New Book: How Wheat Wrecks Your Health

New Book: How Wheat Wrecks Your Health post image

I have far too many books in diet. Actually that’s not true. I have a lot of books on diet and health and wellness and sleeping and fish oil and such things, but there’s always room for more books! And this new book by Dr William Davis, MD: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health ticks all the right boxes.

First off, it’s by a life long cardiologist. Someone who has spent their career fixing people’s heart disease.

Dr Davis had many heart disease risk factors himself and followed the standard advice: eat low fat and whole grains, banish meat, increase vegetable oils and take up jogging. Imagine his surprise when he gained 14kg (30 lbs), his good HDL cholesterol when down, his bad triglycerides went up, and he became diabetic.

For many people this would have been a death sentence, but fortunately the good Doctor had the sense to recognise that what your Doctor’s tell you is wrong and throw out the bad advice. He cut out all grains (wheat, barley, oats, corn etc) and quickly reversed the above trend. Even curing his diabetes! This is what he had to say about it:

“Cutting wheat products in my diet, in particular, proved the dietary turning point that reduced my appetite, accelerated weight loss, and just helped me feel clearer, more energetic and happier than I’d felt in years,”

Will society wake up to this simple diabetes cure?

Dr Davis now refers to the “low fat, high carb” period thus: “We’ve lived through 40 years of a failed experiment” I’d go further than that and say that history will record the 20th century as the dark ages of dietary advice. Not only have millions died an early death because of it, the repercussions of eating a high grain, high carb diet could well bring down the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, just by being overwhelmed by diabetes patients alone. The question is, will society wake up to the simple diabetes cure Dr Davis found before this happens?

It’s not just wheat that’s the culprit, although it’s probably it’s ubiquity that makes it the worst grain. Interestingly Dr Davis rounds on the plethora of gluten free products that are full of all sorts of other grains: corn starch, potato starch, rice starch etc, which are just as bad. The fact is, we’re just not designed to eat these foods.

Give up wheat for a 2 week experiment

I have personally persuaded several ill people to give up wheat for 2 weeks, to see if it would clear up their Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, and without exception the experience has utterly changed their lives for the better. If you ever feel lethargic, bloated, have bad wind, diarrhoea, craps, reflux etc, then you owe it to yourself to try a 2 week experiment that could change your life.

Getting back to the book, this is definitely going on my (ever growing!) book list, even though I already know most of what it’s going to say. Good information doesn’t displace good information. It looks like my other dietary books will have some company soon!

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Ian Sturrock 14 September 2011, 11:40 pm

    I am pretty sure that we evolved, rather than being designed. 🙂

    Humans are incredibly capable of adapting to different conditions, including different diets:

    http://anthro.palomar.edu/adapt/adapt_5.htm

    I am more than willing to accept that some humans are better off without wheat — but others eat vast amounts of it and don’t get diabetes, or IBS, or anything like that.

  • Colin McNulty 15 September 2011, 9:32 am

    It’s ironic that you pick my up on my poor choice of words (designed) when I’m about to take issue over the wording of that article you linked to. That’ll teach me to be more careful. 😉 I’m already upset with that Nutritional Adaptation article for several reasons and I’m only on the second paragraph! My emphasis:

    “For instance, the Inuit of Alaska, Northern Canada, and Greenland traditionally ate far more fat than most other populations and their gastrointestinal systems apparently are more capable of breaking fats down for use by their bodies.”

    The use of the word apparently here betrays a sentence that’s portrayed as fact, as actually being speculation, which is what it is. As far as I’m aware there is no evidence that the Inuit’s etc have some magical physiology difference to the rest of us, which enables them to eat a (roughly) 60% fat, 40% protein diet.

    This old argument is trotted out regularly by the “fat bad, protein bad, carbs good” lobby to explain why the Eskimos don’t conform to their grain based food pyramid advice. The Eskimo Paradox they call it; they also have a French Paradox and a Mediterranean Paradox! Any irritating “evidence” that doesn’t agree with their view of the world, is branded a paradox. Pesky science getting in the way of their lucrative grain subsidies, oh no, that will never do. Here’s another dodgy bad science sentence full of innuendo, again my emphasis:

    “The Tohono O’Odham Indians of Southern Arizona are an example. Until well into the 20th century, these traditional subsistence farmers had diets that mostly consisted of beans, squash, and corn [notice no wheat!] with little animal protein and fat. Late 19th century photographs usually showed them to have slender to medium body builds. That is no longer true. Now, obesity and associated type 2 diabetes are very common problems for most of them.”

    So previously they were subsistence farmers, which means barely able to maintain a survivable diet, then they were introduced to a western diet: including the introduction of wheat, oats, barley, bread, chips, vegetable oils, processed food, fast food, oh and meat. But somehow the implication is that it’s only meat that’s caused the problem?!? It beggars belief that this biased tripe is put out as science. Even the Tohono’s own community website doesn’t blame meat or fat:

    “Food — particularly fast food and highly processed food — is creating health problems.”

    Such dodgness in the first 2 paragraphs makes that entire article suspect. As for 1 in 3 English people being lactose intolerant, I also find that hard to believe. Before the last 100 years, every human on the planet would have spent their first 6 months consuming nothing but milk.

    Anyway, that’s enough of a rant for an early morning. Yes I agree that some populations have adapted to certain diets, in the same way that all humans can and do adapt to environmental changes, just like astronauts adapt to weightlessness by losing bone density. And yes over time populations can develop a certain evolutionary advantage to some environmental conditions, but that does not mean they have fundamentally different physiologies that make them only able to eat grains, or can’t eat meat.

    The fact is that we have been evolving far longer to eat a meat based diet (about a million years) than a grain based diet (a few thousand years). And just to be clear, that link of yours doesn’t actually mention wheat at all, and certainly doesn’t suggest anyone was eating vast amounts of it. 😛

  • Ian Sturrock 15 September 2011, 9:45 am

    We definitely don’t know everything about diet yet. 🙂

    I remain unconvinced, though, that wheat, which has been providing a large percentage of the calories of most people in Europe and North Africa for 5000 years, is so inherently bad for health. I suspect it’s the combination of large quantities of wheat + sedentary lifestyle that does it. That does mean that most people should be cutting down on wheat, but I’m still not sure that the occasional slice of toast or bowl of pasta is going to kill me!

  • Colin McNulty 15 September 2011, 10:35 am

    You’re right we don’t. One day I’ll get round to putting together a post on the archaeological record on the heights of humans. Did you know that man kind still hasn’t regained our height from Palaeolithic man? When we started cultivating farms and eating grains, the average human height dropped about 6 inches, from 177.1cm (for men) in 9000 BC, to 161.3cm in 3000 BC.

    The occasional slice of toast or bowl of pasta isn’t going to kill you (though it might make you feel bad as it does me) but over consumption will. Just look at the astonishing increase in childhood Type 2 diabetes. If it wasn’t for modern medicine, we’d see children dying on the news from excessive carb consumption (which I’m happy to equally blame on sugar and high fructose corn syrup, as well as wheat).

    I honestly believe that diabetes has a serious chance of destroying the NHS in our lifetime. The NHS already spends 10% of its budget on treating diabetes, and I reckon that percentage is going to rise. Think about all the cancer drugs that people aren’t getting, because the money is being spent on people who’ve eaten too many sandwiches and donuts.

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