“My problem with Wheat Belly”

Rick posted this comment about a dilemma on his Wheat Belly journey:

2 years ago I started the Atkins diet with great success. I was 305 lbs. I lost 40 quick pounds on Atkins and felt great. After a while, I plateaued with the weight loss (after induction period). I couldn’t lose any more weight and started craving junk food. Needless to say, I caved and quickly gained back the weight. Alas, that is not my problem with Wheat Belly.

I needed answers to why I couldn’t lose weight, so I started digging. I came across Dr. Jonny Bowden’s blog. It made sense, the research, the facts about diet and nutrition. I am an avid fan of Dr. Bowden. These were the answers I was looking for about weight loss. I was getting back to 305 lbs quickly and needed to try another way. I developed plantar fasciitis of the foot. It is a very painful condition that left me in constant pain and severely limited any walking. To top it off, I knew it was coming down to being diabetic, already had the symptoms. This is not why I have a problem with Wheat Belly.

One day I was on Dr. Bowden’s blog and came across recommended books. At the top was “Wheat Belly.” I read the description and said “This sounds a lot like what I got”! I ate it up (I hope you didn’t use wheat to make the book!). I am now an official “Wheat Bellyian”. I will never go back to wheat.

I lost 85 lbs so far to date. I have never felt better in my whole life! The plantar’s [fasciitis] is completely gone. I am walking again (one of my passions). My cravings for junk food are virtually non-existent. If I do eat wheat (inadvertently), I truly do pay for the next day in the bathroom. Let me tell you, it is not very pleasant, very painful. I dare anyone to try wheat belly for a month, then eat a piece of bread and tell me it didn’t hurt on the way out. But my friends, that is not my problem with Wheat Belly.

My problem with Wheat Belly is this: resentment. Right now WW I (Wheat Wars I) is going on in my house. Don’t get me wrong, my family is in total awe and so happy for me. But when I try to help them and tell them that the food they are eating is the cause of their maladies (skin problems, stomach problems, etc.), they turn on me: Don’t tell me what to eat! I will eat what I want. When are you going to start eating normal again? That last one really makes me laugh, because I now know that I am eating normal. So to keep the peace, I refrain from offering advice, even though I want to tell the world! I am to the point where I have to defend myself and say “Hey, I don’t tell you what to eat, so don’t try to get me to eat that”. I don’t know what to do to get them to start caring about what wheat is doing to them. The Wheat War is raging in my house. Help!

More and more of us wheat-deniers will be encountering such resistance, as the wheat-is-poison message has not been fully understood or embraced by everyone. My view is that Rick should simply carry on, hoping that, by setting a quiet example of health and slenderness, the rest of the family will, in time, recognize the profound change he has undergone and embrace it themselves.

Anyone else have some useful advice for Rick?

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. murray

    Margaret Mead is reported to have said it is easier to change a person’s religion than their diet. I don’t say anything, but I took over most of the cooking. Slowly the other family members have gravitated to a wheat and starch-reduced diet. My wife made the wheat-free leap after I got how to try it as an experiment to eliminate her headaches and migraines. She was getting 5 headaches per week and a few migraines per month. The day after eliminating wheat she started to go headache free and went over 40 days before inadvertantly eating something with wheat flour and getting a headache. Now she only eats flour-containing desserts if they “are to die for” and accepts she will get a headache the next day.

