PhD Physical Chemist Commenter Marie is at it Again! Resistant Starch and Ketosis. Low Carb in Short Pants

She has a deeply personal interest in this. A family member is fighting cancer. She’s read every ounce of research on the benefits of ketosis. And yet, she’s extremely interested in Resistant Starch, enough to vigorously test it on herself—even fasting for 48 hours to get into a very deep ketogenic state.

What in the world? Simply: honesty, far unlike a lot of others. She was the star of Part 1 of my yet-to-be-published Part 2 of the series on diligently controlled testing of resistant starch under various conditions, including ketosis. This kinda let’s the cat out of the bag, but as I said yesterday, I’m waiting on that until I think I have everyone’s attention. Perhaps this will nudge it in that direction.

Here’s the link to her comment, in case anyone wants to see the background.



The mechanism seems to be at the molecular level involving the SCFAs. So it’s not like a ‘mechanical’ slowing down of digestion (which happens with insoluble fiber, for example), if that’s what you’re thinking.

I usually have only a casual interest in nutrition, I don’t have a blog or any thing like that (thanks for asking!) but the series on RS that’s on this blog with all the information and references collected by Tatertot Tim, and Richard’s summaries and synthesis does include info on BG blunting. That series is how I got interested in RS at all.

A couple of things in the meantime about ketosis, carbs, and insulin resistance that you mentioned:

  • Dad didn’t have a ‘problem’ exactly with yogurt, it’s just that having to stay in deep ketosis as part of his cancer therapy, yogurt became a forbidden food (unless one can find a way to eat it in a ketogenic 4:1 ratio of fat:carb+protein…which frankly gave some nauseatingly bad mixes with coconut oil or heavy cream!).
  • The only initial objective I had was to make sure that dad could take the RS plain or mixed into a ketogenic meal, without the RS itself spiking BG and causing him to drop out of ketosis.

That’s why I test for both BG and excreted ketones.

So, I confirmed that as a supplement, RS in the form of straight potato starch behaved as the literature said it did. That is, there was no BG rise at all. Moreover, I found that this lack of BG effect held even in deep fasted ketosis and the ketostix stayed well negative (“40″, even went briefly more negative, deeper purple at “80,″ in one case). This was predictable, of course, if indeed it just fermented to fatty acids as represented in said liturature.

…Great, so now dad’s been taking RS for purely the immunity and gut benefits (effect on gut lining and cancer, specifically).

Meanwhile, I got curious. and we got ambitious [Those Greeks –Ed]

Could the long-term FBG lowering and/or the short-term blunting that were reported in the literature also work while in ketosis, and was it enough to allow him to expand his cuisine?

Meh…as we’ve been discussing, ketosis is a special place. That normal physiological insulin resistance due to ketosis/fasting allows a huge spike in BG after eating any well-digested carb, is what I found.

So when in ketosis (and especially when fasted), the effects of Resistant Starch on Blood Glucose levels indeed were not enough to let me eat something with significant carbs—like potato—and still stay in ketosis (yogurt didn’t work either, and I didn’t dare try honey alone, at that point!).

Instead, the BG spikes and bye bye ketones, at least temporarily. Thing is, cancer patients (well, those with cancer types where deep ketosis is an experimental adjuvant therapy) must never raise that BG concentration at all.

So there you have it.

  • Yes for RS in ketosis – can have it and stay in ketosis, no effect on BG whatsoever.
  • No, RS did not moderate enough, i.e., ‘blunt’ the BG spike to a carb-y food if carby food is eaten in ketosis or after fasting. In fact, one would drop out of ketosis.
  • Yes, RS does do a great blunting job if one is not in ketosis to begin with. So, diabetics, people with metabolic syndrome, or anyone who just has a lot of carbs but would like to keep that BG tame might, in my experimental opinion, benefit from taking RS or eating RS-rich foods, for the BG effects.

Of course, anyone at all might want the immunoregulation and other benefits.

Any ‘superfoods’ label though will get my spidey-sense going too :)

I agree about ‘coddling’ not being an evolutionary strategy…

However, I don’t see your conclusion. A super-healthy person may get an even bigger BG spike from a bolus of carbs if they’ve been in ketosis longer or deeper than an unhealthy person—that BG spike is just a side-effect of the healthy physiological insulin response. No reason they can’t handle that BG spike, is there? It does come down pretty rapidly if one is otherwise healthy (mine, in about 2 hours). May need to drink some extra water.

