Monday, April 27, 2015

americans' digestive tracts look like barren deserts compared with the lush, tropical rain forest found inside indigenous people

npr |  Looks like many of us don't have the right stomach for a paleodiet. Literally.

Two studies give us a glimpse into our ancestors' microbiome — you know, those trillions of bacteria that live in the human gut.

And the take-home message of the studies is clear: Western diets and modern-day hygiene have wiped a few dozen species right out of our digestive tracts. One missing microbe helps metabolize carbohydrates. Other bygone bacteria act as prebiotics. And another communicates with our immune system.

In other words, Americans' digestive tracts look like barren deserts compared with the lush, tropical rain forest found inside indigenous people.

"The concern is that we're losing keystone species," says microbiologist M. Gloria Dominguez-Bello, at the New York University School of Medicine. "That's a hypothesis, but we haven't proved it."

Dominguez-Bello and her colleagues are the first to characterize the gut bacteria of people completely isolated from modern medicine, food and culture.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

sugar suppresses body's stress response

medpagetoday |  Drinking beverages sweetened with sugar suppressed cortisol and the brain's stress responses -- an effect that was lacking for drinks sweetened with aspartame, found a new study.

Researchers looked at how sweetened drinks affected 19 women and found that sucrose consumption was associated with reduced stress-induced cortisol (P=0.024), leading them to believe that the brain is taking cues from sugar consumption and altering the body's normal response to stress. They published their results on April 16 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

"This is the first evidence that high sugar – but not aspartame – consumption may relieve stress in humans," said the corresponding author of the study, Kevin Laugero, PhD, at the department of nutrition at University of California Davis. "The concern is psychological or emotional stress could trigger the habitual overconsumption of sugar and amplify sugar's detrimental health effects, including obesity."

The sugar group also had significantly lower nausea (P=0.041), researchers found.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

orthorexia nervosa...seduced by righteous eating..., GTFOH!

dailymail |  Orthorexia nervosa, the 'health food eating disorder', gets its name from the Greek word ortho, meaning straight, proper or correct.

This exaggerated focus on food can be seen today in some people who follow lifestyle movements such as 'raw', 'clean' and 'paleo'.

American doctor Steven Bratman coined the term 'orthorexia nervosa' in 1997 some time after his experience in a commune in upstate New York.

It was there he developed an unhealthy obsession with eating 'proper' food.

'All I could think about was food,' he said. 'But even when I became aware that my scrabbling in the dirt after raw vegetables and wild plants had become an obsession, I found it terribly difficult to free myself.

'I had been seduced by righteous eating.'

Bratman's description draws parallels with many modern dietary fads that promise superior health by restricting whole food groups without a medical reason or even a valid scientific explanation.

Raw food followers might meet regularly to 'align their bodies, minds and souls' by feasting on 'cleansing and immune-boosting' raw foods.

Such foods are never heated above 44˚C, so 'all the living enzymes in the food remain intact'. No gluten, dairy or 'sugar' is allowed.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

microbes produce gut serotonin

sciencedaily |  lthough serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. New research at Caltech, published in the April 9 issue of the journal Cell, shows that certain bacteria in the gut are important for the production of peripheral serotonin. 

"More and more studies are showing that mice or other model organisms with changes in their gut microbes exhibit altered behaviors," explains Elaine Hsiao, research assistant professor of biology and biological engineering and senior author of the study. "We are interested in how microbes communicate with the nervous system. To start, we explored the idea that normal gut microbes could influence levels of neurotransmitters in their hosts."

Peripheral serotonin is produced in the digestive tract by enterochromaffin (EC) cells and also by particular types of immune cells and neurons. Hsiao and her colleagues first wanted to know if gut microbes have any effect on serotonin production in the gut and, if so, in which types of cells. They began by measuring peripheral serotonin levels in mice with normal populations of gut bacteria and also in germ-free mice that lack these resident microbes.

The researchers found that the EC cells from germ-free mice produced approximately 60 percent less serotonin than did their peers with conventional bacterial colonies. When these germ-free mice were recolonized with normal gut microbes, the serotonin levels went back up--showing that the deficit in serotonin can be reversed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mr. Brain's Pork Faggots

barelyedible |  With Christmas and the New Year done, I thought it was time to get back in the saddle and try some more shite food. For lunch today I finally tried Mr Brain’s Pork Faggots after multiple requests. Loyal readers will know that offal based meat products hold no fear for me and I was quite looking forward to sampling Mr Brain’s variety of this traditional dish. According to good ol’ Wikipedia, “A faggot is traditionally made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes bread crumbs”. These ones are a little tamer, as they have left out the heart, much to my disappointment.

After getting the foil container out of the packet, my first reaction was ‘I’m not going to light the oven’. Thankfully you can Microwave them. I do not own such a thing a Microwave dish, so I put the huge meaty icicle into a microwavable dish and gave it its first 4 minute nuking. As you can see from the bottom right ‘midway’ picture, things were not looking good, however, they did smell quite appetising. The aroma took me straight back to my childhood, so after stirring and putting the faggots back into the Microwave for a final 3 minutes and 1 minute cool down, I decided to phone my mother to see if I had been fed them as a child. She denied all knowledge but said I could have had them at my Grandparents. More than likely. Enough with the nostalgia, it was time to eat.

It says on the packaging “You asked for it! Now with more sauce”, thinking this must be pretty good, I tried the sauce/gravy first. I wasn’t disappointed. I will go as far and say it was the tastiest sauce I’ve eaten so for in this voyage of culinary discovery. The faggots themselves are like a soft meatball and have a slightly haggis like smell (which I love). They have a distinct liver and sage taste, with a hint mace and pepper. Not bad at all. By now our Bengal cat was whining at my feet expectantly. I shouted out to my partner “these are lovely!” to which she replied “well they smell f**king disgusting”. I looked down at the cat with a smug look on my face and said, “you’re not getting any of these, son” and polished off the lot. 

Ingredients West Country Sauce 62%: Water, Lard, Wheat Flour, Modified Maze Starch, Tomato Puree, Salt, Colour (E150c), Yeast Extract, Onion Flavour, Sugar, Herb & Spice extract. 

 Pork Faggots 38%: Water, Rusks, Rehydrated Pork Rinds, Pork Liver (15%), Pork (4%), Pork Fat, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sage, Spice Extract.

Monday, April 6, 2015

who authorized you sheeple to ditch cheap GMO grain causing you a slew of chronic debilitating inflammatory symptoms?

WaPo |  Gluten, one of the most popular proteins on this planet, is also increasingly one of the most hated. Here in the United States, the gluten-free movement, which has been driven not only by an actual need among celiacs to avoid the food but also a widespread belief that letting bread, beer, pasta, and all other foods with gluten go means living healthier for almost anyone, is so pervasive that it might as well be a fact of American life. Some 20 million in this country claim that eating it causes them distress, according to The New Yorker. Another 100 million people, meanwhile, say that they are actively working to eliminate gluten from their diets. And yet, amid the rise of the villainization of gluten, is a growing sense that something about the movement seems a bit off.

The New Yorker's Michael Specter's recent deep dive into the fad brought to surface a number of legitimate gripes, including the lack of scientific evidence supporting the belief that going gluten-free is better for one's health.

"How could gluten, present in a staple food that has sustained humanity for thousands of years, have suddenly become so threatening?" Specter asks.

Wheat, which contains gluten, is one of the cheapest foods known to man. It's also one of the most essential: it currently provides an estimated one-fifth of the calories people around the globe consume. Going gluten-free might make one feel better, but it's a luxury not everyone can afford.