457 of 514 people found the following review helpful
William Davis, MD, is a preventive cardiologist who blames Low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides and small LDL particles for the rise in heart disease. This also leads to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, diabetes and pre-diabetes, increased inflammation, increasingly blood clot-prone blood. This is caused by the condition Dr. Davis calls "wheat belly".
Wheat belly is the much like the "beer belly" with the same protruding, sagging abdomen that develops when you overindulge in processed carbohydrates. It represents visceral fat that laces the intestines.
While nearly everyone knows that candy bars and soft drinks aren't good for health, most Americans have allowed processed carbohydrates, but especially wheat products like pretzels, crackers, breads, waffles, pancakes, breakfast cereals and pasta, to dominate diet.
Nutritionists have warned against plain white bread and steered us in another direction. According to the author, today's health-conscious decision to eat more whole grains may be more of the problem than the solution. In his view, it is some grains (like wheat) that are largely behind the obesity and diabetes epidemic. Grains like oats and flaxseed don't seem to contribute to weight and the associated patterns like small LDL.
Dr. Davis suggests we eliminate all forms of wheat - no breakfast cereals, no breads of any sort, no pasta, crackers, pretzels, etc. Instead, increase your vegetables, healthy oils, lean proteins (lean red meats, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, yogurt and cottage cheese), raw nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans, and fruit. Of course, avoid fruit drinks, candy, and other garbage foods, even if they're wheat-free.
According to Davis, most people will report that a cloud has been lifted from their brain. Thinking is clearer, they have more energy and they sleep more deeply. Most people lose the insatiable hunger pangs that occur 2-3 hours after a wheat-containing meal. Sounds good, doesn't it?
Why such an impact from a "natural" food source like wheat? Because this is not the same grain your parents ate. Food engineering may create more food but not always better. If you want more information on this, I suggest reading Food, Inc. : Mendel to Monsanto--The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest. To get a better view of the business of food, you may want to watch the video "Food Inc" and then read The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of the World's Food Supply. It was interesting to read about the effects on people from a doctor's point of view.
I enjoyed Dr. Davis' writing style, not like you might expect from a doctor. His experiences with his patients are fascinating. It is evident that he is passionate about this, and not just trying to promote a book.
I agree with Dr. Davis that processed foods are the major cause of obesity in America. This was a fascinating book to read but I also found it alarming that just about everything is made with wheat. Dr. Davis's research has proven that by eliminating wheat from our diets we can eliminate the dreaded fat tire around our midsection. Unfortunately, some people may still have a hard time giving up their favorite foods because wheat is so prevalent.
I have found through muscle testing that a large percentage of people are sensitive to wheat. Could the elimination of wheat from your diet really eliminate the "wheat belly" around your middle? Read this book and find out!
241 of 269 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2011
There are others who have done a thorough review of this book, so I'll not repeat them. Suffice to say, that with all the volumes of scientific research that has been written regarding nutrition & grains, Dr. Davis does an admirable job of succinctly and with good humour - presenting the data and his clinical observations. If you would like futher validation on the dangers of wheat/gluten grains - "Celiac Disease, the Hidden Epidemic" by Green & Jones", might be helpful.
