Earth to Jillian: It’s NOT about gluten!

Jillian Michaels made a major nutritional boo boo with this recent piece of hers: MYTH: If You Want To Slim Down, Go Gluten-Free.

“Only about one percent of the American population needs to be gluten-free because of an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Most people do not have to worry about gluten and should eat whole grains as part of a balanced diet.”

She makes the perennial mistake of the nutritionally ignorant: She equates wheat with gluten. As followers of the Wheat Belly message all understand, wheat does NOT equal gluten.

Wheat is the perfect obesogen, a food perfectly crafted to cause weight gain. That’s because wheat contains:

Gliadin–Upon digestion, gliadin is reduced to a collection of 5 polypeptides, each 4 or 5 amino acids long, that bind to the opiate receptors of the brain. Unlike opiates such as morphine and heroin, gliadin-derived polypeptides don’t provide pain relief nor euphoria, but only stimulate appetite. The power of the effect varies, but 400 more calories intake per day is common. In people susceptible to binge eating disorder or bulimia, the effect can be much greater, even dominating habit and mind, triggering intake of 1000 or more calories per day.

Gliadin has another effect: increased small intestinal permeability. This is the effect that underlies the start of autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, but also leads to water retention, adding further to weight gain.

Amylopectin A–Amylopectin A is the “complex” carbohydrate unique to wheat that is highly digestible by the enzyme amylase in saliva and stomach secretions. Amylopectin A’s highly digestible nature is responsible for the sky-high blood sugars that result after, say, two slices of whole wheat bread that increases blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar. (Doubt this is true? Test it yourself with an inexpensive glucose meter by checking blood sugars 1-hour after consuming each test food.)

High blood sugar obliges high blood insulin: This is the effect that leads to insulin resistance, followed by growth of deep visceral fat in the abdomen, inflammatory fat that continues the vicious cycle of insulin resistance.

Gliadin and amylopectin A are the biggies in weight gain. There are two additional effects that likely add, though are on somewhat less solid scientific ground:

Wheat germ agglutinin–Experimental animal data suggest that the lectin of wheat, wheat germ agglutinin, has the capacity to bind to the leptin receptor, the hormone of satiety. This potentially adds to the appetite amplifying effect of wheat. It means that you eat without triggering the feeling of satisfaction, but want more.

Disruptions of bowel flora–Eat wheat and you disrupt bowel flora, encouraging the proliferation of undesirable species while suppressing proliferation of desirable species. The composition–number, species, location–of bowel flora is proving to be among the most underappreciated phenomena relevant to health. Remove wheat and bowel flora is permitted to return to a more normal profile (though many people require a probiotic to do so).

Note that nowhere do I mention “gluten.” Ms. Michael’s focus on gluten as the only undesirable component of wheat is like fingering the need for matches as the only unhealthy aspect of cigarette smoking. She did get one thing right: NOBODY should be eating gluten-free processed foods made with wheat replacements cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, or potato starch. The excessive glucose-insulin provocation; protein glycation that leads to hypertension, diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and dementia; as well as the awful taste of these products make them foods that deserve NO place on anyone’s shelves.

Hey, Jillian! Stick to what you do best: entertainment. Leave the real thinking to other people, else you say really dopey things.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Firebird

    Jillian Michaels is first and foremost a model whose agent suggested she get her ACE license as a personal trainer in preparation for The Biggest Loser. What she actually knows about fitness can be placed on the fingernail of my left pinky.

  2. Neicee

    I could care less about her opinion of gluten, or anything else. Sticking to grains for health is like grabbing a life preserver with a hole in it. But the presumed authority of her opinion borders on sounding like a shill for the wheat industry.

  3. Michelle

    I am so tired of having to explain to people I have no problem with gluten, I can eat it til the cows come home. I’m actually allergic to the wheat grain itself. People just don’t get it.

  4. allisonK

    The other thing she got wrong is that you don’t need to “shell out big bucks for” it. Meat and veggies are not that expensive. Although if you go home and eat nothing but a pack or two of ramen noodles for dinner (like we used to and be proud that we only spent 50 cents for dinner), then ya, I guess it’s a bit pricier to cut out the wheat.

    • Dunja Jennings

      I agree too that it is NOT more expensive. I suppose it is IF you then go out and replace every wheat/gluten food in your house with it’s gf equivalent. However- soon you realize that eating processed food of any kind isn’t the best for you, and you replace THAT with fresh fruit, veggies, cook your own food (and like me, learn it doesn’t take that much time, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef!) and above all- START EATING LESS! Because you don’t have that weird never ending craving and hunger all of the time! I am so tired of people saying “it’s so hard to go gf, no options”- really it’s not. And once you start experiencing the benefits- forget about it!

      • allisonK

        Exactly! Once I lost the need to replace everything with wheat free replacements, things got really cheap. (such as crackers for soup, bread, pasta). Now I have my soup without crackers, I have home made burgers without bread, pasta meat sauce but no pasta. It’s actually working out much cheaper, and I get to skip steps in meal making too which has also made things nice and easy. I have more cupbard space and fridge space. Less garbage to take out. It’s great!
        The other thing I love is how much better food tastes now. I am rediscovering so many foods that I used to not like at all.

        • JillOz

          Me too Allison! The constant development of my tastebuds is a never ending and delightful surprise.
          :)

          • I agree, this eating lifestyle is much less expensive in the long run….not only that, but we have very little waste because leftovers are always used in something else. We are making fewer “mimic” foods as well, but when I do an afternoon of baking for immediate use or for the freezer, it’s fun to coordinate recipes and use the egg yolks in one thing and the whites in something else…..very symbiotic cooking. I love it!

  5. Ed

    Well what you say may be true why bash this author? Here is what I know to be true. My girlfriend has been trying to lose weight for years. She has done it all exercise weight lose programs nothing worked. Keep in mind she wasn’t that over weight just one of those bellies so she says. Than she has come across this program. While on this she has had more energy a better mood AND GUESS WHAT SHE HAS LOST WEIGHT. She has lost over 14lbs in two months and feels great also looks even more beautifully.
    So I believe this negative comment up above is probably from the wheat industry itself. Oh buy the way one last comment. I myself have been on a cleanse for 5 days now no wheat or gluten, which I use to eat a lot of and I mean a lot and guess what I feel great as well. SO I SAY WHO IS RIGHT AND WHO IS MISS LEADING US. HMMMMMM. I WONDER.

