I’m sorry to be sensational, but I can’t help myself: Wheat Belly by William Davis is one of those books that can save your life – this book is that importat. The first 40 pages of this book, in particular, are just packed with mind-bending information that can literally save your life. I had already become cautious about eating wheat and reading this book confirmed my suspicions. In fact, because of reading this book, I rarely eat wheat now.
One of the things that made me very cautious about wheat was the fact that I have eaten it in significant quantities before sleeping on several occasions and woken up in the middle of the night feeling horrible, almost as if I have a cold or the beginnings of a flu. Of course, it may be coincidence or some other factor, but it got me to investigating.
Regardless, it should strke you as a bit odd that I would be warning you about wheat: aren’t a grain-lovin’, plant-based health fanatic? Yes, indeed – but I know rely on other grains and only eat wheat during certain social situations. That may sound a little fanatical to some, but let’s go into some of the reasons that Dr. Davis outlines so well in his book:
1. GMO-based Wheat Reactions. As you hopefully know from poking around my site, there are three grains that have been heavily genetically engineered in the last half century: soy, corn and, yes, wheat. These have received heavy attention for both altruistic reasons – feeding a growing planet ad solving world hunger – and not so altruistic, i.e. profit.
Davis explains that it was the Rockefeller Foundation that established an agricultural center east of Mexico City a little after World War II to study ways to modify wheat in order to increases its yield and increase its durability. Unfortunately, they have been incredibly successful and have made literally hundreds of changes to the wheat genome. Furthermore, they have come up with literally thousands of variations of wheat that are sold around the globe.
Some of you may be saying, “So what?” Well, to that I can only say that you must read this book: Davis builds a convincing case that all these modifications are responsible for many of the nasty immune responses that men are getting from consuming modern wheat. It is no secret that many people have “wheat intolerance”, “gluten intolerance” and celiac disease.
However, Dr. Davis says that the reactions to wheat go way beyond these known issues. At the time the book was written, he was a working cardiologist in Milwaukee and he says his patients were cured of all sorts of diseases and conditions by going off of wheat. He mentioned near-miraculous cures of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis – all immune-related diseases.
And besides noticing the profound effect of going off of wheat, he makes some convincing genetic arguments that it is actually the genetic modifications that have turned wheat into a Frankengrain.
DISCLAIMER: From what I can tell, Dr. Davis is a Paleo Diet advocate. As you may know, I am not a big fan of Paleo Diets, because it is so easy for men to get themselves into trouble by eating meat. It is possible to eat meat successfully, but not easy and I’ve summarized my concerns in this link on The Risks of Eating Meat.
2. Weight Loss. Another interesting insight given in this book is that Davis has found that many people can lose weight dramatically simply by cutting wheat out of their diet. The reasons are many, but one is that it is ubiquitiously in foods, many of them “bad” and high calorie foods and so eliminating wheat gets rid of a big source of calories for many people. It creates an easy-to-follow dietary program for most people.
However, the other reason is that wheat is a high-glycemic food and can lead to insulin and glucose spikes/crasheds and visceral fat gain as well. So dropping wheat can melt of that “beer belly” that has been plaguing you as well according to Davis.
3. Blood Sugar Levels and Diabetes. Wheat is a grain with a very disturbing property, and one that concerned Davis to a great deal as a cardiologist: it has a Glycemic Index (GI) higher than table sugar! That’s right – both whole and regular wheat breads will actually elevate your blood glucose significantly higher than good ol’ sucrose. Now this is no secret, but what Davis does a nice job of explaining is why: adiponectin.
It runs out that wheat is very high in amylopectin-A, which is rapidly converted by the digestive enzyme amylase, into glucose. Table sugar is half fructose, which slows down post-meal blood sugar rises to a certain degree. But the main point here is that eating wheat means you are likely going to get a tissue-damaging boost in glucose – yes, glucose is the sugar they give you in a lab to spike your blood sugar – and this is undoubtedly contributing to the epidemic of prediabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes that we see in our society today.
NOTE: Although fructose doesn’t spike blood glucose significantly, that’s where the good news ends. Fructose has it’s own risks, which you can read about in my links on The Dangers of Fructose.
Of course, has been out for awhile and is available on Amazon: Wheat Belly: Lose the Weight. So why do I want to highlight this book? Well, many men turn to Erection Friendly Grains, when they start trying to get their health back and that is a good thing. However, wheat has morphed in recent history into a frankenfood that now has very questionable health values. There are many other excellent grains with much better health properties – Quinoa, millet, oats, etc. – that should be considered first in my opinion.
And this isn’t easy for me to say: I ate wheat literally at every meal growing up. However, I have found that it’s quite easy to give up and don’t regret it one bit. Anyway, hats off to Dr. Davis for writing a great review of a food that, until recently, everyone assumed was a near superfood and excellent addition to a health diet.