Celiac is not a disease

Celiac is not a disease. Lest you think I’ve gone off my rocker, let me explain.

Say that, of 100 people you know who smoke, only 1 gets lung cancer. Do we declare that the only person who has problems with cigarettes is the poor unfortunate guy or girl with the one lung cancer? Shall we ignore the 60 cases of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, the 10 abdominal aortic aneurysms, the 5 thoracic aortic and iliofemoral aneurysms, the oral, tongue, and laryngeal cancers, and the several dozen other conditions that typically develop in smokers–but not as imminently fatal as lung cancer?

In other words, do we dismiss all these conditions that fall outside of lung cancer just because . . . they’re not lung cancer?

Of course not:All the conditions caused by smoking are important, even potentially debilitating, crippling, or fatal, even if they don’t “qualify” as lung cancer.

Then why do we do this with celiac disease? Modern wheat and its various components (alpha gliadins, omega gliadins, glutens, glutenins, amylopectin A, wheat germ agglutinin, alpha amylase inhibitors, and others) trigger an entire range of health conditions. Readers of the Wheat Belly message understand that consumption of any food made with modern wheat can cause:

–Accumumulation of inflammatory visceral fat (a “wheat belly”)
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes
Gastrointestinal disruption–acid reflux/heart burn, esophagitis, esophageal stricture, bowel urgency/irritable bowel syndrome, worsening of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease)
Neurological impairment–from mind “fog” and behavior outbursts in children with autistic spectrum disorder and ADHD, to paranoia and hallucations in schizophrenia, to food obsessions in those prone to bulimia and binge eating disorder, to triggering of mania in bipolar illness, to depression in the depression-prone. Also add cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, and dementia to the list (“gluten encephalopathy”).
Joint pain and arthritis–Including both “wear-and-tear” osteoarthritis as well as inflammatory forms like rheumatoid.
Autoimmune diseases–The peculiar potential for the gliadin protein of wheat to “unlock” the normal intestinal barriers, allowing foreign antigens access into the bloodstream, is the first step in autoimmunity, the immune system’s misguided effort to eliminate the “intruder,” such as your thyroid gland, colon, small intestine, synovial lining of your joints, skin, thymus, liver, pancreas, even brain.
Skin disorders–Skin rashes and damage from wheat are as varied as they are ubiquitous. There is hardly a skin condition that is not caused by wheat. (Not to say that all skin conditions are caused by wheat–they are not, but that, of all the myriad skin conditions experienced by humans, virtually all have been associated with wheat consumption.) This ranges from the level of nuisance, such as acne, to the level of life-threatening, such as leg gangrene.

There’s plenty more, from cataracts, to calciuria, to porotic hyperostosis (disfigurement of the skull from iron deficiency). Shall we ignore all the other conditions attributable to wheat consumption just because they are not celiac disease? Do we regard the one smoker with lung cancer as the only one with disease–and the rest don’t count?

Okay, I think you can begin to appreciate the absurdity of labeling celiac a “disease”: The disease ain’t celiac; the disease is wheat.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Yes, great post. Celiac is one aspect of wheat poisoning, just like lung cancer is one aspect of tobacco poisoning.

    Folks seem to be overly-enamored with a diagnosis that was originally made with imperfect information. Time to fix the diagnosis.

  2. Boundless

    I suspect there are a lot of named conditions that aren’t really diseases.

    I would probably list Type II Diabetes above Celiac, as people who know they are without the genetic marker think they are immune to celiac, but know they are at risk for diabetes (and probably feel doomed to acquire it, if on the official diets).
    The disease ain’t diabetes: it’s a normal reaction to excess carbs.

  3. Karen

    Bravo, I was just at my GP for a phyical and I was so excited to tell him I was doing the Wheat Belly, food change and how well I feel and that I am down 81/2 lbs in 24 days. He replied he has heard about it, and great if it is working for me ,keep going. I asked him if he wanted to read the book as I happen to have it with me LOL, He replied he was to busy to read It. I then asked him if I could get my cholestral checked and he said you had it done 2 yrs ago and it was fine, no need to do it again, He did no breast exam no bloodwork at all ordered, just blood pressure and pap test, and said see you in 2 yrs. Should I be looking for a new Doctor, I was very let down as we are only allowed a physical every 2 yrs if nothing serious crops up in that time, so I just felt that possibly there should have been some bloodwork ordered ,I am a 52 yr old woman, who has had a slightly high blood pressure for over 2 yrs according to doctors at clinic I would go to after hours for colds and even my own GP has said it is elevated but never said lose some weight , exercise stop smoking, It has been elevated for 2 1/2 yrs and Mon. when I went in for my phyical it was normal, I believe because of the wheat less diet of Wheat Belly, He didn’t even bring my blood pressure up

    • Grace

      I know your question is directed at the doctor – I just wanted to add my thoughts. I have a similar-ish doctor in that he’s not too interested in the WB way of thinking (he actually thinks I may be “harming” myself since my cholesterol went up!). I too have wondered if I should get a new doctor. That said, I don’t know if I believe that we necessarily need all the constant testing every single year if we are in overall good health. Just thinking out loud. I know if we press doctors to keep testing until they find “something”, it’s likely they will. The only condition that I will go out of my way to test annually for is my Barrett’s esophagus – just because I never want it to turn to cancer – so I go in for my scope/biopsy (but I’m hoping it will be cured over time with the elimination of wheat!). But I am otherwise healthy, and don’t think I need annual monitoring for every little thing? Absent any problems, I am assuming I am healthy, not assuming I am sick! Especially if the tests show everything to be good. Why would I assume they would be different next year if I am doing everything the same? I will be interested in hearing the doctor’s take. I am 49 so that’s why I kind of identified with your post.

    • Lindsey

      In your shoes I’d be finding another doctor this month. Mine understands (well, he doesn’t “understand,” LOL, but he knows I’m going to get something done, either he can do it or I’ll get it done elsewhere) my preference to have ALL my ‘stuff’ – thyroid, cholesterol, blood sugar, everything – tested at least once a year. Big thing here – my insurance WILL pay for it. You might want to be sure yours will, too – it might be your doc is looking at what’s covered and deciding against anything that isn’t. There are independent labs to get tests done, too.

  4. Melissa Abramovich

    Honestly, I’m not overly enamored of my diagnosis with Celiac, and the fashion of eating gluten free is helping me in some ways. But the trendiness of eating wheat free is causing some issues that are harming me…for example, my family went to the Chancery for dinner, and with their new “Gluten Friendly” menu, they offer gluten free pasta. So I asked the server if they boil it in fresh/separate water, since for me, this isn’t “fashionable”: for me, this means at least a week of watery diarrhea, steatorrhea, and actual phyisical damage to my intestines, which then takes about a month to heal up. That damage also increases my risk for intestinal cancer, more risk with each “mistake” that’s made. And the gluten does get into the water.
    She assured me that it was clean water. At the end of the meal, I found a regular linguine noodle at the bottom of my food. They don’t offer GF linguine, so I know it was a standard noodle. And I got sick. And I sent emails to the manager, and even the owner of the Chancery, with no response whatsoever.
    So, if you don’t want to call it a disease, at least understand that it is much more serious than just a fashionable food trend. And yes, it can cause a plethora of all sorts of other issues, in all sorts of people, without the indicative damage of Celiac Sprue. I believe it’s now called Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance.

    • Adam

      Uncle Roscoe,

      You made some comments the other day that seem bizarrely wrong [http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/01/better-than-any-nsaid/#comments
      ]. It is possible I am mistaken, but if you do not explain your remarks it really seems like you do not know what you are writing about. If you care about your credibility, clarify your remarks at the above link.

