Review: Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis

I have read a big ol’ pile of nutrition books in the past 33 years. I generally learn at least a little something from each one, or at the very least am reminded of a point I may have forgotten. But in his new book Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist from Milwaukee, and author of Track Your Plaque, and the Heart Scan Blog has written a book in which the majority of the information is new to me. I am agog. And excited – I am a big nutrition geek, after all; it’s thrilling to have this sort of stuff presented to me, and presented in such a readable form.

But I am also frightened. Why frightened? Because the problem Dr. Davis has limned in this groundbreaking new book is staggering in its scope and implications. And the stuff causing it is not only near-universal, but widely seen as the most wholesome and beneficial of foods.

Ironically, I had it in my mind that I needed to write a review of Wheat Belly today, when I got an email from a reader, thrilled with my low carb whole wheat bread recipe. I’m glad she likes it, and the book, but... sigh.

Of all the foods low carbers give up, perhaps the group most missed is “foods made from wheat” – bread and pasta, particularly. New low carbers, especially, are forever searching for a version of these foods that will allow them to have their sandwiches and mac-and-cheese, while maintaining the benefits of their low carbohydrate diets. For years, I kept low carb bread from Natural Ovens of Manitowoc in my freezer, most of it to be consumed in the form of late-night grilled cheese sandwiches. Low carb tortillas were a staple; in the summer, particularly, I pretty commonly ate wrap sandwiches, and they were de rigeur on long car trips. And while I never quite trusted Dreamfield’s, I have answered repeatedly readers’ plaintive inquiries as to whether it’s really low carb, or, as they fear, too good to be true. (Too good to be true. Sorry.)

Accordingly, in several of my books I have included yeast bread recipes. I have also used modest quantities of wheat germ and/or wheat bran, the lower-starch fractions of the wheat kernel, to give a wheaty flavor to crackers, pancakes, and the like. Too, for a while I added a little vital wheat gluten – the protein fraction of wheat – to various baked goods, because it does make them hold together better. These recipes have proven to be very popular with readers.

All of this seems logical, even inevitable. We have heard since childhood that bread is the very “staff of life.” Husbands pride themselves on being good “breadwinners.” We show friendship by “breaking bread” together. Religious ceremonies, most notably the Christian Eucharist, center on bread as a symbol, and every Christian sect has learned to ask God to “Give us this day our daily bread*.” It is, perhaps, possible to accept that we, with our damaged carbohydrate metabolisms, simply cannot tolerate most baked goods, the way some people cannot eat nuts, or shellfish. It is a very different thing to accept that these seemingly ancient foods, with so much inbuilt emotional pull and symbolism, are quite simply hazardous, even toxic.

Still, awareness that gluten, the protein that makes wheat the versatile stuff that it is, may not be good for us has been growing rapidly. The demand for gluten-free foods is exploding. The number of complaints that are now suspected of being tied to gluten consumption is daunting. Has this always been so? Are we just noticing that the most common of foodstuffs is toxic? Or has something changed?

Both, it seems.

In Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis identifies two major problems with the ubiquitous consumption of wheat products. One is the fact that wheat, whether it’s in the form of Wonderbread or sprouted 100% whole wheat bread from the health food store, spikes blood sugar like nobody’s business. It’s not just a major source of carbohydrate in the diet, it’s also one of the most rapidly absorbed. I am going to assume we can take it as read that big ol’ carb loads and blood sugar spikes are bad, leading to weight gain (wheat belly), diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, messed up LDL/HDL ratio and LDL particle size, and all that other stuff you and I have been talking about all these years. Lots of blood sugar, bad. Got it.

It’s the part about gluten that’s really got my head spinning. I’ve known for thirty years or more that there was an illness called celiac, or celiac sprue, caused by gluten sensitivity, resulting in terrible intestinal trouble. I had become aware, over the past few years, that the list of health problems being attributed to gluten was rapidly expanding. I knew that there was suspicion that it was involved in or even to blame for a number of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and even, possibly, juvenile-onset diabetes. I also have some friends with an autistic child who functions far better on a gluten-free diet. Certainly it would be impossible for anyone paying even cursory attention to the world of nutrition not to notice the growing ranks of the gluten-free, and the growing arrays of gluten-free foods to serve them.

I have also known for 16 years that, owing to their carb load, grains, whether whole or refined, are not my friend.

But I did not connect the two. Some people were gluten sensitive; I was carb sensitive, but I’d never shown any signs of celiac – my guts work just fine, thank you (I’m sure you wanted to know that) – so gluten didn’t seem to be a concern.

