For those that would love to read this book, but don’t have the time … I’ve summarized it for you! Some very interesting information indeed!
“Wheat Belly is a provocative look at how eliminating wheat – even so-called healthy whole grain wheat – from our diets is the key to permanent weight loss and can offer relief from a broad spectrum of health and digestive problems.
Drawing on decades of clinical studies and the extraordinary results he has observed after putting thousands of his patients on wheat-free regimens, Dr. William Davis makes a compelling case against this ubiquitous ingredient.”
- A wheat belly represents the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage. Unlike fat in other body areas, it provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body.
- Most will say something like “I don’t get it. I exercise five days a week. I’ve cut my fat and increased my healthy whole grains, yet I can’t seem to stop gaining weight!”
- For most Americans, every single meal and snack contains foods made with wheat flour.
- Why only pick on wheat? Because wheat, by a considerable margin, is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet.
- Wheat has unique attributes those other grains do not, attributes that make it especially destructive to our health.
- Whole wheat bread increases blood sugar as much as or more than table sugar, or sucrose.
- After removing grain for 3 months from my diabetic/overweight patients, the diabetics became non-diabetic and many of them had lost twenty, thirty, even forty pounds.
- Other cures: acid reflux disappeared, cramping and diarrhea gone, energy improved, greater focus, sleep was deeper, rashes disappeared, rheumatoid arthritis pain improved, asthma symptoms improved.
Chapter 2: Not Your Grandma’s Muffins: The Creation of Modern Wheat
- Exceeded only by corn, wheat is the most consumed grain on earth, constituting 20% of all calories consumed.
- The wheat of today is not the same grain our forebears ground into their daily bread. It has changed dramatically in the past 50 years under the influence of agricultural scientists.
- Pure strains of wheat have been hybridized, crossbred and introgressed to make the wheat plant resistant to environmental conditions, such as drought or pathogens, such as fungi.
- Genetic changes have been induced to increase yield per acre.
- During the 19th and early 20th centuries, as in many preceding centuries, wheat changed little.
- That all ended in the latter part of the 20th century when an upheaval in hybridization methods transformed this grain.
- Wheat has undergone a drastic transformation to yield something entirely unique, nearly unrecognizable when compared to the original, and yet called by the same name: wheat.
- Small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between a devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all.
- The first wild, then cultivated, wheat was einkorn, the great granddaddy of all subsequent wheat. Einkorn has the simplest genetic code of all wheat, containing only 14 chromosomes.
- Shortly after the cultivation of the first einkorn plant, the emmer variety of wheat (the natural offspring of parents einkorn and an unrelated wild grass, aegilops speltoides or goatgrass) made its appearance in the Middle East, including 28 chromosomes.
- Wheat did not evolve naturally in the New World, but was introduced by Christopher Columbus in Puerto Rico in 1493, spanish explorers in Mexico in 1530, Bartholomew Gosnold to New England in 1602, and shortly thereafter by Pilgrims who brought wheat with them on the Mayflower.
- Wheat has been modified by humans to such a degree that modern strains are unable to survive in the wild without human support.
- No animal or human safety testing was conducted on the new genetic strains that were created. So intent were the efforts to increase yield, these products were released into the food supply without human safety concerns being part of the equation.
- Wheat gluten proteins undergo considerable structural change with hybridization.
- Genetic differences generated via thousands of human-engineered hybridizations make for substantial variation in composition, appearance, and qualities important not just to chefs and food processors, but also potentially to human health.
Chapter 3: Wheat Deconstructed
- The modern wheat foods of today, such as Twinkies, Cinnabon pastries and Dunkin Donuts would not be possible with the dough of ancient wheat. An attempt to make a modern jelly donut with ancient einkorn wheat would yield a crumbly mess that would not hold together.
- Wheat starches = complex carbohydrates (glucose).
- Candy, soft drinks, etc = simple carbohydrates (sucrose).
- Glycemic Index (GI) = measure of glucose level increase from carbohydrate food. Foods with carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream tend to have a high GI.
