Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Blood Glucose, Leaky Gut, and Potatoes Part 4

Still trying to work this out: Does dietary glucose enter the bloodstream through a backdoor of leaky tight junctions (TJ), leading to increased blood glucose (BG) and insulin resistance? I'm always looking for alternate theories, and the Potato Hack has me thinking that there is a third alternative to diabetes that everyone has overlooked.

My favorite Guinea pig, my Dad, is diabetic but he won't admit it, nor take pills for it. His fasting blood glucose (FBG) is near 200 most mornings. He's been potato hacking for three days now, and doing "a good job" according to a spy in the house (thanks, Mom!). Potatoes, according to every doctor and nutritionist, should be Dad's worst enemy, yet he's eaten nothing but spuds for three days and says:

...blood reading this a.m. was 102 haven't seen that number in ages. BP down too. Have done potatoes for 3 days, also dropped a few pounds. plan to keep it up a few more days...

Has my 70 year old dad suddenly become insulin sensitive and reversed his diabetes? I'd love to stick him with a continuous glucose monitor connected to a computer, but my prediction is that if Dad starts adding a bottle of Coke or a candy bar to his meals, the entire effect will quickly reverse itself, and he'll be greeted again with an FBG of 200.

I'm learning today that there is maybe a huge difference between a potato and a bag of sugar, despite the potato's reputation for being "a bag of sugar."


The Glycemic Index

In part 3, we talked about active vs. passive transport of glucose across the lining of the small intestine and into the blood stream. Scientists have used the observation that ingested carbs will cause a resultant spike in blood glucose within a short time. The size and duration of this spike in BG is used to determine the glycemic impact, or index (GI), of a food. Pure glucose is used as the standard, given a GI of 100, and all other foods are compared. Here's a typical GI list:

Food GI Serving Size (g)

Honey 87 1 Tbs
Jelly Beans 78 1 oz
Snickers Bar 68 60g (1/2 bar)
Table Sugar 68 2 Tsp
Strawberry Jam 51 2 Tbs
Peanut M&Ms 33 30 g (1 oz)
Dove Dark Chocolate Bar 23 37g (1 oz)
Potato 104 213g (1 med)
Parsnip 97 78g (1/2 cup)
Carrot, raw 92 15g (1 large)

Diabetics and dieters alike are often told:

Low glycemic foods help you feel full longer; help keep blood sugar even.

Looking at the list above, which food would you immediately avoid if looking to lower the glycemic impact of foods? I lurrrves me some peanut M&Ms, though!

Why the disparity?

I have never even once thought that choosing foods according to the glycemic index charts was a good idea from a blood sugar point of view. The full list and methodology for building the list can be found here:  International tables of glycemic index (1995). If you scroll through the 600 or so entries, you will see wide variances within each category, potatoes, for instance are rated with a GI of 54 (new potatoes) to 111 (baked potatoes), with an average of roughly 75. A raw potato, if it were on the list, would have a GI close to zero.

How can a "Dove Dark Chocolate bar" be 23 and a potato 111? Most likely because the chocolate bar is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Fructose, you see, does not cause a spike in blood sugar, and it will not register on a glucose meter. Fructose (and sucrose, etc...) are all sugars that have special concerns. Maybe some day we'll take a look, but for now, we'll stay focused on glucose.

The glycemic index does point out, however, that all "carbs" are not created equal, not even remotely so.

Passive vs. Active Transport Revisited

Friend to the Veggie Pharm, Dr. Art Ayers was consulted. He reminded me of some unfortunate biology that I have been overlooking: the glucose from a potato is different from the glucose in refined sugar.

Also remember that dietary starch does not yield glucose, but rather maltodextrins, the glucose oligosaccharides that are hydrolyzed to glucose on the surface of the intestinal epithelial cells.  There is no glucose to leak across the junctions.

When we eat a potato, we do not get an intestine full of glucose, we get an intestine full of plant material that requires even further breakdown before it can be transported into the blood. Therefore, Dr. Ayers is suggesting that when eating an all-potato diet, there is no free glucose floating around that could get transported to the blood via leaking tight junctions (TJs). 

I mentioned yesterday that passive transport is also called the Pappenhiemer Effect. Well, it turns out that Dr. Ayers actually knows Dr. Pappenheimer (even calls him "Pap!"). Dr. Ayers is not a big fan of my leaky gut theory of diabetes, but I have shown him a thing or two that got his nod of approval in the past...hopefully I can do it here.

There are many papers, including "Pap's" that describe a passive flow of glucose across TJs. There are no papers describing a sustained flow of glucose across TJs in an unhealthy state called "leaky gut." Yet, leaky gut is very real and the cause of such inflammatory diseases like Celiac disease, IBS, and arthritis. Much of the damage of a leaky gut is done by allowing things into the blood that should not be there, wheat gluten in celiac for instance. Leaky gut is also blamed for diabetes, but not because of the glucose issue.

The Potato Hack Effect

What can be going on then with an all-potato diet to lower BG from diabetic levels to normal?  I had initially assumed that the potato hack was healing the leaky gut, but now I believe that the potato hack works because it provides a glucose source that MUST be hydrolized and actively transported across the gut lining. 

All that will be needed to offset the potato hack effect is a sugar. Sugar, especially refined, white sugar is composed of glucose molecules that are easily liberated by salivary amylase. When this bolus hits the intestines, it's in a form that can be used by the body, so if it passively leaks across a leaky TJ, it will cause a rise in BG independent from glucose that arrives via the normal pathway of active transport.

What next?

If someone like my Dad sees dramatic improvements of blood glucose readings while potato hacking, the return to a normal diet needs to be carefully considered. I'd like to see my dad add back in all of his normal foods, except for any that contain sugar, including fruits, and bread. He should start eating his normal meals, including plenty of veggies. Snacks can be of the starchy variety if need be, nuts, etc. but no M&Ms or soda pop.

If my hypothesis holds true, by avoiding any form of easily transported glucose, his BG levels should remain normal. Only after he is satisfied of the "cure" should he add in his normal sugar snacks. My prediction is that his BG will skyrocket back to where it was before.

If so, this should be a massive wake-up call to all diabetics that a potato is NOT a bag of sugar, the Glycemic Index is crap, and their diet should be filled with starches instead of sugars. 

I'll have to email this idea to my dad, no way he will read all this, lol.  Mom, maybe. 

Then what? Well, I guess I'll just have to sit down and write this all up for a medical journal and hope that someone can test my theory in a clinical setting. Will anyone care?

I think that's all for this series. I left out a LOT of the research I went through to get this far. There's a gut microbe angle, a magnesium/manganese angle, and a boat-load of old diets that were used to cure diabetes that look an awful lot like the potato hack in terms of glucose and nutrients. 

Maybe this stuff can come out on the comments, and we'll get the rest of the gang to join in. Gabrielle Kadar has a lot to say on the subject, so does Gemma. Can we entice Art here?  Maybe I'll email him, too. 



