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The Resistant Starch Challenge: Is It The Key We've Been Looking For?

Ripley

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But we make glucose from other foods anyway.
Jaminet promotes a moderate carb diet — composed of "safe starches" but argues that many ketogenic dieters have glucose deficiencies and it exacerbates their health problems. Additionally, he argues that low carb diets tend to promote fungal infections over the long term (the eukaryotes have mitochondria and it's believed they can adapt to rapidly absorb ketones after a few months). He wholeheartedly agrees that some people need to be on low carb diets (diabetics, cancer patients, neurological issues, etc.), and he even offers a ketogenic version of the PHD for those people, but he says that most people do better with moderate carb intake, particularly over the long term. The low toxin carbs ("safe starches") stave off glucose deficiencies and promote a healthier immune system and microbiota.

He extrapolated the macronutrient ratio by looking at how the body breaks down macronutrients during fasting, the composition of all cells in all living animals, and the composition in breast milk (adjusting for the higher carb requirements of children). Using these clues, he proposed a macronutrient ratio that mimics these clues: Total calories from ~10% protein, ~30% carbs, ~60% fat. And then he put together a list of low toxin and nutrient-dense foods to meet those macronutrient ratios.

It would be easy to dismiss his hypothesis if it weren't for fact that the PHD seems to be curing a wide range of health problems. In particular interest is the large number of low carbers who saw many of their health issues vanish after increasing their safe starch consumption. However, the key isn't to just eat carbs, but rather low toxin carbs that preferably provide adequate fermentable fibers for your gut bugs.

And, interestingly, what we are starting to see from the American Gut Project — particularly if you read Jeff Leach's blog posts — is that low carb diets just don't provide enough prebiotics/fermentable carbs for your microbiota.
 
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MeSci

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Jaminet promotes a moderate carb diet — composed of "safe starches" but argues that many ketogenic dieters have glucose deficiencies and it exacerbates their health problems. Additionally, he argues that low carb diets tend to promote fungal infections over the long term (the eukaryotes have mitochondria and it's believed they can adapt to ketones after a few months). He wholeheartedly agrees that some people need to be on low carb diets (diabetics, cancer patients, etc.), and he even offers a ketogenic version of the PHD for those people, but he says that most people do better with moderate carb intake, particularly over the long term. The low toxin carbs ("safe starches") stave off glucose deficiencies and promote a healthier immune system and microbiota.

He extrapolated the macronutrient ratio by looking at how the body breaks down macronutrients during fasting, the composition of all cells in all living animals, and the composition in breast milk (adjusting for the higher carb requirements of children). Using these clues, he proposed a macronutrient ratio that mimics these clues: Total calories from ~10% protein, ~30% carbs, ~60% fat. And then he put together a list of low toxin and nutrient-dense foods to meet those macronutrient ratios.

It would be easy to dismiss his hypothesis if it weren't for fact that the PHD seems to be curing a wide range of health problems. In particular interest is the large number of low carbers who saw many of their health issues vanish after increasing their safe starch consumption. However, the key isn't to just eat carbs, but rather low toxin carbs that preferably provide adequate fermentable fibers for your gut bugs.

And, interestingly, what we are starting to see from the American Gut Project — particularly if you read Jeff Leach's blog posts — is that low carb diets just don't provide enough prebiotics/fermentable carbs for your microbiota.
I think the problem is partly that people use 'low carb' as shorthand for a range of diets. As a vegan I consume plenty of veg and a small amount of fruit. I limit grains, have no added sugar and avoid gluten, and have plenty of nuts and coconut oil. I call my diet palaeo-vegan! :)
 

Ripley

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I think the problem is partly that people use 'low carb' as shorthand for a range of diets. As a vegan I consume plenty of veg and a small amount of fruit. I limit grains, have no added sugar and avoid gluten, and have plenty of nuts and coconut oil. I call my diet palaeo-vegan! :)
Well, it really does come down to starches though. There is good evidence that fructose is considered to be a toxin in the quantities needed for energy (think HFCS). And the carbs in non-starchy vegetables are virtually non-existent when you consider the net-expended glucose required to digest them. So, safe starches are considered to be the best option if you are trying to counteract a glucose deficiency.
 

