that didn’t vanish when the wheat did.

      Reports on health effects of coffee tend to swing between lethal and life extending once a year or so. Wiki even has a page dedicated to “Health_effects_of_coffee”.

      Dr. Davis endorses coffee as a weight-loss aid. See #9 at:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/10/i-lost-the-wheat-but-didnt-lose-weight-2/

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Very interesting!
      The article listed above and another one listed on that site said that if you are gluten sensitive, avoid pre ground coffees and the commercial brands like Folgers and Maxwell House. Opt for beans that you would bring yourself. Additionally, if you have reached a plateau in your health recovery or weight loss, have some unexplained gluten-like symptom, try not to drink any coffee at all for a few days to see if the proteins are cross-reacting and triggering a gluten-like immune response. Premium, organic grades of coffee beans are recommended.

    • > Are blue cheeses allowed, like Danish blue, Gorgonzola, Brie?

      Blue cheese eater here … they are generally completely gluten-free (even on the new FDA 20 ppm rule, which won’t take full effect on GF claims for another year).

      Some artisan cheeses might have residual trace levels of wheat or gluten, and this would be an issue for celiacs and the highly gluten-sensitive.

      Here’s a short summary:
      http://www.glutenfreediet.ca/img/bluecheese.pdf

  1. jhanvi

    hi dr,
    the place that i am staying does not provide me with the sweetners that you have suggested. i wanted to make chocolate since i can no longer eat the store bought ones. what alternative do i have now??? kindly reply soon Dr. Davis

    • > … i wanted to make chocolate since i can no longer eat the store bought ones.

      It’s all about the net carbs. Packaged chocolates that are more than 80% cacao don’t have much sugar, and having one or two squares in a 6-hour period has no material effect on blood sugar. At lower percent cacao, eat less. Keep your total net carb intake at or below 15 grams per meal or 6-hr period.

  2. wendy roberts

    I am truly amazed with this book! All these years and all the things I have tried to loose my WHEAT BELLY and now I finally find the answer. wow oh wow, am I excited!I have studied this book like I had a college exam coming up and I have learned so much .Now I can tell so many of my friends what I have found out and encourage them to get the book too. They are gonna “see the light” lol So many answers to so many questions that I have had for years. THANK YOU DR. DAVIS FOR DOING THE RESEARCH ON THIS AND THEN LETTING THE PUBLIC KNOW THE TRUTH!!!

  3. wendy roberts

    sorry folks,it did go through-just took longer than I expected. I have really enjoyed reading all these comments tonight.first time I have come to the web site and I believe it is gonna help me so much.So many people with stories simiiar to mine.

  4. Allen Paine

    Just wanted to report that I had my first blood test since starting wheat belly back in July, 2012. I just got a note from my company doc…

    ” I just wanted to write as your medical consultant how impressed I was by your recent lab.You said you lost 20 pounds – congratulations. Your hemoglobin A1c was fine not indicating pre-diabetes. And your lipid profile showed more improvement than I’ve ever seen from weight loss, exercise and diet – many find this just genetic and cannot get it down with just these measures, but your’s has really improved.
    Total cholesterol (in U.S. units) down from 264 to 197, LDL or bad cholesterol down from 203 to 138, HDL or good cholesterol from 21 way up to 47. Your triglycerides are normal now. This is great – glad you were so successful!”

    Thanks again Dr. Davis for your hard work and all you are doing to get people on a healthy sustainable lifestyle.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s terrific, Allen!

      I’d like to post your comment as a blog post, as others really need to see results like this. Thanks for posting!

  5. I have noticed such good results, I am starting a website to tell others about my results with gluten free diet. I loved your article and I feel that many more people should learn about the dangers of gluten. :D

  6. Joe

    Did Dr. Davis ever respond to the questions about heating the “good oils?” I have been reading a lot about the benefits of coconut oil on brain health and was happy to see that Dr. Davis includes it among the good oils. Unfortunately, I cannot find coconut oil in liquid form. I have a hard time taking a spoonful each day directly out of the container (the texture would be like eating a spoonful of Crisco out of the container). So I heat a spoonful in the microwave until it is in liquid form. I either eat it that way or I mix it in warm and hot foods (it has a tendency to quickly return to its solid from when I mix in cold dishes, like salads). I would be interested to know if Dr. Davis thinks I am losing the benefit of the coconut oil when I consume it after heating it to liquid form.

    • Kim

      Hi, Joe,
      Warming your coconut oil is ok. In fact, it’s one of the safest oils to heat , even for frying foods. The benefits remain even after heating. I have some in my tea each day. I have heard you can also put some in a smoothie, but only after blending everything together first. Add the oil at the last couple of seconds, so it doesn’t harden. There is a face book page called Coconut Health, which gives you more info. Hope this helped!

  7. Karen

    I love roasted almonds, but you recommend raw almonds, and I’m not particularly crazy about them. What the risk of sticking with roasted almonds versus raw? What upside would I be missing by not eating the raw almonds?

