Book review – Wheat Belly

Wheat Belly by Dr. William DavisWhen a good friend of yours recommends a book, you add it to your reading list. When two friends recommend the same book, you move it to the top. Such was the case with Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. Both Bob Nunn and Steve Hudson, two friends of mine who don’t know each other, independently recommended the book to me. It took a little longer that I would have liked to get around to reading it, but I decided to make it a priority in 2016. Seeing the benefits of cutting sugar out of my diet throughout 2015, I wanted to read a couple of nutritional books in 2016 to see if there were any additional tweaks I should be making to my eating habits.

I found Wheat Belly extremely¬†thought-provoking. I’m not going to claim that I believe everything that I read, but it certainly makes a lot of logical sense. If you look at the circumstantial evidence of the effects of genetically modified wheat and the link between low-fat, high carb grain diets and the rise in type 2 diabetes over the last 25 years, it’s hard to deny that wheat, and carbs in general, are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic that we are experiencing. It’s especially hard to deny when Dr. Davis explains the body chemistry of how a high carb diet contributes to weight gain. Even more intriguing is the chemistry of how our bodies struggle to process the proteins in wheat that are the result of the genetic modifications we’ve made to it over the last 50 years.

Where I get a little skeptical is how extreme Dr. Davis’ recommendation are. He recommends completely eliminating wheat and going 100% gluten-free. If you examine your pantry like I did, you will find that nearly everything in it has some form of wheat, and some amount of gluten in it. While going 100% wheat free makes a lot of sense and is a noble goal, I fall back on my belief of “everything in moderation” and awareness. In other words, I don’t see eliminating every ounce of wheat and gluten in my diet, but since reading the book, I’m definitely a lot more aware of how much wheat-based products I’m eating. Getting to the point, Wheat Belly has made me aware that excessive wheat and carb consumption is not healthy, so I’ve decided to be more aware of how many calories I get from carbs on a daily basis and to limit them.

I’m glad that people close to me recommended Wheat Belly. It is definitely a must read, and I would highly suggest one reads it. It’s important to understand how much wheat is in our modern diet and the potential issues this could be causing. As I said above, the circumstantial evidence is certainly overwhelming. It brings me to another point that I recognized while reading Wheat Belly – we are still understanding nutritional science and the effects of diet on our bodies. Our bodies our complex machines, and one-size-fits-all approaches do not work since each of us has a different body make-up.

What is even more telling is how we have potentially steered ourselves down a path of destruction by promoting low fat diets. When consuming a low fat diet, the calories have to come from somewhere else, and the food industry has substituted carbohydrates and sugar in their place. The bigger problem is that the food industry recognizes that carbohydrates and sugar are cheap ways to create high calorie foods, and their addictive nature feeds their profit-driven machines. Therefore, they do not have an incentive to switch away from these high-carbohydrate foods and diets that could be the prime driver of our obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics. Furthermore, many of the adverse side effects of these high carb diets require drugs to address their symptoms. The drug companies are making huge amounts of money selling these remedies, so they are not interested in solving the root cause either. It’s a vicious cycle with the biggest loser being us – the consumer.

What I’m trying to say is that you should read Wheat Belly. After reading it, I’ve decided to make a conscious decision to monitor my carbohydrate intake, especially as it relates to wheat. It’s certainly not going to hurt me, and I’m willing to bet that it will result in substantial benefits over the long run. While I may not go to the extreme of cutting out every carb and wheat based product from my diet, I plan to take the same approach I have with sugar. In other words, I’m going to be a lot more aware and limit my consumption when and where it make sense.