I had no idea that the list of health problems attributable to gluten was so long and so frightening. Among the health conditions Dr. Davis links to gluten are:

* Schizophrenia. May as well start with the Big Casino, huh? Turns out that taking wheat products away from institutionalized schizophrenics reduced auditory hallucinations, delusions, all that stuff that makes schizophrenia the terrible illness it is. Adding wheat back caused the symptoms to reassert themselves. There are even some reports of complete remission with the removal of wheat from the diet.

* Autism. Research is preliminary, but in a Danish study of 55 autistic children, removing gluten from the diet reduced formal measures of autistic behavior.

* Liver diseases, including chronic hepatitis and biliary cancer.

* Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

* Lupus

* Asthma

* Inflammatory bowel disease

* Crohn’s disease

* Seizures.

* Several forms of cancer, including bowel cancer.

* Ataxia – loss of balance and coordination. Indeed, apparently half of all patients with otherwise unexplained ataxia test positive for celiac markers – aka gluten sensitivity. This involves progressive, irremediable brain damage.

* Dementia. Doesn’t get any scarier than that. Again, gluten sensitivity can cause permanent brain damage. Gluten ataxia can progress to dementia.

But why this apparent increase in gluten sensitivity? Is it just a fad? After all, people have been eating wheat for millennia, but dementia, for example, has only started accelerating recently.

Turns out that we’re getting more wheat than we did, thanks to the big push for everyone to eat lots of Healthy Whole Grains! There’s also increased awareness, and research into the effects of gluten on the body. But that’s not the whole problem.

I was floored by the opening chapters of Wheat Belly, where Dr. Davis explains in detail the evolution of the wheat plant, through deliberate manipulation of breeding, aka hybridization. It turns out that the wheat being grown now, and making up the vast majority of wheat-based foods on the market, is genetically completely different, not just from the original strains of wild grass domesticated 10,000 years ago, but from the wheat commonly grown even 50 years ago. It is, quite simply, a different plant than it was, different from the wheat your grandparents ate, and it has never been demonstrated as safe for human consumption.

Ancient wheat – einkorn, emmer, and the like – weren’t particularly safe for human consumption even as they were. We know that when our ancestors went from hunting and gathering to farming, their stature dropped, their life spans shortened, their teeth rotted, and their pelvises became smaller, causing problems in childbearing (“And Eve’s pain in childbearing will be greatly multiplied.”) Diabetes apparently started with wheat agriculture, too.

But it turns out that unlike you or I, who only have the genes our moms and dads passed on to us – blue eye genes or brown eye genes, you know the drill – when you hybridize wheat you actually come up with genes that were not present in either of the parent species. Specifically, you get 5% unique, novel genes. And the genes controlling gluten proteins are particularly likely to undergo structural change. Multiply that 5% by the tens of thousands of cross-breedings that have taken place to achieve the “Green Revolution” high-yield semi-dwarf wheat that now dominates agriculture, and you have a product with more gluten, and more potentially sensitizing gluten proteins, than has ever existed. The stuff has been great for agriculture’s bottom line; wheat yields per acre have increased dramatically. It’s just that it is potentially far more toxic than wheat originally was. Details.

Please note here that we are not talking about genetic modification, simply hybridizing. Buying non-GMO wheat is no protection. (Dr. Davis did, however, experiment with einkorn and emmer, which are being grown for the health food market. He found he did not react to them anywhere near as badly as he does to modern wheat.) Note, too, that whether a wheat product is refined or whole-grain, whether it’s a donut or whole wheat noodles, makes no difference whatsoever. It all contains gluten. It’s like asking whether a recovering alcoholic would be better off drinking a Mudslide or a glass of red wine.

So that’s it for me. I have, over the past year or so, largely dropped low carb tortillas and bread from my diet, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re completely gone. I won’t be creating any more recipes with wheat germ or wheat bran, and I certainly will not use vital wheat gluten any more. I may well go back and rewrite some of my recipes to eliminate wheat products, especially vital gluten. This will not work with the yeast breads, I’m afraid, but quick breads, cookies and the like shouldn’t be a big problem. I will not be using any low carb specialty products that include gluten or wheat.

Whether you choose to give up low carb bread, tortillas, and other products is, of course, up to you. If you have hinky blood sugar, the low carb varieties of these products are probably better than the high carb kind – you’re getting the toxic gluten, but at least you’re not spiking your blood sugar. I do believe that there is a role for “bridge foods” – low carb substitute foods that help people through what is, after all, a big damned change. But I hope that if you choose to use bridge foods containing wheat or wheat products that you will keep it in the back of your mind that they are not foods to rely on. They are only a crutch, to be used until you can lay them down and walk without them.

