Wheat Belly – A Timely & Important Book

Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD,

is not so much about a fat belly (more on that later) as it is about a health risk that is with us every day – the wheat most of us eat in many forms.  Consider taking the time to read this book and you may find, as I have, that the symptoms, health problems, and solutions related to wheat are worth taking seriously.   As I read this book, I found a number of situations and symptoms that I have experienced myself or that I have heard about directly from friends.  The book will be #5 in the September, 2011 bestseller list for “Advice and How To” books.

Wheat BellyBuy at

AmazonWheat Belly

Dr. Davis is Medical Director of the Track Your Plaque program and advocate of early heart disease prevention and reversal. He practices preventive cardiology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   His popular website is the Heart Scan Blog.  In this video, Dr. Davis comments on why this is so important…

Wheat BellyWheat Belly delivers a message many of us need to hear.  It doesn’t particularly recommend we all stop eating wheat.  It does, however, provide some examples of the potential health risks that wheat poses, for those of us who choose to keep it in our diet.  Dr. Davis provides an overview in this video:

So what’s wrong with Wheat?  The following is a high level summary of the health risks of eating wheat, as fully explained by Dr. Davis in the book.

Wheat Can…

  1. Accelerate weight gain* as it is one of the largest sources of carbs.
  2. Cause Celiac Disease, nervous disorders, and other maladies due to Gluten.
  3. Accelerate weight gain* due to its high Glycemic Index (comparable to table sugar).
  4. Cause protracted sugar highs and lows (usually 2 hours apart) contributing to weight gain*.
  5. Cause inflammation, osteoporosis, arthritis, joint pain, etc. due to its acidity.
  6. Stimulate appetite, contributing to weight gain*.
  7. Accelerate glycation leading to accelerated aging, skin deterioration, acne, rashes, and hair loss.

* weight gain is a known risk factor/precursor for cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, etc

Dr. Davis chose to call the book Wheat Belly, because a protruding belly (Wheat Belly) is a dead giveaway of too much wheat in the diet.  In times past, a prominent belly was a sign of wealth and privilege, but is now common at all income levels.   A Wheat Belly has become a bit too acceptable, which is a shame because it is both unhealthy and a telltale sign of eating too much wheat:

But wheat’s impact on the waistline is its most visible and defining characteristic, an outward expression of the grotesque distortions humans experience with consumption of this grain. A wheat belly represents the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage. While some people store fat in their buttocks and thighs, most people collect ungainly fat around the middle.

As an introduction to wheat, Dr. Davis warns that the wheat we eat today is very little like the wheat we consumed just 40 years ago.  The changes to wheat since then revolved around continually developing new hybrids and have increased exponentially to make it cheaper, tastier, and easier to use.   We’ve seen remarkable progress on the production side (the business of producing and selling wheat).  On the consumption side (the poor blokes who eat this stuff) there appears to be little oversight on the impact of those changes.

Modern wheat, despite all the genetic alterations to modify hundreds, if not thousands, of its genetically determined characteristics, made its way to the worldwide human food supply with nary a question surrounding its suitability for human consumption.

Well, that’s disturbing!  Especially when a consistent message we hear is to eat more “healthy whole grains”!

The challenge with this discussion on the potential health risks of wheat is that it is part of the fabric of our lives – our entire lives since we were children – from cereal in the morning to hamburger buns.  It is both a staple and a valued source of comfort food.  So why must we now consider dropping this treasured food from our diet!

Dr. Davis addresses this head-on with a startling warning on the price any of us may have to pay to hold on to our treasured comfort food.  He provides detailed information on the broad spectrum of potential health impacts of wheat consumption.  For each of the types of health risks he includes either his own personal experience with wheat or direct information on patients who have suffered from and sometimes recovered from these health problems.  This is an example of actual results with his patients:

After three months [on a wheat-free diet], my patients returned to have more blood work done. As I had anticipated, with only rare exceptions, blood sugar (glucose) had indeed often dropped from diabetic range (126 mg/dl or greater) to normal. Yes, diabetics became nondiabetics. That’s right: Diabetes in many cases can be cured—not simply managed—by removal of carbohydrates, especially wheat, from the diet. Many of my patients had also lost twenty, thirty, even forty pounds.

But it’s what I didn’t expect that astounded me. They reported that symptoms of acid reflux disappeared and the cyclic cramping and diarrhea of irritable bowel syndrome were gone. Their energy improved, they had greater focus, sleep was deeper. Rashes disappeared, even rashes that had been present for many years. Their rheumatoid arthritis pain improved or disappeared, enabling them to cut back, even eliminate, the nasty medications used to treat it. Asthma symptoms improved or resolved completely, allowing many to throw away their inhalers. Athletes reported more consistent performance. Thinner. More energetic. Clearer thinking. Better bowel, joint, and lung health. Time and time again.

Surely these results were reason enough to forgo wheat.


Since the thought of removing wheat from our diets is so foreign to most of us, consider what may be at stake:  the following abbreviated list of the health risks of consuming wheat: Celiac Disease, nervous disorders, accelerated weight gain, inflammation, osteoporosis, arthritis, joint pain, accelerated aging, skin deterioration, acne, rashes, hair loss, cardiovascular disease, and Diabetes.

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Joe Lindley

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