Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD Written by

Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat

Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat

Gluten-free is hot these days. There are books and websites, restaurants with gluten free menus, and grocery stores with hundreds of new gluten free food products on the shelf.  Is this a fad, or a reflection of response to a real problem?

Yes, gluten is a real problem.  But the problem is not just gluten.  In fact, there are three major hidden reasons that wheat products, not just gluten (along with sugar in all its forms) is the major contributor to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and so many other modern ills.

This is why there are now 30% more obese than undernourished in the world, and why globally chronic lifestyle and dietary driven disease kills more than twice as many people as infectious disease.  These non-communicable chronic diseases will cost our global economy $47 trillion over the next 20 years.

Sadly, this tsunami of chronic illness is increasingly caused by eating our beloved diet staple, bread, the staff of life, and all the wheat products hidden in everything from soups to vodka to lipstick to envelope adhesive.

The biggest problem is wheat, the major source of gluten in our diet.  But wheat weaves it misery through many mechanisms, not just the gluten!    The history of wheat parallels the history of chronic disease and obesity across the world.  Supermarkets today contain walls of wheat and corn disguised in literally hundreds of thousands of different food- like products, or Frankenfoods.  Each American now consumes about 55 pounds of wheat flour every year.

It is not just the amount but also the hidden components of wheat that drive weight gain and disease.  This is not the wheat your great-grandmother used to bake her bread.  It is FrankenWheat – a scientifically engineered food product developed in the last 50 years.

How Wheat (and Gluten) Triggers Weight Gain, Prediabetes, Diabetes and More

This new modern wheat may look like wheat, but it is different in three important ways that all drive obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.

  1. It contains a Super Starch – amylopectin A that is super fattening.
  2. It contains a form of Super Gluten that is super-inflammatory.
  3. It contains forms of a Super Drug that is super-addictive and makes you crave and eat more.

The Super Starch

The Bible says, “Give us this day our daily bread”.  Eating bread is nearly a religious commandment. But the Einkorn, heirloom, Biblical wheat of our ancestors is something modern humans never eat.

Instead, we eat dwarf wheat, the product of genetic manipulation and hybridization that created short, stubby, hardy, high yielding wheat plants with much higher amounts of starch and gluten and many more chromosomes coding for all sorts of new odd proteins.  The man who engineered this modern wheat won the Nobel Prize – it promised to feed millions of starving around the world.  Well, it has, and it has made them fat and sick.

The first major difference of this dwarf wheat is that it contains very high levels of a super starch called amylopectin A.  This is how we get big fluffy Wonder Bread and Cinnabons.

Here’s the downside.  Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar.

There is no difference between whole wheat and white flour here.  The biggest scam perpetrated on the unsuspecting public is the inclusion of “whole grains” in many processed foods full of sugar and wheat giving the food a virtuous glow.  The best way to avoid foods that are bad for you is to stay away from foods with health claims on the label.  They are usually hiding something bad.

In people with diabetes, both white and whole grain bread raises blood sugar levels 70 to 120 mg/dl over starting levels.  We know that foods with a high glycemic index make people store belly fat, trigger hidden fires of inflammation in the body, and give you a fatty liver leading the whole cascade of obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes.

This problem now affects every other American and is the major driver of nearly all chronic disease and most our health care costs. Diabetes now sucks up one in three Medicare dollars.

The Super Gluten

Not only does this dwarf, FrankenWheat, contain the super starch, but it also contains super gluten which is much more likely to create inflammation in the body. And in addition to a host of inflammatory and chronic diseases caused by gluten, it causes obesity and diabetes.

Gluten is that sticky protein in wheat that holds bread together and makes it rise.  The old fourteen chromosome containing Einkorn wheat codes for the small number of gluten proteins and those that it does produce are the least likely to trigger celiac disease and inflammation.

The new dwarf wheat contains twenty-eight or twice as many chromosomes and produces a large variety of gluten proteins, including the ones most likely to cause celiac disease.

Five Ways Gluten Makes You Sick and Fat

Gluten can trigger inflammation, obesity and chronic disease in five major ways.

  1. Full-blown celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that triggers body-wide inflammation triggering insulin resistance, which causes weight gain and diabetes, as well as over 55 conditions including autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel, reflux, cancer, depression, osteoporosis and more.
  2. Low-level inflammation reactions to gluten trigger the same problems even if you don’t have full-blown celiac disease but just have elevated antibodies (7% of the population or 21 million Americans).
  3. There is also striking new research showing that adverse immune reactions to gluten may result from problems in very different parts of the immune system than those implicated in celiac disease.  Most doctors dismiss gluten sensitivity if you don’t have a diagnosis of celiac disease, but this new research proves them wrong. Celiac disease results when the body creates antibodies against the wheat (adaptive immunity), but another kind of gluten sensitivity results from a generalized activated immune system (innate immunity).  This means that people can be gluten-sensitive without having celiac disease or gluten antibodies and still have inflammation and many other symptoms.
  4. A NON-gluten glycoprotein or lectin (combination of sugar and protein) in wheat called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)(1)   found in highest concentrations in whole wheat increases whole body inflammation as well. This is not an autoimmune reaction but can be just as dangerous and cause heart attacks (2).
  5. Eating too much gluten free food (what I call gluten free junk food) like gluten free cookies, cakes and processed food.  Processed food has a high glycemic load.  Just because it is gluten free, doesn’t mean it is healthy. Gluten free cakes and cookies are still cakes and cookies!  Vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds and lean animal protein are all gluten free – stick with those.

Let’s look at this a little more closely.  Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and oats) can cause celiac disease, which triggers severe inflammation throughout the body and has been linked to autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, autism, schizophrenia, dementia, digestive disorders, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, cancer, and more.

Celiac Disease: The First Problem

Celiac disease and gluten related problems has been increasing and now affects at least 21 million Americans and perhaps many millions more.  And 99% of people who have problems with gluten or wheat are NOT currently diagnosed.

Ninety eight percent of people with celiac have a genetic predisposition known as HLA DQ2 or DQ8, which occurs in 30% of the population.  But even though our genes haven’t changed, we have seen a dramatic increase in celiac disease in the last 50 years because of some environmental trigger.

In a recent study comparing blood samples taken 50 years ago from 10,000 young Air Force recruits to samples taken recently from 10,000 people, researchers found something quite remarkable. There has been a real 400 percent increase in celiac disease over the last 50 years (3).

And that’s just the full-blown disease affecting about 1 in 100 people, or about 3 million Americans. We used to think that this only was diagnosed in children with bloated bellies, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.  But now we know it can be triggered (based on a genetic susceptibility) at any age and without ANY digestive symptoms.

The inflammation triggered by celiac disease can drive insulin resistance, weight gain and diabetes, just like any inflammatory trigger – and I have seen this over and over in my patients.

Gluten and Gut Inflammation: The Second Problem

But there are two ways other than celiac disease in which wheat appears to be a problem.

The second way gluten causes inflammation is through a low-grade autoimmune reaction to gluten. Your immune system creates low-level antibodies to gluten but doesn’t create full blown celiac disease.  In fact 7% of the population, 21 million, has these anti-gliadin antibodies.   These antibodies were also found in 18% of people with autism and 20% of those with schizophrenia.

A major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity (elevated antibodies without full blown celiac disease) was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer.(4)   Just by this mechanism alone over 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer and death.

How does eating gluten cause inflammation, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer?

Most of the increased risk occurs when gluten triggers inflammation that spreads like a fire throughout your whole body.  It damages the gut lining. Then all the bugs and partially digested food particles inside your intestine get across the gut barrier and are exposed your immune system, 60% of which lies right under the surface of the one cell thick layer of cells lining your gut or small intestine.

If you spread out the lining of your gut it would equal the surface area of a tennis court.  Your immune system starts attacking these foreign proteins leading to systemic inflammation that then causes heart disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes and more.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, a celiac expert from the University of Maryland School of Medicine discovered a protein made in the intestine called “zonulin” that is increased by exposure to gluten (5).   Zonulin breaks up the tight junctions or cement between the intestinal cells that normally protect your immune system from bugs and foreign proteins in food leaking across the intestinal barrier.

If you have a “leaky gut” you will get inflammation throughout your whole body and a whole list of symptoms and diseases.

Why is there an increase in disease from gluten in the last 50 years?

It is because, as I described earlier, the dwarf wheat grown in this country has changed the quality and type of gluten proteins in wheat, creating much higher gluten content and many more of the gluten proteins that cause celiac disease and autoimmune antibodies.

Combine that with the damage our guts have suffered from our diet, environment, lifestyle, and medication use, and you have the perfect storm for gluten intolerance. This super gluten crosses our leaky guts and gets exposed to our immune system.

Our immune system reacts as if gluten was something foreign and sets off the fires of inflammation in an attempt to eliminate it. However, this inflammation is not selective, so it begins to attack our cells—leading to diabesity and other inflammatory diseases.

Damage to the gastrointestinal tract from overuse of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve, and acid-blocking drugs like Prilosec or Nexium, combined with our low-fiber, high-sugar diet, leads to the development of celiac disease and gluten intolerance or sensitivity and the resultant inflammation.

That is why elimination of gluten and food allergens or sensitivities can be a powerful way to prevent and reverse diabesity and so many other chronic diseases.

The Super Drug

Not only does wheat contain super starch and super gluten – making it super fattening and super inflammatory, but it also contains a super drug that makes you crazy, hungry and addicted.

When processed by your digestion, the proteins in wheat are converted into shorter proteins, “polypeptides”, called “exorphins”.  They are like the endorphins you get from a runner’s high and bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, making you high, and addicted just like a heroin addict.

These wheat polypeptides are absorbed into the bloodstream and get right across the blood brain barrier.  They are called “gluteomorphins” after “gluten” and “morphine”.

These super drugs can cause multiple problems including schizophrenia and autism. But they also cause addictive eating behavior including cravings and bingeing.  No one binges on broccoli, but they binge on cookies or cake.

Even more alarming is the fact that you can block these food cravings and addictive eating behaviors and reduce calorie intake by giving the same drug we use in the emergency room to block heroin or morphine in an overdose called naloxone.  Binge eaters ate nearly 30% less food when given this drug.

Bottom line: wheat is an addictive appetite stimulant.

How to Beat the Wheat, and Lose the Weight

First you should get tested to see if you have a more serious wheat or gluten problem.

If you meet any of these criteria then you should do a six-week 100% gluten free diet trial to see how you feel.  If you have 3 out of 5 criteria, you should be gluten free for life.

  1. You have symptoms of celiac (any digestive, allergic, autoimmune or inflammatory disease including diabesity).
  2. You get better on a gluten free diet.
  3. You have elevated antibodies to gluten (anti-gliadin, AGA, or tissue transglutaminase antibodies, TTG).
  4. You have a positive small intestinal biopsy.
  5. You have the genes that predispose you to gluten (HLA DQ2/8).

Second, for the rest of you who don’t have gluten antibodies or some variety of celiac, the super starch and the super drug, both of which make you fat and sick, can still affect you.  So go cold turkey for six weeks.  And keep a journal of how you feel.

The problems with wheat are real, scientifically validated and ever present.  Getting off wheat may not only make you feel better and lose weight, it could save your life.

My personal hope is that together we can create a national conversation about a real, practical solution for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of our obesity, diabetes and chronic disease epidemic.  Getting off wheat may just be an important step.