That our most cherished food is also ONE of the primary causes of ALL of our modern diseases may be distressing to many... the scientific evidence exists and is well worth your attention. ALL modern diseases (cardiovascular, metabolic/diabetic/hormonal, cancers, automimmune) are strongly related to systemic inflammation. The "cause" of that inflammation has been elusive. Probably due to the "wild goose chase" that we've been on due to the ever popular "fad" notion that "fat" particularly "saturated fat" is bad for us. Unfortunately, the healthy saturated animal or plant fat was probably the one thing that was protecting our systems from the onslaught of increasing grains, legumes and carbohydrates in our diet. Now, I do not make these statements base on any belief system... this issue of nutrition is mulitfactoral and metabolically rather complex. That means don't throw rocks until you've done your homework .... if you found Dr. Davis' work "DISTURBING", "THOUGHT PROVOKING", 'WORRISOME" OR "REALLY EXCITING" .... if you really are interested in being healthy, eating healthy or just proving him (or me) wrong - there's a few more books to read, before you've any base from which to criticize: the "short list" of recommended reading- "The Perfect Health Diet", by the Jaminets; "Deep Nutrition" by Shanahan, MD; "Primal Body, Primal Mind" by Gedguadas; 'Why We Get Fat" or "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Taubes AND "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith. Additionally - These concepts of "Paleo', "low carb","indigenous/primitive" nutrition are now represented in the terms "ancestral" or "evolutionary" health, diet, medicine - as the first annual symposium which occurred Aug. 2011 and the presentations can be found on [...] and provide much "food for thought". Dr. Davis is in the company of some great writers/researchers.
As a clinical physiologist, who has worked in the field of chronic disease management my entire career (30 yrs of cardiac, pulmonary & diabetic)- I have watched my most compliant & fit patients fail on the low fat/high carb & grain diet, exercise until you drop routine. Like Dr. Davis, I now follow and support following a wheat free/grain & legume free diet. Until you remove these foods completely, for 4-6 wks, you really won't know if you are sensitive. While weight loss seems to be the most important thing to most folks - excess fat storage is simply a symptom of inflammation and insulin/glucose dysfunction that leads to diabetes or heart disease or cancer or auto immune disorders. However, you do not need to be obese to have those problems. I am and have always been fit (previous competitive athlete) and thin (BMI 20) and always ate organic whole foods, high grain/legume diet but that did not protect me from insulin/glucose dysfunction or overt inflammation (fibromyalgia). Getting off all grains & beans and limiting my carbs to 200 kcals/day has worked beautifully for 2 years. Yes, low carbohydrate - the issues in systemic inflammation are directly related to an interplay of nutritional factors. In reality, it is the rare Homo sapiens (probably in the range of 20% of the total world population) that can "thrive" on high carb and grains. We can survive but the current health status is quite indicative of the lack of tolerance.
As for staying on the nutritional program - all I can say is - It's the most pleasurable way to eat that I have ever followed...but I also adhere to the concepts that healthy saturated fat is GOOD! So, lots of ribeye, pork chops, cheese, butter & cheese cake (no crust) and vegetable (cooked in butter) AND fermented foods (kimchee, live yogurt). Oh yeah, even though I was thin, I had a bit of a spare tire, despite lots of good exercise - that's gone too. And, I exercise less now than before.
If you truly are interested in eating nutritionally healthy for our species (ie your health) and actually want to learn something beyond your belief system then this book is only one of several "must read" but it is one of the most important ones because it uncovers the truly destructive nature of one of our most hallowed foods. This is NO FAD - there are those of us who have spent our personal and professional lives in scientific & clinical research/study to discover that which can stop, reverse and prevent the riduculous "diseases" of modern civilization - the answers are right here, right now. Dr. Davis' work is an important part of that scientific/clincal research coming to light - ignore it at the risk of your own health. VIVE VIDA!
114 of 125 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
I absolutely loved this book, and it only added to my resolve to get wheat OUT of my life. Our family has had 2 children with autism-type symptoms; and I and other family members by mid-40s have had high cholesterol and high triglycerides and C-reactive protein, and an assortment of other diseases such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), anxiety, arthritis pain, heartburn to the point we had to take medication every day, acne, it goes on and on. But NO traditional physician has ever told us that we should try avoiding wheat, even for a trial. Until recently. I was tested and found gluten intolerant a year ago (although I already knew I was). The result of going OFF wheat in 2011, at age 59, are:
