5,353 of 5,470 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2011
I've been following Dr. Davis' heart scan blog for the past year, and have learned so much about how certain supplements can stop and even reverse plaque, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and many other health problems. And he talked a lot about wheat, and the many ways it destroys your health. But I've been hesitant to go wheat free. I love warm bread with butter, cinnamon rolls, pizza, pasta, cake, pie, Ritz crackers, pretzels, and almost everything else made with wheat. So it wasn't easy to make the commitment to go without them.
I pre-ordered this book, and finally went wheat free one week before the book was released. And what a difference. My blood pressure had been averaging 140/88 (taking two blood pressure medications). Now, after only two weeks of wheat-free eating, I've averaged 124/68 for the past four days. I've reduced one of my medications to keep my blood pressure from dropping too low after it fell to 108/58. It's crazy! And I'm not starving myself. I'm getting plenty to eat.
So, why did I buy the book if I already knew what to do? Because this book goes into great detail about WHY wheat is a problem. If you're like me, you probably think of wheat as four-foot tall "amber waves of grain." But that's not what we are eating these days. It's an engineered version that's two feet tall, and is nothing like what I ate as a kid in the 1950s. And unfortunately, it raises your blood sugar higher than eating a candy bar. And if you don't think that's a problem then you need to learn more about how high blood sugar affects your health.
"I don't need this book, because there's no way I'm giving up my bagels and pizza," you say. That's fine---if you don't mind being fat, developing diabetes and high blood pressure and heart disease and a host of other health problems---which is what the typical American is doing these days.
Or, you could buy this book and learn how to live a healthier, and quite possibly longer, life.
Update (9-12-2011): I've now been wheat free for three weeks (as stated above, I went wheat free one week before the book was released), and I've lost 7 pounds. That may not sound like much of an accomplishment, until you consider:
- I am 6'4", and have been stuck at around 210 lbs. for over two years. I have not been able to lower my weight by dieting or exercise.
- 210 is only 20 pounds over my goal weight of 190. And everybody knows how difficult it is to lose those last 10 to 20 pounds---especially at my age (61).
- This is my lowest weight since 2002.
- I have not exercised for the past three weeks.
- Although I have eaten no wheat for three weeks, I have eaten a few candy bars and I've had Blue Bell No Sugar Ice Cream almost every night. (I don't recommend this---particularly the candy bars.)
- I have definitely been less hungry than when I was eating wheat.
- The hypoglycemia I've suffered with for many years has pretty much disappeared.
- I fully expect to be down to 190 lbs. within a few weeks. I haven't weighed 190 lbs. in over 25 years!
Update (11-25-2011): It's now been nearly three months since I went wheat-free, and I've lost 16 lbs., which is about 1.2 pounds per week. So you might think, "Hey, that's no big deal--you could have lost that much weight without really trying." But you'd wrong. Way wrong. As I stated before, I was stuck at 210 for over two years. Dieting and exercising did nothing to reduce my weight. I had hit a plateau and was going nowhere. Now, in just three months, I'm down another 16 lbs., to 194! I'm within four pounds of my goal weight!
And now for another confession: during the three months I have stayed wheat-free, BUT...I have eaten Mexican food at least once a week (sometimes twice), including a basket of (corn) tortilla chips, chicken (corn) enchiladas, etc., an occasional chocolate bar, and other carbohydrate splurges. Yet, in spite of all that, I still lost 16 lbs.! My body fat is now at 14%! It's crazy!
Also, it got a lot easier when I realized I could still have breads--without wheat, of course. I am loving almond flour. I bought the Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lb. and have been using it to make pancakes, muffins, cobbler, :). And it tastes great! Here is the pancake recipe I use:
1 Cup almond flour
1/4 Cup water
2 Tablespoons oil (I use coconut oil)
1 Teaspoon baking powder (double acting)
Makes 6 4-inch pancakes. I top them with real butter (because remember: fat is okay--it's the carbs that are killing you) and Cary's Sugar Free Syrup, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4).
No sugar, low-carb, high-protein, and high-fiber. My wife and I each eat three pancakes and we are satisfied until lunch time.
With regular, wheat pancakes I used to eat six of them, and then an hour later I was falling asleep (after my blood sugar spiked and then dropped like a rock). But with these almond flour pancakes, I stay alert and feel good.
Dr. Davis has a great recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins in the book. The suggested topping is cream cheese, but I topped them with sugar-free cream cheese frosting. My nephews ate them like cupcakes. :)
So I've lost 16 lbs. in three months--WITHOUT EXERCISING! Wonder what will happen when I start hitting the weights and the exercise bike regularly? ;) I'm about to find out. Stay tuned...
Update (1-22-2012): It's now been five months since I went wheat-free, and I'm still going strong. I originally stated that my goal weight was 190. But my secret goal weight, the goal I didn't actually think I would ever achieve, was 185. Well, guess what? I am now at 188! I'm gonna make it! I'm down 22 pounds since August. And believe me, when you're 6'4", a weight of 188 allows for very little fat.
In 2004 I hit my highest weight: 238. Now I am down 50 lbs.! I was able to lose the first 28 pounds by cutting back on the calories, mostly by not eating out so much. But once I got down to 210, my weight loss stalled for four years. I just couldn't lose anymore. Then I went wheat free---which is not a diet, but a new way of eating, and the excess weight began to fall off.
I'm loving it! Thanks, Dr. Davis!