      • Uncle Roscoe


        I will be glad to address any statement I’ve made on the basis of that statement. The tactic of introducing an unrelated incident as evidence of poor credibility without first supporting your objection to that incident is particularly scurrilous. Instead of supporting you as the level headed arbiter of propriety, it indicts you as the flake you are complaining about.

        In video 2 Mr. Ji says something to the effect that we now know autism is linked to vaccines. Excuse me, we know nothing of the sort. Unless Mr. Ji supports this brash statement, then he should not make it. I said that Mr. Ji’s remarks linking autism and vaccination are “unfounded” …..meaning that his remarks are not supported …….simple common sense.

        I also said Mr. Ji’s claim is “dangerous”. Vaccinations save people from suffering communicable disease and death. Vaccinations protect the public as a whole by denying disease communication pathways. People who are not vaccinated receive immunity as more people who lie in these pathways get vaccinated. Whether or not autism is a side effect of vaccination, ending vaccinations endangers the public as a whole, and individuals specifically …..again, common sense.

        And now I will do what you claimed I already did, what I have not in fact done, state my opinion concern the supposed link between thiomersal and autism. There are incidences of multiple deaths caused by contaminated vaccines before they contained thiomersal. So there is support for needing contamination protections in vaccines.


        Advocates of a thiomersal-autism link also relied on indirect evidence from the scientific literature, including analogy with neurotoxic effects of other mercury compounds, the reported epidemiologic association between autism and vaccine use, and extrapolation from in vitro experiments and animal studies.[23] Studies conducted by Mark Geier and his son David Geier have been the most frequently cited research by parents advocating a link between thiomersal and autism.[12] This research by Geier has received considerable criticism[24] for methodological problems in his research, including not presenting methods and statistical analyses to others for verification,[25] improperly analyzing data taken from Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System,[2][25] as well as either mislabelling or confusing fundamental statistical terms in his papers, leading to results that were “uninterpretable”.[2]

        I think the above Wikipedia argument is overly generous to Drs. Greier. The entire thiomersal controversy began, and is propagated on, research which is totally bogus. The World Health Organization condemned it, and recommended that people continue being vaccinated.

        We vaccinate children at the time they are developing socially. Many other things happen to children before and during this critical time, such as introduction to wheat. Attempting to form a link between any of these factors and autism based on shoddy unscientific research is “unfounded”. When it subjects millions of people to disease and death, it’s “dangerous”.

      • Uncle Roscoe

        You’re doing what vegetarian T. Colin Campbell did in his misnamed book “The China Study”, attempting to classify proteins which are issued from animals as “animal proteins”. They are not animal proteins. They have no relationship to meat. TCC uses legitimate studies which show that these animal-issue proteins are bad for humans. Campbell then indicts real animal proteins on this basis. You, on the other hand, are attempting to claim that these animal-issue proteins are good for humans, so you eat them instead of the most hazardous plant proteins.

        I would disagree with you that these animal-issue proteins are good for humans, and agree with T. Colin Campbell. What does any of this have to do with meat consumption? Nothing.

        “Fat”? The word has two meanings. One is animal fat, the other includes animal fat and plant oils. You are attempting to indict my points about “fat” based one meaning by invoking the broader term “fat”. Animal fat includes lots of saturated fat and omega 3 fatty acid (EPA and DHA). Humans require these “fats” in abundance. Most plant oils (fats) include mostly unsaturated fats and omega 6 fatty acid, very little omega 3. Flax oil is a source of omega 3 oils, but they come in a form which is, again, bad for humans. The same would be true of nut oils ……another correct point in Campbell’s book.

        Bottom line? I referred to an unhealthy trend among vegetarians away from healthy meats and (animal) fats toward grains and sugars. You are attempting to buck that trend while attempting to associate your diet with vegetarianism. Good for you for attempting to buck the unhealthy mainstream vegetarian diet trend. Your diet is healthier than the mainstream diet, but it falls far short of optimal.

  5. lori

    And that is why I prefer female physicians. God forbid a patient should “enlighten” the doctor on new findings/ healthier ways…! Good on you, I too was planning on taking my precious copy of Wheat Belly to my next check-up. Hoping she’ll be more receptive than yours. After 4 weeks I am down 6lbs, and have found that I am not experiencing nearly the amount of heartburn – still waiting for the day I may be able to stop my prescription med completely. I am 52 also, and have been struggling with heartburn since I was 10 yrs old.
    Keep it up Karen, your doctor may be too proud to change – but we all support your decision!

    • Kathy

      I’m glad you’ve found a decent female doctor. But, mine is arrogant and chides me for researching things in books and the internet. She’s only 45!
      It’s interesting she doesn’t want me to find things out for myself since she doesn’t seem to have much knowledge in the area of my thyroid disease. At any rate, I need a new doctor..just don’t know where to begin!

      • DW

        At the yahoo group for Stop The Thyroid Madness, they maintain a good docs list by people who have actually visited a particular doc and found him/her helpful and knowledgeable.

    • JillOz

      I have a female physician, in fact the clinic I attend is all female physicians.
      They are Very Nice People, and apart from standard asthma care have not helped me alleviate it at all, though in fairness i knew i shoudl cut sugar and maybe dairy and possibly wheat.

      i ahve mentioned WB, the blog and the amazon reviews to my doctor a couple fo times and recommended it to one of the other doctors.
      my doctor, while very pleased that i am better, has not yet read the book as far as i know.
      one of the docs said she’d check it out.

      Many nutritionists are femal;e, as are many nurses etc.
      I am a rabid feminist, but just becuase someone is female does not mean they are more receptive to new information than anyone else.
      Conversely, just becuase they are female or male doesn’t mean they’ll be less interested!! A female chemist assisitant was extremely intereted when I informed her of the WB books and quite excited about them!

      Forget about the gender of those to whom you recommend the book and the blog – it’s a very uinchancy type of judgement. Just tell people about it – you seldom know who will be interested, just good to get the info out there, and if they know you and trust your judgement and credibility, you’re halfway there to get them to read the book.
      If they’re suffereing, even more so!

      • JillOz

        I need to point out that I am not putting down my physician at all – she has done her best to help me and has helped me as far as she is able with medication and tests etc in my very severe condition. She also listens to me and has helped me in many ways.
        But the nature of the Wb knowledge is to do with agricultural contamination of a producxt that should not at all be in the food area.

  6. JP

    Is it only in England that we spell it “coeliac”?

    Having said that, thank you for listing the extent of the disease (wheat, that is). I found the list at once horrifying and enlightening, and I’m feeling empowered to do something to improve my future health.

  7. Barbara

    The title of this blog made it extremely difficult to share on Facebook – could be very offensive to those who do suffer from Celiac disease and have struggled to raise awareness as to the seriousness of their condition and the immediate ramifications if they are exposed to gluten. They have made such strides yet view this movement as a setback rather than a potential partnerYet the information in the blog is the best , highlighting so many important points made in the book. I do have another request as well….could you continue to regularly mention the pitfalls of turning to commercially processed gluten free foods? I worry that when I share these posts with family and friends they will head down this path and further erode their health. Thank you for your consideration!

    • Dr. Davis

      Noted about the gluten-free discussions, Barbara.

      But the fact that the celiac community views the Wheat Belly conversation as a “setback,” rather than a huge stride, makes me want to shout this louder to overcome their incredible ignorance.

      • JillOz

        Eh? Dr Davis, why would the gluten free “movement” (heavens what a term!!) regard WB as a setback??
        I don’t understand this, please explain??

        • Boundless

          > … why would the celiac “movement” regard WB as a setback??

