Surviving wheat withdrawal

Wheat withdrawal can be unpleasant business. Read the many thousands of comments on this blog describing the physical and emotional turmoil that develops in the first few days of wheat avoidance and you will come to appreciate just how awful it can be.

It is important that wheat withdrawal is recognized for what it is, as some people say, “I feel awful. It must mean that I need wheat.” Nope. It is a withdrawal syndrome, a good thing, a transitional phase as your body tries to return to its normal state.

Wheat withdrawal has been labeled by different names over the years–”Atkin’s flu,” “Paleo flu,” “keto flu,” “low carb flu,” etc. Because this only happens with the various forms of carbohydrate restriction (there is no corresponding “low-fat flu” or “Ornish flu”), it has often been attributed to the delayed conversion of a glycogen/glucose-dominant metabolism to that of fatty acid oxidation. This is true . . . but only partly.

Yes, forcing the conversion from a constant flow of carbs from “healthy whole grains” and sugars to increasing the enzymatic capacity to oxidize fats does indeed cause several weeks of low energy–but how do we explain the depression, nausea, headaches, lightheadedness, dehydration, emotional outbursts, intensive wheat cravings, bloating, constipation, even intensification of joint pain, effects that are not likely attributable to hypoglycemia or poor mobilization of energy? Delayed ramp-up of fatty acid oxidation is indeed part of the reason for the phenomena of wheat withdrawal, but does not explain all of it.

Most of these phenomena are caused by withdrawal from the gliadin-derived opiates in wheat, the 4- to 5-amino acid long polypeptides that increase appetite and cause addictive eating behaviors. You can actually trigger the syndrome abruptly in someone who is not wheat-free by giving them naloxone or naltrexone, opiate-blocking drugs. Because it is a form of opiate withdrawal, it cannot be entirely avoided with known strategies. In other words, an alcoholic (not an opiate, of course, but the situation is very similar) who wishes to rid her life of alcohol can only do so by stopping the flow of alcohol and suffering the withdrawal consequences–there’s no way around it. Alcohol withdrawal phenomena, such as hallucinations, disorientation, and seizures, can be blunted with very high doses of benzodiazepines and other drugs, so this is obviously not something you can manage on your own. (The doses required for an alcoholic, for instance, are fatal for non-alcoholics.)

So what can you do to smooth the wheat withdrawal syndrome that involves 1) a soft opiate withdrawal, and 2) delays in gaining higher levels of fatty acid oxidation? Here are a few strategies:

1) Hydrate–Ridding yourself of wheat involves diuresis, or fluid loss. This is due to the loss of the gliadin protein that causes sodium retention, as well as resolving inflammation previously triggered by gliadin-derived peptides, intact gliadin, and wheat germ agglutinin. Urine, for instance, should always be nearly clear, not a dark, concentrated yellow.

2) Use some salt–e.g., sea salt or other mineral-containing salt to compensate for the loss of urinary salt. Salt, along with water, addresses the common lightheadedness symptoms.

3) Take a probiotic–e.g., 50 billion CFUs or more per day containing mixed species of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. This accelerates the conversion to healthy bowel flora off the disruptive effects of this potent bowel toxin called wheat. This addresses the common bloating and constipation, usually within 24 hours of initiation. This should be necessary for no more than 4 to 8 weeks. (If symptoms such as heartburn or bloating return when probiotics are stopped, this suggests that there is something else wrong, such as failed cholecystekinin signaling to the pancreas, pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, hypochlorhydria, etc. that requires a formal assessment.) Among the best: VSL3, Garden of Life, and Renew Life brands.

4) Supplement magnesium–Magnesium deficiency is widespread and is associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, higher blood sugar, muscle cramps, and heart rhythm disorders. For unclear reasons, these phenomena are magnified during wheat withdrawal. Magnesium supplementation can thereby have some dramatic benefits during wheat withdrawal. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements are better as laxatives than as sources of absorbable magnesium. Among the best: magnesium malate at a dose of 1200 mg two or three times per day (weight of the magnesium + malate, not just “elemental” magnesium). Source Naturals makes a great preparation.

5) Supplement omega-3 fatty acids–There are plenty of reasons to supplement omega-3 fatty acids to make up for our aversion to consuming the brains of land animals and only occasional reliance on seafood. But during wheat withdrawal, weight loss proceeds at a rapid clip for most people, a process that involves massive mobilization of fatty acids into the bloodstream (evidenced on a cholesterol panel as higher triglycerides). Omega-3 fatty acids partially protect us from the adverse effects of this flood of fatty acids, as it activates the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, that helps clear them from the bloodstream. I advocate an EPA + DHA intake of 3000 mg per day (the dose of omega-3 fatty acids, not of fish oil). The best fish oil is in the liquid triglyceride form, not the common ethyl ester capsules, as the triglyceride form is better absorbed (particularly the DHA). My favorite brands because of meticulous production techniques: Ascenta NutraSea and Nordic Naturals.

6) Supplement iodine–The average person is marginally deficient in iodine, particularly in people who avoid use of iodized salt. Ironically, the more you avoid processed foods (as we do with wheat elimination, given wheat’s ubiquity), the less iodized salt you get. Avid exercisers also are more iodine deficient than average, given iodine loss via sweat. This has gotten so bad that I have actually found many people with goiters (enlarged thyroid glands). Even a modest lack of iodine leads to lower output of thyroid hormone (especially T4), resulting in mild hypothyroidism that impairs weight loss, can make fatigue worse, increase LDL cholesterol and triglyceride values, and even increase cardiovascular risk. Iodine is an essential trace mineral: everyone needs it (though people with a history of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or thyroid nodules will have to be extra careful; I’d like to say consult your doctor, which is true if you have a doctor knowledgeable about iodine, which is less than 1% of my colleagues). I advise patients to supplement iodine as inexpensive drops, capsules, or kelp tablets (dried seaweed) to provide 500 mcg iodine per day.

Those are the supplements that have proven tried and true in reducing at least some of the most common struggles with wheat withdrawal. Because these supplements do not entirely address all the issues, especially low energy, I am always on the lookout for ways to make this process easier. On the list of supplements/strategies that we are exploring (and are therefore only speculative for this application):

Generation UCAN–I first learned about this from Peter Attia of The Eating Academy, as he is an avid fan of this polymeric preparation of corn-derived maltodextrin. (Yes: derived from corn that is non-genetically modified and is a purified carbohydrate polymer, no proteins.) It’s unusual lengthy structure of 500-700 glucose residues means it does not yield the osmotic effect of maltodextrins, nor does it cause a rapid rise in glucose, but a very low-grade trickle of glucose. These effects make it useful for very long-distance exercise that depletes glycogen stores and can result in low blood sugar. The slow trickle of glucose form this preparation is usually insufficient to generate much of a rise in blood sugar. This has the potential to prevent the marginal hypoglycemia characteristic of wheat withdrawal when taken, e.g., 1/2 to 1 scoop twice per day. Interestingly, more and more people are observing that, even outside the wheat withdrawal period, weight loss from fat develops. (That’s an entire discussion of its own.)

VESPA–This unique polypeptide preparation from the Asian Mandarin wasp enhances fatty acid beta oxidation, one of the limiting factors in converting from glycogen-dependent metabolism to fatty acid-dependent metabolism. Like Generation UCAN, these lessons have been learned from high-intensity exercise experiences and may be transferable to the setting of wheat withdrawal.

Over the 2+ years since Wheat Belly first made bookstores and upset many people in the wheat world, we’ve learned many new lessons on how to best deal with the phenomenon of wheat withdrawal. If you’ve got some strategies you have found useful, please speak up and post a comment here.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Karen

    Absolutely! When taking my 9 yr old son off wheat the first time due to daily chronic headaches (3 mos) I quite after the first day because he felt worse, and it was really bad. I couldn’t even touch him because he said his whole body hurt. I thought that his problem couldn’t be from wheat so I stopped. The headaches wouldn’t go away so after another “wheat-belly” enthusiast convinced me to try again we toughed it out the 2 or 3 days of withdrawal and by the 3rd day the headaches along with the other symptoms that I hadn’t pieced together with this puzzle also disappeared.

