Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wheat Belly, Busted

When Wheat Belly, by William Davis, M.D., came out in August 2011, it was an instant hit. It became a New York Times bestseller.  Praise far outweighed criticism. Especially in the gluten-free community, it enjoyed rave reviews. The book was received essentially as gospel. Why?

In my opinion, there are three main reasons:

  • It's written by an M.D., which adds a patina of credibility to the book's claims,
  • It's filled with endnotes of citations that reference scientific peer-reviewed publications, and
  • Its message—to "lose the wheat, lose the weight, and find your path back to health"—already agrees with the world view of many in the GF community (that wheat and gluten equals bad).
But as you'll see, those three factors are dangerous. They build a facade of trust and credibility. They cause us to let down our guard; to cease being the critically-thinking readers that we ought to be. And sometimes, that means we fail to question information that is suspect; we unknowingly accept and perpetuate a myth; we fall victim to false information.

I didn't set out to write a review of Wheat Belly. I had been heavily researching another unrelated project. Coincidental timing then played a key role. After reading a number of prominent medical studies involving wheat, gluten, weight loss, and celiac disease, I found myself reading Wheat Belly, in which Davis cites some of those exact same studies. 

Except that there was one major problem: Davis' claims—and his conclusions based on the research studies he cites—were exactly the opposite of what I'd been reading in those very studies. Here are several important examples:

Consider Chapter 3, Wheat Deconstructed, page 36 of the hardcover edition. Davis writes "if we look only at overweight people who are not severely malnourished at the time of diagnosis who remove wheat from their diet, it becomes clear that this enables them to lose a substantial amount of weight." He supposedly backs up this claim in the very next sentence by continuing, "A Mayo Clinic/University of Iowa study of 215 obese celiac patients showed 27.5 pounds of weight loss in the first six months of a wheat-free diet." Sounds pretty impressive and compelling ... until you realize he's wrong.

First of all, the study didn't examine 215 obese patients. Body Mass Index for study participants ranged from underweight to normal to overweight to obese. Secondly, only 25 of those 215 patients lost weight, and the weight loss was not restricted to the obese subset of participants. (Further, 91 of the 215 patients gained weight, but I'll return to the issue of weight gain among obese celiacs in a moment.) You can read the full text of the study as reported in the original American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article here.

Next consider Chapter 5, The Wheat/Obesity Connection, page 66 of the hardcover edition. Here Davis invokes a study reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. He claims that of newly diagnosed celiac disease patients, 39 percent start overweight and 13 percent start obese. Next Davis writes that "by this estimate, more than half the people now diagnosed with celiac disease are therefore overweight or obese."

Not quite. Actually, the study noted that overweight and obese patients together accounted for 39 percent of diagnoses. The 13 percent obese patients were a subset of the overweight group. By Davis' questionable math, underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese celiac disease patients would account for 114% of diagnoses, which is impossible.

At the start of the very next paragraph, he invokes a familiar line nearly identical to that from Chapter 3: "If we focus only on overweight people who are not severely malnourished at the time of diagnosis, celiac sufferers actually lose a substantial quantity of weight when they eliminate wheat gluten."

I call B.S. You know that study Davis just cited in the previous paragraph of his book to build his case? The same study from which he errantly claimed more than half of newly diagnosed celiacs are overweight? Here is what researchers actually found, and I quote directly: "Of patients compliant with a gluten-free diet, 81 percent had gained weight after 2 years, including 82% of initially overweight patients" (emphasis mine). 

This finding is not buried deep in the report somewhere. It's important enough that researchers also call it out directly in the top-level abstract. When Davis claims that initially overweight celiac disease patients lose a significant amount of weight on a gluten-free diet, how does he explain the fact that 82% of those patients gained weight ... in one of the very studies he uses to back up his questionable claim?

To me this appears to be more than an innocent, but careless, oversight; it is more than a case of blissful ignorance. Those results are front and center in the study, and they directly contradict his claim. It would take an act of willful omission to leave it out; it's audacious that he cites the study to bolster his claim.

For a third and final example, consider Chapter 4, The Addictive Properties of Wheat, page 50 of the hardcover edition. Here, Davis writes about gluten exorphins, opiate-like compounds created when stomach enzymes take a crack at partially digesting gluten. Researchers are continuing to study how they impact the human body in myriad ways. One branch of such studies uses the drug naloxone, an opiate blocker, to cancel the potential effect of gluten exorphins and other related compounds. 

Davis makes the claim that gluten exorphins are addictive like morphine (another opiate), and that those addictive properties cause you to eat more calories and gain weight. As the theory goes, block the gluten exorphins with naloxone, and you block the addictive properties of wheat-based foods. To back up his boast, he then cites a study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which binge eaters were left in a room filled with a variety of foods for one hour. Davis writes "participants consumed 28 percent less wheat crackers, bread sticks, and pretzels with the administration of naloxone." And there you have it! See? Naloxone blocked the evil action of gluten exorphins, and those binge eaters ate fewer calories as a result! Except that's not what happened.

Here's the truth: While naloxone appeared to have an impact on the consumption of high fat and high sugar foods, it had no effect that correlated with gluten. In fact, while Davis claims that participants consumed 28 percent fewer wheat crackers, bread sticks, and pretzels, they actually consumed 40 percent more gluten-containing bread sticks.

The three examples I've noted are hardly the sum total of the problems I found with the book. There are many others, though I've already made my point.

Those of us in the gluten-free community want to agree with Wheat Belly because Davis' message resonates with us. But it's an overly simplified message, at times built on tenuous claims. And how would we ever know? He's an M.D. He's the expert, right? And he cites all those sexy research studies. 

If I had read this book at another time in my life, I likely would have been none the wiser. I would have read the book, peeked at the citations, and been satisfied. But perhaps serendipity of a certain sort is at work here ... that I read this book at precisely that moment in my life when I was best equipped with the knowledge I needed to critically evaluate it. I now pass that evaluation along to you.

For certain, some of what Davis writes is valid. And I have some GF blogging colleagues/friends who know Davis personally. They say he's a very nice man, which may indeed be true.

But I'm more than disappointed with Davis and Wheat Belly; I'm downright angry. This book can and should be better. We, the gluten-free community, deserve as much. It does an injustice to the very legitimate case against wheat and gluten, and it is insulting to us, the readers. Sadly, Wheat Belly looks polished from a distance, but upon closer inspection it goes belly up. Sections of the book amount to propaganda, fallacies, and unsubstantiated claims. For me, Wheat Belly is a bust.

Are wheat and gluten a health problem? For many of us, undoubtedly. But there's much more to the story than meets the eye, and you're not always getting the straight story in Wheat Belly.


Image of wheat field courtesy Stock.Xchng / Oeil De Nuit.


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M Smith said...

I have to say, as someone who absolutely, positively MUST not eat gluten, I take offense at medical professionals touting a gluten free diet as a weight-loss strategy for non-Celiac/gluten intolerant people.

While the newly found focus on gluten free living has caused more food manufacturers and drug manufactures to either remove unnecessary gluten from their drugs and product formulations in addition to creating a whole host of new GF products I never dreamed would ever exist, the entire idea is problematic for us as well. First, the entire weight loss/gain is certainly dubious. I am one who, once my gut began to effectively use nutrients again instead of flush everything out of my system wholesale, actually gained weight - and rapidly. My doctor attributed this 'phenomenon' as two-fold: My body was no longer *not* absorbing calories I was taking in coupled with the fact that processed GF foods just are more calorie dense. Period.

But, the most disconcerting of the cavalier nature of 'prescribing' a GF diet for folks who do not need it at all for health reasons is that the people do NOT take the diet seriously! Look, for those that need to eat GF, we CANNOT cheat. We cannot have just a little. This makes eating out in dining establishments a true nightmare. Once, when explaining to the waitstaff a a local restaurant what it is that I cannot eat, she responded, "Oh yeah. I understand. My sister is gluten free and can only eat it in tiny amounts." When I asked if she has Celiac or other disorder that requires her to eat GF, she said, "No, she just does it to keep her weight in check." This attitude makes it very difficult to us to believe that restauranteurs and their staff take the issue of cross contamination and hidden gluten in food (like understanding that most soy sauce is not derived from soy.)
Many erroneously believe that a little bit is O.K. to consume. Sadly, that has been my experience as of late.

*sigh* The entire GF movement as a 'diet' is both a blessing and a curse.

peterbronski said...

Hi M Smith... Well said. You're absolutely right. Switching to a GF diet involves regaining the ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you're eating, which can result in weight gain, rather than weight loss. A GF diet is not inherently a weight loss diet.

And yes, the "fad diet" nature of going GF right now is indeed both a blessing and a curse. As you note, there is much greater product availability, but it creates problems in other situations, such as dining out at restaurants when servers and kitchen staff don't take the issue of cross contamination seriously.

Cheers, Pete

Amanda on Maui said...

Thank you for writing this review. I had not yet read wheat belly, but I had heard so much of it from other gluten free people, non-gluten free people, and from media outlets. I was skeptical about the book, partly due to its hype.

Sometimes it seems that people will publish books instead of peer reviewed research reviews and synopses. It kind of protects them from proper critiques.

Erin Smith said...

Excellent review! I have avoided reading this book although more than one of my colleagues suggested I read it. I had the feeling that a lot of the quotes and citations were taken out of context for the purpose of this book. Thank you for this honest review. I don't plan on adding this to my "Must Read" list any time soon. Thanks Peter!

Diane Eblin-thewholegang said...

Wow this was very interesting. I'm not sure why there were so many mistakes in this book and leading to conclusions that don't seem to really be supported. Like you Pete I'm not very happy about that. It seems it's so difficult to get good solid information that is really helpful. Having studied to be a health coach and learning many different theories, I have found that many can be scientifically proven and be completely contradictory. However changing that info to support your claim is not cool. I also agree that those who have put out the info if you live a gf life you'll loose weight, jump on board now really doesn't sit well with me at all either. I have to live gf for my health and I fear that is getting lost in the "diet" craze. Thank you for sharing this info.

peterbronski said...

Hi Amanda... Glad you appreciate the review. I felt it important to expose the untruths in the book. I couldn't in good conscience sit by and say nothing.

To your point of books vs. peer reviewed journals, both have value, in my opinion. While journals have the obvious benefit of peer review and a rigorous review process, books play two important roles: they can aggregate and assemble pieces of a puzzle (whereas journal articles tend to be tightly focused) and books also translate scientific information and language for common consumption, hopefully in a way that's engaging and entertaining for the reader.

The risk, though, is like what happened in the case of Wheat Belly. Without better review of the content—and without the "safeguards" of the peer review process—misinformation becomes NYT bestselling diet book fare. Blech.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Erin... Thanks for your comment! As you know, our reviews are always brutally honest - whether we're reviewing a product, a book, whatever. We praise where and when it's due, but if there's a problem (in this case, a major one) we don't hesitate to expose it. =)

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Diane... Yeah, what happened in Wheat Belly is not cool at all. And as I mentioned in the post, the three examples I noted were just a few of many. That blog post could have been triple the length. It seems Davis planned to write a book with a very specific angle (one that conveniently would sell a lot of books, with a diet promise of easy and substantial weight loss) and was going to hold the line on that point of view, no matter what the evidence actually says. Shameful.

Cheers, Pete

Meghann Gervais-Lynch said...

I am wholeheartedly SICK of reading and hearing about all of these supposed "weight loss from gluten free diet books".
When I first got sick with Celiac, I lost 30 pounds in 3 months (and I was already skinny, ugh, I looked like my skin was melting). I was unable to absorb any nutrients so I was sickly skinny. The weight stayed off for a couple of years, mostly because I was afraid to eat any grains. Once I discovered how to cook and bake gluten free, however (and I LOVE to bake!), it all came back...and then some. I basically had to learn how to eat again. My body now absorbs nutrients...and craves things I probably shouldn't have...
Now, 8 years on, when I do gluten free/low allergy/vegan cooking and baking demonstrations and classes, and sell my baked goods at Farmers' markets, I am constantly inundated with "Oh, gluten free! I'll lose weight right? You're skinny, it must be because of your diet! How much are these cookies?"
...now, a less honest person might take advantage of that for sales. I do not. I am forced to constantly explain, again and again, that gluten free does not mean "skinny". Often it means just the opposite, especially if you are buying premade GF foods. I had to stop buying all packaged foods as they are far to high in sugars, sodium and fats. I have to explain that the cookies, breads, and desserts I make are TREATS. If you eat to many, you will get FAT, just like any other foods, with gluten or not. It is about portion control and exercise. I am "skinny" (though I prefer to say fit, personally) because I eat properly and EXERCISE. If I didn't, I'd be 400 pounds, I'm sure. And I'd probably be wondering why the heck this gluten free "diet plan" wasn't working.
By promoting this as a weight loss diet, all these people are doing is serving to misinform the public (like we don't already have enough of that!), and potentially cause health issues. Though I wouldn't go back to eating gluten, even if I could, it is because I know how to eat properly and get enough nutrients to stay healthy. The average person may not, and may end up even heavier, more unhealthy, and more unhappy than they were to begin with.
...I wonder if these so called gluten free weight loss diet books could lead to lawsuits???
Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your readers :)

doug said...

Hey Pete, nice write up. I recently finished the Wheat Belly. I didn't really bother looking up all the references, which I probably should have. I think the broader scope of his book is a Paleo type diet. Grain Free and low carb and he used Wheat/gluten to sell more books. I too am frustrated by the use of a gluten free diet to lose weight, seeing the people in spandex deciding which gf cookies to buy. I don't think Davis recommends this either, in fact he states, eat gluten free, but don't eat gluten free foods. I will say I have had a few patients with significant autoimmune diseases read the book and change their diet and have significant life changes. Are there some issues with his use of the data, sure. All data can be skewed or interpreted differently. The positives are, maybe this will force the broader medical community to look at the issues of Gluten and it's attack on almost all systems of the body. Those of us that have Celiac disease feel jaded by the GF craze, nobody seems to take it seriously. When in reality there are more out there that are gf sensitive and would benefit by going gluten free. The broader issue to me isn't a gluten free weight loss plan.... and I know that's a main issue with his book, but raising awareness that the wheat that is grown now isn't the same wheat our parents ate and it is causing far more problems than just celiac disease. My hope is that this book and others will help raise that awareness.

Sandi said...

First off, I am extremely gluten intolerant, possibly Celiac. One thing to ponder, if a non-celiac goes gluten free, the healing process of the intestine isn't a factor. They will not begin absorbing nutrients as we would and gain weight. My assumption is that they are cutting out quite a bit of carbs, therefore losing weight. It isn't the same affect that Celiac/gluten intolerant people go through. Just a thought...

peterbronski said...

Hi Meghann... You make a number of excellent points. Thanks for sharing your story and your perspective.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Doug... You make some good points. Undoubtedly there's substantial marketing/sales spin with the book that clouds some of the valid information contained within. And you rightly point out the examples of your patients with significant autoimmune diseases who respond well to a wheat/gluten-free diet. There's quite a difference, though, between the diet's positive impact on those populations of patients, and Davis prescribing it as a universal cure-all of sorts. I also agree that there's a quasi-Paleo, grain-free, low-carb aspect to the book, though that perspective, in my opinion, is buried behind too much focus on his now-famous wheat belly hypothesis.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Sandi... You're absolutely right. There's a fundamental difference between wheat/gluten's impact on the intestines and nutrient absorption of people with a condition such as celiac disease, and its impact on the general population. That's a critical distinction Davis fails to make at several junctures in the book, especially when he's trying to support weight loss arguments by citing celiac studies. You're also probably right that people anecdotally referenced in Wheat Belly probably lost weight by cutting carbs, not merely cutting out wheat/gluten. Simply going gluten-free still leaves plenty of high carb options...rice, corn, potatoes, etc. You know the drill. Carbs inherently aren't bad, when consumed in appropriate quantities by an active person.

