Smarter, faster, better

Given the extraordinary benefits of wheat elimination, it is natural that we begin to talk about how this lifestyle improves performance–performance in learning, work, physical performance, sports.

Among the benefits of wheat elimination that improve performance:

Better concentration, less mind “fog”–This improves paying attention in class, the ability to focus on a task for an extended period of time, and reduces distractibility. You can sit and learn longer, retain and understand more, recall and apply information more effectively.

Less joint discomfort, greater flexibility–How many times have we heard about the reduction or loss of joint pain and stiffness, greater flexibility, the heightened ease of exercise and physical activity? Less discomfort, greater and more flexible range of motion = heightened and more enjoyable physical performance.

Less gastrointestinal distress–Lest you discount the importance of this, ask any athlete with irritable bowel syndrome, or runners who evacuate their bowels explosively around mile 12, just how important this is.

Greater strength and increased muscle mass–This has not, to my knowledge, been formally quantified, but it is a common observation among wheat-free folk: They feel stronger, reporting increases, for instance, in amount of weight bench pressed or deadlifted in the gym.

Greater libido–Because wheat elimination reduces estrogen and raises testosterone in males, and reduces abnormally high estrogens in females (and may modestly increase testosterone), libido is increased. Increased libido is generally associated with enhanced sexual performance and drive, which I believe can translate into improvements in other spheres of life.

Just as people who eliminate wheat typically say things like “I feel 20 years younger,” the total appears to exceed the sum of the parts: Despite what we already know about the benefits of wheat elimination, the entire panel of benefits in life performance seems to exceed what we expect.

In sports, we are hearing about more and more athletes shunning all things wheat, including tennis player Novak Djokovic, golfer Sarah-Jane Smith, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and Olympic runner Andrew Steele. What is not clear is just how much the above improvements will result in improved concrete performance measures: jumping higher, running faster, winning more tennis games. (If Novak Djokovic’s performance in the first year he ditched wheat/gluten is any indication, he had his best year ever, winning 3 Grand Slams and 50 out of 51 matches.) I propose that wheat/gluten elimination will raise the bar for performance standards, setting a higher level that other athletes will need to reach to succeed.

Anyone interested in weighing in on how you experienced improved performance in some aspect of your life?

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79 Responses to Smarter, faster, better

  1. Brian Cygan says:

    Dr. Davis,

    Could you please contact me about a speaking engagement?

    My e-mail is brian@exercisecoach.com

    Website: exercisecoach.com

    Thanks!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I have a question rather than a comment. I’ve followed the blog, I’ve read the book, and I really would LOVE to try things. Problem is, I’m 7 months pregnant and feel afraid to introduce such a radical change. My midwife says Ketones can negatively affect a pregnancy. Hmmm. Well, I decided to go ahead and give up all wheat, while keeping other grains like oats and corn and some sugar. Will this one step have any positive impact? Or do I truly have to go “all the way” to experience the benefits? I’m exhausted with this wheat free thing (I’m on day 3) but I hope by holding out to day 5 I should regain energy. I look forward to any input… Thanks!

    • Pat McFarland says:

      I don’t have “the” answer for you but as you have read, the majority of people who post on this blog have stopped eating wheat and experienced incredible improvements in health and well-being as a result of going off wheat. I have too and remain amazed at the changes – and I will never eat wheat again. What better gift besides love can you give to your baby than improved chances for a good and healthy life? Many mothers-to-be have given up alcohol, drugs, and other dangerous habits and behaviors either before or during pregnancy so their babies would have the best chances to thrive. And how shall we all welcome the next generation? Will they face the same deteriorating health effects of this grain or can they be free from wheat and its myriad harmful effects? You’ll know what is right to do for you and your baby and your thoughtfulness has already demonstrated that this baby is going to be very, very loved.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I’ll just add that being wheat-free is actually the natural way humans are meant to be.

      There is this common perception that grains like wheat have always been a part of the human diet. That is simply not true. Grains have been a part of the human experience for around 0.4%–less than 1%–of our time on earth. Getting rid of it restores us to the natural state of adaptation that our bodies expect.

    • Doug says:

      Jennifer,

      Nutrient dense foods are best for baby, organic grass fed baby cow liver, free range eggs, lots of good saturated fats, plenty of sunshine, great for the vitamin D and cholesterol. Good quality grass fed cheese but be careful of what type, stay away from soft and moldy.

      Sugar has ZERO minerals and vitamins, It isn’t really even classified as a food according to the FDA’s own criteria. Nothing good comes from sugar consumption.

  3. Diana G says:

    I am just beginning to study going wheat free after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia along with Osteo-Arthritis.
    I hope that going wheat and gluten free will help me lose weight.
    Diana

  4. Alice Swartz says:

    Love your books and blog. Are you familiar with organic Hemp protein powders? I often have a Hemp protein shake with veggies and some fruit and rice milk in the mornings. Do you approve of Hemp?
    Thank you.
    Alice Swartz

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I know of no difficulties with hemp nor hemp protein, Alice. I believe you are safe ground!

