About the Author

Who had the audacity to write such an against-the-grain book exposing “healthy whole grains” for the incredibly destructive genetic monsters they’ve become?

That’s me, Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and seeker-of-truth in health. Over 80% of the people I meet today are pre-diabetic or diabetic. In an effort to reduce blood sugar, I asked patients to remove all wheat products from their diet based on the simple fact that, with few exceptions, foods made of wheat flour raise blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods. Yes, that’s true for even whole grains. More than table sugar, more than a Snickers bar. Organic, multigrain, sprouted–it makes no difference.

People returned several months later and did indeed show lower blood sugar, often sufficient for pre-diabetics to be non-prediabetics. But it was the other results they described that took me by surprise: weight loss of 25 to 30 lbs over several months, marked improvement or total relief from arthritis, improvement in asthma sufficient to chuck 2 or 3 inhalers, complete relief from acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, disappearance of leg swelling and numbness. Most reported increased mental clarity, deeper sleep, and more stable moods and emotions. I witnessed even more incredible experiences like the 26-year old man incapacitated by full-body joint pains who started to jog again, pain-free. And the 38-year old schoolteacher who, just weeks before her surgeon scheduled colon removal and ileostomy bag, experienced cure–cure–from ulcerative colitis and intestinal hemorrhage–and stopped all medications. That’s when I knew that I had to broadcast this message. Wheat Belly was the result.

I’m not promoting drugs, fancy medical procedures, or costly equipment. I’m not promoting a process that makes a pharmaceutical company rich or helps a hospital gain more revenue-producing procedures. I’m talking about a simple change in diet that yields incredible and unexpected health benefits in so many more ways than you’d think. And it’s not just about celiac disease, the destructive intestinal disease from wheat gluten that affects 1% of the population. It’s about all the other destructive health effects of wheat consumption, from arthritis to acid reflux to schizophrenia, caused or made worse by this food we are advised to eat more of. It’s about being set free from the peculiar appetite-stimulating effects of the opiate-like compounds unique to wheat. It’s also about losing weight–10, 20, or 30 pounds is often just the start–all from this thing I call wheat belly. The key to understanding wheat’s undesirable effects is to recognize that the total effect on human health is greater than the sum of its parts.

In addition to writing, speaking, and practicing preventive cardiology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I am Medical Director and founder of the Track Your Plaque program for heart disease prevention and reversal. This program was articulated in the book, Track Your Plaque: The only heart disease prevention program that shows how to use the new heart scans to detect, track, and control coronary plaque, as well as the online program by the same name (www.trackyourplaque.com). Wheat elimination along with the nutritional principles articulated in Wheat Belly serve as the cornerstone of my heart disease prevention efforts used in the Track Your Plaque program, as well.

While I’m not writing or cooking my unique wheat-free recipes, I can be found biking, sampling wines with my wife or competing with the boys on XBox, walking my two Boston terriers, or watching my tennis pro daughter, Lauren Davis, in her tennis matches around the world.

1,646 Responses to About the Author

  1. Susan says:

    Hi Dr. Davis,
    I am a 25 year old active, former college basketball player who was just diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis yesterday. I have no other symptoms of it other than consistent blood in my stool over the last couple months, but my colonoscopy confirmed I have a low presence of it about 5cm in. This has kind of come out of the blue as I don’t have a family history of this kind of thing, and as mentioned, no real symptoms of any stomach/internal issues. My doctor has prescribed me a Rowasa suppository to take for the next couple of months which I think is an anti-inflammatory (and expensive). Since September and before any of this even came about, I have been reading your book and following the no wheat diet (not perfectly) but trying to make it more and more of a lifestyle. I never really was one to watch what I ate in college, other than dealing with a high metabolism and stress-and-exercise-induced hypoglycemia which my team’s nutritionist had me fighting with whole grain wheats and a cornstarchy bar meant to control blood sugar levels for diabetics while they sleep- that was their answer to trying to keep me from crashing during intense workouts/practices/games. UGH. If I only would have known about this while I was competing. I’m sure a no-wheat diet would have solved a lot of my issues. But better late than never. My dad has lost about 15-20 lbs after reading your book and so has my 32 year old husband (both active and in shape- not overweight). I did a quick word search on your blog for “ulcerative colitis” and was blown away that there is a connection between the book I was reading prior to my diagnosis and my disease. So weird. But it did give me a lot of encouragement that at least I’m on the right track in eliminating wheat. I wanted to know if you had opinion about this. I’m young. I want to control the disease and keep it from spreading and do the right thing. But I would rather not be on medication the majority of my life. I wanted your opinion about this (or this medication), if you even have one at all.
    Thanks for all your hard work and research. It has already changed my family’s lives.
    Sincerely,
    Susan

  2. Samuel says:

    I wonder two things! :) Great book by the way from Sweden !!

