The Wheat Deficiency Syndrome

Beware the dreaded Wheat Deficiency Syndrome.

Like any other syndrome, you can recognize this condition by its many tell-tale signs:

--Flat abdomen
--Rapid weight loss
--High energy
--Less mood swings
--Better sleep
--Diminished appetite
--Reduced blood sugar
--Reduced blood pressure
--Reduced small LDL and total LDL
--Increased HDL
--Reduced triglycerides
--Reduced C-reactive protein and other inflammatory measures

Of course, you could choose to cure yourself of this syndrome simply by taking the antidote: foods made with wheat flour, like bread, breakfast cereals, pastas, pretzels, crackers, and muffins.

All the signs of the syndrome will then disappear and you can have back your protuberant abdomen, irrational mood swings, exagerrated appetite, higher blood sugar, etc.

Comments (21) -

  • Scott Miller

    11/26/2008 5:39:00 PM |

    Dr. D,

    Maybe you can reveal your bodyfat?  I assume you've been on the no-wheat diet for a while.  I don't eat any grains, with rare exceptions.  (I have 15 grams of oatmeal every morning, and the occasional slice of pizza.)  My bodyfat is ~10%.  But, I'm pretty hard core on my diet overall, including intermittent fasting.

  • David

    11/26/2008 5:56:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    I have recently acquired wheat deficiency syndrome... please, don't cure me!!


  • Anonymous

    11/26/2008 6:44:00 PM |

    But when you have to have wheat, use sprouted grain bread. The seeds are sprouted, then milled. These breads are naturally low glycemic and more nutritious.  

    The process of germination changes the composition of grain and seeds in numerous ways. Sprouting increases vitamin content. Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid – a substance present in grains – that inhibits absorption of nutrients and more important Sprouting neutralizes or "predigests" if you will, grains through enzymatic activity. The enzymes produced during our natural sprouting process "in effect" breaks down amino acid protein bonds to promote digestibility of the entire grain.

    Sprouted grain bread has numerous advantages over "enriched" wheat flour breads. These breads are made from the endosperm of the wheat kernel (the inside portion), which contains primarily carbohydrates and few vitamins and minerals. The milling of grain into white flour requires the removal of the bran and the germ. This results in the loss of natural fiber, bran and 22 vitamins and minerals. To compensate, five vitamins and minerals (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron and folic acid) are added back in, "enriching" the flour. Sometimes calcium is added back as well.

  • Craig

    11/26/2008 10:29:00 PM |

    I get the picture on wheat and have a couple of questions...first, is sprouted wheat as used in flourless breads like Ezekial, a problem?  Is authentic sourdough bread any less reactive to the system? I guess I understand what is not acceptable, but I was wondering what grain products are okay to eat, if any.


  • Anne

    11/27/2008 12:09:00 AM |

    How funny - how true. Of course I did not get the full wheat deficiency syndrome until I cut out all grains and dropped the sugars.

    Thanks for the laugh. I really needed that after opening my email today to find that Pace products are no longer gluten free. That made me cry. Boo to Campbell's.

  • Harry

    11/27/2008 1:42:00 AM |

    I just wanted to drop by and thank you for your excellent blog, Dr. Davis.

    I hope you and yours having a very happy Thanksgiving.

  • baldsue

    11/27/2008 5:48:00 AM |

    I am thankful that I've been able to find a way to live happily with WDS.

    Happy Turkey Day!

  • Zbigniew

    11/27/2008 10:49:00 AM |

    Scott Miller, can you reveal your weight and height?
    I am 186cm (73.5 in) tall and weigh in 81.5kg (180 lbs).
    My scales show 19% fat (but it's a crappy model bought in Lidl (cheap discount in Europe)).
    The thing is that I am already slim and to pursue such a bf percentage I would need to lose 8.2kg more (18 lbs) and then my target weight would be 73 kg (162 lbs) which seems too low even though know I am not a Schwarzenneger Smile
    Just would like to compare myself with someone with 10% BF Smile

  • Andrew

    11/27/2008 10:11:00 PM |

    Zbigniew - Your BF% has little to do with your actual weight.  I am technically "overweight", as I'm 5'11", 185 lbs, yet my bodyfat is between 8-10%, depending on how steadfastly I stick to my diet.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you diet and exercise, you can replace the weight of the fat with weight in muscle.  This can mean you can gain weight, but lose bodyfat, so I wouldn't say "I have to lose X amount of weight to get to X% body fat."

