New book on wheat goes against the grain

Reading time: 1,025 words, 2.5 to 4 minutes

This is the second article I’ve seen decrying the so-called benefits of wheat. I’m copying it in its entirety below.

I haven’t quit eating wheat products altogether but I’ve reduced my consumption of wheat. I’m alternating my breakfast with oats and quinoa / barley and substituting rye bread for whole wheat and brown rice for pasta. If anyone has any other suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Gerold
Nov. 14, 2011

U.S. cardiologist says destructive dietary ingredient causes rashes, diabetes, colitis and more

By TRACEY TUFNAIL, Vancouver Sun November 14, 2011

In his new book, Wheat Belly, cardiologist Dr. William Davis, of Wisconsin, argues that the world’s most popular grain, found in everything from lager to licorice to lunch meat, is destructive to weight loss and overall health. He links its consumption to diabetes, dementia, arthritis and digestive problems.

Book Review

WHEAT BELLY: Lose the wheat, lose the weight, and find your path back to health (by William Davis, MD)

Like many cardiologists, Wisconsin-based Dr. William Davis has restored good health to thousands of his patients with his advice on dietary changes to improve the well-being of their hearts. Unlike most cardiologists, the diet Davis recommends doesn’t comply with any official stamp of nutritional approval.

Yet he seems to get some startling results, not only with the heart and circulatory conditions his patients see him for but also a wide variety of other health complaints, including skin rashes, diabetes, colitis, joint pain and insomnia.

His dietary advice is simple: avoid wheat. All wheat, even that whole-grain or organic stuff everyone tells you is superior and heart healthy. Davis says the world’s most popular grain is also the world’s most destructive dietary ingredient.

The reasons why are not so simple, however, and rooted in the development of wheat since the middle of last century, and the commendable desire to find a solution for world hunger.

Davis’s theory begins with the development of hybridized dwarf and semi-dwarf strains to increase yield (shorter stalks eliminated the buckling found when fertilizer increased head size). More than 99 per cent of wheat grown worldwide is now from these strains, and the hybridization of two wheat strains was never seen by agricultural scientists as a problem.

After all, you cross a tomato with another tomato and you still get a tomato, right?

Davis says ‘wrong;’ analysis of hybrid wheat compared to its parent strains shows 95 per cent of the proteins in the offspring are the same, while five per cent are unique and not found in either parent.

It is these unique characteristics that Davis links to what he says is endemic wheat sensitivity (Davis says 70 per cent of those who suffer from wheat sensitivity have no digestive symptoms, scarily enough).

Modern wheat is highly addictive and worse for diabetics than pure sugar, Davis says, but the most startling of his conclusions is that the destructive immune response caused by gluten sensitivity also affects your brain.

Davis links wheat to seizures, dementia and even brain damage.

He tells us that wheat consumption is a major cause of the belly fat that triggers inflammation, an underlying indicator of problems like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Other health conditions linked to this visceral fat include dementia, rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer. Cutting out wheat can also improve the symptoms of acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome.

Davis has an amusingly dramatic and colloquial writing style that most readers will appreciate as making science entertaining, and cites 16 pages of studies to back up his theories.

He provides advice on how to go about removing wheat from your diet — the actual diet he recommends goes further afield than wheat, recommending all grain carbohydrates be treated with caution — and where to look for hidden wheat (if you find you are really sensitive to wheat, girls, check the ingredients of your lipstick).

He also includes some recipes, including for bread alternatives, such as wraps. The recipes are not too exciting, but Davis is a cardiologist, remember, not a chef.

So what if you eat a couple of slices of whole wheat toast every morning? Will you get sick? The good doctor says ‘yes’ in answer to that question, recently asked on his blog. “Not sick in terms of vomiting and diarrhea. Sick in terms of knee and hip arthritis, acid reflux, diabetic and pre-diabetic sugars, small LDL particles leading to heart attack and stroke, the phenomena of glycation-like cataracts, neurologic impairment like ataxia, peripheral neuropathies, and dementia.

You will likely not even suspect wheat had a role in your deteriorating health. You will, more than likely, just wither away and spend eternity in the great wheat field in the sky.”

“But I couldn’t give up wheat,” I hear you cry.

In our processed, time-crunched world, it isn’t easy, I’ll give you that. It takes a mind-shift.
I know.

I gave up eating it in July, coincidentally several weeks before I even heard about this book. I have lost 23 pounds and had a marked improvement in my arthritis pain. Wheat-free feels so good I doubt I will ever go back.

Davis isn’t a lone voice in the nutritional wilderness; he is just the loudest and latest to question the food pyramid paradigm’s relevance to modern health, particularly in relation to the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

It’s pretty obvious to me that the ways we have been combating these problems until now are not working, just as I know first-hand that following a low-fat, high-grain weight loss diet doesn’t work for me, no matter how meagre the calorie allowance or how many miles I walk.

And I doubt I am unique in that.

Davis doesn’t claim all obesity stems from the consumption of wheat, but he provides a compelling explanation of why some people can’t lose weight by following official nutrition guidelines.

If you are overweight, feel unhealthy, or simply want to pursue good health, it is worth giving it a whirl.

Davis suggests after five days wheat-free any withdrawal symptoms should disappear and you should start feeling better (for me it only took three).

After all, what do you have to lose except your wheat belly, bagel butt or biscuit face?

ttufnail@vancouversun.com

About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
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