The Dark Side of Wheat Belly?

Wheat-free champion, gentleman, and all-around-nice-guy, Boundless, posted this wonderful insight in response to the last Wheat Belly Blog post about enhanced human performance minus wheat:

The unspoken dark side of the Wheat Belly Way: Retrogeria

In most adults, there is a rapid reverse aging (the inverse of progeria) caused by the WB lifestyle change. It usually stops at about an age-equivalent of 21. But even this can have significant side effects, such as:

* You’ll need a whole new wardrobe.
* Acquaintances won’t recognize you.
* You may get carded when ordering a drink.
* You’ll need a new license and passport photo.
* You’ll have to give up that handicapped parking tag.
* You may get hit on by younger singles.

However, in some cases (estimated at 1 in 42), severe acute youthfulness results, and requires urgent action. Usually, eating an occasional apple does the trick, as the fructose content arrests the retrogeria.

But whatever you do, don’t eat wheat. You want to arrest the process, not catastrophically reverse it.

Your metabolism may vary.
Bariatrics not included.

Thank goodness the process stops at age 21–else you might need to repeat high school!

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Chris

    So I thought this would be a good place to jump in a leave a comment or more of a request for feedback. I have been wheat free since Oct. 2012. I wanted to try this lifestyle to see if it would help my cholesterol numbers, as heart disease is a issue in my family. My numbers before wheat belly, total cholesterol 275, HDL 65, LDL 186 and triglycerides 122. As of April 2013 total 272, HDL 80, LDL 178 and tri 73. So I felt these numbers were pretty good. Here is my issue. I have actually gained a few pounds, started 5’4″ 128 lb, now 132 lb. unfortunately it seems to have gone straight to my mid section. I have read the sections about losing wheat but not weight. I have not felt this wonderful turn a round that so many have experienced. Mainly weight loss and increased energy. A quick health background, I’m a 55 post menopausal woman and 3 year breast cancer survivor. My treatment included mastectomy, chemo and a year of the drug herceptin. I am not on any prescription drugs at this time. I wondered if my lack of the benefits that so many people seem to experience could be hormonal or due to the stress my body has gone through with the cancer? I rarely get indigestion anymore, so there’s a plus! Thanks for any input!

    • What is your net carb intake per day?

      > … and 3 year breast cancer survivor.

      As a cancer survivor, this question is more critical than for the typical “didn’t lose” inquiry, and this is why …

      Anyone with a serious interest in cancer needs to read this recent (and historic) work, which seems likely to do for cancer what Wheat Belly is going to do for wheat (namely, make it largely vanish).

      Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer
      Thomas Seyfried
      ISBN-10: 0470584920
      ISBN-13: 978-0470584927

      It’s an expensive book in hardcover, and somewhat cheaper as a Kindle, but in any case cheaper than an initial cancer screening (and we won’t even talk about compared to the expense of consensus cancer treatment, which agony and complications might be avoided entirely through diet).

      What’s the Wheat Belly connection? A calorie-restricted ketogenic diet kills cancer cells. WB recommends a diet that is borderline keto, and probably provides substantial immunity to cancer. It’s also a great place to start if you want to drive your carb consumption even lower.

      Ketogenic diet is already used to manage epilepsy and Type I diabetes with minimal or no meds. Cancer seems likely to be the next ailment that keto fixes, and the first major advance in treating cancer since Nixon declared “War on Cancer” over 40 years ago.

      • Chris

        Boundless, thanks for responding. I am at about 15-20 net carbs per meal. Sometimes less, sometimes more. My husband is not wheat free so I still make and consume potatoes about once a week. I probably would benefit if I wrote down my food in order to really keep track of my carbs. I have been reading a lot online about ketogenic diet and hoping my low carb and wheat free life will ward off a cancer recurrence. I am thinking I will have to reduce my carbs even more if I hope to see weight loss.

        • > I probably would benefit if I wrote down my food in order
          > to really keep track of my carbs.

          Yep. The total is usually more than you’d guess, and for deep keto, the target is probably more like 15-20 grams per DAY. I haven’t been keeping close track of my intake (no pressing need really), but may just because I’m curious.

          > I have been reading a lot online about ketogenic diet and hoping
          > my low carb and wheat free life will ward off a cancer recurrence.

          Dr. Mercola has a fascinating interview with Thomas Seyfried at:

          It got into pretty much all the questions I had after reading the book.

    • Dr. Davis

      Hi, Chris–

      Some tough issues, not all of which, unfortunately, can be addressed via a blog. Nonetheless, a few thoughts:

      1) Note that calculated LDL cholesterol is invalid in this lifestyle, as the usual calculation used to generate the LDL cholesterol value uses assumptions that no longer apply. It means having to use superior measures, such as NMR LDL particle number or apoprotein B, both of which circumvent these problems.

