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How Wheat & Grains Are Literally Killing You W/ Wheat Belly Author William Davis, M.D.

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“Cholesterol testing is a laughable fiction. It's nonsense.”
— William Davis, M.D.
Greetings, SuperFriends!
If you remember back to our 3 part series on Paleo, we talked a lot with both Robb Wolf and Dr. Loren Cordain about the perils of grains and how much havoc they can wreak on our body. To learn more about this, we’ve invited the man whom many to consider to be the leading authority on the topic. He’s a cardiologist, blogger, and author of many books, including the New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly, two Wheat Belly cookbooks, Wheat Belly Total Health, and his newest book, Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox.
In this episode, we go into very deep into the health concerns associated with a typical western diet. We learn in great detail the physiological effects of grains,  we finally sort out the big deal with cholesterol and learn a ton about LDL, HDL, and why the way we look at it is wrong. We even learn some very practical and applicable tips for cleaning up our diet and health, from a cardiological perspective.
This episode is brought to you by the all new SuperLearner Academy!

This episode is brought to you by the all new SuperLearner Academy!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The story of how Dr. William Davis, M.D. transitioned from cardiology to where he is today
  • What actually causes heart disease, and what does not?
  • What's the real story with LDL and HDL cholesterol, and why is what we know mistaken?
  • What actual results and figures in blood testing indicate a real risk of cardiac disease?
  • Statin drugs, the dangers behind them, and how they influence the information reaching the public
  • What are the various tests you can do for lipid testing, and which ones are the best?
  • How is cholesterol “calculated” (estimated) when you get it tested?
  • What are the cheap, free, and effective ways to improve your lipid profile?
  • What's the big deal with wheat, and why is it so bad for us?
  • How has the wheat plant been altered and changed over decades (or more)
  • What do anthropologists say about wheat, gluten, and our current diet?
  • What are phytates and lectins, and why are they even worse for us than gluten?
  • Do some people tolerate grains and gluten well? (i.e., are you “immune?”)
  • The long list of long-term symptoms and health issues caused by grains
  • Why do the various regulatory bodies still claim that we should eat “whole grains?”
  • What is new about Dr. William Davis, M.D.'s latest book
  • The idea of a “detox shake” and what exactly it does in your body
  • What does William Davis, M.D. think of the paleo movement?
  • Should we be eating dairy? Why or why not? What parts of it are and are not good for you?
  • Where do diseases like small pox, measles, and mumps come from?
  • Whose work does William Davis, M.D. follow and admire?
  • Does William Davis, M.D. ever have a cheat day? Why or why not?
  • Why you should share this episode, from Dr. Davis
  • What is the weekly homework, directly from William Davis, M.D.?
  • Opiate withdraw syndrome or “paleo flu,” and why it happens

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from GUEST:

“I became very disenchanted with this notion that heart health is delivered through a procedure… I was doing up to 10 procedures a day.”
“You'll find that the number one cause for heart disease, heart attack… is NOT high cholesterol. It's not fat intake. I call that the kindergarten version of heart disease.”
“Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. Cholesterol is a passenger.”
“Modern wheat is the worst of the worst.”
“We're not advocating some expensive intravenous new drug… we're not advocating some expensive program… we're just saying shift your choices in diet and astounding things happen.”
“If human time on earth was compressed into a 24 hour day, we added grains and dairy at 11:54pm.”


Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.

Jonathan Levi: This episode is brought to you by the all-new and very exciting, SuperLearner Academy. Now SuperLearner Academy is the home of my premium level content and masterclasses from my course on accelerated learning, speed, reading, and memory all the way to my course on productivity. Now in these MasterClasses, I go into the gritty detail that I just can't go into on the podcast or in the books, or in the other online courses.

I offer the worksheets and the homework and the types of individualized attention that can only happen in my own platform where I control the learning experience. So if you want to learn faster, if you want to remember more, if you want to read faster and you want to be able to do this all with a cohesive 10-week program, that's going to take you from wherever you are today, all the way to certifiable, SuperLearner status. I want you to check out the exclusive discount that we're offering for podcast listeners only at That's

Hey, there SuperFriends and welcome to the show. I am very excited to finally wrap up our four-part series on paleolithic nutrition. Now in the past, we've talked with Rob Wolf and we've talked with Loren Cordain, two of the founding fathers of what you could call the Paleo movement. We've also talked with Michelle Tam, who's someone helping people all over the world, practically implement Paleo. Today, we're going to talk to someone who's actually not a part of the paleo community, so to speak, but as a huge crusader against wheat, and grains and all the nasty stuff that they're causing in our society.

So to learn more about this, we've invited the man who many consider to be the leading authority on that topic. Now he's a cardiologist and a blogger, but he's also the author of many books, including the New York Times, bestseller Wheat Belly. As well as two Wheat Belly Cookbooks, Wheat Belly Total Health, and his newest book, which came out the day before or the day after, I'm sorry, this interview, the Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox.

Now in this episode, we go into very, very deep topics. With health concerns related to the typical Western diet, we get very technical, we get very scientific and we learn in great detail about the physiological effects of grains. We also finally sort out what the deal is with cholesterol, LDL, HDL.

What does it mean? Why should you care? And why is the way that? Modern medicine looks at it completely wrong. We even learn some very practical and applicable tips for cleaning up our diet and health from a cardiological perspective, as well as just an overall inflammatory and general health perspective.

This was a really, really fun episode to record guys because my guests had so much knowledge to share. He was so energetic and so passionate about the topic. And I just know you're going to come away with some great knowledge and hope. Some lifestyle changes. If that is the case, please, please, please, please reach out to us on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, on email, however, you want to and let us know what your favorite part of the episode was.