    1. Do you have any comments on the new research on nitrate ? Is it dangerous and is the more nitrate in vegetabels and our saliva than like extremely many hot dogs?

    2. Is AGE in bacon only because of cooking och can you buy age-free bacon ?

    Greetings from Sweden!

  3. Reena says:

    I saw you on Dr. Oz and what you said made a lot fo sense. I stopped eating wheat grown in America immediately. I was wondering if the wheat grown in India has been similarly contaminated. I purchase stone ground whole grain from India at the local Indian store and that is the mainstay for most of my meals. Please let me know how this wheat fares in creating a wheat belly.

    Thank you! Keep up the great work you are doing to share this knowledge and hopefully change the way wheat is produced in the US.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, this is a worldwide issue.

      Semi-dwarf strains of wheat were, in fact, introduced into India before they were introduced in the the U.S. We cannot blame farmers, of course, who cannot resist the temptation to grow a strain of wheat that increases yield up to 10-fold .

  4. Damon says:

    Dr. Davis, what are your thoughts on non-grain flours such as coconut or almond flour? I’ve seen lots of “paleo” communities offering some great recipes, but those keep popping up as alternatives. I know to avoid tapioca or rice flour, but figured I would get your thoughts.

    Been on the Wheat Belly diet for 3 weeks and feel great. I used to have stomach problems I attributed to lactose intolerance, and now I have felt great everyday since I started (well, except the day I visited my micro-brewery client . . . that was certainly not on the “approved” list, and I paid for it!).

  5. william says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    Read wheat belly last year and am proud to say that 2012 has seen me drop 45 pounds.
    In light of all the violent murders we have seen this year, would you consider writing an article about wheat consumption and dementia/schizophrenia/mental disorders? Having done some informal research earlier today and remembering the chapter in wheat belly on schizophrenia, it seems that the same things that schizophrenia and diabetes are similar in terms of the bodies auto immune failure can lead to both. Now we know the statistics on diabetes, but I can’t find yearly incidence data on schizo. But given that the two seem to show up in the same places, could we conclude that we also have a dementia/schizo epidemic in this country that mirrors the diabetes one?

    • derp says:

      If you are interested in the topic, follow Emily Deans blog: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com

      • Boundless says:

        > … follow Emily Deans blog:
        Who today, has an entirely apt if completely coincidental link to a study on “Effects of Fructose vs Glucose on Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Brain Regions Involved With Appetite and Reward Pathways.”

        Dr. Davis has fructose as essentially the #2 thing to entirely forsake after wheat, but for different reasons:
        http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/11/goodbye-fructose/
        Here’s yet another reason to dump it: if you’re consuming something containing fructose because you’re hungry, the fructose does exactly zero to help you with that.

        And if nutritional ketosis is your goal, according to various other sources, fructose sabotages that.

  6. Beryl says:

    Fascinating topic Dr Davis. I definitely notice that when I cut out wheat I have far more energy, my thinking is clearer, my digestion works better AND my bloated abdomen disappears. Thank you for your invaluable work.

  7. Angela K. Strobel says:

    Hello Dr. Davis,

    I have been wheat free for 7 weeks now. I am experiencing negative side effects like body odor, increased facial hair (which I’ve never had before), increased acne ( I’ve always had a few blemishes monthly but nothing like this) and I keep gaining and losing the same 3 pounds! I’m a 44 year old, active (runner), mother of 5, who is in good health. I weigh 126 pounds and want to weigh 120. My husband has been wheat free for 7 weeks as well and it is having positive effects on him. His weight is better, man breast going away, digestion improved, and more. I don’t understand my negative side effects. Please advise me!
    Thank you,

    Angie

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Gee, Angela: This sounds like an androgenic (testosterone) problem. It may not have anything to do with the diet.

      You should discuss this with your doctor, preferably a gynecologist savvy about hormonal issues and the balance among all your hormones.