  2. Joule

    Dr. Davis…. how do you feel about using chick pea flour ? would you be able to eat that from time to time without having any problems ? would this cause any kind of problems with weight loss or blood sugar eaten in
    limited quantities ? i have seen recipes using it and wondered if it was safe to use.
    thanks

      • Joule

        Boundless …. who said anything about eating a whole CUP ? thats insane ! LOL
        i was thinking about making some crispy snacks with it and an ounce would be
        about 3 g of sugar and 16g of carbs. …. according to your link.
        so you say … who eats an ounce of any snack ? well i do. in fact… there are times when i have one or 2 sweet potato chips…. and THATS IT ! i do this maybe once a week
        sometimes…. i just want the taste of it.
        for me…..the great thing about being wheat and grain free is that you dont have cravings to deal with….AND for me…. sometimes a mere bite of something is all i want.
        so a few bits of something can be quite satisfying with no cravings to eat the whole mess of it. lol
        thank you for providing that link…. i can see that chick pea flour could be something i can use in limited quanity.
        i would also like to hear from Dr. Davis on this if he chooses to answer me.

        • > … who said anything about eating a whole CUP ?
          Well, I was relying on ND, because you didn’t indicate a portion size.

          Chick pea is used in hummus, and I could easily eat a whole cup of that, and have in times past. It’s a WB “unlimited” item, but only in condiment quantities.

          > … thank you for providing that link …

          The general rule seems to be:
          * if you need to ask, the answer is no
          * if you don’t need to ask, it’s because you know the answer is maybe
          Everyone, alas, needs to learn how to read NF panels or nutrient breakdowns.

          • Joule

            Boundless…. lol you are pretty funny…. i am talking about making something with the flour… not eating the garbanzo beans. LOL
            i love hummus and usually only eat a tablespoon or 2.
            and NO… i didnt know the answer to this so i thought i would ask. so i guess the flour is ok to use in limited quantities.
            and i am sure most people here know how to read nutrition panels. LOL

          • Barbara in New Jersey

            Boundless,
            Very funny!

            Joule,

            There are many recipes using chick pea flour. It is used sparingly because you don’t want the taste to be overwhelming the dish. It is high carb, but that becomes incremental when the baked item is cut into portions. Chestnut flour is also nice to use, but high in carbs so it is also used sparingly.

          • Joule

            Barbara … i dont mind using high carb stuff because i eat so little of it…. but if i was beginning this no wheat and no grain diet…. i would lay off the high carbs. i am only really interested in it now because i am getting near the end of what i call the weight loss portion of this dietary change.
            i’ll never go back to the way i use to be because i am terrified of becoming diabetic. that scares me more than anything.
            i am perfectly happy with the way things are now and only interested in changing up my occasional treats.
            i am SOOOO happy that i DONT have cravings for anything
            anymore ! …. FOR ME ….THAT is the single most wonderful thing about this dietary change. its fabulous to be so free of cravings… it makes living SO much easier.
            i remember what a slave i use to be to cravings…. it was just horrible.
            anyway ….. thanks for your comment about chestnut flour as well. i do like to make changes here and there.

          • Boundless, have you ever made hummus? :) It’s not made with chickpea flour, it’s made with cooked (soaked first) chickpeas. And tahini, garlic. No flour ever.
            I use chickpea flour here and there. I think it’s a good gf flour option (though some claim it has a slight ‘beany’ flavor, but I haven’t noticed that). It certainly has more protein than most of the other gf flours, other than almond flour, but I can’t use almond flour for everything. I am careful about the type of carbs I take in and also I try to limit them, but I still want to do some baking and sometimes/occasionally use even the more starchy gf flours.

  3. Millie

    I am SO glad you wrote this! I have been feeling awful. All the symptoms you listed.I started thinking I must have something else going on but now I understand. THANk YOU!

  4. VibeRadiant

    I was glad to read that “even intensification of joint pain” is common as this is happening to me and I thought I was doing something wrong.
    Excellent post.

  5. Riceloft

    On day 2 it took all I had not to run out and buy the worst possible stuff I could fine – like McDonalds (which I have eaten only once in the last 7 years). The cravings were incredible. I’m on week 2 or 3 and feeling pretty good.

    • VibeRadiant

      I too had a moment but stuck to my resolve. It has been 1 month today since my wheatectomy and I feel better by the day!

  6. Jean Berg

    Had a few days of really bad knee pain at the beginning of my second week doing the wheat-free diet. Also a few days with pretty bad headaches a few days prior to the knee pain.

  7. Vivian

    I didn’t seem to suffer any major symptons of withdrawal when I went wheat-belly free 15 months ago. After two days I had no “salivation” when eyeing glazed donuts or slabs of French bread. I did however, notice an increase in hair loss and excruciating night muscle spasms in my legs. I concentrated on getting more magnesium into my diet and those things disappeared. Good luck to all, who want to become gluten-free. It is very well worth the initial discomfort of transition.

    • VibeRadiant

      I too have noticed more hair in my brush since going WF. I will try magnesium as well. I wonder if milk of magnesium if GF?

    • Nancy

      I have been dealing with hair loss since going wheat free as well. Any possible explanation? Has anyone else had this happen and have you tried magnesium or something else with good results?

      • La Frite

        I think it may be due to lower carbs in the diet. Some people report that when going low-carb, they lose hair. I don’t know for sure because I have not experienced the same thing (I flirted with low carb 1 year ago but I cannot say it made any difference in my case).

        Try to google “low carb hair loss” and see what you get.

      • Dr. Davis

        Have you addressed iodine and thyroid status, Nancy? Those are big for hair health.

        Also, some people report success with biotin, 2 mg per day (a B vitamin).

  8. Mark

    Dr. Davis,
    I ‘ve been wheat-free since September 18, received both your books in the mail on Monday this week and am reading through them as my busy schedule permits. Not finished yet but a quick skim of the contents didn’t lead me to an answer. By the way my wheat withdrawal symptoms have been mild, almost unnoticeable. Just some lack of energy in the first few days.

    Anyway, my question has to do with the following concern: Most meat animals are fed “Frankenwheat,” GMO Corn, GMO soymeal, and God knows what other ghastly things in their livestock feed. There are some (expensive!) alternatives in “soy free” eggs and meat, and I also found a feed company in Bellingham, WA that provides soy-free and GMO-free livestock feed. This is good, but nobody, to my knowledge, feeds their livestock a wheat-free + soy-free + GMO-free diet. If “you are what you eat,” then it follows that you also are what you food animals eat.
    So my question is this: Can the ill-effects of wheat (and soy and other GMOs) present in livestock feeds have any effect on the humans who eat the meat from these animals? And if so, what can be done about it without spending a king’s ransom on alternatives?

    • Glenda

      You are correct, this absolutely matters, and there is a strong & growing movement of WB & paleo consumers who are supporting farmers who grow only certified organic fruits & vegetables and raise only certified traditional grass-fed meats. To find these farmers where you live, go here: http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html

      Go here to find an organization that is lobbying for reform in conventional farming, back to traditional farming: http://nusi.org/

      If you want to extend your awareness of not only putting only-good-stuff inside your body, but also on your body & in your home, go here to find ratings of what is in the commercial products you use for caring for your home and body: http://www.ewg.org/ Soon they will be extending their ratings to food.

