Tag Archives: prebiotics

Project FermenTRP

People have been fermenting food for a long time, all over the world. Different cultures have different traditional fermenting techniques for various foods and beverages (eg, Bell et al., 2017). Many things, ranging from grapes, milk, and cabbages, even meat and fish. For all intents and purposes, it’s practically universally viewed as a beneficial and healthful practice …

for the ‘biome and beyond

#psychobiotics

 

Maybe it’s just because a robust ‘biome lowers the sugar content of your diet! LOL jk I’m sure it’s far more complex than that.

 

Also, the shelf-life of most ferments is forever, so when the zombie apocalypse happens, it’s a good skill to have.

 

Part 2. Project FermenTRP

I started down this rabbit hole because the TRP theory of muscle cramps is interesting. And, well, I got carried away LOL .

 

The idea of a “superfood” is kinda silly, but virtually all TRP agonists are found in so-called superfoods. Fermenting is cool, too, so I decided to combine the two because why not

 

[I know, I know, photography isn’t my specialty]

 

#torched

 

 

Torching habanero peppers does not lessen the burn. To be honest, I’d go with a WAY less hot pepper. And combine with other TRP activators. For synergy. Or something.

 

 

The TRP-theory, in brief:

An interesting theory on the treatment of muscle cramps

Herbs, spices, TRP receptors, and pain

TRP channels in the treatment of muscle pain & cramps

 

Here are some of the more common sources of TRP agonists in the literature:

Hot Peppers (capsaicin) (doesn’t have to be habanero) (DO NOT USE HABANERO)

Involvement of thermosensitive TRP channels in energy metabolism (Uchida et al., 2017)

Targeting nociceptive TRP channels to treat chronic pain: current state of the field (Moran and Szallasi, 2017)

 

Peppercorns (piperine)

Activation of TRPV1 and TRPA1 by black pepper components (Okumura et al., 2010)

 

Ginger (gingerols)

Effects of ginger and its pungent constituents on transient receptor potential channels (Kim et al., 2016)

 

Garlic (allicins & sulfides)

The pungency of garlic: activation of TRPA1 and TRPV1 in response to allicin (Macpherson et al., 2005)

Diallyl sulfides in garlic activate both TRPA1 and TRPV1 (Koizumi et al., 2009)

Intragastric administration of allyl isothiocyanaate increases carbohydrate oxidation via TRPV1 but not TRPA1 in mice (Mori et al., 2011)

 

Cinnamon (cinnamonaldehyde)

Effects of TRP channel agonist ingestion on metabolism and autonomic nervous system in a randomized clinical trial of healthy subjects (Michlig et al., 2016)

 

Mustard & Wasabi (isothiocyanates, I think)

The capsaicin receptor TRPV1 is a crucial mediator of the noxious effects of mustard oil (Everaerts et al., 2011)

Thermosensitive TRP channels and brain function (Tominaga, 2016)

 

Cloves (eugenol)

Oregano, thyme, and clove-derived flavors and skin sensitizers activate specific TRP channels (Xu et al., 2006)

 

There are many more, but those are just some of the ones that made it to part 3.

 

In brassica, speramus.

 

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Mushrooms are awesome AND GOOD CALORIES

I have a somewhat specific definition of “Good Calories.”  Foods that, when added to your diet, cause a spontaneous reduction in intake of something else.   Like nuts.

The opposite of soda.

And more recently, mushrooms!

 

 

Side note: ‘Mushrooms Every Day’ is part of my long-term anti-cancer strategy.

 

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Whole grains aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

WUUUT *rimshot*

A new study on whole grains demonstrates how nuanced & complicated nutritional science can be.

Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial favorably affects energy-balance metrics in healthy men and postmenopausal women (Karl et al., 2017)

Sounds simple enough…

Study design: adequate to address the questions being asked.  Isocaloric, weight-maintenance diets.  Biggest differences between the two diets were whole grains (0 vs. 200 g/d) and insoluble fibre (15 vs. 30 g/d).

Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of cereal fibre, but that’s irrelevant for the point of this post.

 

 

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Hey CICO, I’m playing by your rules.

Brief background: the notorious Ebbeling study of 2012 showed an apparent metabolic advantage of a ketogenic diet.  After losing some weight, participants were assigned to low fat (LF), low GI, or ketogenic diets.  As expected, energy expenditure (EE) declined in all groups after weight loss.

