Wheat Belly saves a life

Tammy posted this astounding story of a life saved by the Wheat Belly message:

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 [irritable bowel syndrome] and was constantly vacillating between painful constipation and diarrhea. I was also diagnosed with cluster headaches and I was becoming incapacitated.

I felt like I was living 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 lightning 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 coconut 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.

Tammy is a perfect example of just how bad health–mental and physical–can get with negative markers for celiac disease. This is the fiction that the Wheat Lobby propagates: They claim that wheat is a problem only in the 1% of the population with celiac disease. This is not true.

Beyond the gastrointestinal, joint, and heart effects Tammy experienced with wheat, the most disturbing aspects of her experience were the mind effects, in her case the dark nocturnal thoughts. How many other foods can make someone suicidal?

Wheat is a mind-active drug Just as wheat (specifically the gliadin protein) can cause paranoia in people with schizophrenia, mania in people with bipolar illness, 24-hour-a-day food obsessions in people with binge eating disorder, behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autistic spectrum disorder, so wheat can also cause dark, self-destructive, suicidal thoughts. And such profound impulses do not require an entire loaf of bread, as Tammy discovered: just an inadvertent exposure in, say, soy sauce or salad dressing can be enough to re-trigger the whole collection of wheat-induced phenomena, dark thoughts included.

Obviously, there are many other causes and contributing factors in depression and suicide. But how many can be corrected as easily as not eating a pretzel?

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. I’ve had tests for celiac disease and was told “no problem,you can go on eating wheat”. And yet the difference when I stop is amazing! When I eat wheat I’m constantly hungry, overeating, foggy-minded, forgetful, tired all the time, can’t concentrate. When I don’t, everything is so much clearer. I can completely identify with the depression as well as the food obsessions.

  2. I could have written Tammy’s story except maybe my symptoms were not quite so dramatic and I had learned a little from previous low carb attempts. Your book Wheat Belly sealed the deal for me.

    One more step to go. Apart from losing at least another 15 kg/33 lbs I want to see good BP results. Off all meds now but not altogether happy with where my BP is. In 2 weeks I will celebrate my 75th birthday.

  3. Essie

    Dr. Davis – I’m very piqued by your research and book. I’m just trying to figure out what meals to cook for my family (especially my husband who is currently on statins for extremely high cholesterol).
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the recent studies regarding meat, eggs, and the role that carnitines can play in heart disease and stroke. The articles are here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/health/eggs-too-may-provoke-bacteria-to-raise-heart-risk.html?_r=0
    Thank you.

  4. Ava Liss

    Dr. William Davis has published a very important book which is probably the most important book I have ever read. I gave up wheat about a month ago and feel clean on the inside and have much clearer thinking.
    I no longer have chronic constipation and I am extremely grateful for this wonderful treasure trove of important information. I feel that I will have a much healthier life now living wheat free. Thank you Dr. Davis!!!!!

  5. Tammy

    Thank you Dr. Davis for sharing my post. I wanted to share because there might be someone else who is having suicidal thoughts. I want them to know that this could be the thing to help them. I also forgot to mention that I lost almost 20 lbs and 6 inches off my waist within 2 months of going off. It’s been an amazing experience.


  6. Barbara

    Dr. Davis,
    There is an op-ed article in yesterday’s NY Times called “Breeding the Nutrition Out Our Food.” This was written by Jo Robinson whose book is about to be published. Discusses how the phytonutrients have been bred out of our food. She even states that no one is testing our food for nutrients. Hundreds of well thought out comments too. Despite the well stocked grocery stores, she finds that the basic vegetables and fruits look perfect, but are limited in nutritonal value. For example, she states that wild dandelion leaves are much more nutrient dense than spinach, which is considered a superfood. Discusses corn too! No wonder we suffer from all kinds of ills….not only being poisoned, but the food we do eat has little nutritional value to help us recover! I urge all WB followers to googe this article.

    • stanley

      hmmm … i remember a chapter by adelle davis i read around 1970ish called ‘which apricot , grown where?’ about how different the nutrients could be in two apricot fields next to each other , one full one empty .