          Perhaps because they feel that having a their condition classified as a “disease” is an advantage – for insurance coverage, getting special meals, etc.

          Conium maculatiosis is also not a disease (that’s getting sick and dying from eating hemlock). The “treatment” for that is – don’t eat human toxins – same situation as gluten-bearing grains.

          • Boundless

            I might add my standard cliche that:
            We are all celiac.
            It’s just a matter of degree and decades.

            That said, some people are much more acutely sensitive to gluten-bearing grains than others, and until wheat, rye and barley entirely cease contaminating the food supply (which is going to take some time), these highly sensitive people need to be able to avoid contact with this toxin.

      • Maria

        Dr. Davis,
        I have not read your book, i did read your blog. I am celiac, it is not intolorence to wheat. I wish your stomach could feel what mines feels with just the smallest crumb ingested let alone eat a sandwich. You may look at this” celiac disease” very different. One crumb I am in pain for at least five days and many other things happen to my body during that time. If I were to eat a piece of pizza I would feel as though I am dying and it would continue for weeks. I will never beable to reintroduce Wheat, corn, gf oats or rye and barley back into my diet. Yes there are other side effects when ingested besides intestinal. I do get frustrated when people eat “gluten free” just as a diet, not realizing what we as celiac people go through. I get frustrated every day that I have to live this way, but it has also helped me. It has opened my eyes to what the Government is doing to our sociaty……..KILLING US SLOWLY!!!! GMO foods, other chemicals they are putting in our foods and water supply! Maybe we can all come together and take a closer look at our food supply in this country and what MONSANTO is doiing to us ALL.
        I am also wondering if you have more books like….. Corn belly, GF Oat belly, Rye and Barley belly?

        • Dr. Davis

          As often happens, you misinterpreted the point of the piece, Maria.

          If you read it again, and read the many, many posts and comments on this blog, you will find that the notion that only people diagnosed with celiac disease suffer like you is patent nonsense. Wheat is a poison for ALL humans; celiac disease is just one manifestation of its poisonous potential.

      • Barbara

        I hope the message does continue to be “shouted” out :-) and I too wish the celiac community would see the benefits of this movement.
        I have followed the diet since October 15th with great success. I have had autoimmune diseases all of my life and believe I have perhaps finally found the light at the end of the tunnel. Time will tell, but results to date give me great hope! Thank you!!

  8. Karen Gee

    Thank goodness I was diagnosed with celiac disease, yes, celiac disease, through genetic testing seven years ago. I went totally gluten-free and got my life back!!! Don’t take away that designator for those of us who now know why we’ve felt so awful our whole lives!!!

  9. Patti

    I’ve been wheat free for 3 months now. My physical health is still being transformed dramatically because of this decision. The one other issue I had was cravings for sugar. So, I recently decided to forgo all grains (oats, rice, quinoa, etc.), and now for the first time in my life I am not craving sugar. In fact last week I had a cravings for apples, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes, not candy like I normally do. It was the grains all along. I have been struggling with my strong cravings for sugar for decades. Now I can go forward in my life without this attachment to sugar.

    • Dr. Davis

      Thanks, JEY!

      This silly article is part of the reason why I wrote this admittedly obnoxious post!

  10. I am leary of your statement that Celiac “ain’t” a disease. To try to argue that just because there are many serious issues caused by wheat (per your comparison to lung cancer) makes Celiac NOT a disease, is as absurd as saying that all health related issues caused by smoking makes lung cancer NOT lung cancer.
    As a Celiac I think a closer point should be made that while wheat is detrimental to everyone Celiac IS indeed a disease (leading to a myriad of other diseases), as is lung Cancer.
    My biggest issue with your post is that while you may rightly be pissed at wheat, to say that, “The disease ain’t Celiac; the disease is wheat”, is flawed in that for a Celiac the “disease” is wheat , rye, barley, oats and, mal nutrition, skin rash, and a deteriorating digestive system that can kill you.
    If a non-Celiac eats wheat they feel bad and suffer inconvinces, if I eat it I die.
    Just trying to point out some variances by some who is equally pissed at wheat.

    • Dr. Davis

      I hear you, Kara.

      My point was partly to piss off the celiac community, especially the gastroenterologists, like Dr. Stefano Guadalini at the University of Chicago, who have the arrogance and narrowmindedness to claim that only people with celiac disease should be avoiding wheat. This is the prevailing level of sophistication on this issue.

  11. Celiac

    Celiac here — Well, I THINK I’m a celiac. I had anti-endomysial antibodies in my blood, I have the HLA-DQ2 gene, and my health has improved dramatically since going gluten-free. But yet I can’t get the diagnosis. Why? They can’t get a biopsy that shows damage, because I refuse to go back to eating gluten. Sure, that’s like saying “Smoke until you get cancer so we can prove it’s bad for you.”

    And I’m tired of being made to feel like I am some strange beast just because our society has built up a culture of convenience around wheat. The very structure of our society is held up by the convenience afforded by breads, pastas, even a quick buzz from beer. Corporations who rely on workers grabbing fast meals on the go before, during, and after work profit so much by robbing people of the opportunity to cook home meals of good quality protein, fat, fruit, and veg.

    This is a HUGE problem and there needs to be more peer-reviewed scientific evidence mounted so that people will take it seriously. For people of my genetic heritage, it’s genocide by food. 9 billion people on the planet, most utterly dependent on the quick fix of bread for their daily calories. It is an international public health crisis that needs to be addressed; someone needs to be figuring out how we will grow and distribute alternate crops to replace wheat….

    Maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist, but while everyone is out there worrying about guns and the second amendment, a whole race of northern europeans with celiac struggle to live in a world dominated by “the average” — which as Dr Davis points out, isn’t so “average” anymore. Wheat has consequences. We have a right to live in a “safe” world, free from disease, free from wheat, barley, and rye.

    • Dr. Davis

      Well said, Celiac!

      You did the right thing: It is incredibly stupid to ask someone like you to eat wheat products for several months, then return for a biopsy to “prove” celiac disease when NO human should be eating the stuff!

  12. kelly

    They call it celiac disease because it has to do with the celiac hairs inside the intestines. In normal intestines the person has celiac hairs like a shag carpet, that when wheat is eaten those hairs are the things that absorb the gluten when digesting . With a person with celiac disease, the intestines lack those hairs. So instead of looking like a shag carpet, it looks as smooth as linoleum. Which in that case cannot absorb the gluten when the food containing the wheat/gluten is consumed and that is what makes people feel sick, whatever the symptoms are. Doesn’t matter how much wheat is consumed little or alot, with no celiac hairs the person would still be sick so your wheat poisoning position sounds silly with an actual understanding of celiac disease.

    • Dr. Davis

      No, sorry, Kelly: Your lack of understanding of the non-celiac conditions that are caused by wheat are what is silly, or actually sad. The ignorance of the celiac community to anything outside of celiac is often incredible, given that you’d think you’d all be experts on wheat. But that is sadly NOT the case.

      • Ali

        I don’t know who explained that to you Kelly, but they obviously don’t understand the true nature of what is called Celiac Disease either. It is the gluten and other unnatural proteins in the wheat that damages the villi (where on earth did you get the name ‘Celiac hairs’ from???) in the gut. Everybody has them but when they are damaged by the gluten and other proteins, they disappear.

        This is a classic example of the abundance of misinformation that is constantly being spewed at people by those ‘who think they know best’.

        What is it about disease that people feel they have to ‘own’ them and wear them like a badge of honour? MY Celiac is worse than YOUR gluten intolerance. I am a type ONE diabetic, you’re only a type TWO, etc., etc. Ner ner ner ner ner, How warped is that? But it is engendered by the Medical Profession who likes to ‘fit’ people into little (drug treatment) boxes by giving their symptoms a name, rather than treating ALL disease as just different manifestations of the same issue – malnutrition due to gut damage and crap nutritionally ’empty’ food.

