I am a physician who reads and critiques the scientific literature and I have a personal interest in diet. I've lost 40 pounds over a 3 month period (weight down from 198 to 158 lbs, I am 5'9) partially following low-carbohydrate principles along with high protein and fiber. If what William Davis was saying was true, then all of society would be suffering from the problems associated with wheat. The reality is that most people do fine with some wheat in their diet.
The scientific literature supports low-carb dieting, and thus by eliminating wheat you are achieving a low-carb diet. If wheat were the specific cause of obesity, rather than all carbs as a group leading to obesity, then substituting non-gluten containing starches for wheat should have wheat loss benefits. Not even Davis claims this to be the case. He states that you cannot eliminate wheat and substitute other carbs because all carbs raise blood sugar. If all carbs raise blood sugar, than why is he choosing to write a book only about wheat?
The study that would need to be done (randomized controlled trial) would need to be comparing a wheat-free diet (allowing all non-gluten containing starches) to a diet allowing wheat with both diets having equal calories and carbs. By having the only differing variable between two comparison groups being the presence or absence of wheat in a diet, a study could establish cause and effect.
He makes a good argument for why low-carb dieting is a good idea, but scientifically Gary Taubes makes MUCH better arguements in "why we get fat" and "good calories/bad caloreis." Taubes cites very strong sources such as JAMA, while Davis even uses a blogger as his citation. The specific blog he cites is written by someone with a degree in English rather than any dietary, nutritional, science, or medical training.The performance was funny and entertaining though.
Sorry, Stephen King. This is the scariest book I've read all year. If half of the stuff the author discusses in this book is true, the ramifications are global in scope. If dwarf wheat truly is unfit for human consumption, then what do we do? Do we stop feeding the world's populations of undernourished? If people start eating right, what will happen to our grain-based economy? Can we afford to make this change? Will we save enough in medical bills to afford to eat better? And is there enough "good" food to go around? I've started my wheat-free trial. But I shudder to think what will happen if the FDA takes this book's findings seriously.
This is a book that you should read. I've been on a wheat/gluten free diet for 8 months. I was happy to read more about the subject from someone that knows what he's talking/writing about.
It is one of the best health books I have read.
Easy to listen to.
The most popular food source on the planet is slowly making every one sick, but its convenience, low price, and addictive propertys make its popularity grow even more.
Can we break our addiction to Wheat.
Half way through listening to this audio book I started cleaning my cupboards and throwing out all the Wheat products. I am now 30 days wheat and gluten free. My goal is 3 months off the stuff compleatly, and after that eating only 2 of fewer servings a week.
I believe this book has helped me to correct my formerly unhealthy over use of wheat and will add years to my life.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (health/science) - This was an eye-opening book, at least for me. Gluten-free diets are all the rage, but mainstream medicine seems to say it's okay to consume wheat/gluten if you don't have celiac disease or a known gluten sensitivity. I have neither condition but I enjoy hearing health and science books, so I gave this one a shot. The presentation is convincing and predominantly easy to understand, although some parts are a bit technical and other parts are repeated ad infinitum. The second half of the book was far more interesting and beneficial, IMHO.
So here's the science (part of it anyway). Wheat has become so genetically modified that it contains proteins and other substances which have not been tested for safety of consumption. Even if you're not particularly sensitive to wheat, consuming it can raise blood sugar and cholesterol. It can adversely affect your eyes, brain, skin, bones, digestion, and the list goes on. It can cause weight gain predominantly around the belly and cause cravings to consume more wheat, creating a vicious cycle. I'm not going to start scrutinizing labels or eating only broccoli at parties, but If I can minimize my chances of the above-mentioned conditions, why not at least curtail wheat consumption as much as possible? And if my butt happens to get smaller, that's a bonus!
PERFORMANCE - It's hard to "shine" when reading scientific material, but this guy has a low, pleasant voice and does a good job.
OVERALL - Recommended for anyone who is health conscious, whether you're overweight or not. You will probably not look at bread or bagels the same again, so you must be open-minded and willing to make the change.
An educator and senior who listens to his books from his phone through his hearing aids.
Dr. William Davis is a passionate scientist and healer, who is convinced that wheat is the root of almost all that can go wrong with the body. He proceeds through maladies including but not limited to GERD, coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes, Celiac disease, ED, and acne. Oh, I forgot arthritis. Davis supports each of these with whatever is available from anecdotal, correlational, or experimental research. His writing style is engaging and his anecdotes are inspiring. However, his leaps of faith based on correlational data make one realize that he must have missed the classes on correlational versus causal variance in the research course which he took. Still, the book caused me to do my own experiment and try his recommendations for ninety days. Here is to the new me.
