What Transactions Have the Royal Society of South Africa Been Up To?

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OK, so after my post of day before yesterday juxtaposing Grace Liu being a normal inquisitive soul with cool ideas vs. whatever it is she’s going on about on her blog, I was watching comments and seeing one after another deleted that inks to her own writing. Duck got one comment to stick.

You know I have a lot of respect for you, but your assertion that raw starches are not ancestral is extremely weak and is in no way supported by the anthropological literature. It’s sloppy.

For instance, using 5 “ancestral” species of bacteria that are inherited from non-starch eating primates as proof that raw starch is not ancestral is a logical fallacy. It’s very misleading.

Humans eat starch. Primates do not. Therefore, raw starch is not ancestral? I’m afraid you will need to do better than that.

It’s well known that USOs are extremely important to human evolution, for millions of years, and it’s more than a little odd that you would try to claim that only “cooked” USOs were eaten when they were perfectly safe to eat raw.

Tiger nuts are just one example of a sedge tuber that has had a close relationship with humans since the dawn of humankind. The tiger nut is safe to eat raw and was one of the first cultivated plants in Ancient Egypt. Even today, kids in Europe snack on raw tiger nuts as candy and the Valencians drink their raw horchata as a medicinal superfood.

Paleo Indians at Mashantucket were shown to have yellow nutsedge (weedy tiger nut) starch all over their tools. To suggest that these sedge tubers, which were perfectly safe to eat raw, were somehow only eaten cooked will require far more assertive evidence than a short poorly-researched paragraph engineered to needle your ex-collaborators.

Not only is there overwhelming evidence showing the importance of sedge consumption by our distant ancestors, but there are plenty of studies showing a variety of different sedge tubers consumed by H. Sapiens.

For instance, here is a study that was published last week!

Nuts for dinner? Cladium mariscus in the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu, South Africa

The Middle Stone Age ended ~50–25,000 years ago. To suggest that sedge tubers were only eaten cooked is like suggesting that pecans were only eaten roasted. It’s preposterous.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of raw sedge tubers besides tiger nuts out there. I hope you don’t plan on trying to discount the raw consumption of every USO that’s ever been classified.

I was interested in the new study. Someone found the full text for me right under a tattered pillow with lots of dog hair stuck to it. The abstract is online.

Nuts for dinner? Cladium mariscus in the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu, South Africa

The sedge, Cladium mariscus, has been identified in Middle Stone Age deposits at the shelter Sibudu, South Africa, where the leaves were used as “bedding” – an informal floor covering for various activities. Cladium mariscus nutlets were recovered from layers 73,000 – 39,000 years old and are likely to have entered the shelter on the plants harvested for bedding. This paper explores the possibility that, in addition to the use of Cladium mariscus leaves for bedding, the nutlets were collected for food. The underground storage organs and nutlets of many sedge species are eaten by contemporary people and they are known to have been eaten in the past at other sites. Nutritional analysis of the nutlets and rhizomes of Cladium mariscus indicates their potential as a food source, notwithstanding the small size of the nutlets. Although there is no evidence for the preparation of Cladium mariscus for consumption at Sibudu, the abundant nutlets produced by the plants, their nutritional value and the ease of harvesting the nutlets indicate that they could have been a useful dietary item. At Sibudu, as early as 70,000 years ago, the complicated mastic recipes for hafting stone tools indicate that the shelter inhabitants possessed advanced pyrotechnological skills and sophisticated knowledge of the chemical properties of materials. It is possible that these abilities were applied to the processing of Cladium mariscus nutlets. Such activities could imply an early example of intensive collection and possible processing of a particular plant food.

Beyond that, I think the dogs would bark if I gave out the full text, so you’ll have to be satisfied with my confirmation bias, unless you know the same dog owner.


Ripe for the picking, would an abundant, easily harvested and nutritious resource have been ignored by people at Sibudu in the Middle Stone Age? The fruits of the sedge, Cladium mariscus (L.) Pohl subsp. jamaicense (Crantz) Kük fulfil these desirable criteria and were available in the uThongathi River, which flows at the base of the steep cliff in which the rock shelter Sibudu is situated. Approximately 12 km down- stream from Sibudu, the uThongathi River reaches the east coast of South Africa and flows into the Indian Ocean. Although Cladium no longer grows near or downstream from Sibudu, it was present in the past (Sievers & Muasya, 2011) and was used for “bedding” – plant material informally laid down on the dusty, stone-littered shelter floor to provide a clean and comfortable surface for a range of activities (Wadley et al., 2011). In this paper I argue that in addition to the use of Cladium leaves for bedding, Cladium nutlets (< 3 mm, single-seeded, indehiscent fruits) were eaten and that even though it is possible to crush and grind the nutlets between one’s teeth, processing of the nutlets at Sibudu is a possible scenario.

So, they ate them, maybe processed them.

The use of Cladium leaves as an informal mattress need not preclude the use of other parts of the plant for other purposes. Sedge nutlets, corms, tubers and rhizomes are widely reported as food in archaeological and ethnographic contexts, in southern Africa and further afield (e.g. Van Wyk & Gericke, 2000; Simpson & Inglis, 2001; Crawford, 2007; Sievers, 2011) and likely were an important dietary item for hominins even in early Pleistocene times (Van der Merwe et al., 2008; Wrangham et al., 2009; Sponheimer et al., 2013). The prolific production of nutlets on individual Cladium inflorescences indicates that the nutlets are an abundant food source and this warrants analysis of their nutritive value; the rhizomes are more difficult to harvest, but their nutrient values provide useful comparative data.

Need I even get into Dental Calculus Reveals Unique Insights into Food Items, Cooking and Plant Processing in Prehistoric Central Sudan?

The evidence extracted from the dental calculus has shown the use of fire, and possibly smoke, in all periods. Cooking on an open fire does not always fully gelatinize starch granules. Variable gelatinization of starch granules following open fire cooking). The Hadza, for example, are known to cook their tubers for a very short time, possibly to facilitate peeling and chewing, while leaving the interior of their food raw [38]. Therefore, despite the raw appearance of the starch granules in the pre-Mesolithic samples, they could have come from food items that had been lightly heated…Some of the ‘char’ observed in the calculus samples may also derive from exposure to fires for non-culinary purposes…In the pre-Mesolithic samples…all these starch granules appear undamaged. In some cases starch granules occurred in groups of two or three, still intact and lodged within remains of the thin cellular wall (Figure 2). This suggests little or no external processing…No diagenetic effects [20] are apparent and the granules display no evidence of any form of processing or heating either in the presence of water (which leads to swelling) or roasting (which leads to drying and cracking); this suggests the plant food may have been ingested raw or after only little heating.

Or, you know, there’s lots of Paleo Brownies to Order ONLINE! Free Shipping!

What Happens When Fake Doktors With Authority Complex Get Hold Of You

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It is very important to understand that since the beginning of this resistant starch revolution, two people have been pretty humble (Richard and Tim Steele) and one has ceaselessly tried to mount the pedestal of all knowing authority on all things gut (Grace Liu—and even though when you read gut studies, they are often shrouded in more mystery than certitude).

The only thing Tim and I have been really adamant about is that feeding the gut is critical (and RS has a big role to play), and that feeding is probably more important than “weeding.” Those trillions of bugs have well evolved ways of managing an ecosystem we’re only scratching the surface of. We both come down on the side that says: you can’t really figure it out precisely, so feed it, let nature take root and work magic over time. In other words, it’s better to just throw lots of darts than engage in the futility of hitting bullseyes. Grace wants you to believe you can throw lots of Bullseyes; and oh, she’s the single “Goddess” to direct your hand.


I quote from Lisa in comments to my Animal Farts 1.0 Supplement Powder With 13 Gut Foods.

…I don’t think I’ve ever posted but wanted to tell you thank you and Tim for your great blogs and how they have benefited me. Resistant starch has made my life so much better. It cured insomnia probably caused by very low carb diet. It also improved my metabolism via better thyroid and adrenal function. I am warmer and have to take less thyroid and have more energy and feel happier. Who wouldn’t feel happier when they increase their sleep from 4-5 hours sleep a night to 7 or 8? I just reread your refining the resistant starch story [Part 2]. I was looking for help because for the last several months I had been reading grace Lius blog regularly. I got sucked into her opinion that raw potato starch is bad and dropped taking it. She seemed like a smart lady and I trusted her. I also didn’t know for some time that you and Tim disagree with her. The first time I caught wind of that was several weeks ago. It was the last time Tim posted over there. Grace was saying he’s messed up because he has bifidus animalis rather than bifidus longum and that it is obvious rps did him bad because he has Nash and gout. Tim seemed pretty peeved and disagreed, don’t remember exactly what he said but seemed to go off in a huff and never posted again. I wasn’t totally sure what to think. I was disappointed cause I love Tims posts but Ive reall liked Graces blog and it has helped me. Some of her recommended probiotics have been really helpful. I told Grace I was really disappointed about dropping rps because it had helped me so much and that I was trying just doing rs3 from food and it wasn’t getting as good results. I told her I thought maybe it was because it was hard for me to get enough rs just from foods to get results for my particular body. I asked her if there were any convenient rs3 powders like rps that someone can quickly easily boost their rs with no matter what is going on how busy they are traveling etc and she said no she doesn’t recommend processed items like that just whole food. I told her but I sleep with rps and I don’t as much without it. She said that she just doesn’t recommend rps because in the long run it cuts off at the knees our ancestral core, was I think the way she put it. You know akkermansia, b longum etc.

[Don’t listen to how you feel in your core. Listen to a Fake Doktor instead. -Ed]

So I’ve believed her and tried it. But gosh darn it I just don’t feel as well. Last week I was traveling and couldn’t eat as well as normal and my sleep had gotten pretty bad by the end of a week and night before last I had a hard time going to sleep and then woke up after 4 hours and couldn’t go back to sleep. Yesterday I was tired and grumpy. So I had had it. I thought I don’t know whether rps will cut my ancestral core off at the knees or not but I know if I take it I’ll sleep! So I took a tbsp with each meal yesterday along with my rs3 whole food and other fibers and last night I went to sleep easily. My head hit pillow and I was out. I slept six hours straight, woke up needing to go to the bathroom and then fell back asleep as soon as head hit pillow again and slept for another 2-3 hours. I woke up feeling rested and great. Yesterday I was thinking that I didn’t know how something could help me so much and be so bad. I Decided to go to his blog and yours to explore rs2 and whether it really does hurt people. I found your post about that and it was very helpful. Now I’ve been reading the refining resistant starch story. I had read it before but I didn’t remember what it said about rs2 being in the traditional foods of numerous people groups. I hope you do go ahead and analyse more of the claims she is making. The info you are providing is helping me get to the truth so I can benefit from rps and not get ripped off from that because of a false idea that the benefits I’m seeing are some kind of short term trick that rps is playing on me only so it can stealthily destroy my most important gut microbes and take me down.

I like grace and I don’t think she is being intentionally malicious [I do. You have no idea how she hates me and will chew up anyone to get to me. -Ed]. What is going on is that she had some problems after starting rps like gerd and weight gain. Somebody convinced her it was the rps causing it. I think it was some guy a lot of people would listen to like some microbiota researcher, maybe the one that she follows saying that the microbes she calls the ancestral core are the holy grail. I don’t remember his name.

It wouldn’t be the first time that someone has gotten convinced of an idea backed by a lot of emotion and then interpreted studies to support their view even when they don’t. I think a lot of times people actually believe they are seeing and interpreting correctly because their filter prevents them from seeing the evidence that contradicts their view.

It really helped me to see that all these people have been eating rs2 for millennia. How could rps be so bad then? And maybe it did cause problems for grace but for me it has seemed to do nothing but good. Or maybe it was just coincidence and rps had nothing to do with problems grace was encountering.

It would be interesting to tackle graces claims that rps is responsible for Tims Nash and gout. I saw in some post where you or Tim clarify that gout was caused by cocoa nibs or some such. I have had gout like symptoms before from having too much Oxalate containing food.

In closing, I appreciate your work.

Don’t expect Tim or I to attempt to prove the negative that RPS didn’t do something bad, any time soon. It’s too ridiculous. Grace doesn’t even have the ethics necessary to actually only reference studies that actually support her statements—rather relying that people won’t actually read them.

To make the motivation of this post explicit: this went up because, and only because, this good person went to “Dr.” Grace sincerely, telling her explicitly that potato starch helped her hugely (sleep, body temp, less thyroid meds), then she stopped taking it it per Grace’s “Goddessness” (typical doG, eh? They have a plan for you) and stuff went to shit again. What does the “Good Doktor” do? Tells her, essentially, that her vision of the perfect gut just doesn’t jive with Lisa’s real results—so suck it in and tough up; after all, we have to discredit Richard and Tim and you must be willing to sacrifice your well being for that cause.

She goes back to using potato starch and regains the well being she’d come accustomed to.

Astounding “malpractice” on the part of Grace. Thankfully, she decided to get herself all fucked up with me, because I will highlight this kind of stuff. I want all y’all having good sleeps and dreams out there, feeling warm & cozy. It’s your life.