  1. Tim, this is excellent stuff. I was traveling yesterday with no chance to see parts 3 and 4. I am not a professional in the field, but I have above-average interest in the subject matter; this is the most interesting new way to look at how carbohydrates may be handled that I've seen in a long time. I've studied many alternative paths for fats, but there has been an assumption on my part that glucose-convertible-carbs were handled in a universal straight-forward manner. I have never heard of alternative idea of passive transport through the TJs. I understand it's an alternative thought and maybe controversial, but you've presented a logical, thoughtful theory that I, too, hope some academics will consider and research. This will certainly qualify my future views of carbohydrates.

    1. John - Sorry your comment went to spam, no idea why that happens sometimes.

      Thanks for the comment. I don't know why this has not been explored before, either. The science seems to be in place. An alternate pathway for glucose to enter the bloodstream is the only explanation I can think of for the unexpected dip in BG on an all-potato diet. It also explains how a diabetic person's BG can shoot to 600 or so after a meal containing simple carbs.

      For most people with normal BG numbers, all this means little. But for anyone who is seeing a rise in BG numbers and heading into metsyn territory, they need to re-examine the diet and remove all but complex carbs.

      There are a boat-load of diets that do this, ie. Slow Carb Diet, Starch Solution, etc... but their explanations for why never made sense to me. It would also show why those diets have poor long-term success if people are also eating bread, sugar, fruit, etc..

  2. It's my understanding that endotoxin leaks through the leaky gut causing inflammation which causes insulin resistance.

    So if you look at it from that perspective, if you can seal the gut, prevent endotoxin from leaking out, then the problem is resolved.

    1. I think this is all part of the "hotly contested" part of the whole story. Endotoxins, or Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), and undoubtedly a big part of the puzzle.

      It's impossible to seal up the gut. Leaky Gut is always described in a way that makes it seem as if the luminal contents are simply spilling into the blood, this is not the case. Even the transportation of endotoxins seems to play a beneficial role in human health, but with an unhealthy gut, leaking at the wrong time, can be devastating to our health.

    2. I have my own theory on this. Basically for LPS to translocate across the gut, they are theorized to be transported on chylomicrons. We know a low carb diet works well for weight loss, and we also know (thanks to Denise Minger) that an extremely low fat diet (like < 10%) also works extremely well for weight loss. The potato hack would fall into this category. I would theorize that the high fat diet creates a ton of LPS, and the carbohydrates contribute to the production of chylomicrons. So on a high carbohydrate, high fat diet, you'll likely get the most amount of LPS translocating. And in fact, this is the typical research recipe for inducing metabolic syndrome.

      If you reduce the carbs, like on Atkins, you are still producing lots of LPS, but their translocation mechanism has been severely reduced. On the potato diet, the production of chylomicrons is likely elevated, but by dropping fat to almost zero, the production of LPS from the gut is minimized. So on both ends of the scale you'll end up with a reduction in LPS and a reduction in inflammation. Once the inflammation is reduced, insulin and leptin pathways will likely be restored, resulting in proper metabolic control and weight loss.

    3. Hi Duane - What are you doing reading these old posts? lol.

      LPS transport by chylomicrons is pretty much an accepted fact, from what I read (ie. ).

      It's also true that diets that disrupt the gut flora usually lead to a reduction in inflammation, low carb, high carb, very low calorie, etc. It's the Western SAD diet that promotes inflammation, much which can be blamed on LPS. Another thing that seems to greatly promote LPS absorption is food grade chemical emulsifiers, found in lots of processed foods (ice cream, mayo, etc.). So a double-whammy for inflammation.

      With all this in mind, I still think that a high fat/low fiber diet will eventually lead to long term problems as it develops a gut biome that does not favor mucus production or butyrate formation. High protein diets produce a gut environment with the wrong pH, allowing pathogens to take hold.

      I think people get confused when they switch from SAD to keto or LC and see quick reversal of MetSyn, and think this is the way they should eat "forever."

      Thanks for the comments, quite thought provoking.

  3. Tim, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the potential role of gut health in reactive/postprandial hypoglycemia, in which the body overproduces insulin in response to sugars/starches, with a resulting (rapid and disabling) plummet in blood sugars. I developed this in the last couple of years, and initially managed it quite well with a ketogenic diet. After reading about the role of the microbiome in the regulation of insulin production, I began tinkering with resistant starches, soil-based probiotics, and other things to support my gut. After several months of that, I have been able to add limited amounts of starches back to my diet with no ill effects. I'm continuing to tinker - for example, this week, I got chickpeas back. :-)

    Much of the discussions have (appropriately) been focused on people who have dysregulated glucose metabolism in the form of type II diabetes and related obesity. Do you see a place for these considerations within the broader spectrum of glucose dysregulation?

    1. I have not looked much into reactive hypoglycemia, but as Wilbur shows, it is all interconnected with a healthy gut.

      I would love to see you try adding in lots of fibers and lots of starchy foods, while avoiding sugars and refined flour. If sugars are bypassing normal sugar transportation systems, it could be leading to a whole slew of glucose metabolic disorders.

    2. I think I may consider this. I have avoided all added sugars and refined grain flours for the last year, relying on nut flours and stevia and/or erythritol when those sorts of things are needed in recipes. I am a small-framed person and so aim for around 1200 calories/day. I consume about 45 g/day of added resistant starches and fiber (between PS, plantain flour, acacia fiber, psyllium, inulin, glucomannan, which became known for a while as "magic fart powder") and drop things like a small raw potato or half of a green banana into my morning smoothie as well. Lots of low-sugar veggies and greens, probably 8-12 oz/day. Relatively high fat, and moderate amounts of good quality protein. Recently added chickpeas and chickpea flour, and will be adding oats back soon too and experimenting with fermenting whole grains.

      When adding in fibers and starchy foods, I think of the following: potatoes (obviously), squashes, beans and lentils, whole grains (potentially fermented) and some seeds; continuing with lots of low-sugar veggies and greens is assumed. Is there anything that I'm missing in this list, that I should consider?

    3. I just made the connection: Becky = Rebecca from before?

      If I recall correctly, and if you are the same person, it seems that things are improved for you. That's great if so!

      I think another important goal for me was proving that I could eat basically anything without derailing. Like the birthday cake. Pizza. Pasta. I wanted to know that I'd truly won. I just got back from a 10-day vacation with very little control over my food except my fiber supplements and nothing changed.

      I know I'm sort of suggesting the opposite of what Tim is. But I remember my fear of losing everything with just a small transgression. I'm finding this method to be very resilient and powerful.

      Jo Nesbo has kids' books on fart powder if you are interested. My daughter and I enjoyed "Doctor Procter's Fart Powder."

    4. An over shooting of insulin is perfectly normal. Just as the pancreas doesn't create insulin when you put something like a potato in your mouth, it takes time to shut off, too. BS charts of normal, non-diabetic people show this.

    5. Tim, don't forget there is a bit of sugar in most vegetables. A quick look shows about .5/gram per ounce in broccoli, and about .75 in tomatoes and summer squash.