1. No more heartburn. Ever. No need to take the harmful heartburn medications I couldn't live without before.
2. Clearer skin.
3. Elimination of "ruddy" complexion my doctor called "rosacea" (and his medication treatment never did work)
3. My cholesterol has dropped from 249 to 194 with no medication. In just a few months!
4. Triglycerides under 100
5. Low C reactive protein of .8
6. Less arthritis aches and pains
7. Reduction of anxiety and no more irritable bowel syndrome
Incidentally, the result of greatly reducing rice and other "non-gluten" grains over the last 3 months, substituting protein shakes containing greens, avocado, kale; and frequent roasted veggies; plenty of chicken and yes beef:
1. Loss of noticeable belly-fat and much easier weight loss
2. Far less cravings
3. Further clearing of my skin
4. Silkier hair
5. Improved mood
6. Noticeable reduction of arthritis pain
7. Further reduction in total cholesterol to 181 with no medication.
8. Clear thinking and memory improvement
The food and pharma industries have had their "profit-motivated" way long enough! Americans, stop buying those foods that do nothing helpful and actually HARM you (including whole wheat) by causing inflammation, poor lipids, and obesity! And see if you can get off the statins, antacids, anti-anxiety medications, and possibly even your anti-depressants. Give yourself a chance to learn the benefits of living wheat-free by running your own science experiment!
121 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
The information in this book has been life changing for me. I had no idea wheat could detrimentally affect my health. I always thought whole grain wheat was healthy. I now know this is not the case. By eliminating wheat from my diet, I have finally found the cure for my health problems. I have had Fibromyalgia and arthritis for 22 years and have tried many things to help relieve the horrible pain I was in (prescriptions, homeopathy, health clinic, going off sugar for nine months). The anti-inflammatory and pain pills helped to mask some of the pain, but it didn't remove it completely. Now after eating wheat-free and low carb/high fat for two months, I can stand up and walk without pain. My chronic headaches are gone (unless I eat something with wheat in it). I no longer have acid reflux, which prior to going wheat-free was so severe that I had to sleep in a chair. I had so much scar tissue in my esophagus from the acid reflux that I had to have four surgical procedures to break up the scar tissue so I could swallow. I was on the highest dose of Prilosec. I also had irritable bowel syndrome with severe cramping and diarrhea. Now, the IBS is completely gone. Along with Fibromyalgia I also suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Prior to going off wheat, I couldn't do much because of the pain and fatigue. Now I have energy and feel great. The brain fog has lifted and I can now think clearer. I have lost 33 lbs.; and although I'm happy to finally lose some weight, I am even more excited about my improved health. I did have some withdrawal symptoms during the first two weeks. My first really good day was about 10 days into the diet (I had energy, no pain and could think clearer - it was such a huge difference and my husband and kids were so excited for me); and then after three weeks I consistently had good days. I think the acid reflux got better right away, but I can't remember which day I noticed it was gone. This is the best I've felt in 25 years. I'm so grateful to finally discover the key to solving all of my health problems.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2012
I purchased this book on the advice of my Osteopath (thanks Doc, you're the best!). Upon reading Amazon reviews, I was impressed that other physicians concure with Dr. Davis's findings. This book brings together all the information on today's version of "wheat" and its harmful effects on our bodies.
I could not figure out what was going on with my weight gain over the past few years. I am physically active and am careful to eat a healthy diet, yet my toned mid-section had disappeared under a layer of unsightly fat within two years of menopause. My regular clothes weren't fitting well at all. Talk about frustration searching for new jeans! Was this "change of life" the sole reason behind such a weight gain? My doctor and the author of "Wheat Belly" had a different angle on my quandry.
Following my Osteopath's suggestion to avoid wheat, I began to eliminate wheat systematically from my diet and read Dr. Davis's book for further education. It is not that difficult or expensive to change to wheat free if you start at the basics (check out the "Gluten Free on a Shoestring" book on Amazon.com or visit their website for free, easy to prepare recipes).
After a few weeks, weight is beginning to come off and I feel better overall. This book explains clearly and without political apologies how modern wheat harms our health. Read this book, eliminate wheat from your diet and you will see results.