Nestle Invests $65 Million In A Microbiome Fad

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Or, take your pick: maybe they stepped up to back up the FDA in putting the kibosh on fecal transplants. Or, maybe the FDA decided to let 100,000 or so more people die from C. diff in the name of drug company profits, which would absolutely be the first time anything like that happened.

Nestle backs microbiome firm Seres with $65 million

Nestle Health Science, a subsidiary of the Swiss food giant, has invested $65 million into the USA’s Seres Health.

Seres is developing a novel class of biological drugs that are designed to treat diseases by restoring the function of a dysbiotic microbiome. Its portfolio currently focuses infectious, metabolic and inflammatory diseases.

The money from Nestle Health Science will help the progress of Seres’ lead product candidate, SER-109, for preventing the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection, into Phase III trials.

And: Seres Health Presents Final Data for Study of SER-109 in Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection at ICAAC 2014 Conference.

Cambridge, Massachusetts — September 10, 2014 — CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Seres Health, a clinical-stage therapeutics company developing novel treatments for diseases related to the human microbiome, today announced final data for its single-arm, open-label clinical trial of SER-109, its first-in-field, oral microbiome therapeutic. SER-109, a mixture of bacterial spores, is designed for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI). The data presented at the 2014 Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) show that in patients with recurrent CDI, SER-109 resulted in clinical cures, with 29 of the trial’s 30 patients (97 percent) reaching the 8-week endpoint free of infection.

Uh, I’m not sure, but I suspect that in the pharmaceutical world there’s an official expression for a “drug” with a proven 97% cure rate. “Holly Fucking Shit!” comes to mind, but it’s probably a trade secret (no patent required).

Oh, one more point from that article, and it’s difficult to emphasize only any one part.

Analysis of the microbiome using next-generation sequencing technology demonstrated that a single oral dose of SER-109 was capable of generating long-term changes in the microbiome, including the restoration of microbial diversity in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of patients. Evidence for this was the engraftment of spore forming commensal bacteria from SER-109 in the patient’s gut microbiota over the 8-week period. Unexpectedly, it was also determined that SER-109 catalyzed the outgrowth of other healthy non-spore forming organisms in the GI tract. This included critical genera that were missing in patients due to long term exposure to antibiotics.

Those who’ve been following our ridiculous foray into resistant starch prebiotics and SPORE FORMING probiotics over 2 years, 130 posts, and 10,000 comments know the ridicule endured—particularly when it came to “peddling dirt.” Well, Nestle just invested $65 million into edible dirt.

And take particular note of this: “Unexpectedly, it was also determined that SER-109 catalyzed the outgrowth of other healthy non-spore forming organisms in the GI tract. This included critical genera that were missing in patients due to long term exposure to antibiotics.”

Now, recall that in addition to the ignorant scoffers, there were the far worse yogurt and kefir-making hand wavers and wringers who thought dairy is the only way to get a probiotic and not the earth itself, because it killz U or something. But in actuality, looks like those spore aliens might help those ugly lacto stepchildren stay put—or fit into a glass slipper.

Finally, one of my regular interlocutors took the time to look up Seres’ patent application for SER-109: Synergistic bacterial compositions and methods of production and use thereof. Among lots of interesting stuff:

Fecal transplantation has been shown to be an effective treatment for patients suffering from severe or refractory GI infections by repopulating the gut with a diverse array of microbes that control key pathogens by creating an ecological environment inimical to their proliferation and survival. Such approaches have demonstrated significant potential to decrease host susceptibility to infection. Fecal transplantation, however, is considered to be a procedure of last resort because it has the potential to transmit infectious or allergenic agents between hosts, involves the transmission of potentially hundreds of unknown strains from donor to patient, and is difficult to perform on a mass scale. Additionally, fecal transplantation is inherently nonstandardized and different desired and/or undesired material may be transmitted in any given donation. Fecal transplantation is not approved by the FDA and is unlikely to gain approval since the product cannot be standardized and characterized according to regulatory requirements for identity, potency, purity and safety. Thus, there is a need for defined compositions that can be used to decrease susceptibility to infection and/or that facilitate restoration of a healthy gut microbiota.

Thus practitioners have a need for a much safer and reproducible treatment for disorders currently treated on an experimental (non-FDA approved) basis using fecal transplantation. In order to prepare a therapeutic with commercial potential, we have designed bacterial compositions of isolated bacterial strains with a plurality of beneficial properties based on our understanding of those bacterial strains and our analysis of the properties that would enhance the utility and commercialization of a bacterial composition.

The very short version of that is that the FDA is such a dinosaur, that it’s impossible to develop a lot of new cures or therapies, because it’s locked in an old institutional paradigm where anything worthwhile ought to be able to be deconstructed—to a chemical equation in the case of drugs.

As we’re increasingly coming to understand, the complexity of earth’s biome defies such scientism.

Teff Flour Has Resistant Starch

I’ve known Injera—made from teff, an ancient Ethiopian grain—are gluten free, but not that they have other benefits too.

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Teff Flour, 24-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4).

From an SBS piece: “Ms Radd said Teff is also nutritious and can be used for a variety of things.

‘It tends to be a bit higher in a trace element called Manganese, and Copper and it does have the nutrients that all the other whole grains have, which is protein, good carbohydrates and fibre and so on. But it also includes something called resistant starch.’

‘Now research on all whole grains has shown that fibre and resistant starch are incredibly important for our gut our bowel, because these components promote the growth of healthy bacteria which are known to be really important for our immunity. In fact they’re now saying that about 80 percent of our immunity in our body occurs at the gut level,’ she added.”

If you do go to an Ethiopian restaurant, which I highly recommend, make sure they have injera made with teff and not wheat. The place I go to has both, so make sure you ask.

Is Resistant Starch By Means of Potato Starch Bad For You?

My thesis is that if it is, it’s not because of anything Grace Liu of Animal Pharm is feverishly posting, in five parts so far. The time for vitriol and snark is over; so this time, it’s just the facts, ma’am, and you can judge for yourselves.

…I mean, really. If she’d just say, “I don’t recommend PS, I think there are better prebiotics,” then fine. I’d still think it plays a role, but whatever. Chocolate. Vanilla. But this endless cycle of “proof” that “PS is destroying gutz!!!” is quite ridiculous, smelling a lot more like a campaign to discredit those of us who’ve been advocating it than honest, science-based inquiry.  Since I’m seeing little in the way of this “doctor’s” conclusions being challenged, I guess it’s time to do so semi-formally.

This addresses just the first part of the last of her posts on the topic: High Dose Potato Starch Can Make You Fatter, Insulin Resistant By Lowering GLP-1 AND ESPECIALLY If You Are Missing Bifidobacteria longum and Akkermansia mucinophila, aka SAD Microbial Fingerprint (Part V) NSFW (December 24, 2014).

First off, she cites Bodinham, 2014 and Table 1. Her take:

The drop in the gut hormone GLP1 was quite significant and was one of the few parameters that met statistically significance in this study.

Optimal gut health is supposed to yield better fat burning, leanness and metabolic improvements, no? Not high dosage RS2 it appears. Why? [emphasis added]

Then she lists everything from Table 1 as “proof” that RS2 is bad vis-a-vis gut health or downstream consequences. The problem is, almost everything on that table is labelled NS, meaning not statistically significant. The few things that are not labelled NS, she misinterprets as BAD!!!

For instance: “OMG GLP-1 decreased!” But what does Bodinham actually say?

Fasting GLP1 concentrations were significantly lower (P=0.049) following HAM-RS2 compared with placebo; however, there was a significantly greater meal GLP1 excursion with HAM-RS2 than with the placebo (P=0.009; Fig. 1C). [emphasis added]


Indeed, GLP1, a well-defined incretin, was found to be elevated postprandially after HAM-RS2 intake, again a finding which was not found in our previous published work in those without diabetes (23) but has been reported in studies of RS in animal models (24). Interestingly, there was no effect of this elevated GLP1 on postprandial insulin levels and so any effect on postprandial glucose disposal may have been through insulin-independent mechanisms. GLP1 has been shown to directly increase muscle glucose uptake in rodent models (25), with the GLP1 receptor recently localized to human skeletal muscle (26). GLP1 acutely raises nitric oxide (NO) levels and so acute changes in both microvascular recruitment (27) and endothelial function (28) at the level of the muscle are believed to be involved in this effect. In the current study, glucose uptake across forearm muscle measured directly using A-V sampling was increased following HAM-RS2 intake and against a background of elevated GLP1 (Fig. 1) [emphasis added]

So, while fasting levels were lower, the after-meal effect was higher. GLP-1 has a half-life of 1-5 minutes in the blood. The lowered fasting GLP-1 is probably a good thing, but seen simply as a curiosity by Bodinham. To make a lesser point, her series is about potato starch, not HAM (high amylose maize RS2).

And just as an aside—a lesson in dishonest manipulation—here’s the line item on pancreatic fat she makes a big—32.5% INCREASED, WTF!?!?!—deal of:

Screen Shot 2014 12 28 at 3 52 12 PM

Beyond the fact that the non-significant findings overlap in potential +/-, if you wanted to manipulate someone, would you tell them they were driving 13 in a 10 zone, or that they were breaking the speed limit by over 32%!

But here’s the real kicker…this Bodinham 2014 study was conducted on “well-controlled T2 diabetics.”

Bodinham’s conclusion:

In conclusion, this is the first RS feeding study in human T2DM where the metabolic effects of RS (rather than a manipulation of dietary glycemic index/glycemic load (37)) have been investigated. HAM-RS2 intake improved meal glucose tolerance in patients with existing good diabetic-control due to a mechanism which appears to involve increased muscle uptake of FAs and increased S-IMCL. However, as a caveat, changes in both ectopic TG distribution and plasma TG were found, the clinical significance of which is unknown. Further work is now warranted to elucidate the molecular mechanisms within muscle tissue attributable to HAM-RS2, which would be vital in terms of recommending diet/exercise interventions to maximize the benefits for muscle glucose uptake. A larger scale intervention should now be undertaken in patients using high-fiber foods, with less well-controlled diabetes and over a longer time frame before a change to the evidenced-based dietary guidelines could be proposed. [emphasis added]

Bodinham is saying he thinks that RS2 has further improved T2D in these subjects —just like we’ve been saying here for 2 years in over 100 posts—not destroyed them in any way…but there were a few metabolic changes they were not expecting to see. These were not normal, healthy, people…they all had diabetes and were either taking meds (15 out of 17 participants) or being controlled through diet and exercise (2/17):

All participants had well-controlled diabetes (mean HbA1c levels of 46.6 (s.e.m. 2) mmol/mol at screening) and were diet and exercise controlled (2/17), taking metformin (13/17) or metformin and pioglitazone (2/17), were weight stable, and excluded if they had a history of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or other endocrine diseases.

OK. Then she invokes an older study, same dude, Bodinham 2012. She does the same thing: takes Table 1 and makes all of the NS items sound like a death sentence. Unfortunately for her, the only thing on Table 1 that was really significant was a reduction in fasting glucose. She explains this is really—trust her—a bad thing. Yes, you’ll read that right:

Fasting glucose THIS TIME decreased BUT that is because all the spikes in post-prandial insulin is shoving all the glucose into adipose cells now and making them fatty which is clear by the increased TG and higher insulin-related consequences: higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures. wtf. I bet it lowered GLP1 where it is already low and lame in overweight and T2 diabetes subjects. [double emphasis added]

What did Bodinham say?

This study was designed to further explore the effects of HAM-RS2 on insulin secretion. To our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate a significant improvement in first-phase insulin secretion following short-term supplementation with dietary fibre in the form of resistant starch (HAM-RS2). This work adds to our group’s previous findings of a positive effect of HAM-RS2 on insulin sensitivity. [emphasis added]

Let’s take another look at her GLP-1 “theory.”  In this 2012 study just cited, Bodinham said:

However, whilst there are data from rodent studies showing increases in GLP-1 following RS intake [15]–[17] data confirming this effect in humans are lacking, and indeed, one study in humans has shown that it may take a year of increased fibre intake (increase of 20 g/day) to increase GLP-1 secretion.

But just 2 years later, in 2014, he did show that RS2 raised postprandial GLP-1 in the human T2D subjects. So, all of this GLP-1 “proof” is completely wrong, and seems intentionally misleading.

Indeed, GLP1, a well-defined incretin, was found to be elevated postprandially after HAM-RS2 intake, again a finding which was not found in our previous published work in those without diabetes… (Bodinham, 2014) [emphasis added]

Yet, here’s what she says says:

What is GLP1?

I love GLP-1.

It helps us to burn and remodel fat. “Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a gut-derived peptide, has been reported to have profound effects on metabolism and to reduce insulin resistance (Yang et al 2013).” High protein diets raise GLP-1 and satiating PYY gut hormones to cause nice fat burning. It appears that high dosage raw starches causes a downward trend of this fat-burning molecule. Ruh-OH. This time it does not depend on either the pre-existing gut or what human gut symbions are missing. It happens in healthy human subjects in several trials so far. [emphasis added]

So, she uses a guy’s study to try and “prove” what’s not proved, implying it’s relevant to healthy people; is going to make them fat, when it actually involved diabetic people and improved their status on balance. Then, she finally acknowledges the diabetic point, but only to make a false distinction in healthy people, claiming results that don’t actually exist.