Update (1-29-12): I've talked a lot in this review about my weight loss, but that's only half the story. Seven years ago when I weighed 238, my triglyceride count was 300. I started to cut back on the eating out and the snacking, and began to take fish oil capsules. After a couple of years I was down to 215 and my triglycerides were 155. Then I doubled my fish oil intake and improved my eating habits a bit more. Two years later my triglycerides were down to 99, which is pretty good, and my weight was 210. That's where I plateaued.
The following year I experienced atrial fibrillation, followed by an angiogram and two stents. This was about the time I discovered Dr. Davis online and began following his blog. So I started taking Vitamin D and Magnesium. I couldn't bring myself to give up wheat, even after trying it for a week and losing five pounds.
Then, about a year later in August of 2011, I bought his "Wheat Belly" book as soon as it was released and I finally determined to go wheat-free. Since then my weight has gone from 210 to 188-my lowest weight in over 25 years. I recently had a yearly exam and my triglycerides were down from 99 to 69! Wow! Dr. Davis likes to see his patients at 60/60/60 for triglycerides/LDL/HDL. These are numbers that most doctors would think wildly unrealistic, if not impossible.
My HDL is still a little low at 39, but considering the fact that my HDL has been low for many years and at the time of my last yearly exam it was 26, that's pretty amazing. My LDL was 44! Yes, I know that LDL is a calculated value-but still-44! I will continue to improve my eating habits. I still eat too many carbs. But I know I'm headed in the right direction.
When I see people who are overweight, have heart problems, diabetes, and all the other problems that could easily be addressed by going wheat-free and taking a few supplements, I feel so bad for them. But perhaps as they see more and more of us having long-term success they will finally read this book...and believe.
Update (8-8-12): It has now been nearly a year since I went wheat free. Do I still miss wheat? Yes, but not enough to start eating it again. If I went back to wheat, I would lose these benefits:
- My weight dropped from 210 to 186 (I'm 6-foot-4). I lost most of that weight within the first three months.
- My triglycerides dropped from 99 to 70 and my HDL went up from a dangerous 26 to an incredible 57! And one of the best indicators of heart attacks is the ratio of triglycerides to HDL (google it). A good value is 2 or less, the ideal value is 1 or less. My number is pretty fantastic: 70/57 = 1.23. Before going wheat free it was: 99/26 = 3.8, which is very bad. It's no wonder I ended up with a 75% blockage, and had to have stents two years ago before I discovered Dr. Davis.
- My chronic sinus problems went away. Before I gave up wheat, every time I put my head on the pillow, my nose stopped up. I could not breathe through my nose at all. That does not make for good sleeping. Also, I used to get regular sinus infections---usually a couple of times per year. No more. My sinus issues cleared up almost immediately after going wheat free.
Will going wheat-free cure YOUR sinus problems. I have no idea. It might make your left knee quit aching or make your headaches go away. You won't know until you try it.
All I know is that I am a much healthier person thanks to Dr. Davis.
1,582 of 1,682 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2011
This extraordinary book will explain how the bread in the Old Testament, the bread scattered throughout human history, even the bread your grandma made for the family; isn't what we are eating today as "bread." Not only is the wheat a distant genetic relative, but industrial food processes have put it in EVERYTHING.
We are not eating the backbone of the agricultural revolution. We are eating its Frankenstein's monster.
With history and self-experimentation and case histories and lots of well explained science, Dr. Davis lays out his experience, and his contention: that every single human will experience health improvement by giving up modern wheat. In a fascinating chapter, he even explains why we find it so difficult to "live without bread." It has natural morphine-like qualities that makes us act like any sick and despairing junkie!
Even though this book just came out, I have been reading Dr. Davis' blog for almost a year. I came from years of happy low carbing. But it was his writing that eliminated my occasional "cheats" with wheat products. I went totally gluten free.
I didn't expect much of anything... I'd already lost sixty pounds and kept it off, gotten the blood sugar & triglyceride & blood pressure improvements, and was sleeping well with better moods.
But I got my world rocked all over again.
By completely eliminating all grains, I lost ten more pounds without even trying. My rosacea, dwindled but still subject to flareups, now told me what had been causing the flareups; it was wheat and their accompanying seed oils. People spontaneously started saying, "What did you do? You look great!"
And I was someone who wasn't eating wheat much at all. Dr. Davis is right.
After all the genetic manipulations of recent decades, it's no longer the "staff of life." It's poison.
2,021 of 2,174 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2011
I wasn't lucky enough to have a curious, clever, caring doctor like Dr Davis. My massive intolerance to wheat, you would think obvious from my extreme symptoms, went unrecognised and untreated for fifty years. By that time I had been following medically-prescribed, low-calorie, low- fat diets for most of my life. These were all based on wheat products - wholegrain bread and pasta - and completely and efficiently destroyed my health and my life. I became massively overweight, having been slender and attractive in my youth, and despite starving myself for protracted periods. I could not walk upright because of ataxia. I could barely breathe because of asthma. I could barely see. I couldn't focus my mind, despite previously having been a sharp-witted live broadcaster. I began to feel as if I were being possessed. I cried all day, for no reason. I suspected everyone of intending me harm, and wouldn't go out. I developed nerve damage, and often could not feel my legs or hands. My bloated stomach was so large that once, when I attended a POST-natal appointment, the nurses were asking me when my baby was due! I was so weak that I couldn't hold my newborn baby. In fact I couldn't hold my arms up long enough to wash my hair, and became dependent on carers. I developed tinnitus so loud that it could drown out the noise of overhead aircraft at an airport (and which, sadly, is still with me).
