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Nancy Desjardins, ROHP/RNCP ­— Interview with Dr. William Davis — ­

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Dr. Davis educates us in plain talk about the largest dietary blunder ever made: the consumption of wheat.

Dr. Davis educates us in plain talk about the largest dietary blunder ever made:

I had an amazing interview with Dr. William Davis, the cardiologist who is encouraging people to go wheat free for heart disease prevention and reversal.

the consumption of wheat.

Wheat consumption may not be a new subject when it comes to health, but quite a few people today still ask me about the effects of wheat on the body.

And, although genetically-modified wheat has been radically transformed, it’s still being called just wheat.

I think it’s important to understand why wheat isn’t the ideal food for the human body. And, that’s why I’m encouraging you to listen to this interview.

So, why does wheat lead to weight gain? First, wheat is composed of proteins and carbohydrates that are not healthy for the body. Gluten is probably the most wellknown protein in wheat.

Dr. Davis is an expert on the subject. During our interview, he talked about the history of wheat and explained clearly why wheat increases our appetite and leads to weight gain. According to Dr. Davis, geneticallymodified wheat made it to our store shelves in the mid-’80s; and that’s when we saw an explosion of diabetes, weight gain, and other health problems. While this modified wheat has been labeled safe for human consumption, it’s important to note that there’s no record of human safety testing, animal safety testing, or biochemical testing on this food source. 2

That’s because there are so many people who are discovering that they’re sensitive to, or allergic, to the gluten in wheat. But, what isn’t as widely known is that wheat also contains a protein, gliadin, which acts as a potent appetite stimulant. That explains why eating wheat products can lead to overeating. Plus, wheat contains carbohydrates that cause very high blood sugars. According to Dr. Davis, “two slices of whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar . . ."

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

It’s abundantly clear to me that wheat has gone through some dramatic changes over time

It makes you think about the bread you routinely eat with your morning breakfast! So, if you want to lose weight and lower your blood sugar, follow Dr. Davis’ advice and eliminate wheat from your diet.

So, the first step to better health is to remove wheat from your diet. That will allow the body to switch from a sugar-burning metabolism back to a fatmobilizing metabolism.

Wheat also contains lectins that can disrupt our intestinal health. That may explain why people who eat bread have more rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and other inflammatory diseases.

It’s abundantly clear to me that wheat has gone through some dramatic changes over time. The structure of the grain is no longer the same, nor does it look the way wheat used to look in the ’50s and ’60s.

Yes, consuming wheat not only damages our intestinal tract but our whole body system, as well. How do we know that wheat is the culprit? Dr. Davis has observed that, when the majority of people—90% or better— remove wheat from their diet, they regain gastrointestinal health, and all those health problems go away.

It’s now a “Franken grain” that’s been genetically modified, cross-planted, and chemically mutated. But, as Dr. Davis discovered, when you remove wheat from your diet, you can experience weight loss, less joint pain, lower blood sugar, relief from multiple gastrointestinal symptoms, and a host of other health improvements! Enjoy reading the transcript of our discussion.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Interview with Dr. William Davis, Author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health Nancy Desjardins: Welcome, everyone. I’m Nancy Desjardins from www.HealthLady.com, and I’ll be your host today. On the call with me is Dr. William Davis.

He has consulted for the nutritional supplement industry and is currently serving as the vice president of cardiology for Obesity PPM. Visit his blog, which is WheatBellyBlog.com.

To help you get back on track this week we have Dr. William Davis. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.

Hello, Dr. Davis.

Dr. William Davis is a cardiologist and seeker of truth in health. In addition to writing, speaking, and practicing preventive cardiology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he is a medical director and founder of the Track Your Plaque program for heart disease prevention and reversal. This program was articulated in the book Track Your Plaque. It’s the only heart disease prevention program that shows how to use a new heart scan to detect, track, and control coronary plaque. Wheat elimination, along with nutritional principles articulated in Wheat Belly, serves as the cornerstone of his heart disease prevention efforts used in the Track Your Plaque program, as well.

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Nancy Desjardins: Welcome to the show, Dr. Davis. For those who are listening, can you tell us about your journey and how you got to be the doctor who is advocating removing the grains, especially wheat, from our diets? Dr. William Davis: I zigzagged here. I didn’t all of a sudden one day start doing this. I really started to take this seriously several years ago. I became very concerned in my heart disease preventive practice because about 80% of the people coming through here were either pre-diabetic or diabetic when I met them. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, it increases your risk for heart disease. It’s also associated with multiple markers that increase risk for heart disease. As a way to help people get rid of or minimize their diabetes or pre-diabetes, I used very simple logic.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

We can do all kinds of things to change the genetics of a plant to make it short, give it a big head, and do all kinds of things.