OK, I think I’ve wasted enough time on this. Really, the whole post is a mess. The links don’t jive with what she’s saying. She’s just making stuff up, as in the foregoing. I suspect that a similar close examination of her Parts 1-4 are going to yield similar poison fruit. And, if you have a good memory, you might even remember when she wrote this in her own comments:

(Akkermansia is good for us 😉 lol unless overgrown in defective barriers


Unfortunately, so very many just read post titles, skim—maybe check a few sycophant comments—and chalk it up to another “excellent post” by the “Gut Goddess” Fake Doctor. In contrast, there are over 130 posts here on RS and GutGeneral, over 10,000 comments, over two years. The positive anecdotes of N=1,000+ are legion.

I can only conclude that she wants to stop or inhibit that for her own selfish gain, because she has statistically insignificant relevance to do with any shred of it. She’s made no long-term meaningful contributions—often inhibiting—but rather, only tried to dishonestly garner an unearned limelight.

Finally, she’s spent five posts on a straw man, because except for diabetics and those who insist on remaining VLC, high dose potato starch was never touted as the be-all-cure-all. Not even from the very first post on RS. I’ve addressed this before.

Now, this simply serves as something linkable next time someone asks me to address her idiotic posts that they don’t want to take the time to examine closely themselves.

Fear of Raw Potato Starch Ingestion is Probably Irrational

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Unfortunately, a certain blogger still seems more interested in promoting that irrational fear. I’ll leave it to readers to discern motivations.

So, first a little housecleaning. I waffle back and forth between regretting taking down a post laying out my beefs with Ms. Grace Liu, and being relieved because of the involvement or proximity of other parties. The latter outweighs the former, so it will forever remain as is. I was also relieved because it presented an opportunity to move forward and debate the science: Moving Forward: My Approach to Evaluating the Science and Knowledge of the Gut Biome and Resistant Starch.

I’m moving forward alright, but with absolutely zero contact or collaboration with Ms. Liu. She is simply not behaving in accordance with, or in the spirit of our agreement when she asked me to take down the post and I agreed, with conditions.

Hours after I made 100% good on my end, I get an email asking to make sure I acknowledge her “contributions” in the book, going so far as to say, explicitly, that everything Tim Steele has said or written since October of 2013, he got from her. Without agreeing with her delusion, I grit my teeth and agree that I will acknowledge her, even offering to email a pre-publication copy to make sure it was to her satisfaction.

Then, this comment shows up in her blog: “I have warned Mr Nikoley as well – the high dosage RPS for over the last 1-2 years probably prevented the healing of his autoimmune Hashimoto’s.” I feel embarrassed to even have to refute such illogical muddled balderdash. My untreated TSH improved between 2008 and today. It was normal during 2010 – 2012 because I was on medication, which I ceased over two years ago and have not had a test of any kind until last week. Moreover, I told Ms. Liu this in an email and the answer back was ‘no, potato starch compromised your gut and that’s why you didn’t heal.’ It’s like saying: Yea, your hypothyroidism got better during the last 2 ears of not being on medication, but it’s because of the RPS it’s not improved more! Pretty illogical; as unfalsifiable as it is unprovable. Incidentally, I just had two comments on my blog this morning from guys whose TSH has gone down since supplementing PS.

Then, the kicker in her comments this morning. I suspect she’s answering her own sock puppet.

Anonymous said…
RN is a little skank and i support you. so will other people.

Dr. B G said…
Thank you Anon. I appreciate your warm support. I won’t be silenced, by lies or skankiness. 😉

The final thing is Tim’s post that I will address below: Raw Potato Starch; A Great Prebiotic!

Accordingly, the following outlines my course of action moving forward.

  1. This will be the very last time I will speak or write of Grace Liu in any way; will accept no contact from her, regardless of context or terms.
  2. I have taken steps to have all 700+ links to her blog going back to 2008 (352 of them from her) expunged from mine.
  3. I will not acknowledge any asserted “contributions” by her in any manner.

Now, on the matter of Tim’s post, one of the falsehoods bandied about is that we encouraged people to load up on raw potato starch with no concern for food or other fiber supplements. I already addressed that, but let me reiterate. Here’s a comment by Tatertot himself in the very first post we did on resistant starch.

I have heard that banana flour and plantain flour is the same thing.

Raw Potato Starch contains virtually no micronutrients. The banana/plantain flours contain more as they are not isolated starch, but the whole ground fruit.

Inulin powder is not RS, but it is a plant fiber that resists digestion. It is usually avoided by people with FODMAP intolerance, while potato starch is not a FODMAP. That being said, Inulin powder would probably be a good choice to put a bit of in a smoothy with potato starch as Inulin is considered to be a prebiotic, just like potato starch.

Taro powder also probably has very little RS as it seems to be made of amylopectin starch, which is not resistant. If you read up on ‘Poi’, which is fermented taro, it sounds like a really good source of nutrition.

I’m thinking a really good idea would be to make a mix of known RS starches and prebiotics, like potato starch, taro powder, banana flour, inulin, etc… and make a smoothy or mix with milk or yogurt every day. Go heavy on the potato starch or banana flour and a bit of the others.

And here’s what he wrote in the post itself:

Edibility-wise, potato starch is not bad. It mixes well with any liquid and has no real taste and is not gritty, mealy, or pastey. I’ve eaten up to 4TBS (48g), which is 30-35g of RS, on an empty stomach with no digestive problems. I think it is a very good addition to your arsenal of RS foods.

So, after months of research, it’s come down to this: I eat potatoes almost every day, cooked in a variety of ways, a few raw slices, and lots of cold potatoes. I eat sushi when I can, beans on rare occasion, and I keep a baggy full of dried plantains on the counter to snack on. When I buy bananas, I get the greenest ones I can find. Sushi is eaten guilt free, especialy with raw fish and seaweed. I will eat legumes from time to time if thoughtfully prepared to remove toxins. I also keep a container of potato starch on the counter and am finding all kinds of ways to use it–in smoothies, milk, kefir, mixed with water and eaten with berries and mashed bananas, or just mixed with water and drank.

In short, PS was merely an entry point for some, particularly LCers and diabetics who were unsure of adding any digestible carbohydrate to their diet. One thing it did do for most people is convince them in no uncertain terms that the gut biome is very important. That there are clear effects is hard to miss.

And yet, in Ms. Liu’s (neither will I refer to her as “Dr.”) comments, she has some so irrationally fearful that I’ve seen stuff of the form, ‘oh thank you thank you thank you; I’m so upset that Tim and Richard put the health of myself and my family at risk.’ Her responses to these kinds of comments generally signal, to me, what her underlying motivations are in this.

Tim’s post is about a single variable science experiment with 4 individuals, covering a six week intervention with a single intervention theme (1 subject had it in kefir, another with a bit of psyllium). You guessed it: raw potato starch. Some of you actually helped make this happen by funding the project.

I’ll not take away Tim’s thunder and besides, he does a very careful job of laying out the testing hypothesis, something I find quite refreshing vis-a-vis the manner in which Ms. Liu presents her assertions.

  1. Well, clear stated hypothesis
  2. Logical set of questions for research to answer
  3. Establishes a clear standard of success by means of reference to the very latest published research (November, 2014)
  4. Presents clear results that meet the standard of success

Here’s the punchline. These four species are specifically mentioned as important targets of attention in the research Tim cites.

Gut Resuls2

Tim says:

To recap the dietary interventions:

Adult 1 – Added 4TBS of potato starch daily
Adult 2 – Added 2TBS of potato starch daily, mixed with kefir
Child 1 – Added 1TBS of potato starch daily, plus 1tsp of psyllium husk
Child 2 – Added 1TBS of potato starch daily

The dietary intervention lasted for 6 weeks, and the final fecal samples were taken on the last day.

An examination of the data shows that each subject had considerable increases in bifidobacterium, and mainly increases in the other bacteria suggested as targets for prebiotics by Rastall and Gibson. The slight decreases were most pronounced in the subject (Child 2) who ate the least amount of total fiber supplements, but ironically, this subject also had the largest increase in bifidobacteria.

The species of bifidobacteria detected in the samples were ~95% Bifidobacterium breve, with smaller amounts of animalis, dentium, longum, and pseudolongum.

So, even being skeptical of sequencing results, it seems pretty difficult and downright unreasonable to make a claim that raw potato starch harmed any of these subjects over six weeks, a claim Ms. Liu has been asserting for months in a bunch of posts.

Moving Forward: My Approach to Evaluating the Science and Knowledge of the Gut Biome and Resistant Starch

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Time to look forward. There’s no question that since my very first post on resistant starch in April, 2013, things have changed in a number of ways. I like to think that the more than 130 posts related to resistant starch or the microbiome in some way—many including contributions by others, like Tim Steele and Grace Liu—have contributed to the general impact of recognizing the importance of gut health and the role of resistant starch in the whole picture. Since there’s now a number of voices out there on the topic and some dispute about some things, I thought I might put some rules or guidelines out there I’m going to use to evaluate things moving forward.

The MetaRulz

  1. The vast majority of what’s to be known and understood about the complex workings of the human microbiome and its interactions with the host remains to be discovered.
  2. The things we think we know and understand are mostly wrong or incomplete in some way.
  3. The struggle is in the process of becoming less wrong over time, not in searching for ways of being right.

The ThumbRulz

  1. We don’t know what the “ideal” gut microbiome looks like. It’s more likely there’s no such thing.
  2. Gut bug composition changes meal to meal and season to season. RNA sequencing, then, is perhaps best done in a fasted state of at least 24 hours to get a better idea of an individual’s “metagut.”
  3. RNA sequencing is flawed, where even the same sample taken in the exact same spot yields some vastly different results.
  4. Hunter gatherer guts are probably of limited value to non huntger-gatherers. Perhaps better would be the sequences of people in your neck of the woods, same age and gender, who are lean and have a clean medical history (esp. no signs of autoimmune disorders).
  5. Just because a particular species of gut bacteria is generally associated with good things doesn’t automatically mean that more of it is better. 1% of 100 trillion is a very big number.
  6. Excluding testing error (#3), a decrease in a species associated with good stuff could have a number of explanations: all good, all bad, or a mix. For example, if Akkermansia drops in population, could it be because something else good increased and the previous levels of Akk are no longer necessary, or needed?
  7. Is a different mix and relative proportion of bugs called for in a diseased person than a healthy person; and moreover, is it possible that the mix in the diseased person is actually helping them from getting worse, rather than a direct cause of their state of disease?
  8. Horizontal gene transfer is a factor in all of this, and I don’t think sequencing is yet sophisticated enough to detect that. In other words, it’s the genes and their expression in the gut that’s fundamentally important, not species classification (just a way for us to…um…classify).
  9. Some humans, owing to their specific human genetic makeup, i.e., what needs expressing and what needs repressing, and control of specific pathogens, will require different sets of genes in their gut.
  10. Some species associated with good (or bad) stuff may have significant members of their ranks “hiding out” in mucosal layers, biofilms, whatever, and be relatively undetectable in sequencing tests.
  11. One thing we do seem to have a pretty good handle on is clear pathogens (or overgrowths of even “good” bugs) and this should dominate therapeutic intervention for now. Once that’s out of the way, we’ll have all the time in the world to worry about boutique bugs.

There may be more. Feel free to suggest. I already incorporated some stuff by Gemma in the last few rulz.

Ok, so one issue at hand now, spearheaded by Grace (link removed), is questions over the propriety of using raw potato starch as a supplement, or perhaps more poignantly, in high dose. It’s important to go back to the beginning, the very first post, and look at how this all got started. In the words of Tim Steele.

Most scientists used 20-50 grams RS per day in their human studies. Most recommendations are for the ingestion of 20-40g/day for maximum benefit, and there seems to be an upper limit of about 60g where it stops being effective, and a lower limit of about 20g where it has little effect.

My next step was to target RS in the 20-60g/day range from common foods…this proved difficult.

I learned there was a bit of RS in cooked and cooled rice, like sushi rice, but only a small amount, like 5g per cup.

He goes on to lay out the RS content of a bunch of common foods, then suggests potato starch at the end as supplement, alternative. Check it out. And, later on, Tim painstakingly put together a 5-page PDF listing RS in a whole bunch of foods, by weight.

And yes, in spite of that, a lot of people ignored trying to get much from foods, because they come in grains and starches. You know why? The Very Low Carb Menace, that’s why. In Tim’s case, he was already eating lots of cooked and cooled potatoes, beans, and his own dried green plantains. In my case, I did the 4 TBS daily for a while, then went intermittent (1, 0, 3, 6, 0, 0, 0, 2, etc.). Now, sometimes I go a week or more with zero and a while back went more than a month with zero. Why? Because I eat plenty of beans and potatoes. Rice sometimes. Even bread…very only sometimes (doing my part for hormesis).