  8. Kristin

    Dr. Davis,

    I am wondering what you think of Kefir. I recently read “The Probiotic Revolution” and incorporated Kefir into my gluten-free diet. I am not sure about it’s effects on blood-sugar but it does have a lot of good probiotics in it to help with digestive irregularity. I am interested on your thoughts about Kefir. Please advise. Thanks!

  9. Andrew

    “Healthy oils (preferably unheated, whenever possible)-olive, flaxseed, coconut, avocado, walnut”

    So, we should consume oils, but not cook with them?
    I bought a cast iron pan to avoid the chemicals in non-stick pans. To use cast iron, it must be coated with oil (I use coconut) that is cooked (basically burned) on. Should I not do this?

    Limited white rice, but never processed rice?

    What is the difference? To me, white rice is, by definition, processed.

    • Kim

      Hi, Andrew,
      Coconut oil is ok to heat. I wouldn’t use olive oil to heat, only for dressing a salad,etc. I’m not sure about the other oils. As for the rice question, I’d like to know that too..

  10. Elizabeth

    Just got back from produce shopping. As we were unpacking the bags, my DH says to me “did you know that seedless grapes are GMO’s?” Well he’s not to be convinced that GMO’s aren’t good for us. My comment back to him was “Then I guess I’ll have to start buying grapes with seeds!” Then he say’s “tomatos are GMO’s as well!!” We’ve had a long-standing controversial commentary re: these. He had been in the agricultural sales for many years b/4 retirement. Yes, Mansanto was involved with the business he was a part of! I’ve gradually been purging our house of all the processed foods. Now I’m going into my 6th week doing Wheat Belly and sooooo glad now that I finally am doing it!! I’m thinking that my fibromyalgia pain isn’t so obvious as it once was. Definately my glucose “pokes” each a.m. are down within normal range. I only weigh once a month so not sure where I am in that…but clothes are fitting looser for sure!! It’s NOT a fad “diet”….it’s a way of life!!!

  11. Jennifer

    I am on day 3 of the wheat belly way and I already feel better. I had abdomnal pain daily and always felt bloated and uncomfortable. I am looking forward to getting the weight off but I am already excited about just feeling better. I just realized that even with a not so good night sleep I didn’t have the 2pm slumps….huh!! Another bonus I guess!! I have the wheat belly cookbook as I figured it combined the info and the recipes and I love it!! I am having trouble finding chickpea flour so I haven’t been able try the baked goods yet…..and after today I am really in a carb mood!!! Having a nice cup if tea instead. I noticed the questions about rice and I am waiting to hear the answers as well. I am used to having a smoothie in the morning so I guess that uses up my fruit, yogurt and milk quota all in one swoop. Anyone try making a fruit crisp (like apple crisp) with almond flour and maybe coconut flour? I am thinking it might be good. I am trying to get my daughter wheat free as well but her school is totally nut free so I am having some trouble with her lunches……anyone have any ideas on that?? Thanks!!

  12. Sal Allegra

    Hi Dr. Davis, 2 Questions.
    Mayonnaise is made with Soybean oil and it’s the main ingredient, but you say we can have unlimited Mayonnaise, I thought Soybean oil was off limits. Eat mayo or no?

    2. I just bought some tuna in olive oil, but it also has canola oil, is this type of canola oil bad, or only cooked canola oil?

    -Thanks.

    • > Mayonnaise is made with Soybean oil …

      It doesn’t have to be. The Mayo recipe in the new 30 Minute Cookbook uses olive oil.

      > … I thought Soybean oil was off limits.

      It is, as is soy generally, except for fermented, and then in limited quantities (such as GF soy sauce).

      > I just bought some tuna in olive oil, but it also has canola oil,
      > is this type of canola oil bad, or only cooked canola oil?

      Canola (aka intensely processed mutated rapeseed) oil is a full member of the PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) gang of adverse omega 6 seed oils. Consume zero of it.

      Select wild-caught tuna packed in water, or in a healthy oil like olive.

  13. Bill in Charleston

    Dr. Davis – I am one of your biggest fans and am preaching your book to co-workers and strangers alike :-)
    ! I’m 57 year old male am 5’7″, was nearly 168lbs in July of 2012…gaining a pound a week – all in my protruding belly…been taking Tricor for years since I had Triglycerides will in excess of 200, lousy Bad and
    Good cholesterol numbers and just plain felt awful…Went totally wheat and starch free in July 2012 m- cold turkey (just like when I quit smoking – no ill effects at all so I guess I was lucky in that respect…dropped 20 pounds in less than two months, dropped another 10 after that (all around the winter Holidays to boot) and am today, in March of 2013 maintaining my weight at around 135…dropped from an uncomfortably snug 34″ waist to a free and easy 30″ today – and I feel wonderful. We had a charity donut eating contest last week (I live in the South and Krispy Kremes are the the ultimate in donut technology)…in the past I could have knocked out a dozen without breaking a sweat – today, I had them virtually surrounding me and I was just fine – my sugar addiction is behind me and it’s all thanks to you and the program…I have several folks starting to read your book and they too are finding out the issues with wheat and weight. so thank you thank you thank you. I am quite convinced that your book and your research added years to my life. BTW – I tend to buy raw nuts in bulk and roast them myself – sometimes with a light coating of sesame oil – is that OK?