      Certainly nothing like Coke or Ding Dong's, but it's there.

  4. Not Tim, but I had hereditary reactive and postprandial hypoglycemia for about 40 years. No diet got it under control except when I began to focus on my gut health about 2 1/2 years ago. I have not had a single episode of hypoglycemia in that time. That includes eating a sugary store bought birthday cake with icing on an empty stomach in the middle of the day, which would have really messed me up before.

    I've cured myself of a lot of stuff, actually.

    I credit Michael Pollan's article for getting me interested, and Jeff Leach, Tim, and Richard for helping me implement it.

    I've posted a lot here. FWIW, I eat about 150g/day of prebiotics, some supplements but also lots of vegetables. I also eat higher fat than most here, I suspect. In fact, I cannot do the potato hack because it is too low fat - nothing bad happens, I just get insane cravings for fat. I usually eat just breakfast and dinner with no snacks.

    The benefits have been huge. Lots of diseases reversed. Seasonal allergies completely gone. Zero meds. Stable ideal weight. Great sleep. Super duper BMs. The thing that changed everything is realizing that my gut needed to eat too.

    1. Dang it! Wrong reply button. This is in response to Becky.

    2. Wilbur, thank you for sharing this. I've had very little luck finding reports online from people who went beyond dietary management (via low-carbing) and actually healed their condition. This is inspiring. I feel like I'm on the right trail with this - despite some potentially stress-related fatigue - the moving average seems to be in a positive direction.

      What you wrote "realizing that my gut needed to eat too" was completely my AHA moment several months ago. When you first started focusing on gut health, was your approach mostly similar to your current maintenance diet, or were there other things that you did to get things started in that healing/restoration pathway? Anything in particular that you would identify as a key contributor?

    3. My approach was very gradual. I'm confused if you are a Rebecca I discussed things with a while back, so bear with me.

      I was bouncing here and there with diets. Nothing worked. Why should it? Everybody on my dad's side had hypoglycemia. I hit a low point. High BP, bad lipids, high weight, multiple infections, IBS, maybe the beginning of Crohns. That's when I read Pollan's article.

      I didn't know what a good diet was. But I figured out that fiber was good for the gut. Via Leach, I started eating more veggies with what I normally ate. I also started slowly supplementing with fibers to get as many different types as possible. I've read many places that our ancestors might have gotten 130 g / day, so that was my goal.

      At some point, magic happened. I developed intense cravings for certain foods. Liver. Lots and lots of raw garlic and onion. Fatty meats, actually eating the fat. I developed aversions to some foods, like whole wheat. Suddenly a good diet was perfectly obvious. All my health problems disappeared, some sooner than others.

      There's lots of published information on this: the gut bacteria have many ways to signal to the body and brain what it wants. Even to the point of manipulating taste receptors. I believe that's what happened to me. There's research showing that the same food can cause radically different glucose responses in different people and it seems to be related to the gut profile, so diets meant to control this are probably individualistic.

      My diet at the early stages seemed to be controlled by strong cravings and aversions. Now things seem less urgent. Except sometimes for fat. The one constant is huge fiber very consistently.

      My fiber mix has been stable for a while. It used to change depending on "what the bugs told me what to take" (really!).

      So the key contributor for me was to let the gut decide what to eat. In my experience, I think it was telling me what it needed to fix me and for the good guys to wrest control of my gut. If I had fought (by say wanting to be low-fat or fearing garlic breath), then what would have happened? I don't know! I've since done a lot reading about the conscious and unconscious mind, and I'm beginning to doubt free will in diet. There are apparently hundreds of millions of neurons in the gut, which is very intriguing.

    4. Chris Kresser has an absolutely fascinating interview post.

      The whole thing is great, but the section about "How to increase species diversity" reaffirms my story. It even has a similar target of 100 to 150 g / day. The only thing I added was using supplements since it is so hard to get from modern cultivated veggies.

    5. Thanks for mentioning that. "Diversity and density of the food". 100 food GROUPS? But 100 plant species a day seems almost as unbelievable as the amount of fiber. Really interesting information. Thank you.

    6. Thanks for all this Wilbur, you are an inspiration for us. Last summer, I tried really hard to hit 100g/day with real foods, and ended up gravitating to raw cocoa nibs. After a couple weeks, I had a gout flare, first time in years. Upon looking, raw cocoa is full of a purine that causes gout.

      Otherwise, I found it impossible to come anywhere close to 100g with real foods. My normal fiber lately has been about 15-20g from food and a spoonful or three of PS, equating to about 30-40g/day. I never got anywhere close to 150g/day, except maybe when on the potato hack, but there it's really very hard to compute the actual grams of fiber+RS because of the variabilities in cooking methods/cooling.

      I made a big concoction once, called it my "Wilbur blend." It had wheat dextrins, inulin, larch AG, oat bran, PS, and apple pectin. A TBS of that had like 5-10g of fiber depending on how you read the labels, lol. I'd need 15-20 TBS of a powder like that to get to 150g. A full cup or more! I could see that would get expensive fast.

      The cheapest fiber source is potato starch, I cannot imagine eating a full cup (16TBS) in a day to get 100-150g fiber.

      I wonder what would be the biggest, cheapest way to achieve 150g of fiber in a day with a mix of powders and real food? I'd love to try it for a couple weeks just to say I did.

      Any ideas?

    7. If diversity of bacteria is your endpoint, why not focus on the diversity of foods as is mentioned in this podcast? Don't concentrate on fiber. Just diversity of foods.

    8. Tim, the only thing that I think might be inspirational about what I've done is my fanatic consistency. I read someplace that something like 1/3 to 1/2 of people don't consistently take prescribed meds? I'm the opposite.

      I did the calculations before, and it seemed like each fiber type cost me about $7 per month. The cheaper ones I took more of, the more expensive less of. GOS is really high, but I use a small amount. I use a lot of RPS, but it is cheaper. Powdered Jerusalem artichoke is astronomical, but I use it every few days. When you mentioned Syontix was going out of business, I bought about a 5 years supply. I'm hoping to find a new supplier before I run out. I very literally have a fiber closet in my basement.

      I divide my fiber drink into two parts, one morning one evening. I'm guessing at least a cup of powder.

      As I see things, there are a couple of issues. I forget to emphasize it, but my goal is not a big total fiber number but a big, diverse fiber number. I want lots of fiber types. My gut seems averse to, say, trying to get 150 g of RS from PS. Somehow the 20 or so different types I take each day matters more.

      Also, I think this is a long-term project. I can't remember what I felt short-term (a few weeks) but I see more and more benefits long term. It's really hard to explain. I feel like I'm aging in reverse. Before this, I probably felt close to my age. I recently read a study indicating that those who felt 3 years younger than their age lived longer or something. 3 years?! How about 30 years? Except 30 years ago I didn't feel this good.

      But if I had to be as economical as possible, my big three would be RPS, inulin, and baobab. I don't know why. But they all 3 generate different SCFAs, and in some sense seem elemental. FWIW.

