Wheat Belly Review

I finally was able to finish Wheat Belly. I have to say that I was fairly disappointed in this book. Most of you know that I have really cut down on the wheat I consume, so I am not looking at this book from a rah-rah wheat perspective.  I am looking at it from the angle that a lot of wheat isn’t the best thing for our bodies.

Things I liked about the book? Probably the best part was the explanation of how today’s wheat is very different from the wheat that was first used in agriculture. It is now bred to have much more gluten than it used to. I personally feel that the modification of wheat and how much we consume on a daily basis is responsible for a lot of the sensitivities to gluten that have increased over the years.  It really gives you something to think about.

However, In addition to gluten intolerance issues, Dr. Davis then goes on to talk about how wheat is a cause of schizophrenia, addictions (although I do experience wheat-induced cravings), skin problems, heart disease, faster aging, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, Alzheimer’s, ect.

Better check the Zapruder films because I bet you might find wheat on the grassy knoll…  🙄

It was really starting to become Chicken Little there for a while.

The last section of the book was about how to eat wheat free.  But wait – not just wheat free, but low carb!  After going on and on (and on and on) about the horrors of wheat, he then says to avoid gluten-free substitutes like tapioca or rice flours because they are just as bad for your insulin levels as wheat.  And add to that fruit and potatoes.

So, he should just come out and say it’s carbs and not just wheat.  The book could really be called Carb Belly.  It sort of undermines the points he was making about just wheat being the villain.

I had to laugh about his comment about if you wanted to eat fruit.  He said have 10 blueberries or 2 strawberries or a couple wedges of an apple as a serving of fruit.  Is anyone else laughing at this?  10 blueberries???  That is what I pop in my mouth when measuring out a full ‘real’ serving of blueberries (1/2 cup).  The fear of fruit is something I just don’t get.  Yes, fruit has fructose in it, but is is also wrapped in fiber and other nutrients.  It’s not like eating a tablespoon of honey.   Just eat the damn fruit, people!!

Anyway,  I guess I am on the fence about this book.  It certainly has some good science in there and history, which is good, but the alarmist tone is just so unappealing to me.

As far as wheat goes, I think we do consume too much on a daily basis.  It’s not just in the bread you eat –  it’s in so many other products you don’t expect (sauces, spreads, coatings, etc).  I do find I get cravings to keep eating when I have wheat products, which is reason enough for me to limit it.  I was saying to John that I would treat it like I do alcohol or red meat.  A couple times a week or so for wheat.  John said like a social drinker – I will be a social ‘wheater’ LOL!!

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30 thoughts on “Wheat Belly Review

  1. Kimberley

    Social wheater…LOL! 😀 That’s funny. I am 100% on board with the book, completely off gluten, grain, and fruit and my blood sugar has returned to normal. In December I tried eating an apple and a banana per day and my blood sugar shot right back up. So right now, fruit is definitely not for me. If I do go back to fruit, I will start with berries..10 blues or 2 strawberries…no kidding! All hail Dr. Davis! 😉
    Kimberley´s last blog post ..Atkins Day 39

  2. debby

    Lori, you could be a professional book reviewer. I always enjoy your reviews.

    LOL segments:

    Reference to Zapruder films and wheat on the grassy knoll (okay, first I had to go look up what you were referring to!) and Chicken Little

    Social wheater. hee hee. THAT is funny!

    “JUst eat the damn fruit people!”

    Anyway, I felt almost exactly like you. Some interesting information. But very deceptive because he actually promotes a very low carb diet.
    debby´s last blog post ..Christmas in January?

  3. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    “So, he should just come out and say it’s carbs and not just wheat. The book could really be called Carb Belly. It sort of undermines the points he was making about just wheat being the villain.”

    Bingo. Three bars. Jackpot.

    That’s exactly the problem I had with the book, and why I didn’t finish it. (In fairness, I didn’t finish a different book about the evils of all fats, either.)
    Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog post ..Reviews: The Twitter Diet…and a Bonus Review!