  • Scott Miller

    11/28/2008 4:51:00 PM |

    Sure, I'm 5'7", 160 lbs.  I do not do any cardio. Visit the gym twice a wk, 45 visits, doing a very high intensity routine. In other words, I don't do 3 sets of one movement, I do a pyramid like this: warm-up weight (15-ish reps), moderate weight (8-10 reps), failure weight (3-6 reps).  Done, next. And, do these with no more than 30 secs rest between, just enough time to change the weights, which will keep your heart rate high, but lets the lactic acid drain. Additional, focus on movements that force your entire body to move, like chin-ups, squats, deadlifts and dips.

    I track over 100 health stats, and at 47 yrs old, I try to keep my stats at the level of a 25-yr-old, including hormone levels (via hormone supplementation). There's nothing I can't do now that I couldn't do in my 20's--I'm in athletic shape, always energetic, never sick. The idea of aging seems like a foreign concept still.

    I use a LOT of other techniques to stay young, too. You can visit the forums at to join a large community of "life extensionists" who are typically well ahead of the knowledge curve on health matters. I'm known as "DukeNukem" over there.

  • darwinstable

    11/30/2008 10:34:00 AM |

    Ha, great post I loved it. Yes I think I am starting to suffer from wheat deficiency syndrome, at least I hope I am.

  • Anonymous

    12/1/2008 1:10:00 AM |

    You list reduced LDL as a benefit of low-carb eating.  After a year of eating low-carb, my triglycerides have remained about 40, my HDL is up to 88, my total cholesterol up to 278, and my LDL way up to 182.  This last number has not caused me concern because of my favorable TRI/HDL ratio.  Should it?


  • Nyn

    12/1/2008 2:52:00 PM |

    It is my wish that someone who has successfully eliminated wheat products (and starches) will write a diary or how-to-live-this-way book about their experiences, and publish it for others who are struggling with the concept.

    It sounds easy in theory, but I'd love to read how to actually do it for those who have IBS or aren't able to ingest dairy very well. And how to incorporate this into a modern lifestyle that means working away from a kitchen about 12 hrs a day. One day...maybe.

  • Zbig

    12/2/2008 10:49:00 AM |

    Scott - congrats on you performance, although this may prove you were weak in your twenties not otherwise (kidding Smile.

    I looked at the immortality institute site, the guys over there take supplements by tons, some of them 100+ substances daily. I think this is over the top, the healthiest centenarians seem to be "simpletons" (I hope this doesn't sound very rude to a native English ear).

    Andrew - my computations were made with an assumption that I don't lose nor gain muscles (which is likely due to my laziness, unfortunately).

  • Rabbi Hirsch Meisels

    12/8/2008 2:28:00 PM |

    WOuld you give permission to reprint this post? credit will of course be given where it;s due.

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/9/2008 12:33:00 PM |

    Rabbi Meisels--

    Please feel free to reproduce this post.

  • TedHutchinson

    12/12/2008 7:50:00 PM |

    I wonder if you could include this link to
    Gluten Sensitivity: Celiac Disease is the Tip of the Iceberg
    It's a blog by Stephan Whole Health Source, in which he explains why wheat may be so dangerous.

  • Anonymous

    1/21/2009 4:05:00 AM |

    Dr. Davis,

    Do you know if Wheatgrass which is sold in health food stores has the same effect on triglycerides as wheat products?  Does anyone have opinions about Wheatgrass and whether it is harmful to to your heart and blood profile to consume.

  • Tina

    10/10/2009 7:27:08 AM |

    Im 5"3 and weigh between 7 and 7.5 stone. Its the same weight i have been for years (im 27yrs) my doctor yesterday suggested i have a wheat deficency as I ate more than the average person and can not put on weight. Im concerned I wont be able to enjoy foods like i do if my blood test results show I have it :-(

  • Dr. William Davis

    10/10/2009 12:39:20 PM |


    Are you and your doctor serious?

    Perhaps you didn't catch the tongue-in-cheek message: There is no such thing!

  • buy jeans

    11/2/2010 8:46:31 PM |

    Of course, you could choose to cure yourself of this syndrome simply by taking the antidote: foods made with wheat flour, like bread, breakfast cereals, pastas, pretzels, crackers, and muffins.