Man Boobs and Wheat Bellies

Couldn't resist a final quick post prior to departure. This is from Dr. Davis, a 2007 post, but one he just linked to in his latest post on grains making you diabetic.

Holy Mother of God.

Beer belly

Notice it's not just the belly, but the boobs. What causes that? According to Dr. Art De Vany, the visceral belly fat in men actually synthesizes estrogens from testosterone. So, guys, if nothing else convinces you, know that a big belly slowly transforms your body into a male / female hybrid. It feminizes you over time.

Wheat bellies are created and propagated by the sea of mis-information that is delivered to your door every day by food manufacturers. It's the same campaign of mis-information that caused the wife of a patient of mine who was in the hospital (one of my rare hospitalizations) to balk in disbelief when I told her that her husband's 18 lb weight gain over the past 6 months was due to the Shredded Wheat Cereal for breakfast, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and whole wheat pasta for dinner.

"But that's what they told us to eat after Dan left the hospital after his last stent!"

More from Dr. Davis here and here.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. minneapolis J on March 6, 2009 at 13:22

    Look at the visceral fat accumulation. Bad diet will do that to you. It seems to me that guys like these have problems because of diet which leads to dangerous visceral fat accumulation and then subcutaneous fat accumulation because of lack of physical activity(especially intermittent high intensity training).

    Flat out dangerous.

    • Nel on October 22, 2009 at 17:03

      Frankly, I have no interest in looking that gross. Further, I love sex so much I would never do anything that could damage my hormone balance. Further, my life likes sex even better than I do and I don’t need a divorce. Last, I am in love with my body and want to look great naked when I am intimate with my spouse. So if you want to be impotent, you want your wife to have an affair, just eat the living ————— out of your life.

  2. Lute Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 14:01

    It's not only the food manufacturers who propagate this mis or disinformation, it's also our doctors. Last week I went in for my annual physical and asked my doc what he knew about paleo diet. He said he never heard of it, so I asked him to google it and he will learn things they never taught you in medical school.

  3. Jeff on March 6, 2009 at 16:58


  4. Paleo Newbie on March 6, 2009 at 18:47

    the estrogen from fat is also bad for women…it is a contributing factor to polycystic ovarian disease….infertility, cysts on the ovary, and hirsutism.

  5. Paleo Newbie on March 6, 2009 at 19:27

    Paleo is not for everyone…only those that have the commitment to do it. I can promise you that 95% of America couldnt keep it up for more than 2 weeks. (this is straight from Gyminee—"My husband does a paleolithic/ caveman diet once in while and he always feels great. He usually does meat (steak or chicken) and mostly raw fruits and veggies."
    You can't partially do Paleo with high sat fats on some days then go back to SAD on the others…the results would be devastating.
    So in that sense its probably good he doesn't know about it. If he endorsed Paleo to the 95% I speak of, he wouldn't have a license.

  6. John Campbell on March 6, 2009 at 20:26

    I could be wrong, but I suspect the guy could thrash us all on Halo 3.

    That aside, I do feel bad for the guy and all the others like him. Just over a year ago, I was drifting in that same direction – slowly as most people in North America – but definitely on the same path. Watching the Biggest Loser on TV is sobering as well. Yikes. It is amazing what the wrong foods can do to such a young person.

  7. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 13:31

    visceral fat. what i meant to say. thanks for the catch. corrected.

  8. Jessica on March 6, 2009 at 15:29

    OMG…my eyes…
    Why can't I stop looking at it?!?! It reminds me of my ex-husband, who is now training for a 1/2 marathon but can't figure out the diet thing and still looks like the dude above!

  9. minneapolis J on March 6, 2009 at 18:58

    Many physicians today do not have great sense on healthy eating suprisingly. Patients don't necessarily have a clear idea as to what is good food and what is bad food. It is a shame….they should read this website more…

  10. Keith Norris on March 6, 2009 at 19:27

    "Holy Mother of God" is the understatement of the year.

  11. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 20:37

    Well, there you go. Thanks for the confirmation, Doc.

  12. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 20:38

    Spread the word, J-buddy.

  13. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 20:46

    Jessica; really. Can you not convince him to pump some iron instead. I'd never advocate a half marathon in any case (I've done them in ancient history), but in that shape, it is a no-shit life risking proposition.

    Hope things go well.

  14. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 20:48

    People who educate themselves on nutrition are heads and shoulders above most docs — Doc Paleo Newbie, Doc Davis, and Doc Eades being among the notable, heroic, honest exceptions.

  15. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 21:10

    This is a BIG HUGE reason I advocate — insist, really — on some level of intermittent fasting. HUNGER will always be fundamental and I and others have found that fasting does whatever it takes to get hormones in sinc. Fasting gives what I have always said is "high resolution into hunger." It healps you conquer it. and when you do that, you're in for life.

    Everything begins with hunger. Observe nature and think about that.

  16. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 21:11

    Quite a sat of "pecs," there, eh Keith buddy?

  17. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 22:01

    Indeed. But I sometimes wonder if it's the one's who tolerate the poison in terms of body comp who are ultimately worse off. They're getting no obvious signal. I'm sure there are plenty of thin people who have unnoticed inflammation throughout, and that's going to come home to roost, one day.

  18. Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2009 at 23:06


    Well, when that's "the understatement of the year," I guess we're really talkin' bout sumthin'.

    Man, if only people would realize this is not mysterious, not a fluke; it's no aberration. It's just our dumb genes making the best of what we give 'em.