In addition to that, I would love to read you guys a review that really touched my heart this week. The review comes from the Real Guy Lewis who says “Wow, exactly what I was looking for. This is the first group of podcasts that I've listened to from Jonathan Levi. I've been searching for a meaningful podcast that I can learn from, but also a podcast that has very intriguing and interesting guests. And I must say I found it.”

Thank you so much, Guy Lewis. We do appreciate that to hear your review readout on the air next week. Leave one and we'll read it out. All right, so without any further ado, let me introduce you to Dr. William Davis.

Dr. Davis, welcome to the show. We are very, very excited to have you here today.

Dr. David Lewis: Oh, thanks, Jonathan. Glad to be here.

Jonathan Levi: So, I understand that you are in the process of touring or promoting your latest book. So congratulations very much on that.

Dr. David Lewis: Oh, thank you.

Jonathan Levi: And I want to get into that book and how it's a little bit different later, but first I have to admit, I was very surprised that in my initial research for this interview, I kind of dug into your background and I was surprised to find that you actually began your career as a cardiologist.

So I'm very interested to hear your career trajectory and what brought you to where you are today as one of the top authorities speaking out against grains and kind of the perils for our health.

Dr. David Lewis: You know, Jonathan, I was practicing for many years as what's called an interventional cardiologist. I was the guy doing the cath, the heart catheterizations and putting in stents and atherectomy devices, cutting devices, all those kinds of things we did for coronary disease that is heart attacks, chest pains, angina, I became very disenchanted with this notion. That heart health is delivered through a procedure or cath lab. I was doing up to 10 procedures a day.

My mother died by the way of sudden cardiac death after her two-vessel angioplasty, it drove home to me that this was really not a smart way to manage heart disease.

So I started looking for better ways, better tools to give my patients to deal with heart disease. Well, long story short. You'll find that the number one cause for heart disease, heart attack need for bypass surgery, sudden cardiac death, angina, stint. The number one, cause is not high cholesterol, it's not fat intake.

I call that the kindergarten version of heart disease. There are, there's a long list of, cause let's put aside obvious things that we can address, like smoking. Let's talk about the metabolic, the internal causes of coronary disease. Well by a long stretch, Jonathan, by a long stretch, the most common abnormality in people with coronary disease.

Is an excess of small LDL particles, these particles. So people talk about LDL cholesterol. That's not really the cause of heart disease. It's the LDL particle that comes in a whole range of sizes, shapes, confirmation surface charges. And they vary in behavior completely. It's like saying all animals in the zoo are the same.

No, an elephant is different than a raccoon, right? They're all animals, but they're all very different. Likewise, here in the world of this odd world of LDL particles, well, the worst, the worst of the worst in LDL particles are small. LDL particles prone to oxidation. They're much longer-lasting the last seven days, the bloodstream, rather than 24 hours, like a large LDL particle.

So where do people get small LDL particles? Well, only two things caused them. Jonathan, only two things. And this is not my speculation, the science as well, worked out grains and sugars period. Only grains and sugars provoke the formation of small LDL particles. Wow. And so I used logic, let's take grains and sugars out of the diet.

And by the way, these people who had coronary disease and had lots and lots of small LDL particles, a starting number would be something like 1800 nanomoles per liter. It's a part count measure, not cholesterol, another common abnormality. These people is high blood sugar. They're almost always pre-diabetic or nearly pre-diabetic or even diabetic.

So small LDL particles, high blood sugars. We take grains and sugar out of the diet. Small LDL drops to the floor. Typical response would be 1800 drops to zero blood sugars would drop hemoglobin A1C that long-term measure of bludger would drop. But this is when people came back to me and said, well, I'd love this because I lost 43 pounds, but I wasn't trying.

My waist shrunk by six inches in four months. I didn't even try to do, I didn't even exercise. Why did my asthma go away so much that I got rid of three inhalers? This went on and on. And Jonathan, I told my patients at first, John, I have no idea why your rheumatoid arthritis disappeared and you could stop three drugs.

So it happened so many times became clear. This was not just some crazy, fortuitous accident. This was real. And that's where I started to ask what the hell is going on here? That the food, just the food we've been told, the dominate diet should fill breakfast, lunch, dinner. Every day, all snacks should be part of every meal.

Why would removing that food with this halo is a blessing from all official agencies, right? USDA on down. Why would removing it yields such extraordinary change? And that's why I started to ask, well, what, first of all, was it changed? Did it change somehow? And two, if so, what's in it that would allow such wonderful health benefits to occur when you remove it.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. So let's get into that. Although, first I want to ask what are some healthy values? I mean, I know people tend to think that more HDL is good and less LDL is good, but it's so much more complex than as you said, there are so many different types and sizes and shapes, and most people are not getting their LDL particle size tested.

Do you think that's a mistake? And also, do you think we can tell something from the ratio between our LDL and HDL in our blood testing?

Dr. David Lewis: You're tackling one of the toughest topics of all. Yes. It's the way I landed on all this information, but it's also among the toughest. One of the problems you and I have, and you know this as well as I do, we're in a world where money makes all the difference, right?

The statin drug franchise is now at $23 billion a year industry. So that feels an astounding amount of disinformation from good-looking drug reps were inundated with these ads on TV and magazines. Statin drugs are so incredibly overused not to say there aren't a small number of people who would benefit.

I think there are people who would benefit, but not for every hundred people who take it. Maybe three we actually benefit. We don't need the entire population taking these ridiculous drugs because here's what happens. Jonathan, if you get rid of this silly notion of cholesterol testing, cholesterol does not cause heart disease, cholesterol is a passenger on the particles that cause heart disease and it can be deposited in arteries, but it itself is not the cause to me, it's like saying every car accident I've seen there's gas in the tank of the car. Gas must cause car accidents. No, it's just, uh, an accompany. Mate's a passenger in the process.

