Wheat Belly Diet Benefits & Plan

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The wheat belly diet is a completely grain-free approach to your food intake, and it can have several impressive side effects if applied correctly.

What is the Wheat Belly Diet?

The wheat belly diet formulated by Dr. William Davis is a more extreme approach to a gluten-free diet, one that eliminates all grains, including rice, corn, wheat, grain, and even gluten-free replacements for wheat-based products. The theory behind this diet is that it can help to prevent the deposition of visceral fat, thus preventing a “wheat belly”, previously known as a “beer belly”. Grains are a relatively new addition to the human diet, and the developers of this diet claim that grains can have similar effects on the brain as opiates. In other words, grains can be addictive, resulting in additional hunger for grains, leading to excess intake of simple sugars and fat storage in the gut. By cutting out grains and replacing those carbs with fruits, vegetables, and legumes, you can fulfill your nutrient needs, while also boosting your weight loss efforts. [1] [2]

A young woman with flat tummy holding white and wheat bread - wheat belly diet

Does a wheat belly diet work? Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Wheat Belly Diet Plan

The wheat belly diet plan consists of eliminating all grains, but those aren’t the only foods that are restricted in this diet.

Foods to Eat (Unlimited)

Foods to Eat (In Moderation)

  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Beans and lentils
  • Soy products
  • Non-wheat and non-gluten grain sources
  • Whole corn

Foods to Avoid

  • Bread, Pizza
  • Cereal
  • Chips and crackers
  • Fast food
  • Processed foods and desserts
  • Grain-based desserts and snacks
  • Trans fats
  • Foods with high levels of added sugar
  • Wheat tortillas and wraps


The many benefits of the wheat belly diet include its ability to do the following: [3]

  • Aid in weight loss
  • Reduce hunger cravings
  • Optimize digestion

While most people associate gluten sensitivity with celiac disease, many other people struggle to fully digest grains, resulting in flatulence, indigestion, cramping, and bloating, which this diet can help to eliminate. Your overall gut health will also benefit, as negative bacteria will be unable to propagate as easily. [4]

Without the addictive addition of grain proteins in your diet, you will also be able to cut back on your between-meal snacking. This can help you stay within your caloric guidelines for the day, thus aiding in weight loss.

Side Effects

As with any diet that eliminates a major portion of caloric intake, there are some risk factors involved in the wheat belly diet, such as an increased risk of nutrient deficiency. While many of the eliminated foods are known to be dangerous for heart health and obesity, others, such as beans and legumes, are traditionally considered nutrient-dense staples in a healthy diet. This diet can also be more expensive, as you will be purchasing better cuts of meat and some gluten-free foods, which can be pricey. Speak with a doctor or nutritionist before beginning this diet. [5]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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