Fear of Raw Potato Starch Ingestion is Probably Irrational

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.

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  1. doGnuts on December 13, 2014 at 15:55

    Dang Richard, some things don’t end till they’ve reached their climax first :) You know what you’ve got to do! If you let it simmer it just festers on an on forever.

  2. gabkad on December 13, 2014 at 16:15

    It kind of started with the potato diet thing which is whole potatoes and there was the kefir too.

    Maybe I’m a naïve, but you put in the probiotics there as well with the kefir.

    She is deliberately misleading and being dishonest. But I doubt she remembers. Selective memory.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 13, 2014 at 16:30

      I’ll speak of this in this comment thread only, then I’m done. Can’t possibly put everything in a post.

      That phone conversation was excruciating for me. After I hung up with her intro, she called back and we began again, she kept launching into these “tender” proclamations.

      “Oh, I’m so sorry I hurt you, Richard.” Variations. Went off on her three times over that and she stopped.

      Should have known she was playing me for a fool.

  3. TomCat on December 13, 2014 at 23:48

    Let Us Pray…………

  4. Harriet on December 14, 2014 at 00:43

    I was wondering why Grace was going on making untrue statements about you and Tim on her blog. It didn’t make sense given I’ve been reading all three of you. But given her history it seems she isn’t working out of any sort of reason or in a rational way. She is acting out destructively for her own reasons and while it is very tempting to go psychoanalytical on the basis of her posts and other blog info it probably isn’t helpful. Other than to say she is a mess.

    Best to have nothing to do with her though if she gets really vindictive it might be easier said than done.

    Now back to the RS and PS stuff. I will always be grateful for the info on both of them from you and Tim. RS and mostly PS has settled my blood sugars down again and has led to better well being overall. Things aren’t totally resolved but they are better than they were and I enjoy every slight improvement.

  5. Gemma on December 14, 2014 at 02:39

    Never happy with more than enough, always demanding more? Anybody who ever dealt with a naughty, disobedient child can recognize the pattern. But shouldn’t we behave more like adults when discovering, exploring and discussing ideas that have a potential to help a lot of people?

    Nevertheless, sharing this quote from a long essay — and this is in no way meant to imply that someone was 0 or 18 or 36% right or wrong :-)

    Why all research findings are false

    “What we should not do is listen to some delusional proposals about how to evaluate individual researchers, or even larger communities, by the replicability and other assessments of the truthiness of their results. Scientists must accept that we are ourselves mostly wrong about everything. Sometimes the biggest impact, in as far as that can be quantified, is not made by the person who finds the “truest” finding but by whoever lays the groundwork for future researchers. Even a completely erroneous theory can give some bright mind the inspiration for a better one.”

    • Richard Nikoley on December 14, 2014 at 06:28

      Yep, Gemma, a constant theme around here.

      Best we can really hope for is just being a little less wrong as we plod along.

  6. AndrewPaleodoc on December 14, 2014 at 02:54

    Hi Rich

    Only posted once before but have been following all this RS and microbiome stuff – good work!

    Simple way to prove to “certain people” that PS isn’t damaging the gut would be to do some kind of gut permeability testing. Either a “basic” Genova urine test or a more “advanced” Cyrex anti body test. Autoimmunity has a hard time being sustained if there is no leakiness of the gut. Alessio Fasano’s hypothesis being that a leaky gut is a prerequisite for autoimmunity. May be worth adding in glutamine in large doses (1 to 2 tbls twice a day on an empty stomach) and maybe also a product like Perm-A-Vite (ARG) with the PS/RS etc

  7. yien on December 14, 2014 at 05:33

    I’m upset that you put my future as an elite Irish rugby player at risk.

  8. Ulfric Douglas on December 14, 2014 at 11:31

    You can’t trust anyone, not fundamentally.
    You especially cannot trust (and should have instantly outed way back when) someone who sends sex photos to married men.
    It’s very simple to not be evil, just that 90% of folk can’t resist.

  9. Mousehouse on December 15, 2014 at 10:22

    Grace used to be very critical of a VLC lifestyle and its effects on the biome, but times have changed since your falling out. Scanning her Twitter feed almost every single Tweet, Re-Tweet and Favorite over the past few months has been of her fawning and flattering ketotards every chance she gets. It’s totally bonkers. She’s basically given them her blessing, while simultaneously badmouthing RS2, just to make some new friends. LOL

    • Richard Nikoley on December 15, 2014 at 11:03

      It’s very simple. Grace’s primary objective is to discredit Tim and I (…a woman scorned… (I’m not speaking for Tim, here)), and even if she can discredit Duck Dodger’s amazing work, she’ll do that too.