However, to avoid it, maybe staying moderate carb all along (which means that occasional boluses also do not cause big spikes) would be the strategy? That’s all assuming there’s something beneficial that’s hi-glycemic that should be eaten frequently; because if not, if infrequent, then staying in ketosis and only getting a spike occasionally is easily handled. Or, say, perhaps, staying in ketosis in winter and not in the summer. Or, you know, intermittent fasting (IF).


Marie has an update on this using HONEY—y’know, the most prized food of the Hadza—results via email. It was 1.5 cups 2% fat Greek Yogurt (what was available) and 3 tsp of raw Greek honey, taken with 2 Tbsp potato starch 30 minutes prior, 48 hours fasted, deep ketosis, and…

Email out to me and Tatertot Tim:

Well, I did the test in fasted ketosis. Had changed plans for the weekend to stay fasted until this afternoon and of course have been looking at yogurt and honey rather than potato as the ‘challenge,’ food since that’s what dad misses most.

Now I feel like being une tease Gauloise (bien sûr!) so come on, before I tell you what happened, you tell me, what are your guesses? :)

Hint: BG effect was all over in 60 minutes, though I kept on testing ketostix until something interesting happened.

Revel in mystery. I’ll post her results soon.

I’ll leave you with this. Expert in diabetes and BG stuff, It’s the Wooo, is out of her league here, not even having any idea what foods have “lots” of resistant starch. Moreover, the entire LC Community is hereby in short pants, per my proclamation.

Oh, and for those who ask, “why increase food choices, I’m fine VLC?” Because…The Relative Nutritional Bankruptcy of Good Fats. Unless you are chowing down on liver, oysters, mussels and the like every week, but are VLC, you’re probably getting less micronutrients than SAD dieters where sugar water is not the same proportion of calories as your fats. Simple math. You may be on a malnourishing diet, if you’re on a high fat diet.

Be careful out there but above all, be honest and smart, no matter your friends or alliances…no matter what.


  1. tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 11:30

    I broke down and bought some more glucose test strips because I wanted to try it out after eating this:

    1 cup Uncle Ben’s Converted rice, cooked and cooled
    1/2 cup fermented black beans, cooked and cooled
    1/2 a large plantain raw, cubed
    3TBS Palm oil

    Heated palm oil to almost smoking, stir-fried the rice and plantain cubes until browned, added beans until just warmed.

    BG prior – 83
    30 min – 110
    60 min – 98
    90 min – 95
    120 min – 90
    150 min – 90
    180 min – 89

    This was a meal that consisted of 850 calories, 28.8g fat, 141.1g carbs, and 14.6g protein. I estimated the RS at 40g.

    I didn’t pre-ingest any potato starch, my lunch that day was a can of sardines, a salad, and a handful of sugar-free chocolate chips.

    The stir-fry I made would be an awesome base for any meat and veggies, I wasn’t really surprised with the results. My FBG this morning was 77. Not bad for a guy who had normal FBG of 130 while low carbing.

  2. LeonRover on September 24, 2013 at 12:10

    Rogeress Al-Chemiste,

    Congratulations ( & Cerebrations)
    (prize: !)

    The Idle Wilde one said: “I can resist everything except starch”.
    ( I bet you didn’t know that.)


  3. La Frite on September 24, 2013 at 12:15


    Great numbers! I am glad you found a way to avoid the chalky PS, I can really not get used to that powder … I know it’s cheap and works but man! you gotta like what you eat as well!! :D

  4. […] Here's the comment. Test it for yourselves, but take note, Tim has been on a 15-30g dose of resistant starch for over 6 months, now. […]

  5. […] Between Marie, Tatertot, and now this, pretty interesting Tuesday. 1:36pm and I haven't eaten yet. Better get to […]

  6. Brad on September 24, 2013 at 14:47

    @Tim, I will post a video some time of the syrup I make with raw tapioca starch. You will be shocked how good it tastes.

    @Richard, I still don’t get your comments about a high fat diet being nutrient light, especially given the recent talk about K2 and the helfulness of things like butter, RPO, free range lard (vit-d), etc.