Likewise. Cholesterol is not causative. It's a passenger. We're all made of cholesterol. Right? Our tissues, our brains were made of cholesterol. It is not causative. But the form, it occurs the fats and the blood particles, light bulb, proteins, fat carrying proteins. And even that term's a little misleading, right.

Kind of suggests that fat is the bad thing. It's not the fat, it's the behavior of the particle. And so if we did light bulb protein analysis, and these go by a variety of names, I fear this is not entering the common conversation. So it's still a bit confusing. Some people, most of us call it advanced lipoprotein analysis.

There are various methods such as NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance. There's also electrophoresis a company called Berkeley Heart Labs does that. There's also, what's called vertical auto profile VAP, VAP over by com name Anthrotech there's some others. I think the best, by the way, is the NMR offered by lipo science, HD labs.

And SpectraCell, and I have no relationships with these companies. Jonathan, I've been doing this for 20 years. I just know who's who and they provide for very low cost, by the way, not much more than a cholesterol panel. There's much more extensive light bulb protein analysis. And you'll see that cholesterol testing is laughable fiction.

It's nonsense. The numbers do not hold water when you compare them to true scientifically measured numbers. For one thing, they're measuring cholesterol, right? And cholesterol is not causative. Two, that LDL cholesterol, the number that's the focus of all statin drug therapy. It's a fictitious number. It's not even a real number.

It's obtained by a calculation called a Friedewald calculation named after Dr. William Friedewald from the NIH in the 1960s. When they have wanted a way to estimate to guesstimate the quantity of cholesterol in the low density, lipoprotein fraction. So they came up with this very crude equation. What anybody can add up to and tune plugged the numbers into an equation, but the equation is deeply flawed interest and built into the equation are some assumptions.

One of the assumptions, for instance, is that all particles like those LDL particles are all alike. They're all the same. Whether you're big, small, young, old, fat, skinny, diabetic non-diabetic cancer, doesn't matter. They're all the same. And that is completely not true now in their defense. All this became clearer and clearer in the 50 years since that silly equation was made.

But that equation to this day, 50 years out of date, Jonathan remains the basis for $23 billion a year industry.

Jonathan Levi: Amazing.

Dr. David Lewis: The tragedy here is I've seen this every single day of my practice. Let's say we did have somebody who had coronary disease, scary stuff. Right? My mom died of it. I watched people die of coronary disease, heart attacks, and heart failure, and so on.

So it's not a trivial disease. You take these people where their primary care doctor or the cardiologist. The only solution they offered outside of procedures was cut your fat, cut your saturated fat and take this statin drug. You'll see how miserably undertreated or even untreated they are by falling that cutting fat causes your pattern to be worse.

Right. It increases expression, small LDL, right? Low fat, high grain. And taking a statin drug is nothing more than a crude shotgun for lipoproteins. It doesn't focus on the bad. It can even reduce the good, the net effect is not all that beneficial. Sure. The wonderful thing here is if you get it. I call this nutritional lipid allergy, by the way, where you can achieve astounding benefits in your metabolic and lipoprotein patterns.

If you just follow a few basic strategies and you know what, Jonathan, the things I talk about to achieve these astounding and wonderful change in lipoproteins and thereby your cardiovascular risk are cheap and nearly free.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. So let's talk about those. Uh, what did they get back? And I sense that this is a good segue back to where we started, which is your original book was Wheat Belly.

And I think you're most well-known as kind of a crusader against, as you call them these wonderful things that are recommended by every regulatory agency and turn out to be killing us all. You know, we've talked a little bit with Rob Wolf on the show. We've talked a little bit with Dr. Loren Cordain, but we haven't gotten into, what's the big deal with grains specifically, cause your book's not called sugar belly. It's not called high-fructose corn syrup belly. It's called a Wheat Belly. And I want to know, especially because a lot of my friends and family are still on the train of, you know, we've been eating grains for 10,000 years and they can't be that bad.

So what's the big deal with wheat specifically in grains, like it.

Dr. David Lewis: Well, I picked on wheat first because it's the most dominant in the diet in the way of grain. So if somebody says I eat lots of healthy whole grains, they usually don't mean critically. Right or amaranth, right, or millet. They almost always are referring to wheat.

So we just, the most dominant grain and diet and it's also the worst. Not to say less harmful grains like millet or rice or harmless. They do have harmful effects, but not achieving the magnitude of serious level of harm that modern wheat is. Now the factor in here that agribusiness and genetics research also changed wheat.

Now, these are changes introduced prior to the age of genetic modification. There are grains that have been genetically modified, such as corn, like BT toxin, corn, and glyphosate-resistant corn, roundup ready corn. But wheat was changed prior to the age of genetic modification, but here's the odd twist on that because you'll hear this from the grain lobby.

Davis is wrong. No wheat is genetically modified. I never said wheat was genetically modified. I said it was changed. But not using the methods of genetic modification, but here's the dirty little secret. A lot of the changes introduced into modern wheat using methods that predate genetic modification are in many instances, worse than genetic modification, such as the methods of what's called mutagenesis, chemical gamma-ray, and x-ray mutagenesis, the purposeful induction of mutations.

The difficult with that method while can generate some of the changes that farmers and agricultural scientists desire. It introduces hundreds of mutations, genetic modification, gene splicing only in provokes, a handful of changes, three, four, or five changes. That's it. The methods of mutagenesis, introduce hundreds, if not thousands of changes in a plant.

So here's the twist. So while people are up in arms, rightly so, by the way about genetic modification, we've been exposed to the products of mutagenesis for decades before genetic modification. You've got started methods that were in many cases, worse than genetic modification. So the wheat of today is very different.

From the wheat of even 40 years ago, certainly different than the wheat of the Bible. We'd have pre-bid local times. So let's talk about chromosomes for a minute. I won't get too deep in this. The wheat of the Bible is Emmer wheat. That's a 28 chromosome plant. You know, humans have 46 chromosomes, right? A chimpanzee has 48.

