The perfect Wheat Belly story

Peter posted this wonderful comment that sums up many of the most common positive experiences people have when following this wheat-free lifestyle:

I am a 53-year old male who considers himself in good physical condition. However, my weight has been creeping up and up over the past 10 years. I am very active and was a bit concerned about my weight gain; always felt I ate properly and am not a drinker. I exercise regularly and play hockey on a regular basis.

In December, 2012, I had rotator cuff surgery and was off work for 4 months recovering. I was worried about additional weight gain and blood sugar issues, as diabetes runs in my family. A colleague of my wife recommended a book called Wheat Belly, as they have had great results from changing their patterns of eating.

I am a Phys Ed grad with a health sciences background and read the book cover to cover one morning. It made physiological sense to me.

As of the end of February, 2013, I have not had any wheat. I do not weigh myself that often. However, I noticed my pants becoming looser all of the time. Upon my return to work in April, 2013, I weighed myself on the medical scales at work and, to my shock, I was down 15 lbs. As of last week, I weighed in at 194lbs (I am 6 ft 2 inches).

At the time of my operation December 11, 2012, I was 219 lbs. In the months following, I did not exercise at all, as the jarring on my shoulder was too painful. Just last week, I began my recovery to running. I am the lightest since my first year of university (1979) and am almost into suits that I have not been able to get into for 15 years.

I am a believer in this lifestyle. It is not a diet, either; it is an attitude swing and changing up food groups to maximize your health. It is easily sustainable and the cost difference is minimal when grocery shopping.

I have dropped from a 36.5-inch waist to a 34-inch waist; my sleeping is much better, I have no more hunger spikes during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, my eczema has cleared up as well. The first couple of days I did have withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches; however, by the end of the week, I was fine. Our entire family (my wife who is 52,and sons 23 and 21 years) have eliminated wheat from their diets as well and all have the same results: better sleep patterns, no more bloating in the mid section.

I highly recommend this change of eating to everyone; I am truly amazed at the results.

Peter’s story encapsulates so many of the Wheat Belly arguments that I had to pass it on: freedom from the incessant hunger triggered by wheat, better sleep, relief from eczema, loss of abdominal fat, weight loss. Yes, he experienced the opiate withdrawal from stopping the ingestion of the gliadin protein of wheat, but he survived and lived to talk about it!

This is why I call wheat “the perfect chronic poison” and why elimination of all wheat is the most powerful strategy for regaining control over health and weight I have seen . . . ever!

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34 Responses to The perfect Wheat Belly story

  1. Tom says:

    Sounds like another great success story! Perhaps Peter could be encouraged by Dr. Davis to list his typical daily eating habits or perhaps future posts could be required to list same? I think readers would find that information very helpful.

  2. Reid says:

    I also read Wheat Belly a little over a year ago and like Peter thought the advice from Dr. Davis made sense. I had the same positive results as Peter. The elimination of wheat from my diet was a life changing event that I do not regret. Thank you Dr. Davis!

  3. Julie W. says:

    Keep up the good work, Peter. It just gets better and better and people will notice.
    Off topic; Dr. Davis, In your cookbook, you use yeast in several of your recipes. Is that okay to use for someone that has Hashimoto’s? I love the taste of yeast but don’t want to compromise my thyroid. Also, I noticed that you used garbanzo flour with those recipes. Would it work to use yeast with say, almond flour?
    Julie W.

  4. fudgecake says:

    These stories are sounding commonplace. After four months of very low carb, no wheat or other grains, I have a similar story. But I keep noticing new improvements to health. Most recently I took a couple of flights and noticed for the first time in fifty years of flying that my ears weren’t bothering me upon landing. That nice effect of the wheat belly diet is clearly associated with the general improvement in sinus health. Also I could list the usual array of improvements to digestion, asthma, eczema, sleep, the weight loss, the lack of food cravings, the calmer and clearer mental state. The interesting part is discovering new improvements in health and well-being as I become exposed to new experiences that would uncover them, such as the recent flights.

    • Chris says:

      Wow, that is fascinating! One of my many changes from stopping wheat, and it happened within a few days, was lack of ear wax. I used to clean my ears twice a day, and there was a load of wax there. Now it is common for there to be no wax at all after a couple of days!