I underwent many painful and pointless investigations, to try to find out what was wrong with me. My surgeons were as ignorant as my GPs. One took my appendix out, because he couldn't think what else to do. During one particularly horrific hospital stay, I remember a young doctor's standing at the foot of my bed, begging me to think what could be wrong with me, because it looked as if I might die. I was suffering from a massive peritonitis-like infection, an infection so bad that they simply sewed me up and said there was nothing more they could do. They didn't dare operate for fear of spreading it about. Imagine how frightening that was, and how heartbroken it made my desperate husband. Nothing made any difference. I was sent home to my fate. I would like to add here that on each occasion I visited either a doctor or hospital, it was either subtly or overtly expressed that I was fat, so therefore had been the architect of my own misfortune. By this time my husband was having to make all my meals, so he knew exactly how little I had been eating, and how "healthy" was my food. It made no difference. The doctors took even less interest in me than before, because they assumed I spent all my days sitting on a sofa eating candy. Like I say - they were no Dr. Davis!
Because we had no other choice, we turned to the internet to try and save my life. We Googled all my symptoms, and quickly began to suspect that this was something to do with autoimmunity. Within about an hour we had found celiac disease, and knew this was it. We spent a week researching, before approaching a doctor. We knew we would need real proof in order to be taken seriously. I went armed with papers from The Lancet, and The New England Journal of Medicine, and research from John Hopkins University. I was determined not to insult their intelligence, even though doctors had done that to me for the whole of my life. At that point I had a blood test, which was positive, followed by a biopsy - again positive. I had found my own disease, and I had saved my own life. The results, from a leading specialist, were met with sarcasm and disbelief. Even in the face of expert medical proof, my doctors could not accept that mere bread had been killing me. That is the crux of the problem today. Doctors have gotten into the way of dispensing pointless drugs, rather than their time and powers of deduction. I commend Dr Davis for wanting to reverse this trend.
For the avoidance of all doubt, here it is. Eating wheat almost killed me. It cost me my appendix, an ovary and one kidney. It cost me my childhood to illness, and more than one lucrative job. I am, thankfully, and only just, living proof that wheat is a devastating poison. The food pyramid is on its head, and Dr Davis is being vilified for pointing this out. I love this book. I admire his courage in spreading the message. He is not alone. He finds himself facing up to the baying, illogical, unscientific wheat growers and food processing companies and wrong-headed doctors as did Robert Atkins in the past, and as does Gary Taubes now. There is a lot of money in wheat, so it's going to be quite a fight to be rid of it. These men come at the subject from slightly different angles, but agree about processed carbs, and the dangers of eating grains. The science backs them up. You have to ignore a great deal of science to conclude that wheat is safe to eat. Look how ill and fat people are becoming. How cynical for governments to be hounding the obese, whilst insisting they eat the cereal poisons which made them fat in the first place. To governments everywhere I ask why do you prefer to break your bank to meet the cost of drugs and healthcare for chronic illnesses, than to revise your outdated views on diet? If you aren't motivated by compassion, which I am sure you would wish to be, then be motivated by the prospect of financial savings, because I suspect, as do many people more knowledgable and well-informed than I, that your savings could be in their billions. Save money. Heed the low carb movement. Heed Dr Davis.
We were all warned about tobacco products when it was realised smoking was dangerous. The government didn't order us to smoke MORE, whilst it investigated. But that's what's happening with wheat. If you read this book, and take on board the message, you will improve your health more than you could ever imagine. I have been left disabled by my intolerance of wheat - my system broke under the stress of so much poison, but even so, the transformation in my health has been miraculous. My neighbour described my recovery, a week after ditching wheat, like my being given anti venom for a snake bite! Don't let yourself become permanently handicapped by your love of toast and sandwiches. They are not worth it - not worth developing paralysis for, as did I, or heart disease or cancer, as do other unfortunate people. I have lost fifty pounds this year, simply by eating gluten and wheat free FRESH food. Eat this way and, as Dr Davis counsels, you can be slender (and healthy) without ever going hungry. Say goodbye to your wheat belly. Forever.
484 of 538 people found the following review helpful
I had been gradually putting on pounds and decided enough was enough. Now I am very nearly 40, and my friends told me this was normal, but I was determined to try to lose it anyhow. So I did what conventional wisdom recommends- I joined the gym and started working out 4 days a week at lunch, and replaced my usual restaurant or leftovers lunch with a turkey and whole wheat sandwich with fat-free mayo. Sounds like a foolproof plan to lose weight, right? Wrong.
I actually GAINED weight and started to feel horrible- tired, fuzzy-headed and unable to think clearly, and stomach problems. I had no idea what was wrong, and after 3 blood tests, neither did my doctor. So I started reading- all kinds of nutrition and health books. Nothing made any sense till this popped up as a recommendation on Amazon- thanks no doubt, to the search engine that remembers what you've been looking at. When I read the reviews for this book, I KNEW what the problem was. I had more than doubled my intake of wheat! (I have never liked bread much and rarely order sandwiches when eating out. So I bought it and read it. It was intriguing, horrifying, and it made entirely too much sense. Now this book IS technical, but for the first time in my life I feel like I understand how food affects my health and my weight. I decided to try it.