If we lay them out side by side, we'd see there. There's about 98% overlap in our genetic code. So about a 2% difference to chromosome difference, but you can tell the difference, a big difference, right? Between a human and a chimpanzee. Well, Emmer, we'd have a Bible of 28 chromosome plant. Is very different from modern wheat, which is a 42 chromosome plant.

It's not the same. It's not even close. And then, of course, factor in all these changes that agribusiness and genetics research has introduced. So for those reasons, modern wheat is the worst of the worst. Now I discourage people from saying, we're going to be gluten-free because gluten-free is filled with potholes and problems.

So gluten's one protein. In wheat and some other grains, there's a far better way to think about these things. And that's where once you start digging into the reasons why modern wheat is so harmful, you don't find one thing like gluten, you find an entire arsenal of awful things in modern wheat.

Jonathan Levi: Right. But was wheat ever really that particularly good for us? Is it just that modern wheat is so much worse?

Dr. David Lewis: Well, let's ask anthropologists and I've always been impressed, Jonathan, how much they know about diet, but don't talk about it much. Cause they don't really talk to us right. To doctors and patients and people like that, the public.

And they'll tell you when humans first turned to the seeds of grasses, that's what grains are. That's what weed is now in this case was corn wheat, the 14 chromosomes ancestral form of wheat. When humans first turned to the seeds of grasses, what happened to them? There was an explosion in tooth decay prior to the consumption of grains.

One to 3% of all teeth recovered showed tooth decay. When we added grains 16 to 49% of all teeth recovered showed decay evidence for a deep infection, abscess, et cetera. We developed explosive levels of iron deficiency. You can see this in the fossil records. That's quite obvious. And this is because grains, including ancient grains, like I incurred an Emer, have something called phytates.

So the phytates and two slices of bread are sufficient to reduce your iron absorption by 90%. So iron deficiency, anemia. A condition that affects 2 billion people on this planet is largely caused by grain consumption. Not my speculation, by the way, this is from the World Health Organization. They know all about it because when they fly in say grains, particularly weed to a hunger-stricken area, they know they're going to have to take it efforts, take steps to deal with the iron-deficiency anemia that develops. And do such things as give these kids and people iron supplements. Wow. So that's just a partial list. We also know there was a change in both florae. There was a change in oral flora and that we're all starting to appreciate just how important these bacteria are to us.

They're not bad. They're good. But grains introduced negative changes in oral and bowel flora. We also saw a large increase in Evans for arthritis and joint disease. You know, one of the things we can't tell from people back then is whether the liver changed, right? Because we don't have any fossilized liver.

So we have to go off limited data, but the changes are, does not my speculation. These are the changes widely accepted by anthropologists. The human experience changed in many ways. When we adopted the seeds of grasses or grains.

Jonathan Levi:  Wow, so it's really not just the gluten. I mean, we've talked on the show about gluten and fun stuff like intestinal leakage, insulin, sensitivity, diabetes, all that good stuff. But it's, it's also, I think it's what is often called anti-nutrients right? These phytates that keep your body from absorbing things that it actually really needs like iron.

Dr. David Lewis: Exactly. And that scene is, by the way, play out many, many times.

I've seen mostly women by the way, who have iron deficiency, anemia. They take iron supplements, even prescription iron supplements, and it's never corrected. It's resistant to treatment. Take grains out of the diet, right back up their hemoglobin, their blood counts go right up. So it's a very common effect, but you're right.

There are many things in grains. So I highlight this notion that they are seeds of grasses. And I highlight that because, you know, when you think about it, when you cut your lawn in the summertime, save the clippings to toss on top of the salad with a little rope for dressing. No, we can't, it's green. It's a plant.

Why can't we eat it? Well, we can't consume it. Can't digest the blades of grass at the leaves. We also can't consume the stem, the roots, the husk. We try to eat the seeds and only then by the way, after extensive processing, such as removing the husk drawing and pulverizing it and reconstituting it with water as a porridge or baking it, or brewing it like as in beer right? Only then can we begin to consume it, but we still even then cannot digest many of the components in the seeds of grasses. For instance, wheat, germ agglutinin it sounds like gluten, but it's unrelated. It's a lectin protein and this protein jar that is completely impervious to human digestion.

It goes in intact. Comes out, goes into the toilet intact, though it's a journey from mouth to toilet does a lot of damage. Some of it does get into the bloodstream also is highly inflammatory. It's also a very potent bowel toxin. It's passed through 30 feet of human intestine. The gliadin protein within gluten is only partially digestible.

And so you already know then if the gliadin protein in gluten, in wheat, rye, and barley, all alderman similar form in corn, if it remains intact, It initiates the steps of auto-immunity about the so-called intestinal leak. But it can also be partially digested the small pieces are peptides about five amino acids long. And these peptides have very unique Immuno acid sequences, very unique structures that confer opiate or opioid-like effects.

Oh, wow. These are the things that cause constipation they're bowel toxic. These have mind effects like mind fog, behavioral outbursts, and kids with ADHD and autism, 24 hours a day, food obsessions and people with bulimia and binge eating disorder, mania and people with bipolar illness, paranoia and hearing voices, and people with paranoid schizophrenia.

So there's a list of things in wheat and grains beyond gluten. Like the phytates, you point out the anti-nutrient effects.

Jonathan Levi: Wow. It's terrifying because so many people are eating these grains. I mean, the majority of the planet is subsisting off one form of grain or another. You know, I think a lot of people out there say, I don't feel any adverse effects. I don't have pain in my stomach. What do you say to those people who think I'm the exception I get by pretty well eating whole wheat bread.