  6. cyndee allen

    i think this might also be a part of the problem ” round up ready wheat”

    http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/ingredient-in-roundup-weed-killer-found-in-food/
    Ingredient in Roundup Weed Killer Found in Food
    April 27, 2013 by Kathy Will 3 Comments
    A peer-reviewed study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), published in Entropy, has found that residues of glyphosate, the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, have been found in food. Glyphosate is used on crops that are genetically engineered (GMO foods) to be “Roundup Ready”.
    Monsanto scientists have claimed for years that Roundup is safe and non-toxic because it targets the shikimate pathway in plants, which is absent in animals. But this pathway is present in bacteria that live in human guts, which play an important role in human physiology, from immunity to synthesizing vitamins.
    The study’s authors say that glyphosate does induce disease and is a “textbook example of exogenous semiotic entropy.” Glyphosate detoxifies xenobiotics and interferes with cytochrome P450 enzymes, which enhances the damaging effects of other chemical residues and toxins, and very slowly damages cellular systems in the body through inflammation. Residues of glyphosate are found in sugar, corn, soy, and wheat, some of the main components of the Western diet.
    Inflammatory bowel diseases have substantially increased in the last 10 years in the U.S. and Western Europe; glyphosate may be to blame. In addition, female rats are very susceptible to mammary tumors following chronic exposure to glyphosate, which means “something else may be going on”, according to researchers. Researchers said that the systematic search of the literature “has led us to the realization that many of the health problems that appear to be associated with a Western diet could be explained by biological disruptions that that have been attributed to glyphosate, including digestive issues, obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, and cancer, among others.”
    The effects of glyphosate can take 40 years to manifest as symptoms of disease, which make them very hard to trace and attribute to the chemical. And this isn’t the first time an issue has been raised with glyphosate. In 2005, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed that glyphosate is toxic to human placental cells and concluded that the “endocrine and toxic effects of Roundup, not just glyphosate, can be observed in mammals.” The toxic effects were found when glyphosate concentrations used in the study were 100 times lower than the recommended use in agriculture.
    Another problem is that in from 2001 to 2007, since Roundup Ready crops have been used in this country, the use of Roundup doubled to 185 million pounds in the U.S. alone. Now, 80% of genetically modified crops are specifically targeted to be Roundup Ready. And Roundup resistant weeds, known as “superweeds” are appearing in more than half of the farm fields in the country.
    The study’s authors conclude by saying, “given the known toxic effects of glyphosate reviewed here and the plausibility that they are negatively impacting health worldwide, it is imperative for more independent research to take place to validate the ideas presented here, and to take immediate action, if they are verified, to drastically curtail the use of glyphosate in agriculture.”

    • Neicee

      I’m guessing the pharmaceutical industry will be ‘Johnny on the spot’ with the necessary drugs to help with the problems caused by these additions to food products when they have been fully introduced. If I had the land to do it I’d be looking into growing my own food.

  7. DottieF

    I saw her on The Chew last week, she couldn’t even hold a knife and didn’t know a thing about cooking yet she is going to lecture people on wheat….typical

  8. Tori

    Gluten is a vital nutrient? Really?
    She is really supporting the calories in/calories out theory???? OMG! Check out this site for more calories in/calories out info. http://www.dietdoctor.com/

    A two second wikipedia search would have also given her some good info on phytochemicals. There are plenty in fruits and veggies and may not play as big of a role as she claims. I wonder who actually wrote this article. Maybe they should have spoken to a gluten expert because they surely haven’t got a clue about NCGS. Even without celiac, if you have NCGS eating gluten will hurt you whether you sense it or not. Plus, most people don’t even know that they do have celiac or NCGS so to discourage them in trying a no gluten diet right from the start is awful.

  9. Kate Cook

    Well, it’s been a long time since I have blogged on Dr. D’s website.
    I know who Jillian is. My own experience of going gluten free last July brought about amazing results with the main one being a dramatic change in my blood work regarding cholesterol etc.
    I posted the dramatic changes on here and Dr. D. then put it on this front page for a few weeks. I did nothing more then eliminate gluten from my diet. And my numbers from my last December blood work was amazing.
    I religiously have my blood work done very December so I was able to post the December before last for proof..

    These movie stars who are out there in the public eye are NOT the people I look to for my information on health and wellness. I do my own research as much as possible.

    If anyone wants me to post my blood work numbers again.. I’d be happy to. I have the hard copies of this blood work in hand. I have the proof..
    I am a 62 year old female and to this date I am on zero meds, I open a capsule of natural ingredients into my protein shake daily and that’s it.
    And ya know what.. going gluten free is NOT expensive if you don’t buy all of the packaged foods. Sure, a treat now and then but it’s no different then buying regular processed foods with gluten.. You just don’t do it!!!!

    Hello to Dr. D. My husband and I are still out here and we’ll be gluten free for a year this coming July!

  10. Boundless

    The grand kids like to watch The Biggest Loser when they visit. I don’t, but I catch bits of it whilst doing other things.

    Very few of the victims (I mean participants) in that show have figured out that low carb (if not grain-free) is the solution, and if that wisdom spreads, that show is kaput.

    Right now, TBL is heavily invested in the notion that the official diets can’t possibly be wrong, so if you’ve inflated to the point where you are mistaken for a dirigible, it’s all your fault (lip service to the contrary notwithstanding), and you’re going to have to bust your buns and torment your taste buds to recover from it.

    The show trainers are chained to this never ending cycle. When a sane diet become dominant, entirely apart from the fate of TBL, most of them are going to need different careers, as only actual athletes are going to need trainers. These trainers literally cannot afford to actually understand the Wheat Belly message.

    And I’m sure the advertisers take steps to delay the dawning of awareness, including feeding the show staff and talent all the trendy misinformation about gluten and grains. The parrots obligingly burp it back up for the public. The alternative is: here’s the truth, and that implies, um, uh oh.

