A Step Beyond Wheat: Grain Bashing, It’s Easy

Picking On Grain Is Easy

When I chose to pick on grains, I found it exceptionally easy. There is no shortage of warts, scars, and defects in this class of plants co-opted into the service of the human diet.

I chose to pick on wheat first, as it is the worst of grains with more complex genetics and thereby a greater panel of unique proteins; it is among the most changed by the efforts of geneticists and agribusiness; and it plays such a dominant role in the human diet, comprising 20% of all calories worldwide, as much as 50% or more of calories for many people.

But just because other grains are not wheat does not make them good. After all, all grains are the seeds of grasses, grasses from the biological family Poaceae, relatives of the Kentucky bluegrass or rye grass that grow in your back yard.

Let’s talk about corn. Just as wheat consumption began around 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent when desperate humans wondered whether they could consume einkorn wheat that grew wild, so did inhabitants of Mesoamerica (now Mexico) wonder whether they could consume the teosinte grass that grew wild. Teosinte looks like a grass, as the mutation of a large seed head — “cob” — had not yet appeared. Domestication and cultivation of teosinte led to maize. Over time, farmers chose plants with larger seeds and seed heads that eventuated in something closer to the huge cob we all recognize today. Corn has the advantage of being very prolific: high yields. As strains with large seeds and cobs were chosen, yield in calories increased even more. Today, corn exceeds even wheat in millions of acres planted worldwide.

Teosinte plants. Image courtesy Univ. Missouri
Teosinte plants. Image courtesy Univ. Missouri

So what are the effects of consuming the seeds of another grass, the seeds of the corn plant, on humans? Let me list a few of the most prominent:

  1. Just as the gliadin protein of wheat, rye, and barley triggers inflammatory reactions via several different mechanisms, so does the zein protein in corn. For instance, gliadin protein exposure has been associated with causing pancreatic beta cell autoimmunity, i.e., type 1 diabetes in children. So has the zein protein of corn. The zein protein can also recreate the response of celiac disease, though not quite as powerfully, even though corn is included in most “gluten-free” products. Corn can be gluten-free, but it is not free of proteins that act just like gluten (gliadin) or cross-react immunologically with it.
  2. While many of the proteins of the seeds of grasses are indigestible, there is an exceptionally well digested component: amylopectin A. This is the carbohydrate of grains that is responsible for sending blood sugars sky-high. Problem: Most corn is not consumed as intact kernels, but as ground corn flour or cornmeal, reducing size to granules and increasing surface area for digestion exponentially. This is why, even though wheat raises blood sugar to high levels, cornstarch raises blood sugar even higher — the highest of any food. Modern corn strains are often chose for their higher amylopectin content–“sweet corn”–thereby containing higher levels of this blood sugar raising component.
  3. What happens when corn plays a dominant role in diet, as it does in parts of South America and formerly did in the southern U.S. and Europe? People develop the “4 D’s”: diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death, otherwise known as pellagra. Because corn products lack niacin and the amino acid tryptophan, over-reliance on corn as a calorie source makes people very ill.
  4. Corn has been genetically-modified, GM. Recall that modern wheat is not the product of GM, but of methods that predate GM (though not necessarily benign — remember mutagenesis?) 90% of corn sold today is GM corn: glyphosate-resistant, Bt toxin inoculated, or “stacked,” i.e., containing both. Emerging data suggest that neither GM nor glyphosate nor Bt toxin ingested by humans are benign and exert unanticipated effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer.
  5. Allergy — Seen in its most exaggerated form in people who work with corn products, such as people who work in the pharmaceutical industry involved in pill production, a process that often includes cornstarch. As many as 90% of these people, over time, develop corn allergies. As in wheat, allergies are typically due to alpha amylase and trypsin inhibitors, as well as other proteins, many of them changed via hybridizations and GM.

That’s just a sample — I could go on. The point is that finding fault with the seeds of grasses is so darned easy. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a stalk of einkorn wheat or of teosinte. The problems started 10,000 years ago — 0.4% of our time on earth as the Homo species — when humans tried to consume something that never belonged in the human diet in the first place, now made worse by the manipulations of agribusiness.

And, oh yes: We are told to eat more of it by our own USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. stephen ottridge

    I think that you would agree that a varied diet is better than one concentrated on a few foods. As your little article says eating just corn can give you pellagra. Wheat is a very complex food and causes in most people a degree of disease. In my case it brought on Type 2 Diabetes. I stopped eating wheat and several months later and 45 lbs lighter I am no longer diabetic. I do eat a very varied diet including some grains, basic oatmeal about twice a week, 100% rye bread, about 4 – 5 slices a week, some lentils about twice a week, potatoes about 3 times a week. Fish twice a week and meats with other meals. Lots of vegetables including root vegetables like carrots, one serving of fruit a day. I eat no sugar and drink no fruit juice or pop. I have milk in my tea. There is good nutritional value in oatmeal and rye and rice, just don’t eat too much of it at any meal. I have no need for supplements which many WB people appear to pop regularly.