It’s well established that two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar or a Snickers bar. I’m often surprised how little that’s talked about. That’s in the tables of glycemic index. I used that simple fact and asked people to remove wheat just to reduce blood sugar. They came back three to six months later having done this and told me that their blood sugar was indeed lower, if they were checking finger sticks, or that their hemoglobin A1c—the number that shows the previous two months’ blood sugar— was much lower.

They told me about their migraines disappearing for the first time in 10 years and about how their acid reflux had entirely disappeared. Their irritable bowel syndrome symptoms were completely gone. Their asthma was so much better that they stopped using their inhalers. Their ulcers, colitis, or Crohn’s disease had improved so much that all the diarrhea and cramps had stopped, and they had stopped taking two drugs.

They also told me about their 30 pounds of weight loss and their arthritis being so much better, especially arthritis in the hands and fingers, but in the knees and hips as well. www.HealthLady.com

PERSPECTIVE It’s well established that two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar. 5


Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health to this protein in wheat called gluten. However, there are many other things in wheat. There is gliadin, for instance. There is a protein called gliadin that is a very potent appetite stimulant. There is amylopectin A, which is a form of carbohydrate that’s responsible for the very high blood sugars that result from eating two slices of whole wheat bread.

This kept on happening. At first I actually dismissed it as pure coincidence. Then it became so common and predictable that I began to believe, “This has to be the wheat.” I started to do this on purpose for a variety of other symptoms, and I’ve seen this trend continue. People come in with funny rashes and arthritis. They’re overweight and have high blood sugars. We take them off wheat and see the whole thing reverse. That’s when I took this very seriously. Nancy Desjardins: This is not just about going gluten-free for people who suffer with celiac; it’s about going wheat-free for everybody. Dr. William Davis: Exactly. I’m glad you asked that. Some people are seeing this as something for gluten-free or glutensensitive people, and it’s not that at all. There are people who are indeed glutensensitive, which means they’re sensitive 6

There are lectins, which are notorious for disrupting intestinal health, and they’re probably the reason why people who eat bread, for instance, have more rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and other inflammatory diseases. There is a lot more to this thing called wheat than gluten. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that eliminating gluten means that you should eat gluten-free foods. That’s a big mistake. Unfortunately, when we rely on the food industry to provide answers, they come up with bad answers. You may remember that they tried to replace saturated fat with hydrogenated fat. Every inch of the way where the food industry has tried to come to our rescue, they’ve botched it up. In this case, they’ve done it again. They’ve tried to replace gluten with gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch and potato starch, which are the only foods that raise blood sugar even higher than wheat.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Dr. William Davis: It looks different. If you and I held wheat from 1960 up against wheat from 2011, one thing you would see is that the old wheat is about four-and-a-half feet tall. The new wheat is two feet tall. The new wheat also has a very large seed head, and its stalk is very short. There are very obvious outward appearances. By the way, these changes were introduced for the sake of increasing yield. The geneticists of the ‘60s and ‘70s were very interested in trying to generate highyield strains of crops: soy, corn, and wheat, especially. They were successful with wheat. By the way, this all predates genetic modification, so this is before gene-splicing techniques. This used other techniques like hybridization, crossing plants over and over to try to winnow out specific characteristics. It also included mating wheat with non-wheat grains to introduce unique genes, as well as exposing wheat seeds and embryos to toxic industrial chemicals or gamma radiation. This is called chemical and radiation mutagenesis; they induce mutations using these techniques. These were the techniques used in the ‘60s and ‘70s to generate new strains of wheat.

They’ve changed this thing to such an incredible degree and they still call it wheat. I don’t think it’s wheat.

Nancy Desjardins: The problem with wheat is that the wheat we eat today has been genetically altered. How is it different from the wheat our grandparents ate?

It was done primarily to create high-yield strains of this plant, and they were very successful. They created the high-yield, semi-dwarf strain of wheat. This came, by the way, from Mexico City. All of this research was done in Mexico. Since that time the semi-dwarf, high-yield strains have essentially taken over all wheat in the world. The USDA tells me that over 99% of all the wheat grown in the world now is this semi-dwarf plant. It’s differently outwardly; it’s also different inwardly. It’s different biochemically and genetically. The gluten sequences are very changed. They gliadin is changed. Modern wheat has more gliadin and a different kind of gliadin that is a more effective appetite stimulant. There are probably many—maybe thousands—of other changes. Unfortunately, a lot of this is not chronicled in the genetics literature.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

I don’t think humans have changed. I think the wheat has changed.