  11. I think both of Bill and Jill should share evidence of their claims.
    Dr. Davis – since this is your blog, why don’t you provide us with some concrete peer-review evidence that eating wheat SPECIFICALLY causes weight gain – in the belly region – independent of other factors such as um calories?

    Please and thank you.

    • Bob german

      my tummy and my wife’s tummy is proof for us. she did not need to loose weight but did, looks great. and I have lost almost 20 pounds and my pants are loose. My tri went from 170 to 85 and my Hal went from 75 to 70. I think that is a good ratio. Blood pressure still high but a little better. And we feel better been wheat free for 7 months. As I said before joint pain has mostly gone away.
      The proof is not real proof just stories from people like my wife and I who will never eat wheat again. Ps I do have a small stash of bad flour for the occasional bread I make-one third almond flour tho.
      Thanks for letting me poast

      Bob

    • Drae

      There is a website with a great page full of peer reviewed material:

      http://thepaleodiet.com/published-research-about-the-paleo-diet/

      And there is this fantastic post from Dr. Davis about zonulin, which includes a link to the peer-reviewed paper:

      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/03/anatomy-of-a-poison-2/

      I have read nearly all Dr. Cordain’s papers, and I’ve read the zonulin paper as well. All together, I believe it’s enough peer-reviewed research to satisfy your demand. Happy reading!

    • Boundless

      > I think both of Bill and Jill should share evidence of their claims.

      The original book has some 295 footnotes, mostly cites from the lit. Which of those on this topic did you find unsatisfactory on this point?

      > … concrete peer-review evidence that eating wheat
      > SPECIFICALLY causes weight gain – in the belly region
      > – independent of other factors such as um calories?

      For anyone with a personal interest in this, it is trivial to run this test at home for a month, and then confirm by challenging with the prior diet. All the peer-reviewed papers in the world are secondary to your personal reality. We aren’t talking about a requirement for convincing proof that you should try some risky new drug. This is an entirely safe trial of a constant-calorie grain-free diet. For full benefit, move further to very low carb after the trial.

      It’s kind of like asking for peer-reviewed study results on whether we should rely on NOAA or the Weather Channel to provide more accurate reporting on the current weather. How about we just look out the window?

  12. Evelyn aka CarbSane

    “Hey, Jillian! Stick to what you do best: entertainment. Leave the real thinking to other people, else you say really dopey things.”

    Who are these other people? You? Someone who equates eating oatmeal to battery acid when bacon and eggs would be far worse for you by your own “sources”?

    • Suzie_B

      Hey Carbsane,
      “Leave the real thinking to other people, else you say really dopey things” sounds more like something you would say, only you would be less polite. You continually bash anyone who doesn’t agree with your CICO viewpoint. (By the way, that statement also applies to you).

      Anyone who wants to see examples of Carbsane’s blogging from someone giving her a dose of her own medicine, go to: http://carbsaner.blogspot.co.uk/

  13. I’m on a mission this week to find someone who can tell me what exactly I can get from grains (whole or otherwise) that I can’t get from other foods.

    As I am currently not eating any grains (as I am not eating sugar or starch) and thus have removed ‘entire nutrient…such as gluten” from my diet.

    Someone please tell me what I will be deficient in…. I’m desperate to know! https://www.facebook.com/HealthyIntentions

    • Neicee

      Any package or bag that says the product inside has been enhanced (oh, to further your health requirements I’m sure) is a culprit. Real food doesn’t need a boost from a product they’ve stripped out of it to begin with.

    • Drae

      What you can get from grains that you can’t from other foods is metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and various other diseases of civilization.

      You will not be deficient in outrageous medical bills or really keen side effects from prescription pills to “treat” the various conditions that accompany grain consumption.

    • Boundless

      > So low carb is the only way to go?

      Not necessarily; ketosis might be OK too :)

      But glycemic metabolism is a disaster, and the more glycemic, the bigger the array of problems.

      TBL (or “Adult Teletubbies”, as I often call it), is just the overweight tip of that iceberg. I’m estimating that 80% of chronic conditions that modern healthcare has to manage (and almost never cure) are directly due to what people are eating (and not so much due to how much they are eating). Cut the carbs. Start by eliminating the gluten-bearing grains entirely.

      • Anna

        Do you, Boundless & others, find it difficult to maintain the recommended 5:1, vegetable to animal protein ratio in order to maintain healthy bones AND keep below the 50 grams per day carb intake?

        • I now have a ketone meter and will do a personal study for the next two months…..May and June. I’m having trouble getting my ratio higher due to the volume of vegetable proteins……I just can’t eat that much volume! I’ll be diligent and let you know my outcomes. I have a feeling that my body is in ketosis throughout the day and night and that is my goal. And by the way, my Ph is excellent!

          • Anna

            But ketones increase the acidity of blood causing the leaching of calcium from bones to maintain proper pH. What would be interesting is to measure the calcium in your urine.

            Before I get slammed for saying the blood gets acidic, please refer to WB pages 114-120, if I recall correctly. (a friend has my book;)

          • Suzanne

            If you want to reach optimal ketosis you need to cut your carbs to below 20 grams a day and increase your fat intake. Also rule out fruits (which is mostly sugar anyways )

  14. AP

    Oct 3, 2012
    Cholesterol 203
    Triglycerides 193

    For years I’ve been battling those numbers which kept creeping up on each blood test. Doctor put me on fish pills a couple of years ago (four a day, yuck!). Followed the nutritionists’ advice. Even tried sodium free before the Oct blood test (my last visit to a fast food restaurant came to an end when I was tracking my sodium levels!). At that point I started researching high triglycerides/cholesterol and came across Wheat Belly and MDA. I made my mind up. It wasn’t easy going wheat free. I started by eliminating obvious wheat sources: bread, pasta and pizza. That was HARD! Managed to finally shake those by late February. Then I started reading ingredients and by sometime in early March I was wheat free.

    More whole foods. Less processed food. I didn’t try gluten-free. I just went wheat-free to avoid the starches Dr Davis said to. Watched my carb intake to keep it low. Last week I was sweating it in the doctor’s waiting room. Would eating bacon and eggs almost every day, fish, meat, veg, fruit really be the right way to go? Was I doing the right thing giving up wheat and whole grains? I was terrified. Conventional wisdom said I was doing every thing wrong. And can you believe gyro meat has wheat (that is one food I really miss)?