    • > I think that you would agree that a varied diet is better than one concentrated on a few foods.

      Not if “varied” means eating things we don’t need to eat and which have substantial risks. Presuming agreement invites dissent.

      > I do eat a very varied diet including some grains, basic oatmeal about twice a
      > week, 100% rye bread, about 4 – 5 slices a week, …

      Well, you have the mystery genome of modern ryes, and oats are very high glycemic. This seems like a needless challenge for a former T2D. In addition, the amylopectin A in this stuff is just as bad for teeth as sugar. Then we have other more subtle effects of novel proteins. Perhaps these things are addictive, and lead to compulsive web postings defending these grains :).

      > … some lentils about twice a week, potatoes about 3 times a week.

      How these are prepared and served makes a difference. With potatoes, it can be the difference between BG spike and prebiotic.

      Got any idea what your daily net carb average is?
      Still measuring BG?

      > I have no need for supplements which many WB people appear to pop regularly.

      That seems less to do with low-grain specifically than low-carb generally.

      • stephen ottridge

        I ate oatmeal with stewed apples and evaporated milk for breakfast. My blood sugar 2 hours after was 142, my regular fasting value is 105 which I check weekly. My varied diet has allowed me a very robust gut and I have no digestive problems. I have no idea of my daily carb intake. My weight moves no more than 2 lbs either side of 175 lbs. I never eat packaged foods, make my own salad dressing with oil and vinegar. Lunch is eaten out 5 days a week as I am still working and usually has rice. My opinion is that most WB people have gone overboard about eating no grains. As the Doc started out saying wheat is very bad for us but he has greatly overstated the issue by saying all garins are equally as bad as wheat. My example shows that they are not. I do not overdo portions of carbs so therefore have no need to count them, I hate bureaucracy.

          • Dave II

            Agreed, those numbers are horrible. Fasting BG should be more like 90 or less; the more I read, the more I hear 85 as a true goal. Our baseline is probably skewed because the numbers are based on what we find from sampling those who partake in the SAD.
            I want my BG to rise only after exercise, not meals.

        • > I ate oatmeal with stewed apples and evaporated milk for
          > breakfast. My blood sugar 2 hours after was 142, my regular
          > fasting value is 105 which I check weekly.

          If the goal is NO rise in BG after a meal, then your numbers explain what happens on a “varied” diet that includes grains.

          > I have no idea of my daily carb intake. My weight moves no
          > more than 2 lbs either side of 175 lbs.

          Apart from not knowing the numbers, even if it’s high, there’s also the distinct possibility that you are a genotype more tolerant of carbs (from a weight gain standpoint). So is Dr. Peter Attia’s wife apparently. For a larger percentage of the population, your diet would not work. They would gain weight and/or become/lapse back to T2D.

          Genotype-specific diets are just a vague blip on the radar now, but are likely to become more clearly outlined as various adverse and confounding factors are swept out of the way.

          > As the Doc started out saying wheat is very bad for us but
          > he has greatly overstated the issue by saying all garins
          > are equally as bad as wheat.

          He doesn’t say that. He has, for example, said specifically that rice is the “most benign” of grains. It does have wheat germ agglutinin, and much rice that is sold has arsenic and other issues, so you consume it at your own risk.

          > I do not overdo portions of carbs so therefore
          > have no need to count them …

          Sorry, but watching portion sizes is at least implicit calorie counting, even if you don’t measure and enumerate.

          I don’t actively count carbs either, by the way. I’ll check out a new food’s NF, but at this point there are simply foods I eat, and those I don’t eat, but I eat as much as I feel like. The only foods I “moderate” are high-%-cacao choc squares and wine, but I was moderating wine before WB.

          > … , I hate bureaucracy.

          It is important that during the evolution of the New Human Diet (patent applied for), we avoid exchanging a set of failed dogma for a set of non-optimal dogma. We need to pay attention to results, be willing to re-evaluate everything at any time, and understand idiosyncratic responses. Don’t let the principles become more important than the outcomes they were originally intended to create. That said, I’m still not eating grains, other than condiment amounts of rice from time to time.

          • > Surely blood sugar rises after any meal as
            > the body digests the food.

            It doesn’t have to. The WB target is a Glycemic Index of zero. That means no rise. This makes sense if the net carbs are low, providing no ready glucose. And metabolizing protein to glucose is not a rapid process.

            Regarding your post prandial 140, here are some quotes from Dr.D in older articles:
            “Glycation, for instance, from postprandial blood sugars of “only” 140 mg/dl–typical after, say, unsweetened oatmeal–still works its unhealthy magic and will lead long-term to cataracts, arthritis, and other conditions.”