Cheers, Pete

Megan @ MAID in Alaska said...

Thank you for writing this. I've never actually read "Wheat Belly," but have several friends who have recommended it to me. I'm glad I never got around to it!

doug said...

Hi Pete,

It's interesting how we read books through different glasses... I picked up way more than "don't eat Wheat, Lose weight" which is what I think is the gist of your post...

peterbronski said...

Hi Megan... Glad you found the review helpful.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Doug... You're certainly right that there's more to the book than "don't eat wheat, lose weight." But when the book is titled Wheat Belly and its tag line is "lose the wheat, lose the weight," the book places itself into a particular context.

Also, my critique happened to focus on problems I found with Davis' arguments relating to wheat/gluten consumption and weight loss, which is perhaps why my post appears to focus on that aspect. But I found problems in other sections of the book as well, though I refrained from including them in my post for sake of not writing a lengthy treatise. (And as I wrote in my review, some of what he writes is valid, though it is sadly clouded the problems I point out.)

The greater point I hoped to make for readers is that Davis' arguments, and the supporting information he uses to justify them, are suspect. When one finds fundamental flaws in his reasoning in some parts of the book, it makes you question the validity of what he writes elsewhere in the book.

No reader is going to go through every citation, read the original research studies, and compare them to what Davis writes in his book. But when you find serious problems, as I have, it leads you to reasonably question what you're reading.

Cheers, Pete

doug said...

True Pete and I agree with you, it does raise questions. I think the larger issue is the current state of research, it's all over the map which leads to people like his patients and my patients making drastic dietary changes even when the research says it should matter and have seen dramatic changes. His failings is trying to find research to support what he was/is seeing in his own practice. It just isn't there.

peterbronski said...

Doug... You make a good point about the current state of research. Many aspects of the GF diet and gluten's impact on human health are unfolding in real time in a research setting. And some of what people have been saying anecdotally in recent years is at last being validated by the scientific/medical community who are documenting these issues formally via new research (such as non-celiac gluten sensitivity).

From a journalistic perspective (and thus, from a book author perspective, to a degree) anecdotal stories and evidence are very useful for illustrating the research and the science. They can illuminate a concept or issue with a personal story.

But the reverse is not necessarily true. In my opinion, it's more tenuous to use the anecdote as the starting point, and to hold it up as fact. Anecdotal stories can be true, but they only teach use certain truths (such as "wheat/gluten makes me sick. going gluten-free makes me feel better."). So they're good at saying what, but not necessarily at saying why. With anecdotal observations, there are often too many uncontrolled variables - i.e. did you lose weight because you cut out wheat? cut out gluten? cut out grains? cut out carbs? cut out junk food? What's the precise mechanism? We can't necessarily say. And it's hard to "scale up" anecdotal stories to make broad generalizations.

However, a critical mass of anecdotal stories certainly drives an impetus for further formal research. At what point, though, does that process cross the threshold from anecdotal hunch to suspicion to possible finding to confirmed result?

doug said...

Hi Pete, good discussion and food for thought. Maybe Dr. Davis will find your post and chime in...

peterbronski said...

Hi Doug... Agreed. I appreciate your contributions to the conversation.

Cheers, Pete

GeauxTurk said...

Hey Pete! Your review was excellent. I am just beginning to educate myself on the gluten free "ins and outs" due to the recent diagnosis of my 11 year old son's allergy. As a parent, I am grabbing every book and website to try to arm myself with GF education. I use the Celiac.com website every single day. Your review has given me some insight that I didn't have before and has probably saved me $20 on a book that puke have only confused me. Thanks you and warmest regards.

peterbronski said...

Hi GeauxTurk... I'm glad you found the review helpful. We all go through that initial period of education following a diagnosis, whether for ourself, a child, a spouse. There are many excellent sources available these days to arm yourself with knowledge. If we can ever be a resource for you, don't hesitate to contact us with questions.

Cheers, Pete

BAB said...

Gosh. How dreadful. A book that helps people, but doesn't toe the purity line necessary to please the gluten intolerant/Celiac people.

And heaven forbid if it helps people lose weight.

I don't know if I would have had the same benefits from someone "prescribing a GF diet" because I am not, apparently, gluten sensitive, nor do I suffer from celiac disorder.

But I can tell you that having followed Dr. Davis's advice for two weeks, my sleeping patterns have normalized, my glucose readings never go above 100, and, most importantly, for someone who has been sitting in a chair for nearly a year, I can walk.

I haven't been able to walk more than 50 feet at a time, even with crutches, in over a year. Yesterday, I went grocery shopping in several stores and was able to ride home in the car without crying, able to carry in and put away bags of groceries, able to cook. I didn't sit in my chair all evening wishing like heck I didn't have to go to the bathroom because the 30 foot trip was agony. I slept soundly all night long because that hateful vicious stabbing pain in my knees has disappeared.

So maybe I'm not as sick as all y'all, and I don't have your special disease, but this book ~ Wheat Belly ~ whatever its faults may be, has changed my life. My constant, gnawing, agonizing, devastating pain was so severe that I was considering suicide.

Oh, and I've lost weight too. Is that bad?

Heather @ Stuffed Pepper ™ said...

I just finished reading the book and found it fascinating and little bit scary. But I am disappointed if its true that Dr. Davis bent the analysis of these studies in favor of his arguments. You would think that he wouldn't have to do this. I'd be curious to see what your other points of contention were. It might be possible to mis-read one study, mis-quote another and read analysis of a third study differently. But any more mistakes or diversions from the actual conclusions of the study would really be concerning.

peterbronski said...

Hi BAB... Clearly my review of Wheat Belly has struck a nerve with you.

First, let me say how glad I am to hear you're feeling better. Any time someone is empowered to improve their health through diet and lifestyle, and to do so in sometimes profound ways as you have, it's a reason to celebrate.

Second, please allow me to address some of your points:

I am not someone who believes that the celiac/gluten intolerant community has an exclusive claim to the gluten-free diet. Nor do I believe that the health benefits of a GF diet accrue only to that community. Many people may benefit from going wheat- and gluten-free for a variety of reasons. You are a testament to that fact. However, the fact that you got better going wheat- and gluten-free following Dr. Davis' advice does not necessarily make his reasoning correct.

Further, as I wrote, I did not set out to discredit his book. I have not gone out of my way to find external sources that refute his claims. I have merely reconciled the claims he makes in the book with the same scientific peer-reviewed studies he himself cites to back up the claims. Unfortunately, the two often don't add up.

It is important for books of this kind to help people, yes. But it's also important for these books to get the science right. It's not just the journalist in me that feels this way. There's another motive: For example, while you and others may have experienced weight loss going wheat- and gluten-free, there will certainly be other examples of people who have failed to lose the weight, and they're wondering why the book became, for them, an empty promise. My review exposes some of the reasons why this may be the case.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Heather... I agree that the discrepancies in Wheat Belly are disappointing. I think one of Dr. Davis's chief faults was to over-generalize the claims in his book, and to proclaim as universal that which is actually quite a bit more specific and nuanced. Then you add on top of that the problems I found in some of his citations and conclusions, and it takes some of the wind out of the book's sails. As I noted in the post, some of what he writes is valid, but it's clouded by the errors, and readers are left wondering how to parse fact from fiction.

Cheers, Pete

Selmada said...

Thank you for this. I recently had a child have to go GF so am still new into that world. Someone pointed me to Wheat Belly and I just picked up a copy yesterday. I came to the web today, specifically looking for critical assessments of this (honest ones, not like the one by the wheat board). I will still read the book, but will keep your review well in the front of my mind as I do.

peterbronski said...

Hi Selmada... Welcome to the gluten-free world! There are many excellent resources for getting up to speed with the ins and outs of the gluten-free diet. I think your approach is spot on - to read the book with a critical eye. That's a good approach to take to many resources pertaining to the gluten-free diet. You'll find sources you find trustworthy and consistently reliable, and they'll become your foundation.

Cheers, Pete

Janet said...

I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity about two years ago (elevated salivary IgA for gluten and two copies of the gene for gluten sensitivity). At the time, I was about 10 lbs over my ideal weight. Over the next year and half on a 100% gluten free diet I gained about 45lbs. That's because while I had eliminated gluten, I had not reduced the carbs and sugar that are the real culprits in weight gain and elevated cholesterol. Last fall, I started seeing a new doctor who ran a series of blood tests and did an ultrasound of my liver. My liver was enlarged, and my liver enzymes and cholesterol were high. I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. I was put on a strict grain free, sugar free, processed food free, anti-inflammatory diet. I've lost about 40lbs in 5 months. My liver has returned to normal size, my cholesterol level is excellent and my liver enzyme have come way down (they were still slightly high on the last blood test). Once I reach my final goal (still have about 15lbs to go) I plan on staying with a Paleo/Primal style of eating to maintain my weight and health.

My comment to BAB is that you may not have been officially diagnosed with gluten sensitivity but your reaction to going gluten free is proof enough that you are gluten sensitive. Gluten sensitivity can be harder to officially diagnose because there is no conclusive test for it, unlike Celiac disease where villus atrophy is proof positive.

Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity need three things a) the genes to make you prone to sensitivity, b) a trigger to turn on the sensitivity and c) exposure to gluten.

With Celiac disease there are blood tests, genetic testing and biopsies that can all be used in diagnosis. Not all gluten sensitive people will have a positive test for the antibody. While a genetic test can show the potential for reaction to gluten, it can't tell you whether or not your body had made that switch to react to gluten. The only "proof" at that point is to go gluten free and see if you feel better. If you do, then that is proof enough that you are sensitive.

To better understand how the different types of gluten sensitivity are determined, I would recommend the article "Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification" found here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1741-7015-10-13.pdf

theMom said...

Thanks for the information, Pete. I was not familiar with this book before. But I've had many run-ins with folks who tout one book or another for "The Gospel Truth" on whatever subject that will "Change Your Life". I mostly just roll my eyes, because I don't have the time or energy or even know-how to research the claims of such books. This is just one example of how people can be so easily sucked in, especially to those theories that appear to be backed up by good research. Like you said, it may have been serendipity that lead you to this book just when you were armed with the proper research to confront the claims. But however it happened, "Thank you." Even when people benefit from a certain lifestyle change, good, sound research is always a better way to spread the fantastic news than false assertions.

Katey said...

For health reasons, I was ordered by my doctor to go on the Wheat Belly diet. I have a fatty liver, severely elevated enzymes and am very overweight. Carbohydrate and sugar abuse are the leading cause.

Since beginning the diet, I have lost nearly 20 pounds in two months. I feel so much better, have much more energy and am able to keep up with a very active seven-month-old. I exercise regularly as well.

This is only long-term until I get my weight and health under control. Then we will reinstate those foods that aren't allowed on the Wheat Belly diet.

I agree, this shouldn't be a weight loss only diet. It is needed for those of us who, for health reasons, need this diet to survive. So I am grateful for him and my doctor for getting me going on the right path.

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading the book. I don't care about purity or peddling discrepancies. There is a lot more to the book than weight loss. I learned from my father who had polio and walked again that you must try many things to help your health even if mainstream medical experts don't agree. After seeing what my husband has gone through with gluten allergy I believe that wheat and other glutens are not healthy. We have learned that mainstream medical help is not healthy either. I am excited to know that my medical issues and the supposedly inherited issues like rheumatoid, diabetes and others may be helped. I have thought Leakey gut might be a contributing factor but this book has simplified the issue for me. As I am already familiar with gluten free cooking and eating for my husband this book has reinforced my belief that it is a healthier option that is doable in the real world. To the naysayers I say that anything, any idea that may help even one person to a healthier better life is of value. This book will cause no harm but just may set some onto the path for healthier living get.

Jenn said...

Thank you for posting this review and the info to back it up! For various reasons, there are many people who legitimately need to go wheat-free, but for those who don't and eat goods produced from freshly ground grain with low or no sugar, these kinds of diets could be detrimental! We started grinding our own grain and baking healthy breads...only to find out my oldest son is allergic to wheat. Which was really, really discouraging because the wheat-free stuff I've found in the stores are just a bunch of processed junk! I cringe to think of people giving up processed wheat products for other processed grain or carb products solely for weight loss or "health" purposes when they really don't need to.

Lilly said...

I am reading the book, but my motivation is not necessarily to lose the weight. I do need to lose some weight, but I also need to reduce inflammation in my body, find out why I have such severe cravings for carbohydrates, determine some cause for the severe joint pain I have, figure out why I feel so uncomfortable in my gut whenever I eat most foods--especially processed foods. So some of us have myriad disorders that this book addresses, not just one (celiac disease).

I am more disturbed by the information about hybridized wheat. I had no knowledge of this information. I find it both highly interesting and disturbing that testing on humans was never considered an option. Odd? It is, in my opinion.

I usually follow the adage "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water," so in this example, I will do the same. I will take what I find believable, useful, applicable to my circumstances and thank the author for it. I'm skeptical about your claims as well, and I'm still making up my mind about who and what I wish to believe.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment!


Miss. Marie said...

I think you are one of the best at doing reviews.I myself have no problem eating wheat bread.
I eat Trader Joes Organic Whole Wheat bread and have always wondered how much i should or should not be eating.
I do eat at least 2 slices of the bread a day.That is why i wanted to see what the bread Belly book said,thanks to you i believe i have my answer for now.

George said...

I think we a missing the big picture here. The book is about eliminating wheat and cites a variety of reasons to do so. With this, we must talk about Gluten (of course), but it's not about pushing a gluten-free diet to just lose weight. For those of you with Celiacs, i can't imagine how hard it must be to meet the dietary requirements to stay healthy. However, the book does mention that it is very possible to gain weight eating a "gluten-free" diet. A lot of the GF products on the market have ingredients that make you susceptible to weight gain. The book cites a variety of different starches. The point is that if you continue to eat products with unhealthly ingredients, you could still gain weight even if the box says "gluten-free". I do not have celiacs and I am not overweight. But I decided to eliminate wheat (not carbs, and not go gluten-free) to try it. I do feel better, I don't have hunger crashes at 9am and 3pm, and I don't eat before bed. I'm just not hungry or not craving food. I have seen a reduction in my visceral fat (love handles) and I feel better with more productive sleep and less hours of sleeping. My wife also points out that i'm less grumpy. So there is something to this wheat thing, not gluten thing. Celiac sufferers will continue to have a difficult lifestyle regardless of this book. But the diabetics, the sufferers of Rhuematoid arthritis, the sufferers of joint pain due to inflammation can do something about it. It starts with eliminating wheat and avoid taking meds with horrible side effects. I find it fitting that as I write this, the FDA just approved another drug with horrible side effects to combat obesity. Why not just cut out the wheat and not take the drug? The answer is because the food industry and the pharmaceuticals would take a hit on the bottom line. $$$

Carol said...

I think Dr. Davis' only mistake was in saying that the people studied were obese. You failed to say that the weight gain started once they were diagnosed and that a lot of the weight gain was after they were diagnosed but before they went on the diet. Also, you didn't mention that the diet was extremely restrictive, which is certainly not the kind of diet that Dr. Davis is proposing. Also, the people who did lose the weight were the mostly obese. I'd be willing to bet that the underweight and more slender participants gained weight because they had been diagnosed and their bodies were restored to normal weight once they eliminated wheat in their diets.

