What do you think of the wheat belly concept? Is it real?

by 248 · December 01, 2012 at 02:52 AM

New book that everyone might be interested in reading:

"Wheat Belly" - http://www.amazon.com/Wheat-Belly-Lose-Weight-Health/dp/1609611543/lowcarbohysol-20

Read review of book here: http://holdthetoast.com/content/review-wheat-belly-dr-william-davis

Overview from Amazon: A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.

Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls “wheat bellies.” According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: It’s due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.

After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic—and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”—and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.

Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat, Wheat Belly is an illuminating look at what is truly making Americans sick and an action plan to clear our plates of this seemingly benign ingredient.

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36 Replies

15964 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

Notes on some of Dr. Davis's interviews:

Robb Wolf

"Whole wheat products raise blood glucose higher than almost all other foods. Because of this Dr. Davis simply hit on this as the ONE thing his patients should eliminate - voila, lower bg, lower bp, less asthma, less allergies, less edema, lost visceral fat.

Celiac vs. non-celiac: Celiac is an immune response to the gluten proteins in wheat. Celiac has doubled over the last 20 years. Celiac causes desruction of the bowel. He thinks it is the wheat that has changed - the genetic engineering appears to have increase the protein loads of modern wheat. As what was genetically engineered there have never been any studies to PROVE that it is safe.

In the olden days celiac manifested as underweight and wasting. Today it manifests as overweight and edema. He thinks that the engineering of the plant is the cause.

Gliadin protein in wheat converts to a morphine like compound which causes appetite stimulation. He thinks this is the source of our 400 extra calories a day modern people are eating. He thinks that wheat is engineered to be addictive because food industry makes more money. He thinks wheat has been added to MANY foods in order to MAKE them addictive.

It is well documented that wheat effects people with brain disorders badly.

Gliadin can also spark an autoimmune disorder.

There is new information that wheat may block leptin, cause high leptin and leptin resistance. "

From Superhuman Radio:

"Medical education is under the control of big business which makes BIG $ from making grains and other cheap products our primary food. Furthermore, this food is the VERY thing that makes people expensively ill, profitably sick (I made these terms up!). Diet is DIY and doesn't have much money to be made off people who try to change their diets for the better, so there is not a whole lot of support for promoting this.

In the 1950's the USDA was trying to grow high yield foods - wheat and soy. This was probably with good intent. However, this has evolved into creating a wheat plant that could grow fast to feed many - and it did initially.

Today, wheat is modified by forcing a hormetic response which results in a wheat plant that is resistant to pests. It is just ASSUMED that this is okay for human consumption. No one is questioning or testing this new "food".

Dr. Davis is gluten intolerant. He made bread with "heirloom" wheat - blood sugar went 84-110. Made bread with modern wheat and his bs went from 84-167, cramps, gi distress. Ancient grains aren't ideal, but are much more beniign than modern wheat. "

Yes, I did take notes during these podcasts because I have MAJOR NERD problems.


is it real? absolutely. I cut wheat and saw my wheat belly melt away. 10cm drop in waist line. I also cut the bloating and indigestion. I have always eaten pretty healthy and been active, but that layer of midsection fat would not go away,but when the wheat went it went. N=1. Wheat is evil.

"Bread" those little slices of death - how I loathe them. (play on the Edgar Poe "sleep" quote)

11049 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

100% real - I am living proof. No wheat, lost weight, IBS disappeared, my son's asthma & eczema got better and a host of other positive things.

24412 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

I'd totally believe "wheat belly" is real. The lack of bloat is the first thing I notice when I stop eating it. The thing that really did me in was "wheat brain" though. Being rendered unable to concentrate well enough to drive to work because I ate a scone or toast just got to be too much.


I went GF a couple years ago and I can't say I noticed much change in my belly. It did help with brainfog and fatigue but not entirely. I was still eating a lot of sugar... Since going paleo in February though, I really lost a lot of abdominal volume (including visceral fat). So wheat may be part of it but probably not the whole story.

Medium avatar
39204 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic

There's simply no way that this is the case. Wheat, especially modern varieties, will definitely damage your health in many ways and should absolutely be avoided like the plague, but its effect on adiposity probably doesn't extend much beyond the reach of its carbohydrate intake. The fact that we pulverize and reconstitute it makes its digestion quite rapid, compared to, say, an amount of sweet potato with an equivalent carbohydrate content. There is also far less bulk/fiber in that amount of wheat, so satiety is decreased, but what's most important ultimately is the insulin AUC, which is going to be the same between the two. It may not be ideal to have BG spike so high because it could glycate proteins (less than fructose of course, but still) for a short space of time, which may have, for example, neuropathic side effects over one's lifetime, but I don't think wheat could ever approach fructose's lipogenic potential.