July 30th, 2012 update:
Since eliminating most wheat from my diet, I have lost 20 pounds since February. I have changed nothing in my lifestyle, other than eliminating as much wheat as possible. I have not increased exercising; in fact I should make an effort to go for more walks, etc... As always, I go easy on sugary foods, which is a key component to health and weight loss. I feel great, and am able to keep up with much younger co-workers and a demanding work schedule. My sinuses seem to have improved. Switched to humus and avacodo paste on rice/flax crackers for lunches. I also love Silk brand almond milk (their chocolate is wonderful) and organic coconut milk (Silk brand and others). They are delicious, nutritious and reasonably priced at local grocery stores. Occassionally, I'll have pizza or a Subway sandwhich, as a treat. There are lots of options available to reduce wheat in your diet, simply read labels and do a bit of research. And, it does not have to be expensive. It is so good to fit back into my old jeans. I still have several pounds to go and am motivated to remain as wheat-free as possible from now on. Dr. Davis has hit the nail on the head with his book.
Update Jan. 2013: After nearly one year I feel great and am able to keep up with added multi-tasking at work due to job eliminations. I was careless through the Holidays - enjoyed sugary treats and too much wheat. What a difference in my overall healthy feeling. I felt stuffy, bloated - the effect wheat and sugar were having, a sure sign wheat-free is the way for me to live. If I stick to wheat-free and avoid sugar, I don't feel very hungry and have lots of energy. Also, no sinus problems at all. The weight has stayed off and I am down another belt loop. Just remember, you must use discipline. Do your best to eat according to what Dr. Davis suggests and avoid sugars. Exercise by walking or cleaning your home and gardening. Eliminating as much wheat as possible from my diet has been a blessing!
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
I've read lots of reviews on this book. There are a lot of people who complain that this is a re-packaged version of Atkins, or that it's another low-carb diet plan book. That's not the case at all. Here's why: This book gives the scientific FACTS behind why we should give up wheat. It's not saying, "YOU'LL LOSE WEIGHT IF YOU GIVE UP CARBS AND START EATING LOTS OF MEAT!!!" and leaving it at that. This book gives you the facts (most of them, not all) about how our bodies process modern wheat. It gives more evidence to back up why cutting out sugar, other grains, and some other high-glycemic foods is also a good idea. There are more backed-by-science facts in this book than you will see in most other books, including The China Study. The information in Wheat Belly may not be absolutely complete (that would take volumes), but it gives you what you need to know to continue further research.
I really liked this book. Although I read the Kindle version, it was a real "page-turner" for me. I couldn't wait to find out what his conclusions were at the end, and see his recommendations. I couldn't stop reading it. I will admit that some of the science was a bit over my head- and I skimmed over some of the more hard-core science facts that didn't pertain to my situation (such as the big section on Celiac). But there were a lot of modern references (some funny) as well as historical evidence to keep me reading it. I had planned to just read a little bit here and there while I read my fiction books as my mainstay, but I ended up pouring over this book until it was finished.
Do I take this book for gospel? Nah. No. It was written by a human, and based on human research. To err is human. I'm sure there are errors in this book.
But you know what? I've given up grains, and I've given up sugar. And unlike my past "Atkins Diet", I don't feel like I'm on a diet for losing weight anymore. I now feel that wheat really IS something that SHOULD be given up. There are so many facts to back that up. And I feel GOOD now. I haven't felt this good in a long time. I'm still on a weight-loss journey, but I'm certainly not on a "diet". I feel too good eating this way to ever want to feel sluggish and foggy like I did while eating wheat and other grains. Now, if I eat bread, I get the most uncomfortable cramps imaginable.
Here's the deal. I've been vegetarian. I've been vegan. I've been on Atkins. I've been on Weight Watchers. I have NEVER felt as good as I do when I give up the sugar and the grains. I miss pizza, spaghetti, sandwiches- those are the foods I used to love. Cake, candy, pie? Yep, I miss them. But I only MENTALLY miss them now. I no longer crave them. I never feel hungry anymore. I don't ever really NEED to eat, I just eat to fuel my body. And as a recovering sugar/carb addict, that is saying a LOT. I've wasted 35 years of my life feeling crappy. This book has given me a fresh start- and a stubbornness to stick with it!