MeSci

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Well, it really does come down to starches though. There is good evidence that fructose is considered to be a toxin in the quantities needed for energy (think HFCS). And the carbs in non-starchy vegetables are virtually non-existent when you consider the net-expended glucose required to digest them. So, safe starches are considered to be the best option if you are trying to counteract a glucose deficiency.
I have gluten-free bread and crackers, and some root veg. I would think that was plenty. I feel quite good on it most of the time, and I started in 2012. I've seen lots of improvements.
 
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My doc and I have been having this debate on RS. He is not a fan at all. We know I have a yeast problem so he is saying a prebiotic like MOS is much safer then trying to take rs with probiotics. I dunno the answer but..

I know this. When I take RS, (not just eat beans but make it a goal to get rs and use things like poato starch,) my plasma ammonia goes sky high. We've done two blood tests now where that was the only change I made because I was being stubborn and taking the interwebz as gold. I had gotten my ammonia down to normal by addressing my pathogens and using butyrate. I think the rs is effecting my pathogens so other then normal food consumption, I'm out of this lil experiment. I cannot be good for us to eat straight up potato starch like many are doing.

He's a phd and made me well, so I'm gonna just go with it. My gut tell me this RS thing is just gonna flip the switch to a yeast issue for many. I've started MOS with my custom probiotics, so well see how that goes.
All I can say is my ammonia was up over 65 while taking it so I decided to start listening to my doctor. I took it out and didnt add mos (mannanogliosacharides) no other changes.. Stayed on the diflucan and all herbs I'd been on. Ammonia low normal, I think it was 22. i know it was under 30. back where we'd got them down before I decided to "improve" my healing.

I think years of chasing cures makes it hard for me to not wanna try the latest and greatest, but it often seems to bite me in the ass. Ymmv.

Point to note I'm not dealing with garden variety candida. I've got some other saprophyte at pathogenic levels.
Hi, I was just wondering how you are testing ammonia? Regular serum labs (Quest) etc. I have been told these are not accurate? I am terrified to try the RS as well. I have insulin resistance, but it is much better since taking the abx. As it is I have no doctor, so I already have no idea what I am doing?

Thanks, Dfox
My doc and I have been having this debate on RS. He is not a fan at all. We know I have a yeast problem so he is saying a prebiotic like MOS is much safer then trying to take rs with probiotics. I dunno the answer but..

I know this. When I take RS, (not just eat beans but make it a goal to get rs and use things like poato starch,) my plasma ammonia goes sky high. We've done two blood tests now where that was the only change I made because I was being stubborn and taking the interwebz as gold. I had gotten my ammonia down to normal by addressing my pathogens and using butyrate. I think the rs is effecting my pathogens so other then normal food consumption, I'm out of this lil experiment. I cannot be good for us to eat straight up potato starch like many are doing.

He's a phd and made me well, so I'm gonna just go with it. My gut tell me this RS thing is just gonna flip the switch to a yeast issue for many. I've started MOS with my custom probiotics, so well see how that goes.
 

Lou

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Well, the ammonia problems for some of us may be that 'trap door' which seems to follow any therapy cfs'ers undertake. Man, I was so hopeful. Actually, still am (more on that at post end). However, without any direct evidence (have had no serum ammonia levels measured) the 'zoned out' feeling I'm getting before bed and waking up two hours later could possibly be ammonia buildup. It was my first guess (like some others here I have the mthfr 1298c mutation), and at least one here seems to have actual confirmation of rising ammonia after RS.

But, I see now I most likely am eating way too much protein. That can be fixed, and I plan to do that starting tonight.