  7. I am not sure if Dr. Davis has saved my life. I am sure, that, if it were not for his book, Wheat Belly, my body and mind would have continued to be an even worse hell on earth.

    I have not posted for a long time, for I am a disabled Vet. with problems not related to Wheat, but, there is not a big enough Gun on this earth, to make me eat a mouse-sized morsel of Wheat, or any other genetic modified grain, for that matter. I have enough Service-connected problems, without adding additional stressors to my mind and body.

    As always, I cannot find the words to thank Dr. Davis.

    Roger, Ohio

    • Sheila

      Yes, thank you for your service. Wish you continued success on your wheat free journey. And hoping your service related problems become more bearable over time.
      Remembering you in our thoughts on this Memorial Day.

    • Carol

      Thanks for being there for us! We should honor our veterans every day, but I’m glad we have this one designated day to remind us of that.

    • Murray

      Roger, you say you cannot find words to thank Dr. Davis? Baloney. These fine words sound supremely appropriate to my ear: “there is not a big enough Gun on this earth, to make me eat a mouse-sized morsel of Wheat.” Well done, soldier.

    • Robin

      Hi Roger ~
      A while ago I watched a film about EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping. If you google eft tapping, there are links to look at. An excellent site is thetappingsolution.com and you can find out what the movie is about there. Basically, it followed a few people with emotional and/or pain problems, with practitioners working with them. The difference afterwards was remarkable. It came to mind because one of the participants was a vet and he was helped tremendously. This site, among others, shows you the technique as well. I thought I’d mention it in case it might be of help.
      And, as the others have said, thank you for putting your life on the line for us.

      • Neicee

        Roger, good to see you back. An interesting observation on Memorial Day was that all the really older vets at the cemetery were very thin and most rather fit. We dropped into the VFW Club afterwards and again, those that were there (from WW 11, Korea, and Viet Nam were all slender and mostly fit as well. Younger ones from Desert Storm and our past 11 years were carrying bellies and indulged in beer and various snacks all forbidden to our non-wheat lifestyle.
        Thank you for your service and do continue to visit and continue to post. Always enjoyed your fire in the belly responses.

        • HS4

          I’m glad to see you are still here on the WB blog, Roger! I’ve always enjoyed your postings and insights. Blessings to you this Memorial Day weekend and every other day of the year as well.

          • I would suggest that all buy Dr. Davis’ second book, as many argue, “Soooooooo What DO I eat.” When out, my wife and I eat non-wheat based–as I know in a few mins if I have made a mistake, for my gentic/cultural make up, makes me more sensitive to wheat–in addition to head injuries.

            Moreover, people with TBI/ABI (Tramatic Brain Injury/Aquired Brain Injury) reguardless of blood type/cultural-genetic issues, are even more sensitive to wheat-based toxins.

            The human condition is difficult enough, without the additional stressors of man-made toxins. Still angry at the U.S. Govts. denial of Aspartame (among others of like chemical composition) toxcity. A flood of evidience by qualified people is no match for entrenched powers that be, making money on the illness of WE THE PEOPLE. I shudder, each time I go to a VA Hostpitol, and see diatary WHOLE GRAIN recommendations, and vist the food courts, etc. and see people chunking down wheat-based products, to include Aspartame.

            I will try to post as I am able, as my ablity to concentrate is compromised.

            Roger, Ohio

    • JillOz

      This is one of the issues. Even if people cannot fix every ilness they have, certainly the inflammation
      from wheat does not need to be in their body!

      A young lady I know told me of her grandfather who suffers from asbestosis. Not curable, but going off wheat has helped his health and diminished his pain levels and body burden considerably.

  8. Steve

    I hear you and know exactly where your coming from. The wheat was killing me slowly. I feel like a new person. I never would have thought that pizza would be my worst enemy to my personal health.

  9. Mike

    CHEATING: I joined the Wheat Belly universe in September, 2011 and, over the course of the next year, I lost 20 pounds and several inches off the waist. Everything was fine until recently, when I decided to do a little cheating. You know — a few chips here, a few bites of pie there, a few french fries, etc. It hasn’t taken long — just a few weeks — but I’ve put on two pounds. I’ve learned my lesson. The Wheat Belly regimen is a very long-term commitment and cheating apprently is out, at least for me.