  13. Ali

    Personally, I never did believed that Celiac is a disease either, but that it it is just a more serious form of wheat/gluten damage. After all, Celiac is only considered if the antibody test is greater than 10, but of course, logically, ANY response greater than zero is a response! They probably know that if they included anyone with an antibody response to gluten, they would have an epidemic on their hands!

    The blood tests are pretty hopeless. I was only sent for one test which came back ‘negative’, yet I was extremely sensitive to wheat (chronic long-term IBS-D, raging restless legs [ataxia] and burning feet [neuropathy], etc.). After being told there was ‘nothing wrong’ with me, doing my own research led to the gluten light-bulb moment and within hours of dumping gluten the IBS and awful stomach pain stopped, and gradually the other issues went away. I only get them now if I get accidentally ‘glutened’.

    To my Doctor’s credit, although she knew nothing of ‘Celiac’ when I approached her with my suspicions, she has done a lot of research in the last 5 years, and has told me that in those she suspects of having ‘Celiac’ disease, she sometimes has to send them for 4 or more tests before they get a positive result. Good for her. At least it gets more people off the darn wheat! The only drawback is that they can then get crap gluten-free stuff on prescription here in the UK, which undoubtedly does little to help them heal. Out of the frying pan into the skillet??

    I realized early on in my ‘Celiac’ journey that the crap GF carbs had to go, and whilst certain things still have to heal, especially nerve damage which can take 7 years or more, and I haven’t been able to lose weight (I am diabetic), changing my diet to good natural wholesome food as un-meddled with as possible, has made a big difference to my health. Five years ago my poor body was rotting from the inside out, riddled with fungus that accompanies decay (Candida, etc.), following the expected path of ‘diabetic complications’ (which are also triggered by the same rot and decay that drives the diabetes), and dying from malnutrition due to my guts’ inability to absorb enough nutrients.

    Now it’s getting the nutrition it needs it’s turned into an awesome healing machine. It’s taking longer for my body to bounce back than it seems to with others, but that is probably due to the extreme gut damage and diabetes. Hopefully, it will continue to improve over time.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, well said, Ali.

      Setting people with “celiac disease” apart with diagnostic testing is misleading. The point is that NOBODY tolerates wheat, including people who express it as celiac disease. Unfortunately, drilling this through the thick skulls of the gastroenterology community is going to be a long and hard slog!

  14. Debra from Australia

    This is all interesting, I must say. I started my new way of eating about two years ago. I went low carb with plenty of fat and moderate protein. I didn’t completely exclude wheat at the beginning of my new lifestyle but the more I read about food and ancestral considerations of eating, I decided that grains generally are contrary to good health so a few months in I stopped wheat. About ten months post my new eating habits I noticed that my 95% grey hair was starting to repigment in some areas. I am in my early fifties and began to grey in my twenties. I dyed my hair until I was about fifty. My repigmentation is continuing. I am still quite grey but I have so many hairs that are white on the ends and dark at the roots. It is quite remarkable. So initially I reasoned that it was probably due to a combination of new eating habits with the added supplements I take and the fact that the nasty dye was no longer on my scalp. Who knows which elements are contributing? I also do wonder if wheat was contributing to some auto immune effect on my hair follicle melanocytes? I suspect that there are many causes of greying, there are so many steps in the process of pigmentation of hair. I always put my greying down to genetics, but I am now questioning this as the primary cause. Anyway I never noticed that wheat made me feel ill but I feel better without it and whatever it is that is causing recolouring of my hair I am very excited!

  15. wrotek

    Inreresting paper i found. Perhaps You can tell me what You think.


  16. Loekie

    How can celiac be a disease when the patient gets better – and often more healthy than others – after not eathing wheat anymore? If you are healthy, you have not a disease.

    Mr Davis, isn’t it possible you come to the Netherlands, because here nobody believes you if you say wheat is the problem. Our country is wheatconsumer nr. 1 or not far from that, in the world.

    • Lindsey

      When is something a ‘disease’ versus a ‘condition?’
      Catching a flu, or polio, or other virus, it produces a disease, right?
      But are Type 2 diabetes, Celiac, Multiple Sclerosis, all the long list of things that don’t have a viral cause, are those diseases or conditions?
      Are conditions things that the body develops independent of a virus?
      If not, is my I-will-die-of-anaphylaxis-if-I-eat-a-cherry (or a banana) problem a ‘disease?’

  17. I understand the fact that you want to sell books Dr. Davis. But to imply that celiac is not a disease is just inflammatory and unnecessary. Do you have any idea of how damaging an article like this is to our cause? We have a hard enough time being taken seriously.

    And to those who say that celiac is not a disease because we’re healthy if we simply don’t eat wheat, please do your research before you speak. Many celiacs struggle on a daily basis. Yes, even being 100% gluten-free.

    I have more to say on this. You can read about it here: http://glutendude.com/media/hey-dr-davis-celiac-is-a-disease/

    • Dr. Davis

      As I expected, Dude, some people from the celiac community would misinterpret the message.

      My “research” tells me that among the most ignorant about the effects of wheat are those in the celiac community. Take a look at the absurd rants of Dr. Stefano Guadalini of the University of Chicago: While he is a spokesperson for the celiac community, he has done more damage than good by telling non-celiac people to go ahead and consume wheat.

      My intention here is to alert EVERYBODY, “celiac” or no, that wheat is inappropriate for human consumption. You just have one manifestation of this fact, that’s all.

      • Then use different words to do that. You don’t have to state that “Celiac is not a disease,” to get your point across. State that doctors who promote the continued eating of wheat by people without celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity, may be doing people a disservice by making such claims. Do not harm those who have not harmed you.

        • Boundless

          > You don’t have to state that “Celiac is
          > not a disease,” to get your point across.

          Actually, it may be precisely what was needed. Dr. Davis and others have been saying for some years that a very long list of ailments are not really diseases, but are effectively allergic reactions to a toxin that everyone needs to stop consuming.
          No traction.
          The present post has generated needed attention.

          > Do not harm those who have not harmed you.

          Please identify the “harm”. It’s not obvious to me.

          That celiacs have a more acute reaction than most is undisputed.

          That celiacs have a genetic marker for this predisposition is undisputed.

          That 90% of people with this marker don’t know it, and need to know it, is undisputed.

          That celiacs need notice of contamination of their food by gluten-bearing grains is undisputed, as is their need for alternative menus (and the rest of us want these too).

          That those with acute non-celiac wheat sensitivity don’t get a “disease” label, is a problem, and is masked by the celiac disease label. There are 5 times as many of these people than genetic celiacs, and 90% of these acute non-celiacs don’t know it either. They just suffer helplessly.

          That many inept health care professionals think that anyone without the marker can freely indulge in gluten-bearing grains is a huge problem, also masked by the celiac disease label.

          Celiac is kind of like poison ivy. Some have little or no response to the toxin. Some have an acute response, which predisposes them to future acute responses, and even spontaneous outbreaks. The rash is called urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. Is it a “disease”? No, it’s just an allergic reaction, one that can require hospitalization (and if you have this allergy, don’t eat mangoes).

          This is to some extent a “Pluto is a planet – is not – is …” debate. “Disease” is not a strictly defined term (and is massively over-applied in psychiatry).

          Celiac is presently considered a “disease”, is is not likely to lose that designation soon. Indeed, it is apt to be one of the last to lose that label once the food supply is no longer contaminated by gluten-bearing grains (and no one is expressing celiac symptoms).