That’s because there is a big loophole in genetics research. If you and I were evil scientists or geneticists, Nancy, who wanted to change a plant incredibly and didn’t care about what it did, we could still sell it to the public, no questions asked. In other words, we can do all kinds of things to change the genetics of a plant to make it short, give it a big head, and do all kinds of things. However, there’s never any question of its suitability for human consumption. We can take it to market and sell it to people, and we don’t have to utter a word about it. The only reason this has actually come to light recently is because in this age of genetic modification—gene-splicing technology where we insert or delete a gene—this has come under scrutiny. The irony here is that techniques that predate genetic modification and don’t involve gene splicing, though still going on, are far cruder and less precise. Yet, all the scrutiny is over genetic modification. These other techniques are far worse, and those are the techniques used to generate the high-yield, semi-dwarf variant of wheat. 8

Nancy Desjardins: Could you explain about the original wheat, the einkorn, which was a 14-chromosome plant? The wheat that is sold to us now is from a 42-chromosome plant. There’s a huge difference between the original and the wheat we’re eating today. Dr. William Davis: Sure, Nancy. You’re exactly right. I get a lot of people who say, “I can’t eliminate wheat because wheat is in the Bible.” Of course, the wheat in the Bible is bread and fills many of the stories, but that’s not what we’re being sold, so you’re exactly right. Modern wheat—the high-yield, semi-dwarf variant—is 42 chromosomes, and it’s been manipulated to an extreme degree by the geneticists. Yes, it is 42 chromosomes, and a third of those chromosomes have been dramatically altered by geneticists. If we go back to the Bible, that was likely emmer wheat, which was a 28-chromosome plant. If we go back even farther to pre-Biblical times, we get to the point of einkorn, which was a 14-chromosome plant. To make a point, a nice Canadian woman has 46 chromosomes. A human has 46 chromosomes.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health An Eskimo has 46 chromosomes. An Aboriginal native of the Outback in Australia has 46 chromosomes. Someone from Mongolia has 46 chromosomes. In other words, despite the rather striking outward differences in appearance, all humans have 46 chromosomes. However, modern wheat has 42 chromosomes. The wheat of the Bible had 28 chromosomes, and pre-Biblical wheat had 14 chromosomes. Thus, we’re not talking about subtle differences. We’re talking about dramatic differences; there are differences in the chromosomal number. The wheat we’re sold today is not the wheat of the Bible and not the wheat that humans first gathered as it grew wild in the Middle East.

This is because the geneticists have been assuming—as has the USDA, Health Canada, and the FDA—that people have simply turned a blind eye to these genetic changes. There has been no record of human safety testing, animal safety testing, or biochemical testing. Why? Because you can change the plant and sell it, so we often don’t know which forms and strains of the plant are the most destructive and which more safe. We just don’t know because there have never been any questions. It’s been assumed that if you cross two plants and it’s still a plant, you can sell it. I think there’s going to be a big change in the way we have to view what the geneticists have been doing. It took genetic modification to bring these questions to light. All along, though, Nancy, they’ve been doing far, far worse things.

Nancy Desjardins: Today we have over 25,000 varieties of wheat. Is that right? Dr. William Davis: It’s somewhere around there. Various agricultural geneticists have tried to catalog the total number of variants of wheat. There are different estimates, but it’s way up in the tens of thousands. It might be 25,000 or as high as 50,000. Here’s one of the problems: if we asked, “Who, when, and where created the most monstrous forms of modern wheat?” we don’t have all that chronicled.

Nancy Desjardins: Can you explain the technique? You talk in your book about the creation of thousands of what you call “Franken grains” over the past 50 years using pretty extreme techniques. You’ve mentioned that they’re called safe for human consumption but have never been tested or even questioned. What extreme techniques are you talking about?

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

“If the victim vomits, don’t throw the vomit in the sink because it will explode,” which has actually happened in real life. That dangerous chemical used in toxic industrial processes that is poisonous to humans, called sodium azide, explodes when you throw it away, and it is used to induce mutations in the wheat plant. One of the mutations that they induced was resistance to this herbicide called Beyond.

