In past centuries, a big belly was only for the rich, prominent and wealthy. A big belly was the mark of real success – a symbol that you had arrived – that others would now serve you.

But today, you don’t have to be among the elite or prominent in our society to have a big belly. Many, in fact way too many, have a big belly. In more recent years big bellies were primarily associated with beer-drinking men. Or people who were simply lazy and inactive.

But today, everyone from executives to physicians; laborers to soccer moms; including many of your neighbors and even children have big bellies. Go to church, sit in business meetings, go shopping and you will see plenty of big bellies. Even worse, visit any fitness club, and even there you will see some pretty big bellies. William Davis, MD, author of the Wheat Belly calls this phenomenonthe “wheat belly.”

Davis says there isn’t an organ system unaffected by wheat because Americans consume more wheat than any other grain and Americans eat a lot of this grain - more than they realize.

With all the damage that wheat does to the human body, no where is it more visible and hazardous than around the waistlines of Americans.

He states: A wheat belly represents the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage. While some people store fat in their buttocks and thighs, most people collect ungainly fat around the middle. This central or visceral fat is unique: Unlike fat in other body areas, it provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body.

He further says that wheat affects virtually every organ in the body from the intestines, liver, heart and thyroid gland all the way up to the brain.

Davis says what led him to his research found in his book was that he was over weight and was carrying 30 pounds of fat around his waist – he too had a big belly.

He was finding it more difficult everyday to tell his patients to lose weight and lose their belly while his was growing bigger. Though he jogged everyday, he not only didn’t lose weight, but rather continued to gain weight around his belly. He wanted to understand what was happening.

This is what launched his search into wheat.

He came to the conclusion that in America we are taught to eat plenty of healthy whole grains.  But he also discovered that almost every grain we eat comes from wheat. After experimenting with his own diet, he realized those “healthy bran muffins” and all of the other wheat he was eating was what was making him fat.

He further found that whole whet bread for example (glycemic index 72) increased blood sugar as much or more than table sugar. He claims that the real problem for many people, including diabetics, is not sugar, but wheat.

He did study after study having his diabetic patience’s substitute low - glycemic whole foods for wheat and found that almost everyone dropped from diabetic range to normal. He concludes diabetics can be cured.

He also found that by eliminating wheat other symptoms diminished, such as acid reflux, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis pain, asthma. He also found that people began to lose their big bellies.

It is evident today that anyone can have a big belly – most do. But you don’t have to. If you combine a good exercise program along with a healthy diet, that includes diminishing if not eliminating wheat, you too can have a thinner, slicker waist.

For more information on this topic, get a copy of the book, Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, 2011.