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Thread: Thoughtful reviews of "Wheat Belly" page 2

  1. #11
    bwhit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    I hear you, Iniquity. The bottom line is that I have my own integrity to uphold, even if Dr. Davis doesn't have a problem with stretching the truth in order to sell books.
    Seriously. If we did that, we'd be no better than the T Colin Campbell backers.

  2. #12
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    I hear that. Ideally I'd want people to read more respectable work. I chuckled when Emily (heart) Dean compared it to The Vegetarian Myth, but if we are to take that as an example, that book was also full of hyperbole BUT to a vegetarian it might make them go "hmm maybe my lifestyle is wrong? I wonder what else I can read..." in that kind of sense, I don't mind Wheat Belly. I wouldn't recommend it though, knowing what I know now.

  3. #13
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    Just finished Wheat Belly.

    I don't agree with everything in it.
    I do think he sometimes overstates his case with inconclusive data.
    I do think his style is a bit sloppy.

    However, I think there's a lot of truth in most of what he says, and he does try to build a decent case for most of it. He yells loudest about wheat as the worst offender, but thinks we have way too many carbs in the modern Western diet overall. He cites lots and lots of studies, so anyone crying "woo woo" has to face those rather than just his book (though I think in some cases he may stretch the results a tad farther than a good scientist would).

    In the end, he recommends: shopping the edges of the grocery store, avoiding processed crap, eating lots of vegetables and meats, not worrying about fats... it's a very Primal/Paleo sort of diet he recommends.

    Overall: he comes on a bit stronger for a bit longer than needed or desirable. However, the book reiterates much of what folks here have experienced themselves, and we've all seen what a laundry list of problems can be solved by going Primal, haven't we?

    So I think it's a far cry from perfect, but not a bad book by any stretch. It raises real questions about the Western diet and our government's dietary recommendations -- and backs up those questions with scientific studies supporting his claims. For anyone interested in Primal/Paleo or the problems of a wheat-based diet I recommend that you give it a read.
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  4. #14
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    I read some of it standing in the book store while my GF was shopping.

    Its pretty much full on anecdotal, and that does not make for good studies or trials.

    While I am sure he is right that being wheat free improves his patient's lives, I am not sure he has done the necessary research to claim with such certainty as to why that is.

    However, and gratefully, he is raising so much awareness. He expertly exploited an attack on wheat as opposed to just the usual attack on carbs. It seems to have caught the dogma believing public off guard.

    My hope is they read this, recognize themselves in some of the examples illustrated, and then continue to read and into similar ideologies where they can uncover their own truths.
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  5. #15
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    This thread is a great example of why I still like this forum. Great discussion of both sides here.

  6. #16
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    I have to admit I'm a big fan of Dr. Davis. I've been following his blog (heartscanblog) for a while, and I've found it very valuable. A couple of notes. Dr. Davis (who wrote Wheat Belly), Dr. Bernstein (who wrote a great book on diabetes care via going low carb) and Primal/Paleo all seem to have a lot more in common than not.

    I'm not sure how much Wheat belly helped me out, as I was already familiar with his premise, but on a fundamental level I think he is right. He says clearly that wheat is never "optimal", but that modern dwarf wheat is much much worse than historical wheat. And gives some evidence why. I think that makes sense.

    And even on a Primal level, well, alot of Primal athletes need carbs for fuel. Well, if they eat wheat, they aren't primal and may lose their health advantages, but if they supplement with starches (potatoes) and fruits, they are still Primal and seem to keep the fitness gains of being Primal. The difference? Gluten, I should think.

    So, where is the conflict here between Dr. Davis and Primal? Granted, commenting on his writing style is quite legitimate, but debunking the book? Isn't that a bit of an exaggeration?

    --Me

    EDIT: Ok, did want to add something else. The book probably could have and should have been compressed into one paragraph. And it is highly anecdotal. But at the same time it does provide food for thought, even if lacking in solidly supported conclusions.
    Last edited by adamm; 10-19-2011 at 01:06 PM.

  7. #17
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    I have not read 'Wheat Belly', but I did hear a podcast interview with the author and have twice come across his articles.

    Overall, I see 'Wheat Belly' fitting very snugly into the paleo/primal lifestyle. It's very similar to the great documentary 'Fat Head' in that it focuses on just one crucial component of paleo/primal (wheat for 'Wheat Belly' and saturated fat for 'Fat Head'), and really expands your knowledge in that area.

    If Dr. Davis's rhetoric is a little extreme, I have three points to make.

    (1) Since when is that novel to the paleo/primal community? With the exception of Mark Sisson, I'd say that strict rhetoric is a staple of most all the main gurus in the community (not propaganda, mind you, but just blunt, harsh observations and opinions)? Whether it's Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, Karen De Coster, or Tom Naughton, virtually every guru I know could be said to have harsh rhetoric. (Again, "harsh rhetoric" is not to be confused with propaganda or them not distinguishing their opinions from facts.)