  7. Brad on September 24, 2013 at 14:53

    Sorry, I meant @LaFrite not @Tim

  8. Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2013 at 14:57


    Where in Hell do you dig that stuff up? Fucking hilarious, though I know it was never meant to be taken that way.

  9. Brad on September 24, 2013 at 15:03

    @Tater, was that 1 cup of rice pre, or post cooked? I interpret that as pre-cooked. So basically that was 3 cups of carby food in total, yeah? And when you say “cooled” do you mean air temp, refrigerated overnight, or frozen prior to cooking? Or, maybe it doesn’t matter that much? Just curious.

  10. tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 15:46

    Brad – I made up a rice cooker full of Uncle Ben’s using 3 cups rice and 6 cups water. After it cooled a bit, I filled 2 big ziplock bags with the cooked rice and stuck them the freezer, the remainder I put in a glass bowl in the fridge. I took 1 cup of this cooked rice out of the fridge 24 hours later and used it in my stir-fry.

    I also used 1/2 cup of cooked black beans that were in the fridge for a couple days, and about 1 cup of cubed plantain.

    So, about 2-1/2 cups of starchy foods plus the oil. I probably could have gotten away with less oil.

    I think the frozen beans and rice will produce even more RS than those held overnight in fridge. I also think that if you do the stir-fry and put those leftovers in fridge or freezer and reheat later, there will be even more RS.

    I’m trying to get hold of an old study that is referenced in the rice study that predicts and measures incresing amounts of RS from repeated cooking and cooling, and the reheated rice retains it’s RS when done this way, should also work for potatoes and beans–that may be a missing piece of this puzzle.

  11. Brad on September 24, 2013 at 16:05

    Sorry to go all TMI on y’all, but Tater, I question the need to go to extra lengths to cook more RS into your foods. Just from eating parboiled rice I can see in my “porcelain trophies” that some of it is not being digested, so why would I want to increase that? Surely there is some limit to what lengths you go to feed your critters versus yourself. Maybe this is a result of eating a large amount of rice in one sitting and a smaller amount would get more thoroughly digested? Dunno. Anyone else see remnants of rice kernels in their bowl-trophies?

    Btw, this is also one of my main beefs with the whole calories-in/calories-out thing. Every calorie you stuff into your pie hole, regardless of the macro makeup, is not necessarily metabolized, by you or your critters.

  12. Tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 16:33

    @Brad – I’m still just kind of stuck on getting 30-40g/day and trying to get it through real foods. Previously, I thought it would only be possible by eating green bananas and dried plantains, but now I’m finding it can be done with rice and beans as well when cooked in a way that preserves the RS.

    I’ve never seen rice in my dookie. I must be digesting it all. In this regard, better gut flora could actually lead to weight gain as you can wring more calories out of foods that you couldn’t previously digest–I’ll take my chances.

    Somebody mentioned pigs in another comment, they have been feeding piglets potato starch for years because it allows the farmers to get the piglets to market weight faster. The same thing was seen in rat studies–they gained weight on the same feed as other rats who weren’t getting RS even though calorie matched. Seems counter-inuitive but makes a lot of sense–better microbes, better nutrient absorption.

  13. marie on September 24, 2013 at 17:25

    thank you, laughing….
    Unlike the darling-ton lord, I wouldn’t even try resisting such sweet temptation, despite resistance being ‘bon ton’ in the paleosphere ;)

    • Bill on February 6, 2014 at 21:49

      Hmm. If better microbes=better nutrient absorption and more weight gain, then perhaps an overlooked reason why low carb diets are effective for weight loss is due to poor nutrient absorption.

  14. marie on September 24, 2013 at 17:53

    Tim, I really like this stir-fried rice discovery. It’s a food I’d enjoy, more so knowing it has a decent amount of RS.
    Thank you.

  15. yien on September 24, 2013 at 17:53

    “I still don’t get your comments about a high fat diet being nutrient light, especially given the recent talk about K2 and the helfulness of things like butter, RPO, free range lard (vit-d), etc.”