Nonetheless, if we are to look at studies showing that high dose raw potato starch is a questionable practice, which I’m willing to do, we have to look at anecdotes or, more accurately, the relative lack thereof. But, one thing out of the way: I agree, a regime that’s like 4 TBS every morning at 6:38 am, with the exact same smoothie or food, is not the best approach. Intermittency and variation in all things, please.

This morning, I scanned through all sales via my Amazon shopping link (13,200 orders) from April, 2013 to today, looking for products associated with gut health. Here’s the list with order totals:

Tons of other things gut related, but I excluded anything with less than 10 orders. There’s also the case of commenter Wilbur, who takes all manner of various powdered fibers and claims impressive results.

Take home points:

  1. There is one hell of a lot of people worldwide experimenting with potato starch and to lesser extent, other fibers. And probiotics (the soil-based ones as Grace harped on almost from the beginning) are pretty huge. Add to that their mention now on hundreds of other blogs and websites, using their own associates links. Add to that, the the folks who just grab it at the supermarket, as I sometimes do. Very lots.
  2. If the argument that ritual supplementing of 4 TBS or thereabouts daily is not the best approach, zero argument from me. More on that below.
  3. If the argument, however, is that this stuff is really going to harm you (and some have been using it for 20 months), then I need to see some really compelling anecdotal evidence of that. Instead, what we have is thousands of positive anecdotes in comments (and I get many emails), compared to a relatively small percentage where some level of discomfort was experienced, like bloating, joint pain, rash, etc.
  4. I don’t think that a changed gut RNA sequence cuts it, for reasons outlined in the thumbrulz, above, and especially if not accompanied by some sort of clear physical downstream effect that shows up significantly in a lot of people. We are still bound to the scientific method, here.

But again, this may not even be worth arguing because I am all on board with expanding the mix. First of all, eat the damn food! Second, if you do supplement, then keep it real, use a mix of the prebiotics, and incorporate the probiotics, especially the dirt.

So, right now, I’m experimenting with mixes of a variety of stuff. Usually, it’s about a third to half PS, then a bunch of other stuff from above, and Wilbur’s list too. And yes, I hope to develop a product once I nail down proportions I like and do some beta testing. Yes, you’ll know the ingredients, but the proportions will be my trade secret. The idea is that by using economies of scale to purchase bulk, I can get you a single product with a mix of about a dozen things that costs less than buying all of them, saves space, saves the trouble of spooning out individually or mixing yourself, and ads convenience to your life. Of course, anyone can develop such a product, BUT ONLY ONE WILL BE CALLED…”ANIMAL FARTS!” :)

Now, when I have a smoothie, which is maybe 3-4 times per week: it’s 1 raw egg, two heaping TBS of my mix (roughly 40% PS), 3-4 oz orange juice, the rest of the 14 total oz topped off with whole milk. I don’t bother with blenders anymore and I’ll just eat fruit. I put all that in one of those 14 oz shakers with an agitator ball in it. Comes out perfectly smooth, tasting creamy like an Orange Julius. It’s the only smoothie recipe I need; might use other fruit juices sometimes.

A final note, about my Hashimoto’s announced here, and expounded upon here, with input by Chris Kresser. Some points:

  1. Since I’ve had elevated TSH since about 1998-2000 when it first showed up on a blood test, it’s likely that it was the same autoimmune condition.
  2. I can’t recall what those numbers were back then, but in 2008 my TSH was 16 in a 1-5 reference range.
  3. One would expect the condition to get worse over time. TSH was in normal range in the 2009-2011 timeframe because I was on Armour Thyroid, which of course does not address the underlying issue of the elevated TPO antibody.
  4. While I don’t have a TPO AB reference point, since my TSH went from 16 to just under 10 from 2008 to now, and I haven’t been on any meds in 2-3 years, it’s more likely that I have LESS TPO antibody now, not more.
  5. …Meaning that the WORST one can say about my supplementation with raw potato starch over the last 20 months is that it almost certainly did not make this autoimmune condition worse (and if there’s any effect at all, it’s far more likely to have been a positive one).

But, now I’m interested in fixing it. First, I have to get rid of things I don’t need that may be adversely impacting my gut: all alcohol, gluten, processed and fast foods. It’s not like I do a lot of the latter, but I can get pretty sloppy. Thankfully, I’ve been pretty weight stable at around 185 for months now.

So, gonna eliminate all that stuff, drop 20 pounds, get off my ass and exercise more, and really target the gut with foods and my powder mixes and probiotics and a few other supplements, do it for 90 days and retest in mid-March.

With me ruck.

Update: Well, the truce didn’t last long. I have permanently severed all ties with Ms. Liu:

Fear of Raw Potato Starch Ingestion is Probably Irrational

Cooking, Cooling, and Reheating Starches For Even More Digestive Resistance

One of the more common questions we’ve had since the very beginning of the Resistant Starch Explosion is: if cooling your cooked starches (e.g., potatoes, rice, beans, pasta) increases the resistant starch (retrograded RS3), will reheating it destroy it?

It was Tim Steele who came up with the info that not only does it not destroy the RS3, successive cooling and reheating actually increases it—though the the first cycle is by far the biggest bang.

Well, so now we have some testing on real people, using pasta: Is reheated pasta less fattening?

The volunteers were randomised to eating either hot, cold or reheated pasta on different days.

On one day they got to eat the pasta, freshly cooked, nice and hot with a plain but delicious sauce of tomatoes and garlic.

On another day they had to eat it cold, with the same sauce, but after it had been chilled overnight.

And on a third day they got to eat the pasta with sauce after it had been chilled and then reheated.

So what did happen?

Well we were fairly confident the cold pasta would be more resistant than the stuff that had been freshly cooked and we were right.

Just as expected, eating cold pasta led to a smaller spike in blood glucose and insulin than eating freshly boiled pasta had.

But then we found something that we really didn’t expect – cooking, cooling and then reheating the pasta had an even more dramatic effect. Or, to be precise, an even smaller effect on blood glucose.

In fact, it reduced the rise in blood glucose by 50%.

So there you have it. Short & simple, too.

It makes me wonder if this is why I didn’t get fat eating all that pasta at the mom & pop Sicilian place down the street from my flat when I lived in France. I’d walk down 2-3 times per week and if it wasn’t a wood fired pizza, it was a bowl of pasta. But I recall one evening asking their son, Salvatore (who’s limonadier he gave me when I left is still used to open wine around here, 22 years later), how they do their pasta so quickly, in single batches.

They precook it and put it in the fridge. Then they reheat in salty, boiling water, portion by portion. Go figure.

Update: OK, found the actual program website, as well as the short video segment.

And here’s a chart I clipped.

Screen Shot 2014 10 16 at 11 38 58 AM

Update 2: This appears to work for freezing and toasting bread, too.

The impact of freezing and toasting on the glycaemic response of white bread.

CONCLUSIONS: All three procedures investigated, freezing and defrosting, toasting from fresh, and toasting following freezing and defrosting, favourably altered the glucose response of the breads. This is the first study known to the authors to show reductions in glycaemic response as a result of changes in storage conditions and the preparation of white bread before consumption. In addition, the study highlights a need to define and maintain storage conditions of white bread if used as a reference food in the determination of the glycaemic index of foods.

Squinting At A Specifically General View of the Gut Microbiome

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This was my very first post of more than 100 by now, April of 2013, that began my evolution in thinking about the gut microbiome: Prepare for the “Resistant Starch” Assimilation; Resistance is Futile. Yes, the narrative was initially somewhat hyperbolic, silver-bullet, miracle cure and all. I’ll cop to all of it.

I am primarily an integrator, synthesizer, and promoter of things that make evolutionary sense to me and I always kick off with a bang. But I’m also the least intransigent blogger you’ll ever meet. I expect being half or more wrong from the outset. Rather than spend endless hours, days, weeks and months checking all my jots and tittles in a self-deluded effort to not be wrong about anything (completely futile, because you’re always wrong about something), I go full shotgun and brace for the criticism and constructive critique:


(^ Wash, Rinse, Repeat—ad infinitum)

This manner of dialectic saves time, teaches more people faster—in fact, we all learn together, collaboratively—is an honest process, and seems to me to be the most natural way to build increasingly complex and closer-to-truth hierarchies of quality* knowledge (* See my AHS12 presentation: Paleo Epistemology and Sociology).

It is for this reason that in terms of most of my posts, I do not delve into “excruciating” detail. For instance, I’m typically not talking about a specific 1-in-1,000 species of a gut bacteria, unless it’s a well identified pathogen run amok like C. diff, after a round of antibiotics (the antibiotics being the general issue—specific, to highlight general). Similarly, I don’t dwell on deeply dysfunctional guts but rather, on the vast majority of guts, some better than others, but always with the idea of improving whatever you begin with—never achieving perfection.

Shotguns usually hit the bullseye, too.

I’ve done a number of podcast interviews over this last year or so, most about Resistant Starch. The truth is, I didn’t have any idea at the outset whether RS would pan out at all, be the Next Big Thing, or more likely, be a very important specific piece of the general puzzle. I now believe it’s the latter.

So, with that, here’s my latest podcast interview. It’s with Will Barron of Upgraded Ape, one of of those biohacking folks. Upgrade your gut biome for improved brain performance. Talking resistant starches and fish with Richard Nikoley. While RS is in the title, I can assure you that I took a far more general track with it.

  1. I take pains to emphasize that whatever devils are in details, it’s the enormous complexity of the gut microbiome that’s the important thing.
  2. That focussing on very specific things in terms of specific pathogens, overgrowths, etc., is the province of clinicians with clinical experience that builds with practice and is applied to more and more specific and identifiable problems.
  3. That while experimenting and supplementing with RS and dirt-based probiotics is fine, not generally harmful (suggestions that it is, are bullshit), it is nonetheless likely best to get most prebiotics from various foods, and probiotics from being less sanitary, a bit more dirty. But supplementation, while not ideal, is better than nothing.

Alright, take a listen, and if you’ve heard some of my earlier interviews that focussed primarily on resistant starch, tell me if I haven’t upgraded my specific views in general.

Now, let’s squint some more. This post was formulated only an hour ago, when I read Jeff Leach’s account of taking it up the butt for science, over morning coffee and an American Spirit ciggie: (Re)Becoming Human: what happened the day I replaced 99% of the genes in my body with that of a hunter-gatherer.

When he announced his planned DIY fecal transplant some while back on the Human Food Project’s Facebook, I thought he was deeply confounding variables. I suggested that a better first step would be to bed down and swap bodily fluids and microbes with a Hadza woman for some months as a first step (interest of science, y’know?) and only then take some Hadza guy’s shit up his butt. ‘Butt’ it is what it is.

Anyway, take a good read at that post. I was going to do some excerpts and comment on them, but I don’t want anyone to miss the forrest through the trees. In short, I’m now a much bigger fan of Leach, and it’s this bit of writing that did it for me. Take particular note of the vast differences between a Hadza gut and an American gut.

Keep squinting, Jeff. Good work, anxious to see the ultimate results.

…To wrap it up, it’s easy, in hindsight, to say that supplementing RS in forms like potato starch is “bad.” It’s complete bullshit, and I’ll tell you why.

  1. It’s not harmful. How can it be harmful to ingest a real food fraction?
  2. People in general Paleo/RealFood have been talking about prebiotics for-fucking-ever. Onions, Garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, bla bla bla.
  3. Nobody really listened and when they did, it was chest beating over a coupla grams. It was only ever predominately about bacon, grilled meat, and added spoonfuls of coconut fat and grassfed butter.
  4. SAD dieters get way more fermentable fibers than “Paleo” peeps (which isn’t saying a lot in an H-G scenario not even ridiculously and fantastically focussed on the way outlier Inuit). And H-Gers get way more than SAD.

But for my last point, it goes back to the way above. Nobody has any tolerance for being only half right. This is always a mistake. Always. Prebiotics have been jerked off about forever, but nobody paid real attention.

Until fucking potato starch and suddenly, there are many thousands worldwide doing so. But that’s a specific thing. What’s the general thing they learned is that when they took some isolated RS2, they observed first hand that:

  1. It had profound effects that cut through the signal/noise ratio on many gut levels.
  2. Results for the vast majority were positive, over time.

Sorry, I have this quirky fault where I think that giving folks valid generalities, they run with it and create their own specifics. I’m no hand holder. Fucking annoying, time wasting, and manufactures and maintains dependence.

So, some will doubtless stay with the potato starch supplementation forever and call it a day. Optimal? Probably not. But, some folks will always just supplement vitamin D rather than get out in the sun. Optimal? No, but only a stupid fucktarded miscreant would suggest that they ought not then supplement with vitamin D.

Potato starch supplementation in isolation has changed the landscape in many ways. That’s a simple fact. But you watch. There will be many coming on line to tell you it’s not a good idea and that all the foods they used to shun are the way to go—as though they came up with the idea.

Well, biting feeding hands has always been the province of latching-on leeches.

Cold Rice and Bean Salad

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I arrived back to San Jose yesterday afternoon, after a week away giving Beatrice time off from attending to two very spoiled and ornery rat terriers (she spoiled them; see how charitable I am IRL?).