    Apr 24, 2013
    Cholesterol 196
    Triglycerides 139

    I was floored! For years *nothing* had worked to get those numbers down. The meeting was with the RN “nutritionist” and she asked what I had done and told her I eliminated wheat and was eating bacon and eggs every day. More meat, fish & fruits than my normal diet (veg stayed constant as my wife is vegetarian). Using coconut oil for cooking. Heavy cream (no carbs) in my morning coffee.

    While I’ve lost some weight (I wasn’t doing this to lose weight, I wanted my blood results to be in the normal range) I plateaued in February but even though the weight has not been coming off the “belly” has been falling and I’m several inches smaller around the waist. I *do* feel better. I don’t feel blah anymore. I actually have energy to do things I want to do but was just too tired to do before.

    Thank you for this web site. I hope my information will help people (skeptical as I was when I started) know that this really does work and if you’re battling bad numbers like I was this change in eating really does make a difference (even though my nutritionist objected). The hardest part was weaning off the wheat addiction. The couple of times I “cheated” I got very ill (won’t give out TMI but I believe the bowel flora effect) which actually helped. I wasn’t keen to cheat again after getting sick. It was all worth it in the end even though I had zero confidence this was going to be the “magic bullet” … yet it turned out it was.

    I am a 48 year old male.

    • Anna

      How did going wheat free change your LDL’s, which are a better indicator of cardiovascular health?

        • Anna

          Very interesting since the claim is that wheat among other carbs cause LDL’s to increase. You’d think yours would decrease….hmmmm.

          • GaryM

            The LDL calculated measure could be the same, but the particle count much lower. It is a large number of small ldl associated with high triglycerides and carbs that increases cardiovascular risk. Increased fats and decreased carbs is associated with lower triglycerides and larger fluffy LDL. Your ldl can actually go up in measure, but the particle count go way down. Ldl alone is a pretty meaningless number.

  15. Bill

    Stock-market web forums that specialize in ‘penny stocks’ frequently have regular posters, masquerading as average citizens, that pump or bash the company under discussion, again and again; these contributors may be paid shills for the company, or traders that have a position in the stock that makes it worthwhile for them to influence the stock-price movement up or down. In this fashion, Carbsane may actually be an employee at Monsanto or other Big Ag company, trying to muddy the nutritional waters by carrying on a campaign against the dump-the-grains movement.

  16. Ivy

    I think we need to be specific about the wheat we are talking about in this article. There is hybrid wheat/gmo and then there’s non-modified wheat which is of course much better. The you have to get to the core issue of is the wheat in the article sprouted wheat? Sprouted wheat differs greatly from non-sprouted wheat in the fact that sprouted wheat has been allowed to germinate. Throughout that germination process anti-nitrient phytic-acid (which is contained in every nut, bean, seed and grain) has been neutralized and gluten nearly diminished. This is important because the proteins/nutrients in the sprouted wheat change greatly( as well as vitamin/nutrient content skyrocketing) and the change is for the better. It digests much different/easier, I would be interested to see any scientific results with sprouted, non-gmo/non- hybrid wheat. If you are interested into looking further regarding spouted grains and their health benefits look here:
    http://www.westonaprice.org
    http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com
    http://www.nourishedkitchen.com
    http://www.culturesforhealth.com
    http://www.organicsproutedflour.net
    http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org

    • GaryM

      I would characterize sprouted wheat as less bad for you. Just as if I were to smoke, i might smoke filtered low tar cigarettes or roll my own with organic tobacco. If i were to eat wheat I would try ancient or sprouted. But why bother at all? I am 20 months wheat-free and don’t miss anything.

      • Mike

        Exactly ! I don’t look for so called ‘better’ grain. It’s much easier to focus on real food .

  17. Tracie

    I have been Wheat free since January 2nd. I have also decided to go Gluten free. (but more watching for the Wheat components). I have not lost a single pound! Yes, I feel a ton better – as to why I am still wheat free. I just wish I can lose weight! I exercise, eat right, and I even mix up my routines once in awhile to “confuse” the body to lose weight (so it doesn’t get comfortable). I don’t gain weight anymore, but I have not lost anything either. It is very frustrating!!!!!!

    • GaryM

      If you are following wb correctly and not losing weight after 3 months, and you are overweight and especially female, get your thyroid checked big time.

      • Anna

        I had thyroid issues about 10 years ago. My ND gave me a list of foods that are not good to eat if dealing with hypothyroidism. I recall almonds & cruciferous veggies were tops on the list:O(

        In addition to avoid those items on the list & acupuncture, my numbers normlaized in 6 months.

    • HS4

      I’ve had similar problems with losing weight – I’ve been 99% off wheat for months but not losing weight, though like you, feeling much better in general. For the month of April I did the Whole30 routine and as part of that kept a food journal and very carefully tracked net carbs consumed each day. I thought I had been very low carb but was amazed to find I was eating anywhere from 40 to 90 grams net carbs daily. It was only when I consistently ate fewer than 50 grams net carbs that I lost any weight.

    • Erica in RSA

      Are you eating enough fats? You may still be subscribing to the “conventional wisdom” of low fats.

  18. Drae

    Boundless is exactly right. This is about money and self-preservation, because these people know on which side their *ahem* bread is buttered . Beyond Jillian and The Biggest Loser – the networks (and all media, for that matter) can’t survive without advertisers, and the companies/products that dominate are usually Big Num-nums and Big Pharma. This is why you’ll never see 20/20, 60 Minutes or any other news magazine program do a piece on Wheat Belly. (This is why PBS is a good route for Dr. Davis & Wheat Belly to take – no global conglomerates can hold PBS hostage.) If these advertisers were to pull their commercials from a particular network, that network would be hurting for revenue with no replacement prospects on the horizon. Well, unless it was an election season. The problem is, Jillian, NBC and General Mills won’t be paying my future medical bills, so until they come up with some scientific evidence to refute Dr. Davis and Wheat Belly (or Dr. Cordain and the Paleo Diet) they can take their corrupted opinions and put them where the sun don’t shine.