            “A blood glucose, say, of 153 mg/dl that results after a bowl of organic, stone ground oatmeal triggers accelerated glycation of the proteins in: the lenses of your eyes–cataracts; the cartilage cells of your joints–brittle cartilage, then arthritis; the cells lining your arteries–atherosclerosis; the cells of skin–wrinkles”

          • Neicee

            Reidert1
            Really, full blown heavy cream is the most decadent liquid in the world. I make my own recipe for bullet coffee with about a 1/3 cup of heavy cream, from 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil to a cup of dark roast coffee. That will totally pump you up to an energy level to take on the world – in your world anyway. And, completely forget about eating for hours. Used to feel guilty and certain I was going to die. Not now.

  2. Christina

    Since grains were originally introduced into the diet to help with the “starvation” that can happen when other food supplies run low, wouldn’t it make sense to keep at least a tolerance for the the grains? Not saying to eat them all the time, but at least keep the body somewhat used to them so if it does become necessary to eat them you won’t wish you were dead.
    For wheat I receive the Eucharist several times a week. A few times a year I will eat my mom’s sprouted, home-ground wheat products, or the occasional nice, old couple making me dinner which includes homemade Irish soda bread. These instances generally don’t cause severe adverse effects and I figure it’s better to have some of the stomach bacteria to digest it in case of famine.
    What I do try to avoid at all costs are the highly processed foods, like Nilla Wafers — someone put them in bourbon balls once and I ate a bunch thinking it was just chocolate, sugar, and alcohol – oh the pain :(

    • > wouldn’t it make sense to keep at least a tolerance for the the grains?

      Is something you need to develop and maintain a tolerance for a “food”?

      Reminds me of the move line: “I’ve spent the last few years of my life building up an immunity to iocane powder.”. Iocane was a fictional poison. Gluten-bearing grains are a real poison.

      • Christina

        Pretty much any food can cause problems if your stomach doesn’t have the enzymes to digest it. This is why most people go through a adjustment period when moving to a new culture that serves different types of food. They end up with “food poisoning” that can often be just the body freaking out at something it’s not used to eating.

        • Cindy C

          When a new food is introduced, or reintroduced, it can take a while for the enzymes and the bacteria involved to reproduce in numbers. This book can be downloaded free.
          http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120137?show=videoTabArea

          In reading some of it, it was brought out by Europeans who had to eat just meat and fat for a while, could not tolerate currents(fruit), as it made them sick. They said there was nothing wrong with the currents, but their stomach had forgotten how to digest them.

          For my part, I still am very careful in my use of wheat, corn, and legumes, Here in the south, in my childhood, a diet of corn bread, biscuits, beans and rice would cause pellegra, and rickets. At least as an adult,( I was so sick of beans and rice as a child,) I did not eat much of it later I also need to keep my blood sugar regulated, I have to be very watchful my blood sugar does not go too high, then go too low. I read many books in the past on low blood sugar, but then they were still afraid of high fat, and would never say to go very low in carbs.

        • > Pretty much any food can cause problems if your stomach
          > doesn’t have the enzymes to digest it.

          That presumes that the food elements are non-toxic and non-contaminated. Things like “Montezuma’s Revenge” are usually something else. Wheat is something else again, causing both intestinal porosity (which acclimation does not remediate) and general lower gut biota genocide (the immediate effects of which may subside, but the long term consequences of a non-optimal biota add up).

          > They end up with “food poisoning” that can often be just
          > the body freaking out at something it’s not used to eating.

          The re-exposure reactions to wheat are often harsh, and a potent reminder of what a mistake it was to eat the stuff in the first place.

    • Reader1

      I do wonder about the concept of grains being a food to avoid starvation.
      From what I recall many of the stories we are taught may be myths.
      Today no one is being forced to eat wheat, yet many people do due to the addictive qualities of the wheat.
      Perhaps it has always been just that. It is addictive.
      Grains were eaten by the Roman legionaires, yet they probably did not have a long life span due to battles and disese.

      • > I do wonder about the concept of grains being a food to avoid starvation.

        Grains may have been the earliest form of stored food. This enabled both over-wintering in sparse locations, and, in general, switching from hunter-gatherer to permanent settlements and an agrarian and technological lifestyle.

        > From what I recall many of the stories we are taught may be myths.

        The interesting stuff is coming from the fossil record, and from metabolic science. We now have the tools to tease out what people were eating thousands of years ago. We also have several puzzles. Why there is genetic difference in responses to food. But more significantly, why humans can live entirely in glycemic metabolism, or entirely in ketogenic, or anywhere in between, and jump back and forth. Benefits and hazards apply. WB is right on the fence.

        Keto would have been a very useful adaptation in northern climes when gathering food might be iffy for a month or more each year. Keto is possibly a key element in some apparent population bottlenecks, like the Toba Catastrophe. Perhaps humans who could do keto survived some global stress, and we’re all descended from them. Those who were strictly glycemic are just fossil record now.

        > Today no one is being forced to eat wheat, …

        Unless you are in prison or some government schools.

        > … yet many people do due to the addictive qualities of the wheat.

        It’s cheap, stores well, is tasty, pervasive to the point of contaminating most processed foods, and most of the “authorities” that non-skeptical people blindly rely on tell us to eat more of it.