    Comments, Dr. Davis?

  10. Jeff G

    Sorry to ask this on an unrelated post. But, I’ve searched and can’t find what I’m looking for.

    I’m looking for the post that shows how an occasional cheat day affects your lipids.

    If I remember right, it said something like it elevates LDL for over week after you cheat.



  11. stephen ottridge

    eating french fries is not cheating, they have no wheat. similarly with corn chips now and again. A slice of bread or croutons in your salad would be cheating. I’m down 35 lbs from my peak weight and no longer need insulin for my diabetes. I eat french fries about once per week and 100% rye bread every couple of days.

    • Boundless

      > … eating french fries is not cheating, …

      True, if the definition of cheating is limited to eating wheat, and you’re sure the oil isn’t contaminated with wheat from other menu items cooked in it. But WB is also advocating a low-carb diet, and avoidance of degraded and/or omega 6 oils. French fries are high glycemic and fast food oils are usually a nightmare.

      > … similarly with corn chips now and again.

      Same problem (plus unknown GMO risks). 6 chips is usually your entire meal’s net carb limit. When I eat corn chips, I frankly consider them to be a cheat.

      > … and 100% rye bread every couple of days.

      Rye is a gluten-bearing grain. Depending on the strain, it may also have various other modern wheat traits. And it’s loaded with fructans, which is a hazard if your gut has any bacteria that can convert that to fructose (common in the obese, not clear how much a risk it is for someone who is just formerly overweight).

  12. Sandy

    My son was just diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. All of the symptoms of IBS and then some. It’s not so much that the wheat is causing his symptoms, it’s the fructose in the wheat, and certain fruits, and milk, etc. We’re just starting on this journey of eating wheat-free for him, so I’m looking forward to visiting this site often for recipes and advice on how to cook wheat free. Thanks for being here!! :)

    • murray

      Your son might well react to milk, but not likely from fructose in milk. The sugar in milk is lactose, which is half glucose and half galactose. No fructose.

    • Uncle Roscoe

      In nature fructose is easy to detect. It tastes sweet. Aside from fructose, virtually no natural food tastes sweet. There are rare exceptions, but the only foods I can think of which contain other sweet tasting substances also contain lots of fructose.

      If your son has fructose malabsorption he should ingest nothing which tastes sweet. Nothing.

      Fructose malabsorption means the patient lacks function of GLUT transporters in the intestines. In most cases the initial problem is physical, and not chemical. Most fructose malabsorption is associated with intestine wall damage, such as the damage seen in celiac disease. Conversely, some fructose malabsorption is genetic. But it’s relatively rare.

      I’m not a physician. I gained this knowledge while trying to chase down my own fructose problems. Fructose is very difficult for people to handle. It makes us sick. Westerners should not consume 1% of the fructose we currently consume.

      And before you ask ……..Again. Yes. On a practical basis EVERYTHING which tastes sweet contains fructose. There are other dietary hazards, especially wheat.

      • Boundless

        > I gained this knowledge while trying to chase down my own fructose
        > problems. Fructose is very difficult for people to handle.

        Perhaps the most accessible indictment of this saccharide is “The Fat Switch” by Dr. Richard J. Johnson, MD. Fascinating, frustrating and flawed (but not fatally so). Dr. J. identifies the fat switch as uric acid, and the biggest finger on that switch as fructose.

        This is highly likely to have conferred a survival advantage to our ancestors, who could pack on the pounds with summer fruit and survive many weeks of low/no food in the winter. These ancestors lacked genes for uricase and vitamin C synthesis. Those that retained those genes are all fossils now. The problem today, of course, is that fruit season is never over, and metabolic winter never comes.

        > Most fructose malabsorption is associated with intestine wall damage …

        Dr. J. persuasively argues that fructose can do that all by itself, without malabsorption. And it’s not just enough to drive consumption of explicit fructose to near zero. We can synthesize it from glucose. The obese commonly have gut bacteria that can convert fructans to fructose. It is sugars off all kinds that need to be driven down. #1 and #2 sources of fructans? Wheat and rye.