You may find the idea daunting right now. It’s important that you realize that Dr. Davis also lays out excellent evidence for wheat being physically addictive and mind-altering, triggering the same sensors in the brain as opiates. In fact, the same drugs that can be used to block opiate cravings also can block wheat cravings. (I told you this book was full of fascinating information.) This addictiveness is apparently part of the endless hunger caused by a high carbohydrate diet. I had thought it all due to blood sugar fluctuations, but it turns out that we've all been a bunch of gluten junkies as well as sugar junkies, with the opiate-like properties of gluten driving our craving for another fix.

I doubt you can get your doctor to prescribe naltrexone to help you go gluten-free. Like addicts of every stripe, if you want to quit you’ll have to go cold turkey, and endure a few uncomfortable days. I’m not saying you have to do this, nor if you plan to do it, when. I just want you to know that the little voice in the back of your head saying “Never eat bread again?” is no different from the voice that says to other people “Never smoke another cigarette?” or “Never take another painkiller?” or "Never have another drink?"

But if you have any of the problems potentially linked to gluten – and I didn’t list ‘em all; you really need to read the book – you owe it to yourself to skip the bridge foods, and go gluten-free. Do not, however, start eating a bunch of processed, purchased gluten-free breads, crackers, cookies, pasta, and other stuff. Why not? Because it’s still loaded with carbs, that’s why not. Generally this stuff is made with rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, and other refined carbs. It’s gluten-free, but it will still cause big, nasty blood sugar swings, and the health problems and obesity that come with them.

Now that I’ve scared the bejeezus out of you, let me assure you that despite the information, Wheat Belly is not a grim read at all, far from it. Wheat Belly is extremely entertaining; Dr. Davis delivers this serious information in a lively and often even humorous fashion. The information itself, however, is sobering. And not one of you can afford to miss it.

* I have read that missionaries to the Inuit had to deal with teaching the Lord’s Prayer to people who had no clue what bread was. Apparently the translation they came up with was “Give us this day our daily fish.” Sounds like an improvement to me.

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Wheat Belly Review

Dana-Came across your Sept. review while searching for Wheat Belly foods lists and recipes. Just bought the book on Kindle (not so easy to reference). Didn't even glance at headers until I saw "Dana's Blog" at bottom and knew you must be my "500 Low Carb Recipes" author! Like bumping into an old friend from 2000, 2001?

Low Carb short story: Lost weight, more energy, less pain, opened and closed Lo Carb Company (retail 2003-2005 Brentwood, TN), kept weight off 6 years, yo-yo'd, regained weight, crazy pain thresold.

Wake up call: Mendosa's Wheat Belly newsletter entry intrigued me enough to prompt the purchase.

Take away: I can do this! But how do I get my athletic, normal weight 13-year old daughter on board? She is mirroring my back pain symptoms.

How soon can you help? Have you reworked "staff of life" recipes like pizza?

Thank you for staying the course when most Americans gave up on low carb.

Wheat Belly & 500 Low Carb Recipes

Dana,

Excellent review. I read Wheat Belly 11 weeks ago and started wheat-free/low carb dieting before finishing the book. In 10 weeks I've lost 18 lbs and am happy with my weight loss so far.

Two days ago I went to the bookstore looking for a cookbook that would offer low carb and wheat/gluten-free recipes. After looking at the recipes in quite a few books I noticed a pattern. The low carb cookbooks still had too many recipes with wheat in them, and the gluten-free cookbooks mainly substituted other starches for wheat. The latter type wouldn't work since the recipes still seemed too high carb which would still spike my blood sugar.

I picked up your 500 Low Carb Recipes cookbook and, after looking through many pages and recipes, concluded your book came closest to what I wanted if I just ignored the few recipes with wheat products in them. So I bought your book.

Today I searched "wheat belly" online and came across this review. I thought I'd register and leave a quick note and say thanks for the cookbook. I look forward to revisiting this site often.

Mark

I'm going to have to

I'm going to have to read this book. I came back to low-carb eating about 3 months ago and I'm so glad I did. I have Crohn's Disease and had read (Taubes) that getting away from sugar and wheat products would be best for me. This has proven to be true.
Thanks so much for all you do to bring common sense and healthy eating into our lives. BTW love your cookbooks.
Susan

Welcome!

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Low Carb. We have more fun here than most people imagine. :-D

And thanks for buying my book. I'm so glad you find it helpful.