 

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Random thoughts on the ‘biome

If you’re healthy, no major complaints, then you probably won’t benefit from tweaking your ‘biome.  Ymmv.  But if you’re gonna do it anyway, here are some tips (mostly my opinions).

 

microbiome

 

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New low carb protein bars

Warning: this post isn’t #Paleo Certified.   It’s more about convenience, choosing the lesser evil.

Quest Nutrition led the charge in low carb, high protein, fibre-rich bars.  “Fibre-rich” is really the key in allowing a bona fide “low carb” bar with shelf-stability and decent texture.  Sugar alcohols have also been used in some, but due to the high incidence of maltitol-induced GI discomfort, ymmv.  But in general, you need one or the other to provide bulk and keep it together (except Epic Bars, which use black magic).

For the most part, the new bars have basically copied Quest’s formula with some new flavors.

 

Disclaimer #1: I’m a whole foods guy.  Not really #Paleo, but when it comes to people’s actual lifestyles, I recognize convenience is a huge factor… and selecting the lesser evil is frequently the best option — eg, you can store a couple LC protein bars in your office, car, etc.; not so much with hard-boiled eggs or other protein-rich foods… and these options are WAY better than many other snacks or “fast-foods” out there.

Disclaimer #2: yeah, I keep a few of these bars in my office, just in case…

Quest recently switched from isomaltosaccharides to soluble corn fibre (SCF), which will likely impact GI effects.  YMMV!  Isomaltosaccharides are cool, but I’m not prepared to say they’re superior to SCF for everyone, in every #context (personally, for the ‘biome, I prefer brassicas, alliums, the gristly bits, galactooligosaccharides, et al.).
[it’d awesome if Bi2Muno would collaborate with one of these companies]

 

In these n00bs to the protein bar market, some of the biggest differentiating factors are cost, net carbs, ratio of fibre to sugar alcohols, flavor profiles, etc.

 

With no further ado, here are the newcomers:

[or just skip to the chart at the bottom]

 

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Personalized Nutrition II

More on Zeevi et al. (2015) (this is a follow-up to part 1)

I like this study a lot, or at least the fundamentals… or new tools that it might bring to the table.  Like, we know sleep and physical activity are important, and we know all calories aren’t created equal.  This study is the next level, showing there are even big differences in specific carb-rich foods depending on who’s eating them.

And more interestingly, if I’m interpreting the results of the intervention study correctly (which may not be the case), gut microbial responses to specific foods were very individualized… and predictable!

But first, the main part of the study — standardized meals (after overnight fast): 50g carbs from glucose, white bread, bread and butter, bread and dark chocolate, and fructose.  All repeated at least once (except fructose).  Everyone responded pretty similarly to fructose (little to no blood glucose spike), but a wide range of responses to glucose.

PPGR = PostPrandial Glucose Response

 

glucose and fructose

 

Bread:

 

bread

 

The range of PPGR to bread was ~15 to 79!

Again, here are some of the findings I found most interesting (besides the huge range in glycemic response to bread):

 

 

banana and cookie

 

Participant #468 has a consistently higher response to glucose than to white bread.  Participant #663 is the opposite.  And participant #445 is still winning.

I truly wonder if there’s a gut microbe (or something) that’s involved here…

 

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Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses

“please stop asking gurus how many carbs you need to optimize health”

 

bananas cookies

An interesting paper came out recently by Zeevi et al. (2015), showing, in part, that we’re all unique snowflakes (in some contexts).

 

#context

#context

 

Mini-rant: this study is in line with a lot of my beliefs about individuality in human biology.  We don’t know all the mechanisms, but we do know that some people respond better to some interventions than others.  We learn a lot from studies on diet, light, sleep, physical activity, etc., but the findings rarely/never apply equally to everyone (and some people experience completely opposite effects; eg, see studies where individual data are reported).  LIGHT exposure can improve sleep quality in some but cause agitation in others.  Low carb diets can help weight loss in some people but low fat is better for others.  Dairy, wheat, protein, the ‘biome, and fibre/resistant starch all fall into this category.  Sleep ‘requirements’ vary by person, season, geography, etc., etc…  there’s no QED answers in many of these contexts.

anecdote: some people say they’ve never had better blood glucose than when they were having a few servings of beans/legumes per week; others just report bloating & farts (no bueno).

End rant.

Background reading:

  1. The Atlantic ran a decent piece on this study (certainly more colorful than my take)
  2. Reddit AMA with some of the people involved in the study

 

In this particular study (video summary below): they continuously monitored the blood glucose responses in 800 people to all of their meals for a week, including a variety of test meals.  Main result: many different responses, even to the same foods!  An oversimplified example: some people had smaller relative postprandial glucose excursions after 50g carbohydrate from rice compared to 50g carb from potatoes, and other people responded oppositely.  And friggin’ tomatoes?!