        • Uncle Roscoe

          >Dr. J. identifies the fat switch as uric acid, and the biggest finger on that switch as fructose.

          I agree. Uric acid in trace amounts is good. But the Western blood levels of fructose-caused uric acid is an epidemic. It’s killing us. Fructose degrades into acetaldehyde. The livers of most westerners use acetaldehyde dehydrogenase to turn acetaldehyde into uric acid. Acetaldehyde is a far worse toxin than uric acid. I’m pretty sure I have no acetaldehyde dehydrogenase gene. ……solutrean ancestry.

          >it’s not just enough to drive consumption of explicit fructose to near zero. We can synthesize it from glucose. The obese commonly have gut bacteria that can convert fructans to fructose.

          I believe for the most part those bacteria would be grown by fructose and grassy grains.

          • Jeanne

            I was diagnosed with FM back in 2008 via breath test at the GI’s office. I had never heard of it!
            People with FM have to find their own unique tolerance to fruit and fructans. Wheat is a big problem, but onions and garlic are almost as bad.
            What one can tolerate, the next person with FM cannot. What a pain!

      • Uncle Roscoe,

        For quite a few years I have been on a study/info hunting and gathering mission, concerning sugar consumption, natural and artificial. Though and antique, Sugar Blues, (c. 1975) by William Dufty (a researcher, not a Ph.D. MD. type) blew my mind, and started me on my own research mission–and I, along with Ph.D./MD. types, recommend his his book, if, for nothing else, a primer, to get started.

        Some of the sick and sad readings have come from reliable souces, decorated medical science people, of various qualifications–and the Govt. of WE THE PEOPLE, that still insist that no harm comes from consumption of these products, despite evidence contrary. Dr. H. Roberts, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Janet Starr Hull, Dr. Blaylock–all diverse experts, physicians, neurologists, surgeons, etc. are just a hand full of writers, and speakers on this subjuct–and their learned, researched conclusions has influenced me, but, not the Govt. that is supposed to represent me–and all my fellow Americans, for that matter.

        When I found out about Dr. Davis, and his book, Wheat Belly, my mind was prepared, but the depth of wheat-based toxins, was still hard to fathom, until I studied the matter out, and, once off the stuff, major symptoms vanished!

        What ever one beleives–man evolvoled or was created, in either case, our minds and bodies were not evolved or designed to comsume all these toxins!

        Dr. Davis and his book are especially potent for people like me, that have head and body truma issues, and are more sensitive to the ravages of wheat, and other like-toxins.

        Again, I have not written in a while, but, want to thank you and people like you, that leave learned info.

        Roger, Ohio

        • Uncle Roscoe

          Roger, Thanks for posting, and thanks for your service.

          For your head trauma, I would like to recommend a few practices which have helped me. These are intended to increase blood flow to the thymus and the lower brain, including the hypothalamus, ear nerves and visual cortex.


          1. Correct posture, especially when resting. Slumping causes the manubrium to place pressure on the subclavian artery.
          2. Sleep on your sides, never on your stomach. The turned-head position combined with chest pressure tend to crimp the thoracic and cervical arteries.
          3. Avoid jouncing. You may have to give up your daily run/
          4. Drop dairy, yellow corn and eggs. Casein, lutein and zeaxanthin seem to exacerbate the problem.

          What passes today for the practice of medicine is simply appalling. One of the biggest scams if pharmaceutical “research”. We develop neolithic diseases. The medical establishment knows the disease by certain markers, like elevate blood glucose or elevated “cholesterol”. But there are problems with tracking these markers. So big pharma researches and develops newer simpler markers. Then big pharma researches and develops expensive drugs which improve the markers without treating the disease.

          The whole thing is a first class ripoff which fosters addiction and disease. If you want insurance which covers real treatments against real diseases you are forced to pay for the ripoffs which all the people around you are suckering into.

          Rant over. Good luck.

          • Uncle Roscoe

            >2. Sleep on your sides, never on your stomach. The turned-head position combined with chest pressure tend to crimp the thoracic and cervical arteries.

            Oops. Make that the *subclavian* and cervical arteries.

