An open letter to Tom Hanks: Don’t be diabetic!

Tom Hanks announced on the David Letterman Show that he was diagnosed with diabetes after many years of struggles with blood sugar. All the news media have captured the story; here’s the USA Today story.

Mr. Hanks seems like a genuinely nice guy. So here is my open letter to him. Should he stumble on it, it provides the blueprint that I have been using to get rid of diabetes, a very realistic prospect for most people with diabetes–if they choose to do it and stick to it.

Now, not knowing the full details of Mr. Hanks health and lab values, I make the assumption that he is a type 2 diabetic. Adults can indeed develop type 1 (which is often triggered by wheat, by the way, via autoimmunity). Adults can also develop a sort of diabetes often regarded as in-between types 1 and 2 called the Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA), though it behaves more like type 1. (There are also other forms, though rare, such as type 1 diabetes that develops from pancreatic disease beyond autoimmune beta cell destruction.) Because type 2 diabetes is, by far, the most common and the form that is driving the nationwide epidemic, I will assume that is the form Mr. Hanks shares. (LADA is next in line.)

Dear Mr. Hanks–

I believe it was very courageous to share your diagnosis on television with a national audience. I am sure you will be flooded by well-wishers as well as many people with advice. I’d nonetheless like to alert you to several issues relevant to diabetes:

The majority of diabetes is reversible. Most people can make the choice to have diabetes or to not have it. I hope that you choose not to have it. This is because it is caused by diet. Sadly, it is caused by conventional advice to “cut your fat and eat healthy whole grains.” People often blame too many soft drinks and junk food, but there are many people like you who, I’m sure, try to eat well and don’t drink or eat sugary foods–yet have diabetes. This is due to grains.

More than sugary foods, grains raise blood sugar to high levels. The glycemic indexes, for instance, of whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and multigrain breads are among the highest of all foods. They ENSURE having high blood sugars. (To see for yourself, use your glucose meter and check a blood sugar immdiately prior to a meal; consume the food in question, then recheck a blood sugar at 1-hour after eating, not 2 hours as often advised to assess the adequacy of blood sugar control on diabetes medication. You want the blood sugar peak, which is around 1 hour. You will see blood sugars of 200, 250, or 300 mg/dl after eating grains.) High blood sugars from “healthy whole grains” are also toxic to the beta cells of the pancreas (“glucotoxicity”), making blood sugars go even higher. In some people, the loss of beta cells means there can be no reversing diabetes, but this is less common early in the diagnosis.

Ignore conventional dietary advice. Even better, do the opposite. Unfortunately, in the world of conventional diabetes advice, including that from most healthcare professionals, “Stupid is as stupid does.” The diet advised for people with diabetes makes fasting blood sugar and HbA1c (the 90-day measure of blood sugar) go higher, not lower.

–There are a number of other reasons that grains, especially wheat (white and whole) can be blamed: The gliadin protein of wheat is degraded in the gastrointestinal tract to small peptides that act as opiates and bind to the opiate receptors of the human brain. This triggers appetite for carbohydrates, the worst foods to eat for anyone with diabetes. Wheat germ agglutinin, another protein in wheat, blocks leptin and cholecystokinin, both of which should trigger satiety. In the presence of wheat, appetite is not satisfied.

Beyond the powerful strategy of grain elimination, we do not restrict fats but get plenty of olive oil, coconut oil, and the fats from animal organs and meats and supplement with:

Vitamin D–The insulin-sensitizing effects of raising your 25-hydroxy vitamin D level to 60-70 ng/ml helps regain control over blood sugar. A typical male requires 6000 units of D3 in gelcap form to achieve this level.

Magnesium supplementation–While the effect is modest, correcting common magnesium deficiencies stacks the odds in your favor of regaining control over blood sugar. I advocate magnesium malate, 1200 mg, twice per day.

Omega-3 fatty acids–from fish oil. After eating a meal, there is a flood of particles in the bloodstream (lipoproteins), representing the digestive byproducts of the foods consumed. These particles can block insulin. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil activate an enzyme that accelerates clearance of after-meal lipoproteins, reducing their insulin-blocking effect. I advocate 3000-3600 mg per day of the EPA + DHA omega-3 fatty acids, divided in two doses for assured day-long reduction of lipoproteins.

Those of us who follow the above principles drop fasting blood sugar and HbA1c precipitously, often enough to get off medication, reduce HbA1c into the 5.0% range, and become assuredly NON-diabetic. Even if you are among the few who have impaired pancreatic beta cells and produce insufficient insulin, elimination of grains will minimize need for medications. And, by the way, we should also pass this information onto David Letterman, who also admitted to having high blood sugars during your interview.

My sincerest hopes that you benefit from these suggestions, I remain

William Davis, MD
Author, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Tom Hanks… listen to the wise doctor! Hundreds of us were pre-diabetic and now have a normal blood sugar. Many more are diabetic but now live a healthy life with no medication. It’s not hard or crazy or wacky. It is simply eating the foods that we are genetically designed to eat.

  2. Katherine Herron

    I didn’t believe it until I tried it. I rarely got full while eating bread with every meal. I am not diabetic, yet, and my blood sugar would crash every day, a hypoglycemic roller coaster ride every day. After about 2 years of thinking about it, out of the blue I decided that I would finally stop eating wheat on a trial basis and have not had one sugar crash. It has been a month and am amazed! Going from 25+ years of up and down to level almost immediately. Thank you for writing that book!!! I am sure you have changed many lives and am grateful.

  3. I truly hope that Tom sees the letter. The first thing I said when I heard him was get rid of the wheat!! It is amazing the difference mine and my husband’s life has changed but getting rid of the wheat!!
    Sharon H

  4. Pameel

    I have type 2 diabetes and my doctor told me to cut all things white and eat WHEAT EVERYTHING; bread, pasta, cereals, etc!!!!!!! I keep getting conflicting information from everyone!!! So frustrating!!!

    • Dave II

      Don’t listen to the doctor. My dad’s diabetes was out of control. He was going from doctor to doctor, getting the same advice on nutrition, with the diabetes only getting worse. I got him to try dropping wheat, and it was the first time he ever saw any improvement with his illness. In five weeks he was able to cut his medicine in half.