    • > I tend to buy raw nuts in bulk and roast them myself – sometimes with
      > a light coating of sesame oil – is that OK?

      Sesame oil is high in omega 6 and contains no omega 3. That’s inadvisable.

      I’d use one of the WB recommended oils, such as coconut or olive, and mind the maximum temp.

    • Boundless

      > Ok, So Oats, Rice and Potatoes are bad too right?

      Pretty much. It’s a matter of minding the net carbs per total meal (15 grams or less). Net being total carbs minus fiber carbs.

      Oats requires particular caution as they may be the most aggressively glycemic of the non-gluten grains. Rices vary, and limited amounts of low net carb varieties might be OK (sushi rice is straight off – it even has added sugar). Potato is strictly a carb count exercise for me.

  14. Karen

    Dr. Davis – I’m trying to integrate coconut milk and coconut water into my new and improved eating. The coconut appears to give me diarrhea. Is this just an adjustment issue or is this a sign that I should avoid coconut? Thanks,

    • Dr. Davis

      If it just happens with a single brand, then it’s likely unique to something in that brand. But if you have it with other coconut products or brands, then it sounds like something you should avoid.

  15. Jane Ferndean

    Dr. Davis, please consider my experience:
    I am a 47 year-old woman who has dealt with eating disorders (past diet pill addiction and bullimia, and current compulsive eating and binge-eating disorder) off and on for the past thirty-three years. I am a consistent exerciser (walking, running, biking, and yoga) and, on the average, exercise an hour a day five or six days a week. I am 5’5″ and 135 pounds (down from a high of 145) and owe my relatively low weight to exercise and some very good eating habits (including eaing mostly whole-grain and sprouted-wheat breads). However, no matter what approach I have tried, it has been very hard for me to 1) eliminate the current bingeing and compulsive eating and 2) lose weight and achieve my pre-pregnancy weight of 125 pounds.
    Over the years I have seen three different therapists who, while being lovely listeners, have provided really no helpful advice and have always sought to examine the emotional and psychological roots of my issues. I grew more and more frustrated.
    In addition to meeting with eating disorder therapists, I have read a gazillion books on health, nutrition, and eating disorders. Finally, almost four months ago, I did something that no therapist had ever recommended: I decided to determine if certain foods were driving my overeating. I began with eliminating sugar. Afer a couple of baking sessions making agave-sweetened brownies and banana bread (whole wheat, of course), I discovered that agave, too, gave me a high blood-sugar “buzz” that compelled me to overeat, so I decided to eliminate all sweeteners, including agave, honey, and stevia. That was a good first step.
    I also eliminated all dairy to se if that would help an ongoing sinus problem, which it did! Sniffles, begone! Plus, tissue is no longer something I need to use non-stop. I have added a serving of kefir to my diet every couple of days, and my body and sinuses seem to handle that amount just fine. Also, I use a little butter here and there in cooking.
    With the eliminaion of sugar and most dairy, my overeating compulsions lessened but did not go away.
    So, a month ago, I eliminated all flour, as recommended by the Food Addicts Anonymous website. And, spurred on by a dear friend who is a believer in your Wheat Belly book, I eliminated wheat.
    I have had great success, I am happy to say. Since eliminating sugar, flour, and wheat, I have lost 5 pounds while still eating satisfying portions. Most important, however, is that my compulsion to overeat has remarkably decreased.
    I have created my “program” on my own, based on what makes sense to me and what has worked for me. I am mid-way through Wheat Belly and just read your summary guidelines regarding what to eat, not to eat, etc.
    Next, I will follow your guidelines regarding removing oatmeal and limiting fruit, legumes, beans, and brown rice. I always have to eliminate foods in stages, however, as too many resrictions at once seem to trigger a return to overeating.
    One question for you, Dr. Davis, do I need to be concerned about creating any nutritional defficiencies by eliminating wheat, oats, and barley? Which grains do you recommend, if any?
    I am really doing my very best to take good care of myself and improve my health and eating habits, so I appreciate your interesting book, website, and any additional input you can offer me. Thank you for your fine work.
    P.S. I live two suburbs away from you and hope for the opportunity to see you at one of your future speaking engagements in the area.

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s great, Jane! And brilliant deductive reasoning on your part.

      No, provided you replace the lost calories of grains with healthy foods, such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, olives, meats, poultry, fish, etc. there is NO deficiency that develops. This is a fiction that is widely propagated by the grain and processed food industry. Note that many deficiencies develop BECAUSE of grains, likely because of impaired intestinal absorption/disruption of bowel function. Even in the fossil record, we know that iron deficiency became much more common once grains became incorporated into the diet.