Wheat Belly

Thank you so much for introducing us to this book, Wheat Belly. I am amazed at how much sense it makes and I can see just in my own family, parents and siblings, that wheat is killing us. My mom has diabetes and alzheimers, my dad has conjestive heart failure and is on dialysis. My sister is ADHD and diabetic. My brother is diabetic. They are all overweight and huge bread eaters. I am not overweight and the only healthy one in my family and I have eaten very little bread...have done low-carb for years. I have eliminated all wheat from my diet now and will share this news with my family. Thank you! Thank you!

Wheat Belly

Hi Dana, thank you so much for reviewing this book. It seems to contain a lot of valuable information for me. 7 years ago I started low-carbing after having been diagnosed with insulin resistance, felt better, lost 88 lbs, kept my weight (and my health) for 2 years only to fall off the wagon, regaining more than half of it it within a very short period of time. Since then I tried veganism, vegetarianism, Weight Watchers - you name it - suffered from skin rashes, constipation, brain fog, extremely low energy, severe water retention, etc. Eventually a naturopath did a blood test to identify food intolerances (14 foods, which I wasn't allowed to eat for at least 9 months. Things improved somewhat (wheat was on that list too, as was, to my biggest regret, soy - no Chinese or other Asian dishes, which, having lived in Singapore for a some time, I've come to love so much). But the weight wouldn't budge and the swelling and rashes returned. 10 days ago I went on the Atkins induction. I even ate at a Chinese restaurant, telling them just to leave out any starch and hold the rice - and miraculously no negative reaction. No swelling, the rash disappeared within a few days, and, surprise, my shoulder (polyarthritis) hurts less, no, it's actually improving steadily.
When I read about going "no-wheat" and the possible benefits I headed straight to amazon for more. I immediately downloaded the audible version and will start listening tonight, as the answers seem to be there. Keep it up! We should never give up, no matter what the obstacles are.

My knees work!

Thank you so much for this review. I downloaded the book to my Kindle and found it fascinating. I don't usualy eat a lot of wheat as I try to eat low-carb. However, 10 days ago I'd just gotten back from a trip where I ate some wheat products every day for about 2 weeks. I've always had wonky knees but when I got home from the trip I could only go down stairs one step at a time. (I'd been having some trouble even before I got home.) I mean I had to step down with one leg and then put the other leg down on that same step even when holding onto the railing. It wasn't just that it was uncomfortable to go down stairs in the normal way (alternating steps) but that my knees didn't seem capable. Now, after only ONE WEEK totally wheat-free (actually grain- and gluten-free), I can go down the steps normally and my knees are almost pain-free.

P.S. I don't see why people object to this idea. It's certainly not dangerous to try.

Auto Immune Issues

I read a bit of this book this week and I think I need to read more. My girls and I must have swam in the bad end of the gene pool for auto immune issues. Between the three of us we have eczema, Hashimoto's (thyroid) , platelet issues, and Vitiligo. My guess is gluten free may help with some issues. Anyone have specific examples of the link to Vitiligo?

The Recipes

Hi! So do let us know when you kick out the gluten from those few recipes. Also, help, my sons think I am whacko with this carb free stuff. OK, so now they know I am driving them nuts...They are 3 teenage boys. They love brocoli, stir-fries, etc. They like sandwiches. Here I thought the high-fiber breads were my heroes for lunches... So feeding teenagers after you have messed them up for years on whole grains.--that is the rambling question.

I thought the book was good. Scary.

Selling Wheat Belly

You have been my guru for over 10 years. I have every book you have written. I have read every book you have written. We were in. We were, more often than not, in the minority...but what you said made sense. We lost alot of weight, we felt better and more informed of our bodies and how they process..... How could you have been so wrong. How could you have so many 'followers' and been so wrong? I'm not a stupid person. I researched everything you wrote. I was actually impressed by you. This article upsets me to the point I felt compelled to write this. Dare I count how many pages of your books I need to rip out to be in the pocket of Dr. Davis? What's next? Water will kill us unless it comes from a sole source only attainable if you are a member of...How do you expect to be taken seriously, when you are on record as stating WITHOUT A DOUBT, when in fact it is doubtful. So, so sad

Selling Wheat Belly

Kathleen1, I do hope you haven't lost faith in Dana. Like you, Dana has been my guru for +10 years. At 53, I am fit, healthy and 'younger' as a result. Medicine, physics, language, politics, education, opinions etc - all evolve over time. Dana has, with her article on Wheat Belly, pointed out an evolution in her mission. Further, Dana has often said that she has gradually cut out wheat products from her diet. I think most of us long-term low-carbers do the same, innately adapting our diet to what feels best for us. I'm practically paleo these days, but my initial low-carb life would have been a lot harder without Dana. I always point people that ask in the direction of Dana Carpender; they can find their own way from there.

