Friday, December 12, 2014

Raw Potato Starch; A Great Prebiotic!

A thesis statement is needed to introduce a research topic. Often these statements are designed to make a claim others might dispute. It's the backbone of the research process. Without a provocative thesis statement, the science falters.

I have been defending this thesis statement for nearly two years, and have raised many disputes, some rather heated. This unproven thesis statement has generated much good science. I believe I can now prove that my thesis is correct. 

"Raw, unmodified potato starch meets the current definition of a "prebiotic" and would, therefore, add value to diets that are low in fiber."

A good thesis statement should lead into a research question, such as:

"Is raw, unmodified potato starch a "prebiotic?"

And also leads to a call for more research, such as:

"What is the optimal dose of prebiotic potato starch?"


"What other prebiotic fibers would have a synergistic effect on raw potato starch?"

I did not realize the effect my original thesis statement would have on people when I first developed it, but it has taken a life of its own. I feel honored when I see someone try to disprove it, or come up with an alternate thesis directly opposing mine.

Monday, December 8, 2014

More AmGut Reports!

Not sure how many around here remember Allan and his family project.  Last year around this time, a blog regular, Allan, got the wild idea to subject his entire family (wife and 2 kids) to an experiment based on my American Gut report. 

His plan was to have each family member get a 'before' report from AmGut, then add a different amount of potato starch to each diet, and get an 'after' report. 

The problem was it would be expensive, nearly $800.  So he launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money.  I was so excited about this project, that I secretly told Allan I would make up the difference.  Around Christmas last year, days before the campaign was about to expire, and still about $600 short, I sheepishly told Jackie what I was up to.  She rolled her eyes.  But then, Christmas miracle, supporters came in left and right and Allan ended up with over $1000 to fund his project!  See the full Indiegogo page here.

Results are now in!

The History of Gut Bugs--Part 3 of 3


Richard Wrangham of Harvard University argues in his book “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human”[1] “that the invention of cooking—even more than agriculture, the eating of meat, or the advent of tools—is what led to the rise of humanity.”

In his book, he says that the ability to harness fire and cook food allowed the brain to grow and the digestive tract to shrink, giving rise to our ancestor Homo Erectus 1.8 million years ago.

“Cooking is the signature feature of the human diet, and indeed, of human life — but we have no idea why,” says Wrangham,  “It’s the development that underpins many other changes that have made humans so distinct from other species.”

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Another AmGut Comparison

I am just loving this recent flood of American Gut Project results!  Commenter "Kate" just found her results and shared them.  She was one of the early potato starch experimenters. She describes herself as very healthy, no antibiotics since 2012, and eats a good, healthy diet.  We don't have before-and-after tests, just this one, after several months of 4TBS/day potato starch.  At first glance, it looked very un-impressive.  It looked similar to the SAD dieter I showed you in the last blog.  But the bar-charts are deceiving!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Latest American Gut Results

Apparently the American Gut Project (also now available in England!) must have gotten a burst of energy recently.  Several people have told me that they just got results back they've been waiting nearly a year for. I also just got some results from a sample I sent them in July.

I'd like to show you all my most recent report and compare it with one from almost a year ago.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

American Gut and uBiome Compared

In July this year, I conducted an experiment. I sent identical fecal samples to American Gut and uBiome to see how they would compare. There have been several discussions on this subject, seeming to make the two rival microbiome test labs flawed in their methods. An explanation from uBiome.

One argument was that even on an individual turd, there would be differences in the microbes found on it's surface. Makes sense.

Another argument was that the normal sampling method, ie. wiping a cotton swab on used toilet paper, would also lead to different microbes being detected.  Sounds right.

I did things a bit differently. I did my "#2" in a new, food grade, plastic bag. Kneaded it thoroughly. Then I touched the exact same spot lightly with the swabs provided by the two companies.

I now have the results!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

First Semester Finished!

Woo-hoo! Party time at the Farthest North Frat House! "I Tappa Kegga" rulez! All finished with my first semester of grad school. 6 credits earned, 30 more to go. 4.0 average so far! I am seriously considering changing my specialty from Biotech Regulations to Bioinformatics as I really enjoyed learning about bioinformatics and all of the tools used in biotechnology. I hear that next semester will include more on-line panty raids and even an e-goat in the dean's office. Can't wait!