    • Drae

      Mark – Indeed, you don’t want to be eating meats that have been fed grains, because that’s not the diet most of these animals evolved eating. The ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is way off and affects your health in the long run. The best meats are those that have been grass-fed. I can get these at my local co-ops, and though the price is a bit more, it’s not so much more expensive than the poor quality meat I can get at the large chain grocery stores. What is a few extra cents worth to my health? I feel it’s a reasonable price to pay. If you don’t live near any co-ops that can provide you with grass-fed meats, then I suggest researching local farms that grass-feed their animals and buying direct from them. I have friends who purchase a quarter or half cow once or twice a year and it supplies all their beef needs. Good luck!

      • Barbara in New Jersey

        I have been struggling with this issue as well.
        I am seeing more and more grass-fed beef on supermarket shelves. You have to re-learn how to cook this beef! It needs lower temperatures and moisture.
        Yes, it is more expensive, but healthy, thriving animals in a normalized environment eating food they should be eating, produce healthy food. Same goes for chickens, eggs, pork products and wild caught fish.

        Farmed fish and seafood, like salmon or shrimp doesn’t have any flavor anymore. Ditto for commercially produced chickens, eggs and many pork products. I just purchased a ham slice by Nimon Ranch famous for its natural products. Delicious! I had to purchase another brand readily available in every supermarket for last minute company. You could really taste the difference in a side by side test.

        Suddenly, surprise, surprise, information about the limited omega 3 benefits in big agribusiness meats, chicken and fish are starting to reach mainstream media. Omega 6 nutrients are abundant rather than the omega 3′s you thought you were eating. There will be much more of this kind of information available in the near future. I’m sure it will astonish you and you will never buy farmed fish again.

        Right now, it is more expensive to buy the humanely raised and properly fed animal products. At least you get good nutritional value from these foods. What kind of nutrition can you expect from an animal that is force-fed with inappropriate food who can’t move around and lives in its own excrement? Remember the fuss about “pink slime”? Yuk! Grass-fed beef doesn’t contain this.

        • Mark

          Barbara and Drae,
          Grass fed is good but I found out that the so-called grass fed beef at Whole Foods is actually fed grains during the last 90 days before slaughter to “fatten them up.” Apparently the beef is too lean otherwise. Not only did that burst my bubble about spending $24.00 per pound for beef I thought was grass fed, but it also served as confirmation that grains are fattening.
          Chickens and eggs are another matter though. Since chickens are omnivores by nature, a grass diet is not suitable for them. Neither is a strictly grains diet. I don’t know what the answer is to the chicken conundrum.

          • Mark,
            In Key West, we have a large population of wild, free roaming chickens & roosters…..they eat bugs, spiders, gheckos, scorpians, roots, snakes, worms and look pretty healthy to me!

          • Drae

            Mark – $24.00 a pound?! My local co-ops aren’t charging anywhere NEAR that price! That’s highway robbery, imo.

            I’m not sure where you live, but I would look into the co-ops in your area and/or buying direct. The co-ops here have meat managers that visit the farms where they purchase their inventory and if you buy direct, then you would be able to ask the farmer what/how s/he feeds their animals.

            Again, good luck.

          • JillOz

            Go online and find an organic grass fed beef/cattle farm. Many of them will post you your meat directly and /or list their stockists.
            Call them and ask them about their feeding methods.

    • HS4

      I buy most of my meats from one of several local farmers in the upper Midwest, all of whom use safe, humanitarian practices; livestock are 100% grassfed (beef, lamb, etc…) or true free range (chickens). Orders for the local farms, need to be placed in advance, and deliveries are usually just once/month. When I need meats inbetween those deliveries I buy grassfed meats in local grocery stores. The brand I most commonly see here in northern Illinois can be found at http://www.straussbrands.com.

      I make a lot of bone broths so I am careful to use the best bones I can get which means grassfed for beef bones and true free range for chicken backs & feet. Also, for organ meats, such as liver, I would be sure to use grassfed or pastured whenver possible.

      There are also online vendors for grassfed or pastured meats & products such as US Wellness Meats (www.grasslandbeef.com)

  9. queenie

    I just stopped intaking wheat it has been five days and am experiencing gas and lots of noises in the belly! Is this also normal?

    • Dave II

      The good doctor or Boundless are better suited to answer this question, but I suspect that’s your intestinal flora readjusting to how it should be. Are you taking a probiotic? Or any of the other supplements Dr. Davis recommends to return to normal (e.g., magnesium, omega 3, vitamin D, etc.)?

      • Barbara in New Jersey

        Yes, this is normal. Your intestinal bacteria changed to handle wheat and grains.
        Probiotics will help it change back to what it should be.

    • > … five days and am experiencing gas and lots of noises in the belly! Is this also normal?

      Normal, no. Common, yes.

      My guess is that you are seeing the result of switching from a failing wannabe ruminant diet to a high fat omnivore diet. Your gut flora profile is radically changing (and you can help it along with a quality probiotic, which, I note, is also recommended by Perlmutter in the new Grain Brain).

      A lot more may need to be learned about this, but it appears that gluten bearing grains are entirely incompatible with a healthy gut. Beware of re-exposure, as the wheat usually tries to commit genocide on your new population.

  10. Tom12GA

    Dr. Davis:
    Although I had purchased your book 5 months ago, it took me until a week’s vacation to finally get through it last week. I was very impressed with your body of research and even happier to see that there’s an active and caring community trying to pay it forward on your blog.

    Although I don’t feel too many of the outlined symptoms in the above article on withdrawal, I will follow the recommended list of nutrients to see where it gets me.

    I also had two questions for anyone that may want to share their own viewpoints:

    1. 16 years ago, I had a Gastric Bypass operation (Roux-en-Y) and lost 240 pounds. While I need to wait 30-45 minutes if I consume a plate of vegetables due to my reduced capacity, is it okay for me to split my evening meal into two rounds so I can still get a serving of fruit in after my stomach has regained a little space?

    2. Up until the completion of Wheat Belly, I had my heart set on contemplating the use of Soylent (a new meal replacement) that unfortunately utilizes Corn Maltodextrin) and it had me worried enough to pass on it for now. Does anyone else has any other thoughts on how we might be able to participate in the open source recipe of this even if it only represented a single meal a day? (I would be very interested in your guidance.)


    My first week’s results:

    - Down 11 pounds
    - Blood sugar is down from 216 to 180 (without any medication)
    - Minor energy downturn in the late afternoon

    My only slips included a small amount of noodles and the unfortunate inclusion of an Asian vinegar that included a smattering of Rye in the ingredients.

    I’ve also eliminated coffee and dairy products at the same time…albeit I may re-work cheese back into the mix after a substantial reduction of my weight and a better understanding in terms of what my body is looking for.

    • > … is it okay for me to split my evening meal into two rounds …

      I don’t know enough about bariatric to offer any insight on that specifically, but the general rule on grazing is that
      when you’re low-carb/high-fat it doesn’t hurt
      (vs. when you’re on high-carb low-fat, where it makes things worse).

      > … so I can still get a serving of fruit in after my stomach has regained a little space?

      What’s the appeal of fruit? And which fruit.
      We need to minimize our consumption of fructose.

      > … Soylent (a new meal replacement) that unfortunately utilizes Corn Maltodextrin) …

      Heard about that.
      Was wondering which macro and micro nutrient profile was guiding them.
      Not surprised to hear that they are apparently wallowing in consensus dogma.

      > Does anyone else has any other thoughts on how we might be
      > able to participate in the open source recipe of this even
      > if it only represented a single meal a day?

      You could comment on their blog or forum if any. The full time glycemic diet, despite being enshrined by the USDA, has been a 10,000 year old mistake, which has now spun completely out of control due to pervasive novel grains, pervasive sugars (esp. fructose), low fat mania and adverse novel omega 6 oils.

      > I’ve also eliminated coffee and dairy products at the same time…

      Why ditch the coffee? Dr.D. recommends it as a weigh loss aid. My impression is that it mobilizes glycogen stores, and would only be contraindicated for someone trying to reach theraputic levels of ketosis.

      You may be able to add the dairy back later.

      • Tom12GA

        Boundless:

        Thanks for a very informed response to my posting.