Personally, I applaud Dana for her fearless approach in introducing new research to us, even if it does mean some of her recipes might now require an overhaul. It is not as though she had all the information at the start of her quest and has only been handing it down as and when it profits her. We are all on a learning curve. Frankly, Dana makes that curve a lot less steep for most of us as she is doing all the research and giving it to us.

Best wishes

Tessa (England)

Selling Wheat Belly

I'm sorry you're disappointed in me. As for selling Wheat Belly, I do have an Amazon.com account, and will get, perhaps, a big 50c or something if you buy the book through my link. I assure you that is not enough money to get me to say something I don't believe, especially since there are dozens if not hundreds of books I could link to instead that would very likely sell better. Dr. Davis has not given me a cent. No author ever has for his or her book to be mentioned in my blog.

I don't know what you're referring to with the whole "Water will kill us unless it comes from a sole source only attainable if you are a member of..." This sounds as if I am selling some particular source of wheat, or food in general, that is safe, while all others are not. This is patently not the case. So far as I know, Dr. Davis is not selling any food products, so I cannot possibly be shilling for such products. I have not said anywhere that one needs to buy a single specialty product to eat both low carb and gluten-free.

I have no idea what you mean by my stating "without a doubt," when those words appear nowhere in my article.

I found Dr. Davis's book, with its many scientific citations and case studies from his practice, compelling. I wrote about that. If you don't agree, don't cut gluten from your diet. I'm information, not enforcement.

Selling Wheat Belly - the other side of the coin

I, too, have every book you've written. "How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet" was my bible! I started my health journey with your low-carb books and my diet remains high fat, moderate protein, low carb to this day.

But I'm completely on the flip side from kathleen1.

With the abundance of health blogs, books, and interviews I have learned so much more about diet in the intervening years. Through n=1 experimentation I figured out how my body reacts to what I eat.

Over the past 8 years I’ve started eating more whole foods - only raw dairy, no gluten grains or beans, more organ meats and bone broths, vegetables in season. Rarely do I eat in restaurants. Cutting out splenda and other sugar substitutes had a HUGE beneficial impact on my food cravings.

So that's why I appreciate your also being open to learning and changing when necessary. I am thrilled to continue to listen to your podcast and read your blog now that I know you are open to amending your beliefs regardless of what you have published previously.

There are a lot of authors and bloggers who would have shied away from this endorsement if it meant admitting they were wrong. As Kathleen1 mentioned, there are lots of gluten-based recipes in your previous books. But you followed your head and your heart and did the right and brave thing withdrawing your support of gluten.

Thanks, Dana!

Hey, Thank YOU.

I have always tried to approach low carb dieting, and my writing about it, from the standpoint of "This appears to be true" or "This has worked for me," or "This is working well for a lot of people I know," (or isn't working well, whatever) rather than "This is the truth." I'm not afraid to state hard and fast truths if I'm very certain of them -- carbohydrate is inessential in the human diet, and nobody has an innate need for Coca-Cola and Cheetos. But the rest of it, I pretty much have written not from a standpoint of "I am an authority" -- I'm a housewife who flunked out of college, but who reads a lot, and has always been a health sciences and nutrition geek -- but rather from a standpoint of "I've been doing this for a while, so I'm further along the learning curve than you are; here's what I've learned so far."

I mean, I'd already had the humbling experience of discovering, after 15 years of being a health food freak, that my body runs far better on red meat than it did on brown rice. I figured it was possible I could be wrong again. I shan't be surprised if it happens yet again sometime before I die. ;-D

And thanks for buying all those books!!

Add this Disease to the List

Dana....a young man in our circle of friends was diagnosed with "Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura" (ITP): the serious condition of having an abnormally low platelet count. The disease apparently has no known cause, and after several blood transfusions and a couple of near death experiences, his parents were at their wits' ends on what to do. After some in-depth on-line research, they started him on a gluten free diet, and he has since recovered and is doing extremely well, with no re-occurences of the disease. He is now back to playing hockey at a high competitive level!

Ooopsie Rolls - worth a retry ...