To learn more and to get a free sneak preview of The Blood Sugar Solution where I explain exactly how to avoid wheat and what to eat instead go to

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD



(1) Saja K, Chatterjee U, Chatterjee BP, Sudhakaran PR. Activation dependent expression of MMPs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells involves protein kinase  A. Mol Cell Biochem. 2007 Feb;296(1-2):185-92.

(2) Dalla Pellegrina C, Perbellini O, Scupoli MT, Tomelleri C, Zanetti C, Zoccatelli G, Fusi M, Peruffo A, Rizzi C, Chignola R. Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on human gastrointestinal epithelium:  insights  experimental model of immune/epithelial cell interaction. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 Jun 1;237(2):146-53.

(3)  Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93.

(4)  Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.

(5) Fasano A. Physiological, pathological, and therapeutic implications of zonulin-mediated intestinal barrier modulation: living life on the edge of the wall. Am J Pathol. 2008 Nov;173(5):1243-52.

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (210)

  • This article is my history! I have been battling gut issues for the last 15 years. Even though I have been off gluten for 12 years, my gut has not healed completely. I have battled candida in my digestive tract for years, and did the yeast diet for three years, and still had problems. Now, my doctor believes I have SIBO and candida. I believe this is all due to eating gluten for over 35 years.

    • Kathleen…I like you am Gluten Free. Through my journey I have been astounded how deeply embedded wheat is into our lives…unknowingly. You might not be familiar with Muscle Testing, but without it I believe being Gluten Free is impossible, as cross contamination is in so many things…even packages that say gluten free. I had to clear out over half my spices because they were contaminated. Supplements that for many years I needed but could never take once I purchased them, were found to be wheat/gluten contaminated. It is my truest belief, that many though diligent…is yet not truly gluten free. Ie: One oatmeal brand will be contaminated…another will be fine. Thought for years I was allergic to Thyme, discovered it was merely the brand I had, I went and searched out a brand that did not MT contaminated to wheat, and I am fine on it. My husband like I, is wheat and gluten sensitive…he continued to relapse in the way of being extremely fatigued…white and washed out. I knew he was being exposed in some way but had to find it. Without thinking about it, he was the envelope licker (I know, ewww) and was getting exposed to wheat. Best wishes on this very difficult journey.

  • I started eating gluten free May 2011 after testing revealed I was gluten sensitive. I have HYPERthryoidism and recently diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes (A1C has gone from 6.9 to 5.6 in less than 10 weeks. I have made a lot of changes through the guidance of my Dr. Bridget Briggs and eat a lot more healthy being mindful of bad carbs. I feel a lot better. Stopping the gluten the first thing I noticed was the bloating in my stomach began to disappear. I also take pro-biotics, methylated b12, folic acid, reactive zinc, magnesium, powdered esterC, Calcium/Magnesium, 1000mg of Fish Oil, Plus a very good multi vitamin. The only cereal I have found I can eat 1-2x’s a week is Corn Chex without sugar and Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oatmeal. I also eat eggs 2-3 times a week. I believe my health has improved since May and I know I need to continue to make positive changes. Living without Gluten is only a problem and bothers me the most on birthdays and nice dinners when you mention your dietary needs to your waiter and they ask, “what is gluten?” *sigh.

  • What does it mean if your blood tests are very high for celiacs, but the biopsy was negative? My doctor says the biopsy is the gold standard for the disease and is surprised that my bloods were so high. His diagnosis was that I do not have celiacs, although the disease would explain some of my symptons. I would love to hear your thoughts….
    Thank you

    • Sande, I’m just like you! Blood tests high but biopsy negative. Never understood it till now…..Latent Celiac. Unfortunately, Gluten and my poor eating habits, along with many Nsaids for years has given me Lymphocytic Colitis. A very nasty, hard to control disease. And apparently going GF is not enough for me with this disease….as it triggers more food intolerances. Hope your symptoms go away soon!

  • At one point in our history bread was good for you. Why isn’t there an outcry and a demand for farmers to plant Einkorn wheat? It could be the next health fad!

  • This is such a great article, right now in a hypersentive allergic storm. This article has just added to my information.

  • This is a great article! Thank you.
    One question. Why can we not get the ancient wheat back?

    I have been off breads for a long while and have benefited greatly from this change. I’m going to go looking for hidden wheat in my life next. It seems that it may be hidden even in my slow-food routine.

    • Einkorn wheat and products made from it are readily available today. Just google it. There are lots of products available.

  • Why does no one suggest that we insist the government grow the wheat that is its original intended form? Why doesn’t anyone start a movement to restore wheat to what it is supposed to be and get rid of this frankenwheat altogether!! it is super practical to me instead of everyone taking medications to combat the wheat symptoms, or having to have substitutes for a naturally good food product.

    • because Rye was the staple grain in europe until about 100 years ago, when pricey wheat became low cost. Europeans ate natural leaven sour dough stone ground rye bread.

  • Great article. I had leaky gut and after going off gluten for 2 years I am completely asymptomatic.

    The trouble with the celiacs is that no one is telling them to stop eating sugar.

    Looking forward to your book!

  • I was thrilled to read this article. I was diagnosed with Celiacs one year ago after being told that I may have intestinal cancer among other things. The test for Celiacs was one of the last and I wish it could have been one of the first. Additionally, I insisted, yes insisted (there was opposition) that my, then 14 year old be tested. She, since birth had been exhibiting symptoms (now I can see them) such as the bloated tummy, severe gas, chronic joint pain and cracking (sound) and more. She also had a mild milk allergy when young. She always seemed to have congestion and or sniffles until I took her off milk and made her “homemade” almond milk. It all went away. The greatest issue with her occurred in Oct 2010 when she started to contemplate suicide heavily. She was having severe judgment issues, visions, impaired thought and more. Yes, once I had her tested, we found her to be an 88 on the chart. Since, she has been on a strict GF diet along with myself. Today, it is as if, the nightmare of last year never occurred. I am forever grateful to my GI for figuring out my symptoms and for my persistence in having her assessed as well. My hope is that we can start to raise sincere awareness to the issues that we are facing with wheat consumption. Thank you for putting all of this info out here in black and white!! It is appreciated.

  • Hi Mark,
    I am a Nutritionist in Australia.
    Wonderful, succinct article-I will have all my patients read it
    What are your thoughts about gluten from quality organic wheat/grains?
    eg. Whole grain spelt/rye/wheat, organic oats etc
    Even small amounts?
    Less starch, less gluten?

    Anthony R Nutr.

    • We have been lured into believing organic whole grain makes a difference. Gluten is gluten. If you have a wheat/gluton allergy and/or Celiac’s…it is detrimental to you to eat it.

  • Thank you so much for this article, Dr Hyman. I can’t understand why our doctors don’t know this and advise us accordingly. I have had two colonoscopy in the past two years and was diagnosed with IBS and was told to avoid skins, pips etc, but nothing was said about wheat. I have suffered from bad reflux when I eat bread or any food with wheat in it so I did realise that something was not right. I have taken gluten out of my diet completely for two weeks and look forward to health and weight loss. Brilliant article and so well explained. I am looking forward to getting your book Blood Sugar Solution.
    Thank you!

  • for weight loss, the solution may not be found in “gluten-free” foods. I went wheat free for 6 weeks eating gluten-free foods (mostly all with “rice flour”, which is higher in carbs), and gained weight. Mostly every gluten-free cookbook includes these wheat substitutes. There must be a better way.

  • That was an excellent article. I hope a lot of blogs pick it up.

    I don’t see any chance of a more “healthy” wheat any time soon. Follow the money.

    The dangers of wheat are very old news to Paleo folks. I’ve even seen “healthy whole grains” promoted on this site. Paleo folks know why that’s false. Humans were never intended to eat that stuff.

    I’m a huge fan of Dr Hyman and I point people to this site often. The one thing that puzzles me is why Dr Hyman isn’t Paleo yet. 🙂 I guess he’s taking it one step at a time?

  • I love reading your articles, but I notice you keep listing Oats as a gluten containing grain whereas I’ve always been under the impression that it doesn’t contain gluten?

    I normally soak and wash my whole Oats to avoid contamination that might have been picked up in processing, but am I missing something?

    Also, should health improve as a result of removing ‘most’ wheat from a diet? I have been trying to get my mum to remove all wheat products from her diet as she has many health issues, but I know she still has occassional cracker or slice of toast here and there (plus oat porridge on my recommendation!!). Will inflammation and other wheat related issues be alleviated even though there is some wheat/gluten in the diet?

    Thanks, Mark.

    • Oats do not contain gluten. It is when oats are harvested and then processed in the same mills and processing facilities, the oats get contaminated from wheat flour flying around in the air, leftover on the grindstones, and assembly lines and storage. Just get oats (like Bob’s Red Mill or Eden Foods or Arrowhead Mills, ect ) that are processed in a separate mill/plant and are certified “Gluten Free” on the label. I LOVE my oatmeal in the winter- just because we avoid gluten doesn’t mean you need to avoid oats !

  • I suppose this translates over to “sprouted grains” as well? I have clients who just refuse to go off wheat but are willing to eat sprouted grains.
    I am curious about your thoughts on this, or anyone else out there who has an opinion.

    • Hey Sandra,

      Check out ‘Wheat Belly’ by Dr. William Davis, M.D. He believes that wheat is wheat, whether it is sprouted, organic, etc, and carries with it the same ramifications. It’s a very informative book! This article is a fantastic synopsis highlighting some of the research discussed in his book.

  • What is the consensus on including einkorn wheat in the diet? I have a bag of einkorn wheat flour but am on the fence about whether or not to try it. Have there been any reports of tolerance for this form of wheat?

  • I know that once wheat is ground into flour, most of its nutritional value is gone in a week, vitamin E being one of the first to go rancid . The “100% whole grain wheat” products on the shelves are just white flour with wheat germ and bran added back in. How does fresh ground grain breads compare to the commercial junk on the shelves? I use organic wheats including spelt and kamut in my bread baking. How does this compare to sprouted grain breads? Thanks.

  • This “article” is extreme in its claims and is clearly an advertisement – when you get to the very end it reads “To learn more and to get a free sneak preview of The Blood Sugar Solution ….” BEWARE
    Americans are obeses because we over eat and don’t excercise. Then we try to blame our obesity on other things (like wheat – the “super drug” that makes us crazy and addicted) instead of taking responsibility for our health.
    This is not to say a gluten-free diet is not best practice for certain conditions. However, a healthy balanced diet, daily physical activity and taking responsibilty for our health instead of looking for a short cut to weight loss.

    • You argument from ignorance. This article is dead on and sums up my health issues, and others who have been inspired by me. Every person I know that has given up the big three inflammatories, gluten, sugar and dairy has greatly improved their lives. This is not a weight loss fad, it is a healthy way of life. My own doctor thought as you did 2 years ago when i saw him for my multiple health issues. I ignored him to my benefit, and he is no longer my doctor. I bet you’ll never guess whose email address this link just came to me from? If you have not personally tried it, you should not be making sweeping judgements that are potentially harmful to others. Cutting it out does no harm. Ignoring the bad health effects because there are not multiple triple blind studies linking gluten to specific diseases is reckless at best. This is just now being properly understood by the medical community despite 50 years of research by Weston Price. I suspect it will still be a long time before doctors recommend proper nutrition to treat non-communicable disease before going straight to poisonous pharmaceuticals which may help in the short term, but generally cause more damage to the fragile ecology of our digestive system. Do yourself a favor and do some research, and maybe even experiment on yourself a bit. It is doing wonders for everyone I know, without fail…

  • Doesn’t the leaky gut syndrome tie into antibiotics somehow? Which seems like it would fit into this puzzle somehow.

