Is Modern Wheat Killing Us All?

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)


William Davis, author of the popular book ‘Wheat Belly’, says that the wheat we eat nowadays is very different from the wheat we used to eat.

The wheat we find now is “an 18-inch tall plan created by genetic research in the 60s and 70s,” he told CBS This Morning. This high-yield strain of wheat was introduced to American farmers in the late 1970s and by 1985 almost all wheat farmers were growing this new strain. At the time this must have looked like a no brainer – more wheat, faster. But could this new strain be responsible for so many of the health problems we suffer from nowadays?

One of the big differences in this modern wheat is the gliadin, a protein found within wheat gluten capable of affecting humans in various negative ways. Davis says that it’s not just people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance who should be concerned, it’s everyone. Gliadin binds to the opiate receptors in the brain inducing appetite, behavioral changes, inattention in children with ADHD and autism, hearing voices, social detachment in schizophrenics and mania in bipolar illness. Davis says:

‘People who consume gliadin consume 400 calories more per day; people who remove gliadin reduce calorie intake by 400 calories per day.’

Many people, gluten-free or not, are leaving wheat behind and focusing on other grains or no grains at all.

“We’re seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing 30,80,150 pounds…people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, IBS, depression, and on and on every day.”

Wheat is everywhere as we well know but Davis suggests eating “real-food such as avocados, olives, olive oil, meats and vegetables..the stuff that is least likely to have been changed by agribusiness.”

What are your thoughts on this new ‘Frankenwheat’? Have you eliminated wheat from your diet without a medical reason, simply because you feel healthier without it?

20 thoughts on “Is Modern Wheat Killing Us All?”

  1. I have to wonder what Dr. Davis’s sources are. A quick search on PubMed for “gliadin opiate receptors” yields 3 small studies from 25-30 years ago. One was an in-vitro (test tube) study, and two were papers on the same statistically insignificant pilot study conducted by the same researchers, with no follow-up from the original pilot study:

    So is he relying on the recalled Wakefield Lancet study that was so bad that it got Dr. Wakefield’s license to practice medicine revoked? Or is he just making things up out of thin air?

  2. It is well-known, especially those who research topics like schizophrenia and other neurological disorders that peptides (part of the protein chain) in wheat act like an opiate in the brain. (not exactly the topic mentioned, but does deal with the biochemistry of gluten peptides working like a pathogen in the bodies of those with celiac disease)

  3. Read this book – interesting read though I disagree with last chapters about no gluten free products (like my bread). Allergy sufferer on gluten free diet that’s helped. Well worth reading this book.

  4. I have been wheat free for almost three years due to celiac disease. I’ve gained over twenty pounds and I’m hungry ALL the time.

  5. I agree with Mark. I feel as though I eat healthier now but I’ve gained weight. I don’t understand how people are losing weight by using GF as a trendy weightloss plan.

  6. I gained weight after being diagnosed with Celia because as my body healed I was actually absorbing nutrients. Before the doctor said I was malnourished. So for me it was a good thing to gain weight.

  7. When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac, the whole family went gluten (and all grain) free. My husband lost 60#, and I’ve lost about 30. You will be hungry all the time if you replace the gluten with processed crap food. Eat meat & veggies and avoid sugar and you will reap all of the benefits that Dr. Davis speaks of in his book. We eat wonderful grassfed beef, pastured chicken and their eggs, healthy coconut oil and butter, salad & an abundance of veggies and some small amount of fruit. My daughter will have an occasional potato, but we are admittedly lower-carb. Our only gluten-free baked goods are on birthdays and holidays and then we use almond flour and coconut flour, not rice flour. In all honestly, we are rarely hungry. On the weekends when we sleep a bit later, we only eat twice a day. I’ve heard Dr. Davis speak and he made a believer our of me. W don’t see GF as a trendy weight loss plan, but a lifestyle.

  8. My experience as well Mindy.
    Once you stop eating processed goods, and stick to whole, organic, grass fed beef, bison, free range chicken/eggs, and organic fruits and veggies, and stop the sugar intake or keep it to only special occasions, not only do you feel better, you lose cravings, hunger and weight.