      Doctors are not trained on how to counsel people for nutrition. (If anything, they are trained wrong.) Just drop the wheat! (And as much sugar and carbs as you can.)

  5. Dr. William, I live in Wellington, New Zealand & recently bought your cookbook. My Dr diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes as well as with high Bld pressure & put me on Metformin & bp meds too. I was taking them for a while but they were making my skin even dryer than it already is (I have psoriasis too) & not making any difference to my blood results. I stopped the meds & started on a wheat-free lifestyle (I don’t like the word ‘diet’ – it’s too negative!) & my bloods got back to normal levels in a month & a half!! My skin is improving too :) I think it would be amazing if you could get yourself on the David Letterman show & get the word out even more to Americans & the rest of the world. I am telling anyone who’ll listen to me & some of my friends have started wheat-free & are benefiting as well. Thank you so much. Go well :)

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s terrific! And you appreciate how easy–though contrary to conventional advice–the solution can be.

  6. Katie D

    I really don’t mean this article to sound aggressive, but rather I am at a general loss on a couple of matters.

    1. Tom Hanks said he is Pre-disposed to TYPE 2 diabetes (no need to guess, it’s what he said!), so these tips should definitely benefit people in a similar position.
    2. Not All diabetes can be reversed/solved by these methods. Believe me, my type-1 cousin would Love if it were simple enough to change her diet and Poof! Although eating well does help her manage, she is still Very insulin-dependent and always will be.
    3. I hear all the time how wheat is So evil and bad. If this is the case I. Why wad it a part of the food pyramid for so many years and II. with what do we substitute it? I’d be more than willing to substitute (some) wheat grains for healthier alternatives, but it seems like that step gets left out. Out bodies need grains, at least I Know mine functions better with grains in it than it does without. But What grains are “good” brain/body food?

    This is a very interesting and informative article. I do not mean to come across as argumentative, because I’m not. This topic has just come up so much lately, and I am confused on the matter.

    • Dr. Davis

      All the arguments for why wheat should not be part of the human menu are articulated in the Wheat Belly books, Katie.

      The USDA Food Pyramid and Plate are part of the effort to convert the human diet into one dominated by commoditized grains, foods that have extended shelf life, can be shipped long distances, and are relatively uniform in quality worldwide. 50% of all human calories now come from these commoditized foods: wheat, corn, rice. This is how a lot of money is made from the human diet, money that cannot be made with organic cucumbers or spinach.

    • HS4

      Katie – have you read Dr Davis’ book, Wheat Belly (the first one, not the cookbook)? From your questions it sounds like you have not. Please read the book and you’ll have the basic understanding that most of this blog audience has. You’ll find that the book is an enjoyable and easy read. After that you can also browse this website for a great deal of relevant and interesting material directly related to your questions. Once you understand ‘where ‘we’re all coming from’ it’ll be easier for readers to answer further questions.

    • Tony

      Katie,

      In addition to Wheat Belly you might also want to check out the Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter, it just came out, as it focuses on the brain part of the “equation” quite a bit.

      G’luck.

    • Miriam

      Dear Katie,

      You do not need to substitute anything for grains.

      One year ago, I read a book–in this case Good Calories, Bad Calories–and realized I’d been lied to my whole life about what a healthy diet consists of. I immediately stopped eating all grains of every type, as well as ditching my “healthy” fruit smoothies and constant fruit at lunch. Prior to doing this, my diet consisted of a breakfast of one measured cup of plain Cheerios with skim milk, black coffee and a fruit and plain yogurt smoothie for breakfast, a whole grain sandwich at lunch with bread I made myself, 1/3 a roasted, skinless chicken breast, 1 oz of cheese and lots of lettuce, mustard, tomato and pickle. I finished with an apple, grapefruit or some other fruit. For dinner I had whole grain pasta or bread with a lowfat meat and some kind of lowfat sauce. I actually learned how to make spaghetti sauce without any oil or fat at all. I did not drink sodas or fruit juices, ate hardly any fat and didn’t indulge in desserts. Most of society would consider my diet very healthy.

      Since I had had adopted that diet six years before, I had gone from 200-220 pounds to 300, despite constant exercise. Although I did not get diabetes, I had constant blood sugar highs and lows. By 10am I could not function. If I exercised, I would have to lay down until able to eat again. I had no energy, was deeply depressed and had a myriad of other minor health issues that were generally attributed to “normal” aging. I am 37.

      It has now been almost exactly 1 year since I threw away grains, sugars and fruit (except some berries as an occasional treat). I know weigh 175 pounds, haven’t been depressed since three days after changing up my diet, have more energy than I know what to do with, am rarely hungry, have no more jet lag when I travel internationally, can easily go 16+ hours without food without feeling tired or grumpy, have packed on mad amounts of muscle (to the point of going down three sizes at one point, while only losing 10 pounds off the scale), and have ended or reversed all those “normal” aging symptoms. I feel closer to 20 than 40 in terms of energy, activity level, outlook on life and strength.

      I eat no grains at all. I do not substitute them with anything. They are not necessary. Many people on this site use non-wheat grains for things, and that’s wonderful. That’s always an option. There are heritage grains like kamut that operate quite similarly to wheat. There’s things like oats. But you don’t NEED them. When you feel like you need some carbs, you don’t really “need” it. That’s what’s known as “addiction.” You think you need grain only because you are addicted to it. You can get all the carbs you could ever want out of fruits and vegetables if you wanted–yet grain is the one thing you are unwilling to give up it seems. If you choose to forgo grains entirely, you will feel terrible for 2 days to at least 2 weeks. For me it was 3 days. For my roommate it was 2 weeks. You will think you have the flu. You will think you just “need” some carbs to get by, but what you will be craving won’t be a sweet potato or a bowl of blueberries and cream–it will be donuts, pizza, fresh bread with butter and pretzels. That’s your addiction talking.

      If you can get through the detox period, I promise you you will finally wake up one morning and feel like you lost 30 pounds and 10 years overnight.