Here's the thing Ripley, that I'm excited about with taking RS. I've had me/cfs since living in Lake Tahoe during the middle 1980's. One of the physical symptoms that stayed the longest was swollen lymph nodes. That finally almost disappeared in the late 1990's. Also, I had recovered much, maybe 70/80 percent, of my health. Then, in 2012, I came down with Lyme disease. I did a nose dive, and my lymph nodes swelled larger than ever. I have tried nearly every thing I've read that might help. Nothing touched the problem, not in any significant way.

Okay, this may be a complete red herring, but since starting RS (the only other thing new is zeolite supplement) my lymph nodes are down, noticeably down, getting better almost daily. That is just amazing to me, amazing, and I can't tell you how happy it has made me, especially since I'd all but given up on that happening again.

I'm at a lost to explain it, surely if some of the Lyme or co-factor bacteria were getting zapped by RS some researchers would have discovered this by now. Of course, I'm wondering, too, if other Lyme patients might gain some help as well.

So, I for one, am hoping we can get this ammonia thing figured out, maybe in addition to less protein find other workarounds. Any thoughts?
 

Ripley

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I highly recommend listening to this excellent podcast about RS:

Latest in Paleo: Episode 97: Perfect Resistance

In the episode, Tim Steele explains how he discovered the treasure trove of research on RS and what inspired him to start experimenting with it. Richard Nikoley is also interviewed as well about what he and Tim discovered as more and more people began taking RS.

Angelo Coppola, the host of the podcast does a tremendous job putting it all together, so definitely worth listening to.

Two things I will mention, for those who don't have time to listen...

Richard and Tim talk about the importance of mixing up your RS dosage. Instead of being so regimented and exact with your dosing, they are finding that you can get some benefits by varying your intake of RS on occasion. For instance, if you are having problems with bad gas while on RS, they suggest stopping RS for 2 days and then starting up RS again. For some reason, giving your gut bugs a fast for 2 days can help them acclimate better. What Richard like to do is just mix up the routine a lot. Some days not very much RS. Some days a lot. Some days with carbs and fermented foods. Some days with just water on an empty stomach.

The other thing in the podcast that is worth repeating here is that one does not need to eat their cooked and chilled starches cold to obtain their RS3. In fact, you can actually get more RS3 if you gently reheat with a dry-heat method (don't add water and letting steam escape). The retrogradation of cooked starch to RS3 comes from water loss during the crystallization process. And gently reheating with a dry heat method forces even more water out.

As this study shows, RS3 is resistant to heat, up to a point:

"The crystallinity of retrograded amylopectin is lost following re-heating to approximately 70°C, whereas temperatures above 145°C are required to remove crystallinity of retrograded amylose. This is a temperature well above the range used for processing of starchy foods. This implies that retrograded amylose, once formed, will retain its crystallinity following re-heating of the food." [LINK]
In other words, it's safe to reheat cooked and cooled starches without losing RS3. But, keep in mind that we aren't talking about large quantities of RS3 and it takes at roughly 24 hours to really get any RS3.

Tim Steele summarizes how RS3 works in terms of cooking/cooling cycles.

Tim Steele said:
Dec 30, 2013 at 14:30
When a potato is heated and eaten, enzymes in our stomach and small intestine attack the ends of the amylose and amylopectin chains. Since the amylopectin starch is so highly branched, with lots of ends—it gets digested very fast. The amylose, with it’s tight bonds and only two ends, gets digested more slowly. This is food for us. A really good food, too. It packs a punch in carbohydrates, protein, and even a bit of fat. it has a full complement of vitamins and minerals. It’s good food…for us, but not our gut bugs. In fact, they go hungry on a meal of freshly cooked potatoes.