          • Deborah

            Do health care professionals really think that people without the marker for celiac disease can’t have a reaction to wheat? I find this a bit hard to believe.

            I don’t think many health care professionals or other people would dismis is a simple explanation like… I am sensitive to wheat or I am allergic to wheat. They may ask about your symptoms with wheat exposure, to determine how severe the reaction but I think the explanation would be accepted.

            If we don’t want to talk ” disease” why not just talk symptoms, like wheat causes my blood sugar to Ike rather than say wheat caused my diabetes. Or wheat causes me abdominal cramping and pain rather than wheat causes my IBS. I think symptoms rather than medical diagnoses are more easily understood by all.

            And people in psychiatry don’t have diseases they have “disorders”:).. Again the medical diagnosis may speak little to those outside the field. However, most people can relate to symptoms.

            So for the wheat sensitive, which may indeed be most of us, perhaps we would all be more heard if we just talked about the symptomatic effects wheat has on us.

      • IrishHeart

        On the contrary! Dr. Guandalini (and you could show some respect for a colleague by spelling his name correctly ) and Dr. Fasano , both leading Celiac experts have said gluten sensitivity is a very real medical condition and there are people working on developing testing and diagnostic criteria. (No validated testing exists at this point, despite the plethora of “lab test kits” on the internet.)
        I almost died from this disease before I was diagnosed, so your article today was not only mocking, but irresponsible. You’re a medical professional and you are using “italics” around the word “celiac” which implies you do not recognize it as a “disease”.
        As to your assertion: “some people from the celiac community would misinterpret the message”– well, no, actually, MANY people from the celiac community are seeing your message for exactly what it is. You want to sell your book, so you wrote an intentionally inflammatory headline, knowing full well you’d get a strong response.
        I am not misinterpreting anything— and neither are any of the other proactive celiacs who take the time to promote Celiac awareness.

    • I’m not sure, but hasn’t celiac got something to do with the DNA or genes? If that is so, then I have the genes for hazel-coloured eyes but I don’t consider that to be a disease. As I said, I’m unsure about the reason for celiac.

      • Aloha Julie

        Sure you might have the gene that gave you hazel colored eyes, but certain genes are known to carry a maker for diseases like diabetes. DQ2 and DQ8 genes are markers for type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, and other auto immune diseases. Therefore, there are diseases that people with one or two of these genes and a few other combinations as well, are at higher risk of developing certain diseases.
        Research has shown that people who are from Irish descent, for example, seem to carry the DQ2 or DQ8 gene more than others. Yes, wheat has gluten that causes havoc on a celiac, but so does rye and barley. Davis has not broached this topic regarding celiac disease. It is not only about the wheat. Celiac disease is an inherited disease.

    • Dr. Davis

      You’ll find the relevant references in the chapter on skin disorders from wheat and the associated references in the Wheat Belly book, Jill.

      Yes: even gangrene, though uncommon.

  18. Valerie

    As a sufferer of celiac disease (diagnosed via biopsy), it is not those that choose gluten free as a healthy choice rather than as a treatment for a disease that is upsetting. The reason some feel WB is a setback is because it’s potential consequence is that food preparers begin to lump all gf diners into that category and cross-contamination which is the most difficult thing for a celiac to deal with, is not taken seriously. I have gotten so ill from consuming gf ingredients that have been contaminated by the preparer placing a biscuit on top of my food before bringing it to the table, etc. that it took weeks to fully recover from it. Someone following WB doesn’t have that issue, they remove the biscuit, eat their meal and all is well. I don’t question the validity of eliminating wheat, it’s the integrity of the “gluten free” claim that is placed on food that worries me. Along with cross contamination, barley and rye are concerns as well. Malt flavoring or natural flavorings derived from wheat barley or rye products are some to watch for and if people think “wheat free” means “gluten free” that is a mistake that can make is very ill.

    • I agree, Valery…very well said. I think Celiacs, in particular, are wary of the “gluten free” trend only because of their fear that others will perceive that they are joining in on some fad diet just like everyone else. Many celiacs spent years (11 for me) being misdiagnosed by medical professionals. We want our disease to be taken seriously. That said, I haven’t found a lot of people in the celiac community that don’t take other forms of gluten sensitivity seriously. I am the only celiac in my family and the whole lot of us are gluten-free…and feeling better because of it.

      However, I also think that there is a measure of anger and bitterness with celiacs. Those who, for example, follow Wheat Belly because they want to be healthier, can fall off the wagon from time to time and have a slice of pizza without the same ill-effects that celiacs suffer. They don’t have to replace their toasters/kitchen utensils/cutting boards. They don’t have to grill the waiter or chef at a restaurant about cross-contamination. They can still eat the hummus that somebody dragged a wheat cracker through. They can still have a pat of butter from the cube that has muffin crumbs. Many people are “gluten free,” but the measure of gluten-freeness varies greatly. I think celiacs just want acknowledgement that their disease is a serious one.

      • Elisa

        Because I don’t have the “Celiac” label, I feel people some times don’t take me seriously about my need to avoid gluten. They think it’s just a diet fad…but it’s not. I can’t afford to “fall off the wagon” because I get very sick at the slightest amount of gluten from cross-contamination. When exposed to gluten, I get a very severe migraine, my muscles and joints ache, I get very fatigued, and have brain fog. I also get stomach cramps and diarrhea. I will be sick for 5 to 7 days from one exposure.

        Like you, I also had to replace my toaster and kitchen utensils. I also have to grill the waiter or chef at a restaurant about cross contamination. I even have to be careful about something as simple as a kiss. I gave my grandson a kiss goodbye and he had a crumb from a donut near his mouth and I got very sick from that kiss. Now my grandson warns me…he’ll say, “don’t kiss me grandma, I ate gluten today.” My husband knows that I will not kiss him if he eats anything with gluten.

        I have suffered with health problems for more than 31 years and now I finally have a life. I’m no longer tied to my home because of the pain and fatigue. I can now do activities with my family and I can go shopping. I no longer need to take Immodium and Excedrin Migraine every day (unless I get “glutened”). My acid reflux is gone so instead of sleeping in a chair I get to sleep in bed with my husband. When I said goodbye to wheat and corn, I also said goodbye to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, IBS, acid reflux, allergies, eczema.

        I feel that my need to avoid gluten is just as valid as someone who has been diagnosed with Celiac.

        • Dr. Davis

          Your sensitivity is EVERY bit as important.

          It’s an odd thing in this wheat-free world: Having positive celiac markers or biopsy seems to be the ticket for entry to their community. We say “No: Wheat is a problem for EVERYBODY!” Their exclusive “club” no longer seems so exclusive.

          Wheat is not consistent with health for ANY human!

      • Trust me, I have a niece who’s been diagnosed with CD, so I do have empathy for you. However, don’t you think that those traveling down “diabetes row”, dependent on daily insulin just to survive….or those with psoriasis so extreme, they bleed……or those with IBS symptoms so severe it is debilitating……or those with migraines who simply can’t function…..etc. etc…….don’t those health maladies need to be taken seriously as well? The bottom line is……wheat consumption is poisonous to us all.

  19. Geoffrey

    I am feeling so good being off grains. Just traveled for 3 weeks through SE Asia and couldn’t believe the amount of flout and sugar that is beginning to saturate their diets. They are getting the kids hooked on sugar and wheat, great way for food companies to make money and ensure revenue for generations to come. And the cupcake boutique trend is even bigger over there than here! Despite that, it was so easy to stay off grains, the traditional diets over there are high in protein, fresh veggies and fruits, and of course rice. I ate about one fifth of the rice that was put on my plate and that seemed to work well. Cheers to a wheat and mostly grain free diet!