  4. Lisa

    The anti-fruit propaganda is what I disliked about the Slow Carb Diet (4 Hr Body). I refuse to accept that fruit is BAD for us because it contains sugar and carbs. I would much rather get my sugar and carbs from a bowl of raspberries or blueberries instead of a hunk of bread.
    Lisa´s last blog post ..There’s a News Van in My Driveway

  5. Fran

    I don’t know either what’s up with the fruit. The low carb program I’m following says I can’t have fruits as a snack either (mostly because of the fructose in it) and I have to eat just 1 serving at dinner. I tried this for a couple of weeks but I missed my fruits as a snack in the morning and afternoon. After the holidays I’m back at low carb but I’ve added fruits as a snack again. Besides the fact that I like it, I also had the feeling I was missing some vitamins. So I’m adjusting the low carb way of life to my own needs.

    Nice review Lori.
    Fran´s last blog post ..Monday January 9, 2012: The mishmash edition

  6. Louise

    A little bit of what you fancy does you good. I’m extremely sceptical of any thing which advocates cutting out a whole food group. New research is continually finding hidden nutrients and combinations of nutrients that are good for us eg do you remember the egg thing where we were told they cause high cholesterol – a few years later they discover that eggs contain CLA which breaks down fats and declare eggs to be good for us. Apples have been found to contain substances which reduce the risk of heart disease & type 2 diabetes. Also that they actuallly inhibit growth of cancer cells. Not only that the pectin helps to reduce hunger !!!
    The biggest issue is processed and manipulated foods. I would agree that our biggest problem is the damage that has already been done to our so called whole foods such as wheat. It makes it increasingly difficult to navigate our way round a healthy and balanced diet. LECTURE OVER. Sorry about that I just feel so strongly about this issue.

  7. Sharon

    Between your review and Debby’s earlier comments about the book on her blog, I believe this is one I’ll pass up. Gotta have my fruit! My current plan (The 17-Day Diet) is working beautifully and seems to incorporate all these things into a healthy, satisfying eating plan that allows LOTS of choices while cutting out the nasty, refined stuff.
    Sharon´s last blog post ..Challenges and Choices

  8. Beth Lamb

    I have read Wheat Belly and I am on board with limiting most wheat from my diet — no question it has taken away the constant hunger and constant cravings. Not so sure about the link to diseases though. I also can’t get behind villainizing fruit, except for certain subgroups such as diabetics.

    From a practical point of view, what I liked about Wheat Belly was Dr. Davis’ suggestion that if you do nothing else to “improve” your diet, try eliminating wheat. That will automatically reduce the amount of processed food you are eating. I think it’s an easy rule for people to remember — we who are all overdosed with conflicting and complicated food information. Admittedly, eliminating wheat is not a simple thing to do, but actually if one is willing to eat from the basic foods until one learns to cook differently, it can be easy to implement.

    1. Lori Post author

      Yes – even just the simple thing of cutting out processed foods is really the best thing anyone can do for their diet. Regardless of whether or not they go low carb, high carb, high fat – whatever. The quality of the food really matters.

  9. Diane Fit to the Finish

    I haven’t read the book (or heard of it) and appreciate your review of it. I’m not a must eat mainly carbs person, but we don’t limit the wheat we eat. After all, I have my fancy wheat grinder where I grind my own wheat for bread. 🙂 What would I do with that machine?? Thanks Lori!
    Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog post ..The Real Gift of Change

    1. Lori Post author

      Organically grown wheat is still the same wheat, just grown under different conditions. It will still have the high gluten content, so the effects are still the same.

  10. Helen

    Carbs make you retain fluid, which is one reason why endurance athletes use them to help not be dehydrated. CARBS ARE NOT EVIL.

    There is nothing wrong with carbs and that’s where the whole no fruit thing irritates me. I wish people would distinguish between grain and non-grain carbs

    I don’t like any theory that claims disaster and then claims complete healing and cure if you follow their way. Big dislike on that. While it’s true that changing things up may improve health and well-being, it’s a dangerous thing to claim cure.

    Each person has to figure out what works for THEIR body and activity levels and medical issues. PERIOD. If in doing so one sticks to whole foods rather than processed, that’s a good start right there and would improve a lot folks health.

    “Social Wheater!” Great way to describe it and that’s sort of how I’ve been living since I started eating less grain carbs.
    Helen´s last blog post ..Recipe Roundup: Soup’s On

  11. Karen@WaistingTime

    Oh I am sighing very heavily. Why can’t the experts agree on anything!? Just recently I saw a Dr. Oz episode where the guest explained how you NEED (good) carbs to rev up your metabolism and cutting them out will slow things wayyyy down. He is a proponent of carb cycling, BTW. I feel better when I eat less grains because I am rather addicted to them and tend to overeat of have them bring on cravings. But maybe if I found a better way to incorporate them into my regular eating that wouldn’t happen. I don’t know. As for fruit, I’m torn. I can’t help but think it is good for us. But, as with good grains, I can easily overeat fruit. (Yes, I can overeat almost anything!) One of my previous fitness instructors rarely ate fruit herself. In her opinion it was sugar and her body reacted to sugar the same as from any other source.