- GI of *whole grain bread: 72, *white bread: 69, *Mars Bar: 68, *Shredded Wheat cereal: 67, table sugar: 59, *Snickers bar: 41.
- Aside from some extra fiber, eating 2 slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.
- Wheat products might be regarded as a super-carbohydrate because it is a highly digestible carbohydrate that is more efficiently converted to blood sugar than nearly all other carbohydrate foods, simple or complex.
- Glucose is unavoidably accompanied by insulin, the hormone that allows entry of glucose into the cells of the body, converting the glucose to fat.
- The higher the blood glucose after consumption of food, the greater the insulin level, the more fat is deposited.
- This is why eating a 3 egg omelet that triggers no increase in glucose does not add body fat, while 2 slices of whole wheat bread increases blood glucose to high levels, triggering insulin and growth of fat, particularly abdominal or deep visceral fat.
- The consequences of glucose-insulin-fat deposition are especially visible in the abdomen – resulting in, yes, wheat belly.
Chapter 4: Hey, Man, Wanna Buy Some Exorphins? The Addictive Properties of Wheat
- While you knowingly consume coffee and alcohol to obtain specific mind effects, wheat is something you consume for “nutrition”, not for a “fix”. But it is easy to underestimate the psychological pull of wheat.
- Wheat can dictate food choice, calorie consumption, timing of meals and snacks, influence mood and behaviors, dominate thoughts.
- When people stop ingesting wheat products, 30% experience something that can only be called withdrawal: fatigue, mental fog, irritability, inability to function at work or school, depression.
- People who haven’t experienced these effects find it hard to believe that something as pedestrian as wheat can affect the central nervous system as much as nicotine or crack cocaine do.
- Dr F. Curtis Dohan observed that the people of New Guinea virtually had no known cases of schizophrenia prior to the introduction of Western influence. Once beer made from barley and corn were introduced, he watched the incidence of schizophrenia skyrocket sixty-five-fold.
- Autism has gone from being rare in the the mid-twentieth century to 1 in 150 children in the twenty-first century.
- Gluten is one of wheat’s main proponents. Gluten is degraded to a mix of polypeptides. Once having gained entry into the brain, wheat polypeptides bind to the brain’s morphine receptor, the very same receptor to which opiate drugs bind.
- Wheat is an appetite stimulant: it makes you want more both wheat containing and non-wheat containing foods.
Chapter 5: Your Wheat Belly Is Showing: The Wheat/Obesity Connection
- I’d go as far as saying that over-consumption of wheat is the main cause of the obesity and diabetes crisis in the United States.
- 34% of adult Americans are overweight and another 34% are obese. Less than 1 in 3 are normal weight.
- The real upward acceleration of obesity started in the mid-eighties, and during this time, the cornerstone of all nutritional directives was “Eat more healthy whole grains.”
- The low-fat, more-grain message also proved enormously profitable for the processed food industry. It triggered an explosion of processed food products.
- Wheat flour, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose and food coloring are now the main ingredients of products that fill the interior aisles of any modern supermarket.
- The extremes of blood sugar and insulin are responsible for growth of fat specifically in the visceral organs.
- Visceral fat produces inflammation signals responsible for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer.
- Belly fat is a special kind of fat, in effect, an endocrine gland much like your thyroid gland or pancreas.
- The essential phenomenon that sets the growth of the wheat belly in motion is high blood sugar (glucose). High blood sugar, in turn, provokes high blood insulin. High blood insulin provokes visceral fat accumulation, which causes tissues such as muscle and liver to respond less to insulin. This so-called insulin resistance means that the pancreas must produce greater and greater quantities of insulin to metabolize the sugars. Eventually, a vicious circle of increased: insulin resistance, insulin production, deposition of visceral fat, insulin resistance etc, etc, ensues.
- Foods such as salmon and walnuts has no effect on blood sugar.
- Aftermath of high insulin levels causes irresistible hunger as the body is trying to protect you from low blood sugar.
- Visceral fat is also a factory for estrogen production in both sexes. Women = higher risks for breast cancer. Men = larger breasts or “manboobs”.