Carol said...

Sorry, but I failed to say that I was talking about the first study you cited in your critique of the Wheat Belly book--the Mayo Clinic study in the Am.Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Chris said...

Thank you to 'George' (post June 28) - you saved me a whole bunch of typing. So glad that you pointed out that Dr Davis is not promoting a GF diet. He is promoting cutting out wheat (glutin). He has quite an extensive chapter on wheat and celiac disease. With all the critism Pete, you might have at least squeezed in that little quote from his book..."BE GLUTEN-FREE BUT DON'T EAT 'GLUTEN-FREE'."

Anonymous said...

Actually, Dr. Davis does NOT promote a gluten-free diet that those who have Celiacs seem to follow. He actually promotes cutting out all grains and not just purchasing something just because it's "gluten free", because most of the gluten free foods are still full of crap, which is why most people with Celiac's disease still tend to gain weight.

tjmarks said...

I read with interest your review and subsequent comments... Interesting dialog... I must say though that one can take away many things from any book. My own experience was from Blood Glucose... Until I implemented the removal of wheat from my diet I was pilled to death by doctors pushing the latest pharma drug... My Blood sugar has completely stabilized after years of elevated levels... Diet aside - losing weight for me is a benefit but it was Diabetes that brought me to the book.... It is much more than a diet book in my opinion..

Joseph Hunkins said...

Thanks for a reasoned critique of a book that appears to have been written mostly as a GF diet advocacy piece / diet fad book. Unfortunately, that's what sells while more nuanced truths remain obscured. Keep up the good blog work!

Kathy said...

Hi Kelly and Pete,

I just read your unintended “review” on Davis’s book, Wheat Belly. Thanks for your thoughts.

After 30 years of running and suffering from IBS, and developing acid reflux in the past year,
I finally began researching health and nutrition in greater depth and am finally taking action.
I call it “Taking Back My Life!”

Wheat Belly, The Paleo Diet, and The Flat Belly Diet have given me insight into adopting a more nutritional diet.
(And all these years I thought I was eating a healthy diet!)
For the past 5 weeks, I have eliminated wheat, soy, dairy (except eggs and cheese), and salty or sugary snacks.
I enjoy eating lean meat, fruits and veggies, grains, and gluten-free snacks, such as products by Pamela.
Guess what? I feel FABULOUS! And the acid reflux and IBS symptoms are gone!

I believe all 3 books are intended to help people realize the pitfalls in the average American diet, which consists
in highly over-processed foods with GMO’s and too many carbs. So many people have developed diseases and suffer from
symptoms of a toxic system, it’s astonishing and disturbing. The number of cases of Diabetes 1 is skyrocketing in children~how sad!
I know of 3 young children in my small town who have been diagnosed in the past year…all of whom are neither overweight nor junk food addicts.

Any book that is trying to bring awareness to taking charge of one’s health should be commended.
I agree that facts should be accurate, but in my case, the positives of the book outweigh any inaccuracies.
I am 56 years old and am finally symptom free! I can continue to run marathons without the un-pleasantries caused by a wheat belly.

Thanks for listening,

Kathy Keidel

Anonymous said...

I am gluten intolerant and after reading the book I know most of it is real and proven. I loved every single chapter and I reinforced what I have already learned from reading and studying.
My whole family is gluten free now and everybody looks younger and happier, pain free and healthier!

Anonymous said...

I have just lost 45 lbs in 40 months by counting calories,so basically I have cut back on bread, muffins, cakes, dessert. I didn't know anything about the wheat belly. I just read the Wheat Belly on the weekend and it describes me pretty accurately. One of the number one symptoms is mouth sores. Guess what, I had mouth sores for years and even the doctors made me get a biopsy. I thought I had cancer. Since cutting back on my diet over the past 4 months my mouth sores are almost gone. I thought to myself a few weeks ago....wow something in my diet is causing them. Well then I read the Wheat Belly. I couldn't believe my eyes!!! All these expert mouth and ear doctors had no clue about my mouth sores but this guy identifies it as the number one symptom. Any ideas? I guess that one hit me over the head.

It's obvious though if you cut carbs you cut calories pretty quick, but the mouth sore thing has me wondering. For me bread and muffins make me balloon up and I could easily gain 5 pounds in a couple of days without eating much other than a couple of muffins, white toast, and a couple of subs from subway.

Danica Bacall said...

Thank for this review. The book has been highly recommended to me but with no mention of it's scientific credibility. My concerns are more with celiac itself and a lack of improvement after going gluten free rather than the evils of wheat or weight loss so it seems this would be a doubly unhelpful book.

EchoThat said...

It might just be that Davis didn't write the book. He may be the front man for it since he is the one with the credibility. His ghost writers spun up this book through shoddy efforts to source Davis' major points. If Davis says "A" is true, the writing staff is supposed to find support to show that "A" is actually true. Big name authors don't write their own books anymore. Other people do it. The faces on the book jackets are only there to sell copy.

Anonymous said...

I see no mention of the genetic altering of the wheat. All i know is there are many young children and adults who have big bellies and waistlines, and he said gluten-free products usually have more junk and crap in them. A friend has cut out wheat and is watching sugar and carbs and has lost 27 lbs. and no pain anymore. I am willing to try anything that would help with my constant pain from fibromyalgia. Dr. Davis recommend cutting out all grains and I agree . I feel for people with celiac disease, but I feel there is some jealousy of the name of his book and it's success. Best of luck to you, but I am going on a more nutritional diet and I don't want to eat anything genetically altered whether it is wheat, vegetable, or fruit.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I just finished reading Wheat Belly as part of my ongoing research into gluten free living. I have a severe gluten intolerance and have been looking for information and helpful recipes for years. I resent the whole "gluten free as a fad" that has been coming out lately. I have suffered from non-absorption of nutrients and a lot of other problems. I have other major medical problems which are probably either related or worsened by gluten. It is hard to live gluten free with gluten being so insidious and people not understanding what it means. I have had restaurants think it is only a form of vegetarian eating. By making this yet another weight loss fad for everyone, not just people with celiac or gluten allergies, it makes some people not take the whole issue seriously. It's like when every third child was being diagnosed with ADD and then those who actually had it were somehow not believed or diminished. I took what I liked from this book and left the rest. I may use some of the recipes, but will still be on the lookout for better information.

Anonymous said...

The central nervous system protects the body by producing "endorphins" a peptide that mimes a narcotic effect to protect the body from, stress, pain,and eating disorders to cut through its many uses in the body.
This human made narcotic,is made when you fall in love with chocolate cakes, sweets, and gluten, and anything that is not good food for your body. So many people know they are eating wall paper paste or gluten, but they like the endophin high even more ! So being over weight and unhealthy from over eating, is really caused by an addiction to their own endorphins or peptides! Basically a junkie with a fat problem. Glock the endorphin prduction and the body adjusts back to its normal genetic profile.

Anonymous said...

I tried to follow the wheat belly diet and the first week I lost POINT 1 pounds (.1) and the second week it doesn't look like it will be much more. A few months back, when I lost weight using wheat products on a limited basis, I lost 4 pounds the first week and 2 the second. I can't say I am enjoying cutting wheat out of my diet, nor can I say that I am seeing results. It has left me more frustrated, confused and unsure of where to go next. My thyroid, etc is in good condition.

barefootgirl69 said...

You are totally missing the point.

kamtree said...

Finding out that the science in WHEAT BELLY is not reliable is frustrating for me because I don't know how much of the information in the book then is true and possibly helpful and how much is not. The thing that intrigued me the most in the book was the notion that wheat has been hybridized so much in the last 60 years or so that it's a very different substance than it used to be. Is that true? Where can I find information on this topic. I am not celiac and have not researched wheat or glutens. This book was pretty much my introduction to the topic. If anyone can recommend books, websites, and articles that I can use to educate myself on the effects of wheat and gluten on normal non-celiac people, I am interested. And I will look around this website some more to see what I find.

Clubfoot45 said...

WOW... an attack on Wheat Belly book by Peter who has his own book for sale promoting a little different diet story. I wonder who is right? My Doctor who is a Heart Specialist operating in Sept on my Zenker's Diverticulum says Dr Davis is the more accurate truth and he wants me to follow the Wheat Belly diet.


JoyceT said...

Thank you so much for writing this review! My husband and I were introduced to the Wheat Belly book by a colleague who is a firm believer in Organic living and is on a gluten free diet. He had some pretty valid arguments on the benefits of his diet, so I decided to pick up the book. Now, my husband and I are seriously considering gluten free diet for our household, even though neither of us suffer from celiac disease, nor do we have gluten allergies (that we know of). We are both pretty fit people and are not trying to lose weight, but rather, improve our overall health. I suffer from severe GERD and other digestive issues, my husband has skin issues, and among other things, Wheat Belly seems to give us an "answer" to our problems. We are being as responsible as possible and doing as much research as possible... So can you tell me if there is any truth in the claims made by Dr. Davis and his book? Is a gluten free diet to improve overall health really a good idea? Can you point me in the direction of recommended credible educational sites? Again thank you for the info!

Anonymous said...

This is not merely an issue with Wheat, although some people have diets that is mostly wheat. This issue from my standpoint is refined Corn, wheat and soy. You need to remove all three of those before you start talking health.

Anonymous said...

Bill O'Reilly has recommended this book, and I was admittedly going to buy it before reading your review. THank you for sending us all the facts so that we, with little time to "fact check", are well informed of the actually evidence which does not support the claim that wheat eating leads to bigger bellies.

I wonder if there are some individuals who, ancestrally consumed very little wheat, who are the small percentage of people who do gain weight when eating grains? Not me, I'm a Canadian with a middle eastern background!
Thank you again, Nancy

Anonymous said...

To my knowledge, I am not gluten-intolerant but when I gave up all grains (other than occasional quinoa), all sugars and most processed foods (and I exercised daily), I took off about 75 lbs fairly effortlessly. If dieters read the book and follow the idea of giving up those carbs, I believe they'll have the same results. So I thank Dr. Davis for giving me the motivation and the impetus to give up the grains!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the bold critiques of "Wheat Belly." I just read the book and he does talk about how folks with celiac disease actually gain weight when they give up wheat, contrary to your review.

And although some of his points may be blatantly misleading, his overall message is still solid and he's likely changing an untold number of people's lives for the better -- so I wouldn't quibble over some of the details too much.

Maybe it's because I'm a former journalist, but I tend to take summaries of medical/scientific studies with a grain of salt, since I know how easy it is to either inflate claims or play fast and loose with the facts altogether.

Also, I'm less concerned about what science has to say about wheat's supposed addictive properties than I am about my own severe withdrawal upon removing wheat.

I feel WAY better after removing wheat, including some weight loss, thanks in part to "Wheat Belly" but mostly through my willingness to experiment in the service of good health. No need to throw the baby out with the bath water, though.


Unknown said...

PS: I think even a skeptic of Dr. Davis' claims can agree that wheat removal tends to lead to much better food choices.

By default, you eliminate cookies, cake, pie, bread, most fried foods, most heavily processed foods, etc.

And by not eating all these refined carbs, I'm simply not craving sugar as much. Just speaking from personal experience.

Bobby Booshay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
peterbronski said...

Janet (March 31, 20212),

Thanks for sharing your perspective on gluten sensitivity!

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Mary (March 31, 2012),

Yes, it's amazing how easily people get sucked in. And how vehemently they defend Wheat Belly without actually addressing the points of my criticism.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Katie (May 24, 2012),

Very glad to hear you're on the path back to health! Yes, this is not a universal weight loss diet. Also, people seem to mistake the removal of wheat from their diet with the removal of processed foods, too many refined starches and sugars, and the addition of exercise to one's lifestyle. Those changes are likely to affect a positive outcome on health, whether you "lose the wheat" as the book's tagline says or not.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Anonymous (June 3, 2012),

I'm afraid I disagree with you. I DO care about purity, and I don't consider the types of problems that I highlight to be "peddling discrepancies." When someone tells you that a) X is true, and b) this is why X is true, both halves of that argument must hold water. We have a responsibility to get the reasons right. From what I see, Wheat Belly fails that litmus test in certain instances. And those known failures make me question the veracity of the rest of the book.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Jenn (June 7, 2012),

You're absolutely right! It's an unfortunate scenario when someone gives up processed wheat-based foods and swaps them for the gluten-free equivalent of junk food. Sure, you've eliminated the wheat and gluten, but you haven't addressed other dietary problems. Thanks for adding your perspective!

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Lilly/Linda (June 13 2012),

Thanks for adding your voice to the comments! It sounds like you're on the right track ... reading information (whether in Wheat Belly, my review, or elsewhere) with an independent eye. Figure out which information is valid and helpful to you, discard what's not, and move forward with a diet and a lifestyle that are going to benefit you. Well done!

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Miss Marie (June 26, 2012),

Thanks for your compliment. While there's a good case to be made for certain people eliminating wheat and gluten from their diet, much of it comes down to individual biology. It's not a universal prescription, as you've found, some people can enjoy whole wheat foods with no or few apparent ill effects.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi George,

Thanks for adding your perspective. We both agree that, if possible, dietary and lifestyle interventions that mitigate or otherwise "cure" health conditions are certainly preferable to pharmaceuticals. If going wheat-free is a solution for some people, that's great. I'm not at all opposed to people going wheat-free, but the potential benefits (and the reasons why) should be substantiated. If my review seems to focus, in part, on the weight loss aspect of the book, that's because a) that's how the book is marketed (a la "lose the wheat, lose the weight)) and b) Davis cites numerous celiac disease studies in that section, which is one of my areas of knowledge. Others with different areas of expertise have a done a good job with critiques of other parts of his book.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Carol (June 30, 2012),

You misread the study. The celiac diagnosis and switch to a gluten-free diet were concurrent. Researchers saw the weight gain in response to patients going wheat/gluten-free. The varying responses of celiac body weight to a gluten-free diet that you note (some gain, some lose, some stay the same) is at the core of my critique of Davis' argument. He a) incorrectly makes celiac studies applicable to the general population at large, and b) cherry picks certain data from the studies to support his arguments, while omitting the data that contradicts his claim. This is dubious.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Chris (June 30, 2012),

You and I are on the same page. I agree with the "be gluten-free but don't eat 'gluten-free'" mantra. The difficult reality these days is that "gluten-free" is a broad term that includes a variety of foods. If people want to eat a gluten-free junk food diet, they can. But they'd be much better served by going gluten-free AND opting for healthier choices.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Anonymous (July 2, 2012),

I'm afraid the issue of celiac weight gain on a gluten-free diet is not nearly as simple and universal as you suggest it is. While the consumption of gluten-free junk food may be a problem for some, that's hardly the whole story. A much more important factor to consider is healing of the small intestine, which in turns results in greatly increased nutrient absorption. Celiac disease patients who heal their body on a gluten-free diet find themselves absorbing many more nutrients and calories from the same portion of food than they did prior to diagnosis. For some, adjusting portion sizes and meal frequency in response can be a difficult thing. And there are other factors to consider as well.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi TJ (July 3, 2012),

Thanks for adding your diabetes perspective to the dialogue.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Joseph (July 4, 2012),

Thanks for your compliment! Glad you appreciated my critique.

Best, Pete

Unknown said...