If the cooked potato is allowed to cool, the amylose and amylopectin starches undergo a process called retrogradation where the straight portions of each starch unit rejoin and form crystals. As the temperature drops, the crystals become tighter and tighter and the water which was inside them is expelled. This is why bread goes stale and stored potatoes turn dry. The retrogradation process begins at about 40 degrees F and is fully complete when the temperature drops to 17 degrees F. If you heat this potato back up, the retrograded starch actually gets stronger as more water is expelled. In fact, you can heat and cool it several times and with each cycle, more retrograded starch forms. When eaten, this provides a good meal for you AND your gut bugs. Win-win. This is the way humans cooked and ate for millions of years after we learned to cook food.

A raw potato (100g in size) has about 17g of RS [20% starch by weight, starch is 75% RS by weight]

Cook it and it will have about 1g RS

Cool it, RS grows to 3g

Reheat it, RS grows to 4g

Do this 3-4 times and you can get up to maybe 6-8g of RS, but it starts slowing down after the 3rd or 4th cycle.

So, same with potato starch–raw, lots of RS. Cooked and cooled, minimal RS.
So... there's no need to eat your RS3 cold, so long as heat with a dry approach and you don't reheat above 293ºF/145°C.
 
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I cant do perfect health. I do very well with legumes and now that my yeast is under control and my gut is no longer a sieve I have no probs with dairy.
PHD seems to allow dairy. However it's considered a treat. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/

I had not heard of PHD before today. PHD seems like paleo but with plenty of starches. So many diets are paleo with one major twist.
 

Ripley

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since starting RS (the only other thing new is zeolite supplement) my lymph nodes are down, noticeably down, getting better almost daily. That is just amazing to me, amazing, and I can't tell you how happy it has made me, especially since I'd all but given up on that happening again.
Amazing.

So, I for one, am hoping we can get this ammonia thing figured out, maybe in addition to less protein find other workarounds. Any thoughts?
Fish, egg whites and meat, beans, etc need to be considered for protein consumption. But you should not be avoiding meat altogether.

Very simply, you go to cronometer.com (it's free) and set up your age/weight, goals and macronutrient ratios. I recommend you eat PHD-style for best results with health, immunity and best RS benefits.

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/

(The weights in that infographic are based on a 2000 calorie diet)

So, enter a custom ratio of 10:30:60 [Protein:Carbs:Fat] "Macronutrient Ratio Targets" and start inputting what you eat into the diary. You can add a little more protein and take away a little fat (i.e. 15:30:55 or 20:30:50) and still be PHD-compliant, but if ammonia is an issue you probably want to stay on the low side of protein consumption (10:30:60). Try to eat the 1/4 pound of organ meats each week if you can and stick to the recommended fats. To lose weight, you just ignore some of the fat consumption and hit your other targets. Do this as long as it takes to get used to the proper amount of safe starches and protein. Try to follow the diet to keep toxins low and stay well nourished. Try it for 30 days and see how you feel.

Don't stress if you don't get it exact. You're just trying to hit the right ballpark. But, you do need to weigh your food and get used to the right ratios because you will not be able to easily guess the higher amount of protein in fish, or the amount of carbs in starches (you have to eat a lot in volume since complex carbs have a lot of water in them when cooked). You will be eating a good amount of starches so you won't even feel like eating a lot of meat.

Note: If you are allergic to eggs, it's often just the egg whites that are problematic for some people. The yolks are more tolerable and the yolks are what you want for PHD nutrients anyway (thereby avoiding excess protein). Make double portions of your starches and refrigerate the extra as leftovers to get some RS3. Mixing raw yolks into hot mashed potatoes is pretty awesome, btw.

Most people who try the diet notice a real improvement in their health.
 
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Ripley

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PHD seems to allow dairy. However it's considered a treat. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/
The author has clarified dairy in a few places on his site. For instance...