  16. Roger James

    Hi, I’d just like to ask if there is a hierarchy of vegetables in Wheat Belly, as in which ones we should eat more frequently than others, or are they all more or less equal?
    Thanks!

    • Dr. Davis

      Humans evolved eating dozens of varieties of edible parts of plants. We should do the same!

      So, no, Roger: no hierarchy, just eat lots in a wide variety!

    • Amanda Drone

      Yes, as has been said, eat all kinds of vegetables, the more colors the better.
      However, if you’re watching carbs, try limiting the higher-carb veggies like carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes and instead focus on green leafy (cruciferous) vegetables.

      Regards,
      Amanda

  17. Lyn Richards

    Dr. Davis,

    My 90 year old father-in-law told my husband and I about the Wheat Belly book information he received from his daily card playing buddies of which one was a retired MD. So I read your book and started applying concepts-recipes to our life-style. I got rid of all wheat products in my pantry, threw out bread, pasta, etc. It took my husband about 4 months later before he read the book. Once he read it, he really got on board the life style. That was March 1, 2012 when we started. We both dropped 15 lbs. within the 1st two months and have maintained those weights. I have discovered and invented many recipes that are easy and we find very delicious. I am in the process of putting a cook book together that is friendly to those who don’t have a lot of time or not so much into “cooking”. 13 months later and much healthier!! Thanks.

  18. Amy

    I feel so stupid. I didn’t realize I can’t have brown rice cakes. So no brown rice products at all?

  19. Jay

    Are there any store bought salad dressings or vegetable dips that are wheat free? I am finding that type of think a little confusing. As well as store bought seasoning, like Cajun, BBQ, or mesquite flavor?v

    • Boundless

      > Are there any store bought salad dressings or vegetable dips that are wheat free?

      Sure, but just try to find any of those that are also sugar-free, GMO-free, soy-free and don’t use unwise oils. Some exist, but are stupidly fat-free as well. Nobody gets it, yet.

      > I am finding that type of think a little confusing.

      Make your own. There are more recipes hits than product hits in search.

      > As well as store bought seasoning, like Cajun, BBQ, or mesquite flavor?

      http://www.natureshollow.com makes a BBQ sauce that I think I’ll try. The ketchup too.

  20. Carol

    Hi ,
    I tried wheat belly for about 6 weeks but fell off the gluten free wagon at thanksgiving:(. I have been recently diagnosed with colitis….eggs, nuts and salad cause awful problems and bleeding immediately return? Can I still follow your diet and do you have any suggestions? I am hungry and can’t find a satisfying breakfast? Thanks!

  21. Farha Syed

    Hello Dr. Davis

    I know you said no grains. My question is, is Quinoa alright to have for breakfast. I was having it. What is your advice. I’ve read about it and it is a seed and not a grain per se. Its referred to it as a grain but is not a grain.

    I would like a bit of clarification on this.
    Although my Almond meal and ground flax seed muffins are great. I put in dried cranberries and apples. or berries. I’ve converted one of my friends to going wheat free. She and I both have a thyroid problem.
    Mine is since birth, my thyroid gland doesn’t work. I have to take Synthroid daily. 200mcg
    She has had a surgery to remove it because there was some problem.

  22. Farha Syed

    Hello Dr. Davis

    I stumbled upon this website – http://www.grain-free-gluten-free.com/

    Here they mention coconut, almond meals, and Amaranth flours. Quinoa, and buckwheat.
    could you take a look and tell us all whether they are approved by you to be incorporated with the wheat free diets.

    Thanx Much
    Farha Syed

  23. cathy

    Dr. Davis,
    I just finished the book and have been wheat free for 2 weeks. After 1 week I lost 4 pounds, but this week I have gained 1.5 pounds. I think I must be doing something wrong. Here are my questions: 1. Can I use regular mayo? 2. Can I still eat popcorn and corn tortillas? 3. Can I use regular salad dressing?

    Thanks for your help!!!

    I am not a fan of cooking, so I am trying to go easy!

      • Boundless

        Popcorn and corn chips: avoid. Apart from the GMO and oils issues, it takes very little corn to bust the 15 grams net carbs per 6 hour period rule – like 6 chips.

        Rice and potatoes: purely a net carb issue. Rices vary, but even with the less glycemic rices (wild brown), a healthy portion size ends up being pretty small.

        “Regular” salad dressings are commonly loaded with unhealthy oils (often soy, probably GMO), extra sugars and sometimes even wheat. Make your own until you can find something safe on a store shelf.

          • Boundless

            I’m not the family cook, alas. If I were on my own, I’d start with olive oil and vinegar, and seasonings.

