Have you heard the term “wheat belly” floating around but don’t know what it is? First off, Wheat Belly is the title of a book by cardiologist Dr. William R. Davis. According to Dr. Davis, “wheat belly” is what happens when you eat modern-day wheat. In other words, wheat isn’t to blame for modern ailments like gluten intolerance, but modern day wheat, or “Frankenwheat,” as Davis calls it, is.
Wheat Belly hit bookshelves in 2011 and became an instant bestseller. In the book Davis postulates that wheat is toxic and addictive and causes people to eat an excess amount of food, especially junk food. According to Davis, the addictive nature of wheat is how it is grown. Wheat grown in the 1960s and the years prior was safe, but modern-grown wheat is unsafe for human consumption as it can cause health issues including heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, and premature death. Furthermore, digestive by-products in wheat lead to joint inflammation, increased blood sugar, brain effects, and skin issues like acne and premature aging symptoms.
The term “wheat belly” is what Davis uses to describe the excess amount of weight that eating wheat causes, especially in the belly region. To combat wheat belly, Davis created the “wheat belly diet.” As a consequence of the book, the wheat belly has grown to mean any type of belly fat, as in “beer belly” or “spare tire.”
Belly fat is of concern because studies have shown it to have a negative impact on health. People who carry excess body fat around the midsection, even if they are not obese, are often predisposed to diabetes and heart disease. Often belly weight is the result of genetics.
The wheat belly diet eschews all forms of wheat but does not advocate for gluten-free products. On the wheat belly diet, Davis instructs people to avoid wheat in all forms as well as:
- Avoid bad fats and cured meat
- Avoid gluten free products
- Avoid processed and sugar-filled foods
- Eat whole foods including fruits and vegetables, meat, raw nuts, and seeds
- Eat low carbs
Where the wheat belly diet gets complicated is that in the first version, gluten-free grains are allowed, but in the follow-up, gluten-free grains are not allowed. According to the follow-up version of the wheat belly diet, the first version was overly simplified, and humans are not evolved enough to consume grasses. Grains, as well as grass seeds, corn, and rice have been genetically modified and are not fit for human digestion.
For the most part, the wheat belly diet advocates to include a variety of vegetables in every meal, including breakfast, with the exception of limiting potatoes and corn. Organic dairy products and full-fat dairy are allowed, with the exception of some “soft dairy products” including cheese and yogurt, which should only be enjoyed in limited amounts. Although it can be difficult, some people have found that dropping wheat from the diet has resulted in weight loss and improved health.