Update- in the first month I lost 9 lbs. That doesn't sound like alot, except that I wasn't really very heavy to begin with. I am five feet tall, generally considered slim even at my heaviest, and my goal was 16 lbs which is two dress sizes. I lost 3 more pounds in the next 2 weeks, and 3 more in the next month. My husband says I look hot, and my parents were slack-jawed at my transformation. Here are the pros and cons of this diet:
Pros- I count NOTHING- not carbs, not fat grams, not calories. I eat all I want of the unlimited foods, some of the limited foods, and avoid the forbidden foods. It's easy and it sure beats calorie counting. I am never hungry. I feel great- I have tons more energy- even when I didn't get enough sleep for whatever reason. I don't crave carbs or sugar anymore- I eat out quite a lot, have gone to parties, baked cookies with my kids and had little urge to cheat. I have even reduced my caffeine- I just don't need an after lunch pick-me-up anymore. And I finally know what food is right for my body- because I feel it on this diet. I can eat chocolate, bacon, and butter, and drink wine with no guilt. My IBS and allergies are 90% better. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to wake up with a clear head and no sinus headache every morning. The difference in my allergies is so marked that my eye doctor asked if I had changed allergy meds because my eyes were not red and irritated as usual. He couldn't believe it when I told him it was a result of giving up wheat.
Cons- The food on this diet is expensive. Sugar and wheat are cheap filler foods and when you stop buying them you will feel it at the checkout. You will have to change the way you cook- and you will nearly have to cook if you aren't already. It's hard to wrap your head around the concept of this diet- its hard to believe that fat is better for you than fat-free products (which are generally loaded with sugar and wheat) but I know its true because I feel so much better. I thought I would fit back into my old clothes but I lost so much weight, I have to buy new clothes because all of my old ones are now too baggy. Is it worth it- YES!!
***Final update- its been more than two years now. It took me only 3 months to lose 17 lbs- a pound more than my goal of 16, and 14% of my body weight. I am now a pound lighter than I was when I graduated college- nineteen years ago! I am not planning on quitting my diet- ever. This is just how I eat now. I feel healthy, energetic, and younger than I did two years ago. I am getting a better feel for what I can and can't eat. Rice and steel cut oatmeal is okay for me, and a few corn chips or tacos now and again don't bother me either. Fruit is fine except bananas, which make my stomach hurt. I haven't gained back a single pound- and I threw all the "fat" clothes away. I have never felt this good- I am never going back to eating wheat.
Tips- you will want to buy a glycemic index counter to go with this, so that if you are going to cheat you can do it wisely. I have an occasional fun sized snickers bar or Reeses Peanut butter cup and maintain my weight easily. Nobody can be good all of the time!! Before you run out and buy bunches of snacks- I have a cabinet full of diet-safe snacks that I haven't eaten because I'm not hungry between meals anymore. Save your money and buy them as you need them.
1,365 of 1,530 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
I thought the author did a good job of implicating modern hybridized wheat products and government pushing of grain-based eating in the explosion of weight management problems for people in recent history. The story of how wheat was transformed into today's high-yield variety and the nutritional consequences of that was educational and particularly welcome for me because I like knowing why a behavior is being suggested to me. The recommendation to eliminate wheat seemed like a sound conclusion to me, and well-supported by scientific evidence. Where I began to have difficulty with the book [and this echoes comments of a few other reviewers] was when the author began to generalize from his well-made case against modern wheat to nearly all other sources of carbohydrates including ancient wheat varieties, gluten-free carbohydrate sources, legumes & fruit. He fails to cite evidence to support the generalization and I think some of his assertions may be wrong. He even provides his own anecdotal evidence in support of what I'm saying: he reports experimenting on himself comparing the impact after consuming bread made with eikhorn [an ancient wheat variety] flour versus bread made with modern wheat flour. The differences were striking, yet he concludes with recommending a diet that would restrict consumption of both and does not justify that conclusion adequately for me. He does explain briefly why he recommends the restriction of most carbohydrate sources, but he does not support the recommendation to anywhere near the extent of his recommendation to avoid foods made with modern wheat. I even felt a bit deceived by the title of the book because it promises to be about wheat and ends up being more generally focused on gluten and carbohydrates.
I am not saying that the diet he ends up recommending is unhealthy. It may not be. I think it will be difficult for most people to follow consistently for a long time, though. Modifications that include more carbohydrate from sources other than wheat might work well for many people an give them a diet easier to follow. [Timothy Ferriss' recommendations for a "slow-carb" diet using beans and lentils as carb sources in his "Four-Hour Body" book comes to mind. There are others who recommend similar approaches. My own experience tells me these sources do not negatively impact my blood sugar, and I also tolerate spelt flour and sprouted grain products very well.]
This book is worth reading to understand the reasons why consumption of food products made with modern wheat is a bad idea. When it gets to the parts where the author starts telling you what you should and should not eat, I'd take that with a grain of salt and do some further research. I'd especially recommend that if you're reading his recommendations and thinking, "I could never do that", because you may not need to.
310 of 344 people found the following review helpful
I was sent the book Wheat Belly by Amazon Vine for review. Here's my take on it.
For the past year I've been following a number of doctors, health gurus and others who advocate eliminating from one's diet refined carbs, and in particular, white flour and sugar. I've followed much of this advice with moderate success, so finding Wheat Belly with a cardiologist's recommendations and results, seemed fortuitous since I'd been heading that way for some time.