        > Grains were eaten by the Roman legionaires, yet they probably
        > did not have a long life span due to battles and disese.

        It remains to be seen what an “ideal” diet will do for lifespan. Let me know when there’s general agreement even on what “ideal” means :).

  3. John

    I can’t tolerate much grain of any kind now. I do fine with potatoes which I eat once or twice a week. Frankly, after almost two years of avoiding grain and other high GI goods, I don’t miss them at all. One thing changing my diet has shown me is that a lot of our behaviors are based on habit and belief (and addiction in the case of wheat). When I think of a great meal these days, I’m thinking of a nice piece of meat and a couple of fresh vegetables. If we have guests over, I might throw in some potatoes for their sake.

    • > “Think twice before giving up grains”

      This is a rehash of the Julie Jones hatchet job of Sep 2012, which I dissected on WFF, starting at: “A Lay Review of the AACCI “Analysis” [Part 1 of 7]”
      http://wheatfreeforum.com/index.php/topic,247.0.html

      There doesn’t seem to be anything new in the recent spate of pro-grain articles. A similar one ran in the puff rag that we get from our REA.

      Big Grain® is clearly getting worried, and has nothing to say that will materially effect the trend. They seem to be focusing on keeping the gullible eating wheat as long as possible.

  4. Mark.

    Nixtamalization helps make corn less bad. That’s treating corn with alkali. Hominy and properly-made corn masa go through that. It can break down much zein and release some trapped nutrients: pellagra was not a problem when most corn eaten by people as a staple was nixtamalized.

    Not a panacea but it helps. I think “corn treated with alkali” is usually on the label if a food is made with nixtamalized corn. Too often that’s missing.

  5. Juliette

    I agree with Stephen up above. I have left off wheat because of the over hybridization, and I tend to watch out for corn because of GMOs. However, I disagree with Dr. Davis about the other grains. God gave us fruits vegetable, grains or seeds and nuts as food in the beginning. Most of the grains are still healthy in a varied diet as long as they are cooked thoroughly, and not eaten as the only food in your diet. I have not found any digestive troubles with oats, rice, or any other grain besides Wheat and Corn. And until there is proof that the other grains are so radically altered to cause problems, or I have problems with them, I will continue to eat them as part of my whole plant food diet.

    Oh, and animal foods are not healthy, just so you know. Which is why I don’t eat them. Animal protein contributes to cancer. It is acidic and the body, in Order to protect itself from acidity forms tumors and fat around the toxins and acids, thus causing obesity and cancer.

    • Neicee

      So, remind me again of why you’re actually on this site Julienne? Please enlighten us of your credentials and have you really ever treated a patient? I’m happy for those that can consume those items that Dr. Davis does not recommend. Bashing those of us that cannot is a total waste of time, and what has been the largest coverup in medical history to date. I only consume seeds when I’m not aware of them, I’m not a bird. I don’t consume grasses because I’m not a bovine.

      • stephen ottridge

        It’s the wheat that is the greatest cover up, not all grains. It’s why the book is called Wheat Belly. Julienne is here, like me, because she knows that wheat is the real evil, not rye or rice or beans or lentils.

        • Neicee

          Stephen, Stephen, Stephen……you’ve just outed the fact you’ve not read the book. For shame. Please, oh please, if you’re going to argue the point of wheat vs. grains, do some research. Bill Gates when introducing his product used to ask “where do you want to go today” and that’s something more people should do. Google is your friend and the internet is the gateway to research . Just about every grain has it’s skeletons in the closet.

        • Culinary Adventurer

          Wow – a duet.
          PLEASE – read the book because those of us who have read it can clearly see what is missing in your arguments.
          Really, READ the book, then communicate.
          CA

        • Culinary Adventurer

          Stephen,
          Please define your terms.
          1. Evil
          2. Cover up
          CA

          PS Have you read Dr. Davis’ Wheat Belly book?

      • stephen ottridge

        It’s the wheat that is the greatest cover up, not all grains. It’s why the book is called Wheat Belly. Juliette is here, like me, because she knows that wheat is the real evil, not rye or rice or beans or lentils.

        • Neicee

          The reading skills of some leave a lot to be desired. Dr. Davis clearly outlined that he was going to take on the discussion of wheat first. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing this may be the start of a series of articles about grains. Fingers crossed, I’m hoping. :)

    • > … I tend to watch out for corn because of GMOs.

      If you think your “non GMO” corn really is, then you don’t appreciate how the industry prevaricates on this issue. See “Corn (aka Maize, and including Teosinte)” on WFF at:
      http://wheatfreeforum.com/index.php/topic,906.0.html
      Read about Clearfield corn.

      > God gave us fruits vegetable, grains or seeds and nuts as food in the beginning.

      Very little of our modern food still has biblical genetics. Grains least of all. And even back then, they were a smaller portion of the diet due to low yield. But they’ve always been a health compromise.

      > Most of the grains are still healthy in a varied diet …

      Incorrect.