Dr. William Davis: Let me tell you about chemical mutagenesis, for instance. There’s a strain of wheat called Clearfield. The patent is owned by the BASF Corporation, and this Clearfield wheat is herbicide resistant. In other words, a farmer can spray all the herbicide he wants, and it kills the weeds but not the wheat. How did they generate this wheat plant that is resistant to herbicides? They took the semi-dwarf strain of wheat, the embryo and seeds, and they exposed it to a chemical called sodium azide, which is used in industrial processes. It’s a very toxic chemical. If there is an accidental ingestion, the person who ingested it dies. The Poison Control people tell you, “Don’t offer that person CPR because the rescuer will die too, so let that victim die. 10

If you look at the marketing that the BASF Corporation puts out for their Clearfield strain of wheat, it says, “Our Clearfield wheat is not the product of genetic modification. Only traditional breeding methods were used.” The use of sodium azide, this toxic chemical used to induce purposeful mutations into this plant, is called a traditional breeding method. These are the kinds of the word games geneticists and agri-business have been playing with us, trying to pretend that they’re just inducing small changes in these plants. They’re not. They’re inducing all manner of mutations. This is how I would compare this, Nancy. Imagine you and I are evil scientists and—this is kind of gross—we’re going to mate a human and an orangutan to see what happens.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

We also take some of the pregnant mothers and expose the fetus to chemicals or gamma radiation to induce mutations. We’ve done that now several times. What do we have at the end of that crazy process? We don’t have a human. I don’t think we have an orangutan. We have some kind of peculiar creature. I don’t know what we’d call it, but it’s neither of the original animals. That’s what they’ve done to wheat, but they still call it wheat. If they said, “This bread was made with Cultivar XYZ123, the product of genetics research,” I don’t think there is any criticism of that. However, they’re calling it wheat, and that’s the problem. They’ve changed this thing to such an incredible degree and they still call it wheat. I don’t think it’s wheat. Nancy Desjardins: If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac, how much gluten can you tolerate? Dr. William Davis: You want to be as absolutely meticulous as possible with complete avoidance. Let’s say you had a piece of birthday cake or a few bites of bread once in a while. Just with those casual, occasional small quantities of indulgences, you’ll increase your risk of gastrointestinal cancer seventy-fold.

If your goal is to become non-diabetic, you may need to go further than just wheat elimination.

We get this offspring that’s something between a human and an orangutan, and we cross it repeatedly with other orangutans. Maybe we pick these orangutans for short height, hairiness, or some other characteristic.

It’s not worth it. In other words, I would be as meticulous as possible. It probably does not matter if you get minor residues. Some people, by the way, do respond to those minor residues. If a pan had been used previously to fry something that had breadcrumbs, some people are so acutely sensitive that they’ll even react to that minor exposure. Putting that aside, because that probably does not result in gastrointestinal cancer risk, I would purposely avoid anything made of wheat or anything close to wheat, like rye and barley. I would be absolutely meticulous because you’re toying with cancer risk when you indulge in even a minor quantity of wheat. By the way, it’s my prediction, Nancy, that the cancer risk of celiac disease is really a hint to us that wheat consumption is a cancer risk for everybody. We’ve been misled by a very flawed logic. If we take something bad for us, like white flour, and replace it with something less bad for us, like whole grains, and there’s an apparent benefit, a whole bunch of the lessbad thing must be good for you.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Just because something is less bad does not necessarily make it good.

That’s the flawed logic used. Let’s apply that to something else. If I take something bad—unfiltered Camel cigarettes—and replace them with something less bad— filtered Salem cigarettes—by this line of logic, smoking a bunch of Salems is good for you.

Dr. William Davis: Yes, I think that’s become clearer. That question was asked by Dr. Joe Murray at the Mayo Clinic. He wanted to know because he’s heard a lot of his colleagues saying things like, “We think celiac is on the rise.”

You can see the flawed logic. This applies, by the way, to numerous pieces of advice that have come from the nutritional community. It’s a flawed logic.

He did something very clever; he took the serum, the blood samples, drawn about 50 years ago from several thousand Air Force recruits, and then compared them to many thousands of modern blood samples.

Just because something is less bad does not necessarily make it good. In that line of logic, the next sequence or logical line of reasoning should have been, “What’s the effect of removal?”

Then he checked for celiac markers. These were all men, and what he saw was that in the 50 years since the blood samples from 1948 were drawn, there was a four-fold rise in positivity for celiac markers.