I can absolutely increase or decrease fat mass by placing sweet potatoes in my diet at different amounts and times of the day. I think a much bigger concern with wheat is the many autoimmune disorders it likely causes (IDDM, Hashimoto's, Crohn's etc.) and the probable decrease in intestinal absorption of nutrients.

That all being said, one could become fatter as a result of eating enough wheat in certain ways and the concomitant bloating could exaggerate this effect and create the phenomenon he's talking about, but I have strong doubts that it could ever contribute all that much to the obesity epidemic.


My belly was fat - visceral and external. Now only a little external fat remains.

Yes, bloating and gas. I never realized how little gas I make until I gave up gluten.

GF for 8 years and I don't remember how long it took but most of my big health changes occurred in the first 18 months.

Was GF for 6 years but my belly flattened much more when I went grain free 2 yrs ago.

Sugar cravings gone since giving up all grains.

Yes, I do believe wheat belly is very real. Some people will find that they have to be careful of tiny amounts of gluten or symptoms may return. I get bloated if I get the slightest amount of cross contamination.

Interview with Robb Wolf was excellent.


I believe it. I am living it. It is so wonderful to be able to put a pair of jeans on and they fit ALL day long...I am not unbuttoning them half way through the day because of bloating. Also am off all meds...BP, athsma,allergy, gerd,... Just feeling awesome.

55322 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

For those of you who lost a wheat belly:

  • What kind of fat was it? Was it visceral fat (your belly is large but you can't pinch it) or external fat (jiggly pinchable fat)?
  • Was bloating part of it?
  • How long did it take to go away?
  • Did anyone lost a belly without cutting out all grains, just wheat?
  • Did other food cravings go away when you cut out wheat?


I am kinda in two minds about this one, as my n=1 suggests it is the uber-processed and excessively sugary nature of bread and wheat products in the West that is more the culprit for obesity and other health disorders than just the consumption of wheat itself.

Before I went paleo, I used to eat a lot of wheat, particularly in bread, but what I do have to say is that when I ate bread when working in the Eastern Med, I never seemed to suffer the chronic problems I did with weight gain and fatigue etc when I ate bread in Britain.

Now I am paleo-minded (ie. 99 per cent paleo, but with the odd monthly "cheat" when I simply can't adhere to the principles abroad), and as I travel a lot to other cultures and countries, I do notice other countries' foods that are ostensibly "the same" as ours just simply are not -- I can get away with eating a small piece of pitta in Cyprus without chronic stomach cramps, but I can't get away with eating a small piece of pitta bought in a British supermarket in Britain.

So my take on it -- one that is growing by the day -- is that while wheat may very well be a problem, it is more the Frankenstein nature of Western food products that magnifies these wheat issues into something truly horrendous. In short, I think Western food production techniques and processes are poisoning us.

incidentally, I am not really a total newbie here. I just keep losing my login details for some reason


An idiot at our company picnic handed me a deviled egg yesterday, then told me AFTER I'd eaten it that the filling was too "runny" when he was making them, so he thickened it - with white flour. I spent last night with aching hands and wicked abdominal pains. From one lousy egg half.

Wheat belly? Oh, yeah. Wheat arthritis, too.


Totally- no wheat/grains, no belly at all. I can even indulge in a little sugar here and there (85% dark chocolate, or a little grass-fed ice cream) without ill effects. Giving up all grains was the answer.


Though its not exactly the same, I think sugar belly is very similar.

As I've mentioned before, I was once very heavy. Here in the south, sweet iced tea is the house wine. I would drink at least 2 gallons a day. Well I went Atkins style low carb and shed a good chunk of weight. I relapsed and started eating poorly again and gained most of it back that first year. However, I did not go back to sweet tea. I stuck to unsweetened tea and diet sodas. My weight didn't come back nearly as much to my belly as it was before. It went mostly to hips and thighs. I was definitely differently proportioned after that round of weight gain.

18427 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

I cut beer and saw my wheat belly disappear!!!