      • Boundless says:

        If you are subject to random drug testing, you’ll want to make sure that your hemp foods are from supplier who assure low THC levels.

  5. RandallBB says:

    Since being on TYP for now 19 months, I have experienced a significant drop in blood pressure. I have been for years on two medications (albeit low doses) to control high blood pressure. I’m now in the process of getting off at least one. My blood pressure has never been better! What is the mechanism for this? Lower inflammation? Better endothelial function? I’m thrilled, of course, and wonder if others have had the same serendipitous result with being wheat-(grain)-free.

  6. RandallBB says:

    I should add that weight loss was not really a factor in my reduced blood pressure, I’m assuming. I did lose about 5 pounds, but I wasn’t really overweight. I did lose my visceral belly fat, though… may that have made a difference?

  7. Brian W says:

    I saw that one of the benefits you suggested of going wheat-free is increased strength. I just got a faculty appointment at a university and would like to do some reserach on this. I’ve been wheat-free for about 13 months. If you are interested in possibly collaborating please email me at the email I put in the line for making this post. Thanks.

  8. Pingback: The Dark Side of Wheat Belly? | Wheat Belly Blog

  9. Loekie says:

    With badminton I actually almost from one day to another – after gluten free diet – become much stronger and faster.

  10. Deb M says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,

    After watching my 52-year-old brother drop 53 pounds in 6 months, I knew he was onto something BIG! For years he had experienced severe digestive issues, was turning into a recluse, he complained constantly about aches and pains and he was depressed. A friend turned him onto the Wheat Belly Diet ~ and it changed his life. Thank you for giving me my brother back! After eliminating wheat, he no longer has any digestive-colitis issues, his depression is gone (without medications) and the weight is flying off. He also never feels hunger and feels completely satisfied by the amount of food he eats each day. He is dedicated to losing another 90 pounds. I truly believe this goal is in sight. His doctor is overjoyed with his results.

    As I watched this happen, I thought, why not do this myself. After struggling with 30 extra pounds for years, taking it off, putting it back on, excessive exercise routines, Weight Watchers, reduced caloric intake, nothing ever stuck. I eliminated wheat 4 weeks ago and the changes have been dramatic. My thinking has cleared, my aches and pains are gone (thought I had Arthritis – no), my sudden outbursts are gone, and much to my husband’s surprise (after 25 years of marriage) I have libido (not sure I ever had it to begin with, poor guy). However, the absolute best thing that happened, my debilitating hot flashes are gone! I struggled most of my life as a hot person, but after menopause, I was having severe hot flashes, soaking wet, at least 10 times an hour. When my Doctor suggested HRT, I went along with her, as I was not living. When she said my time was up on HRT, I had to stop, I was terrified. For 8 months, I was back to the severe state of hot flashes again. She prescribed numerous medications that seemed to help, but I was in a state of stupor. Oh, did I mention I have lost 8.5 pounds in four weeks as well. I am 55 years old and I truly believe I have never felt better.

    I am spreading the word to whoever will listen and will ignore the raised eyebrows. After they see my transformation………they will come around! Thank you so much!

    PS: The stomach pouch I have had since I was 18 is even gone!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Deb–

      You can appreciate just how profound the wheat-free liberation can be!

      I’d like to post your story as a blog post for others to appreciate.

  11. Pingback: Hot flashes no more! | Wheat Belly Blog

  12. Djokavic is certainly proving your theory correct this week at Wimbleton!

    • Tony says:

      Dr. Davis,
      Speaking of Djokovich… your daughter is a serious tennis player (and I’m a high end hacker). What kind of diet does your daughter eat?
      Thank you.

      • Dr. Davis says:

        She tries to also remain free of wheat/gluten. Travel makes this tougher, but she at least tries.

        At 19, it has been quite an effort to educate her about diet.

        • Tony says:

          Thank you, Dr. Davis,
          I have a 15y/o daughter and a 10y/o son. Both are slim and active but my daughter seems to be a carbs/wheat addict. I know it’s different for kids but what would you recommend as an optimal way of eating for pre-teens/teenagers? Any guidelines?
          Thanks again. Best regards,
          Tony

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  14. Seamus Kane says:

    Hi, Been on this diet for 3 weeks now and am feeling great, more energy etc. Belly seems smaller. Although my weight is down 92.4 to 88.6 my muscle mass is also down about 2 kilo. My Body water % is down. My Body Fat % is up and my Visceral Fat appears to fluctuate between 16 & 17 %. What is going on here? Am I doing something wrong? Is there something else I should be doing? Please help.