        To answer the fruit question that you posed, I feel it probably stemmed from the reading of books by Dr. Davis and Dr. Fuhrman…and perhaps (incorrectly) attempted to synthesize a meal plan from the pair of them.

        I went out to purchased the recommended supplements in re probiotic, magnesium malate and the Omega-3 fatty acids. I’ll reintroduce coffee (black) in the morning.

        I’ve also spent a little time on Dr. Peter Attia’s blog (Eating Academy) after reading about it in this article. So I can see that he totally echoes your sentiment about low carb.

        Last but not least, I have ordered the “PAGG stack” referenced in the 4-hour Body (by Tim Ferris)…I figure it cannot hurt too much for a 90-day turn with that before each meal + 1 before bed.

        • > … I have ordered the “PAGG stack” …
          New to me. Looks mostly harmless. We are still learning a great deal, and fast, about supplements. Dr. Davis previous take is at:
          http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/01/nutritional-supplements-in-the-wake-of-wheat-elimination/

          More on Soylent.
          Run away, fast.
          400 grams of carbs.
          I see “… but the brain can only use Glucose for energy.” on one of their many confusing web sites and blogs.
          These people are dangerously clueless.

          Entirely apart from their adverse macronutrient breakdown, the product branding is apt to to be a failure. People not culturally literate will assume it is soy-based or at least contains soy, and it doesn’t in any significant amount. Those who have seen, or at least heard cultural echoes of the 1973 movie “Soylent Green” will assume it contains something bizarre.

          The sad truth is that there are zero meal replacement products on the market at the moment that meet WB guidelines, or indeed any LCHF grain-free low O6 fat diet profiles. People are pushing several suppliers to come up with something. Soylent won’t be one of them.

          • Neicee

            Boundless, the money quote from both you and Dr. Davis is that only consume good natural food, minimally processed. I’d never decide to wake up one morning and decide to have ‘Soylent’ for breakfast. Thanks for educating those that believe there is a magic pill that will save you from having to search out, cook, and then consume something that is bad for you. You are our gem.

          • Tom12GA

            @Neicee:

            I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Truth be told, everything I hope to buy should no longer contain a nutritional label…There seems to be little benefit to come out of most processed foods. I’ve also enjoyed spending a little time in the kitchen.

            Btw. The order of my summer (nutritional) reading list was:

            1. The Soylent.me blog
            2. Dr. Fuhrman’s writings
            3. Wheat Belly
            4. Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Body

            I’ve also evolved as I’ve had a chance to read a number of beneficial comments with the community herein.

            P.S. Dr. Davis taught me that Soylent was doomed to fail based upon its composition. I’m very happy to fall into line with the required behavior for success.

          • JillOz

            Disagree with you Neicee :)

            The money quote for me from Boundless is
            “consensus dogma”.

            Fabulous!

  11. Loekie

    In the beginning of my wheatfree life I ate a lot of corn crackers, made from corn of biological agriculture.
    I always felt good with that. Dr. Davis, or Boundless, what do you think of corn from biological agriculture?

    • > … corn of biological agriculture …
      Did you mean Biological Farming? (BF)

      The problem with corn is principally carbs, and secondarily unfavorable omega6/3 ratio. Those hazards are not chnged by being all-natural, non-GMO, organic, free-range, fair-traded, humanely harvested, BF or GF.

      One corn tortilla (6-8 chips, probably a similar amount of crackers) is your entire 1-meal/6-hour limit of net carbs.

      Be sure to look for BF tobacco, but don’t smoke it either :)

  12. Julie

    I actually had the reverse affect. I had felt feverish and had muscle pain when I ate wheat, but when I stopped, as hard as it was, I felt better. I allowed myself to eat wheat once a week and had fever like symptoms every time I did. Now I try to avoid them whenever possible and have lost 20 lbs in one month!

  13. Julie W.

    After a few days of being wheat free, I had such severe cramping, I thought I was going to have to call my son to take me to the hospital. After reading about taking probiotics, I got some and was better right away. It’s not something I want to go through again. Even after a year and a half of being wheat free, I still take them because they help me not to be constipated. That could be because I have Hashimoto’s.
    Julie W.

  14. Dave

    What would be the equivalent dose for those us wanting to get omega-3 FAs from krill oil capsules? I can’t take fish oil due to allergies. Thank you.

  15. Maria

    I have been gluten-free for 7 months now. The first week of withdrawal was brutal. I could barely walk. My whole body hurt and it was definitely like a severe flu. I was not expecting it, since I had no warning. But I pressed on and by the second week felt amazing. Inflammation in joints has decreased dramatically thanks to my Naturopath.

  16. Janet Zillah

    I feel I am one of the few people that didn’t experience this whole wheat withdrawl people are talking about. I don’t know why. I felt better, had more energy and didn’t get sick. Sure i wanted that brownie sitting in front of me. But I didn’t eat it. Either I already ate very little wheat, or was just pretty healthy. I am not sure.

  17. Tyrannocaster

    Here’s at least one person who didn’t suffer any of the symptoms listed here. I did lose 35 pounds, though, LOL. And the joint pains, fatigue and eczema vanished.

  18. Nobelly

    I do appreciate your suggestions for worthwhile supplements, you must inform us about the recent study showing a link between fish oil ( omega 3 fatty acids) and prostate cancer . Supplements are not equivalent to real food and need to be taken carefully. I spent $50.00 for the natural factors fish oil tablets only to learn later the same day about the cancer risk. I purchased the supplement from a high quality pharmacy that specializes in supplements, and i asked specifically if there was any problem for my husband taking them since he has prostate cancer, and the pharmacist just said ” no problem”. No problem for her i guess she meant.

      • Nobelly

        The study was published in the journal of the national cancer institute. The study was anticipated to show a positive link between omega 3 levels and prostate cancer, but instead showed a 40 percent increase in prostate cancer, and a 70 percent increase in the dreaded high grade ( rapidly growing) form of the disease
        In patients with higher blood levels of omega 3.

        The medical community ( such as harvard) and the whole university network of cancer research hospitals are currently advising patients NOT to take supplemental omega 3 Unless prescribed by their doctors after fully discussing with their doctors. Moderate intake of fatty fish (2 times per week) is encouraged until further studies explain the link, or disprove it.

        There are so many questions ( while fish oil lowers inflamation, maybe some inflamation is needed to fight cancer).

        But i for one will not be taking ANY supplement that has been linked to a higher incidence of cancer.

        • > The study was published in the journal of the
          > national cancer institute.

          Yes, but the money quote that Mercola found pretty much blew the whistle on their apparent agenda (anti-supplement) – even though the study used no supplements, and most of the participants weren’t using them. On the other hand, I think Mercola is a bit over-dismissive, and to be sure, he has dog in the fight, as he sells a krill oil supplement.

          > The study was anticipated to show a positive link between
          > omega 3 levels and prostate cancer, but instead showed …

          Entirely apart from investigatory bias, glycemic confounding has to be ruled out, and probably can’t be for this data set.

          > There are so many questions …

          The situation bears watching. Prostate cells may be different. Just poking around in papers, those cells are apparently less glycolitic, and may be metabolizing fatty acids to a greater extent than other body cells. If prostate cancer also thrives on fat, we might have a dilemma.

          > … ( while fish oil lowers inflamation, maybe some inflamation
          > is needed to fight cancer).

          I doubt that inflammation is ever a benefit.

          > But i for one will not be taking ANY supplement that has
          > been linked to a higher incidence of cancer.

          Even if the link vanishes for low carb, or is a mistake, or was bent to begin with?

          Every male is going to have make their own call on this. On a very low carb diet, I’m going to continue ingesting DHA, but keep watching developments. Any male on a full time glycemic diet, has a problem, possibly with no happy answer.

          • Nobelly

            The study was funded parially by the national centre for alternative and complementary medicine and partially by the national cancer institute. Not anti supplement – pro supplement.