On the flyleaf of Dr. Davis' book is the following: "A provocative look at how eliminating wheat from our diets can help us lose weight, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse a broad spectrum of health problems." Wow! Strong words, but does it work?
Apparently so, because the author tells in detail how he and many of his patients not only lost weight but reversed or eliminated many diseases simply by eliminating wheat. Sounds drastic, but interestingly enough, many of our favorite foods aren't the wheat but what we put on the wheat. I know I love artisan breads, but what I mainly love is that they're a way to convey gobs of tasty butter to my lips. Ditto chips and pita crackers. I'm eating them for the dip, not for the cracker. So, if I can find a way to enjoy butter, sauces, cheese and dips while losing weight, improving my cholesterol levels, eliminating diabetes, celiac disease and a host of other nasties, will I really miss bread and pasta? I think not. This is what Dr. Davis' book is about, and it he shows how the dwarf, high-yield wheat of today is vastly different from the grains consumed by the Sumerians and, yes, even our great-grandparents. In other words, the einkorn and emmer grains of yesteryear were scrapped for genetically modified high-yield grains for profitability. Of course, nutritionists of the latter twentieth century were no help suggesting that we eat a diet consisting of large amounts of whole grain. In doing this, we've become fatter and fatter, particularly with the visceral fat that makes us apple shaped and prone to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even premature aging.
Wheat Belly offers several recipes in the last third of the book, along with many references. While the recipes are different, many using ground nuts and/or flax seeds to replace flour, all look very tasty.
I decided to take the pledge and go wheat free for three months, so I'll be checking in to update my progress as I go. I'm looking forward to weight loss and relief from the pain of osteoarthritis. The idea of combating these problem through diet rather than drugs is very appealing.
Update 1: I've been wheat free for one week. Surprisingly, it hasn't been hard to find substitutes (example: corn flake crumbs instead of Panko for breading fish and chicken, and I spotted a wheat free/gluten free "shake and bake" type mix at my local natural food store. Diamond Nut Thins are wheat and gluten free and are wonderful for cheese spread or hummus.) My week one results: down two pounds and no feelings of deprivation. Lots more energy and sleeping better at night.
Update 2: Second wheat-free week, this coming after a bone density test confirming osteoporosis in lumbar region. I remembered reading about this in Wheat Belly, so re-read to check and learned that eliminating wheat from diet helps to keep the body more alkaline, thus slowing or eliminating calcium loss. Just one more reason to go wheat free. Weight loss was minimal, but the belly is shrinking. My everyday jeans can actually be pulled off without unbuttoning them. Yay! New products to check out: Rudi's Gluten Free bread in many natural food stores. I prefer the cinnamon raisin type for morning toast. Absolutely wheat free and delicious. Also, there's a baking book available: Annalise G. Roberts Gluten-Free Baking Classics. Today I'll be shopping for fine brown rice flour and potato starch to make some of these goodies.
Final update: I've been following a wheat-free eating plan since receiving the book and can say that it definitely works. Since September 18th (one month ago), I've lost six pounds and five inches from my waist without doing anything other than avoid wheat.
336 of 374 people found the following review helpful
~~Definition of "wheat belly": the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage.~~~
After reading Dr. Davis' blog for most of this year, I couldn't wait to get his book. I NOOKed it last night. (I had already bought the Woman's World magazine with an article featuring it.) And I recommend trying WHEAT FREE eating to anyone with weight issues. Especially y'all with insulin-resistance/diabetes/allergies/autoimmune/bathroom issues. I really do.
In WHEAT BELLY, Dr. Davis , a cardiologist, asks you to look at family albums and look at granny and grandpa and see how many were obese. I didn't have to. I already had done this exercise when I was getting serious about losing weight. My immigrant father and siblings didn't suffer from obesity--but I'm way younger...the "change of life" baby who grew up in THIS country with this nation's sugary/wheaty foods. My mom only in later life when she got ill and less active, then she lost it again. I and subsequent generations of my family: rampant obesity. A gathering of family means you better have sturdy chairs and roomy doorways. We're a huge lot. What does your family look like, then and now? Got a "wheat belly"?
I remember being young and going places and rarely seeing morbidly obese or really obese folks. In school, the heavy kid was the rarity--yeah, often picked on because "different". Lots of fat teens now, right? Obesity is common now, right? And I was one of the big folks at 300 lbs. Not obese anymore. Just overweight--and working on it still.
I've lost 117 pounds. I began last year by moderating carbs--which included giving up almost all bread products and decreasing pasta use-- and this year moved into ditching all grains other than rice (after reading some Paleo/Primal works, some low carb authors, and the Jaminets' Perfect Health diet). I don't do any diet perfectly, but this year, eliminating wheat/gluten has been a great,great help. I noticed a difference in energy level.
My asthma and allergies began to improve (and they are so bad, I've had steroid treatments since I was a child and have never been OFF drugs for them, EVER, and I'm middle-aged). My eczema improved and I can wear much lighter makeup (less camouflage needed). My weight came off easier, without wild appetite or undue hunger. I felt..food calm. This was a novel feeling after 2+ decades of overeating/binge-eating obesity. My HDL skyrocketed. My triglycerides fell to the floor. My mood is great (and I have a lifelong history of depression). Reflux is gone. Acne is almost completely clear.
It sounds nuts. Too good to be true.