The general theme of Dr Davis's "nutrition plan" is that wheat is a poor food choice period, regardless of whether it produces weight gain. The effective eating stategy would be to simply eliminate refined grains, sugars and all industrial seed oils from the diet. Effectively consuming only real food. In the case of the metabolically challenged (diabetic/prediabetic) individuals, carb intake should be regulated by eating to a glucometer for a period to ascertain your individul tolerance then adjusting carbhydrates accordingly. Adding tubers and such to your diet without spiking blood sugar over past 140 mg/dl, the point a which glycation begins to accellerate artery disease. Following this regimen generally results in an improved cholesterol profile with lower triglycerides and substantially less glycation promoting improvement in overall health. Often decreasing blood pressure. The focus on BMI or subject study weight gain or loss is ludicrous. Its the visceral fat loss and increase or stability of muscle mass that matters. To pigeon hole the discussion around GF is a disservice. It's the refined grains in processed food which are primarily wheat but also corn and soy that are likely more harmful than health promoting. While fat phobia of healthy real food is promoted to discourage their consumption that is likely the central factor in diseases of modern civilization.

Richard Weatherill said...

So through all of these comments, never mind the critique, has anyone bothered to suggest that wheat can or should be dropped from the diet in general, never mind just from the celiac diet?

Besides, what is the problem with piggy-backing on a cause or ailment to sell books? It's the American Way. The POINT is, the present-day incarnation of wheat is not good for the average American diet. So cut wheat out and see what happens. That is the ultimate test.

This review is almost as bad as the critiques of Dr. Wallach.....

peterbronski said...

Hi Kathy (July 4, 2012),

Thanks for adding your perspective, and glad to hear you're feeling so much better!

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Anonymous (July 5, 2012),

The fact that you're gluten intolerant means that, yes, you'll experience some of what Davis writes about in Wheat Belly. But that doesn't mean that your experience is universally true for all people, as he suggests.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Anonymous (July 7, 2012),

The resolution of your mouth sores certainly is an interesting outcome.


peterbronski said...

Hi Danica (July 8, 2012),

Glad you appreciated my review of Wheat Belly. If your concern is celiac disease, there are a number of other superior resources available to you. Lack of improvement on a gluten-free diet (for celiac patients) is often due to either continued (if unintentional) consumption of gluten or reactivity to other proteins or foods in addition to wheat/gluten.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Anonymous (July 9, 2012),

I can assure you there's no jealousy at work here. Just a simple perspective: that a book's claims and the evidence held forth to support those claims should be sound and in agreement.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Anonymous (July 12, 2012),

Yes, it's important for awareness to increase, and for restaurants and others to understand that for many people with diagnosed gluten/wheat issues, a wheat/gluten-free diet is not a casual option, but an important medical necessity.

Best, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Anonymous (July 13, 2012),

Double check your science. Neither Davis nor I suggest that eating gluten causes a release of endorphins. Gluten is partially digested, resulting in exorphins, a cousin of endorphins. The question then is, How do the exorphins affect the body? The same or different from endorphins? The evidence is not there to claim a definitive addictive, opiate-like effect for gluten/wheat-derived exorphins.


peterbronski said...

Hi Anonymous (July 18, 2012),

I'm sorry to hear of your frustrations. It sounds like you may be one of the people for whom Wheat Belly holds empty promise. The book's perspective is not universally applicable to all people, though the way it's written you're led to believe so.


Adrianna Lesiuk said...

I heard about him and his book today actually on a local radio show and it sounded great cause he said it raises blood sugar which is not good. He said by eliminating wheat many are seeing a turn arounds in weight loss, etc... He said to eat meat, eggs, cheese, avocados, olive oils, veggies, etc... and we should not restrict the amount of healthy fats or amount of eggs yokes we eat. I thought it was sound advice (I do not have Gluten problems). After reading your blog though I think I will just try to just incorporate more veggies and not avoid the wheat totally but just make smarter choices in that area like sprouted wheat, etc... Thank you so much!

Shimi said...

You lose the weight due to the cleaner life style on top of no longer triggering the insulin rush. You begin to gain again once your gut is cleaned up and you are finally able to absorb nutrients. The book is sound and answers many questions that doctors are unable/unwilling/uneducated to answer for celiac patients such as myself. Where the science could be clearer is due to the reluctance of American doctors to ever admit to being wrong and due to the fact that the cure to a lot of health woes does not put money in the hands of big pharma. The biggest problem in this book is that he does not go far enough. His second edition should utilize a holistic nutrition who could add delcious tid bits such as talking about all the additives and fake sugars a person cuts out on this diet and what those nasty things do to the diet. Go to your grocery store. Any normal grocery store. Pick up every brand and style of bread and they will all have HFCS. Cheerios or Fruit Loops: which is bad for you? Both. They are both toxic due to the cooking process. That iron in your cereal? Take a really strong magnet and you can pull it out. If your cereal box says "reduced iron," then you are eating iron shavings which may not even be recognizable to your body. Why? Because the extrusion process they use to make all cereal kills the nutrients so they have to add all those vitamins back in. These are things they don't talk about when they tell you a whole wheat sandwhich is good for you. But unfortunately American doctors may only recieve about 2 hours of training in nutrition in med school so most of them do not understand how nutrition affects health.

Phil Salerno said...

Whether some of the data is skewed or not, 30 days off wheat replaced by "real food" and I've experienced many of the positive results described in the book: lost visceral fat, drop in blood sugar, no longer hungry every 2 hours, regular digestion and sleep patterns, decreased fogginess, moodiness and tiredness, no carb cravings. It's not a fad diet, it's back to basics common sense, if you stop eating garbage (wheat, high starch and processed foods) you are better off. Period...PJS

Shawn G. Hert said...

I just finished reading the book. It sounded pretty good, especially for Celiac patients. I was not fully on-board though due to the praise of cheese and meats, because I am a vegan. I do know some naturopathic medical providers that are wheat and gluten free for health reasons not Celiac disease. I am still undecided. Thanks for the info! www.fitsmartandhealthy.com

jojotiredgirl said...

It's sad to see so many angry posts about people going GF, even if they are trying to lose weight. While some swear by the health benefits from it, why shouldn't an obese person, who is also suffering from the disease of obesity, try it, if it works for them? Having said that, I did not seek out going GF because I was diagnosed with celiac disease, nor to lose weight. I am at a perfectly healthy weight, and engage in vigorous activity for 90minutes 3-5 times a week. I am a pretty clean eater, and try to make sure I get a good nights sleep. For the past couple of years I have been suffering from extreme fatigue and bouts of depression. i have been into the doctors office around four times in the past two years, only to be prescribed anti-depressants that do nothing but make you feel numb. I have tried to do research on my own via the internet (not always the most reliable source), and came across removing gluten from the diet to help with energy, and mood, hopefully I can make that choice to remove gluten from my diet, celiac or not? Despite my reasons behind it, some of you would lead me to believe I don't have that choice. I found the book Wheat Belly, and read it, and, as suggested took it for word, it was written by a Dr., citing all the different studies, and giving so many examples. Thank you for this review of the book, but can you tell me if the claims for increased energy, and disposition are related to gluten intake? I have children, school, a full time job, and a husband (sometimes in that order:) that need my attention, and cannot go back to feeling sluggish and depressed. The remval of gluten has seemed like it has helped most days, but after reading your review, is it the gluten removal, or just timing? Gluten free living is hard and I don't envy anybody that has to accomodate it to such a detailed measure, and by no means is my personal choices to eliminate gluten meant to "offend" anyone. I am just looking for clarification after finding some of the discrepancies in Wheat Belly. Thank You.

Pepino said...

I am currently on page 84 of the book and was taking the book with a grain of salt due to its shock factor as a way of promoting the idea of going gluten free. Thank you for this article, it confirmed my intuitions.

As someone who CAN eat wheat products, I WAS reading this book as a learning source. I have even taken most gluten foods out of my daily diet for the sake of my health/well-being, and I will still continue to do so. Don't worry, I am not going to look to the book as a reference source anymore (at least, not without doing proper research first). However, I still think that many non-GF people out there should consume less wheat products; white processed breads, donuts, cakes, pizzas, etc. The book should not be completely condemned; many of us are still ignorant on what makes a healthy diet and the history of GMOs. Hopefully, the scare tactic that was used by this book would make readers have second thoughts about having that sugar-coated cereal for breakfast or fatty honey cruller for a snack. Personally, Wheat Belly introduced many new terminologies and gave me a quick lesson on how wheat has changed over the past centuries (though now I'm going to be more careful on quoting the book to my friends).

Still, thanks for the heads up!

TheCuriosity said...

I'm only half way through this book and had to google to see if anyone had written about the inconsistencies. I had put the audio of this book in my car as I figured it would be a light, yet educational listen about something I was already on board with (therefore not intended to be opinion-challenging).

However, repeatedly he has contradicted himself or jumped to conclusions that logically he shouldn't have even with the evidence he presented... I couldn't help but suspect that he was fudging on the evidence too. Really frustrating as many in the anti-wheat/gluten-free community are recommending this book in which if anything does a disservice, making me wonder if those recommending it had even read it themselves or are too wrapped up in their paradigm to recognize the fallacies presented in this book.

Julie said...

I am sorry, I'm confused and frustrated so I really need this dumbed down for me. I do not have celiac. I do have a Dr who suggested I read this book and his point was, it would help me lose weight. I just need to know, as someone who is trying to get healthy and feed my family the right way, is gluten free the right thing to do? None of us have gluten issues. We're eating mostly real foods, working our way off of refined sugar, and have gone to whole wheat products. Then my Dr mentions the wheat belly and I've started to research it and came across your blog.

All of the conflicting information is making my head spin. Your post was the most analytical I have seen and I thank you so much for that! I just don't know now what to do... wheat/no wheat?

Joan Myerson Shrager said...

I cannot believe the attitude that somehow those of us who are overweight pretty much from a lifetime of not eating properly for our bodies are competing for the attention that celiacs want for themselves. I am one who has struggled for years to find a diet that would work. Am I stepping on the toes of the celiac community by finding that eliminating wheat has really cut down on my food craving and I am beginning to see some pounds drop? Well excuse me. I deeply appreciate the problems facing the celiac community with family members and friends who have this most unfortunate condition, but so should they appreciate those of us who are facing other issues equally important to our health. I find the discourse quite childish.

LC said...

I find Wheat Belly fascinating. I haven't even finished reading it yet, however, I am curious that if what you write here is true, and I have no doubt you have done your research, etc. then why are so many people putting up their results citing how much weight they have lost. I, too, have what the book calls a wheat belly.
We know that wheat has been modified genetically. Dr. Davis also points out that people 50 years ago didn't exercise as they do now and yet we are a fatter population. He does say, quite truthfully, that housewives especially, would not have been exercising. It might make them sweat.

So what is the answer?

I don't know that Wheat Belly is the answer I just don't see any other solution being put forward.

As a consumer and a parent I need help figuring things out.

E said...

I am a scientist AND a celiac who wasn't diagnosed until 26 years of age. I know lot's of other celiacs who were diagnosed as adults and the general consensus among my fellow celiac buddies and I is that we all GAINED weight when initially going gluten free because suddenly we were able to absorb all the nutrients that couldn't be absorbed with inflamed intestinal villi. Mind you, it also turned out that I was terribly bloated as a side-effect of being undiagnosed for so long that I appeared to lose weight shortly after going gluten free, but in actual fact it was just the loss of bloating. Everyone said I looked slimmer but in reality the scales told me I'd gained a significant amount of weight. In my case, as time went on most of the weight slowly came off, but mainly because I increased my physical activity because I was aware I was getting fat, not because I wasn't eating wheat.

At the end of the day, if you have a healthy diet (and well controlled meal sizes), exercise is the only sure-fire way to lose weight. I understand that most people are looking for that miracle diet that will make them slim, but there isn't one. If you are fat, 99% of the time it's because you need to cut processed foods, reduce portion sizes and move more. Wheat is in just about everything processed, which means by cutting it out you also cut down on all the nasty calorie-ridden processed foods you eat. No doubt that is why people lose weight by going gluten free.

Don't get me wrong, if the diet in this horrendous book makes you feel better, I'm happy for you but it doesn't take away from the fact that the science has been skewed to support the authors argument. Science should never be subjective and more people need to be wary that most best seller diet books are often incredibly subjective and full of errors. Surely jumping on and off diet bandwagons is more dangerous to a persons health than having a diet that contains a moderate amount wheat grains (as long as you don't have an allergy or are celiac).

Personally, I find it offensive that someone who is in perfect health chooses to go gluten free for superficial reasons like weight-loss. Get off your asses and do some exercise! I would just about KILL to drink a real beer or eat an icecream or have a slice of birthday cake or go to yum cha or eat anything without finding out the ingredients first.

Heidi said...

What an AWESOME review. Thank you! I suffer from celiac and while reading the book, I raised an eyebrow many, many times... Making me seek out a review of the book. THANK you!

dave said...

good stuff :)

Lindsey Wilson said...

Thank you so much for this close reading of Wheat Belly. A coworker benignly recommended it to me when I was discussing my weight loss challenges. Immediately I found myself hooked on his romanticization of living gluten free. I got 26 pages in and realized this seemed way too good to be true. This is when I googled reviews and found your comprehensive points. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Rob Cooper said...

I'm a newcomer to this debate. Two weeks ago, in response to my stated desire to get more fit, my family doctor (in a rush, as always), said "stop eating wheat and cut back on carbs." A few days later I saw 'Wheat Belly' at a bookstore and took a flyer on it. On the surface, the science made sense; I'm wary of food modified for any purpose, and I had no idea just how modified wheat has become. I'll state here and now that I'm not celiac - I'm merely looking for a healthier diet.

I decided, "In for a penny, in for a pound", and vowed to eliminate wheat on a trial basis. After one week, I'm down four pounds, and I feel more alert. I'm lucky in that I don't feel any wheat cravings. I was always indifferent towards bread, and in fact as I see it mainly as the carrier for the protein I'm really after.

I've enjoyed reading the comments on this post. I came here to get a better sense of whether I can achieve what I want to achieve. I have a father, brother and daughter with inflammatory bowel disease, so I don't look on my effort as "hey, GF can help me lose weight" - more like, "Hey, family, I made these changes and I noticed these benefits".

That's my long preamble. My question to the community is this: despite the book's shortcomings, do you think the basic premises are sound?

I don't look at it as a license to sit around eating cheese and nuts while the pounds melt off me. I'm nearing 50 and looking to ensure I'm around a while longer. That means an improved diet and more exercise.

Looking forward to any and all replies...

Blog owner said...

I'm glad I found your review.
I've been googling for years all different kinds of weigh loss theories and I feel like I've gained a fair bit of insight on how to do it (even though mentally, I'm terrible at it)

What I'm gathering from this wheat belly book is that the author is basically endoring a lower carb lifestyle, so of course people are going to lose weight, however I'm not convinced that's 100% just due to the removal of wheat.

I will admit I do believe another doctors whos opinion on sugar is similarly as strong (Dr Robert Lustig) however he seems to frequently go into exsquisite detail on the science and chemistry of how sugar is bad for you / your liver and how it works. Plus a lot of the symptoms and descriptions he has for cravings, addiction and so on resonate with me VERY much.

I've been considering paleo as well and then stumbled across the 'wheat belly fad' for lack of a better term. I suspect as one of your first replying posters mentioned, true gluten allergic sufferers definitely should heed the words of the book and would likely see positive change from following it, but as someone who has no real food allergies, the more important thing I would think for myself is to try to cheat exceedingly rarely and just eat more vegies, less carbs and more meat.
(I'm not sure I'm convinced on the whole 'beans are evil' aspect of paleo either)

Either way, thanks for the review.

Blog owner said...

I'm glad I found your review.
I've been googling for years all different kinds of weigh loss theories and I feel like I've gained a fair bit of insight on how to do it (even though mentally, I'm terrible at it)

What I'm gathering from this wheat belly book is that the author is basically endoring a lower carb lifestyle, so of course people are going to lose weight, however I'm not convinced that's 100% just due to the removal of wheat.