  • Dr. Hyman,

    Perhaps you already did an article like this but I would like to see it again. Why is it that the food producers are allowed to make and sell FrankenFood to the general population that creates so much disease and obesity…in fact, killing the people who buy the products?
    Also, recently the European standard disallowed food products from the US into their markets because of the reasons stated in your article. Why don’t we adopt the European standard?
    The obvious answers are; corporate policy, profits, payoffs to legislators, protected industries,etc., ad nauseum. Amazing to me that the guy growing pot for his own use in his back yard gets 7 years in jail and the people who have products that kill us in genocidal numbers go free. Are there more reasons that I’m not aware of?
    In your opinion, what does it take to get a general population movement going to fight back?
    Dave Mitchell

  • As someone who follows the Paleo lifestyle of eating, it still amazes me that people think bread is food. I guess that’s because we were all raised to think that. It didn’t help that schools taught us about that silly food pyramid, the one that tells people to eat 6-11 servings of bread. Maybe Americans should sue the government for encouraging us to eat a dangerous product. Then again, why bother since The Department of Agriculture is just an extension of the food industry. As for bread, imagine showing it to a caveman. Would he recognize it as food? It’s like nothing he’s seen before. It didn’t fly, swim, or walk on land. It didn’t sprout up from the ground or fall of a tree. Maybe that’s why my dog thumbs his nose at bread and would rather eat my steak. Even he knows bread is fake food.

  • I learned of the systemic problem wheat poses our diets from Dr. Hyman a while ago. While I’ve taken the steps I can to help my family and have reaped immediate benefits– I don’t hold my breath waiting for big changes in our culture’s diets.

    Talk a walk thru any grocery store, up and down the aisles… the food industry is HUGE and powerful and not one bit interested in going back to healthy wheat. Look at something as benign as raw milk and check out what the FDA and the lobbyists did to fight it… Organic farmers are under siege from the Monsantos of the world… they control public opinion and mass production and they have one goal. Profit.

  • I went gluten free around 2 weeks ago. I have already had a significant improvement in some GI issues that have plagued me for years. Wish I had done it a long time ago!

  • I have been gluten/wheat free for 8 years now… I am 27. Everyone still looks at me crazy when i tell them i have celiac. It is amazing to me how unhealthy and uneducated most if the world is about this specific disease!! Both my mom and aunt have it as well. My syptoms were that i lost weight instead of gaining and was very sick. I also had severe breakouts on my back chest and scalp from my shampoo and hair products i was usuing that had wheat in them. I ended up losing my gallbladder at the age of 21. Ive been batteling with small intestine issues but within the past year they have seem to be gone!! I eat chicken, lean ground turkey, deer, quinoa and lots of fruits and veggies. Im still finding skin care products that have “derived from wheat” ingredients in them. Good luck to everyone with the same battles. This is a great article 🙂

  • I’ve avoided wheat since the holidays with the hope of losing weight. In the past 6 weeks I’ve dropped 27 lbs. and my stomach never felt better. I still crave wheat products, but refuse to go back to them.

  • Is there a grain that is healthy to eat besides the ones mentioned in this article? My family loves a good hot cereal in the morning like steel cut oats combined with organic oats from the health food store. We also add dried fruit, raw milk, flax, and chia to make it better. What can we switch over to for a hot cereal?

    • Try Buckwheat groats ! I actually prefer the taste to other hot cereals. Buckwheat is gluten free, it’s a shame that the word “wheat” is in part of its name. Buckwheat is not wheat at all, it’s not even a grain- it’s an herb. I cook it like normal oatmeal and pour cream, milk and maple syrup on top. Amazing.

      PS- Oats do not contain gluten. It is when oats are harvested and then processed in the same mills and processing facilities, the oats then get contaminated from leftover wheat flour flying around in the air, leftover on the grindstones, and assembly lines and storage. Just get oats (like Bob’s Red Mill or Eden Foods or Arrowhead Mills, ect ) that are processed in a separate mill/plant and are certified “Gluten Free” on the label. I LOVE my oatmeal in the winter- just because we avoid gluten doesn’t mean you need to avoid oats !

    • Oats do not contain gluten. It is when oats are harvested and then processed in the same mills and processing facilities, the oats then get contaminated from leftover wheat flour flying around in the air, leftover on the grindstones, and assembly lines and storage. Just get oats (like Bob’s Red Mill or Eden Foods or Arrowhead Mills, ect ) that are processed in a separate mill/plant and are certified “Gluten Free” on the label. I LOVE my oatmeal in the winter- just because we avoid gluten doesn’t mean you need to avoid oats !

      Also Try Buckwheat groats ! I actually prefer the taste to other hot cereals. Buckwheat is gluten free, it’s a shame that the word “wheat” is in part of its name. Buckwheat is not wheat at all, it’s not even a grain- it’s an herb. I cook it like normal oatmeal and pour cream, milk and maple syrup on top. Amazing.

  • This article was so informative for me… I do have celiac disease, diagnosed 3 years ago with blood tests & biopsy. I have been on a strict gluten free diet since. I also have the dreaded, many autoimmune disorders that go along with it. I did loose 25 pounds in the first 2 weeks of going gluetn free but I do still have alot of intestinal symtoms, and have gained probably 10 of those pounds back since probably due to the processed gluten free products I do eat on occasion to treat my self. Thats ok I guess because since I went gluten, I am free of cancer cells so it is well worth the inconvenience it causes. I just wanted to remind people that if you go gluten free before you have the testing done you may get false negatives.

  • I just want to know what CAN I eat these days???? I am a vegetarian and I need some kind of bread in my diet, I’m sorry but it is unrealisic to expect everybody to just give up bread completely, unless you are a complete health nut! I understand it can do all these things to me but I’d rather die than never eat any form of bread again-I’m Italian give me a break, any suggestions for people like me who will not go cold turkey?????

    • Giovanna,

      What is your blood type? I am Italian and I have gone gluten free now 2 1/2 years. As a practioner for Eat Right 4 Your Type we will never say, You can’t cheat , so do so every once in a while, I know when I cheat I feel aweful and I love pizza, pasta & bread but gluten and wheat do NOT like me. I have learned to eat differently, I eat rice cakes, manna bread, Jeruselum Artichoke Pasta or sometimes a gluten free bread from a local gluten free bakery. I try to eat everything fresh and not from a box. But I am Blood type O, so my diet will be different from other blood types.I was very sick several years ago with Hashimoto’s disease and I refuse to take meds for it, so I spoke with a Naturopath when she suggested Blood Type Diet when I eliminated gluten, wheat, white sugar this made all the difference in the world. I went from a size 16, 18 to an size 8 & 10. I feel so much healthier and have so much energy now , for me this is a way of life.

      • Giovanna, I am blood-type B negative, and also Italian. I have a funny blog on WordPress called “Rethinking Italian,” and I’m talking about the way food played such an important role in family life while growing up–of course, nearly everything we ate set me up for insulin resistance, weight gain, issues with gout, etc., and I was very active too. Danced ballet for 22 years. After I had children, my metabolism just went whacky, and I cannot tolerate carbs at all. I blow up like a balloon, so eating things like pizza and pasta (which I love) are a serious issue. “If” and “when” I do eat pasta, which is rare, I eat rice pasta. I don’t care for rice pasta, which is probably good, because I don’t need to be eating pasta.

        What’s amazing is that I used to think I grew up eating so very healthy, especially because we weren’t big dessert eaters. What a farce, right? I continue to battle weight issues, so your testimony was inspiring. It’s been a huge battle, but I’m up for the challenge and embracing FULL change. 🙂

    • Hi Giovanna, I am a vegetarian too. I understand your frustration. My alternative foods to wheat are wild rice- many kinds, with vegetables sauted in olive oil w/ garlic. I like potatoes and eggs and corn tortillas. Tacos are great with tofu mix or beans.
      There is also great rice noodles ( after you cook them be sure to rinse them well before eating) I had some today with a great tomato sauce with smashed carrots and broccoli mixed in.
      I had a hard time finding good food to eat too, so hang in there.
      For me wheat just makes me fat. Since going off wheat, I can eat but don’t have to worry about waking up the next day with a stomach that stretches down over my butt. Food shouldn’t make us fat!

  • When I gave up wheat I lost 35 pounds and no more migraines. We live in an area where spelt is grown and I can eat a little of that, but not too much or I get a headache. There are so many other grains out there to fill in the cultural comfort food gap.

  • Why we can’t get Einkorn wheat…Look at the seed and farm industries.

    1) Nearly all of our agricultural seed for wheat, corn, soybeans, and other food staples are patented varieties approved (and therefore, protected and promoted) by the USDA and FDA. They have been engineered (genetically modified, GMO’d) so that they can be patented and make more money for the owners. The Farm Bureau tells farmers to use these seeds, too. Some of the biggest seed companies are:
    — Monsato (“Improving Agriculture, Improving Lives”,,
    — Pioneer / DuPont (“Science and Service Delivering Success”,
    — Syngenta / AstraZeneca-Novartis (“Brining Plant Botanicals to Life”,

    You can recognize by their names that these massive billion-dollar SEED companies are part of the huge international pharmaceutical and chemical industry. This is not an appetizing thought as you eat your breakfast!

    Learn more about the US seed industry from the USDA itself, See page 32 for a history of mergers and acquisitions of these companies. There have been even more mergers since this federal report was published.

    2) Most of our crops are produced by huge industrial agri-business farms, not mom-and-pop farms as we like to think. Even though you’ll see the farmer in his field, he most likely is an employee or contractor to these billion-dollar agri-business behemoths.

    These companies plant the seed that makes the most profit for them: therefore the seed will most likely be a patented hybrid with some known qualities like the “Super Gluten” Dr. Hyman talks about above, or has been genetically modified to be insect- and disease-free (usually by altering a protein), or will produce a product with a longer shelf life. This practice is considered “smart business” and gets rewarded by better stock prices on Wall Street.

    3) Even ORGANIC crops can use these hybrid GMO’d seeds. “Organic” only means that the crop was grown without pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. “Organic” doesn’t cover the actual seed itself.

    For an excellent first-person report of how genetically modified foods (GMOs) affect our health, see Robyn O’Brien’s presentation about how her daughter nearly died from eating breakfast one morning. Robyn is a former food market analyst for Wall Street so she knows the food industry from the inside. She now crusades for “real” food.

    So to answer the question why we won’t find Einkhorn wheat:
    Because most of our food growers don’t think it’s good business to grow that form of wheat. They’ve been influenced by Wall Street’s analysts, big profits, big paychecks, and the political goals of whoever is in the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.

  • My question is:
    If I grind my own wheat from berries, is the flour not very different from the wheat and flour available at stores? Why is this not a solution for those of us who do not seem to have any issues with gluten?