Chapter 6: Hello Intestine. It’s Me, Wheat. Wheat And Celiac Disease
- The most dramatic evidence of failed adaptation to wheat is celiac disease, the disruption of small intestinal health by wheat gluten.
- It is impossible to talk about the effect of wheat on health without talking about celiac disease.
- Not having celiac disease at age 25 does not mean you cannot develop it at age 45 and it is increasingly showing itself in a variety of new ways besides disruption of intestinal function.
- The connection between celiac disease and wheat consumption was first made in 1953.
- Gluten elimination yielded dramatic cures.
- About 1% of the population is unable to tolerate wheat gluten, even in small quantities. The lining of their small intestine breaks down from it, leading to cramping, diarrhea and yellow-colored stools that float in the toilet bowl because of undigested fats.
- 50% experience: cramping/diarrhea/weight loss; the other 50% experience: anemia, migraine headaches, arthritis, neurological symptoms, infertility, short stature, depression, chronic fatigue; or later in life as neurological impairment, incontinence, dementia, gastrointestinal cancer.
- The increase in celiac disease has been paralleled by an increase in type 1 diabetes, allergies, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.
- The protein of wheat gluten has the unique ability to make your intestine permeable, allowing various components of wheat to gain entry into the bloodstream.
- What happens when foreign compounds get into bloodstream? Autoimmunity, your body’s immune system attacking healthy organs.
- Wheat proteins are able to pick the lock on any door, allowing unwanted intruders to gain entry into places they don’t belong.
- Conditions associated with celiac disease: Dermatitis herpetiformis, liver disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, neurological impairment, nutritional deficiencies.
- Thinking of celiac disease as just diarrhea, as is often the case in many doctors’ offices, is an enormous and potentially fatal oversimplification.
- All is not lost if you have celiac disease: You appreciate food more. You eat foods because you require sustenance and you enjoy their taste and texture.
- It’s not a burden, rather a liberation.
Chapter 7: Diabetes Nation: Wheat And Insulin Resistance
- Because of wheat’s incredible capacity to send blood sugar levels straight up, initiate the glucose-insulin roller coaster ride that drives appetite, generate addictive brain-active exorphins, and grow visceral fat, it is the one essential food to eliminate in a serious effort to prevent, reduce, or eliminate diabetes.
- Health conscious people who follow conventional dietary advice to reduce fat and eat more “healthy whole grains” consume approximately 75% of their carb calories from wheat products.
- The adoption of grains into the human diet was followed by archaeological evidence of increased infections, bone disease such as osteoporosis, increased infant mortality and reduction in the life span, as well as diabetes.
- People who reduce fats but replace lost fat calories with “healthy whole grains” have resulted in: weight gain, obesity, bulging abdomens of visceral fat, pre-diabetes and diabetes on a scale never before witnessed.
- Only during the last half of the 19th century when sucrose (table sugar) consumption increased did diabetes become more widespread.
- If national wheat consumption is averaged across all Americans, the average American consumes 133 pounds of wheat per year, or a bit more than half a loaf of bread per day.
- In addition to increased consumption of wheat, we also are eating new, high-yielding dwarf strains and new gluten structures not previously consumed by humans.
- A Paleolithic or Neolithic human breakfast might consist of wild fish, reptiles, birds or other game, leaves, roots, berries, or insects. Today it will more likely be a bowl of breakfast cereal consisting of wheat flour, cornstarch, oats, high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose.
- Nobody becomes diabetic by gorging on too much wild boar they’ve hunted, or wild garlic and wild berries they’ve gathered … or too many veggie omelets, too much salmon, or too much kale, pepper slices, and cucumber dip. But plenty of people develop diabetes because of too many muffins, bagels, breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles, pretzels, crackers, cakes, cupcakes, croissants, donuts and pies.
- Carbohydrates trigger insulin release from the pancreas, causing growth of visceral fat; visceral fat causes insulin resistance and inflammation. High blood sugars, triglycerides, and fatty acids damage the pancreas. After years of overwork, the pancreas succumbs to the thrashing it has taken from glucotoxicity, lipotoxicity, and inflammation, essentially burning out, leaving a deficiency of insulin and an increase in blood glucose – diabetes.