That’s where I see incredible turnarounds in health. I don’t want people to ever fall into the trap of seeing something “less bad” as good.

It wasn’t clear why that was. There have been various theories proposed. The theory I would propose is that I don’t think humans have changed. I think the wheat has changed.

Nancy Desjardins: In your research, have you seen an increase in celiac in the last 50 years? 12

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

That’s a fact, by the way. The gluten proteins that activate celiac disease have indeed changed. That is indisputable. If we compare the amino acid sequences in the glutens of 1948, 1950, and 1960 to the glutens of 2011, there is no question. There are multiple changes in the sequences. I think that’s probably the reason why we have a quadrupling of celiac disease in the last 40 or 50 years. Nancy Desjardins: What is not caused by wheat? Dr. William Davis: “What’s not caused by wheat?” That’s not to say, Nancy, that all diseases are caused by wheat. Of course that’s not true. However, every day I’m learning new lessons. Every day I see more and more people remove wheat, I’m learning about something new. Removing wheat results in relief from multiple gastrointestinal symptoms: acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

Dandruff improved in many people, as did seborrhea. Chronic rashes that had been present for 10 years and were treated with steroid creams disappeared in many people within days. There are mental affects. Children with ADHD and autism who have behavioral problems improve markedly with greater attention span with the removal of wheat. People with schizophrenia who hear voices and have paranoia aren’t cured but markedly improve with wheat elimination. People who have bipolar illness with the highs and lows experience highs that are blunted by removal of wheat. Leg swelling improves. Mood improves. Sleep is deeper. Anxiety can improve. I’ve seen a lot of people with anxiety disorders get complete relief.

Patients have experienced marked improvement and occasionally cures.

Asthma and chronic sinus congestion improves. That’s only a partial list. The list is growing. Do you know what’s happened recently?

Joint swelling and pain, particularly in the hands, fingers, and wrists, improves in the majority. This is occasionally true of the knees and hips, as well. Skin conditions are very big.

By way of social media, blogs, et cetera, I’ve taken this from the few thousand people in my sphere—those people I take care of in my practice and some of the online programs I do—out into social media.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

There has been a flood of people doing this and telling me about all the relief they’ve had from multiple conditions. Because we’ve now taken this out to a larger audience, I’m learning new lessons. For instance, I didn’t realize just how commonly migraines go away. That was a new lesson for me. Another lesson I learned recently is that many women with very bad PMS symptoms experience marked reduction in the severity of their PMS symptoms. Nancy Desjardins: How can you repair the gut and intestine after many years of consuming wheat? Dr. William Davis: Yes, that’s a big concern of mine. It takes me out of my area, but I can tell you what I see. For the majority of people— probably 90% or better— when they remove wheat they gradually regain gastrointestinal health. Many people enjoy it within days. Some require weeks to months for full recovery. Here’s my fear, and this is an area that I have to explore further, so I don’t have a full answer for you right now. I think that there’s a dramatic shift in the number and type of bacteria when you eliminate wheat. There’s probably a marked improvement, but there may not be full recovery of normal bowel flora and bacteria. 14

This may be a role for probiotics or prebiotics. I also fear that there are a lot of people who, after they remove wheat from their diets, are left with some degree of problem digesting fats, like people who have difficulty taking fish oil. I think what may be happening is that the chronic consumption of wheat has disrupted intestinal health and the signaling of pancreatic function, so these people aren’t producing pancreatic enzymes like they should be. A lot of these people respond to taking pancreatic enzymes, particularly lipase. We need more information on how to manage this better. When we remove wheat, the offensive agent, and we only have partial recovery, is there a better way to manage that specific problem? Until we have a better answer, I’m having some people who encounter difficulty with full recovery take probiotics and/or pancreatic enzymes. Nancy Desjardins: Why does the appetite increase when you consume wheat? Dr. William Davis: We know that the gliadin protein of wheat—and this comes from the National Institutes of Health— is broken down into small proteins, polypeptides, that have the ability to cross into the brain.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

We also know that those small polypeptides can be blocked by administering opiateblocking drugs. If we follow that sequence, the gliadin of wheat is converted into an opiate that can be blocked with opiateblocking drugs. We also know that if humans are given opiate-blocking drugs, they reduce calorie consumption usually by about 400 calories per day. For people with conditions like binge eating disorder, who can’t stop eating, they eat and eat and gain a lot of weight. If those people are given an oral opiateblocking drug, they’re not hungry anymore. Thus, we know that opiates play a role in reducing appetite. The question I would pose is the only food that yields substantial opiates in the bloodstream is wheat. In fact, there’s a drug company that made application to the FDA in the U.S. just five months ago for the drug Naltrexone. Naltrexone is an oral opiate-blocking drug, and in their clinical trials the participants who took naltrexone for six months lost 22 pounds because they all reduced calorie consumption by 400 calories per day. If we follow all that, the gliadin protein of wheat acts like an opiate. We can block it with oral opiate-blocking drugs. In effect, we have been told to eat more healthy whole grains in an opiate, which increases appetite and can be blocked by opiateblocking drugs.