          • CJ Glennan

            Cathy,
            I make dressing all the time (my husband has salad every day for lunch). My “go to” is Olive oil, cider vinegar (2/1 parts oil to vinegar) & spices of choice. We are garlic lovers so I always add fresh garlic (or garlic powder on the rare occasion that we are out of fresh). I usually make this in a 23 oz. empty Franks Hot Sauce bottle – (we also use a lot of hot sauce!) and leave it out on the counter with no issues. I also make a dressing for my Lomi Lomi Kale salad with: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Fresh lime juice, fresh garlic, pinch of salt & a kiss (less than 1/8 t) of honey (can be omitted). I eyeball amounts & adjust for taste but I would guess: 1.5-2 T olive oil, 2 t balsamic vinegar, 1 T lime, 2 cloves garlic smashed (I let this sit in dressing for a few minutes then strain before pouring over salad). Vinaigrettes are simple, quick and have endless variation (different acids: vinegars, citrus, wine & herbs/spices).
            CJ

  24. Elisa

    Hi, Dr. Davis! I have a question regarding fruits. So I’m a female high school wrestler, and lead a very active lifestyle. My exercise regime includes running 5 miles a day, lifting weights, doing sprints, and hard drilling/live wrestling 3.5 hours a day/5-6 days a week. I need lots of energy to preform at my best, and i feel like limiting my fruit intake to only 2 servings will not be sufficient enough. What is your opinion about this?

    Btw- your book really applies to me, because although I exercise vigorously, I still need to lose that extra 10 pounds to wrestle at my best.

    Also, is string cheese bad?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, high levels of activity do allow greater carbohydrate/fruit intake. However, just keep in mind that most athletes are wildly overreliant on carbs and take in far more than they need.

      No, the string cheese is reasonable, as it is a fermented product.

      • Elisa

        For the amount of exercise I do, what would be the perfect amount of fruit intake? Is there a ratio between the amount of fruit i have to the quality of exercise?

          • Elisa

            The thing on fruit does not explain the exercise though. I’m in a desperate weight-cutting situation so I need to know this :(. I have to lose 10 pounds! I always crave fruit all the time, but I need to eat a limited amount, but i don’t know what’s too little and what’s too much, considering my new training routine and the amount i exercise.

          • James

            Hi Elisa,

            Get yourself these two books:

            1- The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance
            2- The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

            by Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney.

            The 1st book is highly relevant to you, and you can read (toward the end of the book) reports / testimonies from elite athletes having gone full blown ketogenic for better performance and minimal dependence on food reloading, etc. A must for all athletes that would like to stop their dependence on carbs, avoid bonking, etc.

            A thing I remember from this book: 100g of berries (straw-rasp-blue-) amount to ~10g of carbs, so you can have those daily.

  25. Jessica

    Dr. Davis, I really hope you read my post, because I’m in need of some major kick a$$ guidance

    Let me just say… I loved reading your book. Full of wonderful chapters and totally easy enough for me to read and follow everything. So, thank you.

    My only problem right now is that I’ve been on Wheat/Sugar free ( and everything else listed in your book) since January, but I haven’t lost any weight. I’m 5’5” 164lbs. Someone told me to avoid cheese all together, but I wanted to ask you. Then I found this site thru a wonderful Low Carb Forum I follow and bam! you are answering comments! how exciting. I first started off with Atkins and had no success, then I got a food tracker and went low carb (max 30carbs) and ate around 1500 a day. Ratios were 65%fat 25-30% protein 5% carbs and no weight loss. I’m not sure where to go from here. I only have about 3 oz of cheese, 1/4 cup of cream only 2 times a week (in food I make or in tea), I’ll make almond flour mufffins sometimes, I’m just not really sure what I should do from here. I don’t have thyroid issues, I don’t take meds, I’m a healthy, active, and young girl. I just need to loose 20 lbs.

    what do you recommend at this point??
    thank you

  26. Nads

    Hi
    I don’t see the point of reading how bad wheat is (I believe you) if it then turns into the same low carb diet that I already believe in. Are there any studies that show just giving up wheat does anything? Are there people who have only given up wheat and then lost a lot of weight? How can somebody say it’s due to giving up wheat if you then change MANY variables???
    Sorry, I have to remain very skeptical, and feel it’s just a gimmick to sell a book that seems different from other low carb books.
    Nadine

    • Chris Johnson

      Hi Nadine.

      I am no scientist but have dropped wheat. I’ve never done any dieting having been super skinny most of my life weight gain used to be something I could only dream of.
      Now I’m over fifty and have a belly, I was a vegetarian for quite a few years but just tried to eat healthy but not really focus on what I was eating.
      I somehow developed a sweet tooth/sugar addiction.

      Simply stopping wheat has somehow really curbed my sugar appetite.

      I’ve only just started doing this for a 3 weeks and now looking into eliminating the other foods mentioned in this blog, so while this answer is hardly scientific, my sugar food cravings have almost disappeared.