  19. minneapolis J on March 7, 2009 at 09:40

    Exactly right. Devany talks about this in detail, how strength training is much more important in maintaining strength, muscle mass,and body comp. Marathons don't really help build those things that are very important for longevity. They piss away lean mass if anything(unless you are Dean karnazes).

    it was funny, I was talking to someone at a fitness center the other day, and they were saying that "sustained aerobic activity" was so much better than intermittent sprint training/high intensity training. He said that you "burn more calories and fat".

    I just feel such an adrenaline rush and actually enjoy running now that I can go about these "playful intermittent bouts" as opposed to that dreaded same pace cardio. I dunno, intermittent sprinting feels more natural to me. What do others think?

  20. Anna on March 7, 2009 at 11:58

    A number of middle-aged men I know, a few of whom even have non-desk, manual labor jobs requiring a significant amount of movement, heavy-lifting heavy, etc., are growing wheat bellies and man-boobs. Not as bad as in the photo in your post (wow, those stretch marks are worse than anything I experienced from pregnancy!), but still growing, nonetheless. Some of these guys were formerly fairly lean.

    I know why, too, because between their uniformed "statinator" doctors threatening about their rising cholesterol or LDL levels (measured in the crude way, not the highly specific NMR or VAP) and their well-intentioned but brain-washed wives, these guys are "forced" to follow the conventional advice to eat more grains (oh, but they're whole grains!) especially wheat and rice, more pseudo-butter spreads, more egg beaters or egg white omelets, more soy products (often highly processed, not fermented soy condiments either), more high PUFA and Omega 6 oils, and more fruit juices.

    Of course, red meat and bacon is a now thing, unless they are "allowed" extremely lean cuts (still with an imbalanced omega 6;3 ratio from grain-fed beef), and they are eating more CAFO raised vegetarian-fed poultry (boneless and skinless white breast meat, I'm sure), and less fat soluble vitamin-rich butter, cream, and fewer egg yolks.

    Perhaps they do eat more vegetables now (steamed, without butter or salt – ugh), more salads (but that also usually comes along with fat-free or high omega 6 PUFA vegetable oil bottled salad dressings), making the veggies a net loss nutritionally speaking.

    The more they follow that way of eating, the more pronounced the wheat belly and the man boobs, and their legs and arms become more skinny due to lean muscle mass loss from inadequate high quality protein. Then despite all the "work" to get healthy, they feel like cr*p, have GERD, and maybe even a MI anyway or go on statins. In other words, down the wrong path…

  21. Rick Lucas on March 7, 2009 at 06:56

    Here's a link to an article describing how a couple of researchers at a prestigious medical school in Texas have themselves a "well, duh" moment.

    Notice how they focus on minutia, find a piece of the puzzle, and then fail to integrate the thing into an overall, whole health understanding.

  22. Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2009 at 09:35

    The other thing I find amusing and I see a lot is the implication that this form of treatment (carb restriction; fasting) is only appropriate for NAFLD, not for alcoholics with fatty livers. Goes hand-in-hand with our Puritanesque, repent & pay mentality. There's no difference, clinically, between fatty livers caused by over-ingestion of carbs or alcohol. Sure, it's better if an alcoholic stops drinking or learns to control it, but failing that, carb restriction and intermittent fasting would be the best thing they could do to preserve their livers.

  23. Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2009 at 09:48

    It's rubbish, of course. My trainer were having a good time the other day mocking the "regurgitators." Virtually all of them are, including trainers. They just regurgitate what they've heard, read, or observed other flocks of sheeple doing.

    Nothing against a bit of "cardio" sometimes, though I don't. But I think that if you could do only one single exercise, it would have to be sprints. In fact, I think a person could maintain excellent conditioning on three exercises: sprints, pushups, and pullups.

  24. John Campbell on March 7, 2009 at 19:12

    Good point – his body is screaming "stop! – do things differently" while for many the messages are more subtle and easier to ignore.

    But the guy has to listen and change – if not he is probably worse off than the skinny people with the underlying inflammation and all that goes with it – easier to ignore, but the damage to the body is likely less, but perhaps not. There is a ton of research to be done on the effects of diet. Its a shame there is no obvious source of funding right now.

  25. Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2009 at 12:13

    what a depressing picture.

  26. AndrewS on April 27, 2009 at 12:47

    My goal is marathons. I think a lot of the research on long-distance running is grossly clouded by the fact that 99% of runners are carb freaks. I've read tales of hunter-gatherer societies going on long-distance runs, sometimes over days, to tire out animals or drive herds where they want them, and these guys weren't toting around glucose gel packs or carbo-loading with pasta and waffles the day before.

    I agree, the "common wisdom" is rubbish. It's hard to find solid info on long-distance running, so I'm working with the most reliable sample I have: me. I'll let you know when I get there, because I'm not there yet. 🙂

  27. Richard Nikoley on April 27, 2009 at 12:50

    Good luck with it. Main reason I don't run is that I really hate it — always have, and I used to run a fair bit. I love walking briskly, however.

  28. alfredoe on February 9, 2010 at 11:54

    When I think that I spent 30 years of my life trying to avoid heart disease (I had hypertension since my teens and knew I was going to get it) by eating a low fat, low cholesterol diet and that it ended with 2 stents a couple of years ago, makes me very MAD at doctors that without having the smallest idea of how diets like that were specially good to get heart disease.

    I did not have eggs for over 30 years because of cholesterol.

    Thank god I exercised during those years.

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