    • Dr. Davis

      I can’t help but view this growth of the wheat franchise in Asia as a form of economic domination via agribusiness.

      • Cristina

        Finally someone here said it! It’s all part of a larger plan that’s infiltrated every aspect of our society….food, education, music, sports even! Knowledge is power….I would love to see you on infowars.com. Alex Jones often does radio segments with health experts who share information that isn’t popular with big pharma/food companies.

  20. Great analogy!
    Remindes me of the Swedish authorities who decided in the 1980:s that celiac disease was a disease caused by not introducing weat and gluten early enought and in high quantitees enought. So Swedish baby formula (gruel) was reformulated to contain more weat introduced earlier… the result? More celiac disease!

    Perhaps lung cancer and other health problems associated with smoking is also a consequense of not introducing chlidren to smoking or passive smoking early enought in life… NOT!

  21. Deborah

    I seem to be missing the point of the post. What difference does it make if it is called a disease, disorder, or syndrome or anything else? it is still an illness. Health and illness should be viewed on a continuum. A person with celiac disease would have a much greater sensitivity to gluten then those without celiac. Yes, perhaps we should all avoid wheat for optimum wellness but saying celiac disease is not a disease just seems to minimize the illness.There is a correlation between wheat eating and illness, just as there is a correlation between cigarette smoking and illness. I see wheat and cigarette smoking as the trigger to illness, not diseases in themselves. Disease and illness are the unfortunate outcomes, whether it be lung cancer or emphysema from cigarette smoking or celiac disease or rheumatoid arthritis from consuming wheat. The result is an alteration in health. So what is the difference if it is called a disease or not?

    • Dr. Davis

      You also missed the point, Deborah.

      If you eat a poison and get sick, do you have a disease? Or should you just avoid the poison?

      I posted this because of the incredible ignorance in the celiac community about the effects of wheat in people outside of celiac disease. It prompts them to say stupid things like “You’re lucky that you can eat wheat because you don’t have celiac disease.” “Celiac disease” is the label applied to people who only have a single form of wheat intolerance.

    • Boundless

      > So what is the difference if it is called a disease or not?
      A predictable reaction to a toxin is not a disease, even if some people react more strongly than others (which is the case for people with the genetic markers for celiac). That celiacs themselves think they have a “disease” is actually not that much of a problem.

      The real problem with classifying the acute celiac reaction as a disease is that is allows grain pushers, and their clueless nutritional lap dogs, to pretend that people without the marker don’t need to worry about the actual trigger for that “disease”, gluten-bearing grains.

      Calling celiac a disease also tends to marginalize another 5% of the population who don’t have the marker, but react acutely and promptly to these toxins. They get brushed off by the nutritionally inept in medical care.

      And all of us suffer over the long run, as a sub-acute long-term effects (some not reversible) add up. But we’re supposed to eat “healthy whole grains”, because we don’t have celiac “disease”.

      • Boundless

        I might add that the “disease” label does a disservice to celiacs, who are told “you poor dear, you have a dread disease”.

        No, they don’t. They’re just less immune to this toxin than others.

        • Deborah

          I personally don’t think that the label ‘disease’ does a disservice to those with celiac disease anymore than any other diagnostic label does a diservice to people …such as those with arthritis, or irritable bowel syndrome. In fact I think Dr. Davis ‘s books and this blog do a lot to educate the public on celiac disease and other wheat sensitivities and make them better understood and accepted. An illness is an illness no matter what the label.

  22. You say Celiac is not a disease yet there are genetic markers for it. You say it is like smoking. If you don’t smoke, you don’t get cancer, emphysema, etc. Yet there are warnings on packages of cigarettes. There are NOT warnings on packages of bread, crackers, pizzas, and other processed foods that contain gluten. Nor are there warnings on personal care products or medications that contain gluten. In fact, the FDA still has not formed the labeling standards for gluten-free products. The mere removal of gluten from our diets does not simply stop the DISEASE. No matter how careful we are with what we put in or on our body, something happens and we accidentally ingest a crumb and we are outwardly sick for days and inwardly sick for months.

    To say Celiac is NOT a disease is to dismiss the YEARS/DECADES/LIFETIME we have spent trying to find a diagnosis to explain the root of our medical problems.

  23. Saying the disease is wheat is like saying the disease is cigarettes, in your analogy. I get that. While I see what you are TRYING to say, it’s incorrect. Celiac IS a disease. Lung cancer IS a disease. I do see and agree that you are trying to portray that we don’t see the “forest” of other health issues that are caused by wheat (and cigarettes) for the “trees” – the so-called gravest of diseases caused by these triggers – celiac disease or lung cancer. People’s eyes need to be opened that wheat can cause a myriad of diseases. (as can smoking). Unfortunately, Dr. Davis, the voice in which you make this analogy comes across as manipulative and inflammatory for those that truly have celiac disease and in spite of abstaining from all gluten grains, continue to feel the effects of this disease. That group doesn’t need more voices out there minimizing the seriousness of their disease – even if that was not your intention. I feel there are more effective ways to get this message across and educate the masses.

    • Dr. Davis

      Well, then, Alta: Expect plenty more manipulation and inflammation from me!

      All partial kidding aside, we are collectively achieving a surge in awareness of the health-destroying properties of wheat, celiac or otherwise.

  24. Elizabeth

    Thanks, Dr. Davis, both for your recent article and your book.
    It explained much for us.

    A few years ago my then 16 year old son lost the pigmentation on his fingers.
    He is darker skinned, so the loss was apparent to his fellow students as he sat
    in biology lab at college. Needless to say, he was embarrassed. Meanwhile,
    I had a sister who suspected gluten intolerance and her doctor suggested
    she go off wheat, which she did, and this prompted us to go off the wheat.
    A few months later, my son’s skin pigmentation returned to normal.

    We had him tested for celiac, he came back negative. The doctor told
    him to eat as much wheat as he wanted. So, we did. My son immediately got
    sick. We went off the wheat for good. (However, we did go gluten free, gained
    thirty pounds, and are now trying to dig out of THAT hole.)

    But here is my question: regardless as to whether he was ever properly
    diagnosed as having celiac, was there permanent damage done to his
    intestines because of the wheat? If it caused that much damage to his
    skin outwardly, what did it do inwardly?

    • Lindsey

      Hi, Elizabeth – was your son tested for Celiac by a biopsy, or DNA? I have the DNA but despite multiple biopsies, I haven’t been found to be “sick” yet.

      I’m not willing to wait around to get sick, so I treat the revelation of having the genes that make me prone to Celiac as the same thing as having it. Why get any sicker because a biopsy missed THE spot? You’re doing well to keep your son away from wheat (and wheat away from your son). ; )

  25. Leslie

    I get what you are saying, but your analogy is flawed. That is the reason that those with diagnosed celiac disease (an autoimmune condition, no?) are so irritated with your (admittedly abnoxious) post. Using your cigarette analogy, you could say: lung cancer isn’t the disease, it’s cigarettes that are the disease. Lung cancer is still a disease, even if caused by smoking. Stopping smoking does not eliminate the disease, just as eliminating gluten does not eliminate celiac disease. Once a person reaches the tipping point within their body to a trigger, the disease state cannot be reversed with removal of the trigger. My autoimmune thyroid disease could very well have been caused by wheat, but no one would think to say it is not a disease since it can only be treated and managed, not reversed.