Paul Jaminet said:
December 17, 2012 at 11:56 am — It’s hard to make hard and fast rules about dairy because it is a very complex food and there are many individual differences in response to it, also dairy comes in many different forms with varying health effects. As a general thing we recommend including fatty and fermented dairy (butter, sour cream, whole-fat yogurt, cheese) but excluding milk. However, individuals vary. Raw milk is better digested and better tolerated than pasteurized homogenized milk, but it is also at higher risk of carrying pathogens, so buyer beware.[LINK]
I had not heard of PHD before today. PHD seems like paleo but with plenty of starches. So many diets are paleo with one major twist.
Precisely. Except what sets the PHD apart from other Paleo diets is that the PHD appears to help towards curing a wide range of chronic issues/diseases — it was designed towards that goal. I think it would be a lot easier to dismiss it if it weren't for that so many people are seeing such good results from it. And I'm particularly a fan of it because of the similar results I experienced and the author recognized the benefits of incorporating RS into one's diet long before anyone else in the Paleo world did.
 

dmholmes

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And I'm particularly a fan of it because of the similar results I experienced and the author recognized the benefits of incorporating RS into one's diet long before anyone else in the Paleo world did.
Indeed. Chris Kresser has covered RS use quite a bit also. It's detailed in his book Your Personal Paleo Code and in a recent podcast with Robb Wolf who has also been trying it. His dietary advice is very similar to PHD.
 

Beyond

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Recently a guy on logecity told me that he gets "deep, restful sleep with vivid dreams" since taking RS. He is taking the Bob´s Mill product. Logically with these prices I instantly decided to try and will be updating about my experience. Please Resistant Starch will you pimp my gut? :D
 

adreno

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I just weighed my food, and the amount of starch I eat amounts to about 300g per day. That's a far cry from the 1000g of starch daily recommended on the PHD. Are those amounts really necessary? If that's the case, both me and my intestinal flora are seriously starved.
 

Lou

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I had a cringe moment about my last post upon awaking this morning. There is excitement about the possibility of improved health from RS, but I never wish to contribute to overhyping some method until more is known how it may differ in me/cfs.

Like I may have done (overhype, if unwittingly) with the debacle that was 'Red Light Therapy'. There's just too many confounding obstacles we encounter not experienced by healthy individuals. And I'm particularly worried about increased ammonia notwithstanding @Ripley 's excellent advice as to how we might address it.

Who knows for sure what finally gave with my lymph nodes, is all I'm trying to say now. Don't want people thinking I am saying RS is going to cure Lyme.

But I'm sticking with the potato starch, certainly for now, still very hopeful it is going to make a tangible difference.
 
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Lou

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Thanks, Ripley, for information re chronometer.com, I'm going to look into that. Really, they're advocating 50-60 percent fat? Okay, maybe I should look at it first.

One reason I don't know anything about diets is my problem is the opposite, I have to eat a lot, a boo coo of food just to keep my weight anywhere close to normal.
 
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Hip

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@Ripley
Any idea if a small raw potato can be eaten in place of the unmodified (raw) potato starch?

Obviously you would need to remove the potato skin, as uncooked this skin contains the bulk of the toxins found in potatoes. These toxins are called solanine and chaconine (ref: here).

Raw potatoes also contain a protease inhibitor enzyme (ref: here), which I believe is called potato carboxypeptidase inhibitor (PCI). It is interesting that some protease inhibitors are antivirals (many HIV or hepatitis C drugs are protease inhibitors), though I could not find any evidence for PCI having antiviral properties — though PCI does have anti-cancer effects.

You could either just eat the peeled raw potato like eating an apple, or those who make fruit or vegetables smoothies every day could just pop a peeled raw potato into their juicer.
 
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I just weighed my food, and the amount of starch I eat amounts to about 300g per day. That's a far cry from the 1000g of starch daily recommended on the PHD. Are those amounts really necessary? If that's the case, both me and my intestinal flora are seriously starved.
I personally don't agree with that much starch. Many people follow the Paleo diet which is almost the same as PHD but low or moderate starch. Other diets are similar and many say low starch. I don't agree with low starch either, for most people. PHD says there are different versions for certain health conditions, I don't know what they are.

If you eat that much of the starches they suggest, would you have room for lots of greens, some seafood, etc?