Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Wheat Belly

My doctor actually recommended Wheat Belly, or I wouldn't have picked it up. Cure Your Child With Food, for instance, already mentions that gluten, the protein in wheat, is the source of many digestion problems. That book reported loads of success curing kids by eliminating wheat and anything white from their diets.

The Wheat Belly proceeds to blame almost all modern ills on wheat and wheat products. As in Cure Your Child With Food, he claims that wheat has been so genetically engineered or otherwise manipulated that the nutrition in it is not something that your body can absorb or deal with, leading to a bunch of diseases ranging from diabetes to acne (!!) to early balding in men. The book is replete with anecdotes from his practice where the patient is miraculously cured after eliminating wheat from his or her diet.

Unfortunately, things are not that simple. You see, Doctor Davis doesn't just recommend getting rid of wheat. He recommends eliminating all forms of whole grain and potatoes as well as the sugary fruits. Adopt his program wholesale and what do you get? The Atkins diet. If wheat was the all encompassing evil he claims it to be, then there shouldn't be any need to eliminate all the other foods, so this prescription basically undermines the entire first 2/3rds of the book!

Now, it could very well be that gluten sensitivity (not necessarily celiac disease) is far more prevalent than you might think, and that many people with irritable bowel syndrome could benefit by eliminating wheat. But if you're looking for proof that wheat is the culprit, then this book definitely does not provide it. That said, he does reference lots of interesting data, including Denise Minger's excellent debunking of the China Study. There's a lot of interesting information, though again, since he undermined himself in the last 2 chapters of the book I'm not sure how much I'd be willing to believe anything he says.

Not recommended.

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