  • An alert to all of you who are guten intolerant – eating the “gluten free” products may not be the way to go. Gluten-free products have man-made chemicals in them and you may not be able to process them okay. Xanthum gum is one of these and it’s everywhere. Xanthum gum could be based on wheat. Look it up and check it out.
    The other big item is genetically modified corn. It’s also everywhere. If you can’t process wheat okay, you probaby can’t process GMO corn either.
    I eat only fresh food – meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts. Nothing that’s been through a factory. Even frozen vegetables probably have a coating of flour on them so they don’t stick to the conveyor belts but it doesn’t need to be listed as an ingrediant because flour wasn’t used in the making of green breans.

  • It’s a good start, Dr. Hyman!

    But too often I’ve watched people go gluten free, and end up with a slightly happier gut but raised blood sugar, a lot of weight gain and increased generalized pain. Rice and corn create many of the other problems that wheat does, and substituting the higher-glycemic grains for wheat doesn’t solve the whole problem. Our pancreases are exhausted too, not just our guts!

    It’s time to blow the whistle on grains, and stop eating them unless we’re starving. Grains are a “starvation food” not a real natural food for humans, who need to eat mostly plants and small amounts of animal protein. When we’re starving, grains are a useful substitute for real food, and we can manipulate them enough to ingest them without dying. When we’re well fed, though, they’re almost like poison.

    Yes, even brown rice, especially the way it is produced, stored and marketed today. What vegetable would you eat that is tossed into a filthy, rusty silo for several years before it even gets to you? Look up mycotoxins! Bacteria are not the only contaminant that we should avoid.

    And real food decomposes, and can be eaten raw, right off the plant. Not the case with grains. Don’t believe me? Sit down to a cup of raw brown rice and then see how you feel after eating it.

    Grains increase our caloric intake, too. They are filled with empty calories so they make us want to eat more because we need nutrients, not calories. Anyone on a paleo diet knows this – it’s a big shock to discover that once you’re a few months away from grains, you are a lot less hungry, can go for 10-12 hours without food without feeling hungry, you eat less at meals, and you generally have a lot more energy. Food no longer rules your life.

    And, as most of us know, excess caloric intake shortens life more than any other habit. Lower calorie diets, over and over again, have been shown to extend life and improve quality of life as we age.

    I urge anyone who has never tried it to go grain-free for three months, and substitute fresh plantfood for the grains. (Don’t substitute quinoa or buckwheat, make it a real change. You don’t need starvation foods, you live in the land of plenty.) Get yourself a spiralizer – that little item will change your life. Make your noodles, crackers, bread etc from fresh plant food. Don’t eat anything that’s been processed AT ALL. No soy, hemp, rice, coconut or almond “milk.” Those things crack me up!

    Eat tons of raw food, it’s the secret to health and longevity.

    Eat only wild (100% grass fed, or 100% free range, or “wild caught”) animal protein and fat. The rest is grain-fed! Blech! And they’re treated so, so horribly. Especially chickens. Go to Whole Foods if you eat meat, and buy the highest GAP level you can afford. Global Animal Partnership, a PETA partnership. Check it out. Real animal protein – fed it’s natural diet, raised in it’s natural habitat, killed humanely – is very healthy, but it’s also expensive and very hard to find.

    Initially, you’ll be hungry and will want to eat more calories – use extra healthy fats like avocado to get you over the hump. It’s been almost a year for me, and for my daughter too. Neither of us are even tempted by grains anymore, and we’ve never been healthier, in terms of energy, pain levels and bloodwork. We both lost 30 lbs of fat. We’re still losing fat. We can go shopping for a whole day and not get hungry – that alone is reason to try it!

    Off to the gym!

  • Dr. Hyman,
    Although I totally agree with you that gluten is a culprit, I have recently read research that suggests it is the Lectin in the foods that is actually the problem. Please comment.
    June Kittay
    Healthy Aging/Integrated Fitness Professional

  • I have one suggestion. Perhaps the title could read: “3 Hidden Ways Wheat Can Harm Your Health”. I am planning to forward this article to a few of my relatives. They are suffering from symptoms other than obesity and should definitely read this, but they are not fat. They will look at the title and think it’s not for them. I will point out to them that this article is for everybody! Thank you!

  • This information I resisted for so long. I love good fresh-baked crusty rustic breads more than just about anything. But I feel the pain, and I just can’t do it anymore. I find eating farro is okay, so far…

  • You can get proper grains IF YOU EAT FROM FAMILY FARMS. The real issue is corporate food processing, not gluten/wheat in and of itself. If you’re in greater NYC, for example, you can buy grain from Cayuga, among other small farms now growing traditional grains. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but do your homework, visit your greenmarkets, check out small farms within a 100-mile radius or learn to grow yourself.

  • I too go to Dr. Briggs and off gluten. Its been a tough one for me and always working on it. Isn’t she great!

  • The adhesive in stamps and envelopes does not contain gluten. Vodka, and other grain-based alcoholic beverages, have been distilled. Research has confirmed the distillation process removes the gluten protein. Despite this, rarely, some do react to wheat-based alcohol.

  • I’m surprised that no farmers have switched to the Einkorn wheat mentioned in the article. With the growing market for gluten free foods, it seems like they’d make a killing on growing a wheat that is much better tolerated by the human body.

  • I would just like to know how much of an improvement could be made using non GMO organically grown wheat, freshly ground, for one’s bread.
    thanks for any replies

    • I tried that with no good results because our bodies are so full of gluten already is what I think. Cass Cadior in Detroit Mich. has a bakery that gets their flour from a place in Kansas I believe if my memory serves me right. It made no difference in my husband.

  • This is great information.I started eating gluten free about 4 months ago and I am sleeping better and feeling better then I have in years.

    Thanks Doc. for all your articles. They help me to help my clients live a more healthy life.


  • If gluten isn’t an issue, are kamut or rye breads healthy alternatives to standard wheat? The biggest problem I have with a bread-free diet is making school lunches. We’re mostly vegan, so no dairy or meat; cooked beans are a bit risky re. bacteria; and the school doesn’t allow nuts of any kind. My standbys are granola and sunflower-seed butter sandwiches.

    Also, I would encourage you to update the Wikepedia “wheat” entry with info from this article. It only mentions celiac as a health issue.

  • Wow! Both the article and Amy’s response are fascinating information. I have tried to go gluten free because I have two sons who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, but it is SUPER difficult! My husband lost 30 pounds over the last year because he went gunge-ooh on exercise and drastically reduced carbs. This information is definitely food for thought! Pun intended 🙂

  • Amen for this article – most people benefit from at least reducing wheat. Eliminating it altogether is not that hard –
    100% Rye bread is helpful, but I find bread to be fattening, so rely on millet, yams, yucca, quinoa, squash, and brown rice for carbs. Works for me- my health is awesome,and I have a 6 PACK all the time.

  • Another fantastic article, so detailed. It was great to read all the comments too, even those desperate to find some type of wheat or grain that will pass muster. We’ve shifted from thinking of addicts as illegal-drug fiends to those who abuse prescription drugs…now we have drugs in our food, their exact makeup well hidden from the public. I wonder why such craving persists as our main pastime. I feel so sorry for us, living in consumer glut, unable to ever get enough. I want to say, Go Paleo, but must confess that although gluten free for over a decade I am not all the way to cavewoman eating yet. But we’ll get there!

  • Great Article. Those of you who’d like a second opinion can read Dr. Taylor’s book, Wheat Belly. It was recommended to me by my cardiologist, after having 4 stents put in me 6 months ago, and testing positive for the genes that made me gluten intolerant. You can read exerpts from it for free by typing in “Wheat Belly” into a Google search I’ve been gluten free for 4 weeks, and already my chronic diareah is gone. Other possible side effects from gluten intolerance that unfortunately I have experienced: chronic insomnia, prostate cancer, hypothyroid, acid reflux, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity. Who knew? Now I do! I’ve already lost 10 pounds, too!

  • I was wondering if you’ve researched the link between other genes and gluten sensitivity? I recently read an article on gluten that said to check DLQ 1 & 3, in addition to 2 & 8. It’s the first I have heard of these genes being linked to gluten sensitivity. I know there is a lot of new research coming out on this and wasn’t sure if it was of merit.

    Great article. Very well thought out and explained in a way we can understand. This can be such a complicated subject. I enjoyed seeing you live in NYC at our Institute for Integrative Nutrition conference….I’m a big fan!

  • I echo what many are saying here, it looks like you’ll have to do your next article on going Paleo. The world is already struggling with the concept of “gluten” free, many think it is a hoax or an exaggeration at best. How could we, en masse, accept that it is grains in general that are making us ill?

    This is one of the first articles I’ve seen that suggests maybe we should just get wheat out of everyone’s diet (without really saying it). Bravo! Eliminate it from the pyramid, or plate, whatever.

    Where does nutrition lie? If you define nutrition as fats/protein/carbs, with healthy levels of each, grains have no role.

    If you want to feel your best and look your best, go Paleo!

  • The biggest difference I noticed by giving up wheat was the immense alleviation in depression issues that I had suffered through for years (as does my mother but it’s nothing for her to eat a cake for supper). If you don’t believe any of this (and it’s wise to be a critical, educated consumer) just try giving up wheat for 2 weeks (classic elimination diet – it’s free if you don’t have insurance to pay for allergy tests). Then purposely eat something with wheat in it and see what happens. The first time I did this, I was shocked. I became tired and lethargic almost instantly. Scary stuff! If that doesn’t convince you nothing will.
    And as for why we don’t plant native grains – MONEY!! Big AG wont allow it. They are a wealthy and powerful industry. I highly recommend watching the movie Food, Inc. and reading anything by Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food is my favorite).
    One comment noted that this blog is nothing more than an advertisement and to some extend I believe that to be true as well. That being said, Dr. Hyman’s book UltraMind changed my life and my whole view on the brain-gut connection.
    Dr. Amen (out of California) also has some valuable input on this matter. His wife created a cookbook that I use in conjunction with Dr. Hyman’s plans. Quinoa makes for an awesome breakfast meal in lieu of oatmeal. Cook it with almond milk, add some berries and you are full for a very long time. Delightful!!

  • Is there any truth that the brand Ezekiel sprouted grain bread is any better for us? Also is Millet bread (Ezekiel makes one – wheat/gluten free) okay to eat?

  • Several years ago, I stopped eating wheat. I was aware of the hybridization issues, high glycemic index, etc. After months of no wheat, I switched over to rye bread that I made from organically grown rye flour, sour starter made from the same flour, water and sea salt. It seems that rye has not become hybridized, yet, and has a lower glycemic index. One of my diabetic friends eats it and does not get the sugar spike she gets from wheat.

    • Rye is full of gluten too. I hope you are not celiac or gluten sensitive.

  • After I returned from being deployed to Iraq for a year, I realized I had hardly eaten any bread or baked products whatsoever. Not that it wasn’t available, but that I simply had no desire for it. Now I realize it was my body’s way of avoiding something bad for me especially in that environment.
    As I got back to eating more bread and wheat-based products I noticed I had an unnatural desire for more -especially sweet stuff like cake & cookies. I also noticed that as I get older, these “goodies” cause me to feel bloated & fatigued. I’ve always been in good shape, so it was disturbing when I noticed my abdomen was enlarged!
    I started doing more intense core workouts and it helped a bit, but I still felt bloated and depleted of energy. I also became quite depressed and dysfunctional. I had become hypersensitive to everything and anything. Over a period of four years, my life had become miserable & unmanageable!
    I finally got to a specialist who had be do a comprehensive blood test to determine multiple intolerances including gluten, sugars and dairy. After being off these for six months now, I have to say my life has completely turned around! I no longer even want to eat what’s bad for me, and now enjoy quality fruit, vegetable & proteins. This combined with regular outdoor exercise has me stronger and happier than ever at age 44.
    My experience made me wonder how many people are suffering from the same imbalances I had. You see and hear of these conditions all the time and I just thank God I found the way out. Dr. Hyman’s great research answers what I’ve been wondering about for so long. I hope and pray that hearts and minds are opened to the epidemic of nutritional deception.
    The greatest cure is to strengthen the body to heal itself. We must STOP debilitating ourselves with the perpetual toxification of our bodies! I believe this may be the single greatest factor in saving us from our present & future self destruction.