    It’s not so much nutrient lite, as nutrient imbalanced and deficient. For example, if I take out carbs from my normal weekly diet, I am mainly left with a mix of: avocados, eggs, kangaroo, goat, jade perch, silver perch, grass fed beef, salmon, sardines, a wide mix of nuts, some seeds, lots of butter, some dairy, coconuts and coconut oil.

    Almost inevitably, I am low in Vit C, B1, B9, calcium, manganese, zinc. A lot of the time, I am low in potassium and magnesium (two major salts you don’t want to be low in or have the wrong ratios for).

    When I add in broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, honey, lots of berries, squash, beans, green bananas, some tubers and small servings of seasonal fruit — the combination matches (almost perfectly) with the nutrient deficiencies and imbalances of a LCHF diet. It’s like two parts of a nutritional jigsaw coming together.

    As an aside, I always find it interesting, when vegans claim the body doesn’t need much B12 and available iron (after they realise their favourite dogma is deficient int hese nutrients), and, then, lc paleo advocates claim you don’t need much potassium, calcium etc (again, only after they have realised their favourite dogma is deficient in these nutrients).

  16. Resurgent on September 24, 2013 at 21:26

    I would like to add a personal anecdote to this discussion – for whatever it is worth.

    My wife and I have been Primal/Paleo and then typically PHD (Jaminet) eating philosophy over the last 4 years. Good results generally overall – My wife had rosacea that triggered with Sunlight, that went away about 70% since we changed our eating habits, strong sunlight still caused an eruption on face/arms.

    3 months ago we started to add PS to an evening cup of milk kefir. Almost within a week she cleared up whatever little spots she had on her due to previous exposures to strong sunlight. The other day, she involuntarily exposed herself to strong sunlight for over an hour – usually this would cause a reaction – this time NOTHING. Encouraged, she tried it again – seems RS (PS) has solved this issue for her forever.

    I must add that probiotics are not new to us. We have some home grown and fermented veggies, kefir, kvass on a daily basis – and we regularly supplement only with Vit D and magnesium, and infrequently, fish oil.
    I think what we feed our micro-biota is crucial to our health, both mental and physical. We are a host to the life forms in our gut and they decide the hosts well being.

  17. marie on September 24, 2013 at 22:15

    “I think what we feed our micro-biota is crucial to our health, both mental and physical.”

    I agree. I think that’s the key thing ‘missing’ from any modern diet, including VLC and the latter may have more problems long-term because of the avoidance of starchy foods where most of the bug-feeding food resides.
    That said, if someone needs to stay VLC, or even ketogenic, they can supplement straight RS and get the best of all worlds for them.

    Yien, Brad, Richard,
    there’s just no point arguing about relative merits/deficits of nutrients. Those VLCers who do it right get plenty of nutrients. It’s not hard to do it right. The key issue about VLC would be the gut biome, like it is for most people. This affects, among other things, glucose metabolism itself. So diabetics have a special interest here as well. This is all just how it strikes me.

  18. LeonRover on September 24, 2013 at 22:18


    After a bonne tonne of exercise, the Maquisards of PaleoLand are in the jails of Vichy being told – rather like Errol Flynn in Captain Blood – “Resistance is futile”.


  19. marie on September 24, 2013 at 22:38

    Awww, but see these bush-men should be able to out-last the transient Vichy, what with their physiques fortified from all that Alpine pastured food. Then the only thing missing is a new de Gaulle ;)

  20. La Frite on September 25, 2013 at 01:42

    @Brad: yes please do!! I vaguely remember you wrote a quick recipe for a syrup but I don’t have the time to dig it. I have not tried TS by the way, only PS a while back. I almost puked … I was then using FiberFine based on Hi-Maize corn starch. It tastes much better but that’s quite a stupid expense. I like green bananas, rice and beans, etc, but I don’t really make it a staple. I have actually no clue how much RS I end up eating because I like to eat about everything except wheat, it makes me feel like crap after almost 2 years without it. A shame for a French guy: no more baguette, croissants, etc, but fortunately I can still bake a Tarte Normande without gluten!! Life without the Tarte Normande would not be worth much … But I saw there is a gluten free bakery in Paris now … I have to find the time to visit the place :)

  21. LeonRover on September 25, 2013 at 04:11

    I guess that remnant Occitan Province eventually went cold, then soupily thick.