      > And until there is proof that the other grains are so radically altered to cause problems, …

      You haven’t been following the literature, such as the recent trial of modern wheat vs. an heirloom in IBS.

      > Oh, and animal foods are not healthy, just so you know.

      Incorrect, but common vegetarian propaganda.

      > Animal protein contributes to cancer.

      Nope. That would be sugar. Cancer is increasingly looking less like a somatic disease and more like a metabolic disease (triggered by mitochondrial damage) – and tumors thrive principally on glucose.

      > It is acidic and the body, in Order to protect itself from acidity forms tumors
      > and fat around the toxins and acids, thus causing obesity and cancer.

      Unless you made that up, you’ve been duped.

    • Culinary Adventurer

      Juliette,
      Why do you think YOU need to tell anyone else about God? Got all the answers do you?
      CA

  6. Angela

    Dr. Davis,

    I am wondering if you know of any success treating a hiatal hernia with the Wheat Belly diet?

    Thank you,

    Angela

  7. Loekie

    ‘Most corn is not consumed as intact kernels’
    yes, but some corn is consumed as intact kernels
    ‘90% of corn sold today is GM corn’
    yes, but 10% is not GM corn.
    Like the corncakes form Lima.

    • Dr. Davis

      But, even if consumed as non-GM intact kernels, all the same issues still apply except for a less-high glycemic index–still bad, just less bad.

  8. Pat

    I am finding that the people most against the low carb, wheat and grain free lifestyle, are the medical community itself. A doctor recently told me that Dr. Davis’s findings, not all, but most of them, will be discredited in the future. She said, “Mark my word”.
    As for the supplements I take, she stated that people do not want to take supplements, thus there will never be any clinic trials on them, so most likely they are nothing more than a “placebo effect”.
    Such frustration, trying to get medical care, and yet, in my 70’s, I have never felt better.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Pat,

      The medical community wants you to be sickly and dependent on them for treatment. You are part of their billable hour! The treatment of symptoms instead of the cause of the problem keeps them employed, busy and earning money. The status quo will fight back as much as they can and change their way of practicing medicine as slowly as possible. Having their patients get better is not in their self interest.

      The “professional” associations are just lobbyists for continuing your dependence on medications, equipment and doctor/therapist visits. Have you ever heard of a diabetic getting better? Acid reflux problems disappearing? Joint aches demising? All this happens on a WB type of diet., not the diet the professionals recommend.

      Let the naysayers have their day. There are too many of us that have gotten better with this way of eating and need minimal medical services now. This simply could not have happened if we followed the mainstream advice.

      • Culinary Adventurer

        Barbara in New Jersey,
        As usual, I second your comments. Many predatory companies seek only to profit by our miseries. While I have no argument against those medications that are life saving or quality of life giving, there are far fewer medications people really require being constantly pushed on us.

        To Juliette and Stephen – What we who have gone wheatless have come to learn by actual experience is that by understanding what is causing our downturns in health, we can take personal responsibility to correct many of the problems by changing our diet to a healthy one. Why would anyone rail against this or try and imply we should reconsider what has already proven to us to work?

        We already KNOW we don’t need it, don’t want it, and we are better off without it.
        In your vernacular, God gave us a brain too – probably so we can use it.
        CA

        • Culinary Adventurer

          Clarification:
          said:
          there are far fewer medications people really require being constantly pushed on us.
          Meant to say:
          There are more medications constantly being pushed on us than anyone needs.

    • > I am finding that the people most against the low carb, wheat and
      > grain free lifestyle, are the medical community itself.

      For some insight on that, see: “What’s Up With My Doctor?” on WFF at:
      http://wheatfreeforum.com/index.php/topic,275.0.html

      > A doctor recently told me that Dr. Davis’s findings, not all, but
      > most of them, will be discredited in the future. She said, “Mark my word”.

      But couldn’t tell you which findings, eh? Or how soon? It’s been 2.5 years now since WB was published.

      Here’s the blunt picture. Dr. Davis has been winding down his conventional cardiac practice. It may even be closed now, as he hasn’t taken new patients for a couple of years. Due to what he learned and shared about diet, heart attacks reportedly vanished in his patient population. Dr. Davis is now saving more lives by writing cookbooks than by performing bypasses, angioplasties, installing stents and prescribing statins. Does your doctor grasp the enormity of that?

      > As for the supplements I take, she stated that people do not want to take supplements, …

      If they eating wheat flour and using salt, they are taking folic acid and iodide supplements. They just don’t know it.

      > … thus there will never be any clinic trials on them, so most likely they
      > are nothing more than a “placebo effect”.

      Actually, they do get trials, but lacking patent opportunities, there’s no ROI for big pharma. Instead, big pharma lobbies their crony pals at the FDA to ban natural substances so that they can get a monopoly on less effective but patented synthetics.

      If you subscribe to consumerlab.com, who do the testing and reporting that the FDA won’t, you”ll see frequent cites to studies and trials on supplements.

