A recent book about wheat is continuing to generate a lot of attention and potential confusion with consumers and scientists alike. Released in August 2011, Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD, has been on Amazon’s top 100 list for the last year.  In interviews with popular consumer publications such as The AtlanticBodyBuilding.com, and Women’s World, Dr. Davis claims that modern wheat is addictive and that it should be entirely eliminated from the diet. He states that wheat contains health-destroying properties that are responsible for weight-gain and disease. In the book’s introduction, Davis writes “I’d like to make the case that foods made with wheat make you fat…. I’d go as far as saying that overly enthusiastic wheat consumption is the main cause of the obesity and diabetes crisis in the United States.”

Some scientists have questioned Dr. Davis’ use of the science that he backs up his claims with. AACC International (AACCI), a global nonprofit of nearly 2,500 grain scientists and professionals studying the chemistry of cereal grains and their products, has responded with a scientific analysis of a few of Dr. Davis’ main points. St. Catherine University Professor Emerita and Consultant Dr. Julie Jones reviewed many of Dr. Davis’ claims in a recent article by comparing his conclusions with those published in established scientific literature.

In her article, “Wheat Belly — An Analysis of Selected Statements and Basic Theses from the Book” published in Cereal Foods World, Dr. Jones addresses several of Dr. Davis’ statements by looking at his assertions in light of currently published research. These statements are grouped in the CFW article into six main topics:

  • Obesity and weight loss

  • Glycemic index and starches

  • Addiction and mental function

  • Wheat breeding and genetics

  • Celiac disease

  • Other diseases and allergens

Dr. Jones then reviews many of Dr. Davis’ statements and characterizes them as falling into one of three categories:

  • those that have studies that are controversial and have support on either side of the issue

  • those that have no data to support them

  • those that oppose widely accepted data reported in scientific and medical literature

Using 116 sources, Dr. Jones uses creditable research and studies to analyze Davis’ claims. Dr. Jones’ article is a thoughtful and useful piece which will help consumers and fellow scientists evaluate Dr. Davis’ claims using sound science.  The AACCI should be applauded for publishing this excellent review, which reinforces the importance of grain research and a cereal chemistry education.

Read the AACCI news release here.

Read Dr. Julie Jones’ article here.