Be really gentle when incorporating the VERY STIFFLY whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture so that the whites keep their poofiness ... letting them rest on a cooling wire rack after cooking also helps ... keeping them in a bag in the refrig or freezing them works well too... sometimes I just spread all the batter into a jelly roll pan w/ parchment paper underneath then cut into squares when done .... I think you may find them worth trying again... I like to eat them as is when I have a snack attack - something to stuff into my mouth with relative abandon!!! Enjoy ... :)

re: gluten

almost typed glutten --- which is what gluten seems to turn me into and I just realized it. I have been a fan of low carb for about 40 years and always feel better when paying attention to the numbers of carbs in my diet, which I am now faithfully tracking in order to lose the last 15 years of not paying attention and 40 pounds added.
I was avidly baking low carb bread for the past year and now realize that every time I eat more than 1 slice every few days, I seem to crave junk food and it's difficult to ignore the cravings. I have been wheat free gluten free for the past week and have lost 2 pounds (at 66 yrs old that is great!)and also lost any cravings - what a revelation. A friend of mine is being diagnosed as possibly having Hashimoto's so this will be of interest to her as well. I'll be buying the book.
And Dana - have almost all of your cookbooks as well as your original "How I lost 40 Pounds etc." Love them all!!
Thanks for all the info

A really GOOD bread substitute

Even my new-to-low-carb to fight lung cancer (research it, the effects of glucose on cancer growth is eye opening!)loves these things. And he HATES low-carb substitute anything! Oopsie Rolls. Right now I have a dozen in my freezer.

http://blog.yourlighterside.com/2009/05/gluten-free-low-carb-buns-aka-oopsie.html

They are a fantastic substitute, no grain at all. We have bacon cheesburgers to die for, and yesterday we picked bacon and lettuce from our garden and had BLT's for the first time in a year that are nirvana.

BTW--he's doing fantastic, in 8 months the tumor growth slowed tremendously, it has not spread, and last week he had 3 days of intense radiation that the oncologist is sure destroyed the entire tumor. UNHEARD of in the 3rd (yes THIRD) go round with his type of lung cancer. Anecdotal, sure! But still......

Oopsie Rolls

I've tried making Oopsies, and I confess I was less than dazzled. Perhaps I need to try again.

Sprouted wheat

Dana - Great review!

Q: What does Bill say about sprouted wheat?

Sprouted wheat

Haven't asked, but don't know of any reason why sprouting would get rid of the gluten.

Book

I ordered the book, (thanks, Dana.) I also ordered, "Life Without Bread," by Christian B. Allen and Wolfgang Lutz. I can't wait to devour these books.

I bought your book too! Just

I bought your book too! Just made your all meat chili last night. Yum

However...

This seems a little knee jerk to me. Reminds me of the militant vegans who blame meat for all the worlds ills. I just read an article with that dreaded word "linked" concerning a high protein diet being "Linked" with increased dementia risk. I'm not going to stop eating meat, and I'm not going to stop eating my low carb tortilla once in a while. Just my 2 cents.

Knee Jerk

I think it depends on the health status of the person involved. For instance, I have a family member with unexplained ataxia -- balance and coordination problems. Neurologists are stumped. Turns out that 50% of people with idiopathic ataxia ("idiopathic" is doctor-speak for "it caused itself" -- aka "we're clueless") test positive for gluten sensitivity, and are suffering cerebellar damage from gliadin antibodies. If my family member's ataxia is, indeed, a reaction to gluten, it's a case of every single mouthful of gluten-bearing food he eats is causing irreversible brain damage. In a case like that, it's no more knee-jerk to go strictly gluten-free than it is to keep a kid with a peanut allergy from eating peanuts. You wouldn't say "Oh, well, I'm not going to keep him from having a Nutter Butter once in a while."

As I posted this morning, I'm at increased risk for Lewy body dementia, and the more I read, the more I think it's gluten-linked. Again, if that's the case, then every bite causes permanent damage. Not worth the risk to me; brain cells don't grow back.

If you're certain you have no sensitivity, then sure, a low carb tortilla now and then is no big deal. If you're sensitive, but your only reaction is an arthritis flare-up, again, you might feel it's worth it. But brain damage? Uh-uh.

Lewy Body

Knee Jerk (sorry for getting a little off thread here)
My father died from Lewy Body and I was wondering how you know your risk and what information have you found on dietary links to the disease.
I'm eating low carb and am with you on the low carb tortillas! One of my favorite indulgences.
Thanks for any info.

Lewy Body Dementia

Just random googling brought it up; I've been doing a lot of that -- well, ever since Google was invented, but specifically I've been doing it about ADHD since I was diagnosed. (I was diagnosed again last week, BTW. Went to see a nice Brain Care Specialist. She said "Yep, you've got ADHD all right," or words to that effect. I was unsurprised.) The LBD connection was just one of the things I turned up; I think I'd googled "attention deficit disorder dementia."