  8. Janet Simon says:

    Hi all. First off, I know Dr.Davis has his credentials, but I have mine as well. I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and I am currently in pharmacy school. With that said, I hope my skepticism is taken seriously. First of all amylopectin is simply a polymer of glucose molecules. Whenever the body sees these types of polymers (such as glycogen for example), it has enzymes that breaks down the branches of these polymerized sugars (it doesnt care which polymer it is, it just breaks them down to glucose units). Once is it broken down in the small intenstine for absorption, the body just recognizes the GLUCOSE. The body does not take up anything whole unless it is broken down into a monosaccharide (carbohydrate), amino acids (previousy proteins), or triglycerides/fatty acids (fats). When we intake proteins, they are broken down into amino acids (that is, proteins are macromolecules which are only composed of amino acids). We do not take up proteins whole and there are only 20 or so amino acids. With that said, how Dr. Davis, do you pretend the science community will support you when you are assuming a whole GLYCOPROTEIN (gliadin) is triggering opiate receptors in the brain, when it can’t even be absorbed by the small intestine whole?? Moreover, if it can’t even cross the small intestine, how do you assume it crosses the blood-brain barrier? It is HUGE. The only reason people are losing weight with your incorrect theory is because carbohydrates are the body’s first option for fuel. Carbs are burned faster than proteins or fat. We need more carbs to stay full than proteins or fat, which provide about 9 kilocalories/gram. Hence, we eat more.. and usually more of the bad stuff. My suggestion is to stop misinforming the public. We are severely scientifically-illiterate in this country, and you DOCTOR, as part of the minority of people who know their brain from their butt, should be EDUCATING not misleading the population.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Well, Janet, I fear that making criticisms without reading the book expose your limited understanding of these issues. I won’t repeat everything in the book, but suffice to say:

      1) Not all glucose polymers are digested similarly. Amylopectin A is digested differently than amylopectin C from beans, for instance, which are in turn digested differently than cellulose or other polysaccharides, often digested by bowel flora. Not all glucose polymers are digested the same–basic stuff.

      2) Gliadin does NOT cross the blood-brain barrier; it is indeed too large. The tetra- and pentapeptide polypeptide digestive byproducts of gliadin readily cross, representing the so-called exorphins that exert morphine-like effects.

      3) Gliadin itself does not generally cross the intestinal tract but instead triggers a sequence of events that involve zonulin protein activation, actin myofilament polymerization, resulting in destruction of the normal tight junction between enterocytes. By that means, bowel permeability is increased. Indeed, some macromolecules CAN cross once this happens.

      So I fear your degree in biochemistry and pharmacy studies qualify you just enough to be dangerous.

      • bh says:

        I didn’t understand what either you or Janet said. :-) . But you rock, Dr. Davis. Thanks for Wheat Belly, the book, the blog, and facebook. I feel better than I have felt my whole life. :-)

    • derp says:

      Here are my credentials: I have an M.Sc. in biology, studied medicine and just finished my last year as a resident physician. Here’s the short version: Do your homework.
      1. If the gut didn’t take up more than CH, tryglycerides and amino acids, very few pharmacologically active substances would appear in your blood.
      2. The gut barrier is not this tightly-knit perfect barrier as depicted in the textbooks. There are many circumstances where this barrier is compromised, starting in conditions as simple as “post-exercise”.
      3. The advantages of fat over carbohydrate as a a fuel have deep metabolic and neurobiological reasons. Please read Taubes, Lustig, Guyenet, Masterjohn and all the others before spilling out simplistic layman theories.
      4. Science means finding out what “is” (whatever that means, epistemologically) and what works and then looking for a theory that explains it. Not the other way round while being hateful against anyone whose practice isn’t explained by the theories you hold. To get a most primitive understanding of the scientific method, please read *at* *least* Popper, von Foerster and Feynman. Feynman is actually quite fun to read, btw. :)

  9. What countries still grow “healthy” wheat which has not been put through decades of selective breeding and hybridization like here in the U.S.? I can then look for them on products on my grocery shelves. Thank you.

    • Jeff says:

      Don’t waste your time. There is no such thing as “healthy” wheat. There is no such thing as “healthy whole grains” for that matter.
      Even einkorn wheat – the wheat from thousands of years ago – has its problems for humans. Grain is not human food. Eat whole foods, like vegetables, meat, eggs, and fish. If you must have “baked goods”, make them with almond, coconut, or other nut flours, but avoid the “gluten-free” processed junk food in the grocery store. Most of that is made with starches that are just as bad (if not worse) for your health.

  10. Martyn says:

    Splendid work over the year, Dr Davis. Your work represents a major advance in medicine, and is years ahead of its time.

    Much appreciated, and many thanks.

    Martyn

  11. sarah williamson says:

    I have lost 51 pounds after my sister gave me your book. My COPD is better, the rash on my arms is gone and I have more energy than ever.