Dr. David Lewis: And nobody does actually. Not to say that everybody has a perceived effect. So not everybody has a perceived effect, but if we check your blood work, you'll see, almost as a rule, an excess of small LDL particles.

Somewhat high triglycerides, somewhat low HDL. In other words, these are setups for heart disease and carotid disease, high blood pressure, higher blood sugar. We're talking about incredibly common problems. Here's another issue. Lots of people don't realize how many conditions come from grain consumption.

For instance, they don't think that the cataracts they had at age 58 were from many years of consuming grants, but they are. They won't associate low back pain or knee degeneration or hip pain with grain consumption. Or disruption of sleep. Of course always unperceived problems. There's a whole long list of problem health problems that people don't generally regard as being due to grains.

Jonathan Levi: Right or they're accepted as normal. I mean, we just accept that at a certain age, everybody gets cataracts, right? And many people will get cancer and many people will get Alzheimer's and we think that's normal for our species. And we chalk it up to, we're not supposed to live until 92. Well, actually that's not true either as we learned from Dr. Cordain.

Dr. David Lewis:  Right. The positive side of all, this is, if you recognize this, you have, you know, I love this Jonathan, but what we're really doing is putting an astounding level of control in people's hands. You know, so you and I are not advocating some expensive intravenous new drug, like the ones I see on the morning news every day.

Now, the ads we're not advocating some expensive program of meal replacements and detoxification animals. We're just saying shift your choices in diet and astounding things happen. Now, ironically, of course, the message and diet we're talking about is completely the opposite of the official advice given to us by the US Department Of Health, Human Services, and USDA that the American Heart Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Diabetes Association, because they all agree.

And to this day, stick to it that your diet should be dominated by the seeds of grasses.

Jonathan Levi: Why is that? Do you think?

Dr. David Lewis: They fell for some very bad science. It started with, so there are 14 epidemiological studies that show that if you're placed something bad, white flour products with something I would argue is less bad. Whole grains and there's a health benefit and there is by the way. And there's a reason for that. There is a reduction in type two diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, and colon cancer. If you replace white flour with whole grains, what they didn't ask, which I think is the next sequence of logic would be what happens when we remove grains right now, we can't look at those studies for those answers, but these studies do exist.

So I'm sure, uh, Loren Cordain and Rob Wolf talked about this because some of them come from the Paleo world. When you eliminate grains, that's when you see really incredible stuff happens. But they fell, you know, theology does not prove very many cause-effect associations. Can only suggest an association.

We don't know if it's causal. This was the reason why, by the way, millions of women were prescribed Premarin, purportedly to reduce cardiovascular risk and endometrial cancer risk because the epidemiological studies suggested. Reduced risks when these women took Premarin? Well, there was finally a blinded placebo-controlled study and the opposite was true.

Premarin adds to heart disease risk and adds to endometrial cancer risk. So think of it, millions of women were needlessly exposed, unhealthy effects of horse-derived estrogens. Wow. And same thing here. The epidemiological studies are flawed and should never have been used as the basis for policy yet they were.

Jonathan Levi:  Wow. Dr. Davis, I want to ask and I want to get in, we talked about how your first book was Wheat Belly because that's the most common thing I want to get into some of the other things in our diet that we need to look out for first real quick, we have to take a quick second to hear from our sponsors.

This episode is brought to you by the all-new and very exciting SuperLearner Academy. Now SuperLearner Academy is the home of my premium level content and MasterClasses from my course on accelerated learning, speed, reading, and memory all the way to my course on productivity. Now in these masterclasses, I go into the gritty detail that I just can't go into on the podcast or in the books, or in the other online courses.

I offer the worksheets and the homework and the types of individualized attention that can only happen in my own platform where I control the learning experience. So if you want to learn faster, if you want to remember more, if you want to read faster and you want to be able to do this all with a cohesive 10-week program, that's going to take you from wherever you are today, all the way to certifiable, super learner status. I want you to check out the exclusive discount that we're offering for podcast listeners only That's

All right. We are back here with Dr. William Davis. And we're going to talk about some of the other things Dr. Davis has recently put out in another book, his fifth book if I'm not mistaken, correct?

Dr. David Lewis: Yes. Fifth book.

Jonathan Levi: Excellent. Congratulations. By the way again, on that. And I want to get into why this book now. I mean, what's different about this book? What are the continuations and what are the other things in our diet that we need to be looking out for?

Dr. David Lewis: Here's uh, a complaint I get with some frequency. I read the Wheat Belly books. I still don't know what to do, or I'm too busy. You know, I just don't have the time to understand all the science. And by the way, the original Wheat Belly laid out some of the history and the rationale. There are two cookbooks and then there's the Wheat Belly Total Health book.

I wrote that because a common situation. Somebody does the Wheat Belly lifestyle and their rheumatoid arthritis is 70% better or they're type two diabetes benders off but they're still needing oral drugs. And they want to become non-diabetic or don't have rheumatoid arthritis at all.

So, in the Wheat Belly Total Health book, I show people how to reverse health conditions as fully as possible as humanly possible. So we talk about other strategies to consider, and these are all-natural, wonderful strategies, Jonathan, there's no talk of drugs, not nonsense, all-natural. You know what? With those added strategies, people are given extraordinary control, but.

Lots of people start this conversation, say I'm overwhelmed. What do I do? So all I did was I laid out in very, very simple fashion day-by-day menu by menu meal, by meal. Here's what you eat. Here's how to incorporate some of the additional powerful strategies. One of the strategies incorporated is an easy way to incorporate prebiotic fibers because one of the it's becoming clearer and clearer.

Almost all modern people have screwed up bowel flora. And one of the reasons why people let's say can go wheat or grain-free and still not have full restoration of health is because your bowel flora screwed up. Wrong species, overgrowth of bad species, et cetera. So I show people how to easily incorporate the strategies for correcting bowel flora.