  19. I think Julian knows much more about nutrition than you think. However, is there any way for Dr. Davis to meet with her? Imagine how many people she could help on the Biggest Loser with all the followers. Kick out Subway and Invite Dr. Davis to Biggest Loser! The Biggest Loser contestants do really well. How much better could they do if they went wheat and grain free?

    • Drae

      Jillian promoting Wheat Belly on The Biggest Loser doesn’t pay NBC’s bills. They want you to think Jillian cares about people’s health, but really it’s all about them remaining employed.

      I keep meaning to sit down one night and count the types of commercials on prime time television. Mostly I see wheat-filled foods, big pharma, and technology. Where would the media find replacements for Big Num-nums and Big Pharma? They wouldn’t, so we are fed a bunch of hog wash about “healthy whole grains” so that network executives can get their bonuses.

      Oh – and for those of you concerned about what your pet is eating, I recommend checking out Steve’s Real Food. Because what they are doing to us they are also doing to our pets.

      • Gordon

        I started reading labels when I went grain free and on a low carb for my husband and I. Then I read what was in my (3) dogs’ food. Wheat, corn some % of chicken by-products and other crap. Dog treats are the same and even contain sugar. I got rid of their “food” and starting them on a raw meat diet, which I make for them. I buy ground beef and pork, mix it with eggs, some cooked carrot and spinach. I also found a canned dog food that I use as an alternative and for travelling.
        Lean Cuts Beef Ingredients:
        Fresh ground lean red beef roast and steak meat, fresh beef liver and kidney, water sufficient for processing, carrots, and vegetable gums.
        GUARANTEED ANALYSIS:
        Moisture: 84.5%
        Protein: 10.4%
        Crude Fibre: 0.2%
        Ash: 00.9%
        Fat: 06.3%
        I even threw away the fish food that I occasionally fed our pond fish after I read what was in it. I thought I was giving them a treat but instead I was feeding them a mixture of grain (poison) and who knows what else.

        Another reason I changed my pet’s diet is because we lost a dog. I came home one day and she was just standing still, never before had she been sick. She was in pain and when we took her to the vet, she was diagnosed with a bleeding tumor on the spleen. We had to let her go. After reading the Wheat Belly I wondered if her diet had been the cause of her early death.

        • Drae

          I don’t doubt for a second your poor dog got sick from processed foods. At the Steve’s Real Food site, they have testimonials that rival the ones we read here – except they’re for pets. Stories of pet owners who were told they’d have to medicate their pets until the day the pet died, and instead the owners found Steve’s Real Food and the pets made full recoveries with no need for medications. I don’t currently own a pet, but my next pet will be on a real food diet for life!

        • eema.gray

          For those who have any reason to not prepare BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diets for their pets, look for some of the excellent grain free, low carb pet foods coming to market now. Wilderness is very good, with a fairly reasonable price point; Blue Buffalo has several lines, 2 of which are grain free. Blue Buffalo is fairly expensive however. There are several other brands also grain free so look around and see what you can find. :-)

          I would dearly love to have my cat on a BARF diet, however, she is adament that her princess self will not eat raw food; grain free, low carb kibble, however, she is perfectly fine with.

          • Drae

            I’m sorry, eema.gray, but low-carb, grain free kibble is no better for your pet. Many pet food companies are taking advantage of the health food trends, including gluten-free and grain free. But kibble is still a processed food product and not one that benefits our pets. I do hope you will take the time to watch this short video ( less than 8 minutes) to understand why kibble is terrible for pets:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVIqDg8c47g

            As for your princess kitty, I do hope you will look at Steve’s Real Food. Here is their page on cat food with tips to transition even the most picky of eaters:

            http://stevesrealfood.com/raw-meat-dog-food/raw-meat-cat-food/

    • Christine

      i loved your idea. unlike those who just want to bash her. Some are being especially RUDE. The article saying STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW.. ENTERTAINING?

      I think some on here are very cranky and disrespectful!

      REALLY… I think she deserves a little more credit than that

      • Drae

        You know what I think is especially RUDE? People who cavalierly place the health of others in peril through ignorance.

      • Karen

        I remember reading that one of the Biggest Loser contestants did really well on the show by following a paleo diet. I can’t remember who it was, but it was during a period of Googling former contestants (BL is my weakness!). They obviously spend more time on televised part of the show pandering to Subway, Jennie-O, and the other corporate sponsors, but I did think it was interesting that perhaps, behind the scenes, they’re actually recommending grain-free!

  20. WELL SAID Bill! Well said!
    NO ONE should be eating processed foods- gluten free or not- a cookie is still a cookie
    Just eat real food:)
    Kathy:)

  21. Dodie

    Dr Davis: We both are on the wheat free/grains too.. & are committed. ONE BIG QUESTION, WE HAVE tried several of your cookbook recipies, but find the bread type things too grainey .. The only Almond Flour we can find is more like Almond Meal than Flour. We have tried grinding the meal more in our Vita Mix, but no luck.
    Where can we get REAL AMOND FLOUR NOT MEAL???? The chocolate chip cookies are good, but too grainey!!! Love the Cream of Tomato Soup!!! OH yes, why the flax seeds in everything–are they necessary–I know they are good for you, but their flavor overrides whatever they are with!! Can I just leave ‘em out??
    Thanks so much
    Dodie

    • June

      You can find almond flour on Amazon. Honeyville or JK Gourmet. Both are very good, and look pricey, but go a very long way. Much cheaper than medications.

      Are you using golden flaxseed meal? The flavor is milder than regular.

    • HS4

      Honeyville Grains sell blanched almond flour which is a generally good baking flour and it comes in a 5-lb bag which is cheaper per pound than many others. I’ve found Bob’s Red Mill almond flour to be heavier for some reason then other flours – the final product is always heavier and doesn’t hold together as well. Trader Joe’s sells almond meal which is ground up whole almonds and is not as fine as the blanched flour but also works for many recipes. Some recipes specify using blanched almond flour; others can be made with either the flour or the meal. With time and practice you’ll discover which ones you like best.