It's just one study, and a tentative one at that

Another article on the same study.

Conclusions from this are premature, to say the least. But, on the other hand, it can't hurt me to go gluten free, and the stuff clearly isn't good for us in general, so I may as well. I watched my utterly brilliant mother slowly slip away into dementia; there is very little that scares me more. Any potential edge I can get on preventing that, I want to take. That quitting gluten improves ADHD symptoms for a lot of people is just a bonus.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/736380

Republication of your review?

Thanks, Dana,
Glad you told me about this. I've relinked it on a dozen FB pages and I will suggest to Peter that he reprint the review in the Permaculture Activist if that's OK with you. Attributions and links included of course.
Keith

Reprint

Of course it's fine by me! I've said for years re low carb that I'm on a Mission From God. I now have two Missions From God; I want people to understand how dangerous gluten is. Yikes.

Gluten

I'm going to have to read this book. I came back to low-carb eating about 3 months ago and I'm so glad I did. I have Crohn's Disease and had read (Taubes) that getting away from sugar and wheat products would be best for me. This has proven to be true.
Thanks so much for all you do to bring common sense and healthy eating into our lives. BTW love your cookbooks.

Susan

Crohn's

Oh, boy, if you have Crohn's I would so seriously recommend going gluten free as of this very moment. I'd be reading the labels on EVERYTHING.

And thanks for buying my cookbooks! I'm glad you like them. Now go cross out every recipe that calls for any wheat-based products. I'll come up with something else, I promise.

Gluten

You have made my day. My story is very similar to yours except for the part about ADHD. I have been low-carbing for years. I lost 25 pounds when I switched to low carb and have been able to keep it off.

Recently I learned I was borderline Diabetic. My doctor told me I have to do even more to stave off Diabetes. I have worked so hard doing the low carb lifestyle, but, realized I had to do even more. the only thing I had not done was to give up the "bridge" foods. I could never figure out whether it was the gluten or the carbs themselves that affected me so badly. Now, I know my next step must be to give up the small amounts of gluten I am getting in my diet. (I have three packs of low carb in the freezer.) I thought I was doing really well other than the fact I could not control my blood sugar problem. This is my last ditch effort, I can think of nothing more to do, but, give up every trace of wheat.

I had an epiphany today when I read this article. I thought I had it figured out before after reading, "Dangerous Grains." I gave up ALMOST all wheat products, except for the small amounts in my low carb breads and other items. One more major change to make! Another mountain to climb. Another "bridge" to cross. I guess one is never too old to learn something new. I will be ordering this book ASAP.

What will I wrap around my hamburger patty?
Mary

Wrapping hamburger patties

Why do you have to wrap *anything* around it? I eat mine with a knife & fork very happily. (And a good amount of homemade mustard...)

Pseudo-Hamburger 'Buns'

> What will I wrap around my hamburger patty?

I haven't yet tried them - only just remembered to pick up some cream of tartar this past Friday - but Oopsie Rolls get rave reviews...

http://blog.yourlighterside.com/2009/05/gluten-free-low-carb-buns-aka-oopsie.html

...and they're also versatile as heck:

http://www.examiner.com/low-carb-in-national/oopsie-roll-recipes

If there's one thing I've discovered about low carb/gluten free eating, there's almost always *some* sort of acceptable substitute for what you're missing; it just sometimes requires specially ordered ingredients*, and/or, more usually, just a bit of extra work and creativity. :)

* (Which, to be fair, you may or may not be able or inclined to spend the money on; I've had to wait a bit, but coconut and almond flours are definitely something I'm planning to splurge on, as I've really been missing having the occasional baked good for awhile now.)

What will I wrap around my hamburger patty?

Your lips. Nom, nom.

Gluten

Sounds good to me. No bread, yum!

hamburger patty wrap around

there is something about a hamburger on a bun! i also like just the patty, even plain. though i've been very happy with a little ketchup. also like cheese, sauerkraut, tomatoe, onion...not all at once probably. or maybe.

Gluten

I have used a big Romaine lettuce leaf in the past. I had forgotten that. I like to eat it like a sandwich...but forks are OK.

Something about a hamburger on a bun

Perhaps. But there's also something about having my brain in working order. I've been terrified ever since I learned I was at increased risk for Lewy body dementia. Anything I can do -- or not do -- to decrease the chances I'll wind up in a locked door ward, I want to do. Hell, if you told me shaving my head would prevent dementia, I'd be bald by bedtime.

Hamburger Patty

Why, your lips and teeth, of course. :-D

You could try "protein style" -- wrapped in lettuce. But I grew up with a mom who served bunless burgers (with, inevitably, rice and spinach on the side) often. I got used to eating hamburger patties with a fork. Doesn't bother me.