Hi - two weeks into wheat free. I came across an article by Dr. Davis, read "Wheat Belly", and started following the recommendations quite strictly. Severly reduced corn, soy, rice and processed sugar. I have lost 15 lbs without thinking about it - I eat as much as I want, every day. A couple of times I have absolutely feasted with friends, while adhering to the guidelines in the book. The weight just keeps falling off, and I have better energy on a day-to-day basis than I have ever known. The side effect of eliminating wheat and reducing the grains in a major way is all processed food goes out the window with it, an entirely positive step.

Read the book, make your own conclusions - this guy has put his theories to the test thousands of times and recorded the results. "Studies" funded by industry will come to conclusions that will enhance sales - I would sooner read one person's direct observation than the spin of a whole industry.

In my own personal experience, after a lifetime of excessive wheat consumption, life is just better without it.


This post is an epiphany to me! All my young life I wondered why I looked pregnant while eating what I considered healthy whole wheat bread! Bread has lost its appeal indefinitely.


I definitely believe it's real! I have been eating Anti-Candida/Paleo/LowCarb/WheatFree for about three months now. I've lost 30 lbs total, and saw my bloated belly nearly disappear!

This past weekend, however, I made the mistake of eating a steak sandwich. A willing mistake because I didn't want to offend my friend's parents who bought it for me without me knowing. I debated, but ate it. I even drank the soda they bought me.

Yeah, yeah, I know... I shouldn't be putting courtesy before health.

After that, you can imagine the narly sugar and carb cravings I had. For the next two days I ingested some sort of wheat and/or sugar. Not very large amounts, but I still ate them.

I saw my belly swell up like crazy, plus at the area where my belly was especially bloating, there was a slight "hard" kind of feeling... like a sore, hard pit. I don't know if that makes sense. But yeah, it's horrible. I also had gastro-intestinal stress, and my body's yeast and mucous production flared up. I even gained 2 pounds, going from 233 to 235.

I've definitely learned my lesson and I'm staying away from this evil, evil grain! Out of all the grains out there, wheat is definitely the bain of them all. :(

Honestly, even being over 200 lbs, I saw a HUGE difference in my belly between eating wheat and not eating wheat.

No more wheat belly for me...

77322 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

I don't think the belly part is totally true. My belly didn't go away after removing wheat from my life. Although I eat it sometimes, like 1 per week 20-50g or so, but not always. My BMI is 24.9

Anyways, from observations I can see here that lots of people around me eat bread, even tones of it, without having any form of weight problems.

Now, what I concluded from N=3 tests is that, removing wheat

  • definitely makes you impossible to overeat, even if you eat like crazy.

  • flatulence and meteorism are definitely gone.

  • sleepiness after meal was every day event for me, now, I experience it once per month or so.

  • you loose weight, but it might not be the abdominal one; after I removed carbs (50 < cho < 100 /day) belly dropped a lot (I was eating wheat free long before that)

Since modern wheat products are of low nutrient status, many other things improve with adequate replacement (pretty much anything is adequate replacement).

I suffer from some mild autoimmune diseases and none of them are better after removing wheat. Eczema may even be worst.

So, there is truth that wheat has moderate place in human diet - you don't have to be totally crazy about it, unless you have some specific problem that is best solved by avoiding it.

Davis is good, but he has conflict of interest here.


My 'wheat belly' was all bloating, but it was big enough that I could look as though I was well into the second trimester of pregnancy.

ETA: On paleo my waist is 24.5" max, no matter how much I eat or drink (how much I put in my stomach is always visible and measurable, since I have a tiny midsection and am lean. My ribcage expands right after a large meal).

When I was trying to gain weight pre-primal by eating massive amounts of grains and junk, my waist would bloat up to 26", and my lower abdomen would be distended up to 5" past iliac crests (I have a lean belly so you can see where it's bones, muscles, fat). It was extremely physically uncomfortable!

In hindsight the amount of bloating and pressure I experience when I eat wheat is probably the reason I generally disliked eating as a child and had to be forced/coaxed to eat much at all. My mom was HUGE on 'whole grains' and we also ate a great deal of bread and pasta.


Davis provides no substantiation for the claim that wheat is especially and specifically implicated in the accumulation of visceral FAT. It is from there that most of his argument flows based on associations of visceral fat with metabolic disorders and such. Actually the only carb I've seen associated with visceral fat is fructose (at chronic high doses). I've searched Google scholar for anything and there's not much to be found either way.

He recently posted a summary post on his blog: http://www.trackyourplaque.com/blog/2011/10/why-wheat-makes-you-fat.html
More rehashing of the insulin spikes make you insulin resistant myth. Sigh.