Whatever. Try before you deny. :D
As someone who grew a huge "wheat belly" and tried all sorts of diet plans without success, success meaning feeling great and getting out of obesity--I tried raw vegan and ovo-lacto-vegetarian and packaged-low-carb and delivery low-fat meals and WW and Nutrisystem, south Beach, etc. It was when I ditched the grains (except rice)that something happened. I felt food zen. When the wheat was gone, gone, that's when I benefited most and felt really reborn. My hubby, who is doing no wheat/gluten too, just can't keep weight on; seriously, since he ditched wheat/gluten he has to eat 6 times a day or gets UNDERWEIGHT, and he had weeks of losing 5 or more pounds while eating a lot of steak, chicken, pork, fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate. I finally had to add potatoes and rice in larger portions and Larabars to get him to NOT turn into a skeleton--I tell you that if you have weight problems and bad cholesterol numbers (especially HDL and triglycerides and the small-density LDL), please try Dr. Davis' plan. It might save your heart/pancreas/liver/joints/intestines..life.
So, what's in the book?
He tells us--in layperson accessible language, from the perspective of someone who grew his own "wheat belly" and ruined his lipid profile and raised his blood sugar to dangerous highs-- about one of the most common foods we (you) eat. In bread, wraps, pasta, processed snacks, breakfast cereals, soups, it's EVERYWHERE. "Modern wheat is no more real wheat than a chimpanzee is an approximation of a human," he says. "I will make the case that the world's most popular grain is also the world's most destructive dietary ingredient." He speaks of its perilous glycemic index and its addictive properties.
He goes into the history of wheat and how in the last 50 years, it's been modified to become a dangerous food. "Small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all." You'll learn about original wheats, their natural changes/evolution, then our manipulations. Our aims may have been "admirable" --increase yields, end hunger--but good intentions can end up with some unexpectedly bad results.
Dr. Davis experimented ON HIMSELF with the ancient train of wheat (einkorn) and modern wheat. He noted a big difference in glucose meter results and physical symptoms. Old wheat ain't new wheat. We messed up a "good" grain.
He explains why, whether WHOLE or REFINED, this "supercarbohydrate" is not good for you. Period. And especially if you don't want your appetite stimulated .
He discusses the addictive effect of wheat. Studies on schizophrenics/autistic and wheat. Intestinal permeability trigged by wheat (if you have autoimmune issues, be informed about this).
Read about the night-eater patient whose appetite normalized and weight dropped without wheat. (I found this to be true here in my home. I was a night binge-er. No more.)
He discusses celiac disease and how it affects more people now (int he era of dwarf wheat) than in mid 20th century (sans dwarf wheat). And he covers why gluten-free substitute foods are not a good idea for the overweight/obese. Don't miss the case study of "Wendy"--who almost got her innards cut out. Fascinating stuff in that one. Every part of the body MAY be affected by gluten. It's also in products you may not realize: lipstick, toothpaste, gum, etc.
He has a chapter on insulin resistance/diabetes. We've got an epidemic of that, making this highly pertinent info. He dicusses lowering carbohydrates in the diet, and its quickly-evident benefits for the I.R./Diabetic.
He looks at the pH disruption brought on by wheat; on its effect on joints. "Jason's" story, in particular, stood out for me. He also covers the aging process: yep, wheat ages you faster!
He also covers wheat and heart disease and other diseases (including hair loss).
Dr. Davis offers a "how to eat" section, of course. "There is no rehabilitation, only elimination." As I learned from the Paleo/Primal crowd, you can eliminate wheat/gluten/grains, fill that void with great, real, healthful foods, and not suffer any downside. You don't need grains: period. You don't need wheat. You want it, maybe addicted to it, but don't NEED it. And I will bear out that fasting is easier sans wheat in the diet. I had a hard time in the past doing it--the wild cravings. I routinely intermittently fast these days. :D
Dr. Davis tried his diet on his patients, with remarkable results where conditions of assorted types resolved or improved within 3 months. Reintroduce wheat--symptoms begin to return. (I found out the hard way I'm one of those. My right hand joints are the first to swell after ingesting some wheat flour.)
I'll leave it to the pros-- doctors and researchers and scientist--to look at his case and see if it holds. It makes sense to me.
Read the book and decide yourself. Or just TRY THE DANG wheat-free eating and see how your body responds. It's not an onerous way to eat. To me, that's the best test of all--give it a trial. Then see: Do you lose weight? Do you feel less hungry, with a manageable appetite? Can you eat MORE healthful foods and feel totally satisfied and NOT get fat? Does your energy go up? Do your "wheat belly"-related conditions improve or resolve? Does skin look better and your waist get smaller? Is your mood lighter? How's the mental clarity?
My high blood pressure and prediabetes are resolved. Obesity gone. I can touch my head to my knees again. This year. Sans wheat/gluten. Hubby a desk-sitting software architect, fits into his college clothes--from back when he was an 18 year-old athletic dude. He no longer falls asleep on the couch after coming home from work. He's got his vim and vigor back! For that matter, I don't fall asleep on the couch anymore--and that was a common occurrence. Post-meal sleepies. No more o' dat!