What I did was I created what's called a detox shake. It's a shake you make every day and incorporates the things you need to feed bowel flora.

Jonathan Levi: Oh, interesting.

Dr. David Lewis: Yeah. It doesn't require people to understand that we're going to cultivate lactobacillus Plantarum, but it's an easy way to navigate. So I'm hoping this will make it easy for a lot of people.

And for a lot of people who said, you know what? I did it for a year, I lost 70 pounds. I got so much better. And then I thought, you know, maybe it wasn't so bad after all. So I went back, I regained 50 pounds and you know what I realized now I really have to stay in his lifestyle. How do we get back on as soon as possible?

So there's people like that too. So it's meant to be a practice solution for people.

Jonathan Levi: I love that we were talking with Derek Sivers in a past episode and he said, you know what? A lot of books are missing out there is just the get started quick guide because there is a percentage of people out there, you know, 20% of people, they don't need to know why they just want to know how, okay. I understand you're the authority figure. Just tell me what I need to do in order to be more productive or in order to fix myself. And I love that this new book caters directly to those people and to anyone else, who's read the other books and can now approach it with an enthusiastic mindset towards applying it.

Dr. Davis, let me ask this. I'm not sure exactly how the diet you advocate for differs from paleo. So I wanted to ask you your thoughts on things like dairy, legumes, fruit, and potatoes.

Dr. David Lewis: I applaud all the people on the paleo lifestyle because it is a heck of a lot better than the average American diet.

But I think this notion that you should only eat things that were consumed prior to 10,000 years ago is really needlessly restrictive. In other words, we've added things to our diet. We've had a lot of bad things, no question about that, but I think those corn syrup, but you know what, some of the things we've added are actually good.

Your avocados. There's no real good counterpart in the paleolithic diet, but that's, that's a good word. There's nothing bad in an avocado. Right? How about coffee? I love coffee and there's really, if you don't consume, you know, extreme amounts, coffee actually has modest, very modest, beneficial effects, alcohol having a glass of red wine.

That's not an a paleolithic diet, but it has benefits. And you also have a lot of fun to have a glass of wine. Sure. So there's lots of things that I think are. And so also subject to the eye of the beholder, that is the paleo diet from one observer can be very different from that of another observer.

Jonathan Levi: Sure. I mean, I know, uh, Rob consumes all those things, you know, as do I. So I think it is this very subjective thing unless you're a nutritional anthropologist.

Dr. David Lewis:  And you know, another issue with paleo that is pre neolithic lifestyle is prior to the advent of African culture is the paleolithic diet of the Pacific Northwest was different from the paleolithic diet of the Amazon Basin or the rain forest.

Like the Yanomamo was different from the paleolithic diet of South Africa, was different from the paleolithic diet of Southeast Asia. In other words, it's not so much a single way of eating. So one of the questions I asked is what was common to all those varied, extremely varied eating styles. Well, none ate grains, none had sugars outside of fruit, seasonal fruit, none had processed oils like cottonseed oil or soybean oil.

So I think those are the lessons to take from paleolithic lifestyle. But I would say we don't have to be that restrictive because there are some good things that have come along recently that I think do fit easily and nicely into a modern lifestyle.

Jonathan Levi: I love that. So, In your crosshairs is pretty much all the major grains, but other than that, you have a much more flexible stance to those other foods we talked about.

Dr. David Lewis: Yeah. You know, we added dairy. I know dairy is a concern for you. We added dairy at the same time, more or less when we added grains. And by the way, that's a whole story in itself. That is what happened when humans first turned to agriculture. Well, that's when they domesticated or rocks to cows and IBEX and the goats and so on.

But that's when we, by the way, brought those animals into our Adobe huts or other living places. And that was the birth of zoonosis. The diseases we got from grazing ruminants, like smallpox and tuberculosis, and easels. So a lot of the diseases we regard as human diseases are really the diseases we brought on ourselves by this crazy thing we did with the grazing ruminant creatures.

And by the way, I got to believe it was watching their behavior. When we lived so close with them, they all graze on grass. And so when starving humans ran short of food has happened 10,000 years ago, we must have been inspired by our grazing Rubin partners into our house and they ate grass. And we tried also.

So that was also a coincidence with the incorporation of dairy, the product of bovine, mammary glands, and other creatures. So dairy products and grains are relatively recent additions to the human dietary experience. We've incorporated those foods less than one-half of 1% of our time on earth. If human time on earth was compressed into a 24 hour day.

We added grains and dairy at 11:54 PM. We added it just a moment ago, speaking anthropologically. So that explains also why dairy has some outsized problems. Now, unlike the paleolithic approach, I think some dairy is okay for some people. The problem in dairy is mostly in the proteins, casein, whey and some others and the sugar lactose, but ironically, the healthiest part of dairy is the fat, the fat and dairy is in fact it is really healthy for you.

It's a rich source of, for instance of butyrate, which is a gut healer. Its a wonderful effect on intestinal health and on metabolic health and butter is nearly pure fat. So butter actually is one of the best things we could eat, but as we go down the line of other dairy products, now we run up against problems with the casein protein.

That is the immune system stimulation of the casein protein casein behaves a little bit like gliadin from wheat, brian, barley. It is immunogenic. We also have the problem of hormone content in dairy, even organic it's less than organic, but in high volume dairy production, we had a lot of problems with the hormone content.

So there is not without its own problems, but I think some dairy consumption, but particularly high fat. So ironically right. We're told to drink, you know, skim milk or fat-free dairy. And when I go to the grocery store, if you look for yogurt, you can't find full-fat yogurt anymore. You have to make it yourself, the fats, the best part.

So if possible, full fat, organic and minimize your protein exposure, dairy protein exposure, and the best way to do that is to focus mostly on butter, organic, full-fat butter, and, uh, fermented cheeses because the fermentation process modifies protein structure, sublet. And reduces lactose content.