  9. Egaeus – Dr. Wakefield is the victim of a witch hunt for daring to expose the dangers of vaccines. The medical industrial complex is after Dr. Wakefield for exposing their own falsified and “science” and deadly poisons pushed as “medicine”. Dr. Wakefield has been demonized in the main stream media, but he is a stand-up guy.
    Mark, Angela- Dr. Davis says that gluten-free substitutes are often worse than the original wheat products they replace in terms of the effects on blood sugar and insulin. Mindy is absolutely right. Gluten-free substitutes are full of sugars and processed junk; they should be occasional treats, not eaten 3 times a day, every day. I used to feel awful after lunch of GF sandwiches until I discovered the Paleo diet. Also look into the Weston A. Price Foundation. At the very least, eat low carb, real, unprocessed foods and plenty of healthy fats. Yes, fat is your friend. Include healthy meat and plenty of colourful vegetables (not starch). It might be difficult for 3 weeks, but that is because carbs are addictive (but acting on a different pathway than gliadin). Stick to it and it will be worth it!

  10. Since cutting gluten for celiac disease I have lost weight. Most of weight loss was due to other medical changes though. One key change in diet besides removing gluten for me was reducing sodium. The amount in packaged foods, both gluten and gluten free, is high. I have tried to eat fresh and make own foods such as fresh potato chips in microwave with own seasoning and no salt or gluten. Once salt has been reduced you will feel full much quicker after time too.

  11. i have been on a glutten free diet for about 3 months after dr. stated i have celiac disease. i do have sugar and salt in my diet and also eat a lot of potatoes on my own. frozen french fries and fried potatoes. should i try to stop eating these things. weight has not changed much but i am hungry alot and snack on tortilla chips alot(white corn). what do you think, looking for input. thanks

  12. My experience is similar to Mindy’s and I agree with Andrew. An additional change I made after going GF 2 years ago was to increase the amount of fiber to 20-25g daily by using a lot of fibrous fruits and veggies plus adding GF oat bran to any baking. Of course over all – stay away from GMOs so most things are from farmers markets or organic produce.

  13. I really enjoyed Dr. Davis’s book…but it’s a New York Times bestseller, not an article in a medical journal. I would love to see the authority he bases his research on, as many of his assertions seem conclusory. As someone who suffers from gluten intolerance, I tend to disagree with his argument that it’s just wheat that’s making us sick…And I did lose 30 pounds when I cut out all gluten from my diet-it had as much to do with counting calories as anything else, but I didn’t feel sick anymore and had tons more energy, which made actually sticking to a diet possible for me when it hadn’t been possible before.

  14. I agree 100% with Mindy and Andrew. I am an RN anad often ridiculed for my beliefs. We eat wholistically and believe in wholistic approach to medicines,vacccines. lifestyle, food, etc. It is hard to “awaken ” the false teaching in the medical field when the medical field is your livlihood. All one can do, is offer a different view and personal experience to those you know who are suffering due to the” pushed corporate medical agenda”. Remember, medicine, the way it is in America is big business.

  15. Modern wheat may contribute to heath problems and weight gain, but I do not believe that forgoing it will result in weight loss for most people. I was diagnosed with celiac disease 6 years ago. I eat mostly vegetables, fruits, yogurt, eggs, and unprocessed gluten free grains. I eat very little processed food (other than a couple ounces of dark chocolate a week and an ice cream splurge about once every two weeks), but have struggled to keep my weight down, something that was not a problem for me before I started eating gluten free.

  16. I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 2 years ago and have lost 20 lbs by eating gluten free completely. I am a diabetic and also lactose intolerant which makes eating a little more difficult but definitely worth being gluten free. The symptoms of eating gluten have gone away and my only problem is trying to gain some weight!!

  17. You will gain weight if you stop eating wheat and then turn to potato starch, rice flour, oat flour and so forth. Stay away from any packaged GF advertised food and instead eat whole foods. Avoid grains, underground veggies and sugar.

  18. To lose weight, being diagnosed with celiac and going gluten free, requires two things. First you have to replace the wheat and gluten with healthy choices not empty starches and junk foods. Until you get used to the new lifestyle it is all to easy to do processed empty calorie food instead if quality food. Second now that the cillia in your small intestine are growing back and absorbing nutrients again you need to adjust the quantity of food you are eating. You can no longer eat large amounts and have you body only absorb a small percentage of the food like when you were slowly starving to death due to the effects of gluten on your celiac body. I am 6′ 2″ and at my celiac worst I was down to 160 pounds and losing a pound a day eating 4 large meals a day. You must adopt a new eating lifestyle, but the good news is you will feel great and have the energy to live life to its fullest. Good Luck

  19. I have been on a gluten free diet for 10 years now after I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. This is big and only getting bigger. I predict that within 5-10 years 50% of america will become allergic to the GMO wheat that this country produces. All normal breads, pastas and bakery items will slow to a snails pace in terms of sales. There will be major law suits for people dying. Monsanto is at the center of it all. They must be run out of business for the health of this nation.

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