    Now speaking to those with celiac disease, I would say that what Dr. Davis is getting at is that you would not have celiac disease without wheat, and that celiac disease is only one expression of the body’s insult from wheat exposure. It’s maybe not the best phrased post, but getting angry over his grammar is not very useful. He in no way is implying that those with celiac don’t suffer or don’t somehow deserve a disease classification. It seems more that he is stressing the scourge that wheat is on any human. I do understand the frustration that comes from having a poorly (publicly) understood and hard to treat autoimmune condition, but making a competition out of severity of wheat induced symptoms and difficulty managing the condition does not advance the stated purpose of this blog, which is to eliminate considering wheat as a food. We in this blog are the so called choir, and we offer nothing but support and sympathy for your suffering.

  26. I have Celiac Disease. I have read your book and your post above. I understand that you are trying to get the message out that wheat is unhealthy and “poisons” us. I have also been trying to spread the word about non celiac gluten sensitivity.
    Like Gluten Dude mentioned, many of us continue to struggle with this disease even after going GF. Many of us have other autoimmune problems and food intolerances due to decades of being undiagnosed. None of us chose to become Celiacs and we did not know that wheat can be harmful back when we were consuming it. Many of us look “normal” and have people doubt that we are sick all of the time. Friends and family members do not realize how seriously we need to take the diet and avoid cross contamination. I have been accused of having an eating disorder more times than I can count. Many of us put a lot of time and energy into educating others about Celiac Disease and gluten. It is a true autoimmune disorder. People are going to read or hear your statement that Celiac Disease is not a disease and doubt the existence of Celiac Disease. To me it seems no different than doubting that someone has a milk allergy (some experts claim that milk is unhealthy), an adrenal disorder (could be caused from exogenous exposure to steroids), or a childhood leukemia (could be related to an environmental exposure), or telling patients with food allergies, leukemia, or adrenal problems that their diseases are not “real” since the triggers of their diseases may be actually be harmful to all.

  27. Lynda (FL)

    I hope we can all realise that we can’t feel the pain of others. Just because you have a diagnosis doesn’t mean you are more miserable than the person next to you without one. You might be, probably are, but maybe not. I can tell you as a life long spine injury sufferer that I get more respect now that my spine can be x rayed and you can see the 20% misalignement and calcuim spurs but It hurts LESS than it ever did. I think wheat is like that, it’s a poison, doesn’t matter if it’s measurable: all of us who it will suffer.

  28. stephen ottridge

    I’ve been wheat free pretty well for 3 months and I’m not celiac. What effect does having a pappadum now and again likely to be? A thin pappadum is not much wheat, not like a piece of pizza. How about tempura batter on Japanese food? I’ve had no pizza and no wheat bread over the three months and my weight continues to decline about 1 lb per week, belly be gone.

    • Lindsey

      My husband asked once early in the wheat-free transition, couldn’t we feed the kids ‘normal’ food now and then? I said yes, we could feed them wheat with the same frequency he would feed them rat poison, how often should it be?

      He hasn’t asked again. And none of us eat wheat.

  29. JC

    From dictionary.com. Disease:
    “a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.”

    I think the larger point you are trying to make is that wheat contributes to a myriad of disease. Whether or not people believe the results of these studies is a different story and it would serve your readership well if you would provide links to primary literature sources that support these/your claims.

    But confusing the word “wheat” with “disease” is just flat out wrong. You could say wheat causes disease or disease like states but wheat itself is not a disease. You say above:

    “Say that, of 100 people you know who smoke, only 1 gets lung cancer. Do we declare that the only person who has problems with cigarettes is the poor unfortunate guy or girl with the one lung cancer? Shall we ignore the 60 cases of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, the 10 abdominal aortic aneurysms, the 5 thoracic aortic and iliofemoral aneurysms, the oral, tongue, and laryngeal cancers, and the several dozen other conditions that typically develop in smokers–but not as imminently fatal as lung cancer?

    In other words, do we dismiss all these conditions that fall outside of lung cancer just because . . . they’re not lung cancer?”

    My answer is if we are talking about lung cancer (and only lung cancer) then yes we dismiss all of the conditions because they are NOT lung cancer. By doing so we are not saying cigarettes don’t cause other health problems because they obviously do. It is just that these people do not meet the criteria for having lung cancer (which in the example we assume they don’t because only 1 gets lung cancer). Furthermore, lung cancer may be caused by things OTHER than smoking too. So it is only fair when discussing lung cancer to discuss other causes. Same for the disorders you listed above: joint pain, skin disorders, other auto-immune diseases- all can be caused/triggered by things OTHER than wheat.

    Let’s flip this to the infectious disease side for another example. Everyday we inhale millions of virus particles but yet we rarely get sick. If 100 people inhale rhinoviruses and 2 get a respiratory illness then only two have a disease. The other 98 don’t. We don’t say that rhinoviruses are a disease but rather we say they can be a disease causing organism.

    Now what about all the other aliments “caused by wheat”? We know that there is a strong link between certain HLA regions and autoimmune disorders (see Gough and Simmonds, 2007 Curr Genomics; Meresse et al. 2012 Immunity) so it is not terribly surprising that people with wheat allergies can have other autoimmune like problems. This is not to say that wheat cannot or does not cause other disease-like states, more that we have to be extra careful and critical in our scientific analysis.

    If 1 in 100 people who eat wheat experience disease-like states but the other 99 don’t is wheat still a disease?

    J.C. Ph.D.

    • MamaBear

      JC – Looks like “Doctor” Davis has no reply to an obvioiusly logical and brilliant statement.

  30. Karen

    What’s with the need to put pictures of almost naked female bodies at the top of your page? Seems a bit sexist. And why is only the really really skinny one happy? Do you think females can’t be happy and healthy with a different body type? Not saying unhealthy, but those first few look fit.

    • Cristina

      From a marketing standpoint, women tend to care way more about losing weight than men so good choice by Dr. Davis (or his PR/web/branding guru if he’s got one). Of course, he only had two choices. Also, you can clearly see that there is a range of expression from angry/upset to joyful. Look closely. Plus his book is called Wheat BELLY so the images showing a disappearing belly correlating with joy is great!

      There are way too many body types to demonstrate in one web banner. He’s just showing a Wheat Belly disappearing. Don’t take it so personally….next you’ll have people complaining that he’s racist cause she’s white and no other cultures are represented!

  31. Bill

    Wheat (and maybe agriculture in general) is a disease of civilization, rather than one of individuals.

  32. Loekie

    I would like to know if people who are diagnosed Celiac on an early age – say in their twenties – and put on a diet, are more healthy in general after, say ten years, than people who are eating wheat in large amounts.

  33. Jenny

    Having just finished reading your book and being celiac I would have to say Dr Davis that I get your point and I’m on your side. Mostly because as a school teacher it makes my blood boil seeing all the rubbishy sugary and wheaty foods that my students are eating. Not to mention some overweight and unhealthy parents. I want everyone to understand that wheat is toxic poison!

  34. Rene

    Sensationalism sells! Look at all the attention the doctor’s comments have generated. I have been GF for over a decade due to minor anaphylaxis (eliminating wheat allowed me to swallow again!) and reading Wheat Belly solidified my choice to continue to do so. Getting the word out that there are other reasons for going GF besides celiac is needed. I can’t even count how many times I have heard the comments “if you are not celiac, a GF diet is just a fad” or “if you eat organic whole wheat you are fine” or even “if you grind your own fresh at home you are safe”! The word needs to get out and this is helping greatly to do that. Since wheat is not “GM”, most people think it is safe and healthy for you.

    I had decided to start eating wheat again in order to be tested. I developed neuropathy after 2 weeks that has taken months to get rid of. I read Wheat Belly 3 weeks in and swore off wheat for the rest of my life whether I am truly intolerant or not. My husband is now GF also. If you are celiac, you know to stay away from wheat. It’s the other 95% that need to get the message. Keep up the good work Dr Davis!