  2. Alison

    I feel like I’m not only getting backlash from my family when I suggest they stop eating wheat, but I’m getting downright hostility from my husband about my choices. I had IBS-D all my life until I stopped eating wheat this past January. All my symptoms magically disappeared! It was wonderful. I lost about 10 pounds in the first two weeks, but then the scale stopped moving. I read the blog post about lost the wheat, but didn’t lose the weight and I became curious that I may be hypothyroid. I have quite a few of the other symptoms as well: ice cold hands and feet, lethargy, and depression. I also have a family history of thyroid disease. I went to my doctor to have it tested, and I requested a full thyroid panel. Much to my disappointment, my doctor only tested my TSH. It came back at 3.9 and said it was normal. I was really frustrated that she didn’t test anything else, and instead gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant (which i tossed in the garbage). I told my husband about my frustration, and he said that if the doctor said it was normal, I was fine. I just couldn’t accept that. I did an internet search and found an MD in my town that had a blog stressing the importance of supplementing T3 and seemed like one of the rare doctors that would actually do proper thyroid tests. Well, I had my first appointment yesterday. I brought my TSH results with me, and we discussed my other symptoms. He said that without a doubt I was hypothyroid, and ordered more thorough blood work. He said it was important to start me on a low dose of Naturethyroid right away, and he’ll know more about the proper dosage he wants to work me up towards once he gets the test results back. He also said that his treatment goal would be to get my TSH as close to 1.0 as possible. I was so happy to find a doctor that believed me!!!
    I went home and told my husband, and he was pretty nasty about the whole thing. He said that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was a hypochondriac and I basically diagnosed myself on the internet then doctor shopped until I found one to write me the prescription I wanted. I was devastated that he would be so unsupportive. He was similarly unsupportive when I quit wheat. He still thinks my reaction over wheat is all in my head. If I accidentally “gluten” myself, I get incredibly bloated, painful stomach cramps, and more diarrhea. It devastates me that he thinks I’m making this stuff up!

    • Loekie

      Maybe some people are scared that they have to give up wheat themselves. It is like smoking.

    • Dr. Davis

      Please rest assured, Alison, that you are most definitely NOT dreaming this up or imagining it.

      Your poor husband is the unwitting victim of conventional “wisdom.” It may take him some time to come around, especially if he is dealing with his own fears about confronting his wheat addiction.

      Please update us on your progress. I am hoping this all works out for the best.

    • Vinca

      My hunny was sceptical about the severity of my diarrhea until the day we sat together and ate some coleslaw with red cabbage and 20 minutes later, I then showed him that same red cabbage floating in the toilet. After he understood that truly, nothing stayed in me for more than 20 or 30 minutes, all the lethargy and depression, not to mention the fear of leaving the house, began to make sense to him.

      And yes, it does sound like he is fearful. Reminds me of the time I quit drugs, and my boyfriend wasn’t ready to.

  3. Anna

    I completely understand how eliminating wheat products from the diet provides health benefits. Where Davis loses me is that highly processed xylitol (likely from GMO corn) is a great alternative to honey, sugar, etc. And that quinoa & steel cut oats are junk carbs. It also concerns me that almond flour is heavily used in the recipes. Almonds are packed with omega 6’s and do not hold up well to heat. Seems like we trade one bad food for another.

    As someone who does not follow Dr. Davis’s advice to the “T”, it can be quite annoying & frustrating to have relatives tell me how I’m feeding my family junk when I chose soaked steel cut oats (does Dr. Davis know about the importance of soaking & sprouting nuts & grains?), sweet potatoes, bananas, honey, etc. I am a “just eat real food” kind of person.

    I feel like diet is right up there with religion. No scientific evidence needed….sigh:(

  4. Gene K

    We don’t have a problem with other people’s faith, even when their faith is different from ours. Things change when they try to convert us to their faith. Typically, we don’t like it. On this site, we are not talking about faith, but it definitely looks like one to ther people who are not interested in the subject.
    My good friends, including my brother who is a doctor, call me a member of a sect for my hard line in sticking with the lifestyle I chose based on the information I gathered from Dr Davis and other forward looking and dependently thinking physicians.
    My immediate family has respect for my preferences and agreed to go grain-free. I am grateful for their recognition. Other people, including extended family, love to ridicule my behaviors, especially when I open my mouth to make a comment. Guess what. I don’t make any comments, and I was amazed to find out that those who have ridiculed me secretly started to do the same thing and the benefits to their health, which convinced them better than my speeches.

  5. Marzena

    I think many people are so used to their diets that even live evidences do not convince them. I say let everybody eat as they like. If wheat-eaters develop a disease and will not be able to help themselves, they may remind themselves that there is something like a healthy diet. Or they can get more sick and don’t learn this lesson. It is free world. I believe that sooner or later more people will eat healthy and more will be convinced to it, but it cannot be forced in any way.