I couldn't resist blogging on his battery acid inanity! http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2011/09/wheat-belly-on-acid.html

I notice a lot of responses here about bloating. Perhaps more people are intolerant of wheat to some degree and should avoid it entirely, but this is not justification for a charge that it is particularly causing visceral accumulation. Indeed, blogger OnePointFive does a very handy job of showing that wheat consumption seems more protective against obesity if anything: http://typeonepointfive.blogspot.com/2011/09/wheat-and-obesity.html

It's a somewhat educated hunch (as in I've seen some studies but not looked into it past that) that wheat intolerance has more to do with NSAIDs and antibiotics altering gut flora than anything nefarious about the grain itself.


Lab results in December: Cholesterol: 211; Tryglycerides: 233. One month wheat free. Lab results last week: Cholesterol: 167; Tryglycerides: 72.

Let the amazing numbers speak for themselves. Did minimal exercise. Weight loss: 8 pounds


Dr. Davis does not conduct scientific studies. Dr. Davis sees patients, who probably tell their doctor what they think he wants to hear slightly more often than Dr. Davis may realize. In other words, anecdotal evidence from a doctor is not good evidence, not even remotely. I stopped listening to anything Davis said a long while ago. That doesn't vindicate wheat by the way.

Medium avatar

Robb Wolf interviewed Dr. Davis...as did some morning chat-show hostesses. I'd go for the Robb Wolf podcast, the chat ladies were mind-numbingly irritating.


Medium avatar
10069 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

Surprise! A new diet book.

I had a carb belly a few years ago, though I think it was more a result of rice and sugar than wheat. I had the waistline (aka visceral fat) and diabetes.

Both went away with ADA carb exchange counting and weight loss. No book required, just less food of all kinds, exercise and six months of patience. The carb exchange system eliminated high blood glucose within a week, but the waistline reduction took much longer.


I have reviewed 18 of the major claims in this book in regard to the effects of wheat and gluten. I researched the specific statements in the book with cited references about gluten and wheat and read each one of the studies. The claims made by the book and even the citations themselves are misleading at best and most are absolutely false. I have documented each instance and will make any of the studies available for anyone who requests them. Dr. Davis, who I have met in person and spoken with, is out to sell books. I believe he has good intentions and most likely has seen positive results with people choosing to be gluten free. However, the book Wheat Belly is poorly written and is leading people to believe things that are completely false. Read the studies that are referenced in the book. I am not bias either way. My wife actually has celiacs disease. However, the claims made in the book and the references to scientific studies are completely misinforming the public. Do not believe what you read in this book.


The book has a lot of valuable information. Yes, there is sugar in a lot of wheat products but that doesn't negate the fact that the wheat of today is not what our ancestors ate. When you think of the amount of wheat a typical person may eat in one day it's pretty astounding. I have seen co-workers bring in bagels, donuts and muffins in the morning. For lunch a sandwich and cookies, maybe tortilla chips and all kinds of pasta dishes. The same goes for dinner. When is a "supposedly" good thing too much? I work in a large corporation with so many obese people it is mind boggling. When I was growing up in the 60's I knew one fat girl in school. Now, everyone I see outside my own family are overweight. So what is going on? Read the book, try it out and see if it works for you. It sure worked for me.


For or against, if reading this book helps some people lose the weight and the unhealthy midsection, then thank you Dr. Davis. His advice obviously isn't going to help 100% of the population, but a good majority of people will be back on track to good health. he mentions several times, that the alternative foods you eat, must be healthy foods. Thank you Dr. Davis for the many lives you probably have saved!


Another fad, and another way to make a lot of money. Too much of anything can be detrimental to ones health. It's all about balance, eating a variety of healthy foods, and exercising on a regular basis. I eat a small amount of whole grain breads, along with fruits vegatables, good carbs, and dairy products, and I am still my highschool weight at 57 years old, 40 years later. People who say this works have made other changes in their lifestyle as well. A certain amount of whole grains are necessary for a complete diet.


I never cut wheat because I have non of the symptoms. I am an active triathlete and take good care of myself though. I did go vegetarian and try to eat 50% raw minimum which I thought improved energy, recovery, etc.

As to the weight loss...I believe that when anyone actually pays attention to their diet they will lose weight. Simply realization of how much/bad they eat. Changing your diet will make you pay attention.

I know people who dropped wheat but still eat soda, chips, etc. Basically processed food recently developed in laboratories. I don't get that, but I guess most people just read one book and then think that its the answer.