      You’ll find answers to a lot of basic questions about cooking the WB style at our new forum which was set up just a few weeks ago by Rita, one of the WB blog readers. She’s done a great job. Just go to http://www.wheatfreeforum.com, register and join in our discussions!

  22. m

    What if you WANT to gain weight? Specifically in the form of muscle and are doing it in conjunction with a heavy resistance training program?

      • Matt

        Eat more carbs if you are lean enough. If you carry around 15% bodyfat you’ll find it hard to put muscle on without getting fatter and in most cases it’s best to lean down first – you’ll be happy if you do (if you’re not already lean!).
        The only method to putting muscle on is to eat LOTS! How much you eat, how good the food is, what your bodytype is, and how well you train will determine how much muscle you put on.
        Most people only need around 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight. Anymore than that is wasteful and from what I’ve experienced can increase your body’s acidity. Carbs are the go-to macronutrient to put weight on.
        Do your research, there’s plenty of well informed and ‘qualified’ coaches out there who can help you.

  23. Todd

    So basically gluten can contain wheat, but wheat cannot contain gluten, is this correct?
    Also, is potatoes just as bad as wheat? I thought I read somewhere on here that eating potatoes was not as bad as eating wheat. I just bought the book and was scanning around, have not had time to read it yet.

    • Todd, It’s imperative that you read the book in order to understand the total implications of eliminating wheat from your diet. In addition, Dr. Davis also recommends a low carb component which is why potatoes are only appropriate in limited quantities, if ever. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet…..

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, Todd: Gotta gotta gotta read the book! You will find answers to all your questions there.

    • Stacey

      Todd, read the book. But to answer your question, wheat contains gluten. Gluten is what holds your bread dough together when it is rising and gives it stretch and elasticity. Some other grains (rye, barley) also naturally contain gluten. The point is that gluten is just one component of wheat. So, someone can have a problem with wheat because of gluten, but you can also have problems with wheat for other reasons. You can’t reduce problems with wheat to problems with gluten.

  24. Am I missing something? Where did she equate wheat with gluten? The fact is the majority of people don’t need to be on a gluten-free diet and it seems the only ones that are pushing it are the ones looking to profit from it.

    • derp

      Do your homework first. Labs are only 70% specific, celiac can manifest in organs other than the gut, there is non-celiac gluten sensitivity as well as allergies against grains. On top of that, wheat contains indigestible lectins that enter the bloodstream and provide a mechanistic basis for a host of autoimmune diseases, a high glycemic load, anti-nutrients and you even have to “fortify” it to have any relevant amount of vitamins.

      Oh, what a pity. Your exclusive disease is no longer exclusive. You’re no longer special. I’m sorry.

    • doreen

      well…..the thing is when she says gluten is fine then people take that to mean ‘grains’ are fine…and as we know, they are not!!

    • Drae

      So, you run a gluten free blog but think most people don’t need to be on a gluten free diet? Have you read Wheat Belly or The Paleo Diet? I believe everyone should be on a grain free diet because wheat and all grains damage our intestines, regardless if you have celiac disease or not.

      I like to think the people pushing Americans to eat more “healthy whole grains” are also motivated by profit (or self-preservation). But at least with the GF crowd, their ulterior motive (besides profit) is to improve people’s health.

      • I run a blog about the trials and tribulations of living with celiac disease. It is not a “pro gluten free” blog. I am 100% against the gluten free trend as are most of our community because most people who aren’t on a gluten free diet due to celiac or gluten intolerance aren’t 100% committed to the diet, turning it into an absolute joke. And this makes it more difficult for celiacs to be taken seriously. One crumb of gluten and I’m sick for six months.

        I appreciate the varying opinions though and am always up for engaging in conversation. Just not attacks.

        Thanks.

        • Drae

          Thanks for the reply. I can understand your position. I don’t know if I have CD or not, but I can tell you that getting glutenated causes me pain in various ways like headaches and joint pain, so I can completely understand how it must make you feel.

          But I think your point about Celiacs not being taken seriously has more to do with people not understanding what the food industry has done to wheat. They’ve bought the “healthy whole grains” line and anything to the contrary is completely dismissed.

          Thanks for the conversation!

        • Marnie

          Hey Gluten Dude,

          I wonder if you and your community would consider thinking about this from a different angle? The more people who buy non-toxic, whole food, grain- and package-free foods, the better for all of us in terms of availability and pricing as competition for customers naturally increases. I rarely hear of a cause that didn’t benefit from MORE folks jumping on the bandwagon.

          The goal shouldn’t be to turn it into an exclusive club. Start (or join) a movement. Change the planet.

          • anonymous

            IMO the ‘get off my lawn’ attitude is not doing you guys any favors. The bottom line is that if there is a food that is linked to a ton of different health problems, there is more than one reason to avoid it, celiac disease is not an end all be all. With all due respect, you guys seriously have to chill about other people going gluten free. My mom reversed pre-diabetes and pre-hypertension by giving up gluten. She did not consume much sugar, she was not obese. Gluten was the root of the problem. If she listened to people like you instead of people like Dr. Davis, guess what? She’d be diabetic some day. Not in our best interest so who can tell us we’re just following a trend?

    • jacquie

      YES!!! LOVE honeyville’s flour…amazing stuff.. Bob’s redmill is not nearly as fine as Honeyville

    • jacquie

      Well ….you must not suffer from eating it then. The only thing I have to gain is less pain from arthritis. Yes! it does help my arthritis giving up grains and gluten. Did I say it is easy …no…So you are right the ones who say give up gluten do have something to gain…it’s called better health.

  25. Todd

    Thanks Jan and Dr. Davis. I also understand that you need to increase water intake when you start the wheat loss right? I cheated on pizza this week so I am back to square one. It was a painful mistake…I just feel like I should be drinking extra water….is this right?

  26. Bea

    Two weeks ago I decided to banish wheat and artificial sweetener from my diet. My appetite decreased dramatically after one day! I began losing a pound a day, so I decided to go organic and eliminate corn, soy… Brain fog, no more. Bloat gone; no slumps in morning or afternoon, and I feel liberated.

    It has been a challenge to find replacement food, and yes, I’ve spent hours in stores reading labels, even with a list of some products I could buy. After Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and all the local grocers, I decided to explore the many websites, like this one, to get more help.