    Eating is more like a religion with bunch of beliefs. Some health miracles may open eyes in the right time.

  6. Loekie

    I know many people of my age – fifty something – with high bloodpressure. They taken meds and they hate it. Some of them are really sportmen/women. It’s hard to keep my mouth shut, I just would like to see the results when they would stop eating wheat for one month.

  7. Audra

    Leaving wheat is like one of those break-ups where you still have to work with the person or maybe even remain roommates. In this example, wheat is a man, and we will call him W.T.
    The relationship was one of those roller-coaster ones where sometimes you felt great, but most of the time you felt depressed and unattractive. Still, you were constantly there for him, and it seemed like he was there for you, until he started making you feel crazy and fat. It didn’t matter; you stayed in the relationship for the good times.
    Then one day, you ended it in hopes of putting yourself back together and trying to find out who you really were without him. The problem was that you would still have to see him everyday at work, and he and his relatives(O.T.,P.T.,R.C, and C.N.) would constantly be in your house mingling with your family. Your family would even try to get the two of you back together. You warned them about how manipulative he could be and tried to make them see how much better you would all feel if he was gone forever, but they just rolled there eyes at you and told you what a mistake you were making in letting someone as well rounded as W.T. get away. They were always talking about what a good family the C.B.s were. You even had to witness his intense relationship with your best friend and see her fall for all of his lies. As good as it felt to be out of his grip, you had an uneasiness about his control over your family and friends. Sometimes, you get through to one of them, and they join you in your quest to get him away from your house and your work, but trying to get to the point where you never even have to see him again could take a lifetime.

    • Dr. Davis

      Audra: This is priceless!

      I’m going to post as a blog post. But what are “O.T.,P.T.,R.C, and C.N.”?

  8. Debbie

    I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the post but I hope someone can help me. I have been eating gluten free and trying to follow the Wheat Belly diet but I’m not having any success in losing weight. I don’t know if I’m not eating enough food or if I’m doing something wrong. Hopefully someone can help.
    Thank you,

  9. Rick Calandrello

    Well thank you all for your advice, it was all so enlightening. I will go with the quiet (whispering at the top of my lungs: “Don’t eat wheat!) approach for now, as I still have about 40 more pounds to lose. I guess “Seeing is believing” is the way to go in my situation, even though I am totally against the “monk in a monastery” approach. So patience will be my nemesis for now. Thanks Dr. Davis, and everyone else!

  10. Senja

    I have lost around 30 lbs. When people ask what I’m doing, I tell them, they invariably say “I couldn’t do that.” Well, ok, fine, but that’s how I did it. If you want a different answer, go to someone else. :)

    I’m very happy with my weight loss.

  11. I have been wheat free for almost a month, I haven’t lost a pound. I have thyroid issues and take synthroid 0.15 mgs per day. I am also substituting wheat with baked goods made with almond and chickpea flour. I used to drink 4-5 cans of diet pepsi a day now I drink plain water or lemon water. My weight is more steady than before but not losing anything. I wonder if I’m eating too much of the almond flour or if my thyroid is playing a part. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Debbie

      I am having the same problem. I don’t eat a lot of baked foods. I’m not sure what the problem is. Maybe someone can help.

      • Barb, as a fellow thyroid sufferer, I’m going to bet thyroid is a factor. I want to encourage you to check into a Natural Desiccated Thyroid like Armour. It’s different for everyone, but I can tell you, Synthroid did not help me. I didn’t lose weight the whole time I was on it. I think Dr Davis lists the essential thyroid tests on this blog. Have you had those recently?

        Also, checking your basal temps could help you determine if you are under-treated. Type words, Take your Temp! into your search bar. and check out the article on http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com
        It is a great site!

        Do you notice a crash or any increase in appetite after eating sweets? Even non-gluten baked goods can mess with your blood sugar, which will be harder for a hypothyroid body to balance out. You may want to abstain from wheat replacements like non-gluten flour or baked goods for a few weeks. Just eat the Wheat Belly basics like veggies, nuts, meats and cheese and drink plenty of water.

