“Wheat Belly” Book Review by Nan Sprouse, RN, MSN, FNP-BC

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” -Let It Snow lyrics by Sammy Cahn


Wintertime in Tennessee is a great excuse to download or buy a new book and then get lost between its covers. My favorite for 2012 is “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. This is a fascinating and fun read describing how the amber waves of grain of our grandparents are barely recognizable as today’s genetically modified dwarf grain. This leads to potential digestive disorders, increased inflammation, and ultimately malabsorption of nutrients.


Did you know that wheat products elevate blood sugar more than Snickers candy bars or ice cream? As blood sugar (glucose) rises, more insulin is released from the pancreas. This allows entry of glucose into the cells of the body, converting glucose to fat. The higher the blood glucose after eating, the greater the insulin level leading to more fat being deposited, especially in the abdomen. The bigger your wheat belly, the poorer your response is to insulin, in turn leading to insulin resistance which can trigger diabetes.


Other effects of wheat include behavioral changes as well as documented tendencies to addiction! Digestion of wheat produces morphine-like compounds that bind to the brain’s opiate receptors. This can induce euphoria as well as unpleasant withdrawal effects. Dr. Davis states that wheat is one of the few foods that can alter behavior and generate a withdrawal syndrome upon removal. He describes it as a “powerful appetite stimulant” and cites cases of people continuing to snack from dinner to bedtime after wheat consumption.




Avoiding wheat can diminish food cravings and hunger, decrease calorie intake, and improve moods, not to mention decreasing weight and shrinking wheat bellies!


The book continues with such chapters as wheat and heart disease; cataracts, wrinkles, and elevated aging; and wheat’s destructive effect on the skin. Dr. Davis ends with wonderful resources and recipes that are wheat-free. So, when you are done with your daily exercise and are ready to nestle down with a book, check out Wheat Belly!


And the next time you are at Forum Health Knoxville, ask about our tests for wheat sensitivities such as ALCAT and our GI Panel.


The beginning of 2012 is a great time to get healthy. Lose the wheat. Lose the weight!


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