    9. "The Fiber Hack...Reverse Aging," by Wilbur

      I want the first copy!

      This is a great story. Wouldn't it be great if there were a supplement available that took all of this into account, was organic, and cheap? I doubt it will happen, but we can hope. I looked into packaging and selling organic sourced potato starch, measuring the RS in each batch. It ended up so expensive I'd have had to sell it for $10-15 a pound just to break even. If I lived somewhere normal where I could have handled deliveries and storage, it might be done cheaper. But then who will buy? You need mass volume, as the Syontix guy found out.

      I'm thinking dried plantains, PS, and inulin would be a nice, cheap blend. And, you could add in some other goodies as them became available.

      I sense an experiment in my future. 100g or bust!

      I really don't have any endpoints to improve. I don't get sick, I'm happy with my weight and digestion. The only thing I'm disappointed in is my low HDL cholesterol that never budges above 30 or so no matter what I do.

      Maybe it will turn my gray hairs brown, fill in the bald spot, and make me grow a couple inches! And I always wanted blue eyes. If it does not work, I'm going to write a sternly worded comment to you!

    10. "If diversity of bacteria is your endpoint, why not focus on the diversity of foods as is mentioned in this podcast? Don't concentrate on fiber. Just diversity of foods."

      I see your point, but I think there is also a case to be made for an overall high fiber target. If you sprinkle some Lawrey's Seasoned salt on a pizza, you are eating probably 20-30 plants, but getting very few microbe accessible carbs (fiber).

      Grazing around my yard is a different story. In the summer, I can easily find 10-20 different edibles, more when my garden is in full swing. But day-to-day, I think a stable fiber intake is very important.

      There are lots of very unhealthy vegans, even they call themselves 'junk food vegans.'

    11. Hi Wilbur - I don't think I'm the same person who you were talking with previously. I'm pretty new to this site.

      This is really interesting and I'm going to think about it some more. I do get very specific food cravings at times (buckwheat and orange squashes are usually at the top of the list - then beef brisket) and that is part of what motivated me to start exploring options beyond low-carbing. My rule is that if I have an atypical craving for more than 3 days, I eat the food.

      I'm thinking about growing tigernuts this year as an inexpensive RS source. They're supposed to be pretty easy to grow (essentially invasive). I have a pound of seed on the table now, just waiting for the cold snaps to stop, and debating how to restrain their invasive potential.

    12. Becky

      I'm glad I'm telling my old story to someone new!

      I've tried tigernuts but don't really like them. I saw a picture of someone growing them, I think on FTA, and they were using a raised bed. A wood rectangular frame filled with dirt. Dunno if that's an option you are considering.

      I like RS, but for some reason I get excited by inulin. I have 5 regular sources: processed mixed chain, long chain, powdered dandelion root, powdered Jerusalem artichoke, and yacon root (sliced and powdered). Oh, I can't forget my 8 cloves or so of garlic, leeks, and onion!

      I grow dandelions and onions in pots. My yard is toxic, unfortunately. I've heard Jerusalem artichoke is also too easy to grow.

      In some discussions a long time ago, a few people pushed toward 100 g/day. As I recall, each felt something change at about 90 g/day. Some described it as a sense of fullness. I'm not sure I'd describe it like that. To me, it's a feeling of not needing to eat. I'm not overweight, but I still have enough fat to give me energy for a few days. I don't NEED to eat, so why should I feel like I do? I see people around me who absolutely must eat right away or they'll "starve" when in fact it is obvious that they won't. And they eat the first bit of crap they can find. On high fiber, though, I never feel an urgency to eat. So my choices are more thought out and healthier.

      I'd forgotten until just now that reactive hypoglycemia is often triggered by stress. The kicker is that hunger is stressful. Most of my life I had considered hypoglycemia as the source of my hunger, but maybe it's the reverse. Other sources of stress (someone cutting me off in traffic) would also trigger it. I've found since doing this that my physiological response to stressors is very different. Anger, for example, is more mental, and the physical response (faster breathing and heart rate) seems absent. This differs from before. This might also be one reason my reactive hypoglycemia disappeared.

      I'm rambling. But this is fun stuff. Good luck!

    13. Wilbur - I finally read the transcript of the Kresser FMT interview. Wow, does this sound familiar or what?

      "Even for patients without inflammatory bowel disease, we’ve got something that we call dip-day Thursday, Chris. Monday: Patients come in and start their process. We have the first implant on Monday after the initial cleansing process. Tuesday and Wednesday: Now the bacteria are starting to make their presence known, and there’s an elevation of immune markers. We see inflammation starting, only a small amount, but sufficiently that the patient notices, and they come in in terms, with almost flu or cold-like symptoms, now starting to really doubt if they’ve done the right thing, wondering about the wisdom of this whole treatment, beginning to panic. They’ve traveled a huge distance. They’ve paid a lot of money. “Oh, what have we done?!” And then we have to talk them in off the window ledge to translate that we didn’t tell you beforehand because you would then manifest it to happen, but everybody undergoes the little dip, and it always happens right about Thursday. Welcome to dip-day Thursday."

    14. Wilbur--I was inspired last year to try my own very high fiber experiment. I had a cupboard full of a variety of starches and fibers and had worked up to 80 or 90 grams a day of supplemental fibers over a couple month period. I eventually had to dial it back for two reasons. My schedule changed, and I no longer had the opportunity to make multiple bathroom trips every morning. The second issue was a gradual development of painful constipation. Somewhat of a surprise, because I was making plenty of bathroom trips and producing a lot. It was sort of like a backlog was building up. Admittedly I never scarfed down all the raw garlic you do, maybe that would have made a difference. I still supplement, but I keep it in the 20-40 grams a day range. No problems with that.

    15. Tim - I read it, but it didn't register in terms of the potato hack. But there you go - a very plausible explanation for those that have problems on about the third day!

    16. Kate - I'm glad you tried it. Everybody's different! Have you noticed any good things after a year of good fiber?

      I just want to mention that on a typical day I have only two trips to the bathroom, one morning and one one night. While traveling, I learned that the morning one can be postponed until afternoon without discomfort! This happened twice. And of course nothing approaching constipation.

      For anyone else who tries this, getting sufficient water is imperative.

    17. Actually, I've been doing the potato starch for longer than a year. I'm definitely sold on its benefits in terms of mood and great sleep. I've never noticed anything specific with the other fibers, but I continue to add a little of this and that, at least until I use up my stockpile, LOL. I think I've mentioned on this forum before that the issue I'm most interested in is chronic headaches, and after that mildly elevated BP. For both of those fiber does not seem to have moved the needle.

      Now I have not tried the full potato hack! I've managed to eat potatoes only until dinner a few times. Honestly, although I love potatoes, I always feel hungry, even if I eat 5 or 6 at a go. Maybe the next experiment is to push through and see what happens after a few days of potatoes only.

