Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Local Author Sheds Light on the Darker Side of Wheat

Aug 30, 2012 05:55PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Sayer Ji

William Davis, M.D., a preventive cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, isn’t the only medical professional that has learned firsthand about the dangers of a wheat-dominant diet. John B. Symes, a doctor of veterinary medicine also known as Dogtor J, was inspired by his own full recovery from celiac disease in 2000. He began doing medical research that would help him explain his remarkable healing and understand the gulf between what researchers know and what health care professionals believe to be true about the health problems caused by wheat.

Symes’ research revealed that gluten in wheat, along with dairy, soy and corn, were “the big four” culprits causing his irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and allergies. He noted that the big four are the only foods used to make industrial adhesives and bookbinding glue, supporting the concept that these lectins, or dietary proteins (glycoproteins), stick to the lining of the intestinal tract and harm the delicate villi lining of the gut. When Symes applied his personal glutamate- and aspartame-restricted diet (G.A.R.D.) in his veterinary practice, he saw skin allergies, ear infections and chronic gastrointestinal problems become a thing of the past for pets.

“The symbiotic relationship between humans and wheat, considered the king of grains, is an unhealthy one,” says Sayer Ji, author of the essay, The Dark Side of Wheat: A Critical Appraisal of the Role of Wheat in Human Disease, and founder of, an online evidence-based, natural medicine resource. “Indicting the credibility of wheat is challenging. However, the indisputable problem is implicit in the word gluten, which in Latin, means glue,” says Ji, who manages For Goodness Sake Organic Marketplace & Café, in Bonita Springs. Additionally, pastry and pasta are derived from wheat flour and water, which were used to make plaster in ancient times.

Ji notes that dietary lectins are not only linked to celiac disease, but also to food allergies and sensitivities, inflammation, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Found in other whole grains and peanuts, as well as kidney beans and soybeans, sticky lectins circulate throughout the bloodstream and can bind to any tissue in the body—the thyroid, pancreas and collagen in joints, for example—disrupting the tissue’s natural function and causing white blood cells to attack and destroy the lectin-bound tissue in an autoimmune response.

Rather than relying on commercial gluten-free products, Ji suggests that gluten-intolerant individuals try pseudo-grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. He also recommends following G.A.R.D., the Paleo Diet or the Mediterranean Diet.


As an elimination diet, G.A.R.D. (gut absorption recovery diet) effects the removal of gluten, casein (a protein found in cow’s milk and most dairy products), soy, corn (including corn syrup and corn-derivative products) monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, glutamate (found in high concentrations in most beans and legumes) and hydrogenated oils.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, by Robb Wolf, proposes that the body is best suited to digest only wild vegetation and animal protein—foods eaten during our evolution from early to modern man. Meats from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals, wild-caught fish, free-range chicken eggs, organic vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit are its cornerstones and can be eaten in nearly restriction-free quantities. According to Wolf, these foods are easily digested, anti-inflammatory and help to maintain a vigorous immune system and proper metabolic health. Not recommended are all forms of grains (breads and cereals), soy, natural and artificial sweeteners and most forms of dairy.

Mediterranean Diet

Based upon evidence-proven benefits, the Mayo Clinic highly recommends the Mediterranean Diet. Research shows that consuming plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, as well as healthy fats, limited amounts of red meat, fish and poultry twice a week and red wine in moderation, reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

“If wheat really is more like a drug than a food, anesthetizing us to its ill effects on our body, it will be difficult for us to understand its grasp on us until we eliminate it from our diet,” advises Ji.

To download The Dark Side of Wheat and learn about Cancer Killers: The Cause is the Cure, which Sayer Ji co-authored with Drs. Ben Lerner and Charles Majors, visit

Upcoming Events Near You
Sign Up For Our Free Monthly Digital Magazines!


Green Up Cities to Reduce Violent Crimes
Down-Under Drought
2020 Editorial Calendar