      Sincerely yours,
      Miriam

      • Culinary Adventurer

        Miriam,
        Thank you for your fantastic post! You gave a perfect reply to Katie who is responding in the same way most people do when first hearing about the “controversial” aspects of becoming wheat-free. It is so counter intuitive at first simply because we have been told the opposite information by those we entrust with our health and safety. This is unsettling! The proof is in DOING as we have each found out for ourselves. Sharing your own experience will help so many people! Yours is a post I will recommend to others.
        CA.

          • Neicee

            Miriam, I concur wholeheartedly. Thanks so much for sharing. I am also one of those that doesn’t need replicas of carbs I used to eat all the time. Because I don’t need them. Eggs, meat, good oils, nuts, and tons of veggies with small portions of fruit is all I need. I think your thoughts are worthy of it’s own thread. :)

  7. Tom12GA

    I also hope that Tom Hanks follows the advice of Dr. Davis.


    I am doing everything except the Vitamin D advice. I work outside every day so I am not really sure that there’s a need for a supplement to increase my levels.

    I’ve only been wheat free for 3 weeks, but I have seen my morning (*best) levels come below 130 on two (2) days and below 140 almost every day from the second week forward. Following advice on this site, I also eliminated my oatmeal after the first week…and that seemed to help lower the lunchtime reading. What kind of timetable is realistic for seeing me go below 120? (Maybe 10-12 weeks?)

    Btw. Is anyone else doing anything at all with Bitter Melon? Any advice or cautions? (i.e., Is it more effective consumed raw?…and how BITTER is it?)

    Thanks,
    Tom.

    • Farm mom Corinne

      Tom, Don’t think that working outside is enough. We have a farm and we’re outside most of the day, between that 10-2 that they claim is the right time, with sleeveless shirts and still my numbers were ridiculously low. I told my ND that if I was low, there couldn’t be many folks who actually get enough. Which started a whole conversation … another ND she knows in Hawaii said that even his surfers are low! What??? She now has me on 10,000 1x per day. Personally, I would recommend you get your numbers tested. Just my two cents. :) Glad that you are working the program and it’s doing well for you!!

      • Miriam

        I’m curious to know how on earth anyone can establish any kind of standard for what is “low” if even people who spend all day in the sun can’t attain to so-called “normal” levels. Doesn’t that imply that those levels aren’t actually normal?

        • An excellent point!

          If you consider we started out not wearing much clothes, near the equator… yeah, I’d say few of us can do that, much less year-round. :)

    • HS4

      Tom – it depends very much on where you live. If it’s anywhere in the entire northern two-thirds of the US, and anywhere in Canada, it is virtually impossible to get enough sun exposure to make sufficient vitamin D except during the hottest summer months and then with sufficient exposure to full sun and minimal clothing. ‘Sufficient exposure’ also means no sunscreens except pehaps a hat to shield the face since the skin is usually more sensitive there.

      FMCorinne is right – getting serum vitamin D levels tested is the best way to really know where you stand. Testing is much easier and cheaper now than it used to be. I order simple testing kits (finger stick) through the Vitamin D Council’s website (so that they earn a small portion of each sale). This website is also one of the best places to get information on vitamin D and its relationship to health, disease, and so on. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

      • Neicee

        HS4, I spoke to a gal the other day that had recently received her stats and her Vit D level was at 20. Yet, she lives outdoors year around. Even with snow on the ground she’s out shoveling it. In the northern climes we see increased numbers of people with MS, yet when I asked one if her Dr. had recommended increased levels of Vit D3 she said no. They’re going the medication route.

        • HS4

          For optimal serum vitamin D levels, location is everything (just as in houses ). One’s location on planet earth determines how effectively your body can manufacture vitamin D – it’s all to do with the time of year, the time of day, how long the exposure is, and the angle of the sun to your location. In the northern part of the northern hemisphere (roughly the northern 2/3 of the US and all of Canada, most of Europe, etc…) all of these factors combine optimally only in the summer to produce enough vitamin D, provided enough skin area is exposed for a long enough period of time. For the rest of the year, especially from say, mid-autumn to mid-spring, even if it’s sunny every day, and you’re outside every day completely naked, you can’t produce enough vitamin D (this is how one vitamin D researcher put it many years ago and I haven’t forgotten it, LOL). The darker someone’s skin is, the worse this situation is but I have seen some information recently that suggests optimal serum vitamin D levels for dark-skinned people may be somewhat less than that for light-skinned.

          There is a reason why, over the centuries, many cultures in northern Europe forced cod liver oil down children’s throat daily, but especially in winters. This is not the case much anymore, unfortunately. My husband (who is English) remembers this from his childhood – hated the stuff but it was good his Mum made him take it. I was in a grocery store recently that carries canned cod livers (from Norway) packed in their own oil – has anyone tried this? It might be an acquired taste, I’m thinking.

          Altitude (at your location) also matters but that is a complication right now in this discussion.

          People living in tropical climates should have absolutely no problem getting enough sun exposure that will in turn produce enough vitamin D in their bodies all year long. However, even in such areas, many people have been frightened by dermatologists into minimizing exposure to the sun as much as possible. I am always amazed how many elderly people I see every time I visit Florida (usually in the winter) who are wearing long sleeves, long slacks, and huge wrap-around sunglasses with full brimmed hats! They are not benefiting at all from the sun ( and the elderly need vitamin D even more).

          Studies have been done revealing extreme vitamin D deficiency epidemics amongst people living in hot sunny climates but who remain covered up all day; this is especially the case for women in some cultures.

          Neicee – it’s really a shame that the person you spoke with who has MS isn’t trying everything she can to optimize her vitamin D levels. There is a lot of information specifically on MS and vitamin D (as well as some other factors) on the Vitamin D Council website.

          • Neicee

            I’ve had to do so much reading on the subject of supplementing with Vit D3, after recently being diagnosed with osteoporosis. I got absolutely nowhere with my over glorified endo that questioned my disclosure I was taking Vit D3 supplements and why? I was then taking 2000 a day. After my full blood panel I bumped it up to 4000 because the test results came back and I was at 47.5. Sadly I had to stick with this guy (for awhile ;) because of an HMO type medical insurance policy. You made some great points, and I truly hope my friend has found a new doctor.

      • Susan

        Interesting tool!
        Just a preliminary calculation showed I should take about 10,000 iu of Vit D3 per day. Which is what I had been taking back when I was regularly taking my supplements. I’ve slacked off a little. Looks like I should be more diligent about it.