    18. I had elevated BP before, and I remember it took several months after I started fiber. So maybe fiber is not connected. I don't remember all that you eat or take as supplements. But if you haven't already, you might want to look at studies connecting BP and mushrooms (maitake and shiitake in particular), amla berry, and enzyme co-q10. Hawthorne berry is supposed to help circulation. Of course, garlic and onion can help BP. I use these every day, so something might've worked. Amla and co-q10 seem very useful.

    19. I forgot to mention sauerkraut and kimchi, or fermented veggies in particular. I eat a heaping tablespoon each day. Beets are supposed to be good for BP, so fermented beets and their greens are a favorite. Just like my fibers, I like the shotgun approach!

    20. For the BP you might try this. Three times a day tighten every muscle in you body and count to six, taking a relaxed breath with each number. Three times daily is my minimum, I try for five if I can. This seems to have brought my mildly elevated BP down. I can't swear it was this, but if that wasn't the cause, I don't know what was.

    21. @Wilbur - "In fact, I cannot do the potato hack because it is too low fat - nothing bad happens, I just get insane cravings for fat."

      Out of curiosity - what kind of fat do you find the most satiating, that is curing those cravings?

    22. @tomR Almost exclusively animal fat. Fatty ribeyes - I love the fat cap. A farm near me has super fatty pork chops. I spent several days with friends that eat low fat, and I was practically insane. We ate a Southern restaurant that had a big bowl of fried chicken skins - it was wonderful! I don't eat this every day, just once in a while I need s good dose of fat.

      This is in contrast to when I was growing up in the 80s and fat was demonized. My parents struggled with fat cravings, and had terrible heart disease (my mom died from it). My own blood lipid tests were repeating my parents' until I allowed myself to eat fats. My doctor says that she has never seen such a change in test results.

    23. Hi all, a long-time reader here but this is my first post. Really big thanks for all your great work (and all the regulars here too!).

      Tim, as it happens, I've been thinking for some time about making fibre blends to sell. I think it could help a lot of people, and it’s something I’d buy! I don’t know if this is the place to do it, but I’d love a discussion of what the community would want/recommend, price expectations etc. I recall Richard had a lot of interest when he mentioned the idea of selling his ‘fart powder’.

      Some of the difficulties I see:
      -Cost/scaling (as discussed re Syontix)
      -Individual responses - A number of comments have said that such-and-such an ingredient was marvellous/diabolical for them. I haven’t noticed a pattern. Common allergies are easier to deal with - choose the right facilities and certified allergen-free ingredients (rules out GOS and Lupin though…)
      -Organic: Sounds difficult/prohibitively expensive for a broad-spectrum blend.
      -Should there be one general purpose blend, several variants (‘beginner’s blend’ with low-gas powders?), or lots of customisation? Customisation is expensive. One cheap bulk powder (RS, Inulin etc) plus capsules of a very wide variety of other fibres?
      -‘Listening to your gut’ isn’t an option when buying a blend.
      -How to make it approachable for non-enthusiasts? This is key for eventual scaling and hence cost reduction.

      (Wilbur - I’m sure Orafti HP will be in there. I’m sure I can get you a supply.)

    24. Maybe there is a workable tweak. What about thinking of it as a hub, a one-stop fiber shop? When I was interested in modernist cooking, it was not easy to find some of the ingredients. Somebody set up a place where most of them could be bought in various amounts, raging from sachet to pounds. Or if you were interested in a particular technique, you could buy a kit with the right ingredients. Or if you wanted to try several, there was a kit for that.

      One might also try the model of Kyolic garlic pills, where they have different mixes that might be helpful for certain diseases. One for hypertension, another for high cholesterol, blood sugar control, etc.

      Part of my problem is that I would like to buy bulk, but I don't know the companies that sell it and they have no ratings anywhere because hardly anybody buys bulk. This could fix the problem if someone else can ensure good quality, etc.

    25. Last summer when I was on break from classes and bored, I looked into starting a line of RS supplements. All would be organic and labeled with the RS percentage. I found the sources of raw materials, a plant to package the materials, and set up distribution through Amazon.

      Each step ups the minimum price, and while I could buy PS for 30 cents/pound, packaging was about $1 per container, with testing, shipping, and all, I could have a container filled with organic starch for about $3 a pound. Putting it in 2 or 3 pound containers was a bit cheaper. But then when it got to Amazon, it got a bit trickier. They charge about $3 per unit moved. This put the price at $6 a pound. Bob's Red Mill is $5 a pound, as my standard to beat. I could not do it.

      Additionally, the raw materials have to be purchased in bulk, and packaging plants have a minimum run of about 5000 pounds. This puts you several thousand in the hole, and with a whole lot of product on hand. Amazon starts charging storage fees if your stuff does not move in a month.

      The next big problem is customers. I doubt you could sell 5000 units of starch a month in the current market atmosphere. Look at Amazon,it's flooded with fiber supps. You might be able to sell a few dozen to readers of various blogs, but in the end, what you want is to sell to 10's of thousands of people based simply on your advertising. This makes overhead higher and profit margins lower.

      I just did not see it as a good business model.

      Buying bulk and packing it in your garage is not an option for dietary suplements. The packaging facility must be "GMP" certified by the FDA. This limits you to who can package your product.

      I suppose a guy could do a single run, 5000 units, having spent maybe $10-15K in seed money. Then go around and try to sell at Farmer's markets or via a blog, but there is no way you could make a living or even pay for all your time doing it that way.

      It seems an easy way to make some money and offer a good product until you start looking into what all it takes to make it happen.

      The blend itself would be easy to come up with, but if you want 2 blends, your minimum run goes up to 10,000, etc.

      It's easy to find packaging facilities to do all this for you, but they get paid up front. I think this is a game for the big boys...Procter&Gamble, NOW, Nature Made, etc. It's hard to compete with Amazon or Wal-Mart. You can literally get any blend you desire on Amazon.

      If you already have a company doing supplements, then adding a line of quality fiber would make sense. Going into business from scratch with the idea of selling 1 or 2 products is probably not feasible.

      Just my 2 cents, having been there and done that.

    26. There has been significant consolidation in the starch industry. One company seems to control most of the products. Since many of these are used in bakeries, look to your local bake shop supply store for help buying in bulk. If they are unable to help, its pretty easy to work your way up the chain to their distributor. Some of the these items are a little more difficult to find, but many are easily sourced this way. This was a tip I got from one of the manufacturers.

    27. Good info, thanks!

      Wow, Tim, I had no idea!

    28. As others have mentioned, and I think Stuart started in Australia, a "Fiber Share" club would be really cool, and possibly the person running it could make a little money to cover expenses. It could be done under the radar of the FDA and serve a good purpose for fiber-minded individuals.

      I really thought I could put together a business model that would be a major part of my income, as raw starches are dirt cheap. Nope. Not even close.

    29. @Tim
      Are you sure that a packaging facility has to be certified? I am hoping that a supplement packaging business could operate out of a home if they followed FDA rules.

