How cutting out wheat has cured my arthritis

The Sun ran this story on Thursday 3 November which was a heavily edited version of the original story agreed with the journalists which is published, in full, below.

Having become the ‘heroine’ to tens of thousands of overweight women, Zoe Harcombe – the acclaimed obesity expert and author of a series of best-selling Amazon diet titles – could easily have been forgiven for resting on her laurels.

Who could provide fresh inspiration? The answer was right under her nose. Or perhaps her thumb. “The husband,” explains Harcombe. “As always, Andy was my answer.”

The fact that men are the forgotten casualties of the obesity epidemic is no secret – the fairer sex is practically the sole marketing targets of the diet industry. However, Zoe was not spotting a simple gap in the market – she was spurned on by a story that is inspirational and educational in equal measure.

Having a leading diet expert as a partner has its benefits. “When I first met Zoe I was about 20 pounds overweight,” Andy admits. “I started to loosely follow her diet and I’ve been in good shape since then.” However, as recently as last year, a defining moment arrived.

“In my younger years I loved sports, I went on to play rugby for Pontypridd,” recalls Andy. “It is a demanding game and I always enjoyed pushing myself – when you are young you never think about the later repercussions. Towards the end of last summer I started to be really troubled by aches and pains in my joints. I put it down to the typical ageing process.”

The soon-to-be-50 year old was initially philosophical. “It was typical for a rugby player; my knees were sore, getting up the stairs was a pain. My hands bothered me, just the usual things one would expect having played that sport. I did not question it. However, the wife, as always, had to have her say!”

“Luckily he listens to me,” interjects Zoe with a giggle. “I told him that we really are what we eat, that a slightly stricter diet regime could produce big results. The links between joint health and grain consumption, particularly wheat, have been long established.”

Andy was initially sceptical but he decided to investigate things further for himself.

“I quickly discovered that there were many other people, some big sportsmen, discovering the impact that eating grains had on their joints. Some were particularly engaging – like Mark Sisson, a famous US runner who had his career cut short with osteoarthritis and tendonitis. He transformed his diet and then his joint health. He made it his mission to spread the word; it is great when high-profile people use their position to spread knowledge. Recently, the tennis number one, Novak Djokovic, has followed suit.”

Indeed, a look at Djokovic’s statistics paint an interesting picture. Since the Serbian star eliminated grains from his diet (at the behest of his nutritionist, who suspected he was having an adverse reacted to the protein in gluten), the player has enjoyed spellbinding success. Despite many less successful years on the circuit, Djokovic suddenly jumped to top spot in the rankings for the first time – replacing Rafael Nadal in the process.

Andy felt compelled to try the elimination process. “On Zoe’s diet I should really have already been avoiding the worst culprit – wheat. However, I sometimes enjoyed some naughty treats so I thought I’d give the simple elimination a go, if only out of curiosity value.”

The results shocked the Welshman. “Fewer than three months later, I was staggered,” Andy reveals. “My joints were pain-free. I could dance up the stairs, my hands felt fine, it was surreal. I have not had an ache or pain since.”

“Without the knowledge, I would no doubt have followed the usual path – increased debilitation, possible knee joint replacements, the typical treatment that so many others have to face. Everybody has to hear my tale, people are simply suffering through ignorance.”

There is explanatory science behind these dramatic results. It suggests that the amino acid composition in grain is similar to that of the soft synovial tissue in our joints; this chemical similarity could mean that the body has difficulty ‘differentiating’ between the two.

Zoe Harcombe explains that inflammation is key. “Grains can raise inflammation and the immune system responds accordingly – it is argued that the soft tissue in the joints gets targeted in the process. Human test cases offer truly stunning results”

Joint replacements are a huge drain on NHS resources. In many areas, the obese have actually been banned from receiving them. The fact that simple dietary eliminations could delay or exclude treatment is exciting. 

Individual hip replacements can cost £11,795 in taxpayer money. 70,000 were carried out in the last year alone – DOUBLE the number in the previous decade.

“At the very least, people could enjoy extra years without medical intervention,” Andy says. “Why are we not all being told about these possibilities?”

The improvements that Andy displayed proved to be the perfect inspiration for his wife.

“I was really proud of him because I know that men do not usually focus on diet like women inherently do,” explains Zoe. “As a result, many people are living with debilitating conditions that are just unnecessary. I pinpointed the hurdles faced in giving men the right answers.”

“First, I knew I had to make it quick and easy for them. I started to formulate a special ‘Harcombe Diet for Men’ – basically, condensing two decades worth of knowledge into simple sections and a diet of three key phases. I’ve now ended up with a pocket-sized book totalling fewer than eighty small pages. ?”

The key message behind Zoe’s original best-selling ‘Harcombe Diet’ remains the same. “You do not need to starve yourself – or even go hungry – to lose weight. You do not need to punish yourself. You do not need to buy products or supplements, or torture yourself at the gym. You simply need to eat the incredible foods that nature provides. Remember, God’s supermarket has been around for longer than man’s. Eat the best foods – natural ones, unprocessed – and enjoy the results.”

Zoe already has one happy man in her life and soon may have many more. “I am realistic, this is not a restrictive diet that will embarrass guys in front of their mates. I tell men that they can have what they enjoy – bacon and eggs for breakfast, steak for lunch, curry for dinner – yet, still lose weight. The rules we have been taught on weight loss are scientifically flawed. Essentially, this book is a celebration.”

Zoe will soon be adding many new male fans to her legion of followers. Andy has promised not to get jealous. “Oh, it’s fine,” he explains. “I’m fit and healthy enough now so I can tackle any rivals. Bring them on!”

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