  • Wow,
    couldn’t have said it better myself, we at my household have suffered numerous things mentioned in this article that all but disappear when completely off of wheat
    from pain to ‘autism’ and everything in between. Finally someone put it all out there for us. Thanks

  • I ate a big bowl of whole oat meal and was laid out for three days. I’ve since tried it again with no repeat of symptoms, but damn, that was scary. I still avoid most grains like it’s radioactive. I had a wheat allergen test and it was negative, but does any of Dr. Hyman’s preceding apply if you’re not allergic?

    • Yes Christian,

      Many people will not have an allergy but they will have a delayed sensitivity to certain foods, namely wheat and those containing gluten (rye, barley, spelt, triticale etc.)

      You can do an IgG test to confirm this but better yet, listen to your body and avoid anything that makes you fell sick or less than vibrant.

      In good health!

  • I can certainly give up wheat and I can convince my husband to try but how do you get a picky 5 year old to follow along when his diet is limited to begin with?

  • Do you mean Naltrexone? Actually, low dose Naltrexone (LDN)? I’m taking it for Crohns disease and it seems to be working well combined with a dairy-free, GF, alcohol and caffeine free, chocolate free etc…diet! Maybe I’d also do well on just the diet. Unfortunately, I still do crave starches, chocolate, and sugar. 🙁 if I could only stay on the UltraSimple diet. That is when I feel the best but it is too limiting. Once I go off for one item off the list, I go down a slippery slope by stating with the bad foods.

  • Wow if I didn’t know it this very well-written piece by Dr. Hyman could have come straight out of the excellent book “Wheat Belly” published about 6 months ago by William Davis. That book inspired me to finally take the wheat-free low carb plunge. Results? Dropped almost 35 pounds in the past 20 weeks, feel better in many ways. Triglycerides went from 280 in May ’11 to 110 last month & HDL went up from 32 to 43.

    I tell my non-believing friends and colleagues that if you want to develop obesity, diabetes and heart disease and help bankrupt our health care system (and our country), keep eating wheat and processed crap foods. If not, its really not that difficult.

  • I find your newsletter so informative, thank you Dr. A question: do these 3 problems present themselves if I am eating organic wheat bread, or baking with organic whole wheat flour that I buy @ health food stores? please advise.

  • Mark, reading your article made me feel like I was reading a mini-version of William Davis’ “Wheat Belly” that came out in Aug. 2011. You both make nearly the exact same points.

    I went gluten free, low sugar and reduced sodium one yr. ago. I tried it to improve chronic pain (it helped with some of my pain). I stayed gluten free because of the possible autoimmune connection. I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s last yr. and that can end up in an autoimmune situation if it is really my secondary illness. Then when I read William Davis’ book I decided I would be far better off gluten free for many reasons.

    Three weeks after I went gluten free I rarely had cravings for gluten products OR gluten free bread type products. Three months after going off gluten my cholesterol went from a safe 274 (my good cholesterol was very high) to 174 (and my good cholesterol went up even more).

    I eat veggies, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds, pseudo grains like quinoa and quality meats, fish and eggs. Occasionally I eat cheese or plain yogurt. I know I am lots healthier now than one yr. ago.

    Thanks to you and William Davis for being brave enough to try to expose how the most popular food we eat is causing us damage and we don’t even know it and think we are doing well to eat 5-7 servings of whole grain bread products each day.


  • Fascinating! This explains why I’ve been less depressed since I stopped eating wheat, as well as enjoying weight loss, more energy, lower blood sugar and a host of other benefits!

    Is this dwarf wheat grown all over the world now, or just in the US?

  • Dr. Human, you and your medical practice are truly gift from God. I believe sadly, that I am most of the things you mentioned in this important article on wheat and gluten.
    I am 65, i6 foot, 265 lbs. Insulin dependent diabetic. I generally feel like all my systems, are caving in, and I am losing my strength, energy and drive to turn it around.
    Please keep me in your prayers, so that God will give me the internal power, drive, and commitment to rise up and try again.
    Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your work.

  • I do not feel bloated anymore since I stopped taking wheat breads. I take millet bread, which is very alkaline and I replace rice with quinoa, even though rice is gluten free, but quinoa is alkaline and not so starchy,also it has all the minerals. I love my quinoa porridge with coconut milk, and a drop of stevia for sweetening. Yammy! Thanks, Dr. Hyman for keeping us informed.

  • No mention of organic wheat and whole wheat. They are not suppose to be GMO type. Are they the bad wheat?

  • Wheat Belly the book is also a book that talks about all these issues. I feel a lot better with no wheat.

  • Bimbam, It does not matter – organic, whole wheat, white bread wheat – they should all be avoided. They all come from the same type of dwarf wheat plant, so they will all have the health-degrading amylopectin A, lectins and addictive exorphins.

  • My question is: Is there any wheat or wheat product on the market like that of our grandmother’s time for us to eat in moderation? When we buy organic whole grain bread, does it also contain the ‘short wheat’ Dr. Hyman talks about?

  • Is it possible to buy wheat “like your grandmother used to eat” anywhere at all? Or is “vintage wheat” totally unavailable because of patents and market control by companies like Monsanto and such?

  • Marianne & Shannon,
    About 99% of the wheat grown worldwide now is the short stubby “dwarf” variety. If you look hard enough you should be able to locate the “old” wheat. Just because it may be “less bad” doesn’t mean it is worth it though. With all the known and apparent health consequences its probably not a good idea to consume any kind of bread regularly for most people, especially those who already have diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, arthritis etc., or those who are overweight. Gluten Free bread products seem to be a bad choice too for every day consumption because of their high glycemic index. I was shocked too when I began to find out the truth about wheat, and grains in general. I was one who loved pizza and bagels. I really don’t miss them much now. If I were you I would take heed to what Dr. Hyman has written here.

  • I totally believe that this is the core root of my issues. I testing this by moving to Wheat and Gluten Free in addition to eating healthier. Cutting out sugar is my main issue. Let’s see where it takes me!

  • Thank you for the factual breakdown! This is very useful. I was wondering, is eating organic whole wheat is good for you?

  • This is such a great article. I wondered if this information also applies to Europe, specifically germany. In germany we are lead to believe that the restrictions would not allow for this hybrid wheat or anything genetically manipulated into the mainstream products or whole foods. W.F. Lorkarb mentions that 99% of the wheat grown worldwide is the “dwarf” variety. Is there a source that can be referenced? I would like to like to learn more about this. Is the “dwarf” variety not considered GMO?

    What I found also interesting here in germany is that people with sensitivities to wheat do not have any problems with spelt, rye, einkorn. THis would make sense if germany is also consuming “dwarf” wheat.

  • Sprouted grains contain much lower levels of glutens, so they are a good alternative to high gluten wheat goods or a good stepping stone to being gluten free. However, read the ingredients labels carefully because many sprouted baked goods contain added gluten (to make them rise and enhance texture), straight up or as ‘high gluten wheat’ or just plain wheat flour. Try to choose the product with zero added gluten or, at worst, with gluten as far toward the end of the ingredients list as possible.

    I have tried the rice flour-based breads and really don’t like them. There are non gluten breads out there, but really, its easier to learn to make your own and some can be done well in a bread machine. Be ready for lots of experimentation and don’t expect the result to be the same as high gluten baked goods. If you’re also sensitive to yeasts, its really hard to find or make any satisfactory conventional-type baked goods. Good quick breads are easy to make and great to eat, but are not for sandwiches.

    Also for those of us who are merely gluten-sensitive, a rotation diet is a good management technique – waiting several days before eating it again. This technique applies to reintroducing any food you’ve been proven sensitive to.

    If you are not celiac, but merely gluten sensitive in some way, your GI tract functionality is suspect. Intestinal permeability will cause glutens (& many other foods’ proteins) to get into the blood stream where they’re all toxic and the body will mount an immune reaction (which can be measured with a good food allergy serum test like done at US Bioteck labs and elsewhere). If you’ve got this problem, the road to recovery includes changing out all tested sensitive foods, fixing the GI tract issues, retesting to confirm no continuing food allergies, then gradual reintroduction of foods like those with glutens, more testing, repeated until all is back to likely a new normal.

    Another good book on grains and gluten is Dangerous Grains by Braly, who traces the history of grains introduction and development, and the effects of increased glutens on populations. You’ll learn wheat was deliberately hybridized for higher gluten levels, which is why archaic breads are flatbreads and ‘modern’ wheat is worse for you.

    No, using Organic or “natural” (a meaningless marketing term) wheat does not help – they all contain glutens, which are a family of proteins. These protein levels vary in type and amount across many grains. This explains why some gluten sensitive people are OK with oats. It all depends on which specific proteins you react to. I am not aware of a commercial test which breaks down specific gluten proteins.

    Beware doing an elimination diet test and not getting any improvement. The danger here is a false negative because some impacts are asymptomatic and others are delayed long enough and of such seemingly disconnected types that we don’t make the connection. Take the IgG blood test to be sure, with IgE if you want to also test for immediate reactions. You also can get a celiac gene test, for 2 variants which can predispose you to celiac disease. Due to the asymptomatic issue, delayed reactions and the long list of potential resultant eventual diseases, everyone should do a comprehensive foods allergy serum test at least once.

  • This soldifies everything I’ve been trying to tell you all for the past nine months…. wheat is NOT good for you. It’s tough to become a believer when you’ve been told all of your life that it’s “healthy”. I am ten times healthier than I was nine months ago and I attribute that to giving up wheat all together. I have lost 18 lbs of fat, gained 10 lbs of muscle, lost all of my acid reflux, stopped having hive breakouts, and my asthma has almost gone too. Plus I feel so much better every day. Do yourself and your loved ones a big favor…. learn how to live without wheat. Teach yourselves how to eat the way were meant to and you will truly feel and look “healthy”.

  • I am confused I thought the only problem with oats was the cross polunation with wheat. If the oats are not raised in the presence of wheat are they not safe for a gluten free diet.

    • Hi Eloise,

      Great question. Oats are often processed in the same facility of gluten containing foods so this contact also makes them contaminated too,

      In good health

  • Eliminating wheat and oats from my diet has improved my blood work tests numbers. My LDL tested @ 175 has dropped to 58 on the Leap Therapy food plan. People ask, but are you taking med’s…yes, I am, but I’ve always taken med’s. Leap Therapy tests for food sensitivies. I’ve stopped eating foods that my body does not process.

  • Thanks Dr. Hyman,

    Very informative. I never knew there was a change in the type of wheat we eat over the last 50 years. Any thoughts on Crohns disease being attributed to gluten intolerance?