    • Boundless

      > I don’t see the point of reading how bad wheat is (I believe you) if it
      > then turns into the same low carb diet that I already believe in.

      If you were already on a low carb diet, you wouldn’t be eating much wheat. But if you are in the 6% that are acutely wheat-sensitive, any wheat at all is a huge problem. For everyone else, any wheat at all makes it difficult to remain low-carb, and adds low level chronic effects. Basically, you need to know that modern semi-dwarf hybrid “wheat” is a multiple threat stealth toxin, and not human food. Heirloom wheats (if they really are) aren’t much healthier.

      > Are there any studies that show just giving up wheat does anything?

      The original book has cites on that, such as regarding schizophrenics. I doubt the trials controlled for carb intake other than wheat.

      > Are there people who have only given up wheat and then lost a lot of weight?

      Yep. We see the anecdotes here, and encourage them to also go low carb, low fructose, etc.

      > How can somebody say it’s due to giving up wheat if you then change MANY variables???

      Because giving up just the wheat is where most people start. The results can be isolated. But it doesn’t really matter. Tyr it for a month. See what happens. Switching to low-carb grain-free paleo just works, and there’s no need challenge each component individually.

      > Sorry, I have to remain very skeptical, …

      What you need to be skeptical about is what the USDA and medical societies are telling you to eat.

      > … and feel it’s just a gimmick to sell a book that seems different from other low carb books.

      Don’t confuse Wheat Belly for a diet book. It’s a scientific horror story, with recipes. It was originally just going to be a heavily footnoted expose of wheat, and would have languished in obscurity in the non-fiction shelves. The publisher insisted on giving the readers some advice on what to eat instead, the book ended up in the diet shelves, and the rest is history.

      Understand how this book came about (as I see it). A cardiac doc was looking for a way to prevent, control and if possible reverse heart disease, with diet. He hit on an approach that not only did that, it resulted in thousands of patients sailing in to the office and reporting relief from an astonishing spectrum of ailments. A book was the obvious thing to do, and promoting the message is saving more lives than conventional cardiac interventions.

      And you can do it without even buying a book. The basics are on this blog (if not well organized). The new cookbook just makes it easier.

  27. Johnny

    Hallo, Dr. Davis,

    I have just started a wheat-free diet, hoping it will finally help my refractory psoriasis. I have bought “Wheat Belly” and am waiting for your recipe book to arrive. Reading the book I learnt we should eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, chickpea consumption but in this blog post houmous is listed under the foods we can consume without restrictions. I’m a bit confused now. Thank you in advance for clarifying.

    • Dr. Davis

      Chickpea as flour and chickpea as hummus are, quite simply, used differently and digested differently.

      The flour form with its exponential increase in surface area for digestion needs to be consumed in small quantities. The hummus form eaten as a condiment tends to not lend itself easily to overconsumption.

  28. Johnny

    Oh, l could easily overeat houmous! I won’t, though, but it’s good to know l don’t have to completely give it up. Thank you for explaining.

    • Boundless

      > How do you lose weight on this type of diet?

      The question is ambiguous.

      If you are asking: What steps to I take to lose weight?
      The answer is go very low carb (under 50 net grams/day), and make sure none of the carbs are from gluten-bearing grains (chiefly wheat), plus other advice on specific foods. If you just want to dive in, start with the WB Cookbook.

      If you are asking: What is the weight loss mechanism?

      What Dr. Davis says in the original book is: “I suspect it is a combination of halting the glucose-insulin-fat-deposition cycle and the natural reduction in calorie intake that results.”

      In addition to that, at and below 50 net grams carb per day, my thinking is that your body is going to switch from glycemic to ketogenic metabolism for at least part of the time, probably during sleep. In nutritional ketosis, your cells stop running on glucose (because you haven’t enough carbs to supply that process) and start running on ketone bodies (which are metabolized from fat).

      > Red meats, butter, coconut oil?

      Reverse that priority order and you’re close.

  29. William Etheridge

    Dr. Davis,
    Sorry but I am a bit confused. In your book Track Your Plaque, you mention that oat bran is good for folks like me with heart disease, but in your Wheat Belly book, you say to get rid of oat bran/oat meal. Very interested in hearing from you and if I should continue with the oat bran. Usually have your recommended portikon of 1/3 cup a few times a week. I have no allergies to wheat, nor overweight, but did have a heart attack and quadruple bypass in 2010. Thank you.

    • Boundless

      > … if I should continue with the oat bran …

      I don’t know if you’ve had an off-blog response from Dr. Davis on this, but TYP is a 2004 book. WB is a 2011 book, and the 2102 WB Cookbook also warns off oats. I’d go with the 2011 and 2013 advice. Oats, in any form, spike blood sugar. They are the #1 non-gluten grain to avoid.

      I haven’t read the TYP book, so I don’t know what sort of macronutrient profile it advocates. If it differs from WB, I’d go with WB.

      There is, of course, a separate web site for the TYP program, but it requires a subscription.