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
I have read literally hundreds of books on nutrition, dozens which warn us of the evils of wheat. But what makes this book unique is its intense focus on this one "food" item and the havoc it wreaks on our health.
I knew wheat was really bad, and even wrote about it in my own two nutrition books. But I sometimes wondered why it wasn't quite so bad in the `50s and `60s when I ate it as a child. This book contains an entire chapter on the history of wheat's hybridization, and how it has become something very foreign. Without doubt, our bodies no longer recognize it as food. Ironically, the hybridizing accomplishments of a Dr. Borlaug enabled farmers to grow eight times as much wheat, solving world hunger and saving many hungry Chinese from starvation. You could even say that wheat enabled us to overpopulate the world. But one may wonder, what good is a huge population of sick people?
The author blasts the drug companies as not being interested in true healing. This is why MDs are not educated in the simplicity of nutritional healings, which can be as simple as eliminating all glutens (the main offender being wheat).
So what is so bad about this deadly grain? The author compares wheat addiction to that of cigarettes. It actually gets you high with exorphins. It pumps up the blood sugar (increasing insulin, and hence fat storage and overeating) more than sugar. It wreaks havoc on the intestines. (I noticed decades ago that I had to eat a sandwhich without the bread to avoid constipation.) In fact, the author implicates wheat in nearly every disease of civilization. Indeed, this ubiquitous "food" plays a role in every malady from diabetes to cancer---most startlingly perhaps, even schizophrenia!
Best of all, perhaps, by simply giving up wheat, we can lose anywhere from 10 to 70 pounds! Our appetites diminish with the loss of this addictive food, and we naturally and effortlessly consume about 400 calories less per day. Now if that doesn't motivate you...
But what can we eat without wheat? It's found in bread, cereals, bagels, donuts, cookies, cakes, casseroles, nearly every processed food, and more. Yet, rest assured that once past the addiction, you won't miss wheat. There are tons of recipes in this book for wheat and gluten-free living.
I agree with the author on this: give up wheat and your life will change! For me, the brain fog was gone, and it transformed my life.
92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2012
I am a primary care physician and I successfully treat diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses every single day with the sort of wheat-free low-carb advice that Dr. Davis gives here in this excellent book. I started recommending this about 15 years ago and have seen countless patients "cure" their diabetes and stop diabetes medications with this sort of dietary modification. Thanks Dr. Davis for such a well-written book, I recommend it to people all the time!
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
I am 52 years old and have had a variety of health health issues, that, that seemed to be getting worse as I aged. I was tired of every time I went to the Doctor he wanted to fix the issue with a pill. I decided to go on a quest to see if I could heal myself using food. Someone recommended I watch the documentary Sick Fat and nearly dead, which got me started by juice fasting. I then read the book China Study which helped bring things further into focus for me, but something was still missing. I was losing weight and feeling better but still had moments of extreme hunger. I was eating a primarily whole foods diet, which included whole wheat bread. A friend of mine sent me an article about the book Wheat Belly. What the article said made a lot of sense to me, and helped explain my moments of extreme hunger and other symptoms I was having.
I bought the book and modified my diet, and am feeling great. At this point I am taking no drugs. I have lost 63 pounds, my blood pressure is 115 over 70 and my cholesterol is 143. I use to have dandruff but it is gone as well.
Read this book and get out of the doctor mill, they don't want you healthy, there is no Money in healthy people.
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
I tested two of Dr. Davis's hypotheses on myself. I got a $10 blood sugar tester and tested to see how whole wheat bread affects my blood sugar: it goes way up. And I tested my small LDL particles (the ones that supposedly cause arterial plaque) before and after quitting wheat, and they went down after I quit eating wheat. I'm not 100% sure wheat is as bad as he says, but since there are plenty of very healthy cultures that don't eat wheat, I can't think of any reason to go back on it.