You can see the absurdity of this situation. We have national agencies telling us to eat more healthy whole grains. We now have a drug company that proposes to come to our rescue. It would be funny if it weren’t affecting so many people. Every inch of the way—and this sounds very cynical—there’s been somebody there to profit from this thing. That’s what worries me. If someone came on the air and said, “You can do this, and it’s going to cost you $1,000 in coloncleansing materials,” or something like that, I would be skeptical. However, what I’m suggesting to people is just to remove this food. We’re not selling anything. We’re just telling you that they did something to this plant and didn’t tell you.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

It made it to your store shelves in the mid‘80s, and that’s when we saw an explosion of diabetes, weight gain, and other health problems. It’s becoming clearer that wheat was the cause because when you remove it, all those problems go away.

has come over Canada, the U.S., and the world. It’s a change in the genetics of wheat and its relationship to humans.

Nancy Desjardins: In your book you mention that when you remove the wheat, sugar, and bad fats from your diet, you can easily lose a pound a day.

pointing fingers at the problem. That’s why I added the diet. This is the diet I use for full correction over metabolic distortions.

Dr. William Davis: That’s right. Obviously, there’s more to a healthy diet than removing wheat. If I said, “Remove wheat and eat all the jelly beans and ice cream you want,” that’s not right either. If 80% of the people I see in Canada and the U.S. are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or overweight, it may take more. If I have a 297-pound guy who is diabetic, it’s going to take more than wheat elimination. Wheat elimination will indeed drop his blood sugars and cause him to lose 30 to 50 pounds, but what if his goal is to lose 130 pounds and no longer be diabetic? That person has to push harder, so he may have to restrict other forms of carbohydrates, like cornstarch and sugars. Another level of problem, of course, is high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, and sucrose.

My publisher felt we needed to have a solution offered, a diet, in addition to

The first step is to remove wheat. The second step is to limit carbohydrates. The third step, as you pointed out, is to pick and choose your oils. We avoid hydrogenated oils, for instance, and polyunsaturates. We don’t heat our oils as in frying. One thing I don’t do is restrict total oils. If you follow that very simple formula, diabetics become non-diabetics. In fact, I saw two people today in my office who were former diabetics. I’m a former diabetic. I’m no longer diabetic. I’m on no drugs. If your goal is to become non-diabetic, you may need to go further than just wheat elimination. If your goal is to lose more than a few pounds—maybe you want to lose 150 pounds—you will do better and get there faster by cutting carbohydrates in addition to wheat elimination.

Nancy Desjardins: In your recipes you By the way, I wrote the Wheat Belly book as include coconut oil and coconut flour. an articulation of this incredible issue that www.HealthLady.com 16


Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Nancy Desjardins: What about spelt as opposed to wheat? Is that something you would recommend as a wheat alternative? Dr. William Davis: I think we have to be careful about that. Every step of the way, if we go back evolutionarily, wheat is better. If we go back to the wheat of 1960, we’re better off. If we go back to the wheat of the 19th century, like Red Fife—and I’ve gotten some questions from Canadian farmer associations about whether or not they should resurrect Red Fife, one of the popular forms of wheat from the 19th century—we’re better off. We could go back farther to spelt, kamut, the emmer of the Bible, or even to einkorn. Every step of the way we go back, Nancy, wheat becomes increasingly more benign, less harmful to humans. The question I pose but don’t have a full answer to is when, if ever, does it become entirely safe? I don’t think any form of wheat is entirely safe. There are several things we know. We know that when hunter-gatherer humans 10,000 years ago went from eating just animals and plants to harvesting wild grains, like einkorn, they suffered a downturn in health.

Dr. William Davis: I’ve also put recipes on how to make healthy gravy and stuffing, as well as cheesecake, chocolate almond biscotti, and chocolate chip cookies using, as you pointed out, Nancy, coconut flour and ground nuts, like almonds.

I don’t think any form of wheat is entirely safe.