Chapter 8: Dropping Acid: Wheat As The Great pH Disrupter
- Veer up or down from the normal pH of 7.4 by just .5 and you’re dead.
- Acids drive pH down, triggering a panic mode response from the body to compensate. The body responds by drawing from any alkaline store available, from the bloodstream and the bones.
- The body is happier being slightly more alkaline.
- Major dietary source of acid: carbonated sodas like Coke. Also, any food derived from animal sources generate some acid challenge.
- Vegetables and fruits are the dominant alkaline foods in the diet.
- Hunter-gatherer diets of meats, veggies and fruits, along with relatively neutral nuts and roots, yield a net alkaline effect.
- The modern human diet of plentiful “healthy whole grains” but lacking in vegetables and fruit is highly acid-charged, inducing a condition called acidosis, which takes a toll on your bones.
- Until recently, osteoporosis was thought to be largely a condition peculiar to postmenopausal females who have lost the bone-preserving effects of estrogen. It is now understood that the decline in bone density begins years before menopause.
- Grains are the only plant product that generates acidic by-products.
- Grains such as wheat account for 38% of the average American’s acid load.
- If wheat and other grains are responsible for tipping the pH balance towards acid, what happens if you do nothing more than remove wheat from the modern diet and replace the lost calories with other plant foods such as veggies fruits beans and nuts? The balance shifts back into the alkaline range, mimicking the hunter-gatherer pH experience.
Chapter 9: Cataracts, Wrinkles and Dowager’s Humps: Wheat And The Aging Process
- No one has yet identified a visible age market that would permit you to discern, to the year, just how old someone is.
- Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), is the name given to the stuff that stiffens arteries, clouds the lenses of the eyes (cataracts) and mucks up the neuronal connections of the brain (dementia).
- The older we get the more AGEs can be found in the kidneys, eyes, liver, skin and other organs.
- AGEs have no useful function and are useless debris that result in tissue decay as they accumulate.
- Some AGEs enter the body directly through the food we eat.
- They are also a by-product of high blood sugar, the phenomenon that defines diabetes.
- The higher the blood glucose, the more AGEs will accumulate and the faster the decay of agin will proceed.
- Diabetes is the real-world example that shows us what happens when blood glucose remains high.
- While eggs don’t increase blood sugar, nor do raw nuts, olive oil, pork chops or salmon, all carbohydrates do – from apples and oranges to jelly beans and seven grain cereal.
Chapter 10: My Particles Are Bigger Than Yours: Wheat And Heart Disease
- In biology, size is everything. In countless situations in nature, bigger is better.
- The Law of Big also applies to the microcosm of the human body. In the human bloodstream, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), follow the same size rules as shrimp and plankton.
- Large LDL = 25.5 nanometer or larger
- Small LDL = less than 25.5 nanometer
- LDL particle size determines whether the LDL particle will accumulate in the walls of arteries, such as those of your heart, neck or brain, or not.
- In my personal experience with thousands of patients with heart disease, nearly 90% express the small LDL patter to at least a moderate, if not severe, degree.
- The drug company explains this phenomenon as “high cholesterol”. But cholesterol has little to do with atherosclerosis.
- It’s not about cholesterol but about the particles that cause atherosclerosis.
- One crucial group of particles is very low-density lipoproteins, or VLDL.
- A series of changes in the bloodstream determines whether VLDL will be converted to big or small LDL particles, and diet has a very powerful influence over this.
- Recently is has become clear while increased intake of fats does indeed deliver greater quantities of triglycerides into the liver and bloodstream, it also shuts down the body’s own production of triglycerides, so the net effect of high fat intake is little or no change in triglyceride levels.
- Carbs, on the other hand, contain virtually no triglycerides. But they do possess the unique capacity to stimulate insulin, which in turn triggers fatty acid synthesis in the liver, which floods the bloodstream with triglycerides.