Checked email when I got back and a blog reader, Brian, had a link for me: Rice and Bean Resistant Starch Salad; a post at Food Renegade by  Shannon Stonger (wouldn’t it be cool if she was ‘Shannon Stronger’ or, ‘Shannon Stoner’?).

I looked around. Bea had a pot of pinto beans in the fridge, and the rice cooker was on the countertop, with a full load from the night before. Hmmm, beans & rice dish? I’m in. After a quick surveillance of what else there was on hand, I set off to the market.

All I needed was two large heirloom tomatoes (I got a big red and a big yellow) a big [h]ass avocado, and a block of cheddar cheese. It calls for Mexican oregano, but I had Greek, which is the closest. Substitute a little lime juice for some of the vinegar and you’ll approximate that lemon verbena thingy (I googled it on my iPhone 6, in the store).

See her full recipe here.

My variations:

  1. the rice was Ben’s Parboiled. Doubt it makes any difference. It’s just starch.
  2. went with 2 tsp of sea salt instead of 1 1/4.
  3. 1/2 tsp cayenne instead of 1/4.
  4. for the vinegar, used juice of a whole lime, 1 TBS coconut vinegar, and 2 TBS ACV.
  5. recipe calls for black beans or whatever your preference. I had pintos, but bought a can of black at the market which when drained, was 1 1/2 cup of the 3 cups called for. So, half pinto, half black.

The recipe doesn’t specify, but you want to drain the beans of their liquid. Ought be obvious, but you never know. Some people do beans more like soup, so you want to start off the same.

My only thing I’d do different next time is to go with less onion. Recipe calls for a medium, the two I had were large and I picked the smallest one. Bit more chunky raw onion than I’d have preferred. Beatrice, on the other hand, loved it more than I. Definitely go with doubling the cayenne if you at all like a little kick. Even still, it’s a small kick.

IMG 2682
Yea, it’s a lot

So, there you have a week’s worth of starchy, side-dish substrate for your proteins for lunch and dinner, for two people; and it’s as cheap as sewer water.

IMG 2684
Yin Yang. Grace and Evil.

…I really loved the idea of a whole avocado for the dressing substrate (as opposed to mayonnaise, which I hate to make). Word of caution: if you go with the 2 tsp salt as I did, the dressing will be very salty. Remember, it’s to dress a lot of stuff. You’ll not need to add any more salt.

Potential future variations: Olives? How about fresh cilantro, either as garnish or in the dish itself?

Thinking Out Loud: Resistant Starch in Beans vs. Soaking Beans

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Alright, here’s the brain teaser.

So, since the beginning of this Resistant Starch Revolution, I was in San Jose all the time and did all the cooking of beans. And like a dutiful respecter of Wise Traditions methods, I always soaked them (mom and grand moms did too, when I was a kid). On the other hand, my Mexican-heritage mother-in-law scoffs. Mexicans apparently dump their beans in a pot, add water and cook them. Side note: they always taste far better than my soaked ones (soaking liquid discarded) and make way better refried beans.

Now that I’m away about half the time, Beatrice cooks her own beans—just like her mom taught her.

So here’s the deal. My beans? Little to no fartage. Bea’s beans? Substantial fartage, unless you eat them daily, in which case—for me at least—it subsides.

Remind you of anything?

Hypothesis: soaking beans ferments them to where certain bacteria strains pre-consume various fibers (including the RS2) and the by-product is the bubbles you see on top of your soaking liquid that you discard and that don’t end up in your colon where said by-products are available to co-feeders and whatever else benefit you might get. Alternatively, or both, soaking activates certain enzymatic processes whereby RS2 is consumed, much as it is in the ripening of a green banana that’s full of RS2; but that’s what fuels ripening such than when it’s yellow, little to no more RS.

Alright, theorize away. Destroy my hypothesis if you can. After all, the only thing I can ever be truly certain about is when I’m absolutely wrong.

What ought I call this? How about: The Pre-Farted Beans Hypothesis? The gasses end up in the air you breathe, not in your colon where they do the most good.

Update: a Twitter follower sent along this: Soaking the common bean in a domestic preparation reduced the contents of raffinose-type oligosaccharides but did not interfere with nutritive value.


The objective of this study was to verify the effect of soaking on the factors causing flatulence in the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris, L.) cv. IAC-Carioca during domestic preparation. A biological assay using recently weaned (21 days) male Wistar rats provided the Food Conversion Efficiency (FCE) and the Net Protein Ratio (NPR). Five treatments were carried out with isocaloric (350.9 +/- 37.9 kcal/100 g) and isoprotein (12.0 +/- 0.5%) experimental diets, with the following protein sources: beans cooked without soaking (BNS), beans soaked and cooked with the soaking water (BSWW), beans soaked and cooked without the residual soaking water (BSNW), control diet (casein) (CC), casein plus the total soluble solids found in the soaking water (CSS) for comparative purposes, and an aproteic diet (AP) for corrective purposes, all diets offered ad libitum. The contents of raffinose-type oligosaccharides were determined in the different domestic preparations of the beans. Significant reductions were observed in the contents of the oligosaccharides raffinose (25.0%), stachyose (24.8%), and verbascose (41.7%), and in the contents of total sugars (80.6%), reducing sugars (58.2%), nonreducing sugars (90.3%), and starch (26.8%) when soaking took place before cooking and elimination of the soaking water not absorbed by the beans (BSNW) was used. No significant difference (p > 0.05) was observed between the values for FCE and NPR of the control diet (casein) and control diet plus soaking water soluble solids. Neither was any significant difference between the values for the different bean treatments found, though the values for FCE and NPR were lower than those obtained for casein treatments. Thus it was verified that although the domestic preparation of the common bean significantly reduced the contents of raffinose-type oligosaccharides, total reducing and nonreducing sugars and starch, it did not interfere with its nutritive value.

“[D]id not interfere with nutritive value.” Well, at least not for the human cell 10% of us. :)

The Incredible Edible Tigernut

Having touched on the Tigernut previously, I thought it time for a complete review to encompass not only the aspects of its evolutionary roots in the human diet and impressive nutrition—both macro and micro—but also practical applications in our everyday lives. On that note, I have some interesting Tigernut food and drink experiences to share with you.

The Roots of the Root

One thing that always seemed a bit mysterious to me in the general human evolutionary narrative is how, nutritionally, our hominin ancestors were able to evolve to such extremes (ref: expensive tissue hypothesis and Kleiber’s law). Briefly, as the story goes, millions of years ago, our ape ancestors with their small brains and gigantic guts climbed down from the trees where they spent most of their time eating (since leaves aren’t nutritionally dense) and were able to acquire the nutritional density to eventually grow large brains and correspondingly small guts by scavenging stuff left over from predator kills, such as marrow and brain.

But how to get from A to B, without some intermediate step? What if, for example, there was a plant that could deliver this nutritional density, and far from being hit & miss like finding predator leftovers, it was as plentiful as invasive weeds and as easy to harvest as pulling them from soft, moist soil?

Tigernuts (Cyperus esculentus)

Earlier this year, new research was published that stemmed from research on the eating patterns of baboons. In a nutshell, a mystery was solved as to why isotope analysis suggested that “Nutcracker Man” (Paranthropus boisei) consumed a vast amount of grass (C4 plant sources). Why it was mysterious is that here, you have a larger-brained, smaller-gutted hominin eating essentially a diet similar to the leaves in trees; so where was the nutritional density coming from to grow and support this big brain with its important energy requirements? It wasn’t the grass, but the tubers in the soil, the roots.

Ancient human ancestor ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts

Previous research using stable isotope analyses suggests the diet of these homimins was largely comprised of C4 plants like grasses and sedges. However, a debate has raged over whether such high-fibre foods could ever be of sufficiently high quality for a large-brained, medium-sized hominin.

Dr Macho’s study finds that baboons today eat large quantities of C4 tiger nuts, and this food would have contained sufficiently high amounts of minerals and vitamins, and the fatty acids that would have been particularly important for the hominin brain. […]

Tiger nuts, which are rich in starches, are highly abrasive in an unheated state. Dr Macho suggests that hominins’ teeth suffered abrasion and wear and tear due to these starches. The study finds that baboons’ teeth have similar marks, giving clues about their pattern of consumption. In order to digest the tiger nuts and allow the enzymes in the saliva to break down the starches, the hominins would need to chew the tiger nuts for a long time. All this chewing put considerable strain on the jaws and teeth, which explains why ‘Nutcracker Man’ had such a distinctive cranial anatomy.

I suspect that the abrasion observed on teeth is because 1) it was a staple food being consumed in great quantity, and 2) likely not always washed or rinsed and so abrasion was partially from soil (probiotics). Plus, if you soak the unpeeled ones as I do, for 24-48 hours, they take on a soft but snappy water chestnut texture.

But here’s the real evolutionary kicker for me, in addition to the nutrition, which we’ll cover next.

The Oxford study calculates a hominin could extract sufficient nutrients from a tiger nut-based diet – i.e. around 10,000 kilojoules or 2,000 calories a day, or 80% of their required daily calorie intake – in two and half to three hours. This fits comfortably within the foraging time of five to six hours per day typical for a large-bodied primate. [emphasis added]

Consider that an average male gorilla eats 50 pounds of leafy and stalky plant matter per day. Scale that to your own weight, then figure how much time it would take you. So, the question arrises to me:

Are H. sapiens big brains and small guts an evolutionary product of high density nutrition, or free time?

What happens when you have more discretionary time? Or, perhaps more poignantly: what happens when members of a society have more free time? You could describe lots of things but creativity rather encompasses all, and is not the human story one of creativity? Freed from having to literally spend all waking hours pursuing and eating food, we’re unique; the consequences are manifest all around us.

So, in a primitive hominin setting, we’re talking about free time that changes social structures: ushers in collaboration in foraging, tool development and use, and enhances various division of labor dynamics including the trapping and hunting of animals—all kinds of those things that contribute to a growth in intelligence and brain size. Don’t forget that we’re talking time scales in the millions of years.

So, I don’t think it’s any longer an easy answer of: we scavenged predator kills for marrow and brain, and grew big brains. I think it means that starch is also an inexorable piece of that evolution. It’s perhaps not the only answer, but it’s decidedly a big piece of the puzzle for anyone looking honestly.

The Root Nutrition

The most glaring aspect of the overall nutrition is its macronutrient partitioning. First, let’s look at mammalian breast milk in general, a rule of thumb I always think is smart to keep in mind:

  • 50 – 60% fat
  • 25 – 40% carbohydrate
  • 5 – 20% protein


  • 51% fat
  • 42% carbohydrate
  • 7% protein

Human breast milk:

  • 51% fat
  • 39% carbohydrate
  • 6% protein

Perhaps these Tigernuts were misnamed, and ought to have been called Tigermilk?

Moving onto micronutrients, all the detailed charts are in this previous post, but in summary:

  • Of 18 core micronutrients, Tigernuts (a tuber) outweigh potatoes in 16 of them (Vit C the only thing potatoes have more of) and in one, neither have any (B12).
  • Compared with red meat, Tigernuts outweigh beef in 10 of them, are less in 5, and in 2 (Vitamin A, B12) have none. Vitamin D is listed as “trace” in beef, but that’s as good as none.

So, Tigernuts are more nutritious—in 56% of nutrients—over red meat (beef liver is a different story—Tigernuts being more nutritious in only 22% of nutrients). I remind you, folks: we’re talking about a plant here, a starchy tuber: more nutritious in vitamins and minerals than red meat generally. And, did I mention? It’s a starchy tuber. Moreover, it’s more reliable and far easier to harvest than just about anything you can hunt or fish.

The Root of Eating and Drinking These Tubers

I’ve recently come across a new purveyor of Tigernuts. They graciously sponsored this post and sent me their products.

Screen Shot 2014 09 23 at 11 24 49 AM

Currently, the available product lineup is Organic Raw Tigernuts, Organic Tigernut FlourOrganic Cold-pressed Tigernut Oil, and Horchata de chuffa, made from Tigernuts. In terms of the Horchata, it’s currently only available in NYC area Whole Foods. I got all the flavors, via a shipped cold pack; and in response to my admonishment after tasting, they are working on making that option available to anyone, via their own website.

Let me tell you: both Beatrice and I loved the Unsweetened the best, more than Original that’s lightly sweetened (with non-gmo organic California medjool dates). We also loved the Chai. But my personal favorite was the Coffee. Perhaps the most delicious and lite iced coffee I’ve ever had.

One issue in terms of a marketable horchata product is that there’s sediment. This is resistant starch—behaves exactly the same way as if you’d dumped a tsp of potato starch into it. Once it settles, it settles pretty firmly. The company is weighing where to go with that: “clean” it up for the consumer, or tout the benefits. I’ve advised them to get rooted now, as it is, then later make a sterile version for the other 90% of pampered America.

In terms of RS content, here’s the go-to source for you geeks. Basically, an RS profile similar to maize, perhaps about half of raw potato by weight. However, this is a good thing because as a raw food, more readily digestible starch for energy is better. Or, to put it another way, you’ll get a lot more resistant starch from raw tigernuts than you will from anything else that’s cooked and cooled I’m aware of.