Jonathan Levi: I love that answer. I am feeling a little bit guilty that I recently picked up a tub of whey protein because it's just so convenient, but I know that those proteins are not good for me. And you're not the first person to say it at all. Dr. Davis, I wanted to know who are some of the people whose work you follow, who are some of your role models in the industry?

Dr. David Lewis: Dr. Cordain. He has been incredibly prolific. So while we don't agree on some of that surface details, you know what, he has done an astounding amount of thinking and work in this area. So he's done a ton of work that I think is truly admirable and he's played a big role in bringing the conversation about that.

So I'm not fond of calling it a paleo diet because I think that's overly restrictive, but you know what he has changed. The national now, international conversation and diet, he's done a great job. There are some people who you wouldn't know about like Dr. Ron Krauss in San Francisco. He's the guy who published tons of data on how grains and sugars cause heart disease.

Cause expression of the small LDL particles. Alessio Fasano, Dr. Fasano, uh, formerly at the University of Maryland now at Harvard. He's the researcher, he and his team worked out the incredibly complicated way. The pathway by which the gliadin protein of wheat triggers, intestinal leakiness.

Jonathan Levi: Oh, interesting.

Dr. David Lewis: Astounding, by the way, a process that affects people to various degrees, 90% of us. So we're not talking about the 1% with celiac disease. We're talking about 90% of people exposed to the gliadin protein wheat, rad, barley, perhaps the Zein protein of corn had this in some degree of intestinal leakiness that initiates the process of auto-immunity.

And amplifies inflammation. Cause it lets bacterial byproducts through the intestinal barrier. So I wouldn't be surprised his work earns him a Nobel prize because his work is so astounding, so detailed, so insightful, but it tells us now why grain-consuming cultures have growing levels of auto-immune diseases.

You know, auto-immunity was not as tracked as well, say as cardiovascular disease or cancer, the best data we have suggests that it's growing at epidemic levels and now affects 8 to 11% of the North American and Western European populations we're talking about a lot of people with very crippling diseases and it's another stat and drug industry story unfold.

That's why we see all those ads on TV with, you know, golf champions and TV stars, all talk about the drugs they take because those drugs cost 1800 to sometimes $4,000 a month. And you take them for a lifetime. Right. Think of that. That's why it's so important. You and I talk about these kinds of things.

Cause you know, a guy like Dr. Fasano did the work and he tries to talk about it some, but he's busy in his lab. And so it's up to people like you and me to talk about and cultivate the national conversation so that people know. So diseases of auto-immunity are largely a disease of grain consumption.

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. And if that's not an invocation to share the podcast episode, hint, hint to our audience, then I don't know what it is I wanted to ask actually, and I didn't get a chance to earlier. Do you ever turn the other cheek look the other way and have a slice of birthday cake on occasion or have you completely written off grains as if they were poison?

Dr. David Lewis: Here's an odd thing, Jonathan. So this is true for the majority of us. If you've been grain-free for at least a few weeks, And you have an exposure. The exposure may be on purpose as you're pointing out maybe it's is a slice of your son's birthday cake, or maybe inadvertent. Maybe you were at a restaurant and didn't realize that the gravy had a little bit of wheat flour.

You're going to get sick. And most commonly you get diarrhea, abdominal pain for about 24 hours. It's most common for other people to get joint pain, particularly their fingers, wrists, and elbows can last days. If you had an autoimmune disease, let's say rheumatoid arthritis and you get off three drugs that disfigurement has receded.

You're getting back normal flexibility and you're feeling great. And you have an exposure. You can have all that stuff. Disfigurement, swelling, pain, et cetera returned four months. Wow. If you get sick, when you get re-exposed it's its own kind of self-policing effect. Sure. So most people that I deal with, they say, you know what?

I tried it and I felt so awful that I realized I can't ever do that. And so most of us who do go grain-free, uh, never go back.

Jonathan Levi: Sure. I cave probably about once a month. You know, I was in Italy a couple of weeks ago and I just, I couldn't resist the pasta of course. And I caved and then I feel so lethargic and lousy after.

Dr. David Lewis: Yeah, that's a very common observation. Exactly. Right. Here's another thing a lot. We don't know. I learned this through 20 years of dealing with it. And coronary disease and heart disease. So if I eat fat, my diet let's say the fat, my pork, or some coconut oil, whatever I provoke formation of large people say large fluffy LDL particles, which are fairly benign and they last 24 hours.

And then they're cleared by your liver. If I consume, say some bread or bagel or multigrain, whatever, I'm going to provoke the formation of small LDL particles. And they last. On average about seven days. See, I learned this in real-life practice. The science is also already out there, but in real life is what happens.

A guy will say, you know, Friday is my bad day. I'll have one slice of pizza every Friday or whatever your choice of indulgence is. Well, that person thereby provokes the formation of small LDL particles that cause heart disease risk. So one indulgence a week causes cardiovascular risk 52 weeks a year.

Right? Yeah. So that's important to know also.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, but that's a pretty good invocation to not do the cheat meal once in a while. And if you do it with something like, you know, a fruit shake or something that's less full of these anti-nutrients.

Dr. David Lewis:  And also appreciate the magnitude of how wrong the conventional notion of diet is.

Cut your fat, eat more healthy, whole grains. We try to treat the excess cardiovascular risks that we've created using statin drugs, right. Those are costly and cause add dementia and increase your likelihood of type two diabetes quite substantially.

Jonathan Levi: It's ridiculous. I had a friend who went on statins and essentially started losing sensitivity in his fingertips.

Well, it turns out that myelin, which covers the nerves everywhere in your body is made of cholesterol. And if you don't need statins and you're put on them, well, you get some pretty serious nerve damage. And that's when I realized all this stuff, these statins are, they're not all they're cracked up to be.

