Last week the WSJ reported the latest in a string of studies to challenge claims that the secret to healthy weight loss lies in adjusting the amount of nutritional components of a diet – protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Of course, these are unveiled “en masse” in January, when weight is an issue that we are seemingly ready and willing to tackle.

The conclusions reported of the study appeared skewed to me, so I decided to ask Dr. William Davis, author of New York Times Bestseller “Wheat Belly”, for his input. I am very grateful for his time and attention. His response is below:

As always, the media tries to squeeze more out of a study than was demonstrated. There are several comments I’d make:

1) This study says nothing about the effects of carbohydrates, since carbohydrates were kept constant. It only provides indirect evidence of the weight effects of varying protein/fat, with some interesting developments with regards to the muscle loss of a very low-protein diet. 

2) This study, as are most, is guilty of also suggesting that a calorie is a calorie. What if the calories from one food coexist with an appetite-stimulant? This was not examined in this study, of course, but develops in the real world where calorie intake is not restricted or controlled. This is the effect of the gliadin protein of wheat: increase consumption by 400 calories per day. This is, in effect, one calorie leading to the consumption of more calories, and not a thermodynamically clean-calories-in, calories-out phenomenon. 

This study can only be used to help understand the effects of forced overeating of protein/fat calories, but yields limited insight into the real-world setting of mostly carbohydrate overconsumption. 

William Davis, MD
Author of New York Times Bestseller Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health published by Rodale, Inc.  
Author, Track Your Plaque: The only heart disease prevention program that shows how the new CT heart scans can be used to detect, track, and control coronary plaque

So there you have it – yet another study looking ineffectively at what practically isn’t even the most pressing issue. Dr. Davis’ book draws attention to the fact that processed, genetically modified wheat is, one mouthful at a time, giving us chronic diseases, many of which are killing our population – wouldn’t it be great to see more studies on that?