About 10 years ago, I went on the Liver Cleansing Diet, not for weight loss but as part of a systemic cleansing (hey, it was spring) and to feel better. According to Dr. Sandra Cabot's book, the focus was on healthy everything. No trans fats, no eggs yolks, no sugars, etc, and only healthy oils. Since I was doing an off-the-shelf cleanse at the same time that included ridding the body of yeasts, fungus, bugs, metals, etc. I decided to go without wheat as well and focus on other whole, organic grains and to have whole eggs. At that time, I included soy in my meals when desired. (Found out later how bad soy is for me and my thyroid, but I digress.) I would have oatmeal or some other cooked grain and an egg for breakfast; what I called my super salad (put layer of lettuce in big bowl and add chopped veggies from fridge, top with cubed chicken or tuna, and have small cup of home made dressing on side); for dinner, I'd have broiled chicken, turkey or fish with two steamed veggies like green beans and carrots and a small portion of a grain like rice or quinoa. If I was hungry, I ate fruit whatever was fresh and reasonable at the store or occasionally a wholesome snack bar (pretty picky about those things).

After a couple of weeks, my hunger was incidental never overwhelming even if I put a meal off for some reason. Over a period of about 10 weeks, I lost so much weight I needed new jeans twice. I did not exercise extra though I did feel like moving more with the energy I was experiencing. Oh, yeah. I didn't count a single calorie or point (weight watchers) or block (zone) or anything. I just ate what was good for me and taste was my guide.

Now, I'm behind the eight-ball with weight once again or worse. Why did I stop eating the way my body needs? I got a boyfriend. He is long gone but the good habits I'd begun went by the wayside didn't get picked up again. Life happened--job went away, family issues, etc.

Now that I see others have experienced what I discovered with wheat, I'm going to get back to doing that again. I'm remembering the great things I discovered about other grains like rye, buckwheat (not a real wheat), quinoa, corn, rice, wild rice, and even kamut. It will be no modern wheat for me. This time when I'm trim, I'll not be talked, tricked or cajoled out of my eating pattern.

I'm a newbie here but I sure like what I've read from people. I'll have to register and get "real". :D

0 · December 01, 2012 at 02:52 AM

I have reviewed all the research cited in this book and made a simple spreadsheet explaining exactly what the book claims is true and exactly what the scientific studies cited in the book say are true. The cited research does not even support Dr. Davis' and the books claims. I will release this document to anyone that requests it and you can draw your own conclusions. These are not my opinions, these are scientific findings from the studies that are in this book. The truth needs to be told and this book is completely full of misleading information and completely false claims.

2252 · June 19, 2012 at 05:39 PM

Perhaps I did not have a wheat belly to speak of, I did lose weight on paleo, but now when I do cheat I get almost immediately bloated up...I seriously look pregnant. Too bad my favorite cheat-meal is a gluten bomb too! Mac and cheese in a breadbowl and chocolate cake.


This is essentially the same thing as the Atkins diet. It's not wheat that is the culprit, it is calories. You cut out wheat and you cut out a lot of calories. However if you want to sell books you have to come up with an angle, and Dr. Davis's is wheat. He knows better, shame on him.

77322 · ABOUT 15 HOURS AGO

Absolutely real and the kiss of death for blood type Os. A blood type O who messes around with wheat is a total idiot as far as I'm concerned. I'm ahead of the pack of course, I knew wheat was the devil since around 2000.

0 · October 28, 2011 at 04:43 PM

Wow! I read through all this and learned a lot. I can relate to much of what other people have experienced. I'm a small person and any little change in my midsection is immediatley noticable. I used to have three sizes of pants and skirts. Sometimes I would wear all three sizes in a day. Two years ago I eliminated 80% of wheat from my diet, plus a few other things like peanut butter. I don't like chocolate so that isn't a problem, nor do I eat sweets. Menopause has changed my figure from a size 4 to a size 8, but I still get into some of my old clothes depending on how they are made. The belly area is the biggest change. I've been eating Ezekiel bread thinking it was "ok" since it is sprouted bread. I also eat a combination of rolled barley, oats and spelt for breakfast on occasion. I've noticed some bloating when I eat this combination. Does anyone know if there are any grains that aren't "bad"? Also, is eating a combination of "good" grains (if there is such a thing) together cause for potential problems? Just as an added piece of information, I sweeten the grain cereal with a small amount of organic raisins and whatever fresh fruit I have on hand.

3221 · September 03, 2011 at 01:00 AM

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