    Do you think that a scion of the historic Galatii, Gaelics, Galli etc. would eschew a slice of Tarte Normande or only enjoy it when accompanied by litres of Cidre Fraîche and frites froides?

    I would guess that BushMen would take a simliar view of the Alpine Galatian wanderers as did Athena Nike (or even the BullBoys of the eastern Med) naming them those strangely hidden Keltoi.


  22. Brad Baker on September 25, 2013 at 04:40

    @yien, you argument is flawed. You can get all of those things in a carb lite diet. How many of the minerals are you light on when you add some sardines, liver, and bone broth to the list? And if you eat a low GI fruit high in Vitamin-C such as papaya? That, said, I’m not advocating excluding carbs or avoiding them. I just don’t see them as any more nutrient dense, as a group and in general, compared to fats in general. All things in variety and moderation. I struggle with that last part, as I think many of us do, once we find something that is so damn tasty we want to eat it all the time or in large portions.

  23. Brad Baker on September 25, 2013 at 04:44

    @Leon… “Resistance is futile”. Flynn may have said it first, but I rather prefer the image that phrase evokes of ‘7 of 9’ in a skin tight outfit :)

  24. Brad Baker on September 25, 2013 at 05:13

    @Marie, … “The key issue about VLC would be the gut biome, like it is for most people.”
    I agree, and have seen anecdotal evidence of this via my father who has always been a “meat and potatoes” man, though I think lite on the potatoes (and he usually baked them), but also very light on veggies except for eating lots of canned chili-with-beans. Rice, was never eaten. Sliced bread was common. Growing up I had also seen him go on an Atkins type diet quite a few times (which actually was quite effective for him at fat loss). In his later years he developed ongoing diverticulosis and just general poor gut health. I think low prebiotics and limited gut flora diversity was a big contributor.

  25. James on September 25, 2013 at 07:58

    “…in short pants.” Funny.

  26. John on September 25, 2013 at 10:22

    Richard, do you know that increasing overall diet nutrient density by virtue of incorporating more “carbs” and reducing added fats is beneficial?

    Typically, I’d scour your previous articles before asking such a question, but it seems to be concluded by assumption, generally, that “increasing the ratio of micronutrients to overall calorie intake is per se good (within the context of whole food dietary intake).”

    Obviously I’m not talking about extreme dietary examples, and any argument that amounts to “well eat nothing but popcorn and see what happens” is not responsive to my inquiry. I suppose that specifically I don’t see the basis to conclude that a diet with significant added fats which includes “many” whole, nutrient rich foods is inferior to a lower added fat diet by virtue of overall nutrient density.

    I’m not taking issue with any dietary philosophy or prescription in my question. I also agree, generally, that adding fat and eschewing whole foods is probably not, as a rule, optimal. I simply feel that there’s an aspect of conventional wisdom lingering in such a belief (when the belief is applied to every circumstance).

  27. marie on September 25, 2013 at 10:43

    LeonRover, indeed. I’m quite sure οι Κελτοί και Γαλάται in fact accompanied their Tarte with a tall glass of γάλα and called it a day.

  28. […] labeled as such, but here's Part 1: PhD Physical Chemist Commenter Marie is at it Again! Resistant Starch and Ketosis. Low Carb in Short…. There, we learn that while trying to keep her dad in ketosis for cancer therapy while upping his […]

  29. LeonRover on September 25, 2013 at 11:18

    Hmmm, Victoria, methinks sufficiently lively for Charles André Joseph Marie & Yvonne.



  30. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 11:21


    Sorry, not biting. Too polished. Try again. Hint: ask a specific question or two. Numbers to reference are good.


  31. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 11:23

    “LeonRover, indeed. I’m quite sure οι Κελτοί και Γαλάται in fact accompanied their Tarte with a tall glass of γάλα and called it a day.”

    Leon, Marie.

    One or the other of you buy a ticket & take a flight. Split the hotel room. :)

  32. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 11:37



    Absolutely. Love being able to observe his light but deliberate touch on the instrument. I just packed in a bunch of implied metaphors, there.

  33. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 11:49


    On my third viewing/listening of that. It’s counter-nature where usually, there’s diminishing returns after the first time, repeated.

