What next, How to Homeopathy?

Why is PBS showing “Wheat Belly Total Health”?

I suppose for the same reason they show Deepak Chopra saying things, but can’t anyone get them to stop? They’re supposed to be in some sense educational tv, so they shouldn’t be broadcasting woo.

William Davis is certainly chuffed:

Join me for a provocative and enlightening discussion about why the Wheat Belly lifestyle, coupled with the newest strategies revealed in the Wheat Belly Total Health, can help you achieve levels of health and weight control that you didn’t think were possible!

Here is the November schedule for the Wheat Belly Total Health public television special beginning Saturday, November 29th.

Be sure to show your support for your local public television station by making a generous pledge to allow them to continue to air programs like Wheat Belly Total Health. Special, exclusive-to-public-television Wheat Belly Total Health DVDs will be available to contributors to the local stations.

Many more stations, many more cities to come in December, 2014 and in 2015. Also, Canadians: Watch for the border cities that broadcast into your viewing region!

Massive free advertising, courtesy of public television. How nice for him.



  1. quixote says

    I suppose I could look it up, but…. So what in hells bells is “wheat belly”?

  2. Scr... Archivist says

    “Wheat Belly” sounds like a name for a forgotten hippie jam-band from 1972. Maybe they could open for Geronimo Jackson.

    And PBS is probably doing this for the money. I remember decades ago they used to have John Bradshaw on all the time, lecturing studio audiences about the “inner child”.

    Is better public health education the best response to this, to dry up the audience?

  3. smrnda says

    From what I recall from seeing the book (I handle donations for a prison literacy program and weeding books is my job) the basic hypothesis is that eating wheat, particularly our modern, genetically modified wheat, causes an excess of belly fat. Apparently genetically modified wheat has the power to not just make you fat, but to target that to a specific zone humans find unsightly. The book was a mix of low carb obsession and shit-flinging at GMOs.

  4. Trebuchet says

    A couple of weeks ago I happened on show on PBS featuring “nutritarianism”, by quack doctor Joel Fuhrman.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Fuhrman (The article is WAY too kind.)
    The pledge break was exactly like a late-night infomercial with a couple of breathless hosts gushing over how wonderful all this was. It inspired me to write a post complaining about this to my usual message board…where I was immediately and appropriately called out for not complaining to the station. I really need to do that, but it’ll be a voice crying in the wilderness. PBS is in deep Chopra.

  5. says

    Yes…I’ve seen snippets of a lot of those shows out of a corner of one eye before changing the channel. I suppose it was because I’d just seen that CBC program on “wheat belly” that I belatedly wondered wtf public television. I’ve been desensitized. Argh.

  6. johnthedrunkard says

    The network that used to broadcast John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, now repeats ‘Riverdance’ and John Tesh…

    Even before Bradshaw’s info-mercials there was the appalling Leo Buscaglia, and Covert Baily’s weight-loss tent show.

  7. moarscienceplz says

    Between Dr. Wayne Dyer & Deepak Chopra for spritual woo, Ed Slott for right-wing foaming at the mouth disguised as financial advice, Dr. Perricone selling skin care snake oil, and a never-ending stream of dietary fads of the month, PBS’ money-grubbing times are some of the stupidest stuff on TV.
    I support PBS by sending in my money during non-pledging times of the year, or sometimes during pledging centered on a normal PBS show I like. Also, since the IRS has started requiring reporting of the value of pledge gifts, I stopped asking for those, too. I hope enough people will do this that it will make the “info-mercial” type of pledge program economically unattractive to PBS in the future.

  8. m-la says

    You seem to know as much about nutrition and physiology as a creationist about evolution. So why shit on all of us who try to educate ourselves and do something constructive and positive instead of popping pills when we get ill? Dr. Davis is not my favourite either, he comes across as a bit too much of an american entrepreneur. But the idea that Heart Healthy Whole Grains really are just the opposite of healthy is not new. You could start by looking at these two links:


    Looking at USA from the outside is rather frightening. You seem to be a people in denial – your obese and diabetic population keeps feeding on Coke and doughnuts, you nibble statins to stave off death, you find it normal to give your kids psychotropic drugs, your meat is full of antibiotics and your pesticide producing GMO crops contaminate the whole food chain. Even your pets get diabetes. And even more frightening is that the rest of the world seems to be following.

    It seems to me, and I do find that a bit strange, that the american freethinkers and skeptics are in most questions entrenched with the establishment – there seems to be little scrutiny of GMO-practices, the sacred cow of global warming, the fraudulent behaviour of the pharmaceutical industries, the justice system that produces an ever growing prison population. Even the scientists seem to accept nothing but the scientific consensus – although scientific consensus really is an oxymoron.

    You wrote a book: Why truth matters. Read it.

  9. quixote says

    @m-la, your two links relate to borderline celiac conditions. (I’m a biology prof with quite a bit of knowledge of both nutrition and human physiology, so forgive me for going all “Imma gonna lecture” on you.)

    The links have no relation to the claim that GMO foods will somehow alter fat deposition. GMO foods, as far as I’m concerned, have plenty of other problems. (Bad agricultural practices, lower nutritional quality, potential introduction of allergens, lack of long term, independent research demonstrating safety, the list goes on for a while. I did a post on it a while back.)

    None of the objections, though, have any relation to fat deposition. Or, for that matter, to causing celiac disease. Aggravating it is a different topic entirely.

    For research on what can be a contributing cause to celiac disease, recent research implicates emulsifiers added to hundreds of commercial food products. That makes rather obvious biological sense. Emulsifiers emulsify fats. Cell membranes are fats. Emulsifiers can cause enough damage to the cells lining the intestines of some people to cause a problem.

    Fat deposition can be altered by endocrine disruptors. These are any pollutants or additives that interfere with hormones, things like BPA, plenty of pesticides and herbicides, and so on. A recent general article is here with links to the research publications in that article. Endocrine disruptors are not the same as GMO food.

    tl:dr It is nonsense to say that eating wheat is going to give you belly fat, except insofar as extra calories of any kind can have that effect. It’s also nonsense to say that GMO wheat will somehow have more of that effect than any other kind of wheat. And it’s nonsense to say that wheat or GMO wheat causes celiac disease. It may be poorly tolerated if you already have celiac disease. NPR should not be promoting nonsense. Very disappointing.

  10. quixote says

    Oh, and thanks to @smrnda for explaining wheat belly. What a concept. (Longish comment with too many links responding to @m-la in mod for now :(. )

  11. says

    Somewhat off topic, but I wanted to add a few words regarding m-la’s comment about “looking at the USA from the outside.” Having lived in Europe as an ex-pat from the USA, and since half my family to this day are european citizens, I’ve encountered the sentiments that m-la expresses quite a bit, but honestly, if you are forming an opinion of a people based upon television shows, news reports, and the fact that there is a MacDonald’s in your town, you should at least understand that that manufactured image is not reality. Dietary habits tend to be similar among people in similar socioeconomic conditions; I saw poorer people in Germany eating the local equivalent of “Coke and doughnuts” just as poorer people in the USA tend to rely upon fast food–it’s not really a function of one’s nationality, but rather of what they can afford in terms of both money as well as time. It’s great that people can have the means to be choosy about what they eat, but not everyone does. An excellent informal introduction to this is Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, “Nickel and Dimed,” which I highly recommend.


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