  • I purchase organic hard red wheat berries, grind them, soak the flour and then make my own bread. I am wondering if this product is a better quality…the process certainly is.

    • Hi Deb,

      That surely is a better process. And perhaps it allows you to eat less of it which is important if you are sensitive or allergic… However if you react to gluten then the form you receive it in is irrelevant if it wil cause you to enter an inflammatory state…

      In good health and baking!

  • My daughter first suspected she had sensitivity when her hips hurt…she got off wheat (gluten) and the pain went away. I decided to try and was off over a month and started feeling really good! Decided to have celiac test but had to go back on gluten…the doctor thought for 1 week or so. Negative test! Felt horrible. Depressed. Pain. Went back off gluten again and found I needed to be on gluten for a month or so before testing…not in this lifetime! After one week I felt horrible. It doesn’t matter what the tests say…it matters how I feel. This article all makes sense! Now…if I could just shake the sugar!!!! 🙂

  • So are you saying that Einkorn wheat or other heirloom wheats, if we can get our hands on them, are actually safe or at least safer alternatives? Is Einkorn (14 chromosomes) best, emmer/farro second best (28 chromosomes) and modern wheat worst (42 chromosomes)? What about heirloom varietals of modern wheat?

    • Hi Katie,
      All wheat has gluten. If you are sensitive you should avoid. If you are not sensitive this might be a good option!

      In good health!

  • I am curious to know if other grains such as rye and oats have been subject to similarly detrimental genetic manipulation and hybridization.

    • Hi MDM,

      Thank you for curiosity, What we do know is that while rye has some glucose/insulin benefits it still will effect those sensitive to gluten. Also, oats surely have been processed and contaminated over the years so we advise against these should you be sensitive or allergic…

      In good health!

  • What if you buy organic wheat berries, grind the flour and make your own bread. More like grandmother’s?

    • Hi Cindy!

      Actually the wheat we have on the market today is genetically different than that which our grandmother used. So, regardless of how you process it, it still contains the same type of gluten which in pro inflammatory…

      In good health!

  • Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners had a great article on growing wheat properly, and yes, you can get the old style seeds from the organic seed houses. The article is here The other problem with ‘modern wheat’ is also the harvest methods which, of course, are good for industrial agriculture, not good for the food product that they’re growing. Following is a pertinent excerpt:

    “Whether or not you companion another crop with wheat, you need to know when the grain is ready to harvest. Once the heads form, you must watch the development of the maturing seed, which goes through four stages: the “milk” stage (think corn-on-the-cob), when the kernel can be squished like a bug with your thumbnail; the “soft dough” stage, when the kernel can be squished but is not milky; the “hard dough” stage, when the thumbnail can dent the kernel with some pressure; and lastly the “flint” stage, when the kernel is brittle-hard, as you would grind it for flour.

    Here’s the hitch: Even though the flint stage is how you store and use wheat, for best quality the crop should be reaped at the hard dough stage.”

  • Several years ago my brother went to France to be a ski bum for a few months. He ate more bread then than he ever had in the past. When he came home, his body flipped out. Had diarrhea for months, and generally just felt like crap. Took him maybe a year to get back close to what was his ‘normal’. If memory serves, his doctors didn’t have a clue, and told him that in time his GI tract would get better.

    A few years later he went from ‘healthy’ to a full blown diabetic.

    I love making my own bread; now maybe I know why I am still so hungry after eating it. I thought it was just because it tasted to good!

    And when I treat myself to pancakes once a week, it seems the energy just continues to drain from me over the next several hours. Almost always resulting in a forced nap.

    Guess I got an answer to the why’s. Maybe I should start paying attention to some of this stuff?!

  • Hi all,
    I work at a Montana State University. We have worked with gluten-free grains and products for about 15 years. Amazingly, marketing is really tough. As many have already stated, it is difficult to compete with the wheat corporations.

    Our first gluten-free flour was produced from a native grass called Indian ricegrass (it is not rice, the name is deceptive). This grain was eaten by several Native American tribes in the Great Plains. The company that produced the grass went out of business in December of 2011. IRG flour was great product, a single piece of toast contained nearly 50% of the RDA for insoluable fiber. There is a second company in MT that may resume production in 2012.

    More recently, we have worked with a small grower owned company. They now produce and process certified gluten-free oatmeal and oat products. In this case, they use nude oats as opposed to traditional coated oats. These oats do not have a seed coating, they have higher protein, and require much less processing than traditional oats. They yeild less than traditional oats and thus are ignored by the commodity food industry. The early data indicates that nude oats are safer for celiacs than traditional oats.

    This company is also producing a gluten-free flour from the range grass Timothy (Timtana). Timothy has long been a desrable feed for horses and only recently used as a human food. The flour has nearly 20% protein. It makes a great bread. Once again, Timothy is a very minor crop. there has not been extensive breeding with a focus on yield.

    My Story. I finally decided to go gluten-free about 1 month ago. I am thrilled becuase my acid reflux is almost controlled without drugs. I never would have made the association between acid reflux and gluten without trying a gluten-free diet. I am not going back.

    Note of caution. Gluten-free is not calorie free. I am not only eliminating gluten, I am cutting back on all of those calorie laden baked goods and snack foods (gluten-free or not).

  • I decided to lose some weight at my doctor’s suggestion and went commercial wheat free about 6 weeks ago. I’ve lost 14 pounds and feel great. Much less pain from the chronic problems and a general sense of well being.

    I have tried the Einkorn pastas (Jovial Foods). They are spectacular. I have always loved pasta but would usually overeat in the past. Einkorn pasta has twice the protein. My body seems to know that instantly. I need to eat less to feel full and I walk away from the table feeling delightfully satisfied rather than stuffed.

    There is definitely something to this argument. I am completely convinced and I used to own one of the top bread bakeries in the country.

    • Hi Amy,

      Yes, although organic is always a great option, wheat is wheat and if a person is sensitive their immune system doesnt care…Great question!

  • I have always had stomach problems but whenever my mom took me to the Dr. , they couldn’t find anything so it was all in my head. I am now 52yrs old. diagnosed with Celiac 4 yrs ago and I now have Anemia, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, neuropathy, migraines, breathing problems and fibromyalgia. I cannot ever remember a day without pain. This is the result of being misdiagnosed all my life and I really believed things would get much better after going gluten-free. They have not. I have less pain but food now controls my life. The only things I have no reactions to are rice potatoes and eggs. I’m angry and there’s nothing I can do about it. I now eat organic and foods with the least ingredients. I still react if I’m not careful, but keep being vigilant.

    • Hi Cynthia,
      We sympathize w ith you and indeed hope you get the proper care to heal your body soon. Dr. Hyman’s UltraSimple Diet might be a good option for you. Have you looked into it? Also, get a thorough from a functional med practitioner to ensure the optimum care. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your zip. Progress accordingly from there.

  • Having self diagnosed myself and my family with gluten intolerance 10 years ago, best gift I could have given them, it is wonderful now to see so much more positive information on the web than previously in relation to gluten and obesity. I dropped 30kg in a very short time as I no longer craved for foods.,we also eat very low carbohydrate. I have my life back!! we were amazed at the time as we had initially gone gluten free to lose weight, our amazement when we no longer suffered from many of the ailments that gluten causes, including IBS, indigestion, bloating, fatigue, depression. My doctor at the time of going gluten free ridiculed me. I find it very sad that it is taking so long for information to get to the mainstream of people, who commonly suffer as we did. Unfortunately doctors are still only looking at the malnourished not the obese for having problems with gluten. If it was not for the internet and sites like yours for people taking control of their own health that this war would otherwise never be won……

  • Wheat raises blood sugar higher than most of the other foods. 4 slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 12 teaspoons of sugar. That’s a simple fact as per the table of glycemic index.
    Almost all wheat in USA is from a dwarf strain, which produces a far greater yield but has contributed to the current obesity epidemic.

  • Dr Hyman inclues oats as containing gluten but I read that oats are gluten-free but could be contaminated if processed in a facility that is not gluten-free. Please clarify for me.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Yes, oats can easily be contaminated so it is wise to avoid them or look for certified GF oats. However some practitioners believe that oats can be crossreactive with gluten…In this case, it is wise to avoid them if you are on an elimination protocol or know you are allergic or sensitive.

  • Most of us reading these great articles have suffered for decades and only know about dr. Hymans work because we have finally acquired some level of knowledge in an attempt to save ourselves.

    My mother, grew up on the old wheat grains, was an undiagnosed celiac and died prematurely as a result. I miss her and am afraid as I see other loved ones in denial and feel we are losing lives every minute to these gluten related diseases.

    I recently asked a young intern at the v.a. Hospital what he was being taught in medical school about gluten and celiac disease and he said “not much since it is so rare”. I have read in Dr. Hyman’s credentials that he has worked with Dr.Oz, whom I believe needs to be doing more for public awareness as television seems our greatest tool for public education. Dr. Oz……why are you so silent on this crisis?????

    I fear, as statistics suggest, it will be the average 25 years before science becomes mainstream in our medicine. I am grateful to Dr. Hyman for his continued efforts as I can only imagine his obstacles.

  • When I first went off wheat, my mood improved in the first two weeks … significantly … I battle low moods all the time. When I let myself cheat a little, real little, I don’t usually get an immediate and noticeable reaction but as I read this article, I started thinking more about my chronic inflammation. Also, a little often leads to binges .. the addictive part. I also miss the ease of eating sandwiches, especially when I’m in a hurry. Sigh … sacrifice for health is a good thing.

  • Hello Dr. Hyman, This makes so much sense to me. I have Churg-Strauss Vasculitis and that almost killed me. I was able to get off all drugs by eating healthy whole organic foods and supplements. I went to a Naturopathic Doc who didn’t believe in just treating symptoms. I was taking major doses of prednisone and then chemo drugs and I could add many more. I quit all, I lived gluten free for over a year and a half. also sugar free for the same amount of time, I didn’t even eat fruit sugar. I am a vegan but I started eating one sandwich with organic whole wheat, also eaten vegetarian gluten products. I started coughing again and know it is caused by the inflammation from the wheat products. I am also having a difficult time losing weight as even though I don’t eat very much, my stomach always seems full and bloated. Thanks for this article and for reminding me how bad wheat is. Please tell me if organic wheat is good? Also, I made bread with organic wheat flour, spelt, coconut flour and I fermented the flour overnight before baking with coconut kefir. I was told that the bread is ok then and that’s how it use to be cooked before the 20’s. Is that true? Or is wheat all bad? Thanks!!!

    • HI Janete,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Dr Hyman would suggest you remain off all gluten- triticale, spelt, whole wheat, rye, barley, oats, possibly corn etc. And yes, even the organic wheat will still have an effect on you if you have a sensitivity to the gliadin. Because it seems like you responded really nicely without the wheat, Dr Hyman would encourage you to listen to this as a strong signal to better understand what works for you and what doesnt. There are plenty of great Gluten Free options out there. You can look into his The blood Sugar Solution for recipes and more on why gluten may be the culprit in many symptoms present today and how to make a gluten free lifestyle pleasurable. You can also check his UltraMetabolism Cookbook. And in this spring, stay tuned for a completely new cookbook, also all gluten and dairy free!

  • But to be certified organic you can’t use genetically modified foods so how would they use the “frankenwheat” you are suggesting exists?