            Wikipedia on dr. Mercola – a web entrpreneur who promotes
            Controversial supplements and alternative health practices.

          • Nobelly

            The comment that perhaps some inflammation may help in fighting cancer was postulated by a reviewer of this study at harvard medical school – not myself.

          • Curious Doc Passing By

            Given growing evidence that the removal of carbs, sugars and wheat deprives cancer cells of their fuel source, I’m wondering if these studies on Omega-3 would show different results with a strict keto or very low carb paleo diet? It’s never seemed scientific to me to study any supplement and negate the effects of diet and other nutritive factors. Especially if you consider that the studies in question most likely favour a typical American diet. Thoughts?

          • > Given growing evidence that the removal of carbs, sugars
            > and wheat deprives cancer cells of their fuel source, I’m
            > wondering if these studies on Omega-3 would show
            > different results with a strict keto or very low carb paleo diet?

            This is what I refer to as “glycemic confounding”, which impairs the data of probably the majority of diet studies and trials. There is, of course, also “gluten confounding” if gluten-bearing grains aren’t controlled for.

            In the specific case of this supposed O3 result, my understanding is that there are multiple earlier investigations showing opposite results. These tests need to be controlled not just for carbs, but for specific fats as well, and they probably aren’t. We can call this “fat confounding”.

            > It’s never seemed scientific to me to study any
            > supplement and negate the effects of diet and
            > other nutritive factors.

            Watching conventional medicine study diet is even more frustrating than watching Mythbusters casually test some hypothesis that involves specific conditions and physics beyond their expertise: “Um, guys, you aren’t going to get any meaningful results from that approach …”.

            > Especially if you consider that the studies in question
            > most likely favour a typical American diet. Thoughts?

            The frogs in the pot are wondering why so many of their number are getting cooked and dying. They commission studies that look at everything except temperature, and being in a pot :)

    • Dana

      It’s fish oil. It’s just as much “food” as orange juice is.

      Also, I don’t care what anyone says about supplements–if it uses quality ingredients and is the same compound you’d get from food, and you’re short on it, it will work wonders.

      I’ve seen some ridiculous arguments against supplementation. My favorite is the supposed study that finds higher mortality in people who take supplements. I suppose it never occurred to them that your average healthy person is not going to think to take supplements–we are more likely to want to use them when we’re chronically ill. That right there explains the mortality–just like the link between diet soda and obesity is readily explained by the phenomenon that slender people usually don’t think they “need” diet soda.

      Correlation is not causation.

  19. La Frite

    Hi guys,

    In case you have not read it, you should really devote some of your time going through Colpo’s 2 article series about the “Healthy Whole Grains” myth:

    Part II is here: http://180degreehealth.com/2013/09/healthy-grains-part-ii
    Part I is linked at the top of part II.

    Enjoy the read, and be confirmed in your wheat-free lifestyle! I am personally grain-free (even oat-free, it always felt like eating wallpaper glue or something absolutely tasteless and sticky … I have to convince my kids who like it for breakfast half of the time to stick to bacon and eggs, their breakfast the other half of the time…).

    I do eat white rice (Basmati only), rare quinoa dish, and some buckwheat (I am French damn it!) but the latter two are not grains. Buckwheat pancakes … mmm.

    And Boundless: please refrain from telling me about blood sugar, insulin, net-carbs, etc. I know the whole shebang and I am quite insulin sensitive, thanks :) And anyhow, buckwheat has resistant starch and other positive features …

    But grains! oh my!!! no way …

    • Dana

      There isn’t any reason to eat resistant starch. It’s just a ruse some people utilize to explain away why they’re still eating starchy carbs even though there’s no need for it. Carbs are useful if you’re a high-performance athlete, but the type of exercise most of us do for fat-burning doesn’t fit into that category and anyway, I’m not convinced there’s been enough experimentation with fat-burning in the high-performance crowd. Many of them are still trying to eat Body-For-Life style or similar–high protein, “whole” carbohydrate, low-fat. Not a great starting point.

      I felt the same way about my weight before I got fat that you feel about your insulin sensitivity. Just because you have it now doesn’t mean you will have it forever. Take care and don’t go overboard because there is way more to healthy eating than just avoiding wheat. At least you’re French and hopefully you’re still eating traditional French-style animal foods–that is a huge point in your favor, if so.

      • @Dana:
        There are some very interesting results being logged in the world of ultra-endurance sports using “fat-adapted” athletes using VESPA and its OFM program (OFM=Optimized Fat Metabolism) ….the observational evidence is defying what conventional wisdom says is possible on a fat…..at the same time the OFM program does not eliminate concentrated carbohydrates but uses them strategically in the diet and fueling. Last weekend the North American record for the 100 Mile distance was broken by a fat-adapted , VESPA athlete, who , 5 years ago was having serous intestinal issues…since switching this has never been a problem. We have also seen RQ tests in which the athlete goes all the way to VO2 Max burning mostly fat and does NOT “Crossover” which defies the “Crossover Point” theory.

      • Christopher Freeman

        I thought the myth of endurance athletes burning carbs was long debunked.

        I remember reading how they were doing an experiment to see how long it took for a marathon runner to switch from sugar to fat burning while running. So they hooked up the runner to all the testing equipment and then he got up from his chair and walked over to the treadmill and he registered as burning fat before he even got on the treadmill.

  20. Kathleen

    Dr. Davis- My 75 year old mother inlaw is staying with us after emergency joint replacement surgery-she fell:(. SHe is on board with trying our wheat free life style and has happily been eating our way for a week. Her acid reflux is gone! and she doesnt appear to have any significant withdrawl symptoms. She needs to lose about 25 lbs and is on blood pressure medication so we are hoping for the best. How would we know if her blood pressure medication needs to be changed and how soon should we expect her blood pressure to come down? We would never want her to be in any danger of pressure that is too low. Also, any other concerns I should have with the new lifestyle given her advanced age?

    • Dr. Davis

      As long as she’s human, there is NO problem with wheat elimination, Kathleen.

      However, because she is on BP meds, it is worth taking a BP now and then or if she becomes lightheaded. You will need to discuss with her doctor, but I have patients stop blood pressure meds, one at a time, when BPs are around 120-130 mmHg. It also depends on what kind of meds she is taking.

      • Janet

        I’ve been grain free for quite a while, still on Amlodipine and my systolic is low normal but my diastolic is a little high.

  21. Brian

    I’ve been wheat free for close to 2 years now and about 10 months in I started having stomach issues. Mostly just abdominal pain, cramping etc. I decided to take the next step and go dairy free and I knew results could take several months as casein protein can hang around in your system for months. That was last February and my symptoms still persist so I started the Ultimate Flora 2 weeks ago and so far no change. I also jumped on the low carb idea and now I’m wondering if being border line ketosis is causing my issues? I find the 50 carb guideline a little restrictive but I’m always under 80 per day but I’m sure my activities such as a 50K bike ride or my 3 K swims burn through those carbs and leave me in border line ketosis. Or is my stomach just become hyper sensitive? Weight was never my issue, insomnia and headaches caused my grief , but wheat free lifestyle caused me to drop from 170 pounds at 6 foot down to 160 and turned me into one lean swimming machine! with a belly ache.

    • Patti

      Brian,

      Depending on your insurance I’d go see my GP or GI doctor to see if you have any allergies, or have her/him eliminate any other reasons why you are experiencing pain. I am not a doctor, but I do know chronic pain indicates issues.

      Patti

    • Dana

      How’s your stomach acid production? A lot of people on standard American diet wind up with small-intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO, you can google it) and one of the treatments for that is taking a betaine HCL supplement because SIBO decreases stomach acid.

      As you go and get this checked with your doc, you might ask about stomach acid–there is a test for it. If your doctor balks, there are a few different home tests you can do, at least one utilizing ingredients from your kitchen (also findable on Google).