      • HS4

        Jeff G – thanks for posting the link to the estimator! The website is quite interesting, also. I like the fact that the site owner is not a vitamin D researcher or supplier himself, but another interested layman trying to get the word out since he knows how much he & his family have benefited from this nutrient.

  8. Beverly Souliere

    Just wondering what you recommend for a non diabetic who is allergic to fish and seafood? I’ve been wheat free since May 1, 2008. Dropped 26 lbs, dropped blood pressure by 22 points (from 140 to 118), more energy and clarity of thought. I take a multivitamin at each meal plus enzymes. D3 2000 units in the am and pm. B complex in the am and pm. 2000 IU magnesium at bedtime. 7 million probiotic 2x day.

    • Elizabeth

      I don’t particularily like fish (except for the deep fried variety) so don’t have any fear! I’ve been doing WB since January and it’s working out very well for me! I’ve lost about 40 lbs on it so far (this from someone who was insulin resistant) and have too many other benefits to list here that have happened. People are noticing now, which is fun too! Read the book! Read the book! Read the book! I think you’ll find a lot that you can eat PLUS on Facebook there are several links that will share great gluten-free, WB-legal recipes! I’m a picky eater anyway, so I can attest 100% that WB is do-able!!!

    • Dr. Davis

      Rye = wheat and wheat = rye, for all practical purposes.

      They have too many shared genes and proteins. For instance, the gliadin protein of wheat is virtually identical to that of rye, as is the wheat germ agglutinin.

        • Culinary Adventurer

          Dear Ed and Wrotek,
          You can make your own “Rye” bread! It’s easy. Maria Emmerich has a basic recipe for bread on her website. I added three ingredients: 1. Caraway seeds, 2. some whole ground mustard, and 3. coffee! About one T. of each to her recipe. (You can add less or more to suit you own tastes) It is all about the flavors.
          This makes a fabulous tasting “Rye”! We call it Wry Bread! Hey Wry not? You can do this! No wheat – yay!
          CA

          • Barbara in New Jersey

            Dr. Davis has a delicious recipe for “rye” and “pumpernickel” bread in his cookbook. Ground caraway seeds add an authentic flavor to whatever recipe you use.

      • stephen ottridge

        I disagree. I don’t believe that rye has been bred like wheat. How much gliadin do you get in a slice of whole wheat bread and how much in one slice of 100% rye bread? I regularly eat 100% rye bread, perhaps one slice every 2 days and I’ve lost 40 lbs in weight and reversed my diabetes.

    • stephen ottridge

      google rye versus wheat. Read some of the links. You will find that rye is ok. Lower glycaemic index.

  9. Tony

    Dr. Davis,

    Do you recommend all these supplements to everybody or only to people with diabetes?

    If I eat wild salmon 4-5 times a week, would it be enough as far as Omega 3 fatty acids are concerned?

    Thank you.

  10. Ri

    Dr Davis are you up for this challenge by Durian Rider? lol
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDjc8JsOdHE

    I have to admit I enjoy watching this Aussie’s videos as he’s very opinionated and strongly advocates the raw vegan lifestyle (tons of fruits/veggies/nuts/seeds/VERY low fat) and lately ive been more curious about it and questioning if it really is as amazing as the advocates claim. I see the raw vegans in their 70’s and they look fit healthy and a lot of times half their age. I was pretty disappointed in what he said about you and your book because I truly believe in the wheat belly movement and not only that but his girlfriend Freelee on Youtube also a raw vegan avoids wheat but she will eat corn flour pasta and other gluten free junk carbs. Durian Rider has it all WRONG though he keeps saying that your claim is carbs make you fat and he also points out how a lot of Asians have wheat in their diet and they stay very lean -but I don’t think how lean a person is entirely indicative of their health because you see a lot of thin people with diabetes as well if not that they have really bad skin or another sign of poor health. Anyways I hope you don’t mind me posting the link for this video because im sure with all the critics you have thick skin and can handle it but I wanted you to see it so you could see how people take the very important message you try to spread and twist it in this case Durian Rider saying that your claim ‘carbs make you fat’ and wheat is bad and its all propaganda and about making money off people- he clearly didn’t read the book! this is one video of his I had to thumbs down!!

    • Dr. Davis

      I’m continually shocked at the “reviews” of Wheat Belly from people who clearly never even read the book but presume that it is just a reiteration of low-carb, gluten-free “wisdom.” Of course, it is nothing of the kind.

      Frankly, I don’t waste my time with people who have the lack of conscience and ethics sufficient to post reviews about things they didn’t really review. How can you persuade someone who clearly does not want to be persuaded? You and I have better things to do with our time, spreading the word to people who truly need it and are willing to drop their preconceived notions and listen.

      • Ri

        youre absolutely right Dr Davis and your educated and have years of education and practise with patients- hes just a hippy fruitcake who doesnt have a clue what he’s talking about! i guess with success comes haters

        • Culinary Adventurer

          Ri,
          I have a request… and please don’t respond in an unkind way… can we keep on topic on these blogs? Let’s not let Dr. Davis important work be dragged down by name-calling (“hippy fruitcake” and “haters”) and throwing ill-willed reviews around. We all know they are out there and will be, but wouldn’t it be more helpful to everyone to discuss how Dr. Davis’s efforts are helping us? Let us compound the good! Not weigh down the good Dr. who is helping so many regain their health.
          CA

          • Linda

            Thank you for saying this. There are a couple of paleo sites I no longer visit because they have turned into political screeds and self-righteous rants. Not to say that RI has reached that level, but his/her reply does open the door to negative energy. I want to stay focused on the topic of wellness through nutrition and the fantastic results possible and that people are actually experiencing. I will stay open and aware of alternative studies and viewpoints, but through personal research, not through haranguing discussions found on so many sites. By the way, that is another great result of grain free living — I rarely get angry and my days of energy-draining outrage are no more. Thank you Dr. Davis.