    (2) Dr. Davis does seem to do something that I greatly like: he offers the possibility that the S.A.D. is not merely some "accident" of mere innocent "mistakes" by the medical elites and the government, but he seems to routinely suggest that this could very well be done intentionally. This I agree with wholeheartedly. As much as I love so many great paleo gurus, I get sick to death of Robb Wolf describing some team of Harvard researchers as merely making, "honest mistakes" about red meat or saturated fats. No....at some point you have to say, "This isn't just an accident. You're lying intentionally."

    (3) Dr. Davis points out something that seems very accurate: traditional grains (pre-1960), while not optimal for human health, were not nearly as bad as modern ones. This I believe very much, because when I see photos of Americans from, say, 1920, they usually look lean and healthy, despite a grain-heavy diet. It's only in the past few decades that things have gotten really bad. Here's his most recent blog post on how modern grains are far worse than old grains.

  8. #18
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    I agree IniQuity, it is a bit hard to gauge the effect of the book on the newcomer when you have read Taubes, Mark, Wolf (talk about chatty, buttercup), Cordain etc, but this book would be a revelation to someone not used to the Paleo world.

    After following Mark for 2 years, I still found it an interesting read and it would probably choose it as a better starting point for a newbie I want to persuade/ educate than say Taubes first book where the big picture can get lost.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBrennan View Post

    (2) Dr. Davis does seem to do something that I greatly like: he offers the possibility that the S.A.D. is not merely some "accident" of mere innocent "mistakes" by the medical elites and the government, but he seems to routinely suggest that this could very well be done intentionally. This I agree with wholeheartedly. As much as I love so many great paleo gurus, I get sick to death of Robb Wolf describing some team of Harvard researchers as merely making, "honest mistakes" about red meat or saturated fats. No....at some point you have to say, "This isn't just an accident. You're lying intentionally."
    Oh, he's definitely not he's a conspiracy theorist.

    To be sure, he'd tell you that what food's on the shelves is there because it has good keeping properties, is cheap to make, etc., etc., and whether it's healthy or not is of no interest to the makers, distributors, or sellers. But that's hardly a novel observation. And it doesn't amount to a conspiracy.

    Weston Price was writing of the "displacing foods of modern commerce" in the 1920s and 30s: they're pre-emininetly "foods of commerce" because they keep, so can be stored and traded over vast distances.

    Dr. Davis also explicitly says that the modern dwarf strains of wheat were bred in order to increase yields. It's a limited but hardly a contemptible motive. As Dr. Davis says, at the time people were worried about population growth and world hunger.

    In hindsight one might say that the regulators should have told them to test the new varieties to see whether they increased autoimmune problems. But we're all cleverer with hindsight.

    He does also say that he thinks wheat now turns up in so many packaged foods, because food scientists are smart enough to have twigged that it is addictive and will keep people coming back for more of the product. He may well be right.

    In short, he takes a fairly skeptical view of some of the actions and motives of players in this game, and thinks -- correctly in my view -- that people often follow self-interest rather than taking an ethical path. However, that's not the same thing at all as being a conspiracy theorist -- as imagining that people organize complex, and in truth unpredictable, interactions years in advance from a position of perfect understanding and knowledge but diabolical intent.

    I think you do Dr. Davis a grave disservice by suggesting otherwise.
    Last edited by Lewis; 06-25-2012 at 11:15 AM. Reason: spelling

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    Oh, he's definitely not he's a conspiracy theorist.

    To be sure, he'd tell you that what food's on the shelves is there because it has good keeping properties, is cheap to make, etc., etc., and whether it's healthy or not is of no interest to the makers, distributors, or sellers. But that's hardly a novel observation. And it doesn't amount to a conspiracy.

    Weston Price was writing of the "displacing foods of modern commerce" in the 1920s and 30s: they're pre-emininetly "foods of commerce" because they keep, so can be stored and traded over vast distances.

    Dr. Davis also explicitly says that the modern dwarf strains of wheat were bred in order to increase yields. It's a limited but hardly a contemptible motive. As Dr. Davis says, at the time people were worried about population growth and world hunger.

    In hindsight one might say that the regulators should have told them to test the new varieties to see whether they increased autoimmune problems. But we're all cleverer with hindsight.

    He does also say that he thinks wheat now turns up in so many packaged foods, because food scientists are smart enough to have twigged that it is addictive and will keep people coming back for more of the product. He may well be right.

    In short, he takes a fairly skeptical view of some of the actions and motives of players in this game, and thinks -- correctly in my view -- that people often follow self-interest rather than taking an ethical path. However, that's not the same thing at all as being a conspiracy theorist -- as imagining that people organize complex, and in truth unpredictable, interactions years in advance from a position of perfect understanding and knowledge but diabolical intent.

    I think you do Dr. Davis a grave disservice by suggesting otherwise.
    Okay, it's all just an accident and innocent mistakes. From thousands of people with off-the-chart IQs. Which has visibly and demonstratively killed, sterilized, feminized, and weakened people for two generations.

    So all these rich geniuses at Harvard Medical, New England Journal of Medicine, the FDA, etc., etc., etc., they're all just....morons who made blunders. Right.

    And the fact that the U.S. News & World Report continuously rates paleo as the worst possible diet in their annual rankings....they're just making innocent mistakes. They're not conspiring to lie. Sure.

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