Should you consider giving up grains? Dr. William Davis thinks so. The following is an excerpt from his new book, Wheat Belly Total Health. Please consult with your health care practitioner before making any dietary changes.
Remove grains from your diet and your brain is released from the control of their mind-active components. It is liberating, wonderful, and empowering. Your brain can be restored to its normal alert, energetic, calculating, and creative state. After withdrawal, the benefits that can be experienced include:
1. Improved mood
Once the depression that can accompany withdrawal is past, there is typically a substantial lifting of mood. This develops due to the removal of gliadin and other prolamin protein-derived exorphins, as well as increased levels of brain serotonin. People are happier and more optimistic, and they become better engaged with the people and activities of their lives.
2. Reduce anxiety
Many people are plagued by constant low-level anxiety, the sort of pointless and unwarranted unease that makes daily life an unpleasant experience. Typically, such anxieties recede with grain removal. For some, the effect can be dramatic and life changing, sometimes even providing relief from years of phobias such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia. For others, it may be a more subtle change, with relief from frequent or pervasive anxieties that darkened your life. Like suicidal thoughts, anxiety is easily re-provoked with any grain exposure, so avoidance is key.
3. Lifting of mind fog
Like the lifting of mood, a lifting of mind fog is also a common grain-free experience. People report that they are better able to concentrate for prolonged periods and are able to think more clearly, make decisions more easily, and speak more effectively.
Writers are able to write for longer periods; artists are able to draw, paint, or compose more easily; businesspeople can engage in discussion, perform at meetings, and prepare documents more effectively; and athletes are able to sustain concentration for a longer time and become less reliant on performance crutches such as energy drinks and protein bars.
This effect applies to children just as much as adults. Some of the most dramatic stories I’ve heard have come from parents who report that their children’s school performance skyrocketed when they were freed from the fogginess of grain consumption.
4. Enhanced learning
Restoration of the capacity for prolonged concentration, clearer thinking, and reduced distractibility add up to an enhanced ability to learn. People listen more effectively, retain more with reading, acquire and synthesize data and concepts with greater ease, and enjoy enhanced recall. They are more focused, more creative, and more effective.
5. Reversal of seizures
As seizures have been associated with grain consumption, especially consumption of wheat, removal of grains can be associated with relief from seizures if grains were the initiating cause. Most commonly, sufferers of temporal lobe seizures experience a marked reduction or complete relief from these episodes.
Although the causal association between grains and grand mal seizures is more tenuous, I am hearing from more and more people who have experienced marked relief from these dangerous events, as well.
6. Reversal of neurological impairment
People with cerebellar ataxia usually experience a slow, gradual improvement in coordination, balance, capacity to walk, and bladder control, or at least experience no further deterioration, after grains are eliminated. Because the nervous system is slow to heal and may do so imperfectly, the process can take months to years, so a long-term commitment is required to gauge improvement.
Even multiple sclerosis, which results from autoimmune destruction of the myelin covering of nerve tissue, can slowly improve or reverse. It’s also critical that you simultaneously correct vitamin D deficiency, as preliminary studies suggest a powerful relationship between vitamin D and this condition.
7. Prevention of dementia
High blood sugars that occur day in and day out, many times per day, due to habitual grain consumption are reversed when grains are removed. Clinical trials have demonstrated the powerful association between blood sugars that are around 110 mg/dl — which is below the cutoffs for prediabetes and diabetes and considered just above normal — and the development of dementia, with even higher risk presented by the higher blood sugar levels of prediabetes and diabetes.
Grain elimination is a powerful means of reversing high fasting and aftermeal blood sugars. Some people are also prone to the autoimmune process triggered by the gliadin and prolamin proteins that leads to dementia; it is likewise turned off with elimination of the inciting grains.
Excerpt from Wheat Belly Total Health, by Dr. William Davis. Published by Rodale Books, in 2014.