  30. Jennifer Kondrat

    I am a little confused by the breakdown of foods that are encouraged and those that are “limited”.
    If hummus is considered to be a food that can be eaten in unlimited quantities, why are beans and legumes in the limited section? Peanuts are legumes, and are also in the unlimited section.
    Cheese is also considered to be a food group that can be eaten in unlimited quantities, yet, dairy is listed as a food that should be eaten in limited quantities.
    I realize some foods inpact peoples’ blood sugar differently, but dairy/cheese is the same, surely?
    Thanks!

    • Boundless

      > If hummus is considered to be a food that can be eaten in unlimited
      > quantities, why are beans and legumes in the limited section?

      Dr. Davis, based on a response of his to this question elsewhere, had condiment quantities in mind for the hummus. For the legumes generally, it’s primarily a matter of carb load. 15 net grams total per meal.

      > Cheese is also considered to be a food group that can be eaten in
      > unlimited quantities, yet, dairy is listed as a food that should be eaten in limited quantities.

      Fermented dairy (e.g. cheese) is unlimited for those not otherwise intolerant to dairy (or not having weight loss stalls due to same).

  31. fudgecake

    Yes, I feel the term “unlimited” needs some qualification. There are people coming into this diet buying huge jars of nuts from Costco and sitting in their recliner and eating them till there’s nothing left and their stomach’s bursting. When I first started 12 weeks ago I bought a big tub of hummus, a chunk of cheese, a container of walnuts and gorged on it all. It took me a day or two to calm down.

    “Unlimited,” if I understand it correctly, means no limit is given. For example, the reader is not advised to eat 4 ounces of chicken or whatever. But at the same time “unlimited” does not mean, “Eat until you are in pain and have to unbutton your pants.” Perhaps “unlimited” means, “No limits on the amount of a food are given, however please find your personal limit. For example, eat a meal until you feel three-quarters full.”

    I don’t know the best definition of unlimited in the context of the wheat belly diet, but it’s something that needs work, in my opinion.

    • James

      I actually agree with fudgecake’s comment. “Unlimited” literally means “no limits”. Instead I would rather say:

      “can have one typical serving a day without health concern” or something like that.

      J.

  32. Marty Allen

    Are there any protein powders or shakes on the market that are acceptable as a quick meal or between meal supplement? I have found some that are low carb, gluten free and sugar free (stevia or xylitol sweetened). If so, is egg protein ok or is veggie protein better? What about whey? Can someone “whey” in on this? :)

    Thanks!

    • James

      Whey protein: if you are not comfortable with the insulin rush it produces, I would avoid whey protein.

      Egg protein are good but a few people are sensitive to it. Some even develop this sensitivity by eating more and more egg whites. So be easy if you are concerned you can develop such sensitivity.

      Plant protein are OK but animal protein is usually the best (from what I read).

    • I’ve been using Nutiva brand Hemp powder, which is high in protein (I also think that their coconut oil is the absolute best! I buy the stuff by the gallon).

      I read somewhere that whey protein isn’t that good for us; however, Maria Emmerich (who is sometimes mentioned in this blog, and whose book about a Healthy Metabolism includes a forward by Dr. Davis) likes it. Here’s one of her blog posts about whey – maybe this will help: http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/search?q=whey+powder – in her post, she gives some advice about how to choose it.
      Hope that helps a little…

      • Neicee

        Kathy, don’t know a thing about whey but totally agree with how good Nutiva coconut oil is. I’ve been finding it in Costco in larger jars than I was able to find on Amazon for convenient sized containers. Tried several different brands and none tasted as good for cooking your eggs, stir-fries, or injesting orally.

  33. Erin

    I think you need to use some common sense. Unlimited means no limits, but its just like you said, you ate all of that and in two days, you calmed down. People take everything to extremes and no matter what is written, people will. This is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. You need to use this as a guideline and then find what fits in with your body the best.

    If you need to reword what was written then do it! Just use common sense. Wheatbelly is a guide, not a hand-holding session.

  34. mike smith

    Wondering about “Blue Corn Flour”. I am looking at a Black Bean Burger Recipe and it contains some Blue Corn Chips and Crutons. I was going to substitute Ground flax seed insted of Crutons but wanted to keep the chips in.

    • Boundless

      > … Blue Corn Chips …

      Even if the chips are non-GMO, baked and organic, the real problem is the high net carbs in corn and corn products. A mere six (6) chips is usually your entire meal’s allotment of 15 grams net carbs.

  35. Frank

    Dr. Davis,

    Your thoughts please on NON-cured bacon, which I’ve seen at Whole Foods. However, I think even those had some sugar.

    Thanks!

    • Lisa Yocum

      I eat oatmeal almost every morning. Is it the total net carbs that prohibit oatmeal?

  36. Jack

    Fresh vegetable and fruit juicing. What are your thoughts on “Juicing”. Juicing can supply important nutrients in a very bio-available form. However. some vegetables (carrots, beets) and many fruits are very high in sugar. Would this result in an overload of sugar?

