O World Project interview

This is an extended interview I provided while in Toronto for a documentary project called The O World Project, cataloguing unique views on health, science, and other topics.

It was a chance to detail the arguments used in Wheat Belly in a much more extended fashion than the usual few minutes afforded in TV and radio interviews.

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  1. This is all probably part of the omnivore’s dilemma.

    Consumption of grass seeds 10,000 years ago enabled us to be having this internet conversation today, about the increasingly obvious adverse consequences of the full-time high-gly grass-overloaded diet that resulted from that choice.

    If we were still hunter-gatherers and/or nomadics, we might never have been able to form communities that could invent, then leverage, any technologies and manufacturing processes that weren’t trivially portable by small groups.

    Grains required settlements, since grasses can’t walk. Grains allowed storing food for winter and other sparse periods. Grains made western civ possible. Western civ made totally toxic 20th century techno-grains possible. Oops.

    I’m not sure we disagree on this, but I’m tending to think that grains, per se, weren’t the sole key factor in postulated pre-historic population bottlenecks.

    Some human genetic adaptations (loss of uricase and vitamin C synth) played a role, enabling us to pack on the pounds when fruits were available, and burn it off in ketosis when no/low food was available. Stored food must have looked much more attractive than apparent starvation for an indeterminate period.

    The happy news is that we have now discovered the problem before we lost the ketotic capability and mutated into being ruminants (although the vegetarians are still aspiring to that).

    We are not now irreversibly dependent on carbohydrates in the diet.
    Indeed, we require exactly 0% carbs.

    And both the minimum and maximum daily requirements for wheat in particular are a nice 0 as well.

    • Brian

      Boundless do you ever get the feeling that our addiction to grains is going to cause a die back at some point? I know cheap food allowed our population to explode to 7 billion but when you see the rates of diabetes, obesity and dementia increasing largely because of these cheap grains at some point health care systems will soon become unsustainable and will certainly collapse followed by economies when larger portions of the population are incapable of working. Then, I think we are in a world of trouble. I always though our energy appetite would get us into trouble but know I’m thinking our sweet tooth could do it if we are not careful!

      • > … do you ever get the feeling that our addiction to grains is going to
        > cause a die back at some point?

        In way, it’s already happened. Life expectancy in some places has peaked, and it’s not because we’ve reached the full potential of homo sapiens.

        > … at some point health care systems will soon become unsustainable
        > and will certainly collapse …

        Actually, I speculated that Dr. Davis will single-handedly prevent that by reducing demand for healthcare services. He won’t be credited, of course.

        > Then, I think we are in a world of trouble.

        I think we can change course in food production about as rapidly as demand to do so is developing. Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms is an example of just how astonishingly much real food you can get out of an acre of grass by carefully phasing selected species through it with portable paddocks. Free range. No CAFO. No antibiotics or hormones.

        > I always though our energy appetite would get us into trouble …

        Way off topic for this blog :).

        > … but know I’m thinking our sweet tooth could do it if we are not careful!

        That’s going away.

  2. Geoffrey

    one of the best interviews yet, I like calling grain foods what they are, “seeds of grass,” even corn are seeds of grass. funny how corn became and is considered a vegetable, it’s just as much a grain as the rest of them, and comes from maize, which is a type of grass, albeit severely mutated and gmo-ed over the years. Corn is a horribly addictive food for me. I am totally off wheat but I will once in awhile “try” out the beloved tortilla chips as a treat, or at a party, that combo of salt, corn, and oil is a killer! and every time I try to eat this stuff, I lose control. Once a bag is opened, any will power to moderate eating that corn-based food is gone, and then the bag is gone, and then 24 to 48 hours later in the bathroom, well, you know the story… So I need and want to be as disciplined with corn as I am with wheat and sugar. but quitting you is not easy!

    • JillOz

      On a Life Hacks site, Dorito’s were burned for fuel! If it gets cold, you know what to do with your snack! ;)

    • D.Archer Crowe

      I just saw what you wrote about corn. I have cut all grains from my diet…. but I can … somehow…. manage to have a corn chip or 2 when I dine out. For me… corn is not as addictive as wheat and I do miss the chips. I can manage to stop after one or 2…. but it does make me sad that I cant eat more of them because they really are so damn good. LOL

      I never get any reaction from grains….in other words…. i dont get sick if i eat them. i just dont want them to become addictive to me anymore.
      so… I stay away from all of them.

      corn is tasty and I will have it as a veg. on occasion but fear of the addictive nature of grain keeps me from eating more and keeps me on the straight and narrow. lol

      thanks for posting about corn…. I was wondering what people were saying about their experiences with it.

      • Barbara in New Jersey

        D.A.C.,

        Everyone I know loves the crisp crunch of corn chips, potato chips and any other form of crisps. Most people realize that it is quite difficult to stop eating them when a bowlful is sitting in front of you. They usually try to avoid the temptation! The snack food companies employ food scientists whose job description is to make the chips umami. This means they design the chip to touch as many taste centers as possible, including mouthfeel. Their jobs also include how to manufacture the item in the least expensive manner possible. Cheap corn and cheap oil is important to them. Your health is not one of their priorities. Corporate bottom line is their priority as well as their job security.