Wheat Belly book

Soon after I read this blog abt the book - I came across a Woman's World magazine that had an article abt this. Glad they didn't knock the Atkins diet. With the article and yor blog, it makes me really want to get the book. Started low carb again, disappointed that I only lost a pound in 4 days...something's not right :( - thought I was doing pretty good.
Gluten free products sound wonderful, but they are pricey and carb-y. I guess I am that stage where just low carbing isn't enough to drop weight - I have to exercise - ugh.... should have been all along ! :)

1 pound in four days

Honey, a pound in 4 days is perfectly respectable weight loss. I know everyone wants to lose 5 and 10 pounds a week, but that rarely continues after the first week or two, especially if you're older than your twenties. Still, that's almost 2 pounds a week. If you kept it up, you'd lose 91 pounds in a year. And remember, there is no finish line -- you have to keep doing it forever to keep the weight off and maintain the health gains -- so there's not really a big rush.

Weight loss- or should I say wheat loss

Unbelievable... started Monday with low carb and probably 99% wheat free - got on the scale this morning (saturday) - down 5 pounds. The hubs witnessed it. woohoo!
One major difference, besides having a mindset to get things going, is cooking. Cooking is the key. I usually get impatient and grab whatever is low carb, I have been eating right this time. Bacon, eggs, and sausage help tremendously. Chef salads for lunch. Meat and veggies for dinner.
I'm abt 1/3 of the way thru the Wheat Belly book. I think I might have the hubs convinced to go low carb/wheat free-ish. He keeps saying this Sunday, we'll see. :) His steroid meds have caused him to gain alot of weight (although, mostly in the gut, no moon face, etc).....although that plays a small part - eating whatever, no real excerise and getting older has alot to contribute to that too !
I imagine he will have w/d and be crabby-er... lol
Thanks Dana for all you do !! And Dr Davis.

Making the transition

I look forward to your revised recipes.

I'm low-carb for 8 months now, but from what I'm reading now about wheat I really need to change not just my diet but our family diet as a whole. The kids, particularly, can benefit from major changes as until recently I thought "whole grains" were a good idea.

The sooner we start, the more we potentially avert illness. It's going to be a bumpy road!

Thanks for the book review; it's on my list to acquire & study.

WOW!!!

This all makes so much sense to me! I've gotta get a copy of "Wheat Belly". Thanks, Dana, for breaking this down to where even my tired brain can understand what Dr. Davis is saying. I think I may have just found the answer to years of frustration, trying to feel better & eat better; but , never quite feeling good! Thanks to you! :)

Give us this day our daily

Give us this day our daily bacon?

Give us this day our daily bacon?

...and eggs!

LIKE!

n/t

Terrific read!

We went gluten free this year and it's been really, really good for us. Hubby dropped weight like a rock and I had to add rice and potatoes to keep him from becoming underweight. He eats a lot.

I find that in the months that are usually the absolute worst for me allergy and asthma-wise (due to what's in the air, the wetness spawning mold/etc), that I've done really well. I still have some response, but nowhere like the crippling response of summers past. I continue to lose weight, too, and am 21 pounds from goal weight. 118 down.

My sister began gluten free this week. She has lupus and I hope this resolves a lot of her complaints!

I hope the book goes seriously viral and the grain subsidies in this nation go away. If they wanna subsidize food, subsidize non-starchy and non-toxic veggies, fruits, and humane, pastured animal protein sources. I'd get behind THAT.

Gluten

My cardiologist was a little hesitant when I wanted to follow a low carb way of eating, but he went along with my wishes. About a month into my new way of eating he wanted to see if it really was cutting out the carbs or just reducing the calories that had drastically lowered my blood sugar readings. I spent a weekend eating "normally" Standard American Diet. I hurt SO bad, my blood sugar became high and unstable again. He was shocked at how drastically different my blood sugar reactions were on the two ways of eating. And hearing about the pain I was in, belly pain, he surmised that I was also gluten sensitive. With his blessings I have been low-carb ever since. And he was delighted with my blood workup after 4 months - NORMAL to low values across the board.

I also shared this article with friends who are gluten sensitive or intolerant. Thanks for providing MORE facts for keeping us away from the grains!

ETA: My copy of your 1001 Low-Carb Recipes arrived yesterday! I'm going to have a nice weekend diving into it!

1001 Low-Carb Recipes

Do us both a favor and cross out all the recipes that call for wheat products. :-/

ETA: And thanks for buying my book!