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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115 Responses to Celiac is not a disease

  1. Gluten Dude says:

    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 says:

      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.

      • AmandaonMaui says:

        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 says:

          > 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 says:

            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.

          • Boundless says:

            > Do health care professionals really think that people without
            > the marker for celiac disease can’t have a reaction to wheat?

          • Deborah says:

            Ok so there are a few out there that are ignorant and dismissive.

          • Dr. Davis says:

            Thank you kindly, Boundless: Your contributions are deeply appreciated!

      • IrishHeart says:

        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.

    • Robin says:

      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 says:

        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.

  2. Jill says:

    Very good post, Dr Davis.

    Gangrene? Really?? Wow. Wouldn’t mind some explanation of this one!!

    • JillOz says:

      That’s a JillOz post BTW, not some other Jill.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      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.

  3. Valerie says:

    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.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      No argument with anything you said, Valerie.

    • 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.

      • Denise Leitzel says:

        Can’t handle the truth, eh?

      • Elisa says:

        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 says:

          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.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    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 says:

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

      • Cristina says:

        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.

  5. Per Wikholm says:

    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!

  6. Deborah says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      > 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 says:

        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 says:

          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.

  7. Debi says:

    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.

  8. Alta says:

    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 says:

      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.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    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 says:

      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). ; )

  10. Leslie says:

    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.

  11. Jess says:

    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.

    • “People are going to read or hear your statement that Celiac Disease is not a disease and doubt the existence of Celiac Disease.” <—-Yes, this. The title of your post seems to be an irresponsible way to get your point across.

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  14. Lynda (FL) says:

    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.

  15. stephen ottridge says:

    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 says:

      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.

  16. JC says:

    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 says:

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

  17. Karen says:

    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 says:

      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!

  18. Bill says:

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

  19. Loekie says:

    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.

  20. Jenny says:

    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!