They had more cavities and bone disease. They may have had more heart disease and cancer. The incorporation of even the ancient grains like einkorn and emmer were associated with a downturn in health. We also know that celiac disease was described as long ago as 2,000 years, in 100 A.D. We know that gluten had the capacity to cause celiac disease even in its more ancient forms. Is there a form of wheat that’s entirely benign? I don’t think so. However, I think there are forms of wheat like spelt, emmer and einkorn that are more benign. An unanswered question is how much safer does something have to be before we embrace it? Does it have to be 70%, 90%, or 100% better? I don’t have an answer. If I were to pick the wheat that is most benign, it would be einkorn, the original wheat that was harvested by humans. Nancy Desjardins: There actually is gluten in einkorn, but it’s a different gluten, right?

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

When people remove wheat, they start losing weight.

Dr. William Davis: It has gluten, lectins, amylopectin, which are all the makings of modern wheat, but in a different form and in a little different quantity. It is wheat. It shares a lot of the genetics, just like humans share some chromosomes and genes with orangutans. However, they’re different. If you saw an orangutan and a human, you could tell them apart pretty readily. You can tell old wheat from modern wheat. There are similarities, but there are distinct differences, as well. Nancy Desjardins: You mentioned that abdominal or visceral fat is nothing like the fat in our arm or backside. Why is that? Dr. William Davis: For some crazy, odd reason the fat that accumulates around our organs—our intestinal tract, kidneys, liver, and heart—is different.

It produces all of these inflammatory proteins and markers and inflames other organs. People who have visceral fat, what I call the Wheat Belly, have more pain in their knees and hips. They have more diabetes, higher blood sugar, poor responses to insulin, and more cancer. This visceral fat is responsible for a whole range of abnormal effects. This is unlike the fat in your arms. Nancy Desjardins: When people remove wheat, they start losing weight. It’s probably due to the reduced inflammation from that visceral fat. It is a loss of fat. It’s a loss of weight. It’s a loss of resistance to insulin. Dr. William Davis: I think it’s all of those things. When you lose visceral fat, the inflammation subsides. You’ll see this happen: loss of 10 pounds in the tummy results in dramatic improvement in knee arthritis out of proportion to the weight loss.

It’s the so-called visceral fat. If you were to biopsy it, it almost looks like pus. It’s You would think the knees would improve filled with inflammatory cells that leak out because they’re carrying less of a weight inflammatory molecules and markers into burden, but it seems to improve way out of your bloodstream. That causes all kinds of proportion to the amount of weight lost. things. This fat in the abdomen is an active organ. www.HealthLady.com 18


Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

I’m still amazed at the dramatic degree of turnaround in health and weight I still see when people eliminate wheat from their diets.

There are many things that happen when you lose visceral fat, specifically. There’s a very peculiar phenomenon that I don’t fully understand.

Even today, I’m still amazed at the dramatic degree of turnaround in health and weight I still see when people eliminate wheat from their diets.

When you remove wheat from the diet there’s a rapid shrinkage in the waist size.

Nancy Desjardins: What about withdrawal? When people eliminate wheat, people will experience a very distinct withdrawal syndrome. Why is that?

It seems to even exceed what you’d expect. It wouldn’t be uncommon to lose three inches, for instance, in the waist in the first month of going wheat free. This is, by the way, with no calorie restriction. I’m not saying cut your wheat and cut your calories. I’m saying to just cut the wheat. I don’t care about calories.

Dr. William Davis: I’m glad you asked that. That’s part of the whole opiate withdrawal effect. Thirty percent of people will experience a very distinct withdrawal syndrome. It includes mental fog so you can’t think straight.

You’ll see things like a three-inch drop in the waist size.

It’s overwhelming fatigue and, for some, even depression.

One of the things about wheat, Nancy, is that we have a ‘two plus two equals eleven’ effect where the sum is greater than the total. Add up all of the things we know about wheat—the amylopectin A, visceral fat-provoking properties, gliadin appetite stimulating effects, and lectins that cause abnormal intestinal permeability—and we’d expect a lot of benefits by going wheat-free.

They can’t exercise. Some can’t even go to work or function. Thankfully, it lasts anywhere from about 24 hours to about five days, occasionally longer.

The odd thing is that the sum total is greater; we get even bigger health benefits and weight loss than you’d expect just by knowing about all of those parts.