          • Ri

            Culinary Adventurer and Linda -i am a huge supporter of Dr Davis and i bought his book as soon as it hit book store shelves. I believe in everything he is doing to try and help people regain health and wellness and i am by NO means trying to “open the door to negative energy” the only reason i wanted to post this was because truthfully sometimes i wonder if there is any validity by what is being said by the critics-im only human and i dont have a degree in nutrition and im not a doctor. Dr Davis HIMSELF has posted articles and statements written by his critics and then turned around and clarified for all of us the true facts and then it all made sense. Sometimes i do wonder how eating too much fruit can be a bad thing (or bananas in particular which i love) when i see other people who do so and are healthy and thriving. I know its fructose but isnt it converted differently by your body as well as coconut sugar then the fructose found in pops and candy bars?Also why is it that Asians can eat so much wheat and stay so thin and have some of the longest life expectancies? I really just wanted clarification about a few key points that Durian Rider was making. But i definitely believe in the message Dr Davis is trying to spread whole heartedly and recommend his book to everyone and didnt mean to offend him or anyone else!

      • stanley

        ‘ if you had to turn around and kick at every dog that nips at your heel you would never get anywhere’

        • Linda

          This in reply to RI. The reply link was missing on his last message.
          Thank you for clarifying your thoughts so eloquently. We are on the same page. All the best.

  11. Ri

    I just noticed he wrote this below -you should comment on this video Dr Davis and clear up his confusion and misunderstandings about Wheat Belly! He doesn’t realize this is a lifestyle not a fad weight loss gimmick

    “Wheat Belly is a fad diet low carb weight loss gimmick book written by William Davis. Nothing personal against wheat belly author William Davis. Just sharing my comments and criticisms about the Wheat Belly book.

    Wheat Belly was published recently and became a popular book among overweight people looking to hear good things about their bad habits. Wheat Belly author William Davis told his readers that bacon = slim, wheat = fat. Full fat cream = skinny, steamed rice = obesity. Steak burgers with no buns = slim and organic mangoes blended with peaches = diabetes.”

    William Davis, MD. Author: “The Wheat Belly” – Recommends no wheat, but lots of meat, dairy and oil.Thanks for watching. Leave your comments down below.

  12. JillOz

    No offence Dr Davis, but you should have Tweeted this directly to Tom Hanks as well as posting here, rather than randomly hope he found his way here. How would he if noone told him about this?

    This post has been Tweeted to him, so hopefuilly he’ll be able to read it despite having millions of followers.

    best wishes.

  13. Culinary Adventurer

    Dr. Davis,
    I was SO hoping you would respond to Mr. Hanks’ announcement and here you are! I hope Mr. Hanks reads your open letter, reads your books, and starts eating and cooking the Wheat Belly way! He will have a great chance to make his way to a healthier life. I also hope that if he finds his way here he will let us know he has heard the message.
    Why don’t you join us Mr. Hanks? We are feeling fine and invite you feel your best as well. Get rid of wheat/grains and free yourself!
    If all of you on WB who have reduced or freed yourselves from Diabetes would send a message to Mr. Hanks – maybe he will realize this is real! What say you WB bloggers?

  14. Anne Rhodes

    Dr. Davis, the amounts of magnesium, D3, and fish oil supplements that you recommend for Mr. Hanks, are they appropriate for women?

  15. Malcolm Achtman

    Hi Dr.Davis:

    I have a question about my unusual Hemoglobin A1c measurements. They vary quite a bit, and I’m wondering whether the test is accurate or whether the discrepancies are within the normal limits of lab error?

    I am a 64-year old male. I weigh 152 lbs. and follow the Wheat Belly protocol closely, except that I eat more fruit than Dr. Davis recommends. I typically eat 2 or 3 servings per day which adds upwards of 60 more carbs per day than he recommends.

    On Jan 16, 2013 my HA1c was 5.2. Not ideal; but not too bad. A month later (Feb 12, 2013) I joined a health group and my HA1c got tested and jumped to 5.8. Last month I was tested again (with the health group) and my HA1c was 5.3. They seemed happy about that. But here’s the catch, the day before this test I went to a lab to get tested because I was curious to see if another discrepancy would occur. The measurement I got from them was 5.7. That strikes me as a big variation over one day.

    Historically, from the year 2005 when my HA1c was first measured, long before starting a Wheat Belly lifestyle, it has has ranged from 5.2 to 5.6 (excluding the exceptions noted above). There was one other anomalous value of 5.9 in July 2011. It was sandwiched between a previous 5.5 in March 2011 and another 5.5 in April 2012.

    My understanding is that HA1c measures an average over a 90-day period. Therefore I wouldn’t expect my results to fluctuate so much.

    Here is my new plan. On December 1st I will reduce my fruit consumption to just a few berries in the morning. That will be the only main change that I will make in my diet. My next health lab test is scheduled in March 2014. I will look forward to seeing my new number and will keep you posted.

    Best regards,

    Malcolm

    • Dr. Davis

      Factor in, Malcolm, variation in the way the test is run in different labs. That may account for some of the variation.

      If you really want the best insight into diet, it means checking your own fingerstick blood sugars: easy and inexpensive. You can asses the blood sugar rise at 1-hour after various foods. I tell patients to keep the 1-hour after-eating blood sugar to 100 mg/dl or less, the level of ideal health.

      • Malcolm Achtman

        Dr. Davis:

        Thank you again for your reply. I do use a FreeStyle glucose meter from time to time. The test sticks are expensive; it costs me 80 cents every time I prick my finger. My 1-hour after-eating blood sugar typically measures less than 100 mg/dl, so I’m good.

        I saw a leading endocrinologist in Calgary in February 2013. It took over a year to get in to see him. My doctor referred me when I was concerned with a Hemoglobin A1c test in July 2011 that was 5.9%. To do a glucose test, the endocrinologist suggested I eat some grapes, wait two to three hours, and measure my blood sugar. He said as long as it is under 145 mg/dl “my pancreas is working beautifully and my first phase insulin secretion is intact and doing the job.”

        I think this doctor’s parameters are way too lenient. Wouldn’t you agree?

        Best regards,

        Malcolm

        • Marv

          Malcolm,

          My meter comes from Wal-Mart with a high rating from a famous consumer reporting magazine. Dirt cheap and supplies cost half of the major brands. Being able to test “on a whim” gives great data (“whoa, what made THAT happen…). Just remember all home meters are plus/minus somewhat – don’t get too excited about small variances.