What would an anti-wheat-belly diet be? This: Eliminate wheat--radically and completely-- lower carbohydrates, increase real food(not processed junk foods), meaning eat freely from vegetables, eat some fruit, use healthful oils without fear, eat raw nuts and seeds without guilt, eat eggs and meat without shame, but cook them in lower heats/shorter time, enjoy cheese. Of course, he gives a lot of other and deeper pointers, but that's the gist. (And it reminds me to wean off the date-dried-fruit based energy bars I've let slide into my diet. Tasty, but do I need the glucose-rise/AGEs?)
It works. Try it. Give it a month or two. Assess.
And be well...
69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
I started eliminating wheat and wheat products just a few weeks ago while reading this book. Yes there are a few recipes and suggestions about what food to avoid - fruit is not one of them - there are many good fruits to enjoy, especially berries. I do know this - since I eliminated wheat, I have also eliminated much of the joint pain I had - especially in the morning (I'm 64) - I used to pop 2 Advil first thing out of bed - not any more. This is a great book - pretty technical in places, but there are a lot of anecdotes and humor to break it up. Yes, I have lost 5-6 lbs, but more than that, I feel 10 years younger already. It made a lot of sense to me - read it and judge for yourself. Like the good Doctor says - all you have to lose is your wheat belly!
Update 5/28/12: Been on the no wheat for almost 3 months - down 24 lbs as of today - shedding about 2/lb per week. This works and I'm never hungry.
Update 8/17/12: Still with the program - no problem at all - in fact, having a few glasses of wine each night and still dropping weight - about 1 lb+ per week - total of about 35 lb so far.
Update 6/16/13: Since starting wheat, starch & sugar elimination in March 2012, I have lost about 55lb and now it's almost second nature - I don't even think about refined carbs of any kind. The amount of energy I have now has increased tremendously. I have found that you will never gain weight with this lifestyle - you may level off for a while, but ultimately you will continue to gradually lose weight. Weighed in at 183 the other day - down from 238 - would like to get to about 175 (at 5'11").
269 of 299 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2012
I don't know where to begin in telling you how amazing the transformation is in my body and my health after following the advice in this book. I am a cardiac nurse with 20 years of experience, and tend to be sceptic with every new diet which comes around the bend. I am not overweight, nor have I ever been. My frame is very small and in my teens I weighed 115 to 120. Four kids and thirty years later, I have tried everything to budge the scale which has stuck solid at 135 since I was in my late twenties. I have done Atkins, Sugar Busters, exercise, Eat Right For Your Blood Type, and a few other diets which I have since forgotten. Atkins was the only one which I had success in losing the weight, however, it was a brutal, very difficult diet, and I suffered extremely from cravings and starvation feelings. I also did not like that I had to think about "what will I eat for my next meal?" constantly. AND, as soon as I let up a bit on the Atkins, the weight came back double. So when I saw the title "Wheat Belly" I was intrigued, as the little fat roll belly I have had for so many years needed a name, and I thought that might make a good name for it!
My initial reading of the book left me feeling like I had found the truth of things as to why this very health conscious, very exercise-fanatic culture of ours was the fattest, most unhealthy civilization the US has ever seen. Another point he made was why were our mothers so trim? Fifty years ago, the moms of the day did not go to yoga class, jog through the neighborhood, and attend Zoomba. Can you see Mrs. Cleaver putting on her leotard? haha. small joke. I was also a bit startled to read that wheat acts as an exorphin by crossing the blood brain barrier and acting on the pleasure centers of our brains to set us up for feelings of pleasure followed by withdrawals and cravings. WEll duh!! That is exactly my eating pattern for YEARS! No matter how good I intended to be, I could not overcome my cravings when something yummy was an option.
I read this book in March. At the time, I had already kicked my sugar addiction and replaced it with Lakanto (waaayy better and tastier than Truvia!!) I had eradicated High Fructose Corn Syrup from my diet as well. And I was a pescatarian. (no meat/only fish). I had not lost a single pound. I weighed 137 lbs on day one of the Wheat Belly Diet. I went cold turkey off the wheat, focusing on veggies, fish, nuts, eggs, cheese, dairy, other grains besides wheat, and small amounts of fruit, rice, corn, and potatoes. I learned to eat whole foods, and stayed away from anything in a box, can or package. And I was careful to not go crazy with portion sizes on things like starches. The first few days were difficult, as I felt I was constantly racking my brain as to what I could eat. I utilized the Lose It! app on my Android to track my meals and calories. After the first couple of days, something amazing began to happen. I BEGAN TO LOSE WEIGHT! My fat little belly roll became less and less dense. And flatter and flatter. And even more amazingly, I LOST MY CRAVINGS. This is the absolute miracle of this diet. Once you are off wheat, you do not crave the wheat. I am now down to 123 lbs, and am completely stoked and sold on this lifestyle. I never want to eat wheat again!! There are too many good foods out there and lots of options for substituting. I have had extremely tasty gluten free pizzas, and made gluten free Coconut Shrimp, and even Gluten free cakes and cookies! *I substitute the Lakanto for the sugar. I have shared this incredible find with many of my patients at the hospital. Many who are obese, have diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc. I feel terrific and most importantly, I do not feel deprived in any way whatsoever. I love how my clothes fit me now, and love the flat belly and no-more-muffin-top look. My husband is super-stoked, and my adult kids are impressed. (because they know how long I have tried to get this weight off!)