      Not a doc and have no idea why you’d have stomach issues from SIBO now and not when you were still eating wheat, though if you had reflux back then, that’s a clue. Believe it or not, a LOT of reflux cases are from *low* acid, not high.

      • Brian

        Thanks Dana I think you may be on to something. I did google SIBO and that does explain a lot of my symptoms. I’m off to see a naturalpathic doctor next week. I am surprised that SIBO is not more common in our low carb community!

        • Gina

          If it is low acid drinking Bragg’s apple cider vinegar should help. I have had gastric bypass many yrs ago and also had a car accident 8 1/2 yrs ago that after having a endoscopy and colonoscopy found out I had gastritis which I found out more than likely was caused by the accident but having the bypass also led to low stomach acid and the vinegar helps.I did have meds in the beginning to help heal but no longer take them.

    • Tony

      Hi Brian,
      I’m not a doc either but I think you should see a gastroenterologist and maybe have a colonoscopy and endoscopy, and I’d do both at the same time to save some money and prep grief. Why take chances?

  22. Cindy

    Dr. Davis: I have been wheat free 6 mo without supplementation, other than vit D, which I was taking for years. Should I take the magnesium dosage mentioned in this blog post for maintenance? Of late, I am having frequent leg cramps at night and my fasting blood sugar has not improved.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Cindy,

      Why don’t you re-read Dr. Davis’s many posts about magnesium?
      Check your consumption of foods containing magnesium to see if you are actually consuming enough. If you still are unsure, then try the magnesium in amounts recommended to see if this alleviates your symptoms.

    • Rebecca

      Cindy,
      I had bad leg cramps while pregnant, midwifes suggested more calcium such as milk, cheese this didn’t help. I had a co work suggest bananas, lack of potassium can cause cramps in legs especially if you are very active. I ate a banana before bed and magically didn’t wake in the middle of the night with cramps, don’t know if there is any science involved or if its a old wives tale but worked for me.
      You could try it and see .

  23. > 3) Take a probiotic–

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this topic needs a blog post of its own.

    > e.g., 50 billion CFUs or more per day containing mixed species of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.

    Would I be correct in guessing that PBs need to be consumed between meals, or as the first thing swallowed at a meal, in order to ensure that they make it to the lower GI? Enteric coating apparently is not a complete guarantee that the product will make it.

    > This accelerates the conversion to healthy bowel flora off the
    > disruptive effects of this potent bowel toxin called wheat.
    > … should be necessary for no more than 4 to 8 weeks.

    What would be indications that a refresher course is needed?
    I’m guessing:
    * re-exposure to gluten-bearing grains
    * consumption of prescribed antibiotics
    * recovery from new unrelated intestinal distress

    Another question would be:
    Is a routine periodic refresher worthwhile?

    If we consume retail meats, they contain low-level residual antibiotics. Supposedly, we get more exposure from this than from prescriptions. Does this chronic assault have consequences for our critters?

    > Among the best: VSL3, Garden of Life, and Renew Life brands.

    VSL#3 is shipped refrigerated. Only buy at retail if refrigerated. Don’t order it from anyone who doesn’t ship it that way, 2-day or better. You can order directly from Sigma-Tau (vsl#3 dot com). VSL#3 is expensive, but is available in a prescription strength. This might lower out-of-pocket expense if your medical insurance covers it.

    consumerlab dot com (CL) lately tested probiotics. Garden of Life passed. Renew Life wasn’t tested. They seemed to be aware of VSL#3 as a reference product.

    CL seemed to be skeptical on the various claims made for PBs, but as with much in nutrition science, there is probably a lot of glycemic and gluten confounding in the majority of PB test results. You could hardly expect much benefit from a PB if the other stuff you are eating is either causing adverse strains to out-compete (carbs) or killing the desirable bacteria outright (wheat).

    • Christopher Freeman

      From what I’ve been reading probiotics are not all they are cracked up to be. They can be used to fix short term problems of undigested food rotting in the intestines, but should never be used for the long term.

  24. Janet

    Regarding eczema: I have been WB for almost 2 years now and Paleo since January 2012. I eat very clean, other than I am not completely on grass-fed meat. Just the last few months, I have had a few spots of what I think is eczema. I have never had a rash before in my life and I am 65 YO. What could this be? I have upped my consumption of dark, 85-90% chocolate during this time and I have read that chocolate can cause these issues. Any thoughts on this? I hate to give up my chocolate, but I suppose it is time to do an elimination thing. I also brew and consume about 16 oz. of kombucha tea per day. I thought I might be detoxing through the Kombucha (a fermented probiotic drink) but this long? These are the only 2 changes or additions I have made in the last several months. I am puzzled. I brew the KT pretty tart.
    Just throwing this out to the WB World. Reading Grain Brain now. Much of my wheat difficulties have been neurological so this is a fascinating read and so relieved I am taking this in hand so my later years are hopefully healthy. My mom suffered from Parkinson’s and when she got in the nursing home they overmedicated here with strong Alzheimers drugs and she was fried and in hell from then on (8 yrs.)

  25. Thomas

    I don’t want to appear to be a dim bulb, but I could use some clarification on Magnesium Malate dosing (Source Naturals). Is 1 tablet 1200 mg or 3 tablets 1200mg? And yes, I’ve read the label. I’m just not getting the math to add up right. Big difference between 3 tablets and 9 per day. Anyone that could clear this up would be greatly appreciated.
    Also, any thoughts on L-glutamine for sweet-tooth suppression? I’ve been wheat/grain free for 17 months, but still struggle with that nagging sweet craving in the evenings.
    Thanks in advance for any contributions.

    • Christopher Freeman

      Magnesium chloride is a better and cheaper source of magnesium then the malate version, and mag-chloride can be absorbed transdermally. Transdermal dosing can return magnesium levels back to normal within 3 months, oral supplementation can take up to one year.

      Dosage should be at least 1000 mg of magnesium per day as anywhere from 70 to 86% of the population is magnesium deficient.

      • Neicee

        I’ve been using the magnesium chloride oil from Life-flo. It’s even great to rub on sore muscles. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but I swear it helps. My husband says it doesn’t help him a bit but he’s a devotee of any chiropractor that’ll crack his back, which I’ve never seen a chiropractor.

        • Christopher Freeman

          Yes, magnesium is great for sore muscles, I use it for massages. It relaxes the muscle and reduced inflammation (aka pain) at the same time.

    • Dr. Davis

      If you are referring to the combined weight of magnesium + malate, it’s 1200 mg three times per day. Most people elect to take it just twice per day for convenience.

      I believe the glutamine works, though seems to work much better in some than others. But it is a benign thing to try. Some people also have success with 5-HTP.

  26. Christopher Freeman

    I would recommend magnesium chloride over malate for supplementation, and magnesium chloride (aka magnesium oil) can be used most effectively transdermally, and reduces the time necessary to get back to normal levels from one year to three months. Dr Mark Sircus has plenty of Youtube videos on this subject.

    Also recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading about iodine, which have been showed to be deficient in 95% of the population. Dosage can be tricky as iodine does push out fluoride, chloride and bromide out of the body and that can cause some toxic side effects, so starting slowly and working up is the best. I’m currently on a typical maintenance dose of 12 mg/day. But I have read that 50 mg/day may be necessary for 3 months to bring back levels to normal.

    • > Dosage [of iodine] can be tricky as iodine does push out fluoride, chloride
      > and bromide out of the body …

      In most cases, it needs to, as we are exposed to less iodine in our diet these days, and more of these other halides from various sources. They can displace iodine needed for proper thyroid function.

      > … and that can cause some toxic side effects, …

      Excess iodine alone is a risk. See:
      http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/07/an-iodine-primer/

      > … so starting slowly and working up is the best.

      First get a competent thyroid eval, including FT3, FT4, RT3 and TA. That, of course, is not the standard panel, and can be a challenge to get. If getting it is a battle, also expect gross misdiagnosis and prescriptive malpractice. Hit the “Thyroid Disease” link at left.