        It is known that your cells have memories and consuming something with addictive qualities can cause the cells to react in the old familiar patterns, triggering the very behaviors and physical consequences of inflammation you have tried to avoid. What is not known is exactly how many chips will cause this reaction and how long it will last….hours? months? There would be variables by age, overall health, genetic variations, etc.

        Bottom line is these products are made from ingredients that are known to be genetically modified, heavily refined and even man made, making it difficult for your body to digest. They are highly glycemic, highly caloric, provoke inflammation, nutritionally void and designed to keep you eating them. Then consider how the advertising companies promote the chips. Do you remember the “betchya can’t eat just one” campaign? They actually won awards for Lay’s potato chips commercial and all the other snack food companies joined in, bringing the snack food industry into the forefront.

        Still interested in your chip or two?

        • D.Archer Crowe

          YES ! ABSOLUTELY I AM !
          i dont care about a chip or 2. Thanks so much for the information in your post. I dont live my life in absolutes….. as in I ABSOLUTELY wont do this or that EVER again !
          If I lose a year or 2 of life because I choose to have a few chips… or a tortilla…. or a GOD FORBID … a BITE of something else
          forbidden…. ONLY ON OCCASION ! … SO BE IT ! LOL!
          I really pride myself on being able to have JUST ONE bite !
          I am not fat….. and i have no health problems that would preclude me from these very occasional treats.
          generally ….. my diet is excellent….. 90% plant food ( veg of every kind in HUGE portions) and 10 % meats, dairy and fish. and NO grains OR SUGAR …beyond those occasional treats.
          so…. that is the way I do things. It works for me.
          Thanks again for the information.

  3. Geoffrey

    thanks, I’m convinced, corn is horrible, whether gmo or non-gmo, doesn’t matter and 6 chips are impossible for me to consume, or it’s just torturing myself with the illusion of moderation, because I won’t be able to moderate it.

  4. Culinary Adventurer

    Dr. Davis,
    Great interview! This is so much better than the sound bite sized interviews “major media” forces on you.

    I have been shocked that you have had to appear so often in short pre-framed segments or with unrelated trendy diet “specialists” – ugh! They treat you as if you are some outsider or fad dietician.
    When I read your book the first time – all this information which you have connected so brilliantly came through.

    I have sent the link to this interview to friends and hope they too will understand your gift and message.
    Again, Thank you. My life is totally changed as a result of you stepping forward and offering your expertise. You are changing the way the world eats and helping millions of us regain our lost health. We are forever indebted and grateful.
    CA

  5. Geoffrey

    anyone else having problem with canned tuna? I get sick (diarhea) about two to three hours after eating it. I’ve noticed that the ingredients include soy now, and vegetable broth. Darn! another option gone, my diet becomes more and more routine and boring.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Its probably the soy broth they have added to can, even tuna packed in water that you are reacting to.
      Try another brand with tuna in olive oil. This is available at most supermarkets and even Trader Joe’s sells some. The tuna in water was supposed to replace the tuna packed in vegetable broth. Pretty sneaky of them isn’t it?

    • Neicee

      Geoffrey, don’t give up your tuna or any other fish known to only exist in cans. Get yourself a pretty good sized piece of fresh fish, poach it, chill it, break it up like your canned versions and use it just like you’ve always used the canned versions. There are a million recipies out there on the net and how to poach it. Salmon, tuna, and any other fish you enjoy is cheaper to do when bought fresh and you need not worry about being poisoned by additives. I’ve even refrozen it if I made too much.

  6. 10044

    Dr D,
    would you attribute the stalled weight loss (and even weight gain by being on wheat free diet) to a low FT3 and T3 numbers (in the lower half range)? I’ve been cutting down on dairy and salt lately with little or no result
    Ft3: 2.6 (2.3 – 4.2 pg/mL)
    T3: 60 (60-181 ng/dL)

    I really enjoy wheat free foods and like to continue your recopies/guidelines.
    Thank you and happy 2014!

  7. Ri

    omg Dr Davis your skin looks so smooth and flawless!!im 28 and freaking out because im starting to notice fine lines on my forehead eeeek a sign of aging what can I do to prevent this other than botox?? what are your skin secrets?? please share!!!

  8. Grace in IL

    While I agree with the good Doctor 100% when it comes to wheat, I do take exception to the idea that we are “beasts”. We are human beings, created by God, in the image of God. We are not beasts. I’ve got that off my chest now. :) Carry on.

    • Culinary Adventurer

      Grace in IL,
      While I accept your particular contribution, there is room for everyone here – all the exceptions. Thanks
      CA

  9. Uncle Roscoe

    I’m a relatively old guy. I began to recognize the connection between sweet sugar and many of my health complaints about 30 years ago. I reduced, then eliminated fructose from my diet. I did the same with wheat about 5 years ago. I’ve eliminated other opiate-containing foods in the mean time with similar health improvements. Like many people I’m an observer of human nature. The most profound trend I’ve observed during this transition has been a decrease in people’s ability to physically, rationally function within their surroundings …..from waiting through green lights to falling down for no apparent reason.