    It’s amazing. I’ve also noticed that while it’s difficult to spend two and three times more on a product than before, I’m eating so much less of each thing that food lasts longer. So, I think it’s a bit of a trade off.

    Glad I found this site. Thanks, Dr. Davis!

  27. wrotek

    “While present-day Taoist diets call for eating many grains, some ancient diets called for bigu 辟穀 “abstention from grains”. This was because early Taoists believed the rotting of the grains in the intestines attracted demonic creatures known as the ‘three worms.’ These demons loved eating decaying matter in the intestines in the hope that they could kill the person and devour his corpse.”

    (from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoist_diet#History)

    Those ancient Taoists knew what they were talking about. Just substitute “pathogenic bacteria” for “demonic creatures”.

  28. Aimee Ramirez

    I have celiac and when I found out, I made it my mission to figure out all the yummy (i.e. not good for me) foods I could still eat that were gluten-free. In a fit of self-pity, I stopped eating gluten but began consuming massive quantities of soda, Frito’s, potato chips, ice cream, etc. Instead of losing weight, like many celiacs do when they begin eating gluten-free, I gained it.
    Simply eliminating gluten from one’s diet is not the key. Eliminating processed food on the other hand, is probably a better mantra to live by for weight loss, if you’re going to go with just one.

  29. The Universe does have a sense of humor after all! After arriving in the north for the summer…..guess who’s doing a show at our local civic center one week from tonight?? You guessed it….JILLIAN MICHAELS! My DIL is involved as well and has offered me free tickets. Oh my!

    • Dr. Davis

      Be nice, Jan!

      She, after all, is in the business of trying to help people. We’ve just got to get her thinking straight!

          • I went….sans T-shirt! Long program…..interesting gal, very charismatic, motivational person…..she didn’t address the gluten free issue but did show photos of pastured verses CAFO meats, farmed fish etc…..organic veggies etc. unfortunately I couldn’t stay for question and answer afterwards because it was way past my bedtime! She was definitely a cheerleader in her younger years!

  30. Chin

    Question, if the Live Stock eat grains and wheat, and we eat their meat, is that mean the meat contains gluten?

    • Dr. Davis

      No, it does not. But it does mean that there are transformations in the fatty acid content, as well as greater likelihood that antibiotics were used to accelerate growth.

  31. Dr Davies,

    My understanding is that gluten is a mixture of proteins found in all grains with there being two primary sub fractions:
    1. Prolamines
    2. Glutelins

    The prolamine gliadin (read glutin here) is the most studied piece of gluten in medical literature as it relates to celiac disease. While there is no question that gliadin breaks down and hits the opiate centers in the brain, it still remains a gluten component. I have obtained this information from Dr. Peter Osborne and used in on my blog:
    Maxgigicare.com.. Please advise me if this is accurate or not from your research. I appreciate your time and attention. Loved your Wheat Belly book!!
    GiGi

    Thank you. I enjoyed your Wheat Belly book and learned a lot!! GiGi

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, I believe that is true, Gigi: Some gluten is digested down to its subcomponents, gliadin and glutenins, while some of the gliadin is further degraded into small polypeptides.

      Suffice to say that glutens, in all their variation and glory, have several different ways to exert toxic effects on the human body.

  32. Ray Schmoll

    Dr. Davis,
    We have been following a gluten free diet now for two months. My biggest question is the impact of almond flour on this diet. There are many mostly almond flour recipes out there. How does this flour and the associated breads made from this flour impact a persons health and blood chemistry.
    Ray

    • Boundless

      See:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/09/almonds-are-the-new-wheat/

      I’ve been following this blog (and eating tons of almond-based meals) for a year and a half now, and see no indications of problems, other than tweaking mimic recipes for texture and taste.

      People who are truly* nut-allergic, of course, need to use another alternative flour.

      On the Omega 6 concern, Dr. D. said in couple of places on that Almond thread: “Provided you are supplementing omega-3 fatty acids, the modest incremental intake of omega-6/linoleic acid from the almonds, I believe, are a minor issue at most.”

      And he’s said in other threads that the phytates issue is also a pick-your-battles matter.
      _______
      * Wheat eaters with other apparent food allergies need to consider carefully re-challenging those allergies (one at a time) after having been free of gluten-bearing grains for some time (after your gut has recovered). Some report that the other allergies are gone with the grain.

    • Dr. Davis

      They are neutral, Ray.

      Now, that said, they are not meant to dominate the diet. The diet should be dominated by foods like vegetables, meats with the fat, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, avocados, eggs, etc. The nut meal/flour recipes are only meant to be indulgences or replacements for familiar staples.

      You might, for instance, have eggs and sausage for breakfast, a tuna salad with mayonnaise and tomatoes and arugula for lunch, a pork tenderloin and asparagus for dinner, along with a slice of a wheat-free cheesecake–the nuts do not dominate, but provide a healthy alternative to fill in the things we miss from our prior habits.

      • I just heard on the news that Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, is contemplating gastric by-pass surgery to lose weight….in case he decides to run for president. Quick…..can’t we send him a WB book instead?

        • Barbara

          Too late! Had the surgery in February.

          Despite being morbidly obese, he is sensitive about his weight and has publicly admonished people who constantly suggest methods of weight loss. Perhaps his doctors, family, friends or staff will clue him in about wheat et.al. and lead him down a healthier path of eating for his personal health.

          He seems to be a decent man trying to do a decent job in an densely populated state with problems to match. He will learn, like all the rest of us, how to eat in a healthier manner as he starts feeling better.

          Do you remember when President Bush Sr. said he didn’t like broccoli?
          Lots of commentary on that! Maybe the seeds are being sown for Gov. Christie will wax poetic on the wonders of broocoli and more! You never know.

          • Yes, he is a decent man…..it’s unfortunate that he felt he had to take such extreme measures when WB could have saved him from such an invasive procedure…..but I do wish him a speedy recovery!

  33. rainbow

    Somebody needs to email our dear Jillian this link from the Wall St. Journal on gluten sensitivity.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576200393522456636.html

    It’s not about celiac anymore. Research has been done verifying gluten INTOLERANCE vs. disease.