Or, you could make your own. If you get hooked, they’ll get you a 27.5 lbs Bag. You can really knock yourself out.

Horchata de chufa

I followed a standard recipe (Google it, pick your fav) but with a serious twist. I added no nothing. I just did the Tigernuts and water (no sugar). I had an interesting result.

Previously, I had experimented with soaking them. I don’t want peeled ones, but I’m interested in ways where you can soak the whole ones and get various results. So, I did. Up to 48 hours. It was at the end of that last soak where I serendipitously decided to make horchata. Here’s the deal: recipes call for 8-12 hour soakings. This was two days. Folks who soak legumes are well familiar with the bubbles that form on the surface of the water after a day or so. Fermentation. Those are bacteria farts.

I had tons of this with these Tigernuts. Bubbles all over.

What did I get, once I discarded the soaking liquid, rinsed, ground, added fresh water and strained? Something resembling kefir. And it got better with age. When I finished the batch, I tasted and noted not too much sweet, but a slight hint of sour. I put that bottle in the fridge for a whole day before touching it and when I popped it, it popped big. Fermentation. It continued to pop each time I opened it. Carbon dioxide, no doubt.

…I once made a batch of kefir that was so powerful, it self carbonated and had a slight fiz to it. Now I’m wondering if I can naturally carbonate Tigernuts by perhaps using the soaking liquid, perhaps adding just a bit of sugar. Suggestions welcome.

That said, the next batch I do will be with the standard 12-hr soak, just to see if anyone can make it in the standard way, get the standard result.

…Now, folks who’ve followed me for a long time know my adversity to nut flours. I used them early on in my Paleo journey, but then realized that they are very high in omega-6 fats, a polyunsaturated fat that oxidizes easily—not to mention the balance that ought exist between pro-infalamatory n-6, and anti-inflammatory n-3. Nuts, except for macadamia (ref: Fat Bread), are extraordinarily high in n-6, while being low in n-3. Nuts ought be eaten whole, in my view, not concentrated into flours.

Except for Tigetnut flour! It’s actually one of the first documented flours. Egyptians used it to make bread.

@OurTrueRoots has just released their Organic Tigernut Flour to market. I got a preview. Given all the “Paleo” brownies in the universe, I decided to make a somewhat closer version. I’ve never baked a brownie or cookie in my 53 years, so, I just Googled a standard, highly rated brownie recipe and did 3 things different:

  • Half the sugar called for
  • Substitute all wheat flour for Tigernut flour
  • Chopped up half a bar of 80% cacao dark chocolate and added to the batter
Zero difference

They were still too sweet for me, making my next excursion a sugar-free one. Tigernuts are naturally quite sweet, so this should really focus the minds of some of you “Paleo” bakers out there. That said, they were…brownies. I seriously doubt there would be a statistical significance in a blind-taste-test against standard, wheat flour brownies.

I will make a prediction: within a year, nobody will be using nut flours for baked “Paleo Treats.” They’ll be using this—a tuber flour and I’ll be a little less outraged. Incidentally, the flour is raw. The tigernuts are sun dried and ground up. That’s it.

There’s one additional product that might interest you, Organic Cold-pressed Tigernut Oil.

Tigernut Oil

To my mind, this is going to be their biggest hit, after the flour. The fat profile is roughly similar to olive oil, without the Italian Mafia fraud. Everyone ought resolve to never purchase another ounce of Italian “olive” oil. I don’t. I buy Greek (and it’s superior on every level anyway).

But this is quite a different thing, not better or worse. I only cook with animal fats, coconut and palm oils, owing to the paucity of PUFA. Olive and now, Tigernut oil, get used raw.

And on that score, this one really makes the grade. I have tested it with a little vinegar on lettuce, and a water cracker dipped in it. High marks on both. It’s difficult to say much more, simply because oil is such an ubiquitous commodity. I’d simply say that you’ll want to be having this in your kitchen tool bag, along with the Greek EVOO.

You can see more cooking applications here, with pictures: breaded liver, trout, and an emulsification with the oil.

This post had been brought to you by Our True Roots. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I got into writing it.

Probiotic Fibers And Flatulence; My N=1

Way back in the beginning of experimenting with resistant starch via supplemental potato starch the most common side effect by far was rather impressive amounts of gas, or “fartage,” for most people.

Some couldn’t tolerate it while others, like myself couldn’t help but laugh uproariously. Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it’s tough to describe the volume and frequency it can induce—and often for a solid day or more. A couple of times, for myself, it was also accompanied by more than mild intestinal discomfort.

But I persisted and over time, it just went away, even with large doses of potato starch. Later, I even added things to my “cocktail” like inulin and fructo-oligo-saccharidesglucomannanbanana flourplantain flour, and took them with my go-to, dirt-based probiotics (Prescript-AssistAOR Probiotic-3, and Primal Defense Ultra). And everything was pretty cool, as relayed here.

A while back, I relayed my experience of being in moving upheaval and eating crappy for about a month. That was in conjunction with taking absolutely no supplements at all, including any of the aforementioned.

Yesterday I got curious. If I supplement the probiotic fibers again, will I be back to fartage square one?

Went and got some raw milk, fresh squeezed orange juice, and some organic apple cider vinegar from a local whole-food co-op here in Placerville, CA. First, I took a shot of the vinegar and chased it with the OJ.

Then I made a cocktail with raw milk as the base and a handy stick blender:

  • 4 TBS Potato Starch
  • 2 TBS Banana Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Inulin/FOS Powder
  • 3 1g-caps Glucomannan

I took it with 1 capsule each of the three probiotics and waited for the fog to roll in. But it didn’t. In fact, it never did at all. No foghorn required. I felt fine, clear, and it seemed that I was breathing easier from my nose. The only “negative” I experienced is that I guess I must have been unwittingly retaining water, because from about 9PM, and for the next 12 hours, I must have pissed out a gallon of water. So, here I am, having detailed, lucid dreams (as has been widely reported by others with PS supplementation) about having to take a piss, trying to find a place, having to stand in line, etc. Luckily I managed to wake up (about 10 times) before my turn came up. Incidentally, this was accompanied by absolutely no thirst at all.

So, bottom line is that the bugs that co-feed on the various gases produced by the ones eating all those fibers seem to have taken up long-term residency in my gut. Very interesting indeed, though somewhat disappointing on the entertainment front.

Anyone have similar or different experiences?

Update: Supplemental reading: Does Dirt Make You Happy?

Logic 101: Why The Resistant Starch And Gut Biome Revolution Means Doom For VLC/Keto

It has gone way beyond an embrace of resistant starch. Back in the day—meaning about a year ago—my Google alerts delivered webstuff on RS a coupla times per week, at best. Now, it’s a half dozen per day as the world comes to realize the enormity of the gut’s profound influence on health in the very general. RS is but one element, but a very important one: easy to see results fast and cheap.

…Lafably, you still have people writing only about the Krebs Cycle, the hormones leptin and insulin, “signaling,” and “PATHWAYS!!!!” et al. You see, I take criticism because I never put you to sleep with that sort of deconstruction minutiae. Let those who blog that stuff have their geek followers. Don’t care. Never did.


More fish, troll I.

I’ve come to receive more and more comments from VLC/Keto proponents trying to be conciliatory about it—cool enough, progress, etc. I don’t mean to pick on rs711; it’s merely the latest, and the one that inspired this post specifically.

150g of CHO is too much for more and more people.

This is absurd.

But, I’ll explain nicely. A comment along the same lines—trying to reconcile the irreconcilable—put this forth:

I don’t know why the keto/low carb community will not just choose to integrate RS. As you point out some already have. Why not the rest? How long will it be until RS supplements start appearing in stores?

My reply:

Because, they understand quite well that embracing it is like welcoming Barbarians at the gate of the Castle.

Bank on it.

…I’ll elaborate just a bit to give you a clue as to why this is and why RS is a zero-win for VLC/Keto.

Should it turn out that supplementation via things like PS, green plantain/banana flour, etc., help folks, then it takes no genius to conclude that they were fucktarded from day one. Or, ignorant-fucktarded, to be more magnanimous.

Nobody had access to isolated RS in human evolution. Ergo, starch consumption in various forms is a more appropriate dietary regime.

Resistant starch is a Trojan Horse for the VLC/Keto crowd. They know that very well, and it’s why you see such vigorous defense of VLC/Keto all over—which, I dismiss entirely; because, I know what it is, and why it is. I’m pretty good at knowing in what to invest my energies. Duh. Try to protect an investment in a dietary regime from the 1970s that turns out to be wrong because unknowns weren’t integrated, or try to understand more and more about the gut biome; where, incidentally, 100% of the revelations point to the benefits of real-food carbohydrate in the diet?

Place your bets. LC/Keto are Buggy Whips, but go ahead and try to keep the industry alive.

So, that’s really the most fundamentally logical reason why VLC/Keto is now doomed: the rapidly emerging science of the gut biome that heretofore, has been 100% unaccounted for.

Moreover, this logically means that Paleo advocates ought divorce from LCers and lend no more support. It is simply the Law of Identity—i.e., of non-contradiction—that LC is about restricting a macronutrient (carbohydrate) no matter what, and Paleo is about understanding the appropriate human diet via ever developing knowledge about not only what was eaten but now, gut microbiology that dovetails quite nicely with the developing evolutionary and anthropological knowledge in other areas.

The puzzle is coming together, which is the essence of the Paleo paradigm qua foundational template.

Want a belly laf? Human mother’s milk is about 30% sugar.

We should have known, eh?

Alright, the second part of the logical equation is more practical, lo, pernicious. You see, the VLC/Keto advocates have had a trick up their sleeves for decades to fool you. It goes like this:

  1. Do an Atkin’s style Induction Diet for 2 or more weeks
  2. Measure ketones; pee purple
  3. Test your blood glucose regularly, especially after meals
  4. Freak out when you next eat some carbs and see your BG readings

A self-fulfilling, baked-in-the-cake scam of confirmation bias.

Here’s the thing.

When you go ketogenic—either by LCHF (low protein too) or fasting—you develop physiological insulin resistance. Because your brain requires upwards of 130 grams daily of glucose, then if you’re not ingesting it because LC-Guru, your body—as an evolutionary survival adaptation in the face of perceived starvation—makes it from protein (even your heart muscle if it has to; welcome to the optimal chronic dietary regime). But, it also guards glucose like Fidel Castro holds onto 1950s communism. To do that, it gives you a form of metabolic syndrome. It’s analogous to the physiological ”Type 2 Diabetes” of a bear in late fall, about to hibernate for 5 months.

What’s the result? It’s that, in the way VLC/Keto is promoted now, you have been admonished to monitor your blood glucose regularly. Of course, everyone knows everyone cheats and when you do let Satan into your bed with that piece of your child’s birthday cake, WHAM! You’re minimally pre-diabetes, if not type 2.

You have self diagnosed. You can no more eat any carbs than a couch potato who fears a heart rate of over 100 bpm can climb a flight of stairs. I suppose that couch potato would be analogous to a low-carb butter ball.

Guess what? This isn’t just speculation on my part. I have scienzez to show you.

  1. Way back in 1928, 1936, and 1972, three very similar experiments were conducted on Inuit living their traditional diets. The results were identical even though the testing methods improved. They gave them a huge bolus dose of glucose and unlike you LCers who can’t “climb a flight of stairs,” they displayed normal physiologic glucose tolerance, spiking to about 140 mg/dL, perfectly normal. Cleard within a couple of hours. Then, they put them on an 80 hour fast in order to induce unequivocal ketosis. Gave them the same glucose. They spiked to 400 and 3 hours later, some were still over 300. My post on it: To Reiterate, Just In Case You Missed It: No Elevated Ketone Levels in the Inuit.
  2. Ironically, Vilhjalmur Stefansson—the guy who popularized the arctic and Inuit for countless VLC/Keto advocates—tested out exactly the same after his Belleview experiment. Crap ability to handle glucose after the year, restored to normal after 3 weeks on a nomal diet: More Uncovering of the Inuit Myth: Stefansson and Anderson Belleview Experiement; Compromised Glucose Tolerance.

At what point are people of good sense going to recognize that the new knowledge of the gut biome and its requirement for much fermentable fiber is a complete game changer (VLC/Keto is just a small aspect, though the very most wrong of everybody on this point)? At what point, as well, are people of good sense going to recognize that VLC/Keto has been a convenient, baked-in-the-cake scam (unintentionally, but the convenience exists) all along by creating physiological insulin resistance that by means of admonishments to measure blood glucose regularly, is then used anecdotally to convince people that carbohydrates are bad?

But you know what? All you VLC/Keto folks are welcome to continue. I love beating you up, and I don’t need to recite PATHWAYS!!!!! from textbooks to do it.

Dear Mark: Thank You! (Resistant Starch Doesn’t Actually Cause Colon Cancer)

Total Shares 10

Easily the subject of most emails, tweets, FB messages and comments directed at me over the last week or so has been about this recent study: Gut microbial metabolism drives transformation of msh2-deficient colon epithelial cells.