          Hopefully helpful,
          –Marv

  16. Val

    Hi Dr. Davis
    I have been wheat free for four weeks now after reading your book. I can honestly say that I have no intentions of going back, but I must say that I am struggling with an inner monologue everytime I pass up a platter of bagels or sandwiches. I understand the dominance of wheat/ grain in the American diet, but doesn’t it exist in virtually every other country as well, without anywhere near the incidence of diabetes and obesity? India has naan bread, Mexico has tortillas, France has croissants/ baguettes galore, Asian countries have rice etc. Why do I observe people (Americans and otherwise) everyday consuming sandwiches, pizza, potato salad and sushi with none of the outward problems of the rest of us? No distended belly or back fat or trouble walking? Maybe this is my frustration talking in part I lost 7lbs right away and now everything has stalled despite the same dietary behavior.

    • Dr. Davis

      Well, first of all, wheat has come to dominate the diet of North Americans as obvious sources, such as breads, but also as not-so-obvious sources, such as Twizzlers and taco seasoning. So there’s the issue of “dose.”

      Also, those other countries are not without problems. India and Pakistan, for instance, have even worse problems with diabetes than the U.S. Likewise Mexico. France is a bit of a special situation for a list of reasons, including higher fat intake and prolonged fermentation of dough. But they are likewise NOT without their own growing problems due to increasing consumption of wheat, just less far along than us.

    • fudgecake

      Eight months ago I was one of those slim guys sitting at an outdoor cafe eating pizza and garlic fingers. But what you didn’t see is that I was taking three medications for stomach disorders, suffered asthma and sinus ailments, counted calories every day for ten years, exercised like a fiend to burn off extra calories, felt sick after eating too much bread, and generally struggled to stay slim and feel good. Now after eating grain free and very low carb, with most of the prescribed supplements,l a number of ailments, including digestive, have disappeared, I no longer count calories, my weight has easily decreased, and everything in life is a lot easier.

      I noticed another weird thing the other night. I had stopped driving a few years ago because my night vision was getting poor. The other night I had to drive and the first thing I noticed was that I had no problem seeing. It was like I was a teenager driving at night. Maybe excessive sugar or something else was compromising some cellular functioning within the visual pathway.

  17. Darlene

    After recently reading an article on Michael J Fox and seeing his new TV show, I’ve wondered about his diet also and whether grain-free would help him (never read any mention of what he eats of course). Does anyone know about a WB/Parkinson’s link?

      • Peggy Holloway

        My ex-husband has Parkinson’s. Our children, who are wheat-free/paleo have been trying to convince him to go grain/sugar-free with no success. They are going to try to get him to read Grain Brain. Hope springs eternal. (He is a general internist/sports medicine/occupational medicine physician who is too debilitated to practice any more, but he can’t give up the propaganda about low-fat, high-carb diets he was fed though his entire career.

        • If you consider we started out not wearing much clothes, near the equator… yeah, I’d say few of us can do that, much less year-round. :)

          So we need a little help with D.

        • Sorry I don’t know why it repeated my last comment instead of posting my new one…

          But I wanted to say that Tom Hanks experience points up a dilemma I’ve often pondered: people have “blood sugar problems” and doctors tell them what to do to help but it doesn’t help! It gets worse, and doctors tell them what to do and it gets worse…

          I mean really, we wouldn’t put up with that kind of poor results from our contractor or our dog groomer or just about anyone else.

          • Barbara in New Jersey

            WereBear,

            EXACTLY!!!

            This is why the grain/sugar free way of eating is growing rapidly. People are disgusted with feeling sick and going to doctors who give them prescriptions which don’t help and the end result is you just get sicker and sicker.

            Having high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, assorted
            autoimmune diseases ARE NOT A RITE OF PASSAGE, INCREASING WITH AGE!

            The bubble has burst on big agri, big pharma and big government acting solely in their own self interest. Each of us are walking with our pocketbooks and searching out foods which will not make us sick. We search out health care providers who will help us get well and not just treat a symptom.

          • I agree Werebear! If we had to call back our plumber three times to fix a leaky faucet, we’d soon hire a different plumber. Why don’t we have the same mindset when hiring our doctors?

        • Darlene

          Thanks, Jan~I have the book right now from the library but haven’t had a chance to look at it much.
          Peggy, changing the diet seems like such a simple thing if it’ll help–I can’t imagine not wanting to give it a try. (and being a physician no less?) What does he have to lose? Good luck to your kids!

  18. The ADA is beginning to shift their dietary recommendations:
    Nutrition Therapy Recommendations for the Management of Adults With Diabetes
    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/07/dc13-2042.full.pdf

    This appears to be primarily an exercise in liability mitigation, anticipating the inevitability of the dietary shift that is really needed:
    p2: “Evidence is inconclusive for an ideal amount of carbohydrate intake for people with diabetes.”

    The adjusted recommendations are still a complete disaster. Here’s another telling quote:
    p2: “People with diabetes should consume at least the amount of fiber and whole grains recommended for the general public.” It’s full of nonsense like this.

    p14: “Based on a review of the evidence, it is clear that gaps in the literature continue to exist and further research on nutrition and eating patterns is needed in individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”
    Translation: it’s going to be decades before the ADA admits the truth about T2D as an optional ailment easily avoided with diet. They apparently dare not admit it any quicker.

  19. Darlene

    Barbara, you are SO RIGHT about high bp, diabetes etc not being a rite of passage! It is just assumed we will get these conditions from aging alone…my husband is having some surgery, and the hospital rep couldn’t believe it when he told her he wasn’t on any meds for the above-mentioned! This should not be the exception, but the rule! Another thing about hospitals, when he was in for a test last week and was served lunch, EVERYTHING ( except the coffee) contained either wheat or sugar: cream soup, rolls, ice cream, juice, 2% milk!!! UGH! We’ve a long way to go!

      • Malcolm Achtman

        Hi:
        Wrotek, I think Darlene was referring to the sugar in milk, which has a nasty effect on many humans.

        Best regards,

        Malcolm

        • Darlene

          Yes, thank you, Malcolm, I was referring to the sugar in milk (which was big news to me when I found out about a yr ago!)