Translation: need to move beyond recommending #IIFYM.

Some foods were universally well-tolerated [in this population] in the context of mixed meals, like quinoa and salmon; other foods did the opposite, like chocolate chip cookies and sushi.  And lastly, some foods like cottage cheese and hummus were good for some people but others.

 

bananas cookies[participant 445 is winning]

 

*In general, I don’t believe in labeling foods as categorically good or bad, which is pretty much confirmed by this study, but some patterns emerged wrt postprandial glucose excursions in this population…

#context

 

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Good calories

Nuts are good calories.

I’m not a big fan of the omega-6 fatty acid linoleate, but that’s largely in the context of processed foods and confectioneries, where it’s more than likely no longer in it’s native form (Dc9,1218:2n6)… but in the context of unprocessed whole foods (eg, nuts), a little n6 is fine imo.

What are good calories?  They’re nutrient-dense and don’t generally lead to overeating… like the opposite of soda and junk food.  Nuts are low carb and many are highly ketogenic (eg, Brazils, macadamias, and pecans are ~90%fat).  Mr. Ramsey may even approve of macadamias because they have virtually zero PUFAs.

BONUS: magnesium, copper, selenium, many trace minerals and micronutrients, etc., etc.

I’m not saying you should crack open a can of Deluxe Mixed Nuts and sit down with nothing to do other than NOM NOM NOM ALL THE NUTZ.  I’m talking about a few nuts with a meal.  Possibly earlier in the day (coinciding with LIGHT); nuts are tryptophan-rich and this may improve melatonin onset -> good for circadian rhythms:

 

nuts and melatonin

 

 

Appetitive, dietary, and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized controlled trial (Tan and Mattes, 2013)

In this study, the participants were instructed to eat a serving of almonds (~43g, ~245 kcal) daily for four weeks, at different times of the day (with breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, or afternoon snack).

Regardless of when the almonds were consumed, the calories were practically completely compensated for.  The participants unwittingly ate less other stuff.  And in 3 out of 4 of the conditions, the almonds were so satiating that the participants actually ended up eating fewer overall calories.

That, in a nutshell, is what I call “good calories,” and I don’t think it’s too far from Taubes’ original definition… especially because it was accompanied with [modest] reductions in body fat (NS).  To be clear, they were instructed to eat more (in the form of almonds), but ended up eating less, BECAUSE ALMONDS.  This wasn’t a cross-sectional study, so no healthy user bias or other obvious confounders.

Further, the participants clearly weren’t obesity resistant.  They were overweight, obese, or lean with a strong family history of type 2 diabetes.  Sam Feltham would’ve been excluded.

This is not an isolated finding: another study showed a dose-dependent response to almonds: 28g or 42g consumed in the morning resulted in a compensatory reduction of hunger and total energy intake at lunch and dinner (Hull et al., 2014).  This wouldn’t happen with soda or junk food.

 

 

Another study tested ~350 kcal almonds daily for 10 weeks and concluded: “Ten weeks of daily almond consumption did not cause a change in body weight. This was predominantly due to compensation for the energy contained in the almonds through reduced food intake from other sources” (Hollis and Mattes, 2007).

Almonds vs. complex carbs? Almonds, FTW.

1 Brazil nut daily: “After 6 months, improvements in verbal fluency and constructional praxis (two measures of cognitive performance) were significantly greater on the supplemented group when compared with the control group.”    ONE FRIGGIN’ NUT!

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image11630100

 

Walnuts protect against alcohol-induced liver damage (in rats) (Bati et al., 2015) and may improve brain health (in humans) (Poulose et al., 2014).

Pistachios improve metabolic and vascular parameters (Kasliwal et al., 2015).

Meta-analysis (not an intervention study): nut consumption is associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality (Grosso et al., 2015). Yeah yeah yeah, I know, correlation =/= causation.  Whatever.

Nuts are good calories.  That’s all I’m saying.

 

Tl;dr: buy these and one of these, not this.

 

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Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Gluten is protein, not carbs.  A gluten-free diet is frequently low-carb, because most dietary gluten comes in the form of bread (and wheaty foods).  But believe it or not, bread is an incredibly complex food… many different proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients that could be problematic for some people (more on this later).