I picked up this book to help understand my wheat sensitivity. He did do a good job of explaining why wheat makes me stomach hurt, what other damage it may be doing, and how to rearrange my food planning to eliminate the discomfort. It was good support for my decision to eliminate wheat, though I'm not yet convinced I need to go completely gluten-free as I have not had problems with spelt, oats, barley or rye.
The science was a bit too technical for me. If I decide to go back through the material again, I will probably buy the book so I can review it more carefully.
My disappoint came as Davis turned from "wheat" to "gluten" to "all foods that raise blood sugar" to "soy is suspect because it might be genetically modified." I have simply read too many books that pick a single ingredient and blame all the troubles of the world on it: sugar, red meat, all animal products, cow's milk, saturated fat, processed food, out-of-season food, cooked food, uncooked food, etc. Each of them presents scientific studies to support their claims, stories of their own patients who showed dramatic improvement by following their advice, and dramatic warnings of the imminent demise of the civilized world. They all have some truth to them, they are all over-blown, and by overstating their case, they all undermine their own credibility.
People are not all exactly alike. Our differing chemistry shows in our allergies and sensitivities, our susceptibility to different conditions, our tastes and our physical appearance. What one person could eat for every meal makes a different person deathly ill, and what causes chronic inflammation in one can be the mainstay of another's daily consumption. Why is it so hard for dietary professionals to understand that a one-size diet does not fit all? The "Wheat Belly Diet" is a modification of Atkins, which was very successful for some people and caused gall bladder, liver and kidney problems for others.
I think that Davis has made an important contribution. I just wish he had been content with that instead of trying to reform the whole world.
I interesting and informative book about a subject I did not know exited.
When he described what eating wheat did to us and we did not even know it was doing it.
Everyone should read this book.
Dr. Davis' contention is that wheat has been genetically engineered to the point where it bears only a distant relationship to the ancestral plant. As a result wheat has many complex proteins that the human gut has not yet evolved to handle, resulting in a wide range of diseases and complaints ranging from sore joints to schizophrenia. Davis maintains that two slices of whole wheat toast raises blood sugar levels significantly higher than a Snickers bar, and blames America's current obesity epidemic on wheat. he offers many studies, facts and figures to support his argument, and even experimented on himself, eating bread made from ancestral wheat, einkorn, and bread made from modern whole wheat. (He is highly sensitive to wheat himself.) Einkorn: no problem. Whole wheat: 36 hours of nausea and inability to focus. (He also performed a blood test on himself after eating both versions, and his blood glucose rose alarmingly with the whole wheat consumption--but not the einkorn.)
The book is well-written, well-read and even entertaining, but some of the technical explanations are hard to follow via the spoken word, so I also bought the print version so that I could refer back to certain points.
Though I am not sensitive to wheat myself, I have decided to give it up for a while. It won't hurt me, and who knows? Maybe I will even begin to lose all that weight he promises to the the wheat abstainer.
That being said, I doubt that the current obesity epidemic is solely due to wheat. There are many other contributing factors, including the prevalence of computer use in the workplace and the ubiquity of high-fructose corn syrup in processed foods since the 1970s. Wheat probably played a role, but it is probably not the only villain here.
Say something about yourself!
This book is a must listen for anyone...not just those of us that struggle with excess pounds and dont know why. It can be a bit boring at times but the information is good to hear regardless.
I have struggled with crazy weight fluctuations of up to 40 lbs regularly in the past decade, I travel out of North America frequently and always lose weight when I do. I could not figure out why, I actually exercise more at home when I have a set schedule, and I do not over eat. And yet, within weeks of coming back I pack on 10 lbs, and it doesn't stop there.
The only thing I eat at home that is different is the wheat. Cereal, sandwiches (always high on the "healthy" grains) oat bars and the like. Nothing over the top and yet my appetite gains control of my life. I can eat a full meal and before putting the last spoon into my mouth be thinking about the next. This Never happens when I am in a situation where I don't eat wheat. Now I know why, and this book gave me the knowledge to understand how this product is poisonous to my body and my mind. Which of course bring depression and lethargy.....god if I only knew this 15 years back, how different my life would have been.
I am officially off wheat for good, and this book helped in pushing me to make that major commitment. Its been a week and already I feel clearer, more energetic and slightly thinner.
I recommend it for anyone...regardless of weight the info here could potentially save, or at least change, your life.