    Thank You
    Sarah

  12. Barb says:

    I saw your program on Dr. Oz and I have ordered both your book and the recipe book. This is not the first time I’ve heard of the benefits of a wheat-free diet – for example, I have heard that giving up wheat is excellent for lowering cholesterol – one of my problems. But with respect to losing weight and belly fat, I am a woman in my 60s and in spite of the fact that I am slim and exercise regularly (yoga, weights, spinning, etc.), I find that my belly has gotten flabbier over the past few years. I was attributing this to being menopausal, but am wondering if a wheat-free diet could help to “fix” this.

  13. Patrick Dirks says:

    Dear dr. Davis,
    Thank you for your work. I only eat spelt bread now, and yesterday i even heard that most spelt is cross/bredd with wheat !!

    My question is on something else though. Wheatgrass juice. I am sure you have heard of it. It is very very healthy. But it comes from the the same wheat. So is wheatgrass healthy in your opinion?

    Thank you,
    sincerely,

    Partick

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, I think a useful rule-of-thumb is to not trust anything wheat, modern forms most of all, but ancient forms, too.

      To my knowledge, the only wheat-related threat to health from wheatgrass is wheat germ agglutinin, the lectin protein of wheat that has potential to disrupt bowel health. I would opt for another source of green nutrients.

  14. cynthia hall says:

    After an unprovoked assault twenty years ago, I have been in terrible pain for twenty years. I gradually gained 45 pounds although I had not changed my diet. I have been tested for gluten and wheat allergies but all the tests came back negatiave. I exercised and ate healthy according to the FDA. After watching your segment on the Dr. Oz show I felt I had nothing to lose by giving up the wheat. Happily after two weeks I have lost the pain and 12 pounds. I can never thank you enough for giving me hope, health and a good nights sleep back! By the way I am in my sixties, an age where weight is supposedly hard to lose.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      That’s great, Cynthia.

      It’s amazing how many people suffer their pain silently, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, or just endure their pain, often provoked by an injury, yet somehow sustained or amplified by this incredibly destructive “food” called wheat.

      We cannot undo such things as an unprovoked assault by another person. But we sure can undo the unprovoked assault of this unhealthy dietary component.

  15. Dennis Venturi says:

    Loved your book; changed both my life, and my wife’s life. Your writings inspired me to write as well, so, here’s the poem I wrote.

    WHEAT AND SUGAR

    Wheat and sugar, sugar and wheat
    All I want is all I can eat!!
    Fat makes me full; brings my blood sugar down
    Only sugar and wheat can bring it back o’round.

    Gluteomorphins and fructose; my brains daily habit
    Sugar and wheat; my two friends that have it.
    They give me the lows so I can fill them with highs
    Sugar and wheat, my blood sugar flies!

    Diabetes beats on; kids dance to the beat
    Better them sick then to be caught eating meat!
    Get off the couch! Put the video game down!
    But after the workout, sugar and wheat’l be round

    So wrap it and pack it, make it easy to snack it
    Big business, big government, make sure they back it.
    Wheat and sugar, sugar and wheat
    If I didn’t want it, it’s all I can eat.

    BTW, I’m a helicopter pilot by trade, and I don’t plan to give up the day job to be a poet..lol

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Ah, Dennis: This is absolutely priceless! And perfect for a holiday post!

      I’d like to post your poem as a blog post for others to enjoy this Christmas! Thank you for taking the time and effort between helicopter runs.

  16. Roger says:

    I am trying to do the wheatbelly foods the right way. I thought that the use of YEAST was NoT Permitted .But I notice that the >mini pizza recipe from your new book uses Yeast?? Can I use Yeast In my Bread recipes too? Please clear this up for me Dr. Davis thanks Roger/ & Keep up the great work

  17. Sarah Jacobs says:

    Dear Dr Davis

    I am so glad to here an expert discuss the hazards of wheat.
    I am sure I spent most of my young life in a haze due to eating wheat and quite sure i could have achieved higher grades if I hadn’t had to overcome stomach aches and brain fog that i found in my 30′s, to be associated with wheat,.
    My daughter was eventually found to be genetic celiac and I probably am also.
    Not only do we react to wheat but many other foods and chemicals. You may not have heard of the work of Prof Rochlitz http://www.wellatlast.com/books.html . His balancing for the vagal nerve and hiatal hernia and other things has helped us through many a bout of reactions.

    I look forward to the day when the hospital system has incorporated delicious gluten/dairy free menus for their patients, amongst other things.

    Best of Luck
    Sarah

    • Dr. Davis says:

      It sounds like your experience echoes mine perfectly, Sarah.

      Many hospitals do indeed offer “gluten-free” options, though none yet understand that they should also be free of the junk carbohydrate ingredients like cornstarch and rice flour. Hospitals are relatively slow to adopt non-revenue producing ideas or practices, sadly.