          • Karen Scribner

            Milk is for baby cows. If you NEED milk for something, it should be whole milk or half and half or whipping cream without gums of course.

      • > … milk contains wheat ?

        “… wheat or sugar …”

        A cup of milk contains between 12 and 13 grams of sugars, mostly lactose, but some glucose and galactose. Lactose is a problem for many people. The sugar alone is a problem for all, being 80% of your single-meal net carb limit.

        Milk-based beverages, of course, could contain anything, including wheat.

        • Neicee

          Check out the disclosures on chocolate milk. You need a dictionary to figure out the junk in it….that or plain 2% is the only approved drinks in our local school’s lunch programs. I’m hoping many of the children in our schools opt for plain water, because yes, many are obese.

  20. Melody

    I’m saddened that in that entire wonderful ‘letter’, you had to continue the wrongful view that diabetes is reversible and you can choose whether or not to have it.
    Certain *aspects* of diabetes are reversible. Some of the neuropathies may be reversible. Diabetes is not. You either have it or you don’t. You’re either controlling it or you aren’t.
    When someone tells me they’ve reversed their diabetes, my response is, “Cool! Prove it. Go out and have a nice high carb dinner of pasta and bread and follow it up with a nice piece of pie or cake. Then tell me what your BG’s are for the next 6 hours.” Their response is usually, “oh no if I start eating like that, my BG’s will go up.” Ding ding ding…that means you are *still* a diabetic because someone without diabetes won’t have that some reaction. Their BG will not climb as high, nor will it stay high for as long.
    After following Dr. Bernstein’s “Diabetes Solution”, consistently, for the last 9 months, my A1c is 4.9 without medication. If I were to go back to a higher carb way of eating, my BG’s would go right back up and over time I would become insulin resistant again.

    • Erica in RSA

      “that means you are *still* a diabetic because someone without diabetes won’t have that some reaction. ”

      Let’s rephrase that:

      that means you are ARE NO LONGER a diabetic because someone WHO DOESN”T YET HAVE diabetes won’t have that some reaction.

      The high carb foods you refer to are not part of a human diet so they will take their toll sooner or later.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Melody,

      The way I’ve understood recovery issues is that once you start eating foods like those recommended by Dr. Davis, you add the supplements, make sure you stay hydrated and then your body starts healing itself. Depending on your age, overall health issues and the severity of your condition, it may take years, if ever. to reverse the diabetes or whatever grain/sugar induced health condition you have.

      Surely 9 months isn’t giving your damaged pancreas and stressed other organs much of a chance to recover from a life long (years) of poor diet. Sometimes the damage to your body has been too severe for a full recovery. Dr. Davis has discussed the issue of damaged beta cells many times.

      Most WB people will never consider the dinner you suggest as a trial test because they now know these foods are poisonous to them. If it isn’t their blood sugar that spikes, it will be another grain/sugar induced health issue they had suffered from. They won’t take the chance to find out because they know that those foods make them sick now and caused their problem in the first place. This is a challenge with no possible reward to make it worthwhile.

      You alone are the one that places food in your mouth. Dr. Davis and many others have noted their experiences and those of their patients. It is certainly up to you whether you choose to believe them or not. It is rarely found that a congenitally defective pancreas has caused diabetes. Unless this is the cause of your problem, you indeed have chosen to be a diabetic, whether consciously or unconsciously by your life long eating habits.

    • Keep in mind that Dr.D is using specific words “in the majority”, and “reversible” and not “cure”.
      Let’s also agree that we are speaking only of T2D, and not T1D or LADA.

      > … the wrongful view that diabetes is reversible and you can choose whether or not to have it.

      T2D is a 100% avoidable ailment, arguably not even a “disease”. Grain-free LCHF is not “cure” because T2D is not a “disease”.

      T2D is trivially avoided with a low carb diet. It is 100% reversible at metabolic syndrome. It is 100% reversible at pre-diabetes. It is reversible after that in inverse proportion to the status of irreversible complications. It is manageable with diet and without meds at any point where you are still producing any significant amount of insulin. The ADA will not tell you any of this, which is the really saddening thing.

      > “Cool! Prove it. Go out and have a nice high carb dinner of pasta and bread
      > and follow it up with a nice piece of pie or cake.

      If anyone (all but a tiny fraction of the population) does that, routinely, they will become diabetic.

      Once you switch to a sane diet, and stay on it, there is no practical difference between the never-diabetic, and the former diabetic.

    • Karen Scribner

      If you have been eating the wheat belly way, you probably can’t get that much food in your stomach anyway. I am assuming there would be some veggies and meat with the meal also.

  21. Call me cynical but you wonder if the drug companies or vested interests would be paying these “celebrities” to talk about their conditions and their meds etc. People on the street would be saying oh well if Tom Hanks gets Type II diabetes then there is no way to reverse it or to help it. The same for Angelina Joli months ago saying she had a double mastectomy.. All of a sudden many women were talking about doing the same thing. You would think they would want to keep their health conditions private.

    Just a thought. Am I too cynical?

    • > … wonder if the drug companies or vested interests would be paying these
      > “celebrities” to talk about their conditions and their meds etc.

      Evidence for that would be that they are featured on the pharma and/or ADA websites or in advertising. I haven’t looked.

      I doubt Hanks needs the money, but some some recent diabetic celebrity chefs might be another story.

      > You would think they would want to keep their health conditions private.

      Not really. I recall John Wayne doing anti-cancer spots and Yul Brynner anti-smoking spots just before they died. Sometimes these folks are just well-meaning victims who want to feel helpful. In Hank’s case, he may just be a well-meaning victim of the ADA.

  22. Larry

    I’ve been diagnosed with T2D, and for a year now have been following the Wheat Belly plan. I have no desire for any wheat grain products and really enjoy the alternative seeds, nuts and oils. I have been taking 1200 mh of magnesium maleate, 5000 u of D3, and 1000 mg Omega 3 every day.
    My question is, because my doctor is not seeing a bigger drop in A1C and triglycerides, he is not about to lower or take me off the metformin. I lost 40 pounds in this year, and aim to drop another 25-35. My breathing is really improved, my allergies have lessened, and my blood pressure is really good. The weight loss has leveled off a bit, though. And the second question is, should I be taking another 1200 mg of magnesium maleate and 2000 u more Omega 3?