    • Boundless

      > … and many fruits are very high in sugar.

      Not just. Many are very high in fructose, which can easily be free fructose. See:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/11/goodbye-fructose/

      Humans are apparently well adapted to fructose, in the ancestral mode of seasonal access to fruit, as a way to put on excess weight for winter (when periods of involuntary fasting would burn it off in ketosis). That might be OK for a 40-year lifespan in a food-deprived environment, but it does not work to your benefit, at all, when food and fruit are available 365 (and we won’t even talk about HFCS in snacks).

      So mind the net carbs from fruits, and choose fruits low in fructose.

    • Dr. Davis

      Indeed it can, Jack. This is the most common problem with juicing.

      It means juicing veggies with as little fruit as possible to make it palatable, preferably berries.

  37. Evan

    Hello!

    btw, thanks for all the information, I believe I am now on track to having a much healthier diet. I have just started one week ago, but I am learning all the time. I was eating organic rice cakes (100 %brown rice only) all week as a substitute for bread, but I know now to steer clear.

    There was no mention of salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers etc, or do these come under the vegetable banner in the US?

    Shall we leave organic cold pressed honey and dates out of our diet? (i.e do they cause big sugar spikes?)

    are grains such as quinoa OK? they are natural, gluten free and considered very healthy – OR are these ‘healthy’ in the same way wheat grains are purported to be?

    I consider myself to be approximately 28 – 40 ILbs overweight, so I will let you know the results in 2 months…I am now an ex bread junkie!! ( i mean it, i could suck down a whole ciabatta no problem)

    cheers :)

    • > There was no mention of salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers etc,
      > or do these come under the vegetable banner in the US?

      Non-starchy vegetables are typically not a problem. If any question, check the net carb content on any site that serves that, such as nutritiondata.self.com.

      > Shall we leave organic cold pressed honey and dates out
      > of our diet? (i.e do they cause big sugar spikes?)

      Dates are typically considered limited, and vary considerably in sugar content. They are in some recipes.

      Honey is a convoluted horror story. See topic “Honey” at:
      http://wheatfreeforum.com/index.php/topic,895.0.html

      > are grains such as quinoa OK?

      Very limited, and actually in one recipe in the original book. Too high glycemic for more than condiment use. It’s all about the net carbs.

  38. Patricia White

    We love your cookbook, which we use everyday! Can we use mung bean noodles ( Green bean threads) as a healthy alternative to shirataki mushrooms in place of pasta? Thank you. P.W.

    • Dr. Davis

      Thanks, Patricia!

      The mung bean, if you can find it, is a reasonable substitute.

  39. Dot

    I found cinese noodles @Costco, made with peas, green beans, & water. Can’t find them in wb book. Are these ok?

    • Barbara

      Good morning Dot,

      You have to look at the carbohydrate profile on the back of the package. I made the mistake of buying mung bean threads, aka green bean noodle, glass noodle, cellophane noodle and many, many other names. When I actually read the nutritional profile, it was 50 grams of carbs per portion….more enough carbs for an entire day! Most of the Oriental bean and rice noodles have similar carb profiles. Blood sugar nightmares!

      The only WB acceptable noodle is the shiritaki noodle made from konjac root. These can be found in your grocer’s refrigerated compartment near tofu items. Miracle noodle is a brand you can buy on the internet. I find that after rinsing, the store bought noodles taste best and less chewy when stir fried before adding them to your dish. Net carbs are 1 or 0 depending on the brand.

  40. Jake Pulver

    Dr. Davis,

    You say that mayonnaise is fine in unlimited quantities. However, most (if not all) mayonnaises on the shelves of stores have soybean and/or canola oil in them. Is the intake of omega-6 to omega-3 in these mayonnaises something to be concerned about? Or can people still have mayonnaise if it’s the only thing that they consume with such oils?

    Also, what is your stance on anything with soy lechitin? What exactly does soy lechitin do to your body?

  41. gloria freels

    Can you drink diet soda and crystal light. Can you have a rum and diet coke every once in a while?

    • Dr. Davis

      I think you could make some better choices, Gloria, given the common use of aspartame in those products. This is off topic for our conversations here, but nonetheless important for overall health. Not to mention that carbonation is also not the best idea, as it erodes bone health (via acidification).

  42. Janet

    Eliminating a whole food group from ones diet will surely deprive the dieter of some vitamins and minerals. What do you suggest to replace these?

    • Michelle

      A whole food group is not being eliminated – “wheat” is not a food group, but a specific food that causes all kinds of problems! All the nutrients and fiber found in wheat can be found in other foods.

      • Dr. Davis

        Hooray! You took two Big Steps towards a better understanding of nutrition, Michelle!

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Janice,

      Why don’t you read the book or spend some time reading this blog for your answer.
      This is discussed endlessly though out both.