      It’s the dishonesty. It’s the dishonesty. Everybody lies. It’s the fundamentally dishonest people you want to watch out for, those who don’t make efforts to correct lying missteps.

      Me, I just keep making her cuntcakes.


  10. GTR on December 15, 2014 at 12:04

    So now the tune is “inulin good/potato starch bad”. But from what I remember Tim wrote about inulin – that it FAILED ON THE MARKET. Unfairly, because of some trivial and stupid reasons like farting, but anyway it failed. So Tim popularizes raw potato starch with the intention that this shouldn’t fail. A product that is already a market winner, easily available and affordable, that just can be used in this additional application as a prebiotic. DrBG is trying to resurect the failed inulin, as some kind of “special supplement” market niche, possibly a worse method of gaining mass popularity.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 15, 2014 at 12:22

      Tim brought that up in the very first post and the cunt has been lying about it since.

      In fact, during that one hour phone conversation, she did the typical cunty thing of trying to drive a wedge. Basically, “oh, i sowwy Richard. It’s Tim and his promotion of potato starch.”

      I sucked that up, but because Tim has been the one asking me nicely to go easier on Grace’s cunt behavior.

      He sees less need of this than I do.

      In terms of Inulin vs. potato starch, why bother? Take both. I do.

  11. TravellingBeard on December 15, 2014 at 17:50

    I’d like to thank you for not making me afraid of safe starches any more. Still tweaking and playing around, but my blood sugars aren’t spiking, and coupled with the principles of PHD, you’re restoring a little sanity to my life, so I don’t have to stress about going LCHF if I don’t want to. A mild caloric deficit and following yours and Tim’s (and the Jaminets’ as well) advice is more than enough.

  12. FrenchFry on December 16, 2014 at 01:28

    My opinion on the matter: raw PS as a supplement is not a lifestyle. Eating tubers on a daily basis is a lifestyle. However, raw PS is a good entry point for those who for whatever reason went VLC and are afraid of including back starchy items in their diet. But once one is adapted to raw PS (say after a few weeks), I don’t really see the need to supplement with it. Eat starchy food, beans, etc, on a daily basis.

    Regarding inulin vs raw PS, I am very partial to inulin because of the taste. Raw PS in yogurt is really not appealing to me. But YMMV :)

    • TameTheAnimal on December 16, 2014 at 09:43

      Hey Richard,

      I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the past few months (only found it recently).

      And when I find something I like, I REALLY read it.

      That said, your current situation with this other grace blogger reminded me of an old post of yours:


      I think that link speaks for itself.

      Now, onto the topic of the raw potato starch, if my intuition is correct, you are making good amazon affiliate money from sales of this stuff? Please don’t let that be the reason you are reacting so strongly.

      Anyways, beyond that, onto the issue of arguing against women, it is near impossible. You should check out something called TheRedPill. It’s basically a group of guys who have used evolutionary psychology to figure out how women really work.

      For example, the instances where grace told you “oh did I really hurt your feelings” are known as a ‘shit test’. She was basically prodding you for weaknesses, seeing how you would react. An emotional response to her question allows her to take a dominant role over you in her own mind. The better response would be to ignore, or to act indifferent and amused by her stupid question.

      But this stuff is right up your alley. It’s anti-feminist. You should read up on it. reddit dot com/r/theredpill (good stuff is on the sidebar materials).

      You should also put up that previous post that you took down, because fuck it.

      Anyways I look forward to seeing how this all plays out. Please ignore my fake name and email. I would like some level of anonymity.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 16, 2014 at 09:51


      Jesus I love your comment. Without belaboring, I quite agree to such an extent it’s not with quibble.

      Now, you referenced that Matt Stone post.

      I might as well put it out there. Matt and I are good buds, now, just exchanged like a half dozen emails a few days ago. All is forgotten (this will not happen with Grace, that line crossed).

      He and his partner, Rob Archangel, are going to be getting the book out there.


      File it under life stranger than fiction.

    • TameTheAnimal on December 18, 2014 at 10:50

      That’s great news. I’m looking forward to the book.

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