    • Dr. Davis

      First, Larry, HbA1c will UNDERestimate you progress in the early months, as it is distorted by the flood of fatty acids that develops with weight loss. Stay the course and I believe that you will witness even bigger changes.

      Second, I usually advise at least twice per day dosing on the magnesium and 3000-3600 mg EPA + DHA per day from fish oil. (Not the fish oil, but the omega-3s.)

  23. lightwaves

    Can anyone suggest a healthy alternative to wheat bread for sandwiches and for Indian roti’s?
    Also, I’m wondering if the main concerns are due to the genetically modified wheat grains widely available today and if an organic and non-gmo grain would be better off?

    Cheers,
    a

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Read the book or at least this blog for the answers to you questions. There are many recipes for breads in the WBCB or any of the many paleo/primal sites or cookbooks.

      For instance, flap wraps may be to your liking, If you live in a metropolitan area, then Julian Bakery makes WB acceptable breads which your local health food store might carry iin their frozen food department, These are expensive and tasteless in my opinion, but are ready made. Check their website for places they deliver to.

        • Barbara in New Jersey

          Boundless,

          As of June, 2012, I haven’t seen any “fix” statement by Julian Bakery. Thanks for pointing this out. My apologies for recommending a product that might not be on the up and up.

          • > My apologies for recommending a product that
            > might not be on the up and up.

            Well, the Julian product may now well be as claimed. I don’t know. The brand has this history, however.

            This raises an occasionally important point. The contents of an NF panel, the ingredients list, and the “contains” allergens list, are largely an honor system.

            If the producer puts incorrect information there, it can be years before it’s caught. The FDA, tasked with policing this, has more important things to do, like protecting big pharma, suppressing effective novel cancer treatments and harassing raw milk sellers.

            I would be particularly suspicious of prepared foods from China and Thailand, but domestic charlatans, chasing what they think is a vacuous fad, could easily be tempted to poison for profit too. Some formulators, and many restaurants, simply don’t know crucial non-obvious contents and implications of their ingredients.

            “Oh yes, our pancakes are wheat-free.
            We use durum instead,”

  24. VibeRadiant

    Apparently Roger Moore has diabetes too now, he was quoted as saying “he has the Tom Hanks”.

  25. Randall

    my sugar on the A1C chart is1.0 and i am still on 2-500 mg.daily .if it that low would 1,000 daily be to much.

  26. David

    Has anyone here had the blood sugers rise since going grain free. Mine went from low 90s in the AM to 130-140 since cutting carbs to around 50 grams a day. Some days I eat no carbs at all yet still have sugers in the 110 -140 range in AM. Prior to going wheat and grain free I was always high normal and I was eating the typical SAD way. I lost 40#s in 6-8 weeks when I first started gluten free but have been stuck for the last 3 months in a narrow 3# window. I am pretty dilagent about only eating one ingredient food grass fed beef, raw veggies, wild caught salmon, cod, shrimp, cage free eggs, light salt and herbs are my only seasoning. Stevia my only sweetner about 2-3 packs a day

    • > Has anyone here had the blood sugars rise since going grain free.

      I don’t even have have solid guess on that. I can say I don’t recall anyone else reporting it here (going back to when the blog started in 2011).

      > I lost 40#s in 6-8 weeks when I first started gluten free but have been
      > stuck for the last 3 months in a narrow 3# window.

      In case you haven’t seen it, be sure to use the local search here for:
      “I lost the wheat, but didn’t lose weight: 2″
      and consider items on the list other than #1 (carbs).

      > … wild caught salmon, cod …

      Whole or canned? If canned, packed in what? Furthermore, “wild caught” doesn’t always mean what you think. Some farm-raised (which can easily be GMO) is sold as “wild caught”. Low in Omega 3, high in antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs and growth hormones (all from what they are fed). An exception is “Alaska Wild Caught”, which really is.

      Check this out. If you’re eating farmed fish, it might even explain the blood sugar problem:
      “The Role of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Worldwide Epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and the Possible Connection to Farmed Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)”
      http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/4/301.pdf

      We found some cans of Sam’s Daily Chef salmon in our pantry. Turns out to be Chilean farm-raised. We’re thinkin’ … cat food, except we don’t have a cat we dislike that much.

      • Dr. Davis

        Thanks, Boundless!

        Blood sugars can also go up while weight loss is ongoing, but should settle down over time.

        Also, it helps many people to include small quantities of lentils and beans, as well as 1/2 a raw sweet potato or sources of fructooligosaccharides in your diet to encourage bowel flora metabolism of polysaccharides to butyrate that helps reduce blood sugar.

      • David

        Thanks for responding boundless,
        I get the salmon in filets from costco the copper creek sockeye pack. I am pretty sure not farm raised though I am worried about radiation now.
        My beef is grass fed Wagyu from Calicrate so I am sure of my beef.
        Eggs are from a lady at work for the most part. The glucometer is my fiance old one and maybe inaccurate. I am going to do a hA1C in a month when I am 3 months low carb. Hopefully just a bad glucometer as I feel good.

      • > “The Role of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Worldwide
        > Epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and the Possible
        > Connection to Farmed Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)”

        I hadn’t completely read that when I posted the link. I assumed at the time that the hazard was probably real, but that the data and conclusions would be clouded by glycemic confounding – the failure to control for diet type and specific adverse foods in the diet. And indeed it was, except for …

        It turns out they accidentally did control for diet. The populations they studied included 692 Greenland Inuit, who are likely on a ketogenic diet.

        This quote gave me a chuckle:
        “More work is required to better understand why such high levels of POPs were not associated with increased risk of T2DM in this population.”

        I’ll bet Dr. Davis sees this sort of expert confusion frequently in the papers he studies. The problem lies not in the data, but in the person interpreting the data.

  27. David

    Thank you Dr Davis,
    I will try the sweet patato as I love the purple ones.
    The weight loss stopped I think because of stress at work. We got a new program EPIC a couple of months back and it adds 5-10 minutes a patient which just keeps us under constant stress. I also have a small hernia and can’t excercise effectively.