Dr. David Lewis: And Jonathan, this is why it's so important that you do what you're doing. Cultivate the conversation, get people to think. You know, bringing people with varied ideas because you know what, it's never going to come from the likes of the American Heart Association, who by the way, is largely supported by big food and big pharma.

It's never gonna come from the American Diabetes Association because it's all the drug industry and the grain industry, by the way, who support them. And so it's a corrupt politician or dishonest politician who listens to his lobbyist, his high-paid lobbyists don't listen to his constituents.

Same thing here. These agencies have Cowtown because of money to the deep pockets of industry. And they essentially gave us a message that causes human disease. Right. But that's why, what you do and other people like you trying to propagate this message. That's why this is so important. And the age of social media and empowerment of the individual, this is what we should be doing.

Jonathan Levi: That's very flattering. Dr. Davis. Thank you very much for the kind words I also wanted to ask. You know, we love to assign homework on the show. And like you said, the dialogue is very important, but getting people, you know, once they get out of their car today and they've listened to this podcast episode, we want to get them acting on this information.

So we like to assign homework, whether that's reading, you know, a one-week experiment till next week's episode, or even sometimes a downloadable worksheet. So I wanted to give you the opportunity to assign our audience, that one piece of homework that they're going to complete this week.

Dr. David Lewis: It's such an easy thing to accomplish when you think about it, right. Removing all grains, but there's a two-step process to follow. If you want to do that, remove obvious sources like bread, bagels, pancake mix, but also be aware that the food industry, I think is smart. You have smart food scientists and recognize the opiate appetite stimulate effects of wheat. And that's why wheat is now in virtually every processed food.

So if you don't understand that, You'll be exposed to wheat and wonder why you're not attending the same kind of health benefits. Other people are. So it involves removing all grain products, obvious and hidden, and turning to what I call real single ingredient foods, pork chops, lettuce, green peppers, onions, real foods that you are confident do not have grants.

And that is a big start. And by the way, I should mention people who are new to this conversation. If you stop the flow of opiate peptides from the gliadin protein of wheat bride, barley Eaton, the Zen protein of corn, you're going to have an opiate withdrawal syndrome. Oh yes. Some people call it paleo flu or Atkins flu.

It's actually an opiate withdrawal syndrome from the glide and derived opiates and it's fatigue, nausea, headache, and depression. And it can be quite awful. And it lasts about five to seven days. And that's why part of my books is to show people what don't tell yourself, this is my body telling me, I must need grains, just like a heroin addict.

Who's going to go through withdrawal. You've got to go through withdrawal process and you will feel hugely better when you emerge from it. And there are steps you can take along the way to help you feel a little bit better, but like having the flu Jonathan, there's no way to not have some of those effects.

So you got to grin and bear it, get through it. There are some simple, common-sense steps you can take to soften the blow. And that's what I talk about in the books, but we're talking about a process that affords an astounding return of control over how, and by the way, that's been my message. So I didn't really set out to pick on wheat, the wheat industry.

What I set out to do is give people better tools to take back control over their health. I don't like to see what healthcare has become because healthcare to me is not the system that makes people healthy. It's a system that tries to profit maximally from sickness and guilty of overuse overcharging.

So I want people to given effective tools are taking back control of their own health.

Jonathan Levi: Fantastic. That's a great note to end on Dr. Davis, your latest book is the Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox, which we will link up in the show notes. It has very recently come out, at least at the time of this recording. It's a very new book.

So congratulations on that. And if people want to get in touch with you and learn more about what you're doing, check you out online, maybe get in contact with you. Where should we send them?

Dr. David Lewis: Just placed the stressed on our, uh, the Wheat Belly Blog. Where a lot of these conversations are ongoing. And the Wheat Belly Facebook page, it's called the official Wheat Belly Facebook page because there's as anything that becomes very popular, there are knockoffs from other people that not me, but those are the two most, and they're very busy places, lots of active conversations, a lot of people who are experienced and help others, the newcomers.

So lots of activity, lots of great stories and lots of, by the way, success stories, you know, I'd love to believe that this movement is growing because of my good looks and charm, but it has nothing to do with me, has to do with the wonderful effects people are having. And so if you look on the, in particular, we bought your Facebook page, you'll see the astounding before and after photographs of some of them.

As soon as five days, Jonathan. Five days people look, I should mention that real quick. People's appearance changes in five days, two weeks, three weeks a month, because. Yeah, you're losing weight. Yes. Most people lose astounding amounts of weight follows lifestyle, but even more than that, the losing inflammation and Edima, water retention.

And you'll see startling changes in facial appearance. And, you know, I can't show you someone's healed rectum or they're a hard to show, you know, dropping blood sugars, but I can sure show you changes in their face. And so those are fun to look at.

Jonathan Levi: I love that. I'm going to check that out right now, actually, Dr. William Davis, it has been such a pleasure. And thank you so much for your generosity of time and wisdom. I do hope we'll keep in touch.

Dr. David Lewis: Well, thank you, Jonathan. You keep doing what you're doing because it's very, very valuable.

Jonathan Levi: Thank you very kindly, sir. You have a wonderful day.

Dr. David Lewis: You too.

Jonathan Levi: All right, SuperFriends. That's it for this week's episode, we hope you really, really enjoyed it and learn a ton of applicable stuff that can help you go out there and overcome the impossible. If so, please do us a favor and leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher. Or however you found this podcast. In addition to that, we're always looking for great guests posts on the blog or awesome guests right here on the podcast.

So if you know somebody or you are somebody, or you have thought of somebody who would be a great fit for the show or for our blog, please reach out to us either on Twitter. Or by email or email is Thanks so much.

Closing:  Thanks for tuning in to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast for more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit We'll see you next time.



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

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