      I fly quite often – 20+ times per year, and always had awful problems with my ear pressure. I am also certified to scuba to 240′, and could no longer do that due to ear problems. Since going wheat-free, my ears NEVER bother me on landing, but I never made the correlation. Now I am inspired to again do a 240′ dive and see if the problems are gone.

      Thanks fudge cake!

      • stephen ottridge says:

        Just last week I was thinking that I’m not noticing ear wax anymore. Wheat free since October last year, 35 lbs lighter, and no longer on insulin.

  5. Tammy says:

    I have been off wheat since November 2012 and I can tell you that it was life changing. September and October were very scary months for me. I was very close to killing myself. I imagined taking pills and just ending it. I was terrified to go to bed because that was when the darkest thoughts would come. I was in constant pain, all of my joints were inflamed and I was getting to the point where I couldn’t walk. I was getting heart palpitations every time I ate. The acid reflux was awful I felt like I was never digesting my food. I was diagnosed with IBS and was constantly vacillating between painful constipation and diarrhea. I was also diagnosed with cluster headaches and I was becoming incapacitated with the headaches. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I was trying to eat a “heart healthy diet” according to the Canadian Food Guide. I was so tired that I couldn’t make it through the day without sleeping in the afternoon. I was at the end of my rope.

    It was my mom who went wheat free before me and she was seeing some dramatic results. By this time I had tried to remove meat, no change. Dairy, no change. Nuts, no change. Sugar, no change. Canola/soybean/hydrogentated oils, no change. Eliminated any source of artificial sweeteners. I really didn’t know what to do. I had even been tested for celiac with no markers. Anyway in October she gave me the book and it was like a lightening bolt went off in my brain. I read the book in one day. I just couldn’t believe it. I eliminated every ounce of grain in my diet and started increasing my intake of meat, dairy and nuts with cocunut oil and olive oil. I was already eating lots of fruits and veggies. It took one week! One week! I have had one headache since I went off and that was because I accidentally ate wheat. I hardly take any painkillers anymore. The pain in my joints, gone! IBS, gone! Heart palpitations, gone! Bowel movements, regular and painless with little odour! Acid Reflux, gone! All in one week. Thank you Dr. Davis for writing that book. You saved my life, literally.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Tammy–

      Your story is so powerful that others MUST read it!

      I’d like to re-post as a blog post to make sure they see it. Thank you for sharing your story!

  6. michal says:

    hello Dr. Davis,
    i have started to follow your diet because i heard few people who testified it helped them with a skin problem i have.
    i don’t want to lose weight right now!!!
    i’m actually a bit worried of energy lost caused by weight lost…
    i would really like to know whether you still recommend this diet in my situation, or if you have any special instructions.
    thank you!
    michal

  7. JillOz says:

    Hi Dr Davis,

    Unfortunately my asthma is still my asthma, and will always be. Still experienceing that.
    I may have one or two issues that are not relevant to wheat.
    However, there are other changes about which I’m very pleased (as is my family)
    Mobility much improved, though I still have a little blockage in my sinus/ear area, it is a fraction of the blockage I used to get . don’t get vertigo any more while driving (that was awful),Dentists note that my teeth are very clean. (brush now with toothpaste and coconut oil).
    And so on.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that though I still get cold when the weather is cold and use heating, I don’t seem to get cold in the same bone-crushing way that I did before. (Don’t take my heater from me though!;)
    I’m still observing this of course, but wondered if this is the experience of others?

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Jill,

      It seems to me that it takes our bodies a while to normalize and we all react differently as our health improves.

      Having been on WB only for a month, I could not breathe in cold air (January). It felt like my bronchial tubes were on fire. My sinuses too! From outside cold (40* or less) to heated home (68*) or vice versa, caused a very runny nose. This never happened before. I started using a face mask when outside and that helped tremendously. I didn’t care that people looked at me funny!

      This Spring, all 3 major allergens are in the air at the same time. My sinuses swell, but mainly the upper ones now instead of all. Compared to previous years, I am much better even though I am still suffering. I can only surmise that after nearly 6 months on WB what were developing health conditions are abating as my organs cleanse. My ears simply do not have much wax any more and my teeth are much cleaner. I am even comtemplating flying once again which I stopped because of ear pressure/pain that was excruciating on take off and landing.