      2) The increase in abdominal girth usually suggests that you are continuing to be exposed to foods that are provoking insulin, as this represents growth of visceral fat. Or it could mean that you are exposed to drugs that do so. You may be someone who really needs to restrict carbohydrates of all varieties to something like 12-14 grams “net” carbs per meal and avoid dairy due to the insulinotrophic (insulin-provoking) effect of whey proteins.

        • Evie

          Still here…..still reaping the wonderful health benefits of my wheatectomy +…weight loss at 18 #s down. Feel great! Yet, as a thyroid patient I have been taking 150mcg of Levoxyl for a decade with routine normal test results, the last one in March 2013. In late May this year I was not able to get my Rx of Levoyl due t o a recall by Pfizer. After much maneuvering by phone on a weekend and a few days without any, I was able to get an RX for the generic Levothyroxine, same dose, from an on call MD and started it a few weeks back. In the past week I have had increased body heat, heavy sweating and clamminess, felt feverish and chills at times and have a much cleaner house due to feeling hyped up and running on high octane. My usual insomnia is worse and I notice I have a twitchy feeling in my hands and lower legs. At first, I sort of liked all this extra energy, but now it is becoming uncomfortable. I will be calling my new Dr. this week on it, but I am wondering if my improved nutrition via wheat elimination and improved diet/weight loss could have somewhat altered my body’s requirement for the replacement med. I am practicing how to explain to my new internist about my diet change/weight loss, so that he might consider all this, but I am concerned because I’ve not had much luck explaining it to Dr.s in the recent past. In fact, I fully expect to be tested and told everything is “normal” when my body says it’s just not so. Also, I returned recently to using iodized salt. Could this and my improved diet be an issue in my concerns?

          • Dr. Davis

            Yes, they could indeed. This should be assessed right away.

            Also, you may need a smarter doctor, one who also assesses your T3 thyroid hormone, as well as prescribes T4 (levothyroxine). 70-80% of people who take levothyroxine who then add the T3 feel happier, more energetic, and lose weight more rapidly. But you need a doctor who has not been brainwashed by the drug industry.

  2. Nancy W.

    Another quick question…I am just getting started with WB and trying to keep my husband focused on it as well….and keep him willing to do it! He was wondering about cider beers…i.e. Woodchuck Cider. I have a feeling they’re high in sugars, but thought I’d ask. I saw you posted a good choice cider as well, so will have to look into that one. Also, for myself, have not seen any response on your blog for questions about nutritional yeast…is this okay to have on WB?
    Thank you for your time on these questions..I am looking forward to seeing some weight/health changes in our future with your way of eating! :)

    • HS4

      If you check out the WB forum at and search for ‘beer’ you’ll find some discussions on various types of beer including the gluten free beers. Also this might be a good place to find out about nutritional yeast (which as far as I know is OK). If the forum does not contain answers to your questions then you can always start a topic or two on them and see what others say.

  3. Cindy

    The whole new wardrobe is very gratifying. Instead of dreading an event because most of the clothes in my closet didn’t fit well or I felt uncomfortable wearing them, I am excited to wear something that feels good and looks good. For a woman, it doesn’t get better than this. I feel younger, although my skin is sagging from the weight loss. I hope to introduce strength training and/or yoga into my daily routine. I ride my bicycle most days of the week or take long walks. Some of my friends have completely ignored my weight loss and those who do acknowledge it, think I am an extremist in this new way of eating. I don’t care. I am hoping for improvement in my numbers – cholesterol, blood sugar, and BP. At age 64, I don’t think I’ll get carded or “hit on” but my new body has made me feel better about me, instead of feeling guilty about every morsel of food I put into my mouth. My husband will reap the benefits of this new me as I now like the way I look and feel.

    • Dr. Davis

      Terrific, Cindy!

      Yes, the strength training idea is wonderful to accelerate the loss of the loose skin. A diet rich in healthy fats also helps.

      Be sure that your regimen includes fish oil for skin health, also.

      • Darlene

        Dr Davis,
        I recently read an article about Krill oil. I wondered how you feel about fish oil supplements, since most of the benefits are those which naturally occur on the WB diet.

        • Dr. Davis

          I believe there are long-term benefits to obtaining EPA and DHA in quantities of around 3 grams per day (3000 mg).

          I also believe that the claims for krill oil primarily represent the overenthusiastic claims of an industry eager to cannibalize the substantial market of fish oil, not on genuine benefits, as the quantity of EPA + DHA is just far too small, even if absorption is improved.