The longest I’ve ever seen it last is a month. Part of it, I believe, is the conversion of a sugar-burning metabolism to a fatmobilizing metabolism. I believe the majority of these effects are due to the withdrawal from this opiate. You can induce that same withdrawal by giving somebody an oral opiate-blocking drug. It’s not a pleasant experience.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health Some people use blanched almonds for almond flour. I prefer the almond meal, the almond ground with the hull on. This is because you get all the fiber from that. It makes a coarser product, but you get all the fiber from it. You can use others. We have to be careful here because so many of the alternative flours sold—cornstarch, corn flour, rice flour, teff, amaranth, millet, potato flour—are very rapidly digested. Those are some of the flours that can raise blood sugar higher than even wheat flour.

I don’t know of a way to abbreviate it, blunt it, or make it less unpleasant. Until we find a better solution we, in effect, say, “Grin and bear it.” Nancy Desjardins: What’s your favorite flour? Dr. William Davis: My favorite is ground almonds. That’s a workhorse form of flour. It can be a little bit too coarse for some people. I use the coconut flour mostly to lighten up and make the ground almonds more cake-like. Typically, I’ll take a cupand-a-half of ground almonds and two tablespoons of ground coconut. You’ll have to add other things, of course, depending on your recipe, like eggs and vanilla extract. However, the ground nuts are a great substitute for your flours. 20

One thing we have to be mindful of, Nancy, is this. We don’t want to take a problem food like wheat and replace it with a whole new set of problems with things like quinoa flour or amaranth flour, which cause very high blood sugars. While they may not have the addictive properties of wheat, they can have effects of their own. The high blood sugar that results from, say, cornstarch or potato starch causes the process of glycation, which is the whole domino effect that leads to cataracts, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease. We don’t want to replace bad things with other bad things, so we have to pick and choose our flours. The most benign flours, I believe, are the ground nuts, like almond meal and coconut flour. Nancy Desjardins: What would be some of your basic principles that can serve people well in their wheat-free journey?

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Dr. William Davis: One thing is that once you go wheat-free, don’t indulge. It’s not for the reason of avoiding gastrointestinal cancer, although it’s that too, but because of the appetite-stimulating effect.

Next, go back to real food. Go back to vegetables, oils, olives, avocado, eggs, cheese, and meats, preferably free range if you eat meat. Return to real food, and be careful of those gluten-free foods.

There’s an effect I call “Ate One Cookie and Gained 30 Pounds.” I see this all the time. Someone goes wheat-free and they’re really proud of what they’ve done; they’ve lost 30 or 40 pounds, and they feel great.

If you’re looking for a full unwinding of all of the metabolic distortions many Canadians and Americans have accumulated, it also involves cutting back on other carbohydrates, like ice creams, fruit juices, and all of the things that raise blood sugar to a high degree.

Then they go to an office party and somebody is serving hors d’oeuvres, like bruschetta, which contains wheat, of course. They’ll have a few, thinking they’ve been good. That little indulgence opens the floodgates, and before you know it they can’t stop. They gain 10 pounds in a week and 30 pounds in a month. Thus, the first order of business is this: if you’re wheat-free, stay wheat-free. Other people get sick when they’ve been wheat-free and they have a re-exposure. Typically, it’s gastrointestinal distress like diarrhea or food poisoning. Some people get asthma. Some people get anxiety. Others get joint pain. Once you’re wheat-free, stay wheatfree and avoid the indulgences because many people who have it will pay for it in some kind of odd effect, such as appetite triggering.

Those things help a lot, too. Avoid fructose sources like agave, honey, maple syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. Nancy Desjardins: It’s about autism and ADHD. Have you done research on what happens when those people remove wheat from their diet? Dr. William Davis: I only take care of adults, not children. I can only report what’s in the literature. We do need more data. I will tell you that I have lots of parents of children with ADHD and autism, and they pretty much tell me down to the last one that they have observed improvements in behavior and learning with the removal of wheat.

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Nancy Desjardins

Interview with Dr. William Davis

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path to Health

Most parents also remove sugars, food colorings, and other synthetics. Thus, it may not be entirely a wheat effect in the ADHD/autism world, but I think at least part of the effect is attributable to wheat elimination. There have been studies on the effects. We need more, but in the meantime, if any parent has a child with ADHD or autism, I think there is little to lose by eliminating wheat and observing the effect. I predict that you’ll see improvement in behavior and learning. Nancy Desjardins: You’ve been listening to Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly. Visit his website at www.WheatBellyBlog.com. Dr. Davis, thank you so much for sharing all of that wisdom.

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