    I was sick for years. Exhaustion, depression, achy, painful, tender muscles and joints. I thought I had fibromyalgia! On a whim, I went on South Beach diet and Phase 1 (avoiding all grains), made all my symptoms go away within a month! Sorry Dr. D, but I’m still a South Beach fan, only now gluten free. And honestly, I do ignore the instructions to limit saturated fats, and on Phase 2, I don’t eat the full recommended amount of fruits and gluten free grains, and I do eat more than “15 peanuts”…so I’d say I’m a nice hybrid between South Beach and Wheat Belly. And I do have both your books Dr. D…they are so wonderful. For me all gluten – not just wheat – is poison. Thank you for your books, and please keep up the book series!

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Rainbow–

      Actually, South Beach is an excellent diet, but just lacked the insight into the problems with wheat. And, as you have discovered, wasted effort and good calories by suggesting reduced saturated fat.

      Working hard at keeping up with the books!

  34. cathie

    Dr. Davis,
    For the last 2 months I’ve been working with a friend in her mid 30’s as she’s attempted to lose 20#. She has followed the wheat belly diet and despite adequate exercise and calorie counting she isn’t losing any weight. I encouraged her to follow up with her primary doctor who ordered thyroid labwork. Her T-3 came back normal–so he told her to go on Weight Watchers. Both the dietician and I are hard pressed to explain why she isn’t losing weight so I am wondering what other lab work should be checked or what other steps she should take?

  35. I have always been a little skeptical of some of the things Jillian Michaels talks about. This totally opens my eyes to what I should really be thinking!
    Thanks!

  36. Wow! Thank you for this! After all these years I’d supposed gluten is the best way to lose weight! I’ll take this post in check. Keep inspiring people!

  37. Jennifer

    Yes it’s so frustrating when I google wheat free and gluten free keeps appearing. Society hasn’t separated the two apparently.

  38. Joanie Horst

    I am 71 yrs old, and have been wheat free since the end of Dec. 2012. Last night without even thinking about it while making a salad for a ,not wheat free friend, I sampled the spagetti salad, only two small forks of it, to see if it needed more dressing. I awoke about 2 a.m. in misery with a stomache ache that has not totally gone away yet. I know for sure it was the wheat, and wonder if anyone has any advice for getting rid of the discomfort. Thank you much.

    • Dr. Davis

      No, Joanie, except to let it pass.

      This is why, once you are wheat-free, to avoid it as well as you can and avoid provoking such re-exposure reactions.

      • Brenda

        I went wheat free for my SI joint pain (total success!) and also found my asthma symptoms had practically disappeared. One stir fry with wheat-containing soy sauce gave me an almost immediate asthma attack. It’s amazing and a bit scary to realize the damage it can do!

  39. Stan Cho

    Hi Dr. Davis,

    I just finished Wheat Belly and I’ve got some friends reading it now too.

    I’m a little annoyed. I know it’s not about gluten thanks to your book. But this “gluten-free” fad is really growing and it seems it could become the new “fat-free” or “low-fat” mantra for the weight loss world. I am 36 years-old and very fit. I want to reduce wheat after reading your book (and eventually eliminate it completely) so I can stay that way. But everywhere I go to find wheat-free products, I’m met with the misconception that gluten-free means the same thing.

    I’ve googled this pretty extensively and short of a few articles here and there, I can’t seem to find where to buy wheat-free products. I love your recipes in the book but I don’t always have time to make my own flax-seed bread. PLEASE…do you know where I can buy wheat-free products? I love sandwiches and pizza but in 10-years I still want to see my feet when standing up.

    By the way I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It seems it’s easier to find crack than wheat-free products up here. Please help. Thank you.

    Stan

    • Dr. Davis

      It is precisely this reason why I 1) scream and yell about how god awful unhealthy the majority of gluten-free products are when made with what I call “junk carbohydrate” flours, and 2) why I help the people at Wheat Free Market produce truly healthy wheat-free products.

      Unfortunately, the Wheat Free Market people are just taking the steps to sell in Canada. They tell me that it should be up and running over the next few months.

  40. JL

    HI,
    I have struggled very very hard with weight loss – doing all I can (eating high protein low carbs) and exercising every day. I just cannot shift the fat! I am putting on muscle, according to my naturopath, but the fat isn’t budging. Would a wheat free diet be the key?

    • > … doing all I can (eating high protein low carbs) …

      Keep the low carbs, but dial down the protein and dial up the fat.

      > … and exercising every day.

      The Biggest Loser myth. Exercise is a very-nearly self-defeating way to lose weight. Compared to LCHF, it is a very inefficient way to burn fat, and it promotes appetite. Don’t stop it, but don’t do it for weight loss.

      > Would a wheat free diet be the key?

      Yep. Ditch wheat’s pals barley and rye as well. And avoid all added fructose. Dial down fruit intake.

    • And if a wheat-free low-carb high-fat low-fructose diet doesn’t do the trick immediately, see:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/10/i-lost-the-wheat-but-didnt-lose-weight-2/

      On the exercise thing … A grandchild likes to watch Biggest Loser with a family member when visiting. I normally I ignore that frustratingly tragic show, but I was installing a storm door and chanced to overhear much of it. In this particular episode, one team member was doing low carb, and NOT busting his butt exercising. Another was following the show’s dietary advice, and sweating his buns off. The slacker lost more weight, both due to the LC, and because he wasn’t building muscle mass (which, attention idiot show producers, isn’t weightless).

      The premises and practices of that show are just plain insane, and the show sending a swarm of very destructive messages to anyone who watches. Several contestants have apparently stumbled onto low-carb by themselves. The people running the show remain dogmatically oblivious. Growing awareness of grain-free and LCHF will eventually torpedo the show, but not soon enough. The reality of weight loss is that it is usually effortless and dramatic, once you dispose of consensus diet.

  41. megan

    hI,

    Thank you for all this wonderful information. I am still busy readying wheat belly and loving it. I am trying to cut out wheat, and have managed to do this 80% of the time. I havent seen any weight loss though.
    I am still a bit confused about wheat/ gluten…..are you saying that it is okay to continue eating gluten as long as you cut out wheat?