  • I also self diagnosed 2 months ago, and since eliminating wheat, meat and processed dairy my pain is gone, sleep is better and anxiety is disappearing. My thoughts are cohesive and I actually feel lighter and more alive. I believe my dog has major issues for the same reasons– most dog food is laden with low quality wheat, grain fed meat by products and fillers. Sad how we are slowly killing ourselves as well as our beloved pets. The one thing that comes to mind in my journey towards both of us eating a clean diet is this: If a chicken or other animal was fed wheat or other low quality grain, wouldn’t the meat or even the egg also contain wheat or gluten? Since I oppose eating living creatures, but feel thier by products ( eggs, yogurt, raw cheese) are ethical and for many not bothersome, I plan on including them as a supplementary source of high quality and tasty protein. Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Suzie,

      Great thoughts. Yes, the products of animals fed a grain diet with wheat are surely lesser quality and can increase symptoms similiar as though you have consumed a food sensitivity due to the inflammatory nature of the food. Best to eat animal products that came from a well-fed and treated animal!

  • Just get rid of the grains. ALL grains have problematic proteins called prolamins. Wheat has gliadin, barley (hordein), rye (secalin), corn (zein), sorghum (kafirin), oats (avenin), rice (orzenin), millet (panicin), etc. Refined white rice is the safest grain when combined with meat, vegetables and fats to slow digestion of the starch. Although it is not recommended for those with metabolic issues or carbohydrate intolerance. White rice is safe for healthy individuals who are participating in regular exercise.

    Pseudo grains such as buckwheat can be tolerated if properly prepared by soaking, grinding, and fermenting.

    I personally just use bananas, sweet potatoes, and plantains and their flours to make pancakes.

    All you have to do is add some eggs, baking soda, and salt. You can throw some berries in them as well or on top. You can add canned coconut milk or heavy cream (if dairy is tolerated) on top. I also add high quality gelatin into the batter for extra proteins that you don’t get from muscle meats.

    3 eggs
    1 banana/1 plantain/1 sweet potato cooked
    1/4 tsp salt or less
    1 tbsp gelatin
    1/4 tsp baking soda

    beat the eggs

    mash banana into beaten eggs. *if using plantain flour or sweet potato flour just mix in until evenly distributed

    mix dry ingredients together and add to egg banana batter

    note: if using gelatin make sure to mix in for at least one minute so it does not clump

    Cook in coconut oil! NEVER vegetable oils!

    Another good recipe here –

  • Enough with the science. We get it. Now it would be great to see more articles that deal with the practicalities of living a wheat free life. Recipes, resources, tips…

  • Here at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center we completely agree with your viewpoint on gluten. We have strict regiments when it comes to gluten consumption. It is amazing the difference you will feel when replacing the gluten in your diet. Check out our website at to see some of our other views about gluten. Start NOW not later 🙂

  • Read the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis- #1 on NY Times Best Seller list for advice. Also read comments/testimonials on his Wheat Belly FB page!

  • Loved this articel Dr. Hyman:

    Had a recent medical issue with my 1 year old son’s endocrine system. Doctors checked for Celiac but came up negative in blood test. Due to allergy tests something in the mother in me could not let go of the fact that gluten could be a problem for my son. With in a month after taking him off gluten his endocrine blood work went back to normal.

    I had genetic testing done on my whole family. Turns out we all have the HLADQ8 genes for genetice predisposition to celiac. Just wish I could fine a way to convince my type 2 diabetic 40 year old husband that he needs to ea healthier and stop the gluten consumption.

    I am actually now in the online program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Health Coach. My goal is to help as many adults and children as I can to discover their possible hidden gluten sensitivity and learn to eat healthier; which is the opposite of the current Standard American Diet (SAD). The state of health in this country really is SAD!

    Thank you for all your work.

  • I gave up all grains 12 years ago when I went low carb. Initially I was just interested in weight loss, but because of unexpected side effects- improved digestion and clear sinuses for the first time in my life, I have made this a permanent lifestyle change.

  • I have two daughters who recently were diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. As a babies they were very allergic to food & were diagnosed with eosinphic gastroenteritis. The GI doctors do not think food has anything to do with the crrohn’s disease & they think I am nuts for trying to a wheat & gluten free diet. Its hard when my 16 year-old tells me she’s not going to do the diet because the doctors say it has nothing to do with it. After all Mom you didn’t go to medical school.

    What do you think & how do I explain this to my daughters?

    • Hi Ann,

      Thank you for sharing about your personal interest with a gluten free lifestyle. For starters, how about showing them this article! And second, the best you can do is to act as a role model for good health. Your children will learn by seeing and experiencing what good health looks like and will probably generate some curiosity for them to try it if interested.

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  • I’m wondering what you think of Dr. Osborne’s work and his site “Glutenology” ? He feels that not only gluten, but all grain proteins can affect us detrimentally. I do however have a problem with the whole “Paleo” way of eating, as it seems to depend way too much on meat intake, something I choose to enjoy only occasionally when I can find organic meat.

    • Hi PaulaLyn,
      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work. Because each of us is built in a unique way biologically, Dr Hyman would not assume a one-size-fits all approach for health. While some grains can indeed lead to food sensitivities and promote inflammation, others might be beneficial. It depends on your individual constitution and present health.

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

    • Hi Tami,

      Unfortunately, it is the protein in the wheat which is to blame for the food sensitivity and while quality is always very important, in this case even the non GMO wheat might still cause a reaction if you are sensitive.

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

    • Yes Tami if you do NOT have a gluten sensitivity in fact, I met a man who has issues but could eat fresh milled ezekiel bread with no problem. FRESH MILLED. Not store bought organic wheat. They are not one in the same. Fresh Milled wheat is full of nutrients and that God intended. You have to use the wheat within 30 min of milling otherwise, all the nutrients are gone unless you freeze it right away. Go to and read what Sue Becker wrote about milled grains, gluten free etc. Very informative.

  • Where’s the science? We understand wheat causes problems for those with celiac disease or those who have a gluten intolerance. However, nothing in this article substantiates the claims by Mark Hyman for the rest of the population.

  • I agree with all of the above. The only issue I take with this article is the reference that modern day wheat is a “Franken” wheat. This term is really only used in reference to GMO foods. Wheat is probably on its way to being GMO, but the wheat that is causing a problem is one that was hybridized. Hybridization has been going on for centuries, and that is where many strains of different foods come from. I do not believe there was malice intended in the hygbidization of wheat, unlike the GMO of many foods for profit. I think when these terms are thrown around it takes away from the clout we need to exert on GMO. It would be great however if we could dial back to heirloom wheats…and all foods for that matter. We need to exert pressure with the only thing that works: the almighty dollar.

  • Ahaa, its good dialogue about this post at this place at this website, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting at this place.

  • This is amazing! First of all, I would like to mention that in August of last year I was introduced to the book UltraMetabolism and it has changed my life since then. Apart from having lost 40 pounds to date, my opinion regarding nutrition has changed forever. It saddens me how we have altered our foods and have created epidemic health problems for humanity. This needs to change, that’s why I try to refer this website to everyone I know including make a real effort to change the foods my wife and kids eat at home.

  • If the GM wheat which we are eating is as damaging as you assert, why are not the health departments in the various countries taking appropriate corrective action?

    Why do they not take it off the market and go back to normal non GM wheat?
    Why do we not start a class action against the health department?

    This sounds like a conspiracy – it is hard to believe.

  • I do have have a question for you, I’ve been reading up on the effects of wheat/gluten, and it makes total sense…i’ve been off wheat/gluten for 2 weeks and seeing if it will make a difference in my chronic cough. Eventhough I’m not overweighed, I was wondering why I was starting to gain weight, even though I was working out, not eating tons, and eating healthy…so it does make sense.
    Questions that people asked me: how about the bread that is sprouted and claim that they only use organic, non GMO wheat?
    Could you explain if that’s also bad, or if that’s ok to eat?
    Thank you!

  • The answer to the 3 whys above is Follow the $$$ trail. If one is intolerant to wheat gluten then the grain is not for you.
    I have reads the entire thread and it provided an interesting consensus among the responders. Also the youtube clip which was mentioned earlier on here and pasted below.

    For an excellent first-person report of how genetically modified foods (GMOs) affect our health, see Robyn O’Brien’s presentation about how her daughter nearly died from eating breakfast one morning. Robyn is a former food market analyst for Wall Street so she knows the food industry from the inside. She now crusades for “real” food.

  • Can you explain me about this sentence “No one binges on broccoli, but they binge on cookies or cake.”

    What you mean here? Do you mean that cookies, cake, bread can be addictive? And if yes you declare that eating every second day bread, cookies or cake is addiction symptom. Then drinking every second day milk, eating eggs or even eating broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce is addiction too. 🙂 So Yes I know people who are addicted to Broccoli! And I am addicted to tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and jalopenos. I really wanna add jalopenos to every my meal, they are so delicious. And my body wants fresh salad. 🙂

    So next time check your claims before you claim something like this!

  • I eat fresh milled wheat and buy organic from a store that sells “REAL” wheat. People that do NOT have sensitivities can eat fresh milled and still heal their guts. Fermented foods like Kombucha tea, Keifer, and fermented fruits and veggies are very very good for your gut. if you consume REAL sugars, minimal, and real foods like fruits, nuts , berries etc. you will get a better gut. There is more than one way to have a healthy gut. The wheat in the stores even organic flour is bad. Sue Becker has so much information on gluten free diets and the harm they pose long term if you do NOT have a gluten sensitivity. She explains what fresh milled grains provide for your health. They are biblical. Educate, Educate, educate!! Good luck! Go to and read all her articles on the topic. Very informative

  • Agreed. my bloating and constipation vanished when I reduced gluten. I stick to rice, quinoa and beans and feel much better. No more gluten for me.

  • I “cured” severe asthma and reflux disease with a gluten free /MSG free diet.
    MSG(monosodium glutamate) HAS MANY DIFFERENT NAMES AND IS RAMPANT IN FOOD SUPPLY. even so called gluten free items can have these ingredients listed.
    see truth in labeling website .
    also, naturally occurring glutamate occurs in aged products , pickled or alcohol. Even skim milk is worse than whole milk because it contains more naturally occurring glutamate. Also tomatoes have the highest in a veggie, even worse the longer they are cooked in a sauce. thanks for the awesome article!!!!!

  • Hi,
    Is the Ultra mind 6 week eating plan a gluten free meal plan?
    Also, do you have any meal plans for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)? Please let me know. Thank you!

    • Hi Andrea,

      Yes, it is gluten free! For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  • Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

  • Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to
    shoot you an email. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  • I have no problem with wheat products. Why? Because I don’t take drugs of any sort, I rarely eat sugary foods like desserts, I only eat organic products, I don’t eat in fast food or franchise restaurants, and when I make pasta, which I like a lot, I always make it with an Italian prouct made with seminola wheat. I wrote the book, You Can
    Love Food, Love Yourself, & Love Life. What I take issue with in this whole nightmare mess of discussing foods in America is this: What wheat are we talking about? Are we talking about all wheat in the entire world? And, is there safe wheat in America?