    • While my husband and I have been low carb/organic consumers for many years, we didn’t find Wheat Belly till January 13′, so we are now very low carb/high fat as well. I recently had to undergo an extensive physical exam for a key man life insurance policy related to our company and at 61 yrs. old, I passed with flying colors! Doctors may no longer be a necessity if we feed our bodies correctly and stop polluting them.

    • Dr. Davis

      These are statements of ignorance from your doctor friend, Pat.

      For instance, there is no way to defend the enrichment of modern wheat strains with the Glia-alpha9 sequence, nearly absent in the wheat of 1960, found in most strains of the 21st century. But your friend likely would have no idea of this, as he/she likely does not talk to agricultural geneticists nor read their genetics literature.

      Sadly, if you want to view ignorance on nutrition, ask a physician.

    • Doug

      Just to keep hope alive, my mother in-law was recently given a two page photocopy directly from Dr. D’s book in response to the question: “what can I eat” after her surgery, from her surgen. (Sorry Dr. D, I didn’t bring up the copyright issue, I have however purchased several copies myself.)
      I recently had an hour long conversation with a gastroenterologist specializing in celiac, empowered by Dr.D’s advice I held my own. My theory is that we just need to keep planting the bug….
      The word is getting out. The results speak .

  9. Raul Cordoba

    I excercise regularly: Gym 2 per week + CARDIO (walking and runing intemitantely for 40 to 45 min – 3 to 4 times a week).

    I cut wheat and lost 12 pounds in 4 to 6 weeks. Though 7.5 of fat and 4,5 of muscle. I am currently 22% lean mass.

    How can I increase my muscle mass while keeping off wheat?

    • Sialia

      Raul,

      You don’t ever need wheat to gain muscle (you will gain fat, not muscle, eating wheat).

      You sound borderline “chronic cardio”. Too much cardio will actually get in the way of weight loss. Check out Mark’s Daily Apple blog for good information on Paleo-type diets and exercise, especially if building lean muscle is your goal. Dr. Davis’ WB protocol is definitely the way to eat, but your exercise routine needs work. Good luck!

  10. Raul Cordoba

    When I cut wheat, I started having 3/4 to 1 cup of Oatbran to replace bread calories in my breakfast.
    I lost 12 pounds, yet increased total colesterol from 227 to 246.

    I find information in the book and the blog a Little bit inconclusive in regards to Oatbran. Is it really bad? Is it good in 1/2 cup or less? Is it risky for heart overall health? Please advise

    P.D. It is very difficult to make comments in the blog. They have to be linked to a current article. If many comments posted, imposible. Make it friendlier or give me guidelines.

    • Dr. Davis

      Actually, if oat bran were nothing more than oat bran, we could argue for health benefits.

      But I would never encourage consumption of any component of grains. Oats, like wheat, are the seed of a grass.

    • > It is very difficult to make comments in the blog.
      > … Make it friendlier or give me guidelines.

      Follow the link in my username for guidelines.

  11. Bud Keyes

    I have been on the Dr. Fuhrman diet, which allows some whole grains, for 2 months. I lost 12 pounds. In fact, friends say I should not loose more weight because I was not obese to begin with. I really wonder if the losing weight part of the wheat belly diet has to do with the other changes Dr. Davis says to make like less sugar, more veggies etc… and not the eliminating wheat. Processed grains or white flour are bot allowed in Fuhrman — those are the real bad ones. I think for most people some low doses of whole grains are fine as long as they are minimally processed and are closer to the top of the food pyramid. Veggies, fruits, beans and nuts should be the bulk of our diets.

    • Dr. Davis

      Unfortunately, Bud, you have fallen for conventional wisdom.

      Have you read the book? You will find, for instance, that modern wheat contains an appetite stimulant. And that this is NOT just about weight loss.

  12. Judy Nagaoka

    Dr Davis: I have lost all my weight, 130 lbs by cutting out carbs. I’ve been hearing a lot about GM grains. Not until I started reading your book did I really understand why I was able to lose the weight and what it all really means. Also what I need to do to maintain this weight loss Thank you is much. My husband and I like to drink protein shakes. The ones I drink now are from my doctor but I’d like to make my own from scratch so I know what I’m putting in it. Do I start with Whey protein?. Is there a recipe for a vanilla protein shake that you recommend. I’d like it to be high in protein and low in carbs of course with no grain. Thanks so much!!!

  13. Loekie

    Dr. Davis knows this for years already:

    WASHINGTON, DC — Compared with the general population, individuals with celiac disease were almost twice as likely to have CAD, according to a large retrospective study presented here today at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2014 Scientific Sessions [1]. Even patients younger than aged 65 years were at higher risk.

    Celiac disease—a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive system that can damage the small intestine—was also linked with a 1.4-fold greater risk of stroke.

    The study highlights a specific patient population that might be at higher risk of CAD, even in the absence of traditional CV risk factors, said coinvestigator Dr Rama Dilip Gajulapalli (Cleveland Clinic, OH). “Primary-care physicians, gastroenterologists, and [other] healthcare practitioners need to be mindful of their celiac patients; they have to be on the watch for probable cardiac diseases,” he said during a press briefing.