    Interesting review. Thanks:)
    Karen@WaistingTime´s last blog post ..Ode to Cardio

    1. Lori Post author

      I can overeat fruit as well, but not to the degree that I can crackers or cookies. I do better with lower carb, but not low carb – and that is just me and my particular body. I get those bad cravings if I eat bread products, so I definetly limit them.

  12. Dawn, Lay Down My Idols

    I’ve been wanting to read Wheat Belly. As you know, I have to eat gluten-free but I have wondered about whether my whole family should avoid wheat … they do eat less now. I read a similiar book – which was excellent – called “Dangerous Grains” (Braly, I think). As to the carbs – I think like everything it needs moderation. I have read a lot not about high sugar levels but especially the cycling of high to low – and it’s affects on the body. That is why my bariatric doctor limits our fruit intake and well as too many carbs. However, from what I’ve been told and read, good carbs do not cause this cycling (with fibre and substance) as simple carbs do…Anyway, thanks for the review!
    Dawn, Lay Down My Idols´s last blog post ..Just "Stuff"

  13. Melisa

    Thanks for the great review! I find that limiting carbs and increasing protein (not sure how I feel yet about fat) is the way to go for me. The moment you tell me I can’t have something, that’s all I want, so I could never go really low carb. I like to “save” my carbs for things I really like – such as REALLY GOOD bread or a bagel! I try not eat TOO much fruit but feel no need to limit it to much. Like you, I wish people would distinguish between wheat-carbs and non-wheat carbs.
    Melisa´s last blog post ..My first time (with kale)

  14. Jody - Fit at 54

    Lori, thank you for your honest review. Me, I live the best I can & I am not into getting rid of food groups as a whole. I understand the need to limit certain carbs or types of carbs & I do that the older I get. Younger, I could eat more & different things but age has changed that. Honestly, unless a doc says I have to cut out wheat or limit it, I am going on my way with my whole & unprocessed foods, my treats each weekend, my love of breads & my healthy ones at that…. Thx for sharing!!! Sounds to me he wanted to advocate low carbs but without saying that on the cover…
    Jody – Fit at 54´s last blog post ..Tighten the Butt/Glute with a Ball!

  15. Leah

    Thank you for the review, Lori. I’m finding that I do better when I stay away from carbs. Still breaking that relationship though, and it’s hard for me. Yet, the weeks I do better I eat more fresh, less processed.

  16. Biz

    Thanks for the review Lori – I had that book on hold at the library, I may just let it go. The Zero Scale guy keeps emailing me – saying that if I just stick to Paleo eating 24/7 for 21 days, my diabetes will be cured. Really? Not sure how eating meat and staying away from whole grains is going to make my pancreas suddenly spit out insulin.

    And I love the “social wheater!”
    Biz´s last blog post ..Worst Date Ever . . . Go

    1. fel

      Then go ahead and read the book it wont kill you. He does mention the difference between what animal protein and carbs do to the body and he talks about the pancreas cell needed for insuling also. You may find one or two interesting or usefull tidbits. If not its not like you bought the book. Its disappointing to see so many people decide not to read the book or any book because of one persons opinion.
      Check it out and decide for yourself.

  17. Marianne

    I picked up Wheat Belly at the library, thank goodness I didn’t buy it. I had the same problems with the book you did, great review, BTW! And I was screaming at the part where he allowed us to eat 10 blueberries and 2 strawberries. I refuse to believe that raw fruit is bad. All this said, I have eliminated all wheat and flour from my diet, two weeks today. It’s been a long two weeks. I did it only to see if I could loose my belly fat (about 5-7 pounds) and if my IBS symptoms would improve. My goodness, according to Davis all we need to do is eliminate wheat and we’ll all live to 120! So far I have lost zero weight, zero improvement in IBS, and I feel no different than when I was eating wheat except I am hungry all the time! I am going to go to three months on wheat-free and if nothing improves, I’m off.

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