    It reminds me a bit of walking dogs in the same riverside greenbelt park day after day for years. One day, je dit a moi meme: find something you never saw or noticed before, every day.

  34. marie on September 25, 2013 at 11:50

    capricious gift appreciated. Mais quoi? Le président and his wife lively? Quelle idee.

  35. marie on September 25, 2013 at 11:55

    Richard, ha, looks like we should meet at your place, I think (what? I’m part French after all…. :D)

  36. LeonRover on September 25, 2013 at 12:08

    Rich, I could have made a reference to Auntie’s Torte, but where would that have left T’Oncle ?

    Questio: Quisnam Vadit? and another: Cui bono?
    (The You Squared Bono lives but unum mille passus from me.)


  37. LeonRover on September 25, 2013 at 12:16

    Rich, Mea maxima culpa! (Not Colpo)

    Mendels’Sohn is not a favorite of mine, but I did not quickly light upon a Goatly Mozartian piece!

  38. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 12:31

    The cool thing about Motzart though, is he was such a wreck as a human being.

    I can always glean a bit of respect from that alone.

  39. LeonRover on September 25, 2013 at 12:42

    Anyway, Rich,

    This one’s in memory of your Navy experience.


  40. John on September 25, 2013 at 15:05


    I had a specific question in mind, but wound up writing something very complicated, and more relevant to a different post of yours. I’ll re-propose it if the appropriate opportunity arises. (I have this knack for asking questions that people think are…”less-than-sincere.” Talk to the various teachers in my life).

    Yours is the only health oriented blog I consistently read anymore. I’m really looking forward to demystifying money 2.

  41. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 15:08

    Fair enough, John.

    Get back to me with a bit more specific.

  42. Richard Nikoley on September 27, 2013 at 07:36


    Thanks for that. So long since I saw South Pacific I don’t even remember it. I may have to take another look.

  43. Michael on September 29, 2013 at 12:53


    For the sake of time, I’m going to question despite the fact that I know the answer may be in one of your posts.

    My son has severe sleeping problems. Body temp plays a part. I’ve tried and been successful raising short term body temps to close to normal by a couple of tablespoons of coconut oils added to some gluten free toast twice daily. (He is extremely sensitive to both gluten and dairy, sleep gets very fucked up for a couple of days.)

    Is the resistant starch idea as easy as adding some “flour” to some meals? Or do I need to get more complicated to experiment with this?

  44. Richard Nikoley on October 1, 2013 at 07:33


    Well, if you want to try resistant starch, you get Bob’s Red Mill UNMODIFIED potato STARCH. Potato flour wont do. Alternatively, you can get tapioca flour, which actually is synonymous with tapioca starch.

    You might start with a tsp stirred into a drink of some sort before bed, go from there.

  45. marie on October 1, 2013 at 08:25

    “you can get tapioca flour, which actually is synonymous with tapioca flour.” – non, c’est vrai ?! :D
    (l’autre gros malin)

  46. Richard Nikoley on October 1, 2013 at 08:26


    I do believe I’ve been misquoted, if you’ll just check again. :)

  47. marie on October 1, 2013 at 08:33

    Ahaha, and you’re welcome mon cher! ;)

  48. Michael on October 1, 2013 at 08:41


    Thanks for the info. I had a moment of laziness over the weekend when I sent my original message and I assumed I had been entered into the forgotten realm of jackasses arrogant enough to ignore all the time you’ve put into your writing and ask a question answered previously. Sorry for that anyway.

    I invested some time in your previous writeup about the RS stuff yesterday. Very interesting results in regards to body temps your readers are experiencing.

    My son, before my coconut oil experiment was steady at around 97 degrees. A couple of weeks into our experiment he hit 98.7 for the first time. I was thrilled. He was sleeping too. Somewhere along the way I had found a Matt stone follower commentin about body temp and the addition of coconut oil and thought I had found my solution. It worked for a few
    Weeks. Then he stopped sleeping as regularly. Currently we’re back to Benadryl and melatonin to get any sleep at night. I hate that for him.

    I started myself on the experiment last night(in modified potatoe starch) and him this morning. He’s a kindergartner so I started him slow not wanting to leave him in a horrible situation at school. I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Thanks for having ideas though.

    And answering assholes dumb questions!

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