  • I will certainly read this article again, and follow some discussion of this issue. I had one initial reaction. The gluten argument flirts with attributing all dietary ills to one issue. We are fat because there is more abundant food than ever before, and because modern diet and life has lead to eating a majority of processed and fast food. Burger King, McDonald’s and the like have excesses of sugar, salt and fat and substandard ingredients. This goes far beyond the gluten issue. One McDonald’s meal can give you and excess of 2/3s what a normal adult should have in calories alone in one day. When I first moved to NY, my father-in-law delegated me to get dinner from a Kentucky Fried Chicken we could see from the kitchen window. “If it looks like pigeon,” he said, “Run like hell!” That was a funny story then. Now it’s not so funny. Horsemeat in your hamburger? You never know, and that is more than a gluten issue.

  • I have Celiac Disease. I have been eating #GF since 2004. I seem to have reactions to #GF grains – sorghum, millet, quinoa. Why does this happen? I am also #DairyFree #SugarFree.

  • I really like the Ezekiel bread company’s sprouted breads. Does sprouting the wheat and other grains have any ameliorating effect on the wheat?

    • Dear Jo Anna,

      Yes, in general sprouting most grains, seeds and nuts enhances their nutrition. However in the case of gluten, if someone is sensitive or allergic, it wont matter how the food is prepared if it has the gluten proteins in it.

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s virtual nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
      In Good Health,
      The Nutrition Team

  • I did three months of absolutely no wheat and didn’t lose an ounce.Did nothing for my fibro pain either…My husband lost 25 lbs in those same 3 months. Went back to wheat and I noticed little difference but the pain lessened a bit and hubby gained back 6 lbs. So I’m a little confused right now.While we’re not totally wheat free right now we are limiting it quite a bit.
    I hate the very idea of frankenwheat.

  • I have suffered from gastrointestinal maladies for over ten years. I have been to specialists, endured invasive tests, all to be told that there’s nothing they could do for me. I also endured decades of severe depression. And in my mid-30s, I started gaining weight no matter how healthy I ate, no matter how much I exercised and how much I restricted calories–I chalked it up to aging. As an African-American, doctors told me that I couldn’t possibly have celiac’s disease. I took a DNA test for ancestry purposes that showed I had a higher risk for celiac’s disease. I have since been tested and the diagnosis of celiac’s disease has been confirmed. I have been strictly wheat/gluten free and dairy free for six months. All of my gastrointestinal problems have cleared up and I have been weaned off antidepressants for the first time in twenty years. I am middle-aged and don’t ever remember feeling this good before in my entire life.

  • Useful information. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance, and I am shocked
    why this coincidence did not took place in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  • A great book to read…is The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.

  • Howdy very cool website!! Guy .. Beautiful ..
    Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also?
    I am glad to find a lot of useful info here within the submit, we need develop more techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

  • I was diagnosed as having diabetes and told that eventually I would have to have insulin injections. I was given tablets, but never took any as I wanted to fix it with a better diet. Six months later I ate some chocolate(it was Christmas), my blood sugar was OK, so I ate more, still OK, so I ate the whole bar of chocolate and my blood sugar was still normal(45mins to 1 hour later). A few days later I ate a pizza and boom, my blood sugar went through the roof and my bad stomach returned the next day. The night before I went for my sugar test, for diaretes, at a private clinic, I had eaten a pizza, so this explained my high results. So, if they diagnose you as diabetic, try cutting out wheat first. It may take 2 weeks or more before your body settles down after years of eating wheat. It is worth trying as living on a diabetic’s diet isn’t easy, but living whithout wheat is not that hard and you can still eat chocolate and ice cream, but not too much, of couse 😉 . I can even eat a small piece of some types of cake(chocolate cake) without any noticable reaction, which is grate, but I guess it’s down to how sensative you body is. My blood pressure used to be 140+/90 whereas now it is 120/70, which I’m told is very good for my age, so you see it is possible to get your body back in good shape, when you cut out wheat.

  • what if we ate ‘organic wheat’? would that be more like the same acceptable gluten level as old wheat grown before 50 years ago?

  • I thought that the article was interesting, but I think that there are a few misconceptions. Bread wheat has been allohexaploid for about 300 years. Plants are way more comfortable crossbreeding with with other species than animals, so even though it has genes from 3 different crossbred species (and has had for hundreds of years), it’s not really a GMO the way we usually think of it.

    The dwarfing genes introduced in the 1960’s come from selection, not transgenic techniques, and code for resistance to gibberellic acid, a growth hormone that is produced naturally by the plant. These dwarfing genes don’t code for gluten or starch.

    Einkorn wheat is higher in gluten than modern wheat. Not necessarily bad, but it’s not going to help you if the goal is avoiding gluten.

    I agree that wheat has a lot going on that is unhealthy in over-consumption, but it’s not a change in plant genetics that’s causing the increase in harm, it’s mostly the increase in consumption.

  • a

    Howdy I am so delighted I found your weblog,
    I really found you by accident, while I was researching on Digg for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and
    would just like to say cheers for a fantastic post and a all round interesting blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but
    I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do
    keep up the great work.

  • I am now not sure the site you are obtaining your info, but excellent issue. I have to spend some time discovering much more or identifying far more. Appreciation for great information and facts I had been seeking this info for my goal.

  • I am very happy that I found you and I am completely convinced that many of my health problems are related to gluten. I have a very complicated health history and since learning about gluten I have changed my diet and I do not eat
    gluten. I no longer have abdominal discomfort, nausea after eating and feeling tired after a meal. I have lupus, fibromyalgia, kidney disease, chemo induced CHF, short bowel syndrome, anemia and additional problems related to cancer. With all of my medical issues I have not been able to obtain proper medical care in Minneapolis. I have wanted desperately to come to your clinic, but at this time I cannot afford to do that. I am hoping that I will be able to visit your clinic soon. You are the only doctor that makes me feel hopeful for my future. I do have your book 10-Day Detox Diet and I am trying to follow it. I do have some restrictions, but your recipes are excellent. Thank you for providing so much information and support.

    • I am very happy that I found you and I am completely convinced that many of my health problems are related to gluten. I have a very complicated health history and since learning about gluten I have changed my diet and I do not eat
      gluten. I no longer have abdominal discomfort, nausea after eating and feeling tired after a meal. I have lupus, fibromyalgia, kidney disease, chemo induced CHF, short bowel syndrome, anemia and additional problems related to cancer. With all of my medical issues I have not been able to obtain proper medical care in Minneapolis. I have wanted desperately to come to your clinic, but at this time I cannot afford to do that. I am hoping that I will be able to visit your clinic soon. You are the only doctor that makes me feel hopeful for my future. I do have your book 10-Day Detox Diet and I am trying to follow it. I do have some restrictions, but your recipes are excellent. Thank you for providing so much information and support.

  • There are sources for pre-dwarf-variety wheat, such as Anson Mills in Columbia, SC. Are these varieties of wheat, such as Red Fife, free of the dangerous aspects of modern wheat? Anson Mills seems to be a trustworthy and ethical company.

  • I’m not sure the place you’re getting your info, however great topic.
    I must spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thank you for magnificent information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  • You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the mowt
    useful wesites on the internet. I’m going to recommend this website!

  • I eat Einkorn wheat! Hope to see the availability of heirloom wheats continue to grow. But how will we know what’s good and what isn’t?

  • I had a heart attack 4 years ago that almost killed me, I decided to take a biologists advice and lose weight by following his warning ” that all grain is my enemy”.
    I gave up all grain products and dairy products and within 6 months I went from 80 kilos to 63 kilos , I only have a small body size so at 80 kilos I was battling to bend over and breath.
    Yes I lost this weight and what helped me through was a grain free bread the biologist invented ( first in the world called Deek’s bread “) .
    I am now 72 I ride my bicycle 60 ks a week go to the Jim twice a week and am planning a 1000 kilo ride next year.
    I feel great since giving up all grains,
    Michael Canberra Australia

  • Hi all. I haven’t read all the comments but I had read that wheat has changed over the years and not for the better. What lead me to this page was researching the original type of grain called SPELT. From what I have read it is a type of superfood, high in b17? Or something. Anyway the other pages I looked at said that by using ‘spelt’ instead of wheat in all recipes will not only make you feel and look healthier it will also help you lose untold weight. It’s like the original gift from the gods, so to speak. Hope this helps someone.

  • Thank You for this Email I follow your email’s. I need your program! I ordered your Sugar Detox in 10 days, through Amazon but I won’t receive it until March I would like to join your challenge but can’t afford to. Do you have an other challenge that I can possibly join? Thank You!!!

  • I think that many medical institutions have a real stake in keeping us sick! The make a LOT of money off of the meds they sell for Big Pharma! They label many people as diabetic, when it is celiac! They want us to all be using their meds and expensive instruments!

  • I am not Gluten sensitive per se but I do have multiple autoimmune diseases. Therefore my Doctor has suggested that I try a gluten free diet to see if that calms my immune system. This is related to increased gut permeability or leaky gut. If that is the main concern would it be safe to eat the Einkorn grain? There is a company out of Italy that is growing the non-GMO ancient grain. They sell the berries or the ground flours as well as pasta. Would this be a safe alternative for leaky gut and autoimmune disease?

  • I’ve recently looked into what certain foods do to our bodies. The main reason for doing so was because my mum and dad started the Paleo diet. I’ve been doing it too and I feel really good. But for years not I have been gluten/wheat sensitive (undiagnosed, through experimentation) where I would eat bread/doughnut/cake/biscuits and other things and I would bloat really badly, sometimes have constipation and have really bad acid in my throat, especially if I was in bed. I did go gluten free for a while and I did feel better, but obviously without money I couldn’t exactly keep it up. I still avoided it when I could, but now I’m on this Paleo I feel really good. I’ve very rarely bloated, I’m full after eating and I get hungry at similar intervals everyday.

    After reading this article, I am enlightened but not entirely surprised.

  • Hello Dr. Hyman, I’ve been enjoying reading article with you in them, sometimes more directly all about you and some method, plan, etc. that you devleped, in Woman’s World and First magazine for some time, now. I like Dr. Oz, but you seem to fit in more with the ways I had already discovered work for me, which is mostly about eating a LOT more of vegetables than anything else.

    When I ran iinto this page, I was doing some research on a problem I’ve been having. I am wheat free, at the moment, have been for 8 days this being the 9th. At first, I had no problems at all, but, then, I started having rather intense sugar cravings. That’s what I was researching – why giving up wheat might lead you to desire more and more sugar.

    I see you mentioned wheat and sugar, together, in a way. Do you find that this sort of thing happens to people, often? They give up the wheat and instead of having wheat cravings, they start having sugar cravings?

    Most of the reason I gave up wheat was not because I was sure I had a problem with it, by the way. I am allergic to soy and milk, and, I have cortisol problems, so, sugar is an issue and so is coffee, though I seem to have no problem with caffeine if its in a cup of tea or two for the day. High fructose corn syrup seems to be more of an issue than regular sugar, though, and, I am also allergic to bromine, so I had to quit eating most canned things, already.

    The point is, I gave up wheat, mostly, to get rid of the soy, milk, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and bromine. Normally, I have no real problem giving up sugar, for long periods of time, without cravings, when I am still eating spaghetti, which is full of vegetables and spices and has a homemade sauce, but, still has noodles bought from the store.

    Does wheat actually fill that “need” for sugar? Is that why I am having such a hard time? And, if so, where do I go from here? I really want to give up all sweeteners, but, I feel like I just can’t, without being locked in a cage first.

  • Should we avoid ceramides containing 350mg wheat also? If so what about rice 40mg ceramides, will that be equivalent to the wheat if results?