How Eliminating Grain From Your Diet Can Boost Your Health

Dr. William Davis takes aim at the monetization of the healthcare system and our reliance on grain with his new book, Undoctored: How You can Seize Control of Your Health and Become Smarter Than Your Doctor.

In his new book Undoctored: How You Can Seize Control of Your Health and Become Smarter Than Your Doctor, Dr. William Davis is taking aim at his own ilk.

“If health care actually doled out health and you came away from the doctor’s office [saying], ‘He told me some things I didn’t know,’ and you become slender and healthy and felt 10 years younger, then the doctor did his job.”

Davis says most doctors have a trigger finger for revenue-generating procedures and pharmaceuticals. As a cardiologist, he took flak from health insurers for not following suit. Rather, he helped patients address diet, nutritional deficiencies and metabolic disorders such as high blood sugar. When treated with that protocol, “It was a rare occasion where some health condition persisted,” he says.

In Undoctored, he gives readers a six-step strategy to reverse chronic conditions with diet.

Step 1: go grain-free. Readers familiar with Davis’s first book, the international bestseller Wheat Belly, won’t be surprised. Aside from losing the telltale abdominal paunch, he lists inflammation, some varieties of disrupted hormones, most cases of acid reflux, migraines, skin conditions and binge eating as things it can ameliorate.

Davis is American, and his experience is with the multi-trillion dollar system south of the border. But, in the Undoctored foreword, he makes the point that even though Canada’s system is universal, it’s also in our interest to reduce cost since each of us kicks in about $6,300 a year by way of taxes to fund it. No matter which side of the border, he wants everyone to get out from under the “monetization of health care.”

But back to grains, the trouble is ancient history, Davis says. Anthropologists have reported declines in health after humans began growing them. More than 10,000 years later, genetic modifications made to wheat and corn, for instance, have made matters worse. Although non-wheat grains contain fewer “toxic, indigestible” proteins, all grains are a source of blood sugar-spiking carbohydrates. And be wary of the gluten-free movement: he warns that substitutes used in the protein’s stead can be as bad, just in different ways.

Cornstarch, as an example, raises blood sugar higher than any other food, which can contribute to insulin spikes, weight gain and hypertension.

Grains are also in Davis’s crosshairs for one of the deficiencies he details how to identify and correct. “Almost all magnesium absorption is blocked by the phytates (anti-nutrients) of grains. You take grains out, absorption increases but [the deficiency is] so profound, so long-lasting, that you’re better off supplementing.”

As he notes in the book, magnesium deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure, high or erratic blood sugar, a higher risk of heart attack, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, migraines and constipation. He recommends 400 to 500 milligrams a day in the following forms: magnesium malate, conveniently available in tablet or capsule; magnesium bicarbonate, which must be mixed with water but highly absorbable so worth the extra effort; or magnesium citrate for a modest laxative effect. (Vitamins D and B-12 as well as iodine, omega-3, zinc, iron and folate round out his hit list.)

From acne to ulcerative colitis, Davis listed no less than 67 ailments that can be addressed by his approach. Hoping to prove its merit, he’s created Undoctored Connect (at undoctored.com) for readers to record their progress after 60, 90 and 180 days. He expects them to feel better but does he really want them to ditch their doctor? No, but he wants the relationship to change.

“I want them to collaborate with the doctor,” Davis explains. “So if the doctor hands you a prescription, you’re going to say, ‘I’m going to investigate this first.'” Doctor’s orders.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2017 issue with the headline, “Against The Grain,” p. 24.