      I found there are organizations (such as Eagle Certification Group) that certify facilities, but certification seems to be for large companies to increase their credibility and to ensure they follow all FDA rules.

      From the FDA’s “Guidance for Industry: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements; Small Entity Compliance Guide”, I found this: “The Dietary Supplement (DS) CGMP rule in 21 CFR part 111 (“the DS CGMP rule”) requires persons who manufacture, package, label, or hold a dietary supplement to establish and follow current good manufacturing practice to ensure the quality of the dietary supplement and to ensure that the dietary supplement is packaged and labeled as specified in the master manufacturing record.”

      Mark L. (considering marketing long-chain inulin)

    30. I doubt it would be worthwhile to set a garage or basement up as a CGMP facility, but possibly. Here's a book that would have the answers:

      The FDA has a website that contains every warning letter they issue. It's full of supplement manufacturers who do not follow cgmp, for instance:

      You've seen WEDO Gluten Free Banana Flour, right? Notice that they sell their product as a food item. My plan with RS was to sell the raw starches as food ingredients (wink, wink). Possibly you could do the same with lc inulin, but you could not advertise as a health supp in any way, shape, or form except maybe some generally worded FDA approved "may aid in lowering cholesterol" type statement.

      The degree program I am doing is Biotech Regulatory Affairs. If there is a theme I've caught, it's that drugs and supplements are a realm for the big boys. But it is possible to contract out the mixing and packaging and just be a material handler, in this way, most of the liability is placed on the CGMP facility.

  5. Interesting concept. This (2015) article mentions it too.

    "Glucose is known as an absorption enhancer. It is known that a major portion of intestinal glucose absorption occurs through tight junctions and not by saturable transcellular active transport. The absorption of a significant portion of glucose through tight junctions requires increased junctional permeability, a very high intraluminal glucose concentration, and a sufficient osmotic gradient to promote volume flow [58]. Glucose was found to increase permeability and produce changes in distribution of the main protein of the tight junction in the human cell line Caco-2, indicating intercellular leakage. Addition of luminal glucose to segments of rodent small intestine, mounted in Ussing chambers caused significant increase in paracellular permeability to small molecules. The same observation was seen in rats and even in human [59], [60] and [61]."

    1. It could very well be that we have two pathways for glucose absorption: The active transport seems to be the primary route, but maybe we also evolved a second path through tight junctions. Ancestrally, we ate very little simple sugar, mostly starch. The body maybe devised a way to get the most from the sugar we eat by allowing it to diffuse through TJs.

      If these same TJs are damaged from a life of abuse, maybe they diffuse glucose more readily. The excess glucose leading to insulin resistance and metabolic disorders.

    2. So you saw today's rounds of emails with Art and the rest. I'm not sure I made my case with them. I'll keep looking for research on this topic. Something is going on that cannot be explained by traditional glucose metabolism theories.

  6. Tim, sorry for dropping this here, but I couldn't find your email here online (I'm at work and don't have my copy of your book with me).

    In the book you mention how each iteration of heating and cooling increases the resistant starch content (up to a point). However, some details were missing.

    How long must they be heated and to what temperature to have this effect? Is a microwave sufficient? When does the increase happen? After heating or after another round of cooling? And if it's after cooling, how long must each session of cooling be before the RS content increases? Does eating them hot (after a night of cooling) reduce the RS or is it stable after heating?

    I want to maximize the RS in my meals!

    PS: I'm already fairly lean (for 42) but after 3.5 days of following the diet I'm shocked at how easily he fat melted off. I have purchased 3 extra copies of the book and have others doing it. One friend lost 6 lbs over 2.5 days of following it despite cheating. Lowest he's been in years. He's typically an awful dieter. VERY IMPRESSIVE!

    TY for writing this book.

    1. The takeaway on that section in the book should have been that complicated formulas and cycles of heating and cooling are not really worth the trouble. The most RS3 that is formed from heating/cooling is in the first cycle, about 8 hours at 40 deg F. After that, it's just tiny increases.

      To maximize RS at meals, pre-cook potatoes, rice, and beans and store in fridge or freezer until ready to eat them. Then thaw and re-heat however you like.

      To get a super-blast of RS, mix a spoonful of raw potato starch in water, milk, yogurt, etc., or have a slice of raw potato. Much easier than lengthy RS3 conversion cycles with little payback.

      Glad you are liking the potato hack! Please consider a review on Amazon.

    2. Tim, RS is supposed to be the result of a chemical reaction of raw starch when it is heated, then cooled. On re-heating, does the RS reaction not re-occur?

    3. You are confusing things a bit. There are several types of RS. Concerning potatoes, RS2 and RS3 come into play. The starch in a raw potato is RS2. A raw potato is approximately 15% RS2 by weight. A 100g potato will have approx 15g RS2. If you cook that potato, all of the RS2 disappears. Upon cooling, the cooked starches reform into a helix structure called RS3. The cooked and cooled 100g potato now has about 5g RS3. If you reheat it, it will grow a bit to maybe 6%. Subsequent heating/cooling cycles will continue to increase it, but only slightly.

  7. At the first of this year I mentioned that the potato hack brought back the symptoms of a gut disturbance caused by Accutane use in the late 1980's: chronic cracks at the corners of my mouth. When I left you last I mentioned that Glutamine healed them up. But it didn't. At least not for long. Then I went back to my arsenal of things that have worked in the past: more potato starch, soil-based probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii, Elixa ... all of it seemed to work at first but then the cracks came back. Then I discovered a half-used bottle of NAC in the back of the cupboard. I used it off and on for a long time because I understood that it reduced biofilm but I stopped because I read something that made me think it wasn't so good for me. When I began to take NAC again I got a complete healing of the cracks. It seems that the potato hack reconstituted the biofilm. Well, It took 2+ months to get that sorted out and I saw there was only one real option: do the hack again while taking NAC. And you know what, the cracks have not returned even though I have gone 4 days eating only potatoes ....

    1. Kayumochi - please explain, what is NAC?

    2. good stuff that NAC:

    3. Hey Kayumochi! Nice to see you again. Glad to hear things are working out for you. I'm not sure I understood it all, but it sounds like you have things well in hand, lol.

  8. If you renormalize the glycemic index by the amount of available glucose in a food, vs. total carbs, then many of the differences in foods go away. For example, sucrose is 50% available glucose, so if the release rate is identical to pure glucose, then the glycemic index should be half, since half the carbs aren't glucose.

    (As to how long the fructose floats in the blood before being slurped up by the liver, I leave that as an exercise for the reader. I have no idea.)


    On a different note, have ya'll looked at Denise Minger's survey of very low fat diets -- some of which include sugar. You aren't the first to cure diabetes by taking the fat WAY down. Minger's observation is that low fat as in < 10% of calories does some magical things, as do very low carb diets. It's in between that's problematic.