I glanced at it and my immediate sense was: “unbridled reductionism.” I don’t see much utility in reducing things to isolation, disregarding other factors. In this case, it’s important to consider all the benefits and downsides to resistant starch and then weigh them to get an overall view. In other words, the only way this study has relevance in my view is for people whose #1 goal in life is to prevent colon cancer at all cost or discomfort.

Anyway, given my recent moving activities I was unable to spend any time on it. Them commenter Gemma said this of the study and I kinda just nodded and put it out of my mind:

As usual, the circumstances and the concentration matter. It is rather complex. My take.

Read the study cited in the study you linked:

The Warburg Effect Dictates the Mechanism of Butyrate-Mediated Histone Acetylation and Cell Proliferation


We are speaking tumour cells, not healthy cells.

Butyrate concentration differs in proximal / distant colon, and it’s significantly lower deep in the crypts, where the neoplasmatic cells are formed. TOO LITTLE butyrate does not inhibit proliferation of a tumour cell, it is rather used up as fuel. Increase butyrate, and the proliferation is inhibited. Especially increase butyrate content at the distal part of the colon, where most of the colorectal cancer starts. (No, it won’t happen by eating more butter).

Haven’t you already heard it here?

In other words, if there is already a tumour cell at the bottom of the crypt and there is too little butyrate reaching it, there is no inhibition.

“Butyrate is an attractive candidate for chemotherapy or chemoprevention because it selectively inhibits tumor growth and has minimal adverse effects in clinical trials (Pouillart, 1998). However, the efficacy of butyrate as a chemotherapeutic agent has been limited by its rapid uptake and metabolism by normal cells (resulting in a half-life of 6 min and peak blood levels below 0.05 mM [Miller et al., 1987]) before reaching tumors (Pouillart, 1998). More stable butyrate derivatives such as tributyrin have also not been successful on a consistent basis (Pouillart, 1998). A fiber-rich diet might be more successful for chemoprevention because it delivers mM levels of butyrate (via the microbiota) to the correct place (the colon) before the onset or at an early stage of tumorigenesis. Evidence for this idea comes from recent human studies demonstrating lower levels of butyrate-producing bacteria among the gut microbiota of colorectal cancer patients compared to healthy participants (Balamurugan et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2012), and studies showing an inverse correlation between fecal butyrate levels and tumor size in colorectal cancer (Boutron-Ruault et al., 2005; Monleón et al., 2009).”

And now today, Mark Sisson delves deep into the matter: Dear Mark: Does Resistant Starch Cause Colon Cancer?

From my reading of the research, resistant starch (and the resultant butyrate) has an overall beneficial, preventive effect on colon cancer risk. That relationship may change or become more complicated in advanced colon cancer, and the story may be entirely different for people carrying the MSH2 mutation from today’s highlighted study, but that remains to be seen. For now, I’m still incorporating RS into my diet.

If you’re worried, ask your doctor about getting an MSH2 status test. And review your family history of cancer. Was it colon? Was it a DNA repair mismatch-related case? Even if you do have the MSH2 mutation and a family history of Lynch Syndrome, don’t fear fermentable fibers, resistant starches, and butyrate. Your colonic cells run on butyrate. It’s their primary energy source. And all the other myriad benefits of prebiotics remain relevant. Besides, this is one study. It’s not proof or confirmation of anything. Not yet.

Alright, water’s safe. Everyone can get back in the pool, now.

Note: I’m currently drafting a ginormous post revisiting an old friend: The Incredible, Edible Tigernut. For publication later this month.

Revisiting the Changing Paleo Landscape in Real Food Starches, Resistant Starch, and “Nutritional” Ketosis

A few days back I somewhat reluctantly called out Nora Gedgaudas for what, in my judgement, is a resistance to various revelations that have come to pass over the last few years and been widely adopted in the general Paleoish community: Juxtaposition: Dallas & Melissa Hartwig vs. Nora Gedgaudas.

Since I’m very busy with a complex move (I’ll be splitting time between three places) I thought I’d just toss up some of my favorite smart comments on that post, comments that deserve to be on the front page for a while. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. There’s an editing touch here & there, but nothing material to the message.


Tuck, you might do well to stop and think for a moment and look at the nutritional profile of wild game that wild carnivores actually eat: Bison, water buffalo, kudu, springbok, giraffes, impala, deer, ducks, fowl, etc., etc. They’re all TOO LEAN to support ketosis!


Mind you animals don’t eat the fatty parts and walk away. They and their families devour the entire lean and fresh animals—a relatively small amount of glycogen and huge quantities of protein. But, not nearly enough fat, period.

~ Marie

…Mentioning the fact that NK is proven useful for certain diseases addresses its therapeutic effect in special cases up to now, without any accounting of long-term physiological impact.

An extreme example of this issue : Arsenic is also very useful therapeutically. That doesn’t make it a desirable for broad, life-long use.

Specific therapeutic effects do not change the fact that long term NK does not have any analogue in nature nor any long history in civilization and has a small patient set of data—data which in fact show adverse effects in many cases (epileptic children studies).

So long term NK is by definition “a modern experiment.”

There’s nothing wrong with that, btw. Nothing.

It’s just that nature or evolution cannot be presented as evidence that long term NK is desirable for anyone. It may be, I surely don’t know, but the point is no one does. So, caveat emptor—given which, I’m all for n=1, especially if someone monitors well and shares info.

~ Bret

But when looking for science-based (and not opinion or anecdote-based) baseline

Anecdotes aren’t the worst thing in the world. A “science-based approach,” while necessary and useful in many ways, still has holes.

Two come to mind primarily:

  1. Most of the time we aim for a clinical study, the gold standard of science. But you can’t test everything you need to test in order to establish clinical proof of a dietary/lifestyle tenet. Life is simply too complex. Gary Taubes enumerated this frustrating complexity in Good Calories, Bad Calories when musing about the quandary of trying to design an effective and conclusive clinical study. For instance, if we reduce carbohydrates in a diet, do we increase calories in fat and/or protein? Which one? Or both? If both, then how much of each? And regardless of which we choose, what makes the difference in teh final result? The absolute reduction of carbohydrates? The decrease in carbohydrate relative to the other macronutrients? Or something else that we have not identified? With even one such study being prohibitively expensive, you could not test multiple studies in parallel either. The quagmire is endless.
  2. You can opt instead to use observational science to piece together “markers” of health. But this approach is not flawless, either. Selecting which markers to measure reincorporates the element of bias, which science is supposed to avoid (and as we know from Taubesian research et al, rarely does in practice). How do you decide what to measure? What if some indications contradict others? Are you going to conclude “good” or “bad” based on majority rule? If so, how do you know that certain combinations of these markers don’t result in different longevity of life and/or vibrancy of health than others? The danger here is a false sense of security, where you have this enterprise that you implicitly believe lacks bias, but in reality is full of it. Anecdotes, on the other hand, can be much more useful than we often give them credit for. Where experimental studies may give us a decent starting point, individual experiences can help fill in the gaps. Take Tom Naughton’s experience illustrated by the following comment, whereas he had previously been highly skeptical of “safe” or resistant starches:

I’ve heard from people who say their energy flagged on a very-low-carb diet, but they felt great when they added 100 grams or so of “safe starches” back into their diets as prescribed in Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet. I believe them.

Those anecdotes clued him in that there might just be something to this starch thing. Take Richard’s recent remarks in a discussion debunking the pursuit of a (fictional) sterile avoidance of bias in human life:


The Synthesis then becomes the new Thesis, and the process repeats ad infinitum; not in circular fashion, but rather, a spiral fashion where each cycle represents more knowledge, better understanding, get’s a little closer to the truth. As such, I never have to worry much about someone’s bias. Let them be as biased as they like and then synthesize new understanding from competing bias. Someone’s comment on a post of mine might be 90% logical fallacy—or just mostly bullshit—but 5%, or 1% decent antithesis from which which a synthesis might emerge and in turn, a new, more complete thesis.

…Or, you can waste endless hours debating who’s right and who’s wrong; who’s biased and who’s impartial; who’s cognitively dissonant and who’s consonant. Or, you could be making progress recognizing that in all likelihood, you’re both right, both wrong; both biased; both living in some measure of dissonance and contradiction—in different proportions, contexts and perspectives—and there’s a synthesis dying to get out if you could both simply embrace intellectual honesty.

But nothing is settled, ever. I prefer it that way.

And not only is the journey (rather than the end goal) preferable—it is an inevitability of life. We’ll never know all the answers. Not even in a thousand years (presuming our descendants are still here).

To corral up all my rambling and return to your original point, I think we have good reason to combine anecdotes with “rigorous science.” Be especially careful of that latter concept…you have to bore deep holes of scrutiny and skepticism into every study that comes out before you can trust it as an oracle. Chances are, since it was designed by humans, it will contain the same flaws and biases that plague all of us humans. I’m not saying they’re worthless. Just don’t let them give you a false sense of security.

~ Duck

Well, he spent $300,000 and 10 years biohacking himself and he still can’t tolerate a side of french fries. This suggests that he has some extreme gut issues that even money can’t easily solve.

Meanwhile countless others are making more progress with about $100 in probiotics and prebiotics. So, at least he acknowledges that starch is working for many and I think that’s certainly better than turning a blind eye to it.

However, Dave couldn’t help patting himself on the back as he claimed that the collagen in his bulletproof coffee [see correction on that from Duck] ferments to butyrate at the same rate as RS. I’d love to see a citation for that. I don’t think that’s true.

I distinctly remember seeing a study about Cheetahs fermenting SCFAs from consuming collagen, skin and other grisly bits when digesting whole animals, but I was the one who uncovered that study a few months ago, and Table 3 clearly shows that hardly any butyrate is fermented from collagen:


And as best as I can tell, that’s the only study to look into the SCFAs fermented from animal fibers, and collagen does not appear to be a significant source of butyrate whatsoever.

~ Melissa Hartwig

I always have just the tiniest feeling of dread when I see this many pingbacks to our site from your blog. This one wasn’t so bad. Thanks, Richard.


[Laf — Ed]

~ Duck

Nora said: “To quote Bernstein, you can have an amino acid deficiency, you can have an essential fatty acid deficiency, but there is no such thing in any medical textbook on Earth as a carbohydrate deficiency. There is no such thing as a glucose deficiency….per se.

Well, I don’t know about you, but nobody in their right mind gets nutritional advice from “medical textbooks.” And those same medical textbooks also say some unkind words on dietary saturated fat.


The Joint Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Consultation on Human Nutrition stated in 1998:

From: Carbohydrates in human nutrition (Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation, Rome, Italy, 14-18 April 1997). FAO food and nutrition paper 66. World Health Organization. 1998. ISBN 9251041148.

“One of the major developments in our understanding of the importance of carbohydrates for health in the past twenty years has been the discovery of resistant starch.”

Nora, Nora, Nora… The evidence for the role of carbohydrates and Resistant Starch in human health isn’t just there. It’s overwhelming.

~ Duck

From: Bulletproof Executive : Podcast #136

Nora Gedgaudas: There’s too much credence being given to the whole “safe starch” idea, that I don’t necessarily consider safe at all. You know, nightshades are certainly not what I think of as safe.

Dave: I don’t do nightshades. […]

Nora Gedgaudas: And these are anything but Paleo foods. These are very, very, very new foods to us…

Hard to believe that someone with “expertise” in “Paleo” foods never heard of Tiger Nuts.

While Nora comes off as the Sarah Palin of Paleo in that clip, their conversation highlights the wussification of Paleo.

What Nora and Dave don’t seem to realize is that some of the very plant toxins they fear have also been shown to have health benefits. For instance, nightshade toxins have been shown in studies to exhibit the following properties…

  1. Antiallergic, Antipyretic, and Anti-inflammatory effects
  2. Blood sugar-lowering effects
  3. Antibiotic Activities against Pathogenic Bacteria, Viruses, Protozoa, and Fungi
  4. Destruction of Human Cancer Cells

Source: Potato Glycoalkaloids and Metabolites: Roles in the Plant and in the Diet 

For those who are curious, the paper documents all the known harmful effects and beneficial effects of nightshade toxins, and concludes by saying…

“Food and biomedical scientists, including nutritionists, pharmacologists, and microbiologists, are challenged to further define the beneficial effects of the glycoalkaloids against cancer, the immune system, cholesterol, and inflammation, as well as against pathogenic fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.”

Not so black and white, eh? How about so-called toxic saponins?

Nora and Dave are afraid of them too. But, would it surprise you that virtually all indigenous cultures make an effort to consume toxic saponins and tannins? They are nearly always found in bark and bush teas that are consumed by nearly every culture, including the Inuit. Take the Masai for instance. Turns out if you actually take the time to research their eating habits, you find that they eat toxic Acacia nilotica bark extract, with virtually every meat-heavy meal. The bark is rich in saponins and tannins. The saponins are believed to lower cholesterol and heart disease incidence (National Geographic, Oct 1995).

What about the Inuit? Labrador Tea was a major component of their diet. And guess what? It’s really freakin’ toxic. From: Wikipedia: Labrador Tea

[Labrador tea] has been a favorite beverage among Athabaskan and Inuit people for many years…Labrador tea has narcotic properties. Evidence suggests that excessive consumption of the plant may cause delirium or poisoning. Toxic terpenes of the essential oils cause symptoms of intoxication, such as slow pulse, lowering of blood pressure, lack of coordination, convulsions, paralysis, and death. It is apparently safe as a weak herbal tea, but should not be made too strong.