    The possible mechanism for the heightened risk may be related to chronic inflammation. “People with celiac disease have some persistent low-grade inflammation in the gut that can spill immune mediators into the bloodstream, which can then accelerate the process of atherosclerosis and, in turn, CAD,” Gajulapalli explained in a statement. “Our findings reinforce the idea that chronic inflammation, whether it’s from an infection or a disease, can have an adverse role in CAD and heart health in general.”
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822752?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=183520EJ

    NB You have to register for this site.

  14. Jeanine

    Last night’s big news: A cure for diabetes! I thought , “Finally the medical world is getting it!” Then they started talking about gastric bypass surgery as the cure. Oh well. I guess I should stop being disappointed in the medical “experts”. It’s strange to me that someone would be willing to go under the knife and anesthesia rather than try diet changes for one month to see if there are positive changes to one’s health.

    • > Last night’s big news: A cure for diabetes!

      As you probably suspect, T2D doesn’t need a cure, because it’s not a “disease”. It’s just an entirely avoidable, and largely predictable metabolic response to a full time elevated glycemic diet. So when you see a headline with the word “cure” in it, you already know that you’re hearing from the clueless.

      > Then they started talking about gastric bypass surgery as the cure.

      Some cure. It’s temporary. I think it was Uncle Roscoe who lately posted here on why it appears to work, then why it fails. And, of course, you’re left with all the other side effects of that surgery (if you survive it in the first place – it is not risk-free).

      > It’s strange to me that someone would be willing to go under the knife
      > and anesthesia rather than try diet changes for one month …

      Several problems:
      1. Consensus medicine has deep ignorance about nutrition and health.
      2. Average people have too much respect for consensus medicine.
      3. Changing aisles at the supermarket just so difficult :).

      • Dr. Davis

        Excellent points, as always, Boundless.

        I always like to remind people that medicine is also very good at monetizing health problems–converting health problems into revenue generating activity. Changing your diet doesn’t make any money; gastric bypass, lap band, etc. makes lots of money.

  15. Steve

    Got a sweet tooth? Try

    Steve’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse

    1 square of 100% Cocoa Bar, melted
    Stevia
    Natural Peanut Butter (I like Krema)
    Whipping cream

    In a small cup, melt the chocolate square in the microwave
    Stir in Stevia (experiment to taste)
    Add a dollop or two of peanut butter
    Pour in some whipping cream
    Whip with a fork to a mousse consistency. If its too thick, add in more cream
    Refrigerate for 30 minutes

    Or, put in the freezer for an hour to make Steve’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream.

    My sugar addiction disappeared pretty quickly after I eliminated the wheat, but occasionally my sweet tooth must be satisfied and this does the trick. Enjoy.

    • Tyrannocaster

      Funny, I have been making something very similar to this, but because I want to avoid peanuts I use almond butter. I also use erythritol because for me the stevia just tastes too “stevia-like” and I don’t care for it. Our local market sells organic almond butter in bulk (I live in a pretty big city so this wouldn’t be an option for a lot of people, unfortunately) so it’s not a problem for me to obtain it. I think it tastes even better with almond butter than peanut butter, which I like even though I don’t eat it anymore. I also use Lindt 90% chocolate, which technically is not sugar free, but the total sugar in a serving like the one you make is less than one gram so I don’t worry about it. And it does taste better this way.

  16. Dear Dr. Davis,

    I haven’t read your book – yet. I have read through the ‘Wheat Belly: Quick and Dirty’ synopsis as well as countless comment threads, and I get the gist – no grains. The minute I started thinking about all the things I couldn’t eat, I started craving all of them – the fresh rye bread on top of the fridge taunted me to make a big fat sandwich, the taco chips in the cupboard beckoned (I swear I heard them call my name) and memories of pizzas-gone-by were so vivid I could taste them. Yikes!

    I can’t help wondering however, if maybe there’s something to this diet, draconian as it seems at the moment. Several times throughout the course of my life, I’ve found myself on a grain-free diet (albeit inadvertently), and I know that these were the times in my life when I felt best; weight came off easily, esophageal reflux abated, allergies receded, and I had tons of energy. During these periods I’d assuage my grain cravings by eating nuts and seeds.

    Unfortunately though, about 5 years ago (concurrent with the onset of the big ‘M’), I began experiencing crippling migraine headaches. There appears to be a familial component since 3 out of six siblings (with very different lifestyle and diet), share this painful reality. There are many triggers – for me nuts and seeds are biggies. My heart fell then, when I read that many of your recipes call for ground almond flour to replace typical grain flours.

    So to make a long story short, my question is this: is there another alternative ‘flour’ other than those from nuts or seeds? You mention that rice once in a while is okay – would rice flour be an acceptable alternative? Dare I hope that removal of grains from my diet may resolve the migraines?