I will admit I do believe another doctors whos opinion on sugar is similarly as strong (Dr Robert Lustig) however he seems to frequently go into exsquisite detail on the science and chemistry of how sugar is bad for you / your liver and how it works. Plus a lot of the symptoms and descriptions he has for cravings, addiction and so on resonate with me VERY much.

I've been considering paleo as well and then stumbled across the 'wheat belly fad' for lack of a better term. I suspect as one of your first replying posters mentioned, true gluten allergic sufferers definitely should heed the words of the book and would likely see positive change from following it, but as someone who has no real food allergies, the more important thing I would think for myself is to try to cheat exceedingly rarely and just eat more vegies, less carbs and more meat.
(I'm not sure I'm convinced on the whole 'beans are evil' aspect of paleo either)

Either way, thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your review "Wheat Belly Busted". I was badly taken in by a huge number of fake reviews on another diet book two years ago. The claims on the reviews for the book were incredible. Hidden in all the massively good reviews was one reviewer who said that the diet had seriously damaged his health and he was working with his doctor to rebuild the damage. He was right as I found when I tried the diet. I can't name that book in case some idiot sues me but I learnt then how to spot a fake review. Unfortunately the very first review on the wheat belly diet book page was far too long (fake reviews often are)and had a strong stench about it when looked at objectively (i.e.,too good to be true).

Having said that grains were not in our diets until 10,000 years ago but I suspect that all grains are bad not just wheat. It's also interesting near the bottom of the comments on this page when you get a rush of people suddenly saying how good the wheat belly diet is - quite different from the earlier comments.

Anonymous said...

Well said Joan Myerson Shrager!

Ali said...

Having Celiac disease has opened my eyes to a lot of the problems caused now by our food in general. It's not just wheat, although it is a huge factor because it is in so much processed food these days, but other things like sugar and HFCS are also to blame.

Natural food was designed the way it was for a reason - so that it could 'communicate' with the body through its elements. Once those elements are removed, or meddled with through hybridisation or commercial denaturing, the 'food' is no longer beneficial, but toxic. IF the body cannot 'read' the food (like nutritionally 'empty' sugar for instance), how can it possibly process it? Perhaps we'd be better off eating dirt!

I have noticed some posters saying that they are not gluten-intolerant as it doesn't affect them, but they fail to realise that the damage done by the wheat and other products is cumulative. It builds up gradually. By the time symptoms manifest, it's already done the damage!

If you factor in together those with Celiac and gluten intolerance, there are estimates that it affects 1 in every 3 people. I can well believe that. I see evidence of issues driven by gluten all around me. This isn't a special 'club', it's endemic.

Whilst I don't eat it myself as I am on a low-carb, high-fat healing diet, I do make bread for my husband, who himself is very gluten intolerant (my reactions were physical - raging IBS-D, RLS and burning feet, palpitations, etc., his are mainly mental - awful brain-fog, depression, irritability, anxiety, joint pain, etc. - he turns into 'Attila the Hun when he's glutened - LOL), but he can eat my wheat bread without any reaction at all.

Why? Because although I use modern wheat, I make the bread the traditional way, preparing the dough in the evening and putting it in the fridge to rise overnight, knocking it back in the morning and baking it lunchtime, giving it a minimum of 12 hours proofing.

Bread was made the traditional way for centuries for a reason. Modern commercial (and home bread-makers) have the bread in one end and out the other within 3 hours - and often as little as 45 minutes thanks to the the Chorleywood processing. Instantly-baked products like cake, cookies, biscuits and the like get no proofing time at all, neither do they contain yeast which is an important factor. Short, or no proofing time does not give the yeast and water time to work on the gluten and other proteins in the dough.

Long proofing not only pre-digests the elements within the dough, but also releases something in the region of 50% more nutrition to support its digestion. It is possible that ancient wheat with its lower level of chromosomes may not have needed to be proofed nearly as long, but certainly the long proofing does help to 'neutralize' the effects of the modern wheat.

I am not suggesting that those with extreme gluten intolerance/Celiac eat wheat bread, although there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest some like my husband could, but just to illustrate that what is done - or not done to the wheat can have just as big an effect as anything else.

Whilst your assessment on 'Wheat Belly' may have some credence, for the majority who eat shop-bought wheat products, avoiding it is still going to be the safest option....

Anonymous said...

I reviewed the major claims of the book and read the scientific studies that were referenced. The books claims are false and misleading. I have documented 18 claims in the book and compared them to the exact studies that were cited in the book's text. All were misleading and some were completely false.

Falcon said...

...He's an M.D. He's the expert, right? And he cites all those sexy research studies....(Exactly).

It's been my experience that M.D.'s don't really know a lot outside their chosen field, and even then the jury is out. Davis is no different than any other writer who wants to earn big dollars publishing a book. Just because he is a M.D. doesn't make him an expert.

Anyone can find research which will support an angle they wish to portray. The shelves are lined with books and information written by so-called experts and self-proclaimed gurus from all fields of life, and from most institutes of learning, as is the internet...sexy research or not.

Davis would have everyone swear off carbs entirely from the way he writes. Including eliminating all grains and many veggies, sources of good carbs and much needed nutrients and fiber.

Perhaps a valiant attempt to educate the public, nevertheless, he needed and needs to source and research his information more proficiently. There's no doubt about it though, people would be better off eliminating gluten from their diets.

Hilary said...

I'm probably not adding much to the commentary, as I haven't read all the posts. But from the initial posts...wow...tough crowd!! I remember watching Oprah one day and she was talking to a cancer survivor about hair loss. And I will NEVER FORGET what she said...she had the nerve to say, "I can relate, one time I had a really bad perm that burned my hair." Of course I'm paraphrasing, but the jist is the same. I thought it was shallow, offensive, and I never looked at her the same since. So I can see how someone with celiac can be offended at this as a "weight loss fad." I am slowly reading the book, and I take a bit of exception to the author's persuasive tone. But the fact that it is persuasive made me doubt all the "science." You know what they say...74.7% of statistics are made up on the spot. :-) Marketing has been using statistics in studies "creatively" for years to sell what a product. In that respect, I think the book is no different.
HOWEVER, I will say that I went low carb (for weight loss). After reading the book, I took the next step and elinimated most wheat. No, I'm not celiac. I have had IBS type symptoms for years though. And at 40, am overweight with arthritic type joint pain for years. For ME...low carb and no wheat means I'm eating way more veggies and salads. In a month, I've lost around 10 pounds. Great but the best thing is my pain is so much better. Not gone...but I'm taking Motrin a couple times a week instead of faithfully three times a day. While the science in the book may be suspect, I think the premise of eating natural foods and avoiding the processed and genetically modified foods that fill so many stores.

Chrissy said...

This has all been very interesting reading. I am glad what Wheat Belly says about wheat itself is true because it gave me the answer I needed to go wheat free. I was shocked about how altered the wheat of today is. And I have spent my entire life (I am 52) eating wheat wheat wheat and more wheat. It is like an addiction, but I have a loaf of GF bread in the freezer for emergencies now. I do love my toast!! But other than that I try to follow a Joel Furhman type diet, plus add fresh juice. I do eat some red meat but it's organic and grass fed and I have it about one meal per week or less. I also disagree with Wheat Belly's author about saturated fats, because I think they also contribute to diabetes. On the celiac front, I know a man who has also gained weight since going gluten free because he's always scoffing rice biscuits and so on. And another friend who found that both dairy and wheat were rotting his guts, he can't consume either but is very thin because he's young and rides a bike, and doesn't eat much.

Chrissy said...

This has all been very interesting reading. I am glad what Wheat Belly says about wheat itself is true because it gave me the answer I needed to go wheat free. I was shocked about how altered the wheat of today is. And I have spent my entire life (I am 52) eating wheat wheat wheat and more wheat. It is like an addiction, but I have a loaf of GF bread in the freezer for emergencies now. I do love my toast!! But other than that I try to follow a Joel Furhman type diet, plus add fresh juice. I do eat some red meat but it's organic and grass fed and I have it about one meal per week or less. I also disagree with Wheat Belly's author about saturated fats, because I think they also contribute to diabetes. On the celiac front, I know a man who has also gained weight since going gluten free because he's always scoffing rice biscuits and so on. And another friend who found that both dairy and wheat were rotting his guts, he can't consume either but is very thin because he's young and rides a bike, and doesn't eat much.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great post!

Amanda @ An Unlikely Dietitian said...

I love you. I am SO tired of some doctors (not all) making these outrageous claims. I also read into these so-called references, and he has a knack for flagrantly misquoting science. It's an insult to the scientific and medical community and is so dangerous, as it could seriously mess with someone's health. Unfortunately, as he has a "Dr" in front of his name, and we (as dietitians) don't, guess who is believed? Thank you for shedding light on this. I am busy compiling a post on this, and would love to quote you, and will always reference and link back to you... I hope that's ok :)

Anonymous said...

I read your post after completing "Wheat Belly". You made some very valid points which I will not dispute and I will go back and re-read some of the sections you have cited. I do take exception however with your principal premise that this book is all about gluten, it's not, it's about genetically engineered wheat and the carbohydrate content, in addition to gluten issues. "Loose the Wheat, Loose the Weight" not 'loose the gluten'. He very clearly (as I recall) states that eliminating the wheat (gluten) is only part of the recommended diet. He does cite other grains to avoid or limit loading up on carbs as well. He also made it clear to the reader that this book had limited scientific validity as most of the stories are anecdotal but too numerous to ignore. My experience with his book, by eliminating consumption of wheat in any form, resulted in losing 22 lbs., but more importantly was the elimination of bloating, heart burn, skin rashes, joint inflation and just a general all around wellness. At 62 years old, this is great. Is it a placebo or does it really work, uh, let's asked my wife about her arthritic joint pain that is no more. Yes, she eliminated wheat too. That's all we have changed so far. So beat up Dr. Davis if you must but sometimes science and a few errors gets in the way of the real truth, we always have to make course corrections in the path of life, why not now. I recommend that we don't throw the baby out with the bath water. My experience tells me there is something here we should pay attention to - GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT. Thanks for the debate and a consideration that it's "The Wheat, Stupid" (to paraphrase a campaign slogan).
Healthy in Austin.

Anonymous said...

Did the author choose the title Wheat Belly, or did his editors? also the slogans such as "lose the wheat, lose the weight". I wonder if the editors got a little heavy-handed and that accounts for some of the spin.

Anonymous said...

I read Wheat Belly, and it has helped me tremendously. Sure, the weight loss is nice, but I'm more impacted by the health aspect of not eating GMO wheat. I was on the Atkins diet when I learned about this book, so when I read it, it really made sense to me because I was already experiencing some of it since I had stopped eating wheat products. The IBS symptoms have abated, my blood sugar has normalized (my doctor has verified that I'm no longer pre-diabetic), and the pain of OA has diminished to the point that I no longer take pain pills. I realize that some of this may be due to my 30-lb. weight loss, but whatever it is, I'm keeping it up! I'll never eat GMO wheat again. There are so many alternatives these days that I won't have to. My entire family has stopped eating wheat; my grandson's behavior has improved and my daughter-in-law has lost weight. We will enjoy a gluten-free holiday season, and will likely even lose weight throughout. So whatever Dr. Davis did or didn't do, right or wrong, his book still helped me. I'm very glad I read it, and I'll recommend it to others.

Lortay2 said...

1I just read Wheat Belly and your reviews and most of the comments. I thought I should put my 2cents in. I personally know that once I start eating wheat, I don't stop. I can stop sugar binges, (though not immediately, I confess) Fanatics and extremists can always color our lives. It would be senseless to take out the wheat and add another addictive substance, sugar! And this includes too much fruit for me... My personal goal is to be as healthy as possible. For me this is eating food, and only food. Taking out the worst culprits: wheat, sugar and chemicals is the route that I am taking. Thanks for keeping our eyes open to all aspects. And here's to real food, not GMO or chemically created.

Allen said...

I appreciate your analysis of "Wheat Belly". As others have commented here, the Wheat Belly plan is working well for me. I am slowly losing weight and my blood sugars are fantastic. I am not gluten-intolerent, but this plan makes so much sense to me which is what prompted me to try it. My appetite control is also much improved. I am going to stick with it!


LisaJ said...

I've read his book and was ready to drastically change my eating habits. However, I'm not allergic to gluten and test results for Celiac disease came back negative. What alarmed me was Davis' statement that wheat has genetically altered from our grandmother's time and is not the same wheat that we consume today. You didn't address this at all. Do you agree with his statement?

crispy said...

Ali, I am VERY surprised that your home-made wheat bread is tolerated.
It may mean - as suggested by others- that gluten is not the only protein people react to.
Also yeast does not break down gluten as far as I know. Is it incorrect?
Phytin (if using whole grain flour) will be destroyed by the fermentation; perhaps it's a key for your husband.
Aso, I see no-one mention using Spelt flour as a substitute for wheat flour.
Spelt contains gluten but it's an ancient grain and some who are just intolerant may want to substitute modern wheat for spelt.

Finally, Cyrex lab is recommended by Dr O'Bryan- a gluten specialist - for advanced testing on food in general or grains.
Cyrex does not bill insurance and it can get pricey ($325)/
For some it's easier than going gluten free especially since full results may not be seen for up to a full year (Cealiac foundation info)!

Rick said...

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.

Janine Mota said...

Im a bit disappointed cos you guys look like nice people on your home page. Your attack on Wheat Belly leaves me wondering. I find it a little strange at the fact that you have a book out...that may have similar content to Dr Davis' Wheat Belly, and that your whole 'happening' upon the 'inconsistencies in the book' . You say the GF community deserves better...Im sure it does, but are you perhaps suggesting that your book is better. Are you not generating the sales you hoped for? Because really this attack on Wheat Belly and even Dr Davis personally is disgusting. Take it from every person that followed Wheat Belly's advice and not only cut out gluten, but all wheat and grains...that this book has been most helpful and some of the best material on health i have read in a long time. Its gold! Ive lost 33 pounds in 2.5 months only by cutting out wheat (and sugar ofcourse)If there are mistakes in the book, I am sure they were not intentionally misleading. ANd you say that the three 'inconsistencies' you sited are 3 amongst many others...shameful. Your intention was to cast doubt, mess up Dr Davis' sales, and perhaps get your sales up. SOrry about all you are doing is sounding very jealous. Its very unbecoming. Wheat Belly has helped hundreds of thousands of people. DR Davis never claimed that the book is to lose weight, but to create a healthier lifestyle. I never knew about why wheat was bad for me, until i read Wheat Belly. So leave the book alone, and leave Dr Davis alone. Sour grapes huh...!!

Janine Mota said...

Wheat Belly helped me lose weight. And for all those who say Celiac Disease is more serious than being overweight or obese, I say that is a matter of opinion and subject to the sufferer. If anyone has ever been overweight/obese, they know how awful it is, and how it creates a myriad of physical and psychological symptoms. So while I sympathise with sufferers of Celiac Disease, dont brush off my (ex) obesity as a meaningless issue. I read Wheat Belly, applied it and lost 33 pounds in 2.5 months to date. I eat low carb, high fat and the weight is literally just falling off...nothing wrong with that!

ladymastiff7 said...

