The Fifth Estate, the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s investigative news series, looks at the recent anti-wheat and gluten-free trend that they call the “battle for your belly” in this documentary program. The wheat-free and grain-free trends have spread from celebrities to the media and the general population, and have also been fueled by two books which topped the New York Times bestseller lists: Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers, by neurologist David Perlmutter.


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In the program, journalist Mark Kelley sits down and talks to Dr. William Davis, who is probably the most famous anti-wheat evangelist, about his crusade. Before publishing Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis was a cardiologist from Milwaukee with type 2 diabetes who was looking for a personal solution to his health and weight problems. He found it by giving up wheat, and he wrote Wheat Belly based on his own success and the success of some of his patients. He admits candidly that he never conducted studies or research, and that his anti-wheat platform is based on anecdotal evidence.

He now believes he’s at the front lines of the “war on wheat,” which he claims causes 70-80 percent of all known diseases including arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, different types of cancers, sinus infections, depression, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

After talking to Dr. Davis, Mark Kelley also interviews scientists and health experts about the anti-wheat movement, including chemist and professor Dr. Joseph Schwarcz from McGill University and obesity doctor Dr. Tim Caufield. He also talks to die-hard believers who testify to the weight loss and increased energy they experienced when they went wheat-free.

The Final Message

Most scientists and medical organizations will not endorse the claims made by the Wheat Belly camp, and the experts interviewed were clear that they couldn’t endorse a diet based on anecdotal evidence, celebrity authors, but no conclusive science.

A group of college students sit in a circle eating veggie and rice bowls
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