      Like you, sensitivity to cold has diminished somewhat with my face, ears and neck still sensitive, but my hands,
      legs and feet much improved. Muscles no longer feel stiff and my yoga postures are nearly perfect. It helps that my pot belly is much smaller! Joints aren’t achy anymore either. Magnesium supplements helped alot.

      To sum up, it seems that all my health issues are better or completely gone but some still fluxuate. Rather than thinking of not feeling well as a setback, I think of them as a slow cleansing. I make sure that I am drinking enough water to help this cleansing. Looking back, I try to check on the possiblility of eating something contaminated with wheat. Sometimes I can’t understand why I have a symptom. The longer I have had a “problem”, it seems that the longer it is taking to improve. Don’t get discouraged! It is normal to plateau. Just keep thinking happy thoughts of your cells now working properly and your organs too!

    • Loekie says:

      “I don’t seem to get cold in the same bone-crushing way that I did before.”
      Defenitely true also for me.

  8. Dana says:

    I am enthralled by all these amazing stories! So encouraging, but I must say I am not experiencing the same results. I am like those triathletes Dr. Davis mentions in the beginning of his book, carrying around and extra 20 lbs, but eating clean and working out consistently 5-6 days a week and most of the time ignoring the joint and back pain I have from inflammation. Well I have since seen the light and I have been virtually wheat free for about 2 months. I probably have had wheat a handful of times in those last two months and had some ice cream as welI, but even with those indiscretions I can’t believe I have not seen any weight loss and my joints don’t seem to be any better. Other than the ice cream slip I am also sugar free to help with the inflammation, but I was hoping for a better result. I am not giving up, but wondering if anyone else is experiencing the same? I know I haven’t followed the plan to a T, but I would have thought I would have seen some benefit given how awful this stuff is for you.

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Dana,
      Several people have written in about the length of time to recoup for each “slip” or “cheat”. They are saying it takes your body 5 or more days to undo the biochemistry surrounding each time you eat wheat/grains/sugars. I have experienced this myself. You get a stronger reaction the longer you are truly free of those substances and you tend to plateau in weight loss because of the seemingly inconsequential treat.

      Therefore, you said you have had 6 “slips”, so you actually have about six weeks worth of wheat/grain/sugar ingestion biochemistry out of your 2 month diet!

      Make sure you drink water to help cleanse your system. Check and double check the ingredients of all the foods you eat. Lots of sneaky ways companies list wheat products like “natural flavors”. Since this is a new way of eating, keep track of your total carb intake, striving for the 15 recommended net carbs. This seems to be the key to having your body burn the extra fat.

      From my experience, I am learning a tremendous amount of useful information from reading this blog site. I suggest you do the same. Perhaps an unknown thyroid problem is the culprit. There are many suggestions and test recommendations for this condition. Plenty of other health conditions mentioned that are helped by not ingesting the poisons. Good recipes too! Before you give up, give your system the time it needs to make the biochemical change.

      Hope this helps.

  9. Dana says:

    Thank you Barbara. That is extremely helpful, I had no idea how long the body recovery time is after a relapse. Yikes! Time to be more diligent!

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  11. My husband (72) had his yearly physical this week (we adoted the WB lifestyle in Jan 2013)….he’s lost 11 lbs. since thiis tme last year and his blood work etc. came back perfect! When asked what brought about the weightt loss, my husband brought up WB and his doctor decided to read it. The interesting thiing is that in this particular practice of ten doctors (cardiologists, endocrinologists, interists etc.) in Long Island, his doctor remarked that they are seeing 4 -7 new celac patients PER DAY……and when he was in med school, it was hardly even mentioned!

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  13. joannemkuhn@yahoo.com says:

    How long does it take for your belly to go flat? I have been on the Wheat Belly diet for two weeks after finding out I am sensitive to wheat. Have lost 4 lbs but feel my belly is still bloated. Am 5 feet 4 inches and now weigh 122 . Am not looking to loose more weight. I am assuming that it will take some time for the inflammation in my intestines to go down and would like feedback.