We need to prove that wheat is evil makes us fat no matter if it's gluten or gluten free. We have organic whole wheat flour. Does this flour still bad for us? Does wheat cause bloating? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I know, Pete, it must be hard to see someone make money and get a hit out of a subject you have spent so much time on.But, your review misrepresents the book, and you state your interpretation of studies which can be just as wrong as those you point out. The gist of Wheat Belly is not, follow a gluten free diet, it is to understand how modern wheat products can affect you and what you can do to avoid them and lose your wheat belly. In my case, I lost 24 lbs, all from my gut,I feel better and a couple of rashes I´d had for years are gone. And I continue eating plenty of chocolate and ice cream.

Anonymous said...

I must disagree with whoever wrote this:

"Davis also points out that people 50 years ago didn't exercise as they do now and yet we are a fatter population."

Just precisely because of these type of false assumptions is because this article was written. People 50 years ago exercise way more through out the day than today, 50 years ago home entertainment practically didn't exist, so people had to go outside to entertain themselves, thus, increasing the level of activity constantly, also the internet did not exist at that time, so people at jobs had to walk to have discussions and fix issues, thus, also increasing activity. Nowadays some small percentage of people certainly exercise more for several different reasons( vanity, self esteem, feeling guilty for consuming an excess of unhealthy food, etc..) however, the rest of the ordinary people try really hard at the beginning and then as usual they/we drop the whole thing together at once, personally I believe this comment that Davis did is totally wrong, even for a person like me with poor critical thinking skills is easy to spot that some of the comments were clearly written to give people hope and of course buy the book. And just to clarify as with everything this is not a black and white situation, I believe as many here have mention that the book also contains some good information.

I believe the most important question here will be what is true and what is not? On these days where a large percentage of the information/studies are biased I keep asking myself what is true?

Susannah said...

Thanks for your comments! I agree with you 100%! Pete certainly did not read this book all the way through or he would not be writing what he did! Thank you Dr. Davis, I love your book!

Anonymous said...

Rick, thank you for offering the document. I would like a copy. Can you send me a copy to the following email address:


paula said...

Just wanted to say "thanks" for the information in your blog. I have been gluten free, grain free actually, since September so I am still new to this lifestyle. I was taken off of these foods because of an allergy, and because of very debilitating stomach pains that I was having for about a year. You spoke some about the processed GF foods that are available and the fact that people still gain weight on a GF diet. I have found, since I cannot eat grains at all, that if I eat 100% whole foods, protein and fat along with fruits and veggies...I thrive. I have energy and best of all I have NO stomach pains. This past week, I was supposed to bring back some of the foods that were eliminated to see how my body reacted. Oh boy, the pains are terrible. My stomach is on fire and I feel so tired. I cannot eat even just a few pretzels without getting pains. I NEED this lifestyle in order to have a well functioning body and I appreciate the info that you share on your blog to those of us who are brand new to this :)

Anonymous said...

I believe you are missing the point. He is not promoting processed "gluten free foods" for weight loss. He suggests we consume "real" foods such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, fruits and vegetables. I gave up all wheat products 4 weeks ago and I went from a 35 inch waist to a 29 inch waist already. I have NO cravings anymore for junk food and I am rarely hungry and I feel great! Normally I would have been hungry every couple of hours, I had no idea that was due to a Wheat Addiction!!

Abi said...

I did not read all of the comments here so I apologize if this as already been said, but I'm concerned about the (mis)use of scientific data in books like this, which, as you say, have several things going for them that make them feel "credible". First off, thank you for writing this, it was very helpful, but I think that probably a lot of people saw that book on the bestseller list, thought "I should stop eating wheat / start eating gluten free and I'll lose weight", and didn't read the book or look up reviews. I don't like the idea of "data misrepresentation happens, oh well" which someone else said above. Isn't there a way to hold authors and publishing houses accountable for the way they represent scientific studies? This reminds me of what happened with Jonah Lehrer, although that was more a matter of plagiarism than data misrepresentation (although potentially less harmful to public health!).

Anonymous said...

As someone who has celiac disease and cannot eat wheat or gluten in any amount, I am disappointed that this book is making it harder to avoid the landmine that is what I call almost gluten-free food. Friends now think they know what I can eat and don't understand how diabling the consequences are. If it says gluten-free on the package, then it must be so. Sadly, this is not correct and I have to be even more careful than ever to ask about ingredients and possible sources of cross-contamination. If the consequence for eating gluten was that I would drop dead on the spot rather than suffer a few days of digestive ills including severe pain, would people be so cavalier about telling me what is gluten-free? Too bad Dr. Davis isn't donating some of the profits of the book for reseach into the puzzle that is celiac disease/wheat intolerance.

Anonymous said...

I too find this information not only insulting but possibly dangerous. My beautiful step daughter is celiac and cannot tolerate any gluten. Her health has improved wonderfully since eliminating gluten. What I find insulting is that I fell this fad diet undermines a real and significant health issue. Her food choices are not a fad. The fad diet makes celeriac decease seem less than real and less care is given to ingredients. Yes I believe in a gluten free diet but only if it is medically sound and not because it's the new trend. I am truly annoyed when I hear someone say they are "trying to be gluten free" and then find they are neither celiac or gluten intolerant. Someone with a peanut allergy doesn't "try to be peanut free"

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend recently found out he was allergic to wheat, so when I saw Dr. Davis on Dr. Oz I thought I would try wheat free to support my boyfriend and I would like to lose some weight also. I have not had any wheat for 3 weeks and have not lost one pound. I am about 20 pounds overweight. I have hypothyroidism and on Synthroid and also going through Menopause. I exercise 5 times a week and have for years. I am feeling somewhat discouraged and hungry for bread! Robin

Jacob said...

The test group was probably eating more breadsticks in an attempt to get the "fix" they were used to getting that the drug was blocking the effects of. The charts showing that American's started eating 400 more calories per day after the Frankenwheat became the predominant wheat is pretty compelling anecdotal evidence to me.

r.smith said...

I have a different perspective than most, I guess. I am an ER doctor and have evaluated, scanned, treated (drugged), thousands and thousands of patients with all types of functional bellyaches. My medical training never really addressed celiac disease. It's not really an emergency, after all. (from the ER docs point of view). Still, we have to figure out what to do with this patient, who is miserable, but undiagnosable (in the ER). After 3 decades of ER work, I have once again happened upon the age-old, but reliable tool of taking a diet history. "So, what did you eat today?. Pancakes?.. uh..Pizza? umm. and now your belly hurts and you need Dilaudid? umm...) or " So you had bowel resection 3 yrs ago for your 'colitis', and today you ate a foot long sub...what do you mean your doctors never told you to follow a dietary regimen?"

These people are real...as are the legions with metabolic syndrome, IDDM, and just plain morbid obesity. I am shocked on a daily basis (is it still possible?) at the number of people that will not consider the possibility that what they eat, makes them sick. Further, they get angry if I suggest that they consider a lifestyle change, such as trying a low carb diet, or eliminating wheat for 4 weeks...

I think this is where Dr Davis' book, and others like it can make a difference. By pushing the edge, (perhaps not completely, technically accurate on some points), by being DRAMATIC,, he gets people's attention. Maybe they will try something different. Maybe they will learn something. Maybe they will take responsibility for their own health.

Wheat is not essential for life. (unless perhaps you are really poor and have no other source of calories)

The big point from Wheat Belly is this- try it out, if you feel better. there you go! Beats seeing the ER doctor..... or if you would rather just keep eating like you are, come on in, bring your belly with you. The CT scanner is ready....

Anonymous said...

One thing not mentioned with people actually gaining weight on a gluten free diet is that there is a whole industry now providing gluten free foods, which is great for celiac patients, but these products contain potato starch, cornstarch tapioca flour which shoots blood sugar up just like wheat products which still creates problems and inflammation for diabetics like me. Weight loss is only one of the benefits for diabetics, asthma, arthritis, allergies and many other problems caused by inflamation are greatly reduced by elimination of any food which shoot your blood sugar up, the crashes it. It goes far beyond just weight loss.

Anonymous said...

Something surprising about all the comments-- people supportive of Wheat Belly diet, who lost all this weight. I'm curious what their cholesterol levels are. You can be thin, and appear healthy, and have killer deadly cholesterol levels. SO, I suggest these people have it checked, as well as blood pressure, and post their results.

Anonymous said...

Thanks pete for giving us a very helpful different opinion...you are amazing...

Autoriot said...

I believe that Dr. Davis has pointed out in the past, on many different occasions, that it is crucial that the person who is choosing to remove gluten from their diet not supplement it with a worse product. He has said to be cautious of products that advertise themselves as "Gluten Free" because the products usually supplement the gluten with a worse product.

I would be curious to know what the people who have gained weight by going gluten free actually ate. What was their diet like? You are quick to throw out statistics that contradict Dr. Davis' claims, but you offer nothing to support the idea that his findings were contradictory to some other scientific study.

I believe Dr. Davis suggests removing wheat entirely from your diet, not just gluten. Where are the contradictory numbers for that idea?

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at how hostile most of the WB followers are. Check the Facebook page. These people are down right belligerent! Is there some sort of cult?
They post their food triumphs, dishes such as lard covered lard balls simmered in lard enhanced lard, with a side of extra cheese, and immediately get 7 thumbs up! It's really weird and scary.. Check for yourself!

Anne Spenner said...

Have you asked Dr. Davis directly about his discrepancies? After all, he is a cardiologist practicing in the Milwaukee area. It can't be that hard to contact him. What does HE say?

Anonymous said...

Having given up dairy and sweets over 30 years ago I switched to a diet of organic grass fed meats, vegies and the healthy grains. As I approached my 60's, even as a yoga teacher who exercised faithfully, I got the fat little menopot "wheat belly". Continued to have skin irritations, sinus drainages. Was advised by Dr Mercola in Chicago years ago to give up grains but I thought he was "crazy". Finally I read "going Against the Grain" and then Wheat Belly and decided to add raw dairy back and take out all grains. Couldn't be more delighted. Menopot almost completely gone. Sleeping like a baby. Skin irritations disappearing within weeks. Sinus drainage gone. If anyone feels Dr. Davis is flawed then I suggest as Anne Spenner has said consult with Dr. Davis. Between Dr. Davis and Dr. Mercola who see thousands of patients and their results, my money is on them.

Stephanie said...

Peter Bronski: You are "angry" and there is only one thing that explains your anger. Dr. Davis warns everyone from eating "Gluten Free" products being peddled from manufacturers, as they often include ingredients that he does not think are good.

Your site is paid for by the "gluten Free". These are the manufacturers buying ad space on your site. Of course you are angry.

Todd O'Neil said...

While I an understand that people with the Celiac condition would be upset with this book, people like myself; non-celiac, can still benefit.
For example, this book simply puts perspective on how unhealthy so many things are for you such as pretzels, bread, and etc.
I enjoyed the book and have lost 10 lbs in about 2 months. Sure, I still eat some things with gluten and small amounts of wheat, but I have completely given up bread, pasta, and other junk food like this.
I personally like the book.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious why the people with celiac condition would be upset with this book. Did I miss something? They can't eat gluten, and the book is preaching "don't eat gluten". What's the problem?

I personally think the whole thing is Atkins on steroids-- another fad to be debunked when people realize their cholesterol is going through the roof since they no longer need to exercise and eat more animal products in favor of the bread they once ate.
But it's a quick hit for those too lazy to exercise and work at being in shape.


Tom B. said...

I have read "Wheat Belly" and have Celiac disease. I found this to be a significant book and I hope it will help many people from becoming diabetic which I think would be a more destructive and inconvenient disease than Celiac. Dr. Davis did a good job explaining how blood sugars can spike with "harmless" whole wheat bread and other wheat products and I also learned from his book that not all gluten free foods are good for a person's blood sugar and health. More awareness of gluten issues can only help Celiac people over time. And more awareness of gluten issues will aid others who may be helped going on a gluten free diet.

Now it is a major life choice for many people to go completely gluten free for 4 weeks to see if there health improves. (Tests for gluten intolerance are just not accurate enough even if you have the money.) From my perspective it is a no brainer to go gluten free for 4 weeks when a person has prediabetic glucose numbers, IBS, acid relex, or migraines; but with more books like Dr. Davis's it might not be so hard in the future for people to make that decision.

Anonymous said...

I found the critique useless. Panning large portions of the book and missing main points entirely. I would love to hear a discussion between reviewer and author as I expect that dismissive critique language could elevate to a more honest and informative level.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I do not agree one bit with what you said in your review so far I have lost a lot of weight in one month after skimming through this book. Dr. Davis is a saint in my eyes. People who do not eat healthy will not, never, never ever lose the weight. I cannot expect someone eating pork fat 3 times a week to lose weight by eliminating the wheat. Dr. Davis targets people who try to lead a healthy life rigged by all the lies food industries put out there. Look for foods with wheat by products and eliminate those as well. After a week of wheat belly diet my body starts to reject wheat and I will never eat wheat as long as I shall live. Go get your facts straight. You are not an MD so what do you know. Nothing!

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing most of the people who have had success with this diet are those who consumed major amounts of WHITE flour in their diet. Going from tons of white flour to NONE will definitely cause you to lose weight. However, going from white flour to whole wheat flour will probably yield pretty good results, too.

I would like to see the blog owner chime in here sometime this year though.

Anonymous said...

To the last blogger- Really?? Did you read the book?
I'm 45 and have suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, dermititis herpetiformis, chronic sinus problems (at various degrees of severity, in some occurances disabling) for the last 25 years. I have eliminated wheat from my diet and have had no flare ups (of any of these conditions since), and also dropped some weight. No matter how precise certain quotes froms scientific studies are, bottom line is if it works why trash it? When I read the book, I also understood that going back to wheat would mean a return of all these problems so I totally got that Dr Davis does not (and he is really clear about this) allow occasionnal consumption of wheat. For example if you hit your head on the wall and it hurts each time, if you stop, the pain stops and it becomes obvious that if you start again the pain will resume...It just common sense. If it works and is helpful to so many people...What good will it do to discredit it...As soon as someone comes up with something that is not harmful and that really helps people why should other people want to demolish it?

Anonymous said...

How can you argue against the proof in the patients - they are the proof that going off wheat does what the Dr. says. The problem is that Doctors dont want you to go off wheat because then people would become healthy and wouldnt need the medications doctors put them on in the first place. We need more of the truth - doctors like Dr. Davis. You have to try it to believe that it works. It is a lifestyle change but so is it when you have celiacs, cancer, asthma, diabetes, etc. Real people with these real problems/diseases have gone off wheat and no longer take the medications - thats what the doctors dont like!!! The truth is in the people who actually change to this lifestyle!!

Anonymous said...

I today world it's very difficult to know whom to believe on this subject. I like the testimonials of common folks more than anything. What I have no knowledge of are facts like "Do the Bronski's have any ties or interests in Monsanto?"

Anonymous said...

I've been wheat-free, more or less (save for the occasional beer) for about a year now and I've dropped 20 pounds.

I've not purchased Wheat Belly, but just decided to try to go without wheat based on what others have said and see what would happen.

To the doubters--just try it. You don't have to spend one cent on buying the book. you just simply make a diet and lifestyle change.

I still eat comfort foods like rice and I'll have the occasional rice-bread pizza. But I think going wheat-free is just the easiest way to go low carb, which is why it works. And wheat is the worst of the high carb foods.

Nick said...

The only research that gets publicized are the ones they want to let people read plus most funding comes from the big food companies for food research. Keep that in mind when reading anything. This basically means Dr only know what big business let them know. This goes for wheat, gmo food, vaccines and so on. It's all about the almighty dollar.

JMSH said...