    It’s as if everyone has been drugged, and lost the ability to interact with the world around them. It didn’t used to be this way.

  10. Uncle Roscoe

    Interesting article:

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/09/vascular-disease-may-increase-symptoms-some-autoimmune-disorders/?intcmp=obnetwork

    “Vascular disease may increase symptoms of some autoimmune disorders….”

    I think this is the article’s take-home line…..

    “The study focused on the molecule oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL), which, when elevated, is known to cause atherosclerosis – the hardening of arteries that can lead to heart attack or stroke. LDL is known to activate the immune system.”

    It’s wrong. Association is NOT causation. Atherosclerosis *is associated with* increased oxLDL levels. Both are caused by other factors, led by sugar glycation in the liver, and activation of immune cytokines. Both are caused by eating twinkies….. The reason why our bodies tolerate both atherosclerosis and increased oxLDL levels is that the LDL’s are therapeutic to atherosclerosis. They attempt to fill in the cracks when arterial inflammation kills endothelial cells. The action forms plaque, the plaque breaks, and LDL’s fill in the breaks.

    It’s a sad commentary that our most advanced medical scientists don’t understand the basics of their own profession. Is it any wonder that our current civilization finds itself in such trouble?

  11. magrit

    Wheat causes inflammation in small joints( arthritis),
    wheat causes edema, bloating, diarrhea, swollen eyes which you see in so many people,
    wheat causes a lot of phlegm in bronchi and sinuses,
    wheat worsens allergic reactions to non – wheat allergens,
    wheat causes or worsens migraine headaches.
    Omit it for just a week, and you will notice the difference,
    and you will lose weight, (a lot is just water).
    then you will see, that wheat creates a state that resembles a constant hangover,
    one is so used to it, that omitting wheat the new mental clarity comes as a pleasant shock.
    I avoid it, as well as sugar and cows milk.

  12. Marie

    I have just started the wheat free diet and I thoroughly believe the good that can come from this choice. I am a vegetarian. I have read your feelings on vegetarianism, but cannot change. I am a vegetarian for one reason only: I HATE MEAT and always have. This involves all meat, poultry, etc. I do eat eggs occasionally. Let me start by saying that I am a very healthy eater. Green smoothie for breakfast, kale salad for lunch and lots of veggies options for dinner. My one problem was that I have always loved bread, pasta and the like. I am now 5 days without, and so far, so good. I have always done a lot of “nutritional reading” and I do have to say that there is a lot to be said for people who have also healed themselves with a low acid diet. (Read Crazy, Sexy, Diet to name one) Meat is very acidic. I also work with two Paleo/crossfit guys who eat meat and absolutely no grain. Both of them have high cholesterol. All of MY numbers are great. Just looking for some reasoning behind these thoughts.

    • Uncle Roscoe

      “I also work with two Paleo/crossfit guys who eat meat and absolutely no grain. Both of them have high cholesterol.”

      What do you mean by “high cholesterol”? The standard cholesterol panel is useless in diagnosing cardiac health. So when you say “All of MY numbers are great”, are your numbers based on the standard cholesterol panel? Are the numbers you ascribe to your crossfit coaches from standard panels?

      Using correct cholesterol panels most cholesterol is good, and some cholesterol is bad. “High cholesterol” generally be a good thing? “High cholesterol” can be a good thing, depending on 1) genetic makeup, and 2) the form of cholesterol.

      http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2011/08/diet-one-size-does-not-fit-all.html

      Cholesterol is NOT a drive-by subject.

      You prefaced your dietary opinions on the fact that you “HATE MEAT”. So you don’t eat meat. Then you threw out a bone, that you have been wheat free “for five days”. Assumably that’s because you believe the evidence which Dr. Davis presents about wheat being bad for you.

      Well Dr. Davis presents a lot of evidence about the effects of many foods ……such as evidence that omega 3 DHA is necessary for cholesterol and heart health. DHA is only attainable by eating animal fat.

      http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2013/05/dha-the-crucial-omega-3.html

      I’m not willing to aid you in justifying a bad diet. Either you are willing to base your diet on evidence or you are not.

  13. Judith Forster-Monson

    Since my successful 25 pound weight loss in 2012, I had slowly but surely fallen by the wheat wayside, I am now back on track with the inclusion of the just-purchased recipe book. The O World Project interview is masterful and convincing. You have such a wonderful grasp of the English language. The wheat message is in the right hands…or mouth, Dr. Davis. Keep up the good work.

  14. Finally had a chance to view this in it’s entirety …….enough complete information to spark some interest in those who haven’t read the book. Will definitely share!

  15. wrotek

    Dr Davis why cortisol and its synthetic form cortisone, make person fat ? Is this related to insulin ?