  27. April McBride

    Re: the link someone posted in response to someone asking for help with this diet: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/12/wheat-belly-quick-dirty-2/ I have a few remarks and a question.

    I just bought .the book to see if eliminating wheat would help my gastrointestinal issues. From the cover, I assumed that eliminating wheat, alone, would result in helping with this, and eliminating wheat would also result in significant weight loss.

    It makes sense to eliminate other gluten-containing foods, but again, from reading the back of the book, alleviation of these symptoms accompanied by significant weight loss, would result from eliminating wheat alone.

    Then I read the success stories, wonderful and inspiring, but anyone at all could lose a ton of weight by going entirely grain and mostly carbohydrate free and exercising like that. So I found the covers of the book misleading in the least.

    Now I know that I’m the skunk at the garden party here and that the book and the author have staunch, even ardent followers who might not respond positively to this post, but I’m not so sure giving up grains entirely, especially gluten free ones, was the premise of the book, as advertised, on the covers. And I’m also not so sure it’s wise.

    So, I’m wondering if there are any of you who simply eliminated wheat alone, but otherwise continued to eat as before, and have you your own success story to share. Just wheat. As advertised. Nothing else.

    Of course it is a healthful thing to exercise, eat lots of veg, limit fruit, cut our sugar and give up high carb foods or most of them – and weight loss cannot help but result. But the premise of the book, according to the cover and the Amazon write-up, is that eliminating wheat alone would result in these desirable results. If all the other factors are added on what we have is a standard low-carb diet, and there is nothing new or groundbreaking or ‘astounding’ in that. Is there.

    • > … but again, from reading the back of the book, alleviation of these symptoms accompanied
      > by significant weight loss, would result from eliminating wheat alone.

      If you just eliminate wheat from your diet, your caloric intake is obvious going to go down, and you’ll be removing a major provocative agent that causes fat build up. So yes, if you just did that, you could get substantial results. But most people are going to replace at least some of those calories with other foods, and the question has to arise:
      what foods?
      WB consequently had to be about that.

      > So I found the covers of the book misleading in the least.

      WB fits in a wider context: low carb, high fat, very low fructose, omega3/6 balance, avoiding a variety of inflamatories sold as food and other tweaks. And yes, the book cover doesn’t really make that clear.

      > Now I know that I’m the skunk at the garden party here …

      Nah. You are far from the first to say “hey, wait a minute here …”, although even fewer notice “hey, this is borderline ketogenic”. :)

      > And I’m also not so sure it’s wise.

      What’s [un]wise? Giving up grains, or the way the book positions itself?

      > So, I’m wondering if there are any of you who simply eliminated wheat alone,
      > but otherwise continued to eat as before, and have you your own success
      > story to share. Just wheat. As advertised. Nothing else.

      A few people over the last two years have sailed in here to report just that, but most settle into the wider macronutrient context without much trouble.

      > Of course it is a healthful thing to exercise, …

      WB actually doesn’t lobby for much exercise.
      Perlmutter does, by the way, in his new “Grain Brain” book.

      > … and weight loss cannot help but result.

      That’s only obvious because it happens. It turns out that the exact metabolic reasons for it may require some additional investigation. See, for example:
      http://eatingacademy.com/weight-loss/how-to-make-a-fat-cell-less-not-thin-the-lessons-of-fat-flux
      Before WB, it was obvious that eating fat would make you fat.
      Now it’s obvious that eating fat will make you thin. :)
      I’m thinkin’, hmmm, perhaps not so obvious.

      > … what we have is a standard low-carb diet, and there is nothing new or
      > groundbreaking or ‘astounding’ in that. Is there.

      There is no such thing [ yet ] as a “standard” LC, paleo or primal diet. Many of them, for example, self-sabotage by allowing small amounts of gluten-bearing grains and/or fructose.

      The final parameters of the emergent ideal human diet probably lie some years in the future. In the meantime, my advice to people is: if you only buy one book, make it the WB Cookbook.

      And true, WB is not just about the wheat. Wheat is just the #1 problem with modern diet:
      1. Pervasive cheap hi-gly gluten-bearing grains with novel genetics.
      2. Pervasive cheap sugars, much with novel free fructose content (HFCS primarily).
      3. Destructive low fat mania (the legacy of Ancel “Killer” Keys).
      4. Pervasive cheap inflammatory seed oils (high O6, no EPA/DHA).
      all of which arose in the last 30-40 years.
      WB nails them all.
      WB has captured a large and growing audience, where earlier LCs did not.
      That’s groundbreaking.

  28. WyomingBelly

    Hello, I started a no wheat diet 5 days ago and have lost 5 lbs, and 4 inches off my waist! Yay! I am wondering about withdrawals however. I get a little nauseated in the evening and sometimes while I am eating and I am pretty tired at times, also I have been a little anxious. Could this still be wheat withdrawal? The first few days were just fine for me and it seems the longer I am on it the wieder I feel, is this typical? I love the weight loss though and am hoping if I wait it out I will start to feel great on top of it. I have eliminated most grain as well, but have eaten a little rice and corn, but I haven’t touched a drop of wheat in 5 days. Thank you so much for any insight into this!

  29. kerry lee

    HI
    I am on first week of wheat withdrawal.
    I have had a range of peculiarities.
    Mostly cramping in belly
    Weakness in arms and legs

    I have been working through health anxiety, refused medication, and getting my body and mind healthy.
    Have physical symptoms of withdrawal is not helping my health anxiety!!!
    Any tips?

    Thank you

    • Dr. Davis

      There is, unfortunately, no way to NOT have the withdrawal from the gliadin-derived opiates in wheat.

      Just recognize that it is necessary to regain your health. And everyone survives!

  30. Rhonda

    I have a question,
    Since eliminating wheat (all grain, sugar, and most dairy actually) a month ago, I have been experiencing extreme abdominal pain. I have been to the ER twice in the past 2 weeks. The ER docs seem to think it’s some form of colitis. I have never in my life had issues with this. I am still following a grain free, SF, DF lifestyle.
    I am just dumbfounded as what caused this!
    I am supplementing my diet with FCLO, probiotics, magnesium, zinc.
    I eat sea salt and have over the past week, have been able to eat nothing but homemade bone broth and yogurt because of the pain.
    I am at a loss.
    Any suggestions?

    • > Any suggestions?

      No, but as a follower of this blog since shortly after it started, I can at least tell you that I can’t recall anyone reporting this before (it is common as a re-exposure reaction). I’m inclined to think its something unrelated to the diet shift …

      … unless your former diet had cultivated a colony of gut bacteria who are now seriously unhappy that you’ve removed their addiction fodder. But I would have expected the probiotics to take care of that.

  31. Tony

    I have been practicing a grainless diet for over a month. I was doing very well until I went home for the holidays to visit my parents: a very Italian household. So I at lasagna for a week, I had a few chocolate chip cookies everyday, and I had pizza one day. The day that I ate pizza, I had the most horrific gas you can imagine. The kind that can make everyone in a room to run out.

    So after my wheat friendly diet at Mom and Dad’s house I went back to my home in New York to celebrate New Years. That night I had another heavily-wheat-friendly dinner: homemade pasta and homemade Italian bread. On New Years day I had meat raviolis: again more wheat. Out of all the days, the pizza night was extraordinary in terms of digestive discomfort and gas. The second worst night was New Years Eve which I at a lot of bread.

    I find that bread bothers my stomach a lot more than just eating pasta alone.

    So the day after new years day, Jan 2, I went back to basically my Paleo Diet. No more grains of any kind. I started off with some coconut flour pancakes. I later went to the gym. And I stayed at home the rest of the day eating a grainless diet. Shortly after lunch I had diarrhea. A lot. But I felt find. By the next night I was developing a canker sore on the right side of my tongue and I had a fever.

