I’m soundly and reflexively opposed to the notion of “super foods”—particularly since when such moronic stupidity is uttered and then published far & wide—in every health section of any outlet you can name—it’s always…no, fucking always, about some silly plant.
Media outlets have begrudgingly come out in support of eggs for their nutrition, but I’m still waiting for organ meats. I’ll probably be waiting a while.
…A couple of weeks ago, I noticed we had on hand a lot of baby carrots in the bags they come in. And so, I proceeded to snack on them at night, whilst watching TV, blogging…so forth. I dunno. Not measured, but at least several ounces per night. And I noticed something interesting. Two things, really.
- Now and then when I have my whiskey in the evening, then have dinner, I’ll get a touch of mild heartburn or if not, just a bit of stomach discomfort. I noted that on these evenings I ate raw carrots, none of that. Rather, a nice settled feeling. I’ve previously noted the same thing with raw celery.
- The morning ritual (no TMI) was pretty perfect.
I didn’t really think all that much of it—certainly not enough to blog about, and have all the Ray Peat fans come crawling around.
Then just a few days later, so coincidentally, a commenter dropped this link in a comment.
The effect of raw carrot on serum lipids and colon function
J Robertson, WG Brydon, K Tadesse, P Wenham, A Walls and MA Eastwood
Two hundred grams of raw carrot eaten at breakfast each day for 3 weeks significantly reduced serum cholesterol by 11%, increased fecal bile acid and fat excretion by 50%, and modestly increased stool weight by 25%. This suggests an associated change in bacterial flora or metabolism. The changes in serum cholesterol, fecal bile acids, and fat persisted 3 weeks after stopping treatment.
I took notice because I realized in an instant that confirmation bias had been eliminated in my case, as I’d already noticed and begun to think there might be something to munching on raw carrots, of all things.
The study is from way back in 1979, probably when science was better. The full text is free (PDF).
It’s not huge—only 5 subjects—but results seem pretty uniform amongst all subjects and markedly different from their baseline state.
What’s interesting about reading the full text, which I read hastily, is that it appears that the 50% increase in fat in the stool is most likely the result of the fermentation of fiber in the gut. From the full text:
The total breath hydrogen increased by the 3rd week from 17 to 39 ppm. […]
A possible explanation of the effects is given by the breath hydrogen. The expired breath hydrogen in normals is derived from bacterial activity in the colon, therefore, the increase in breath hydrogen is probably due to fiber fermentation in the colon. This implies that that the pH, redox potential, and bacterial activity, e.g., on bile acids, alters as a result of fiber hydrolysis to short-chained fatty acids.
Yep, see it’s nearly impossible to escape fat in the diet. If you don’t eat it dietarily, instead preferring fibrous foods, your body will just make (ferment) the fat in the gut.
Remember butyric acid?