So YES, I would say, GET THIS BOOK ANY WAY YOU CAN, READ IT AND FOLLOW IT!! It will change your life, and could SAVE your life! The reason I gave it only four stars is simply because I was a bit disappointed with the amount of eating ideas included in the back. Because the first thing anyone will think when they do something like the Wheat Belly Diet is "What Can I eat??" So I felt he should have included a lot more ideas, menus, and meals. Just my perspective. Get this book. Now.
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
I'm 37, male, in my "ideal weight" and "ideal BMI." With a family history of heart disease, however, I've been on a low-meat, low-cholesterol eating regimen since 2004. I've been taking dozens of supplements and drinking green tea daily. Most people, including doctors, consider me a very healthy guy. In October of 2011, thanks to the China Study and related works, I decided to go one step further: I eliminated red meat from my diet. As for eggs, dairy, poultry, fish, and seafood...I ate them only sparingly. Every morning I had oatmeal or whole wheat pancakes, followed by a lunch of rice or pasta, and a grain-based dinner. I consumed the recommended number of calories and avoided sugary junk foods. My diet was quite strict, consisting almost entirely of "healthy whole grains," legumes, fruits and vegetables. A few times a week I'd toss in a serving of fish or dairy. I thought I'd found the ideal eating style. Any conventional dietician or nutritionist would have applauded me.
Now let me tell you how this semi-vegetarian diet affected my health. The most obvious problem was in my digestive tract. No matter what I ate, I'd experience rumbling, cramping, discomfort, bloating and gas. Vegetarian websites suggested I take digestive enzymes to help break down the complex carbohydrates. The conventional advice was that vegetables and legumes were problematic "for some people," but too nutritious to eliminate from the diet. I tried several brands of digestive enzymes but found only limited relief.
As for the two dozen other health problems I experienced, I can only say this: We often don't know we have a problem until it goes away. Over the course of eight years of high-carbohydrate, low-fat dieting, the following problems crept up on me slowly: low energy, IBS, lactose intolerance, low libido, low testosterone, severe back pain, sore joints, lack of focus and concentration, poor balance and coordination, ataxia, disrupted sleep and sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, inability to breathe nasally, shortness of breath, extreme hunger between meals, weakened muscle tone and strength, cold fingers and toes, hair loss, skin depigmentation, weak urine flow, extreme fatigue, chronic depression, anxiety, and dermatillomania (obsessive finger-picking). I started taking more supplements. I did yoga and meditation for the unexplained anxiety and stretching for the unexplained muscle pain.
This laundry list of problems might make you think, "Wow, you were really sick." But because these problems arose one at a time, gradually, over many years, I didn't really feel sick. I learned to cope with each one and accept it as a part of me. In many cases, it felt like a part of the aging process. I'd tell myself I wasn't twenty anymore. I'd tell myself the problem was genetic or beyond my control. I maintained my ideal weight of 180 pounds. I ate healthy foods. I never contracted colds, flus, or any other viruses. I did not believe anything serious was wrong with me. I had some problems, but they were problems I could live with, and who didn't have some nagging health concerns? Let me reiterate that many of these problems were not even acknowledged until they went away.
Three weeks ago, my arrhythmia became so bad I thought I'd have a heart attack. Irregular heartbeats had plagued me for eight years, but they were chronic and occasional. Everyone I asked chalked it up to caffeine consumption. But the problem had worsened to become scary. I went online and researched my symptoms. Not for the first time, I wondered if I were having a blood sugar problem. But still, I did not eat any sugary foods or processed flours. It didn't seem to make sense.
Further online digging led me to the book, Wheat Belly. The next day I purchased it and devoured it like a whole wheat bagel. I simply could not believe what I was reading. Here was this Dr. William Davis, villifying the most important element of the vegetarian, low-cholesterol dietary regimen: "healthy whole grains," particularly wheat. Of course, I'd heard of gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease for years, and had always felt fortunate for not having that problem. After all, wheat had never caused hives or seizures for me, so I had no aversion to it. I suspected that Dr. Davis had written another fad diet book and would be unable to back up his outrageous claims.
He proved me wrong. Dr. Davis explores wheat in great depth, its history, its genetic composition, and all its toxic health effects. He shows how wheat contributes (if not directly causes) a huge host of problems: diabetes, inflammatory conditions, heart disease, cancer, chronic fatigue, muscle pain, hair loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, neurologic disorders, just to name a few. He identifies the substances in what we call "wheat" and shows exactly what they do to our bodies. His argument is well-researched and convincing.
On the first day of my new wheat-free diet, I ate eggs, fish, beef, a protein shake, and lots of vegetables. I felt better than I had in years, wide awake, alert and energetic. I did it again the next day and felt even better. Over the next ten days I felt increasingly healthy and vibrant. Nearly every problem on the above list has been ameliorated. Bloating and indigestion is 100% gone. Arrhythmia is 100% gone. Depression and anxiety are 100% gone. Back pain is 90% gone. Sleep apnea, RLS, and chronic fatigue are all gone. Nasal breathing is excellent. Testosterone and libido are way up. Proper urinary function is slowly returning. I no longer have the neurotic urge to pick at my cuticles all day. My joints feel well-lubed, as if they'd been rusty before. I walk differently, more freely and erect. My speaking voice dropped in pitch slightly and I have greater control of my singing voice. And I lost ten pounds of belly fat. I haven't felt this healthy in twenty years.
Of all the dietary experiments I've tried, this one has shown the most dramatic results. Thank you, Dr. William Davis, for your hard work and research in writing this brilliant, groundbreaking book. It has changed my life.