- High insulin levels efficiently transform carbs into triglycerides, which are then packaged into VLDL particles.
- Anything that provokes an increase in blood sugar will also provoke small LDL particles. Anything that keeps blood sugar from increasing such as proteins, fats, and reduction in carbs such as wheat, reduces small LDL particles.
Chapter 11: It’s All In Your Head: Wheat And The Brain
- Wheat’s effects reach the brain in the form of opiate-like peptides, called polypeptide exorphins.
- Exorphins cause your brain to instruct you to eat more food, increase calorie consumption and desperately scratch at the bottom of the box where there’s nothing else left.
- Among the most disturbing of wheat’s effects are those exerted on brain tissue itself, on the cerebrum, cerebellum and other nervous system structures, with consequences ranging from incoordination to incontinence, from seizures to dementia.
- Between 10-22% of people with celiac disease have nervous system involvement.
- High blood sugars occurring repeatedly over several years damage the nerves in the legs, causing reduced sensation, diminished control over blood pressure and heart rate, and sluggish emptying of the stomach, among other manifestations of a nervous system gone haywire.
- Study of 35 gluten-sensitive patients with “peripheral neuropathy”: 25 on wheat/gluten free diet improved over 1 year; 10 controlled participants who did not remove wheat/gluten only deteriorated.
- In one particularly disturbing Mayo Clinic study of 13 patients with celiac disease, dementia was also diagnosed.
- The addictive properties of wheat, expressed as overwhelming temptation and obsession, obstructed by opiate-blocking drugs, are not directly due to gluten, but to exorphins, the breakdown product of gluten.
Chapter 12: Bagel Face: Wheat’s Destructive Effect On The Skin
- If wheat and its effects can grasp hold of organs such as the brain, intestines, arteries, and bones, can it also affect the largest organ of the body, the skin? Indeed it can.
- Any dermatologist can tell you that skin is the outward reflection of internal body processes.
- The body’s reaction to wheat expresses itself through the skin.
- If an abnormality due to wheat is expressed on the skin surface, then it usually means that the skin is not the only organ experiencing an unwanted response.
- Acne is nearly a universal phenomenon in Western cultures, affecting more than 80% of teenagers, and up to 95% of 16-18 year olds.
- Some cultures display no acne whatsoever: Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea, the hunter-gatherers of Paraguay, natives of the Purus Valley in Brazil, African Bantus and Zulus, Japan’s Okinawans and Canadian Inuit are curiously spared the embarrassment of acne.
- Evidence suggests it’s because of diet, not genetics.
- Cultures without acne consume little to no wheat, sugar or dairy products.
- As Western influence introduced processed starches such as wheat and sugars into groups like the Okinawans, Inuits and Zulus, acne promptly followed.
- Most treatments today are aimed at suppressing acne eruption, not in identifying causes.
- Insulin stimulates the release of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-I, or IGF-I, in the skin. IGF-1 stimulates tissue growth in hair follicles and the dermis, the layer of skin just below the surface. Insulin and IGF-1 also stimulate the production of sebum, the oily protective film produced by the subaceous glands. Overproduction of sebum, along with skin tissue growth, leads to the characteristic upward-growing reddened pimple.
- Of course, wheat, with its uncommonly high glycemic index, triggers higher blood sugar than nearly all other foods, thereby triggering insulin more than nearly all other foods.
Chapter 14: Create A Healthy, Delicious, Wheat-Free Life
Foods to consume in unlimited quantities
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils
- Full-fat cheese
- Meats and eggs
- Non-sugary condiments (mustard, horseradish, salsa, etc)
- Others: flaxseed, avocados, olives, coconut, spices, cacao
Consume in limited quantities
- Non-cheese dairy: milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, butter
- Fruit: Berries are best
- Whole corn
- Fruit juices
- Non-wheat/non-gluten grains
- Soy products
Consume rarely or never
- Wheat products
- Unhealthy oils
- Gluten-free foods: those made with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch or tapioca starch
- Dried fruit
- Fried foods
- Sugary snacks
- Sugary fructose-rich sweetners
- Sugary condiments