  9. I'm glad you mention the Starch Solution. Since doing the hack and "not dying" :-) I find myself turning off LC and the bolus of meat/fat I was consuming and highly attracted towards more complex carbs. I'm even actually reading Macdougall instead of dismissing him as I did (although I'm not sure of his science TBH - your theory seems more plausible) and considering this as an option (although less austere and keeping some meat/fats). What could be easier than keeping a stash of various cooked starches in ziplock bags in freezer and adding to foods. Your blog is my favourite these days Tim, I check in every day.


    1. I think that if most people gave up most junk food and replaced a large portion of their daily meat with plainly cooked potatoes, there would be no need for me and my silly blog and book.

    2. Yes, that would go a long way towards improving things for many people. But I think that what Gab says below about the research from Israel shows that it is not quite so simple, at least not for everyone. Unfortunately most of us don't have the discipline nor the money to so carefully track so many different non junk foods.

    3. ellie, back in 1985 after I had kiddo #2, I needed to lose the weight and noticed that there was something uncomfortable going on. Back then glucometers were so expensive, I rented one. I studied what was going on when I'd eat this or that..... kept a logbook. Took me one month to go through variables. (And if you think today it's expensive, you should have seen the cost back then!) Anyway, I figured out what the problem was, returned the glucometer, lost the weight and re-rented the glucometer. Totally different results. To my way of thinking at the time, it seemed as if fat cells were a glucose 'sink'.... Seemed the fuller they were the fuller they wanted to be. I thought, wow, when fat people say they are starving hungry, this is why. Once I lost the weight by diet and exercise, all this fast blood sugar decreasing stuff stopped. Originally I never had high numbers, I would get rapid decreases. Some people would describe it as 'hypoglycemia' but it wasn't. It was normal levels just the rate at which the blood glucose went down was very fast and extremely unpleasant.

      For me, I figured out what was high glycemic index back in those days not so much because blood glucose went up high but because of how quickly it went down afterwards.

      I was working in the dark on my own. Then much later the information on glycemic index was being published.

      So ellie, these days it's not the money, it's the discipline. ;)

    4. Maybe in the ages of the future they will discover a specific gut bug that will impart discipline to those in need.

    5. Ellie, you make me laugh. Why rely on something other than yourself? just do it. Gutbugs will come.

    6. Oh I do test and have learned a lot, but what I have never been able to do consistently enough is those every fifteen minutes post meal tests which would probably help me fine tune even more. And with all that is being learned about gut bugs I seriously do not think it is too far fetched to suppose they could inlfuence behaviours such as consistency and self discipline

    7. Oh and yes, money can be an issue, those test strips can add up! They often give away the meters just to get you onto their test strips.

    8. Agreed about cost of test strips. Even though there have been times I've tested in 15 minute increments, but these days if I want to find out something, like that evil pineapple, I test 30 minutes, 90 minutes and 2 hours. By the 2 hours mark glucose should be going down. If it's still just as high at that point, there's a problem. That's how I view it anyway.

      When I recently did a pineapple test, 1 pound on an empty stomach and 1/2 pound right after supper made no difference in how high blood glucose went or how long it stayed at that level.

      I used to have a diabetic significant other. You know how 'they' say wholewheat/whole grain is better than not? The disgusting wholewhateverwasinit pasta created the exact same response as did regular. This was in the 1990s so these variations on pasta have changed over time and apparently many of them are actually okay.

      Acarbose helped more than anything to prevent blood glucose spikes.

    9. Glucose test strips may be found on eBay. Older or expired ones are cheaper, logically. I think 30 cents per strip is typical for in-date ones.

      I accumulated a lot of strips when I was on a HC plan that made them almost free. As my use was sporadic, they accumulated. A few months ago I looked at the dates, and I did a comparison with ones from 2014 to unexpired. There was just a few points difference. Since the numbers have no reason to be exact and relative is all we need, at least 2014 strips are fine.

  10. The glycemic index is not accurate. Currently the Israeli study using 8,000 people has shown that diets need to be tailored per individual because blood glucose responses to foods is not predictable. There's some of this published. They are also testing fecal bacteria, before and during for any changes as people modify their diets according to their personal blood glucose responses to various foods.

    For example the blood glucose curves after ingestion of banana and cookies was totally opposite for a couple of people. For one, banana spiked the glucose, cookies did nothing. For the other person it was the other way around.

    Then there's the woman who followed good health diet advice but discovered the tomatoes she put in her salad spike her blood glucose like crazy. No tomatoes for her.

    Traditionally the oponents of the glycemic index maintained that people do not generally consume individual foods in isolation. For example, even If potatoes have a high glycemic level, because usually they are eaten as part of a meal, the effect is canceled out through dilution with other foods. Tim has shown here that this is not the case. The potato hack his father is currently doing is just one example of many that illustrates this point.

    Recently I ate 1 pound of fresh pineapple on an empty stomach. Glucose spiked for an hour (150) and then went down to base line. Next day I had supper first and ate 1/2 pound of pineapple. Exactly same spike and exactly same resolution. So if I would be a diabetic, pineapple would definitely be off the menu for sure. In a tailor made diet based on individual responses to foods, pineapple would be the worst thing i could eat. Glycemic index? 66. My next test is 1/8 pineapple eaten immediately after supper but I'm expecting the same response. How little of a piece of pineapple would I need to eat to prevent the spike? If i eat a bowl of chana dal soup or lentil soup before the pineapple will it have a dampening effect? That remains to be seen.

    I have always maintained for many years that anybody diagnosed with diabetes, even if all they are taking is metformin, must have a glucosemeter and must check what response they get from whatever they are eating. Then modify the diet to not include those foods which cause runaway glucose spikes.

    Even with Tim's dad, (I don't know if he's obese or overweight) but he'll need to change his diet permanently to achieve good blood glucose control. Potato hack illustrates what can be achieved.

    1. Dad's working on his diet. Now that he sees his BG is directly involved with the food he eats it will make it easier to choose wisely. He has never been obese. Lean as a young man, bit of a belly later on, like everyone. He does not drink or smoke. Exercises regularly. Hope to have him around another 40 years or so.

      On the GI. yes. Total garbage. If you click the link above, it shows for each food who exactly was tested. Most will say something like: "7 normal, 10 NIDDM, 12 IDDM"

      A large number of the foods were tested on non-insulin dependant and insulin dependant diabetics! Many foods tested only on diabetics.

      Makes no sense how this can be accurate.

  11. I've only just now rediscovered your website. For some unknown reason, my "favourites" button was frozen on an old post. So I have some catching up to do.

    I tried the potato hack several times for 3 days each, but nothing happened. I did not lose any weight, and my blood glucose levels skyrocketed. So had to stop.

    After reading and watching a few films on mitochondrial energy production, I finally (hopefully) found out what is at the bottom of my horrible BS disbiosys.