  4. Carol

    And I always thought Boundless was a woman. I have appreciated reading his insightful comments over the time I have been wheat free. He always explains everything so well.

    • I presume the “Forum” is the Wheat Free Forum (and not the TYP Forum).

      On the WFF, based on a response on one of the threads, Rita has just gone on a camping trip (duration unspecified), and I’d guess she has either disabled account creation for the duration, or wouldn’t be around to moderate the requests. Give it a few days.

      • Neicee

        I had trouble yesterday while trying to read the posting (all the files) by Boundless. When I went to #2 it wanted me to login again or create an account? And, I’m already a member over there.

        • I had defective links in many of the articles, pointing to the “Modify” feature of the articles, as I couldn’t create the nav links until after posting, and the WFF doesn’t really support all the BBcode you might assume it does.

          I think they are all fixed now (I found some more today), but if not, please report them as a reply.

  5. Sheri

    How do I get started on this? Is it basically like Atkins – before Atkins started selling all of the processed food?

  6. Marv

    Hah! Excellent, Boundless!

    Especially the new Driver’s License. I’ve been having trouble getting past TSA lately, and that license picture is 12 YEARS OLD!


  7. Kathy

    I’ve been wheatless since reading WB in March of 2012. I can only boast of a 10 pound loss. But my joints are loving the new regime; it’s truly sustainable. I am going to have to give in, though, and go shopping–my pants are all getting baggy!

  8. Louise

    Any suggestions as to how to cope with the hair thinning and hair loss associated with the low carb life style? Any input appreciated…thanks!

    • Neicee

      Louise, I haven’t experienced that, nor anyone else I know that follows the WB regimen. I do take collagen and all but find it impossible to keep my hair and nails trimmed. Could it be you have an undiagnosed thyroid problem? There are a number of other reasons you might experience thinning hair loss – too little fat or not taking supplements during your transition time?

    • Dr. Davis

      Hair loss is not an expected part of this approach, Louise. It suggests that something is wrong.

      Thyroid dysfunction is worth considering. Some people also respond to supplementation with biotin, 2 mg per day, and using gelatin every day.

      • Louise

        Sorry I am late in responding… thanks so much to all of you – Neicee, Jan, Susa and Dr. Davis – for your help. I am wheat free and have about 30 lbs. to go! I have been treated for the past 20+ years for Hashimoto’s and my numbers are ok and I feel great! My carb intake is about 30 gms per day. I am going to give the Biotin a try…

  9. Susa

    I am surprised you are experiencing hair loss. Since being wheat free(5months) my hair has stopped falling out. Hair is in such better shape, growing faster and feels stronger. Plus my nails are so much stonger and longer.

  10. Christine Curtis

    It has been eight days since I “broke-up” with my long lost friend wheat and my body feels rather “strange”. The bloating, primarily due to pasta & bread is gone and I feel lighter. I don’t think I will be abstaining 100% from wheat but probably 80/20 as a complete restriction has caused me to be somewhat dizzy and weak. However, this may be one of the symptoms of 100%.
    Last night I grabbed one of our famous Montreal bagels from the freezer so I could toast it this morning with lots of butter and jam. However, when I saw that my belly was getting flatter and the bloating had disappeared…well…I put the bagel away.
    Will give this another eight days ..
    Chirstine Curtis
    McGill University

    • Dr. Davis

      The dizziness and weakness may be due to a combination of wheat withdrawal, i.e, withdrawal from the opiates in wheat, as well as lack of hydration, sodium, and magnesium.

      There is no way around the opiate withdrawal, just as an alcoholic has no choice but to stop drinking alcohol. But you can hydrate, salt your food, and supplement magnesium malate, 1200 mg twice per day.

    • Try Heartland pasta. Great fix for your cravings. Wheat free and very good. Just don’t over cook it as it gets mushy. I lost 20 lbs in 1 month and my cholesterol levels are fabulous…dropped 25 pts. My doctor is amazed and has decreased my meds by half. I am planning on getting off them soon!

  11. RG (NC)

    Enjoy this info. I am 75 and T2 diabetic. I have been on this wheat free for about 11 days. I haven’t realized all these wonderful benefits yet. The thing I have noticed is the great blood sugar readings I am getting. Most of my blood sugar is in the normal range and the 1 hour readings are good. The highest were 3 readings of 135, and 2 at 128. All this without meds (I take Starlix). That’s the history and now for the question.

    Today I went through my usual morning routine, decaf coffee and I told my wife I needed to take my blood sugar as I did not feel good; like my blood sugar had dropped. I was shaking and some what sweating and I had experienced this before on my Starlix. My blood sugar was 128. I felt nauseous and weak.
    Any ideas or comments. Sorry for the long post.