    • gingerbread

      Hi Barb, I know that I have a thyroid issue too, and finding a doc in Orlando on my insurance that knows how to treat with natural dessicated thyroid has been an uphill battle, particularly when you have brain fog, lol! I started WB in December, lost about 5 lbs and stalled. I got proactive, went to a local health food store and bought an over the counter natural dessicated thyroid. Very weak, but it made the point: extremities warmed, hair loss stopped temporarily, better sleep and other things. But every few weeks I had to increase the dosage because it was so weak. I began looking for natural dessicated thyroid that I could order in a stronger dose, over the internet, without a prescription, cause I didn’t have time to find a doc, convince a doc, argue with a doc.

      During this time I had visited my OB/GYN (no help. they are currently fired and don’t know it yet), and Endo (totally clueless, just like Doctor D said), my Oncology doc last week(was sympathetic about connection between fibroid cycts and hypo thyroidism, ordered my labs but doesn’t really prescribe medication) and he was open to this because I sent a letter, lab work and articles before my appointment. Meanwhile, while I was doing all of that, I found a product called ThyroGold by Dr. Lowe at the following website: http://www.naturalthyroidsolutions.com.

      The OTC stuff was so weak, that I had to take 12-16 capsules a day to feel almost ‘normal’. So far on thyrogold i take one in the AM and one in the PM. and feel good. Waking temp is hovering around 97.1-97.5, so it is getting better. I had stalled on weight loss for about the first 3 months, but have lost about 13 lbs since I started this process. I also take Iodoral (iodine/iodide) and supplement with vitamin D, B complex, and a 50 cfu probiotic. The inches are starting to reduce. I am monitoring my symptoms and adjusting my intake of Thyrogold as I go along. I will eventually find a doc that can work with me, but until then i am taking action.

  12. Christopher

    In regards to wheat being poison, can you decipher what they are saying here? I found it on the FDA website.

    FDA Poisonous Plant Database
    FDA Home FDA Poisonous Plant Database

    AUTHOR(S): Friis, S. U.
    TITLE: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for quantitation of cereal proteins toxic in coeliac disease.
    YEAR: 1988 CITATION: Clin Chim Acta, 178(3), 261-270 [English]
    FDA #: F15566
    ABSTRACT: Coeliac disease is revealed by polypeptides in the prolamin fraction of wheat, barley, rye and oats. Recovery depends on adherence to a strict cereal-free diet. A few methods for quantitation of the wheat prolamin, gliadin, have been described. In order to assess the suitability of food products for inclusion in the coeliac diet an assay should measure the total amount of potentially toxic cereal proteins. An inhibition ELISA was developed, by use of a purified, polyclonal prolamin-antibody, reacting with gliadin and gliadin-like polypeptides. The antibody did not react with maize, millet, rice or soya prolamins. The assay had a detection limit of 1 ng antigen with a very high degree of accuracy. The interassay coefficient of variation including the day-to-day variation, was close to 30%, which is acceptable for the clinical applications of the assay. The flour of buckwheat was analyzed for antigen content. An amount of 39.5 micrograms gliadin-like polypeptides/g flour was measured, which corresponds to 0.06% of the gliadin content in wheat flour.

    • Dr. Davis

      It simply means that most grains do not share the gliadin content of wheat.

      Non-wheat grains don’t have all the awful problems of modern wheat . . . but that does not necessarily make them benign. They are problems for other reasons.

  13. Barb March

    I am having a problem with loosing the weight. Been on it for 6 weeks and only lost 3 lbs. Feel good, no cravings but haven’t noticed any significant difference. First diet I was ever on and didn’t loose the first week or month. Any suggestions. Haven’t had any carbs, or diet soda. Maybe I am eating too many nuts???

  14. Barbara Parry

    Rick, I don’t have any advice for you regarding the Wheat Belly diet because I agree 100% with what you said.
    The advice I do have for you is keep on writing. You are a good writer and a natural humorist and I loved your article.

  15. zoesharona

    Hi everyone:

    I think the primary argument against wheat is that it has been so modified by our agri-business foes that it bears no relationship to its ancestor. I wonder if anyone has thought about European wheat. Or wheat that is grown in some other country that might still use old strains. I welcome any thoughts about this.