Oh, and Labrador tea has saponins and tannins too. Definitely not “bulletproof” tea. Are Nora and Dave are oblivious to this, or just willfully ignorant?

At any rate, hormesis from “toxic” plants appears to be a new frontier for health research. Tim shared this very cool article on nutritional toxicology that was published just a few days ago.

Fruits and Vegetables Are Trying to Kill You

Warding off the diseases of aging is certainly a worthwhile pursuit. But evidence has mounted to suggest that antioxidant vitamin supplements, long assumed to improve health, are ineffectual. Fruits and vegetables are indeed healthful but not necessarily because they shield you from oxidative stress. In fact, they may improve health for quite the opposite reason: They stress you.

That stress comes courtesy of trace amounts of naturally occurring pesticides and anti-grazing compounds. You already know these substances as the hot flavors in spices, the mouth-puckering tannins in wines, or the stink of Brussels sprouts. They are the antibacterials, antifungals, and grazing deterrents of the plant world. In the right amount, these slightly noxious substances, which help plants survive, may leave you stronger.

Parallel studies, meanwhile, have undercut decades-old assumptions about the dangers of free radicals. Rather than killing us, these volatile molecules, in the right amount, may improve our health. Our quest to neutralize them with antioxidant supplements may be doing more harm than good.

If one truly makes an effort to research what indigenous cultures ate—and it almost certainly appears that Dave and Nora do not make that kind of effort—one will find that consistent consumption of plant toxins were a major component of their diets.

Given what we are learning about the microbiota, it appears that a healthy gut biome may be required to tolerate these toxins—as these toxins can often be metabolized by our gut bugs. I don’t doubt that Nora and Dave have their gut issues and perhaps can’t tolerate any plant toxins. I understand that toxins can be hard on the weak, modern gut. But, to profess to the world that all plant toxins are bad just isn’t supported by the scientific literature. Nor is it supported by the dietary habits of indigenous cultures. Not by a long shot.

The dose makes the poison. Don’t eat tons of plant toxins. But, avoid them at your own peril.


Alright, that should wrap it up for today. It is true that now, my role has shifted from blog writer to blog writer and publisher to a greater and greater extent. I think that makes a far better experience for you readers.

Juxtaposition: Dallas & Melissa Hartwig vs. Nora Gedgaudas

Way back when, I took a first-impression dislike to Dallas, Melissa and the Whole 9.

They were annoying. Came on the scene quick, rose just as quickly, and they were fucking strict; and those were the reports I was getting in my comments. But I didn’t have much time to look into it. “They’ll go away.” They didn’t.

Then one day I looked, looked some more, and I understood. There is a time and place for strict dealing and that’s what they deal in. For a time; the idea being, to remove as many confounding variables as possible so you can really see the difference between strict real food and packaged junk in very high resolution, over 30 days. Now, thousands of folks do a Whole30 once or more per year.

As is often my style, I can easily go from hate to love in a heartbeat. The inverse is a lot harder, though. Concerning the former, I still have fond memories of Dallas heaping grinning shit on me for wearing a suit for my AHS12 presentation. I’m typically walking around in cargo shorts barefoot.

New Whole30® Program Rules

White potatoes are now allowed on the Whole30 program […]

We are always thinking about the Whole30 program—how to make it better, more effective, easier to follow, and more logical in its framework. The discussion of white potatoes began about a year ago amongst our team and valued advisors, and the debate raged hard and long. White potatoes are a whole, real, nutrient-dense food! It doesn’t make logical sense to leave them out while other carb-dense foods like taro, yuca, or sweet potato are allowed. […]

Eventually, we arrived at a consensus. Potatoes of all varieties are in, but fries and chips are not. […]

And you now what? Just a light coating of those taters (toss in a wok) with coconut oil, ghee, lard, or red palm oil makes awesome oven fries (450-500 for 10, toss, go another 10). I began blogging about adding potatoes in 2009, while doing Leangains, and found myself leaning out while eating a lot of them. I realized it was not about starch, but processed food.

Let’s juxtapose. I hate doing this, because I really adore Nora and her partner on a personal level and they have only ever treated me like a King; but girls: you have to embrace new knowledge and understanding, and the VLC club is running on fumes vis-a-vis Paleo/Primal. Plus, if you get the thousands of comments like I do, you must know that all is not paradise in paradise. I can’t count the number of people who’ve helped themselves by curing their starch deficiency.

Plus, it’s just getting to ridiculous proportions with people who ought know better ignoring plain facts and science.

I even have a professor at a well known institution scouring the literature to see if there’s a case of obligate carnivores ever having been measured in ketosis—the the Inuit have never, in nearly 100 years of trying (if you bother to read the above links). Nope, not found so far.

But, she has found that even seals aren’t in ketosis, and even in a fasted state.

As far as I can see, there have never been any wild animals documented to be in ketosis when not not starving, I’ve searched literature, libraries… I’ve asked old colleagues with arcane knowledge. Nada.

I may of course be wrong about this, but dang, if it’s been shown in any fed wild animal, it’s a rare study….

Heck, some of them avoid ketosis even for prolonged fasting (!) – these seal pups do it by recycling glucose (granted, they probably need to do that due to diving demands, but the result is they can stay out of ketosis during prolonged fasting).


“High levels of Cori cycle activity and EGP may be important components of metabolic adaptations that maintain glucose production while avoiding ketosis during extended fasting or are related to sustained metabolic alterations associated with extended breath-holds in elephant seals.”

Sometimes, I just want to answer any ketosis questions with :

“Ketosis is an adaptation for starvation. Short-term fasting is very good, but long-term ‘nutritional ketosis’ is a modern experiment. Period.”

So here’s Nora in, to me, a very curious state of being. I’d describe it in three points:

  1. 2008-11 Cocksure
  2. Palpably frustrated to the point of stammering
  3. Doesn’t actually have time to look into it (see #1)

You can judge for yourselves. It’s at the 38ish minute point in her podcast with Dave Asprey. They talk resistant starch and safe starches for about 10ish minutes.

I reiterate: up to you to judge and this by no means makes Nora a net disvalue, to me. Not by a long stretch. I know it’s rather lame to say that I post this to help, but it’s really true. I was on fire 2 days go. I slept on it twice, trying to figure out a way to simply motivate the whole community to get past the dogmas that we ALL bought into.

Please end this by scrolling up and refreshing yourself with how it’s generally going, Dallas and Melissa being just the most recent examples. Then, if you are so inclined, get word to Nora whatever way you can and plead with her to make sure she really delves into everything.

Please be constructive in any comments.

Groundbreaking: How to Easily Remove Nightshade Toxins From Potato Starch

Ever since the beginning some percentage of people trying out supplemental resistant starch in the form of Potato Starch have complained of nightshade tolerance issues, primarily headaches and joint pain. This was a mystery, because some of us, including myself, were operating under the belief that these toxins were water soluble. Turns out not so.

I’ll let Ken Willing explain, as well as deliver a very simple solution (literally).


Contrary to widespread belief, the nightshade glycoalkaloid poisons alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine are not soluble in water, so unfortunately it’s wishful thinking to assume that these headache-causing and arthritis-worsening toxins are entirely absent from potato starch—even a good brand like Bob’s. For those of us outside the U.S., the problem is worse, because Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese brands available worldwide are of dubious reliability: the starch itself is OK, but in it we encounter not only the usual nightshade toxins but also sulfite preservatives, not to mention shelf bacteria in abundance.

Fortunately there is a remedy for these problems—my headaches stopped cold the day I started implementing the following. This method rests on the fact that solanine and chaconine DO dissolve in acid, even a fairly weak solution—in fact experimenters have successfully used as low as 1.5%:

—In the evening, fill a suitable bottle 3/4 full of water and dump in tomorrow’s dose of potato starch, together with one heaping teaspoonful of citric acid powder (available in the baking-aids section of any supermarket). (Alternatively, make up a reasonably sour solution with white vinegar, but this is less satisfactory.) Shake well to fully disperse the starch and dissolve the acid crystals. Then wait a couple hours while the starch falls to the bottom to form a non-Newtonian mass. Then, carefully pour off the liquid—which now contains the solanine, etc., in solution—while the starch granules, tightly packed together, adhere in a clump on the bottom. Then, as a rinse: re-fill the bottle with fresh water, shake vigorously again to re-disperse the starch, and let it all sit till morning.

In the morning, again pour off the water, which is now only very slightly acidic. What you now have on the bottom is CLEAN potato starch, which can either be mixed in the same bottle with juice, milk, or water; or dug out and used some other way. I know this all sounds complicated, but I’ve clocked the total procedural time at about 2 minutes—a small price to pay for poison-free starch, in my opinion… and 100 trillion tiny mouths will thank you.


Thanks Ken. No telling how many people this will really help who would benefit from the PS, but just couldn’t do it. Now they can try again.

So, I’d ask that all of you who’ve seen reports like this in the various forums and such you’ve frequented, please spread the word and help spread the benefits.

Sweden Update: Resistant Starch On The Rise, LCHF Stefansson Myths On The Ropes

A couple of months back, Swedish reader and blogger Per Wikholm put together a post for us on the goings on in Sweden in reference to resistant starch. Today, I received this email from him concerning further developments.

I think it’s safe to say that he’s stirred things up quite a bit over there.


Hi again Richard!

The RS issue is really cathing fire here in Sweden and is now a big trend among the LCHF community, especially among diabetics. Recently I wrote a piece on RS for the LCHF Magazine with 6,000 subscribers, and Sweden’s second largest tabloid, Expressen, had an article on RS in their lastest LCHF supplement.

But since I can’t avoid to stir things up, I’ve also started a Swedish war on the Inuit diet, claiming that their diet was never ketogenic. That made Sten Sture Skaldeman, one of the founding fathers of the Swedish LCHF movement (and author of the The Low Carb High Fat Cookbook) go ballistic on a FB-forum.

This war will continue, so I’ve been in contact with “Duck Dodgers” who has reserched this subject more than anyone else.

One question I have is if there are any scientist or arctic explorers who’ve ever stated that the Inuit ate something in the neighborhood of 80% fat, without reffering back to Stefansson. Since I knew that the response from my writings on the Inuit diet would be “read Stefansson,” I read Stefansson’s “bibles” Not by Bread Alone and The Fat of the Land only to find out that he actually never claims that the Inuit ate 80% fat. Half of that book is about the Indian (native American and Canadian) recepie for pemmican. That’s 50% by weight lean, dried buffalo meat and 50% melted fat. According to my calculations, that equates to about 73% fat, not the minimum 80% fat that Stefansson claims is the standard for pemmican.

But it gets even more interesting. In a few sentences, Stefansson admitts that the Inuit pemmican (based on caribou rather than bison) was much lower in fat. Here, the standard recepie was 2/3 lean caribou meat to only 1/3 melted fat. According to my calculations based on the USDA figure for grassfed bison meat, that would mean that the fat content of the Inuit pemmican would be less than 60%. You might get into mild ketosis if the fat content exeeds about 2/3 of calories, but 60% won’t make it even if the inuits ate 100% pemmican year around—which they never did! Their diet was a high protein diet, just like the Northern Scandinavian aboriginal Sami people with a climate, flora, and fauna very similar to that in Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland.

Best regards,
Per Wikholm


It’s gratifying that the work that’s been done here to get to the true facts over myths for the purposes of conducting a massive dietary experiment with no healthy population basis ever, is being carried on internationally.

How To Feed Your Gut and Have Fun With The Kids Too

Total Shares 8

A couple of the most frequently asked question over the last year and some months, over 100 posts and thousands of comments on Resistant Starch, have been:

  1. How do I know if what I bought is truly potato starch (raw) and not potato flour (cooked)?
  2. Why not just eat real food instead of something processed like Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch?

Here’s a short video to answer both questions; and what’s more is that you can easily duplicate this and have some fun with the kids or, if in a teaching position, demonstrate the curious nature of non-Newtonian fluids to your science class. Prepare to be a bit amazed at its various properties.

How To Make Magic Mud—From a Potato!

Yep, you guessed it. You could skip the steps of extracting starch from potatoes and just use Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, but then you’d be missing out on all the fun.

So, the answer to question 1, above, ought to be obvious enough. Whatever you buy in terms of potato starch should behave like that when mixed with tonic (not sure if other fluids work the same, nor what effect the sugars may have—but I’m sure the kids will be willing to experiment). Question 2 is a bit more nuanced. First, as you can see, it’s not some frankenconcoction, but merely a fraction of a plain ole’ potato and zero more. The other aspect is that Tim and I have learned over months of collaboration, unless you’re out in the wild, including tree bark, pollen, and a bunch of other plants in your diet, it’s tough to get sufficient RS (and even other fermentable fibers). Potato starch is merely a cheap and convenient way to close the gap.

Want some more fun? Stir up a heaping teaspoon of potato starch in a cup of water and pop it in the microwave on high for a minute.