    • Sandy

      Thanks to everyone for their replies! We’re just starting on this wonderful journey. We’ll be attending a class in a couple of weeks to learn what he can and can’t eat. From everything I’ve read, the intolerance is exacerbated when a food has more fructose than glucose, which is why the list of things he can and can’t eat makes zero sense to me (pineapple is okay but broccoli isn’t – what????). The one thing I have to disagree with is the notion that anything sweet is bad for us. Many sweet things contain naturally occurring sugars other than fructose. My son has no problems eating pineapple or citrus fruits, but peaches and pears (his two favorites!) make him feel like his gut is going to explode. Nothing I’ve read has indicated that he should steer clear of all things sweet, just the stuff that’s going to cause bloating and discomfort, as these are his main symptoms and what has lead to his inability to gain weight. He stopped eating for about six months because it was too painful, and ended up at a low weight of 108. At 5′ 9″, this isn’t a good thing! We’ve got him up to 116, and his appetite has been improving since we started modifying his diet and eating is less and less painful. I’ve found several recipes for wheat free breads and flours for baking that don’t contain wheat, and we’re experimenting with those. I’m lucky he’s a responsible kid and always reads labels or calls and asks if certain foods are okay to eat. I’ll be sharing what I learn throughout the process, although I get the feeling that everyone is going to have their own list of foods that they can and can’t tolerate, as is the case with food allergies and sensitivities (luckily he has NONE!!!). Thanks again for the support!!

  13. JillOz

    Dr Davis,

    can you please comment on Charcot-Marie Tooth syndrome and wheat?
    Is the syndrome reversible if you go off gluten/wheat?

    • Richard

      Jilloz, I don´t know if you read this. I have an amazing story to tell you regarding charcot marie tooth and off gluten diet. Please contact me asap. With Love, Richard Salm Wiede

      • Tracie

        I am very interested in any positive correlations between wheat free and Charcot Marie Tooth. Thank you.

  14. SandyC

    This post was shared with me by my mum, and I am so glad she did! My doctor wants to test me for coeliac disease, which means I have to eat a high gluten diet (for me, as I haven’t been eating much, if any at all) for four weeks. One week in and I feel like I am dying. I had to go to ED at my local hospital today because my asthma has been highly exacerbated since yesterday. I have also had a chronic headache since last week, all my joints hurt so bad that none of the painkillers I have tried are doing anything and mentally everything has gone to hell. I sleep for hours every afternoon because I am so tired, but then I have trouble sleeping at night and my depression has come back, and my poor mum has been copping all my frustrations.

    I mentioned to the doctor at the hospital about the test for coeliac and all the gluten I have been eating and he just told to me to stop eating it otherwise I will be at the hospital everyday until the test, which is in three weeks. I am so glad he said that because I really don’t think I could tolerate another three weeks of feeling the way I do.

    My mum has read Wheat Belly, but it was someone else’s book. She has now ordered a copy for me but we are still waiting for it to arrive. I think it is time…

    • Dr. Davis

      Your doctor did you a grave disservice by telling you to load up on wheat/gluten in order to have a positive test. This is wrong at a number of levels!

  15. Heather

    I ate chinese food on Friday, and while I had asked they hold the cornstarch and soy sauce.. the soy sauce remained. I wish it had been the other way around. I ate it anyway and now am paying the hefty price. Today being the worst for the suicidal ideation wheat causes for me thus far. Its a very dark place that lasts a week, then lets up. Corn “gluten” just causes a mild general anxiety and instant itching of my chronic “gluten alarm” skin condition. Wheat makes me feel insecure, causes delayed itching, makes me moody, and at first exposure causes my skin to crawl and tingle, with annoying moving tickles and pin prick sensations. I work at a local health food store and talk extensively with many customers. I am always so happy to hear the stories of those that take me up on the “wheat free/corn free” challenge. The brain issues gluten causes for me, even in the tiniest amounts such as extracts and other supposedly gluten free products helps me help others root out even the simplist exposures they haven’t been able to figure out. While I may have a celiac brain, I will never know because if even the smalles exposure causes dark thoughts, a month of gluten for testing purposes would most certainly be the death of me.

    • Dr. Davis

      Wow, Heather: It is SO important you are meticulous in your avoidance!

      This sounds literally like a life or death situation.