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Thursday 20 February 2014

New Study Vindicates William Davis: Modern Wheat is more Toxic than Ancient Varieties

In his New York Times bestseller, Wheat Belly, cardiologist William Davies claimed that wheat is the primary driver of obesity, heart disease and a host of other metabolic and digestive problems. His controversial claim is based largely on his clinical experience, the story of which is truly remarkable: since he started advising his cardiac patients to cut all forms of wheat and wheat products from their diets, he has not had a single patient suffer a heart attack!
Cardiologist William Davis claims that modern wheat varieties are significantly different to their ancient counterparts and contribute to a host of modern diseases
Critics of Davis’ anti-wheat stance, suggest that any benefits from a wheat-free diet are simply those associated with a low-carb diet, and that outside coeliac disease, wheat itself is no more problematic than any other carbohydrate. Controversially, Davies claims that wheat has been altered through centuries of selective breeding, such that modern wheat varieties are now effectively ‘toxic’ to humans. This has brought ridicule from many scientists as conventional plant breeding is assumed to be entirely safe, and critics point out that selective breeding has been going on since the dawn of agriculture.
Amazingly, a study published this month in the British Journal of Nutrition has put Davis’ theory to the test, by giving twenty sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) either modern wheat products (bread, pasta, biscuits and crackers etc) or identical products made from an ancient variety. The results were clear-cut: whilst on the modern wheat diet no improvement in symptoms occurred, but participants on the ancient-wheat diet experienced a very significant decrease in symptoms, including less abdominal pain, distension, bloating, tiredness and improved quality of life. Also, at the end of the ancient wheat diet, but not the modern wheat diet, multiple markers of inflammation were reduced, including vascular endothelial growth factor – implicated in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic retinopathy.
- William Davis: High Five!
The strengths of this study were that it was a randomised, double-blind crossover trial – the gold standard when trying to identify cause, not just correlation. Also, the differences in subjective assessment of symptoms between the two dietary phases were very distinct, ranging from P<.004 to P<.0001. i.e. the probability of these results being due random chance is as small as one in ten thousand! (Drug efficacy only needs a P<.05 – which is just one in twenty)


Lowcarb team member said...

Thanks Graham very interesting. I occasionally buy -from a garden centre = bread called? ancient cread? I don't usually eat bread at all but discovered by accident that this bread doesn’t spike my bgs at all. No one could explain the name and it is a mixture of spelt oats and wheat. I know from experience that spelt and oats spike my bgs so wondered what he secret was. Now I know. I still won't be eating often as they only have the occasional loaf or two and it is some distance from where I live - but interesting all the same. It’s good to see so many theories which were once ridiculed now being proven to be right.


Lowcarb team member said...

Yes, a few years ago on the flog forum a poster was patronised and ridiculed for espousing such research.


Anonymous said...

Modern Wheat is so different to the original and getting worse the more interference from GM the even more worse it will become.

Paul B

Lowcarb team member said...

There was also a poster highlighting the advantages of vitamin D for diabetics. Of course he was banned.


Beachbag said...

Excellent piece of work, thanks Graham for posting. A couple of years ago I was tested for coeliac disease which proved negative so I adapted my lifestyle to suit my constant need to be close to a loo. When I started low carbing things improved but it's only since I removed all wheat from my diet that I am totally free from the misery of spending my life chained, no pun intended, to the loo. One day I might try ancient wheat but not yet :)

Unknown said...

I found Dr Davis's book very convincing and it's great that there's now a study to back him up.

Nearly 18 months wheat free and IBS symptom free as well. I'd highly recommend wheat free to anyone who has IBS issues.

Make sure you read every single packaged food label though - the stuff is in everything.

Beachbag said...

I agree Indy....which is why I no longer eat any packaged processed food. My body appreciates the respect I now give it ;)