Spot on review. To the previous respondents without celiacs who claim that going "wheat free" has resulted in miraculous cures for all your ills, most of you said that meant giving up white bread, cake, muffins, etc. DING DING DING! Most people who decide to go wheat free have really just given up refined and highly processed carbohydrates - white pasta, bread, sugary baked goods, etc. Anyone who is giving up these foods will likely see dramatic health improvements, wheat or not. I made the choice to only consume whole grains (not "made with" whole grains)and unprocessed foods sometime ago and lost weight without even trying. My advice is and always continues to be "Eat Real Food." The problem is not with wheat, but with over processed and sugar-laden food in general. And while we are talking about peer review and scientific evidence, there is a plethora of research and data directly linking a plant-based diet with reduced mortality and disease. The Wheat Belly Diet will only cause a replacement of healthy plant-based foods (fruits, legumes, etc) with meat and dairy, which the over consumption of has been shown in study after study to increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, etc.

Breeze said...

Did we read the same book? He isn't talking about gluten sensitivities/celiacs..he's saying the wheat has been altered such that it isn't good for anybody. Gluten isn't even the real issue unless you're gluten free.

If that part is true..just based on that...I would give up wheat as I am attempting to eat a non gmo diet.

Anonymous said...

Please, your "analysis" is weak. As a wheat belly success story, all my issues (weight, pain, fatigue) have been eliminated after 6 months on the diet.

You sound like the church lady nitpicking at the good Doctor. And ,ost of your posters sound like angry people mad at the world because of their Celiac problem. Waaa, people are trivializing my condition with a fad diet. Grow up,

Jason said...

I just finished the book Wheat Belly, and I did not read it as a "diet" book. I read it from a health standpoint. Stop eating wheat and gluten and feel better. If you lose weight, which is going to happen anytime you change your lifestyle and incorporate "live" food. So, my question, which seems to be the only question, is to everyone and the author, "is eliminating wheat and gluten, good or bad for you?"

In my past, I worked in pharmaceutical marketing and public relations, so I am well aware of studies, clinical trials, message points and paid endorsement. The fact that wheat can break the blood brain barrier and chemotherapy can't, is amazing - physiologically. All the studies and white papers do not mean as much as personal results.

What is nice about free will is that you can read this book, or any other book or not read any books at all. The answer lies within.

Point is, our time here is limited, so we can rationalize everything, take everything as "gospel", be cynical, be skeptical or we can do what is best for us as individuals.

Thank you for your comment Doug. Be aware of what is going on, in government, pharmaceutical companies, lobbying groups, R&D...it is all about big $$$ and always will be.

I haven't eaten wheat or sugar in 5 weeks, and I am down 12 pounds, but I feel so much better and lighter. 6 years ago I dropped 65 pounds in a year, still ate bread (sparingly) and oatmeal every day. Still loss the weight, still felt better and lowered my triglycerides by 70% and cholesterol by 45% - no meds. Stay out of the middle aisles at the grocery store, or better yet, stay out of the grocery store, and you will probably look and feel better. Don't need a study to tell me that.

j said...

Hi Pete,

I'm reading wheatbelly right now. It seems that that there is more and more literature claiming that cereal grains in general aren't as great as we initially thought ("Perfect Health Diet" is another one that comes to mind).

Do you agree with the overall premise that wheat isn't actually that good for you? Or is your criticism strictly with the weight loss aspect of his argument?

AshleyK said...

Wow. Kudos. Rarely do I read a comment thread that is completely informative, seemingly unbiased, and consistently updated. I also find the lack of super angry posters to be a pleasant surprise. I just finished the book, and although I have been a vegetarian eating a whole food diet for five years, I was tempted to try GF for a couple weeks just to see if it would have an effect on me. After reading this review and the subsequent posts, I think I'll stick with my sprouted grain toast and peanut butter for breakfast. If it ain't broke...

Anyway, thanks for the thorough work on this. The internet can be a loud, scary place. Much appreciated.

Sharon L said...

I have recently started to seriously look into gluten sensitivity as a cause for a lot of the symptoms I've lived with for years and came across info on the Wheat Belly book and then your article.

I was hopeful about the book and may still read it since it may have some valid info but it's very disappointing that the book has such misinformation. I do agree that it makes one wonder about the credibility of the book as a whole.

I appreciate you taking the time to write this post and for getting the truth out.

I wonder if those who have been very defensive in their posts here may be affiliated with the author or even may be the author himself.

Unknown said...

Well, I had my cholesterol checked a year before I gave up wheat, and then about 6 months after giving up wheat.

While I added more fats to my diet, my cholesterol stayed the same, while my triglyceride level fell by about 2/3.

But that's just me.

Sarah said...

I posted the results of a study showing some questions about his findings today on Wheat Belly on Facebook, and you would have though I had peed on his face by the horrendously rude comments thrown at me by the Wheat Belly community. My point is - and always will be - that fad diets are the reason that we are so fat. People take research and twist it to their own purposes - usually to sell a book - and then the rest of the world jumps on the bandwagon. Everyone is looking for a quick way to lose weight and there just isn't one. The only way to do it is to eat less than you use. Period. WHAT you eat - for non-celiac people (let me make that clear, I have a great deal of empathy for you guys that have celiac) - doesn't matter. But people don't want to hear that. Whatever happened to reasoned discourse? Oh, yeah...they invented social media and people feel free to write things they'd NEVER say to your face....

Linda said...

I'm grateful for this review. As a believer of "all things in moderation", I have been skeptical of the premise that the consumption of wheat is the root of all evil. I'm happy to see some balance in the conversation.
I'm half way through "The Wheat Belly" and despite my skepticism, I'm trying a wheat/gluten free diet due to severe OA. At this point, I'll try anything to avoid a potential hip replacement. I'm only a week into the GF diet and have lost 2 pounds. I'm thrilled with the weight loss which I attribute to the reduction in carbs rather than the elimination of wheat. For me, the value of a GF diet is yet to be seen.
I was very happy to read the blog and subsequent conversation. Your approach makes sense!

Sadie's Place said...

It's not a "gluten free" diet that Dr Davis is talking about. He also addresses the issues of overweight celiacs and how gluten free products cause visceral fat to be stored in our bodies. It's a "wheat free, gluten free, AND NO GLUTEN FREE products lifestyle.". It's worked amazingly for me and I feel incredible. I don't eat gluten free food products, wheat or gluten. I could careless what negative criticism it gets. People are getting healthier and losing weight by losing the wheat. The vast majority of individuals who have actually followed the "wheat free, gluten free and NO gluten free "products" diet can attest to their increased health and weight loss.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! I couldn't have said it better. The average person had no clue when it comes to white flour, whole wheat flour, or that "contains" whole wheat flour stuff. They just 'gave up' flour. When in all reality, they gave up the nasty white flour.
If people would switch from nasty white flour products to WHOLE wheat flour, they'd see amazing results as well.
The Facebook Wheat Belly people are totally nuts. I agree completely. I poked around, and it almost seems like a weird cult. Again, I think they're the people who ate total crap and switched to NO WHEAT. Now they're happy they can still eat a lot of nasty stuff, as long as they don't eat the bun. It's a very tempting diet, for sure! I encourage the readers to go to Facebook and see for yourself.

Sure, they're going to see some good results. But, by the same logic, one could argue that the best way to avoid car accidents is for nobody to drive cars. We'd have no more car accidents.

beastwork said...

I stumbled upon a wheat free diet on my own. I later found that Dr. Davis had written his book and created a stir of the detriments of a wheat based diet. I personally view bread as the original processed food as it does not exist in nature.

After cutting out all processed foods (bread included) and grains I found that I slept much better at night. I know longer require 9 hours to be fresh. 6-7 hours was plenty and I began to wake without the aid of an alarm.

I've also lost about 16 lbs in a matter of weeks. However I don't credit that to wheat making me fat. Burning more calories than I consumed is why I lost the weight. I credit the weight loss and my ability to eat at a caloric deficit to the fact that I don't have the intense CRAVINGS that I used to have. Wheat/bread/grains are empty calories that provide little nutrition and lots of carbohydrates. This results in a never ending doo-loop of hunger. Impossible for me to maintain a healthy weight while eating wheat or other processed food.

JMSH said...

Not only are the WB followers completely ruthless, but Dr. Davis is no better! Lately he's been taking to his blog to post rebuttals to anyone who disagrees with his view point, whether they mention his name or not. Then, he encourages his readers to swarm the critic with hateful messages on their article or webpage. For a medical doctor to resort to these elementary school tactics is baffling to me. In my 10 year career, I've worked with a number of experts in the field of preventive health, and never have I witnessed such unprofessionalism from someone with an MD behind their name. Sad. How anyone could defend this type of behavior from a medical professional is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I have read the Wheat Belly book and although I don't go to the extreme, I have cut out gluten and grains from my diet and it has been TREMENDOUS. People don't want to give up their bread, cookies and cakes and that's the issue because those things are addicting. If I eat just one Dunkin Donut, I NEED to eat more...I cannot stop myself. If I eat a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits and protein, I feel satisfied and don't need to binge on garbage. Different things work for different people. I get a lot of fiber and drink a lot of water. I allow myself dark chocolate and red wine in moderation. I drink coffee with almond milk. I only cut processed sugar from my diet, but not all sugar (as in fresh fruit). I do not buy gluten free and products from the supermarket, because yes, they are just as bad as the real things and they are processed as well. I make pancakes, waffles and treats from almond and coconut flour and it has worked wonders! His studies may or may not be off because wherever you search, you can find someone for it and someone against it, touting that THEY are right. I recommend people do what is best for them and recognize their weaknesses and what their body responds to and stop trying to prove people wrong. When I hear too much protesting, I hear a secret agenda.

JMSH said...

Anon - First of all, good for you for cutting out processed food! I did the same for myself and my family and it made such a difference. I don't think anyone is disputing the benefits of eating food closer to the way nature intended. What I take issue with is that Dr. Davis irresponsibly blames wheat, even in it's whole, unprocessed form, to virtually all our ills, with very little real science to back it up. When you equate eating wheat to eating a Dunkin Donut, do really think that makes sense? What else does a Dunkin Donut have in it? Crazy amounts of sugar, fat and even salt. I encourage you to read the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, which could give you more insight as to why you are indeed so addicted to the Dunkin Donut. Furthermore, Dr. Davis protests wheat far more than anyone else "protests" his book. How is that for a secret agenda?

craigw said...

I just read an interview in the April 2013 issue of Acres USA (I'm a long-time subscriber) with Dr. Davis concerning his book Wheat Belly. I was intrigued with the article, as I have friends who have eliminated wheat in their diets; with the results that Dr. Davis quoted. I am always looking at these things with a critical eye, and ran across your review of the book before I purchased it. I'm glad I read your review.
As other people on this matter, I am quite confused. I have looked over your website and have asked to be on your mailing list.
The question I have is different than the others. I looked at your recipes and noted that you have an "Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend".
Dr. Davis responded to a question from the editor of Acres USA concerning the gluten-free movement. Dr. Davis responded and I quote "If we label this "gluten-free", it sends people down the path of replacing wheat/gluten with gluten-free foods made with cornstarch,rice starch or rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch-the only foods that raise blood sugar even higher than wheat"
Would you please comment on this quote, as your flour blend contains many of the ingredients he condemns. Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete, I was just thinking of getting wheat belly. I understand that there are alot of gluten intolerant people. However, the initial reason for me to think about it was that it claims the diet can help with skin issues. I have had eczema my entire life. I now get shots to help control it. I wasnt crazy about these shots at first but I was desperate. I have tried everything except for changing my diet. I eat very little carbs now as it is. I do enjoy cereal for breakfast and brown rice at dinner, my diet is pretty healthy, and I excersise. But I feel that to substitute a few things in my diet would be quite easy. I believe that some people do better on certain foods than others and that diet has an enormous effect on the body. I don't have celiacs, does that mean that I should not try this diet? I think that the idea of people trying to better their health in any way is good. If soneone wants to cut/ or lessen gluten for whatever reason it should not be frowned upon. I undrestand the severity for people to take celiac serious, I completely agree. I also think that with any diet if not medically urgent shouldnt be that extreme. There are other reasons to try this diet and other diets besides weight loss or intorerance

Anonymous said...

'We, the gluten-free community'?

There's a 'gluten-free community?

People like dr. Davis will always catch slack.

Fact is, many people, already benefited from his book. Might be a bit too mainstream and simplified for the gluten-free insider but the masses don't care about details as long as they see improvement.

Sheri said...

Oh boy - another person bashing The Wheat Belly Diet book. This book has NOTHING to do with being gluten free, and everything to do with being wheat and grain free. Most people on GF diets are still consuming loads of crap by eating GF foods. Dr. Davis specifically tells people to avoid that garbage - NOT for weight loss, but for health reasons. Many people have befitted from his book, and have seen vast health improvements by living wheat and grain free.

Robert Haines said...

I don't think Pete understood the book, or the studies. I'm not sure Pete actually read this book in its entirety. Like a few others commented, it's like we read different books. Maybe people that write reviews like this want to attack something mainstream to get a lot of people reading their reviews and to promote their own agendas.

Robert Haines said...

I can't believe how right I was when I wrote my last comment (which is pending approval). It seems this blogger has some stuff to sell which people might not buy if they have the Davis book. I wonder if the other people posting noticed that the ever-critical Peter has a few books to peddle as well. Unbelievable. I don't think Peter understood the Davis book. A poster named Craig seemed to catch on: Quoting Dr. Davis "If we label this "gluten-free", it sends people down the path of replacing wheat/gluten with gluten-free foods made with cornstarch,rice starch or rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch-the only foods that raise blood sugar even higher than wheat"
Would you please comment on this quote, as your flour blend contains many of the ingredients he condemns. Thank you very much

next2normal said...

well it was weight gain for me when i went gluten free as i had gone to skin and bone of 65kg,now 90kg never been this weight ,but happy with it,my gluten trip took 7 years and about 100 visits to the dr,end up non celiac, but high anti gliadin IGG 295(15) IGA 110 (5)then the abuse about fad diets ect ect ,but the thing that i dont like , is the use of gluten to bind meds, that not so bad compared to, that gluten in meds dont need to be labelled as its not an active ingredent.

Anonymous said...

My husband folowed Wheat Belly. His cholesterol had been elevated and he was contantly being told by his doctor to take statin drugs, but he refused. Six months of following Wheat Belly and his LDL dropped 50 points and his HDL oncreased!

Anonymous said...

I'm calling BS on you too, because you failed to mention the fact that most celiacs gain weight after going on a gluten-free diet is because most commercial gluten-free products being marketed to celiacs are very high calorie. Just this month I saw a recipe for cookies in a popular gluten-free magazine in which the cookies using gluten-free flour were over 800 calories each! I have gained over 30 lbs. since using such products. I now do what Dr. Davis suggests and avoid any processed product labeled "gluten-free."

Anonymous said...

I don't have a science background, but I read a lot about nutrition. It seems to me that it is the easiest thing in the world to shoot holes in someone else's nutrition study. When it comes to diet and the workings of the human body, there are billions of variables and billions of details we do not know. Making definitive statements about what causes disease can be like the old TV game show concentration: exactly guess the whole phrase when you have two of 25 of the clues. All too often there are also financial or career interests driving the criticisms, which seems to be the case here.

Clinical practice and anecdotal evidence can be just as valuable as "controlled studies." I gave up wheat, sugar, milk and most grains six years ago at the advice of my doctor when I was diagnosed with colitis. After three days, I lost the recurring brain fog which I had had, AND I lost my migraines, which I got quite often. I have not had a migraine since. I am also became completely free of colitis, and no longer take any medication.