    Thanks in advance,
    Sue

      • Susie

        Sue,
        I am not an expert by any means on the wheat free recipes but Maria Emmerich has a blog and many cook books full of recipes using coconut flour in the place of the almond flour. Check it out for some great ideas! And good luck.
        Susie

      • Amanda

        That’s so true, I did suffered from headaches all my life, then in my forties the migraines were more frequent and severe, I took Imitrex, because it was the only pill that worked for me. I don’t eat wheat now, migraines gone, I also was very sensitive to other things like chocolate, msg, alcohol, even the wind, I live in a very windy city.
        In my thirties I did Atkin’s for a while, I was very strict about carbs, and I remember how well I felt, I lost some weight and felt wonderful then I quit Atkins because all the bad talking from so called knowledgeable people and that probably was the biggest mistake of my life because reintroducing carbs meant reintroducing wheat and my headaches came back and a lot of other signs and symptoms.
        I’m mostly grain free now and headaches gone
        unless I get some wheat accidentally
        the wind comes and goes and I don’t get headaches
        can eat 90% chocolate when I crave something sweet
        still sensitive to alcohol but can occasionally have a glass of white wine safely.
        I hope you get relief from your migraines Sue.

    • Uncle Roscoe

      My tack would be: Get rid of wheat, barley, rye, oats, yellow corn, any white corn product with “lime” as an ingredient, coffee, tea, anything which tastes sweet, anything dairy, eggs, beans, peas, peanuts, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. These things are all specific to migraine headache. After eliminating all of these foods and stabilizing, you can test yourself on individual foods.

      I don’t disagree with Dr. Davis’s opinion that all grains are bad. Every agricultural starch is worse than meat. However, some starches are worse than others, and the fact that one of them happens to be a grain is not sufficient to put a hex on it. There are far worse things about potatoes than, for instance, white corn. The problem starches include *specific* protein peptides. You can’t hit these problems with a scatter gun.

  17. Culinary Adventurer

    Dr. Davis,
    and Sue (above),

    I can absolutely validate the experience of becoming less sensitive to many formerly irritating foods since being off all grass grains. My digestion has improved steadily for over a year now.

    I realize now that it was really wheat (and its cousins) which caused my stomach distresses. I can eat almost anything now. I am slowly desensitizing myself to the remaining few foods like avocados by introducing small amounts at a time. Ginger, which used to double me over is fine now too and I enjoy the many health benefits it provides.

    It takes some time for your body to heal and become strong and balanced.
    This adventure – this journey – has been amazing and wonderful and I feel like a kid again!

    Enjoy your journey Sue!
    CA

  18. Dr. Davis, Uncle Roscoe and Culinary Adventurer,

    Thank you for your input. One thing I’ve learned as a migraine sufferer is that change itself can be a trigger, especially when it is sudden and drastic. So I will begin slowly and systematically removing sugar, wheat and other grains from my diet. I have high hopes that a more healthful diet will eliminate some of my other food intolerances – it would be nice to be able to eat avocado again, or a piece of dark chocolate, without fear of a monster headache.

    Thanks again,
    Sue

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Sue,

      Keeping yourself hydrated (1/2 your body weight in ounces) and taking a good probiotic speeds your recovery along. After a while, you might wish to add the supplements Dr. D. recommends.

  19. Michael

    Hi Dr Davis,

    I currently take Sulphasalazine daily (3000mg) since being dagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2006 (I wish I knew you then …) and developing a “very impressive case” (according to my doctors at the time) of Crohn’s Disease in 2007. (The UC morphed to CD rather rapidly via a fistulizing anal abscess in 2007 – I was a big consumer of ‘healthy whole grains’ at the time!). I am taking Sulphasalaize prophylactically given that long term use is being shown to be protective against bowel cancer. I was also on Azathioprine/Imuran for about six years but took myself off that last year – against doctors orders – but I figured a flare-up of Crohns was a lot more survivable than a bout of Lymphoma which was a real risk with long term use of Imuran.
    I note that Sulphsalazine contains corn starch (along with other supposedly inactive ingredients such as croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, pregelatinized starch, and talc. – talc?). Given the corn starch in Sulphasalazine, is it unwise to still be taking this?

    Cheers,
    Michael

    • > Given the corn starch in Sulphasalazine, is it unwise to still be taking this?

      (non-MD here who’d never heard of this drug until now) Given the known side effects of just the active ingredient, I suspect there is more to worry about than the corn content.

      The glycemic impact of the corn starch is apt to be minimal (how much does each pill weigh?).

      I’d be more concerned about any Bt expression or glyphosate uptake riding in with it due to being from GMO corn. These adverse agents are suspected of causing or exacerbating the very conditions the drug is prescribed for. Absent any disclaimers …

    • Dr. Davis

      Along with the issues raised by Boundless about GM-strain components, the zein protein of corn can mimic the effects of gliadin in wheat and thereby contribute to disruption of bowel health.

      You should bring this up with your doctor. If he blows you off, find a new doctor. Diet provides extraordinary power over health, but not all doctors understand nutrition.