Gluten is not a FODMAP, but most gluten-containing foods are.  Gluten is actually very rich in the amino acid glutamine.  Gluten, not bread.

So we have three studies on purified “gluten,” asking if it’s the gluten, FODMAPs, or something else in wheaty food that is problematic.

Study #1. No effects of gluten in patients with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity after dietary reduction of FODMAPs (Biesiekierski et al., 2013)

Strong study design; patient population was people who thought they were gluten sensitive (but definitely not celiac).

This is the study which led journalists to claim non-celiac gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist, and it’s really sensitivity to FODMAPs, in part, because of this:

 

 

low FODMAPs and gluten free

 

 

Baseline = low gluten diet
Run-in = low gluten and low FODMAPs

 

Here’s the fly in the ointment:

 

symptoms returned in all participants

 

After the run-in period, subjects still followed their gluten-free diets but also received either 16g relatively pure gluten/d (High gluten), 2g gluten + 14g whey protein (Low gluten), or 16g whey protein (placebo).  GI symptoms returned in all participants.  So, low FODMAPs worked for about a week, but then symptoms returned regardless of whether they were eating gluten or not.  In other words, neither low FODMAPs nor low/no gluten worked very well in this study.

But this study may have introduced a brilliant new confounder: food intake was strictly controlled — the experimental diets were different from their normal diets.  Restricting gluten and FODMAPs may have provided some transient benefit, but if the new experimental diet introduced something else that caused problems, then that may explain the gradual return of symptoms…

bollixed?

 

 

Study #2. Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects with Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial (Di Sabatino et al., 2015)

It was another high quality study design: “Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over.”  And it was addressing a basic question: do people who strongly suspect they have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) really have NCGS?  Alternatively, is NCGS real?

Intervention was strong:

1) 4.375 grams of gluten or placebo (rice starch) daily for a week.  This is roughly equivalent to two slices of bread (note: this is way more than enough gluten to destroy the intestines of a patient with bona fide celiac disease).

2) important: they defined the what they would classify as NCGS prior to starting the trial.  A priori.

61 patients strongly suspected of NCGS started the trial, and one withdrew due to gluten-related symptoms in both the gluten and placebo groups.

 

Results:  regardless of whether they were assigned to gluten or placebo FIRST (prior to the crossover), most patients reported gluten-related symptoms.  More importantly, 3 of the 59 patients exhibited significantly worse symptoms on gluten relative to placebo according to the endpoint they defined prior starting the trial.  In one sense, this could be interpreted to mean 5% of people who strongly believe they have NCGS actually have NCGS.

 

gluten sensitive patients

 

Two patients reacted just as selectively strongly to the placebo as the three “real” NCGS patients did to gluten.  Rice-starch sensitivity?

 

See here for a more detailed description of the statistics involved in this study.  I’m willing to accept the “5%” rate, despite the strength of the placebo-responders, whereas the author of that blog post is not.  That’s fair, imo.

And here is another article which questions the legitimacy of NCGS based on this study.  I don’t think that’s totally fair.

And Raphael’s post, where he humorously concludes: “[Gluten-free] does not include advice to sport a gas mask when walking past bakeries.”

 

 

Study #3. Effect of gliadin on permeability of intestinal biopsy explants from celiac disease patients and patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (Hollon et al., 2015)

 

 

gluten increases intestinal permeability

 

 

“Delta TEER” is basically the amount of intestinal permeability in intestinal explants exposed to media + gluten (experimental condition) minus those exposed to plain media (control condition).  A better control condition, imo, would’ve been something like they did above: substitute gluten with another protein like whey protein.

 

NC: healthy people
RCD: celiac patients in remission
ACD: celiac patients with active disease
GS: non-celiac gluten sensitivity

 

Active celiac samples responded significantly worse than those in remission, which is good as it functions as a positive control for the experimental protocol.

 

However, gluten sensitive samples responded significantly worse than celiac remission samples; actually, they responded just as badly as celiac samples with active disease.  Celiac disease is supposed to be a million times worse than non-celiac gluten sensitivity… and statistically speaking, even permeability the normal samples declined as much as NCGS samples.

 

This led some to conclude that gluten is bad for EVERYONE.  I’d say it means the assay is bollixed.  Occam’s razor?

 

 

My advice: don’t be anti-science, but don’t use bad science to justify diet choices.  We simply need better studies on non-celiac gluten sensitivity and FODMAPs.

If bread doesn’t work for you, don’t eat bread.  You’re not missing much.

 

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