    • Boundless says:

      I’m guessing that you’ve seen:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/10/i-lost-the-wheat-but-didnt-lose-weight-2/

      if so, and you are otherwise low carb, and clear of other confounding factors, my first thought would be fructose. Remove all added fructose from your diet (esp HFCS). That also means minimizing fruits or sticking to low-fructose (and low carb) fruits. Humans are adapted to pack on weight when fructose is available (which, ancestrally, was seasonal).

    • unterderlaterne says:

      Joanne, your story is mine! Followed everything to the letter, I only lost 2 pounds, never cheat because I have no cravings any more! I am not over weight but still have my belly fat after 3 1/2 months. Now I am starting to have nightmares that this diet is all wrong and that I will have a stroke from all the saturated fat I am eating! I like this diet , but I am starting to wonder. However I would never go back to eating Wheat and starches, I am just worried about the above mentioned issue, since my mother and my father had heart attacks and passed away. I know that I am going to ruffle some feathers-but the nightmares are not going away!

      • antje says:

        have you read the book “why we get fat and….” by Garry Taubes?
        It will take your fear of getting a stroke away!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Well, of course it depends on how much you have to lose.

      Someone with 10 pounds of visceral belly fat will be flat a lot faster than someone with 50 pounds.

      Also, note that many people do better by supplementing a high-potency probiotic, e.g., 50 billion CFUs per day for 4-8 weeks, when they are experiencing bloating.

  14. unterderlaterne says:

    My fear also is, that I have the ratio of Omega 3′s and Omega6 wrong, How does one figure this out?
    Maybe I do more harm than good not knowing how to get it right. HELP!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      You really don’t have to calculate the ratio. Most of us do just fine by supplementing omega-3 fatty acids (preferably as the liquid triglyceride form), 3000 mg per day EPA + DHA (not of total fish oil, but of the EPA and DHA contained). Then avoid sunflower, safflower, corn, canola, and soybean oils. Use healthy oils such as olive, coconut, organic butter/ghee, walnut, avocado.

      Re: risk for heart disease. Get an advanced lipoprotein panel (including lipoprotein(a)) to know your risk for heart disease.

      • unterderlaterne says:

        Dr.Davis.
        Thank you again !
        I only have olive oil , avocado oil, almond oil and walnut oil in the house. I follow your recommendations very closely.
        I will take your advice to my doctor.
        Be well, Barbara.

  15. I am going to severely limit fruit and increase my vegetables. i reread the “Wheat Belly” and saw where Dr Davis said eat vegetables and SOME fruit. Also will check labels for fructose. I am reading that it is the fructose that keeps you from losing your belly fat. Hope this helps.

    • unterderlaterne says:

      I do not buy packaged foods anymore! Prepare nut butters in my food processor , do not use jams or syrups, no canned foods , my diet is very clean!

      • Barbara in New Jersey says:

        Unterderlaterne,

        Don’t forget to use butter or ghee and coconut oils too. It is good to vary them and some of the oils are too expensive to use for everyday cooking, I enjoy the avocado and nut oils in salad dressings where you can really taste them. They are wonderful with BBQ fish grilled on a cedar plank.

        WFForum has a discussion of stuffed, baked avocado, Excellent! Easy! Healthy!
        Check it out.

        • unterderlaterne says:

          Barbara, as you know Butter or Ghee is Omega 6, which I get a lot of ,I was more concerned about getting enough Omega 3 I think I am all right ! Thank you !

  16. Coby says:

    Hi Dr Davis,
    I originally quit gluten because of suspected gluten sensitivity.
    after the first 5-6 days i felt great. and then i felt even better after another week or two.
    then it seemed like i became sensitive to more and more foods, like grains, milk products,
    i would things that would set off brain fog and i dont know what was in them.
    for example, gluten free pancackes, made with buckwheat flour, sorghum and tapioca flour,
    gives me a head rush,
    i am down to meat vedges and fruit,. i honestly find it difficult to find enough to eat.
    i am not a cook and never have been, but am learning.
    my question is that at first it felt like my brain fog was clearing up nicely.
    but now it seems to be waning or plateauing,
    why is that? is this cross reacting and an over reactive immune system ?

    can you email notify me if you reply to this.
    thanks.