  18. Annie H says:

    This is fascinating stuff – I’ve worked in research for years but didn’t hear about this connection until becoming a patient myself (MENS 2b, Lupus and Celiac) My Rheumatologist and Endocrinologist figured out (finally) that eating gluten free not only cuts down on my Celiac symptoms, it’s also helped manage my other bodily dysfunctions and once I’d completely removed gluten from my diet I also managed to shave off the last 20 pounds I’d been trying to lose for ages. If people understood the correlation between endocrine diseases and celiac (and dr’s have known of the diabetic connection for 30 + years but rarely discuss it which frankly shock me) they’d insist upon not only testing (43 % of people with Hashimotos also have celiac) but become much more actively engaged in insisting upon healthier products in the grocery store. I, like many others, do not rely on gluten free foods but rather have resorted to eating (only) whole foods (fruits & vegetables, usually raw) meat only hormone free and as a garnish and no caffeine, alcohol or additives of any kind. It’s the first time in over 20 years my headaches and seizures have been managed and I do occasionally miss eating ‘junk’ but feeling fantastic is well worth it.
    btw, the flaxseed wraps are excellent…

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Great, Annie!

      It’s a shame that the default position in healthcare advice is not ALWAYS to consider a nutritional/dietary connection, rather than resorting to drugs and procedures as the first choice.

      As you have come to appreciate, using diet as the default solution leads to some very powerful positive outcomes! And great with the flaxseed wraps!

  19. Laurel C says:

    Happy upcoming New Year 2013 to you, Dr. Davis.

    I just read your book ‘wheat belly’ 6 days ago. I am 5’8 tall and weigh 175 pounds, mid-50′s female.
    My insulin is 9.9 and my HbA1c is 5.5% so the results last week scared me bad enough that I really got motivated – fast!

    I began a no artificial or added sugars, no wheat, low carb (less than 15 grams per meal) and no more than 75 grams of total carbs per day, high lean protein diet (maybe 130 grams per day) with lots of fresh low-glycemic veggies and maybe 6 fresh berries per meal.

    It means despite eating 5 or 6 times a day, I am still consuming less than 1,200 calories a day and feel quite full.

    Do I have to worry about ketosis?

    Thank you,
    Laurel

    • Laurel C says:

      Ooops.
      I meant to add that I want to lose 35 pounds, and am now walking 30 – 60 minutes per day.

      Also, I am only eating 900 – 1000 calories a day on this new ‘no wheat’ plan, that was why the ketosis concern over the long-term.

      I just can’t figure out how to add another 200 – 250 calories day, which without adding to my carbs at each meal and pushing it to over 20 carbs per meal which I think is a no-no.

      • James says:

        Hi there,

        Don’t be afraid of nutritional ketosis, it is quite an OK state to be in as it is a “fat burning” mode. This brings up the answer to your other question regarding your calorie intake:

        1- don’t count them
        2- add healthy fat to your diet. Low carb is fine but it should go in pair with high fat since ketosis means that now your energy is derived from fat, and your brain will mostly eat up ketone bodies.

        Happy new year :)

        J.

        • Laurel C says:

          Thanks james. I had 1440 calories yesterday with 90 grams of fat from walnuts and peanuts and got worried that I wouldn’t lose weight even with being no wheat / no sugar (except what is in one ingredient foods) because of the fat.

          I have been walking 30 – 60 minutes a day this week.

          I’ve been on no wheat for a week now and walking, and have not lost a pound.

          • James says:

            Weight loss is also very much influenced by your hormonal balance. If you have even mild hypothyroidism, weight loss can be blocked.

            About the nutritional ketosis, it takes about 3 weeks to be fully adapted. And too much dietary protein will prevent ketosis because of the gluconeogenesis that is a process transforming proteins into glucose. You shouldn’t have to increase your protein intake if you already ate enough before your diet change.

  20. Traci Cornman says:

    Dr. Davis,

    I have a question about a supplement that I have been taking for approximately 3 months as it’s main ingredient is soluble stablized rice bran and rice germ. I can tell you that since I have been taking this supplement that I have not gotten sick like usual (even though I have been around many sick folks, including my grandbaby who I can’t resist smooching even when he is sick) I also use a protein powder with the following ingredients:
    Protein Matrix Blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein),
    sugar cane, cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavor, sunflower oil, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, stevia
    leaf extract, flax seed, gum acacia, guar gum.
    Made in a facility that processes milk, eggs, tree nuts, soy and wheat

    Thanks so much for the research you have done and the knowledge that you have with regards to this subject!!

    Sincerely,

    Traci

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