I never knew if it was the wheat, milk or sugar, and until "Wheat Belly" I have never even found anything in print (except the SCD diet) exploring the subject. Kudos to Dr. Williams for daring to bring his hypothesis to the general public, many of whom will undoubtedly benefit.

Hi publishers probably told him to focus on the weight loss aspect because you will sell a lot more books than if you tell people to give up wheat to get healthier.

Anonymous said...

He Pete, your still special cause you got celiac. Don't let the book make you feel like your not special anymore.

I am reading the book as I write this and I do not agree with your review.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Anonymous, really?
"It seems to me that it is the easiest thing in the world to shoot holes in someone else's nutrition study." - Dr. Davis has not conducted a nutrition study. He wrote a diet book to make money. HUGE difference.
"Making definitive statements about what causes disease can be like the old TV game show concentration: exactly guess the whole phrase when you have two of 25 of the clues. All too often there are also financial or career interests driving the criticisms, which seems to be the case here." - Really? Then what do you have to say about Dr. Davis' claims that wheat pretty much CAUSES every autoimmune and chronic disease in the book? Dr. Davis is laughing all the way to the bank with his scientifically irresponsible tall tales because people like you with "no scientific background" buy it, hook, line and sinker. The critique of this book and how Dr. Davis misconstrued scientific results is very much factual and deserves to be exposed.
"Clinical practice and anecdotal evidence can be just as valuable as "controlled studies." - Unless it is peer-reviewed, no, clinical practice and anecdotal evidence will never even be close to a well-controlled and conducted study.

Migna Vazquez said...

I'm more confused now...and i have'nt read the book yet...i need to loose weight and i can! I need help!!!!

Anonymous said...

Be open minded. I haven't completed the book as I am reading several from the perspective of reference to a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. If you don't have to be gluten free then make up your own mind as to how far you take Dr. Davis' opinions. I was more interested in the many ways wheat gluten can impact on your life and health. I have not gone gluten free, but as per Dr. Davis' advise I do not buy gluten free products. I don't believe you should hang on anyones every word as the absolute gospel but rather look at the overall product and make up your own mind. I am 60 yrs young. I have lost over 20 lbs in three months, all visceral fat. Yes, I am now extremely consious of food containing wheat but I have also eliminated all the bad components of the North American diet from mine. My blood sugars have returned to acceptable numbers along with several other extremely elevated numbers and I am drug free because I refused to take them from the onset. I wanted to see what I could do about fixing my problem since I was the one who caused the problem throught ignorance and bad publicity. If I couldn't handle my diabetes acceptably and medication was the only answer then so be it but I decided to give it a go first and it worked. We are not perfect, we are not living in a perfect world and there are no perfect answers but every little bit helps and if something you try works for you, perfect.

Rice Paper said...

Unless my diabetes has already turned me blind, I see NO comments refering to Dr Davis having his own health issues with wheat and cooking and eating his own foods. As a diabetes sufferer with fibromyalgia, asthma and sinus issues, I am amazed at the improvement I have experienced. A dear friend who is also diabetic has found the same results. We are stoked. I found your review very unpleasant and was glad to see people bring to light that you have your own book and may also be subsidised by "gluten free" food peddlars. If nothing else, the book helped me recognise that I have had a life long intolerance to wheat - which my mother worsened by thrashing us if we did not eat our bread - even though I always felt sick from it. Dr Davis may not be "Dr Kildare, but he has helped a lot of people.

Connie said...

WOW!! I am sooo glad I found this post before I threw out a load of food!
I am not gluten-intolerant nor do I have celiac ( that I know of) but I have gastrointestinal problems, sore joints and sciatic nerve back pain. My mother has RA and I have for the past two years been in search of a food diet that would relieve us of our issues and get my mom off her medications. They are killing her, her immune system suffers and she gets sick from the slightest things. We have always been diehard farmers that never had issues, so why now I thought?
I caught myself reading books such as this "Wheat Belly" and falling pray to every word they have to say!
The only real diet I found to loose weight and feel better was when I went off dairy (which I dearly love), fatty meats, added sugars, and processed foods. That worked for the weight, but I still had intestinal upset on occasion and sore joints so the search was still on for that perfect diet.
To my end, thank you so much for digging the dirt out of this book for me. I do believe that GMO foods are unhealthy for us, but I don't think we should give them up all-together just find healthy alternatives.

Anonymous said...

It's funny reading the arguing back and forth from the pro-wheat-belly people and the skeptics. It usually goes something like this:

pro-wheat-belly: I read the book, stopped eating wheat, and lost a ton of weight!

skeptic: Yes, but cutting carbs will do that. It doesn't mean wheat is evil.

pro-wheat-belly: But I lost a ton of weight! Davis is GOD!

skeptic: But.. you simply cut carbs and sugar. You also cut processed food containing that stuff.

pro-wheat-belly: You don't know what you're talking about. I followed his diet and lost a ton of weight!

etc.... see the pattern?
It's funny.

Found this link:
Another bit of research

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been gluten free for 3 years, and suffered from ill health because of gluten for 47 years, I am a bit tired of the gluten free club folks (celiac or non) who have this "holier than thou" attitude about everything gluten.

It doesn't appear that GMO foods are very good for us. You can do the research and see for yourself.

And since wheat has been modified so much that it isn't really wheat anymore, it might be good for everyone to stay away from it. Even,yes, just cutting back.

All the CD folks jump on their soap boxes saying how unfair it is to have to hear about how people are using the diet for weight loss, and how the books that are telling the truth about wheat are inaccurate, blah, blah, blah.

My whole extended family has gone gluten free.

While some of them did it for health reasons and not because they have a diagnosable illness, they are feeling and doing much better.

I salute and support them. Not whine because they're not in the club.

Lighten up folks.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if you really read the book? It does not say dont eat wheat and lose weight.. You are over symplifying it. I believe you condemed the book before you opened the cover and activly looked for holes to poke in it. Educated people should have more of an open mind and be very guarded in the opinions they share. Including you.

Anonymous said...

Good review I must say. I didn't take the time read the different studies and there could be a lot wrongly explaned by Davis. In general you can say graines are unhealthy for human, Chinese Medicine in the past was already aware of this. And what I personly know is that because of get rid of all the gluten (not carbohydrates) I have must less problems with my Ulcerative Colitis. Within two weeks now!

Kansas Mom said...

All I know is that ever since our daughter became allergic to wheat and lactose, there really wasn't any reason to quit eating wheat...until, my husband's blood glucose went through the roof. The book was recommended to us and after almost a month of being gluten free, my husbamd's sugar is back under control, we are saving tons of money by not eating out, our family spends more time at home eating in our kitchen and my daughter is no longer alone in her gluten free misery. Even though I was motivated to lose weight and have only dropped 5 lbs., it is the transformation my husband has gone through that has been life changing. MI believe that going wheat free has benefitted us more than merely just being a diet. We feel better, have more energy, aren't hungry all the time and are trying more healthy fruits and vegetables instead of all the processed foods we were used to buying. Personally it has caused havoc on my previously good cooking reputation and our family is constantly tying new foods, but overall I am happy with what the Wheat Belly book has done for our family.

Pat said...

I am not guided by reviews as every person's body will react differently due to age, sex, health issues, etc.

We are going WHEATLESS in our house.

First, my son does display what you might consider addictive behavior with pasta & wheat products and was 30 pounds overweight.

Secondly, for years I have been told I had IBS and over the last 5 years I have had two Ultrasounds of my belly to identify problems. None were found and so my discomfort continued without a solution. Gas and bloating nearly became unbearable.

During the six weeks, we have embraced the idea of eliminating wheat and other GMO products. I have been the most strict, but my young son does eat out periodically and still has lost 13 pounds.

For me, my abstention has been a miracle for my health; I have no bloating and I have lost 10 pounds or so.

Peter, you may be correct about the use of the citations used by Dr. Davis, but more important are the facts presented that have been substantiated through the results my, and my family's, physiology.

Anonymous said...

I am an engineering manager for new pioneering technologies, (experimentation and recording results is key to the profession) and though perhaps inaccurate, per reviewer, I have enjoyed significant results from this book's general thrust. I suggest that readers of this present review may lose out of the benefits, including easy weight loss, that I have personally realized from this general wheat-belly approach ; losing out if focused solely upon discovery of the books several apparent errors sited above. I do have a dog in this fight but have zero relationship to the author or publisher. I am one who has had a weight problem beginning in my mid-30s with severe yo-yo dieting until finally obese at age 62. My adult children persuaded me to try eliminating wheat wheat products. The best result for me, after the initial 3 weeks of withdrawal suffering (and I do believe it was an addictive withdrawal of sorts, now past), is that I am free from hunger pangs for the first time in 30 years.....So this is a huge blessing not to have food-hunger in charge of my attitude for much of the workday. The weight has steadily fallen away at about 35 pounds gone and without any calorie counting, yup I eat a bit of candy (sugar cane based) each day too but I am not hungry for very much of it anymore. I just don't get "nutty hungry" anymore. To complicate the wheat belly theory though I must advise that I now also stay away from any ground milled finely divided grains....only eating rolled oats or cut-oats at breakfast....no flours of any type. I won't be going back to wheat. The trend indicates that I should arrive at being merely overweight in several more months and no longer obese. Drosselmeier

Tricia said...

I sincerely appreciate this review on Dr Davis' "Wheat Belly" book. I haven't bought the book, but watched his hour long video seminar. His explanation of how our wheat has changed - cross bred and hybridized - over the years, to the point that, not only is it NOT healthy, it is downright dangerous to our health - all made sense to me. One of a few things I had a problem with was his push to omit ALL grains from your diet, even if they are Organic (which is the only kind I would buy). I even recently came across a blog from a farm in Italy who is growing Einkorn wheat in all it's purity... you can check it out at www.jovial foods.com and I wrote to Dr Davis, asking for his professional opion about it. Someone else responded saying ALL WHEAT, ALL GRAINS should be eliminated. And they strongly suggested I buy and read the book. I have, and will continue to keep modern day wheat (and products) out of my diet, but I am NOT convinced that all grains are bad. I would appreciate a response from you, please. ~ Tricia

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at how much suffering, misery and pain some people seem to have with wheat, and how it "all goes away" when they stop consuming it. How much were they consuming?!?!? I've never had an addiction to wheat products, and I can take them or leave them. It's just that they're everywhere. I don't eat 5 pounds of bread or wheat products daily as some of these people seem to consume, so I can't relate to the enormous cut. I've gone the opposite though. For example, there are days when I've consumed a tremendous amount of free pizza (some work event) and felt crappy for a day or 2. Is this how people feel every day??? If so, then YES! Cut back a little!!
I do drink a lot of beer though, which isn't wheat beer. But his book knocks that, too. This seems a bit odd, since the book is supposed to be targeting evil wheat. But he tries to loop all grains in as well.

But, whatever appeases the masses.

If you can eat a ton of meat, cheese, fried bacon and eggs-- every day-- and still feel great. Good for you!
...good luck with that in 20 years.

Tricia said...

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your thorough review on the Wheat Belly diet. I haven't read the book, but I recently came across and watched Dr Davis' hour-long seminar on YouTube. I've questioned a lot of his claims, and continued my research until I read your article - which summed up and answered all my questions and concerns.

Dr Davis claims that hundreds (or more) are turning their lives and health around by eliminated wheat from their diets - not just those with Celiac disease, but everyone who is overweight or has chronic health issues. He says that just by cutting out wheat, we will lose weight and regain our health. However, he also strongly recommends (or demands) avoidance of most whole grains, and limited fruit intake.

My initial thought was - Is the Wheat Belly diet much different from the Atkins Diet? Of course people are going to lose weight on either, because they are low-carb diets. And losing weight will improve most people's health. But Dr Davis goes on to include elimination of a LOT of foods, including healthy, fresh, organic (or not) fruit!

If there is ONE positive thing I got from the Wheat Belly seminar, it is the encouragement to continue to eat healthy - and to include more raw foods into my diet.

I have already been eating very healthy - as I have most of my life - but over the last four years, I've made significant improvements in my diet by avoiding GMO's and eating mostly Organic whole foods.

One more positive: Because I've had stomach issues for 15+ years, I did try Dr Davis' suggestion to cut out wheat from my diet. After one month wheat-free, I have had no usual cramping, etc. after meals. I also lost the last few stubborn pounds, but that's not surprising because I am eating LESS carbs!

I'm sorry for such a lengthy comment. All this to say - I very much appreciate your thoroughly researched review of Dr Davis' Wheat Belly Diet!

~ Trisha L

Anonymous said...

As someone who eats gluten-free, I appreciate the unbiased tone of this blog post.

I'm beginning to read Wheat Belly so I was interested in hearing your critique. However, I must say, your arguments are ALSO very flawed.

I tried piecing together your logic using the literature you cite.

Let's start with the first article. First, you say the 91 of the 215 patients gained weight. That is true. However, you need to look at the big picture. From Table 1: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/4/669/T1.expansion.html
I make the following conclusion:

There were less overall underweight AND overweight patients after they went on the gluten-free diet.

In the male category, underweight patients had a drop of 4% of individuals, normal patients had a rise of 10%, overweight stayed constant but the obese men dropped 6% which means the overweight groups and the obese groups as a whole lost weight and the underweight patients gained weight.

In the female category, underweight patients dropped as a result of the gluten-free diet by 7%, normal patients rose 16%, while overweight and obese increased overall by 1%. There are still 9% of women at diagnosis who are unaccountable.

But also, there are some issues with the study as exemplified by this letter: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/6/1452.full

The writer of the letter states:

"Second, also in Results, the authors state, “Ninety-one patients gained weight between the time of diagnosis and 6 mo after starting a gluten-free diet, and the weight gain ranged from 0.5 to 46 kg (average of 7.5 kg). In the same period, 25 patients lost an average of 12.5 kg (range: 1–63 kg).” Both gaining 46 kg and losing 63 kg within a space of 6 mo seems unrealistic. There appeared to be no consideration of the age of the subjects (range: 1–90 y at diagnosis) or of the fact that, at the time of the study, 13–14 y had passed since diagnosis (and most likely also since the start of a gluten-free diet) for some of the subjects. Gaining 46 kg between the ages of 1 and 14 y is not remarkable and might not be wholly attributable to the effect of the diet."

To your second point, you are correct, that the author of Wheat Belly makes the calculation error. And that same article they do write that 82% of initially overweight patients gained weight on the gluten-free diet.

The lack of gluten doesn't cause people to lose weight but it does help if you don't just eliminate wheat but all grains because bread does have a higher Glycemic Index than table sugar. You can eat gluten-free junk food, chalk-full of carbohydrates and gain plenty of weight.

To your third argument, you are being misleading. You say people ate 41% more breadsticks on Naloxone than on the placebo. You're correct about that. However, the people on Naloxone ate overall less gluten containing snacks than on the placebo. If you just calculate the percentages compared to the placebo of all the gluten containing snacks, the patients ate 24% less overall gluten containing snacks.

From Figure 1, I include the following snacks:

Breadsticks: +41%
Crackers: -17%
Pretzels: -40%
Shortbread: -70%
Chocolate Cookies: -27%
Chocolate Chip Cookies: -31%

If you take an average of all the percentages you get an average of 24% less gluten containing snack consumption.

Again, I thank you for your lack of bias in writing a blog post about the biases of Dr. Davis, however, I think we all could do a little bit of good if you check the biases or your "unbiases"... or something like that. :)

Anonymous said...

You are losing weight due to the obvious... low crab diet. It's unrealistic for most people to make a lifestyle change like that. For most cutting back on crabs (wheat) is good enough but to go and say they are bad for a person when that is not true is terrible.

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