    The next morning I took some advil. I had some aches and pains in my legs and lower back. The canker sore was getting bigger and causing more pain.

    By the next evening, I my right tonsil was very swollen. So I went to the doctor. He prescribed me an antibiotic and and an anti-viral medication. I took my first does and went to bad.

    The next morning I didn’t feel better or worse. By the end of the day the canker sore got worse and I had developed one on my pallet behind my front teeth. I woke up this morning and the pain was excruciating. I had pain in my right jaw and developed another canker sore on the right side of my pallet. I went back to the doctor.

    She gave me a steroid immediately for the inflammation in my mouth and jaw. She changed the antibiotic and gave a me a topical solution to deal with the pain on my tongue. As I writing I’m feeling a little better and the fever is gone. But I still have the canker sores. I’m going to see an ENT tomorrow. I also did tests for strep, flu, and mono. All negative under rapid tests. I also gave blood today to test for STD’s.

    I’m reading this article and everyone else’s comments and I wonder: Am I going through some kind of grain withdrawal. The doctor’s assistantment told me that my body is putting up a big fight against some kind of virus or infections because the all the inflamation in my mouth, jaw, and lymph nodes.

    Has anyone experienced canker sores as a result of stopping grains? While I’m a big supporter of a grainless diet, I am Italian. Once totally go gluten-free, I can NEVER cheat once in a while or I’ll get very sick?

    I’ll know more tomorrow after I see the ENT. But I’m wondering if my going back and forth between weeks of grainless meals, followed by a week full of grains, is causing my immune system to go crazy!

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Louise VILLENEUVE

      Hi

      I have not been diagnosed with celiac yet….and hope I won’t be, however last year I completed my blood work to see my intolerances through my naturopathic doctor. I score really high for wheat and all other gluten products, I also scored really high for all dairy products, soya, corn, eggs (all types) cranberries and crab. I am also allergic to most fruits and vegetables when eaten in the raw form. I also can not tolerate raw almonds and some seeds if they have soy lecithin. I get blisters in my mouth within seconds of eating it. I know it can be a challenge not eating gluten, however I am finding it very challenging not to eat any of the above as so many products contain corn or soya lecithin.

      After one month of doing really well off the above food, my old ways slowly crept in again last summer and now I sure am paying the price with excessive weight gain, etc.

      I always look about 8 months pregnant and people come up to me asking when I am due. My 8 year daughter often comments on my big belly. I always have embarrassing gas, tired every afternoon and I snore like crazy. I way about 210 lbs and am 5’6. I have chronic back pain.

      For the past few days I’ve been eating lots of greens with seed and chicken, some smoothies with raspberries and rice or almond milk etc. some gluten free pumpkin muffins I baked.

      I am writing as I do need help and support. When can I start noticing improvement? I know it’s been years of abuse on body and it can’t be undone quickly.

      Any sugar free suggestions for breakfast ( ie no maple syrop) …besides grapefruit, smoothies and trail mix.
      Ps the only fruit and vegetable I tolerate in the raw form are strawberries, raspberries, bananas, grapefruit, tangerines, cucumbers.

      Any other advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you very much.

      Louise

      Sent from my iPad

    • david

      Hi, I’m of German/UK descent and have had a sore like that when stopping gluten. I was also adding lemon to my tea at that time, though, which could have been a/the cause.

  32. Amanda

    I am on day 6 of no gluten. Today I woke up & feel really tired. I am bloated, upset stomach, achy. Another symptom I have had is hands & feet falling asleep easily. I thought maybe coming down with the flu but now wondering if gluten withdrawal. I also have a ton of congestion & phlegm (gross I Know). I have read wheat belly & have been to a ND who suggested the book & she said symptoms sounded like a food allergy. I had blood taken & am still waiting on results. I decided to eliminate wheAt in the meantime in hopes I would feel better. It sounded like the wheat withdrawal symptoms are usually in 1st few days & then relief starts. My scale has not really moved. Weight loss is not my main goal but need to lose 20lbs. Again I expected a little weight loss in week 1. I am feeling frustrated and wondering if something else is going on. I do feel like I have had less cravings & not as hungry as before. I did feel some increased energy on days 3 & 4. I am going to try probiotics like others have suggested. I am just not feeling confident that what I am doing is the right path. Do I just stick it out and have faith in the process? I have another week to get results from blood work. Should I call Dr. & consult her? Thanks in advance for any help!

    • Dr. Davis

      It would be a darned shame if you start the journey back to health, have to endure effects to undo all the problems created, then give up because the process is unpleasant.

      I’d say stay the course and things get better. It took many years to disrupt health; it takes more than a few days to correct.

  33. Jill

    I am on day 5 of being wheat free. What a tough week. Day one wasn’t bad but by day 3 I felt bad. I can’t exactly place it but I just didn’t feel well. I had terrible pain in my upper calves . Yes exactly the same on both legs. It felt as though I worked out and was about to get a cramp in my calf, but it didn’t happen. I hadn’t worked out. I was very tired and really a bit depressed. I was forcing myself to do things. If I could have I would have sat in the recliner all day with a blanket and done nothing! Well today day 5 I feel so much better, my calves don’t hurt anymore and I emotionally feel better. I believe this is all due to a wheat withdrawal . I have not cut out all carbs like I have done in the past so it is totally incredible that wheat can do these things! I always thought it was carbs that did this, WOW iwheat must really wreak havoc on our bodies is if this is what happens when I eliminate it. I look forward to feeling even better in the future.

  34. Jennifer

    I’ve been gluten free since the first of the year (22 days). However, I started weaning myself slowly in November. I didn’t want to deprive myself over the holidays considering I’ve had my symptoms for years. At any rate, perhaps my slow change over has put off my withdrawal symptoms a bit. I didn’t start to really feel bad until 2 weeks in. I had pain in my calfs, much like I had recently worked out. I also have some serious tension in my neck and shoulders. I became more tired than usual. I started getting really bad headaches between days 14 and 16. They feel much like migraines that I’ve had in the past. The last two days I’ve had rumbling in my stomach and gas. I considered gluten contamination, but I’ve rechecked everything I’ve eaten and I don’t think that’s the problem. After doing some searching, I believe that all of my symptoms are gluten or wheat withdrawal, but it seems strange that it took 2 weeks to start for me. Again, maybe it’s because I took a more gentle approach to going gluten free. I’m just wondering how long this will last. Any thoughts?

  35. I started going grain free on Monday, January 20th.
    It’s day four and I’m SUPER bloated! I had piercing stomach pains about an hour ago and my belly is very swollen! I’m not pregnant, and this bloating isn’t like your normal “I ate too much”. I wonder if it’s inflammation from the detox. But I was hoping to get rid of this wheat belly…lol. I suppose I should give it time.

    Other symptoms I’ve had are dry skin. I’ve always had dry skin (one symptom of wheat for me) and it kind of broke out more. Perhaps I need more of the good Omega-3 fats and to keep hydrated better.

    No fever though! In fact, I’ve been able to go running and do other activities just fine. I did however get pretty mood swings. The kind of irritable mood you get when you ate too much sugar. But I didn’t eat any sugar.
    I hope this is just detoxing, cause I would like to get rid of the belly :)

    • Dr. Davis

      Many people with this effect, Bethany, do better with a high-potency probiotic taken for several weeks.

      This may reflect a transition in bowel flora.

      • Jane Jacobson

        I listened to the audio version of Wheat Belly twice while escaping the sun for two weeks between Jan 25 and Feb 8. I also read Grain Brain. Both scared the bejesus outa me. I began tapering off wheat and carbs but gave the wheat the boot for real by Feb 1st. Its now Feb 14 and I am an emotional basket case!
        Afraid to give up all carbs, so do you have any kind words of advice? I am very nervous as to how long this will last. It’s a debilitating dissociative mess. Can’t find anything to grasp meaning from and having trouble focussing and being motivated to get anything accomplished.