    15 years ago after I was diagnosed as a T2D, and suffering a lot from severe bloating, a lot of tooting, and through metering found out I was lactose intolerant. At the time I drank a liter of semi skimmed milk a day and eating a kilo of good Dutch cheese a week, as well as lots of Greek yoghurt. That translated to at least 60 to 75 grams of protein a day from dairy alone. I dropped dairy from my diet like a "hot potato" (ha, ha) and didn't replace it with other sources of protein to keep my levels up. I never listened to my body at the time. Now I know it was crying out all the time, that I was getting very deficient in protein. It resulted in quite a few symptoms that I associated with other things like a sluggish thyroid or adrenal fatigue. It also resulted in my blood sugar level set point going higher and higher.

    I think now, that is why the potato hacks didn’t work for me because it was cutting even more of the little bit op protein that I was eating from my diet. And my body rebelled.

    So at the moment I am trying to slowly increase my protein back to where it was 15 years ago. It is early days yet, but I definitely have more energy. And my blood glucose set point has gone down a bit. Cross fingers it will continue to do so.

    Jo tB

    1. Jo, what happens, let's say, if you make a good soup from beans that have been soaked prior to cooking? Add smoked meat or sausage to the soup for a flavour punch.

      I don't know to what extent soup is a traditional part of the Dutch diet. I'm from a dedicated soup eating culture so my 'usual' options may be more extensive than yours.

    2. Gabriella, thanks for the tip. Yes, the Dutch do have a soup culture: we have brown bean suoup and "snert" which is pea soup. At the moment I eat a vegetable soup every day as during the winter I can't seem to eat salads. What I could do is add a small tin of mixed beans to my soup. Another source of protein. Good idea.

      Jo tB

    3. Jo, I looked around after I wrote that yesterday and saw a really wonderful Dutch soup: vegetables with meatballs! That's going on the menu over here. It's got vermicelli in it as well, so that bit is going to be debatable if I include it or not.

      The Italians also make meatballs soups. We don't as far as I'm aware.

      I think a goodly bowl of vegetable soup trumps salads. More satisfying. Probably easier to digest. Puts liquid in the stomach (volume) so the next course consumed is less. There's no temptation to add lot of fat calories to it (as with salad dressing).

    4. Yes, that is an old fashioned "granny soup." When I make I leave the vermicelli out, as I never liked it in there. An alternative that is popular with this soup is rice. I don't think my grandmother would have used vermicelli. I think that arrived after the Second World War.

      Jo tB

    5. Jo - Is this the unspellable and unpronounceable erwtensoep?

    6. No. you are refering to split pea soup. Granny soup is beautiful.

    7. No Tim, Gabriella was referring to groentesoep (vermicellisope) met balletjes. Erwtensoep (or snert) is split pea soup.

      Jo tB

  12. Interesting:

    1. Very interesting. Except for the comment about nonstarchy vegetables, this diet seems very similar on a macronutrient level to the potato and yogurt diet Tim mentioned on Facebook.

    2. Thanks, Gemma - I think there are some very pertinent points made in the article.

      Did you know the cells of the gut are renewed through apoptosis every 3-5 days? It's just a coincidence that the potato hack is also 3-5 days, but maybe part of the magic? A constant assault with ultraprocessed non-food items must be hell on the new growth in the epithelium. The potato hack is probably the best environment for growing healthy gut cells.

  13. Yah, I agree about the VLC aspect completely. I was on a low carb diet for a very long time and eventually ended up with a c. diff infection, probably because I had decimated my microbiota over about 5 years (I also think Sucralose contributed, although it's only recently that it's affect on the microbiota has come to light). Regardless, even after the c. diff went away, I suffered very bad IBS for years. As you know I think, I had an FMT back in February to hopefully reset things. At the time uBiome reported between 4-15% diversity in three samples I took over a course of a few months. My most recent one (from last month) came back at around 85% I believe. Anyways, short version of the story is that I believe a VLC is probably beneficial for weight loss when a person has a dysbiotic gut, but like you pointed out, likely will lead to even further problems down the road, which may be what guys like Jimmy Moore experience nowadays. I'm personally trying to slowly come back from the VLC dead and migrate to something more similar to the PHD, but have at least made the change to try and up my fiber intake drastically since having the FMT.

    1. I think it takes time and consistency to get a healthy gut. Ditching the SAD staples of sugar, oil, flour, and chemicals is the biggest step. Then experiment with high fiber foods and supplements.

      I flip-flop back and forth, wondering if a very boring diet with little variety, ie. mostly beans, or potatoes, etc. or a highly variable diet with tons of different fibers, is best. I can see benefits of both. And maybe both are OK. I think the potato hack works so well because of the constant supply of resistant starch to the colon that allows a healthy gut flora to develop over the course of a week or longer.

      But perhaps eating the 20-30 different plants a day as recommended by Jeff Leech(?) or Pollard(?) or Wilbur(!) is another good strategy to ensure diversity of gut bacteria.

      My diet tends to be more on the simple side, for instance today the only plants I ate were about a pound of potatoes, a banana, an orange, and two taco shells. In the summer when the garden is going and berries and weeds all around, I would have a hard time counting all the different plants I put in my mouth, easily 20.

    2. I suspect if you have a very diverse microbiota, then you probably wouldn't need a ton of diversity due to ample cross feeding between everything. But perhaps if you had microbiota with low diversity, you may want to have a lot of variety to try and slowly entice various missing species back. Just a thought.

    3. I've thought about this a lot. The only thing I understand is that it's confusing!

      I'm not even sure a diverse gut bacteria will turn out to be important. I've even read that the whole concept of "species" of bacteria is perhaps irrelevant because of horizontal gene transfer. That some colonies feed and protect members with particular genes so the genes will be available if needed. That bacteria pick up genes from other sources that are in the soil. Even heat killed bacteria can provide gut benefits.

      Maybe a diverse diet of plants gives not only food for the bacteria but provides a diverse set of genes to acquire from endophytes and soil contact. Maybe that's why meat and processed food are bad - they are essentially sterile. Maybe potatoes work because they are both root vegetables and nutritious enough for isolated consumption. Maybe the goal is really to get the outside world inside us so that the bacteria inside us - who I think are really smarter than we are - have the materials they need to keep their human vehicles running smoothly. It seems that the benefits of dogs, being outdoors, living on a farm, eating plants, open windows, walking, running, and do on are in that they get the outside inside. How much we need might depend. Tim with his farm might already have lots of diversity. I might need a more diverse diet to compensate for my suburban life.

    4. Yah I agree, we simply don't know enough yet! Which is unfortunate, because most of the studies I read seem to just be redoing the same things over and over in this field.

      Is it that we need more time outside (probably), or perhaps our insides are just way too sterile now? Lots of variables! But I hope the microbiota lives up to some of the hype it's received over the last few years. It's really the only piece of the puzzle that for me helps explain a lot of the divergent theories over the years (metabolic syndrome, hygiene hypothesis, etc.)

    5. Duane - You might like Jeff Leach's Facebook post today

      He provided me with the original inspiration to eat the way I do. I like that he's thinking in terms of gene diversity too.

  14. @Wilbur - Thanks! Yeah I follow Jeff Leach, I love what he's up to. I also like that he's very open minded with everything, including his own (current) theories and opinions.