  35. Stephanie Todd

    Cool. Cancer is not a disease! The author makes perfect sense. Glad she set me straight! Can’t wait to tell all my cancer-ridden friends that they have nothing wrong with them.

  36. GuyB

    That was a great title for your post Dr. Davis! It really got a lot of people reading and responding!
    Thanks for your two books, great reads with life saving info!

  37. Mrs.Miniver

    Stephanie Todd’s comment on cancer certainly makes me pause…nice to know there is no danger in trying a gluten-free/gliadin-free diet for a couple of weeks to see whether your symptoms improve. Dr. Davis is one of the few doctors in the U.S. who is seeking to eliminate the CAUSE of illness instead of just masking the symptoms with drugs that are the beginning of yet another slippery slope of meds. Makes me wonder whether those who are skeptical have a financial interest in Pillsbury or Kraft or Kellogg’s or…

  38. Sandy Brill

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    Thank you for Wheat Belly and the Wheat Belly Cookbook, from which I have learned so much and am benefiting greatly, along with my husband. If I have been off wheat for a few months, and I would like to be tested for celiac disease, how long do I have to be consuming gluten for the test to be accurate? (I understand if you’ve been off it, the test won’t be accurate.) I have had some barley, and perhaps a little wheat in some soy sauce when eating out, but in very small amounts. Thank you for your time. Sandy Brill

  39. Blame everything but the cause.

    Being members of Sam’s Club, we are afflicted with an unwanted subscription to “Healthy Living”, which is full of Random Things To Try Doing Because We Have No Real Idea Why The Consensus Diet Is Making You Fat And Sick (plus ads for products Sam’s carries).

    The August 2013 edition contains an article “living a gluten-free life” by Stefano Guandalini, MD. It’s not actually about living a gluten-free life. It’s a vehicle for pushing the “hygiene hypothesis” of why celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are increasing. You can find similar sermons on the web (also featuring Dr.G), such as:
    (this webmd article, by the way, puts the celiac+NCGS population at 10%).

    The hygiene hypothesis conjectures that modern childhood has, due to higher hygiene, inadequate exposure to bacteria, leading to less robust gut flora. Put another way, the epidemiology of gluten-tied ailments is changing because the VICTIMS have changed, and aren’t tough enough to eat wheat. None of the articles I scanned had the least hint of consideration for whether the food itself had changed, particularly the gluten-bearing grains.

    A staple of these sermons is: don’t go GF unless your doctor tells you to, or even: don’t go GF unless you are actually celiac
    And Dr. Guandalini wants you to follow that path by:
    1. genetic screening
    2. blood tests for anti-bodies (which presumably means deliberate gluten exposure)
    3. biopsy of the small intestine
    And the only treatment? GF diet.

    How about we just do that anyway.

    I sense the shadowy hand of Big Grain here. They cannot allow it to be true that their product is a human toxin, so they are could be behind this propaganda campaign that the victims are to blame. And they don’t even need to pay off Dr. G., because he gets a steady stream of patients running up huge bills for pointless labs.

    • Dr. Davis

      Boundless, you are an absolute champion! Very well said.

      I don’t know if Stefano Guandalini is dishonest and is being paid to articulate this message or whether he is just ignorant, or both. If it’s ignorance, it is ignorance of a shameful degree.

      • At the very least, Dr. G. has to know that over 80% of the time, the celiac testing will be false negative, and thus a total waste of money, aggravation and time.

        “hygiene hypothesis” must be the emerging name for this new It Can’t Be The Wheat propaganda initiative. Jones, in that AACCI hatchet job, called it “the clean theory”.

  40. I am very confused by your logic. So should we change the name from “celiac disease” to “wheat disease”
    Personally I am not convinced by your argument and reasoning, but then I have had a very conventional medical training. This article has been successful though in getting a lot of attention – thanks for the thought provoking writing.

    • > So should we change the name from “celiac disease” to “wheat disease”

      Perhaps wheat induced food poisoning. As I remarked in the “older” comments:
      “Celiac is kind of like poison ivy. Some have little or no response to the toxin. Some have an acute response, which predisposes them to future acute responses, and even spontaneous outbreaks. The rash is called urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. Is it a “disease”? No, it’s just an allergic reaction, one that can require hospitalization (and if you have this allergy, don’t eat mangoes).”

      > … but then I have had a very conventional medical training.
      Do try to avoid fitting this profile :)
      What’s Up With My Doctor?

  41. Sarah

    You’re kidding right? Please be kidding.
    You’re adding misconceptions and hype to fad dieters everywhere.
    Saying celiac isn’t a disease is making us sound like hypochondriacs. I realize your solution is for everyone to go g/f. Do you honestly thing that’s going to happen? I don’t. By saying it isn’t a disease you are minimizing the damage that gluten does to our bodies. Major damage.

    Also, boundless, if I hear one more person call it an ALLERGY I’m going to explode. It’s an autoimmune DISEASE.

    • > You’re kidding right? Please be kidding.

      Absolutely not. Where do we draw the line on what is a “disease” and what is not? Obesity was lately classified as a disease. 99.999734% of the time it is no such thing. Is alcoholism a disease? I don’t think so.

      > You’re adding misconceptions and hype to fad dieters everywhere.

      The age of fad diets is about to end.

      > Saying celiac isn’t a disease is making us sound like hypochondriacs.

      Absolutely not. You have a testable genetic predisposition that indicates a severe immune response to something that should never have been considered a human food.

      > I realize your solution is for everyone to go g/f.

      Not just. Also low-carb, high-fat, entirely grain-free, PUFA-free, soy-free, organic, and non-GMO :).

      > Do you honestly think that’s going to happen?

      Of course not, just like people still smoke. But smokers can no longer pretend that they are unaware of the health consequences (or worse, {circa 1950} that smoking actually has health benefits, which is comparable to vegetarians who today eat pure gluten {seitan}, thinking it’s a superfood).

      > By saying it isn’t a disease you are minimizing the damage
      > that gluten does to our bodies. Major damage.

      Well, I respect your reaction, but you’re making that up. Gluten damages us all. Celiacs are damaged faster and more severely.

      > … if I hear one more person call it an ALLERGY I’m going to explode.
      > It’s an autoimmune DISEASE.

      So how who you feel about people routinely getting Cyrex array 3 testing?
      40% will come back as gluten-sensitive (compared to perhaps 2-5% for celiac).

      Apart from over-extending the meaning of the word “disease”, the celiac diagnosis is presently impeding progress in eliminating this toxin from the food chain. Far too many MDs and nutrition specialists think that if you test negative for celiac, you’re free to consume gluten.

      • sarah

        How do I feel about Cyrex testing? Honest answer, I’m not sure. I don’t have all the information I would need to determine if it’s alarmist crap or the real deal. What I do know is that research hasn’t determined what size of peptide is needed or what other proteins/peptides can cause our cells to create antibodies to our own cells and enzymes that triggers intestinal damage. That’s the autoimmune part of celiac. That’s why we have more damage than normal people. Normal people do not have this biological response. There are others that have symptoms, but don’t have the autoimmune component (non celiac). I think these are the people you are talking about and as I understand it each case is different. I would agree with your last statement, but I think it’s more of a personal responsibility issue than a drs telling you what to do issue. If you fell like crap after eating gluten or grains, don’t eat them.
        My beef with this article is not with that aspect. I think it would be awesome if nobody ate gluten. It would make my life a hell of a lot easier. my problem is with spreading alarmist misinformation that confuses the general public and ultimately makes it harder for people like me to eat out or go shopping. The new labeling law is an excellent example of how good intentions get it wrong.