Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2013-06-14
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
PCM forum Index
of WB Blog articles.
does wheatlessness unfold?
Wheatlessness: the happy, healthy state
achieved by not eating wheat.
A frequently asked question: Once
you eliminate wheat, how fast do the benefits occur?
Well, it depends. It depends on what health
issue we are discussing, what organ system, and how far along the
process of wheat destruction you were.
Nonetheless, there are a number of common
patterns that develop once you decide to eliminate all things
wheat in your life:
Acid reflux, bowel urgency–5 days is typical for these
conditions to reduce or go away entirely.
Ulcerative colitis, Crohns–These complex inflammatory
conditions require weeks to months. (Note that bowel flora is
enormously disrupted by these conditions and can slow recovery.
So it is VERY helpful to either undergo a bowel flora assessment
and/or consider a high-potency probiotic for at least the
first several weeks.)
The myriad rashes caused by wheat vary in their response. Seborrhea
and acne generally improve within 5 days, while more complex
skin conditions, such as psoriasis, can require weeks to months.
First you have to get through wheat withdrawal, the 3- to 5-day
long withdrawal from the opiates that derive from the digestion of
the wheat protein, gliadin. Many of us have to endure several days
of nausea, headache, fatigue, and depression first, but then you
feel wonderful with better mood and more energy. Likewise, sleep
responds similarly, with sleep disrupted at first, only to become
deeper and more youthful after the withdrawal process.
5-7 days are generally required to experience reduced airway
spasm of asthma and reduced sinus congestion.
Pain and swelling in the wrist and fingers typically respond in
5 days, while larger joints such as the shoulder, knees, and
hips require weeks or months.
The immune system gone haywire that characterizes autoimmune
conditions generally require a longer time period to respond, likely
due to the complex inflammatory pathways involved. The joint swelling
of rheumatoid arthritis requires weeks to months to respond, not
uncommonly with full response by 1-2 years. Other forms of
inflammatory autoimmune phenomena, such as the skin rash of lupus
and the muscle aches of polymyalgia rheumatica likewise require
weeks to months.
The behavioral outbursts and struggles with learning and attention
in children with ADHD and autistic spectrum disorder respond within
days to weeks. Likewise, the paranoia and auditory hallucinations of
schizophrenia, the mania of bipolar illness, the low moods of
(“unipolar”) depression, and the food obsessions of
bulimia and binge eating disorder tend to respond within days
to weeks. (Note that, in
these conditions, the result is not usually cure, but substantial
improvement in symptoms. Cure can happen, but it is uncommon.)
As with autoimmune conditions, the inflammatory destruction of
neurological tissue caused by wheat consumption, resulting in
conditions such as cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, gluten
encephalopathy (dementia), and temporal lobe seizures, requires a
longer time period to respond, typically months to years.
Neurological tissue is very slow to recover, if it recovers at
all. It is not uncommon to wait a year or longer for response.
Variable, but the typical response involves rapid weight loss
of around 15-18 pounds the first month in people who were
formerly avid wheat consumers. (It can also vary depending on
the status of bowel flora, thyroid status, degree of insulin
and leptin resistance present at the start, quantity of
carbohydrates remaining in the diet, among others.) It is
also not clear why some people lose waist circumference first
without a corresponding weight loss–reduction in
inflammation in visceral fat?
Blood sugar will drop immediately upon cessation of wheat
consumption . . . unless weight loss develops.
If weight loss develops, it means that
there will be a flood of fatty acids into the bloodstream,
representing the release of energy from fat stores. These fatty
acids block insulin and raise blood sugar and HbA1c (the
long-term measure of blood sugar fluctuations) and persists for
the entire period while weight loss is ongoing. Once weight loss
subsides and weight plateaus, then blood sugar drops over several
weeks, followed by a more gradual reduction in HbA1c. So the
reduction in blood sugar that develops in diabetics and
pre-diabetics depends greatly on the amount of weight that has to be lost.
There are others, but those are the most
common experiences. Now, can you name any other food that, when
eliminated, yields such extraordinary benefits? Wheat is the only
one I know of–because it ain’t wheat!