As stated in Part one, some of my findings when researching the effect of foods on the human body have uncovered information that challenges the common wisdom of a healthy diet. In this post much of that information will be the foundation of my discussion. It is important to reiterate that there are no long term, controlled human studies which would definitively prove the effects of diet and its influence of disease in humans. I will instead reference alternative studies by doctors and scientists which show these interactions, giving my statements biologic plausibility. This means it is reasonable to interpret them as indicating strong potential for effecting human health. I am writing this in order to bring my interpretation of the broad information available on the subject of human nutrition to the public as basic guidelines. I am not intending to present a elaborate argument in order to convince the medical or scientific community of my claims. I will be presenting links to articles which are more detailed and intended to present influential evidence. I am not presenting this information on a whim; I follow these guidelines and have helped many others discover the benefits of such nutritional practice. There are many scientists and doctors and communities today beginning to find that similar methods of eating are the best method for bringing about optimal human health.
Guideline number 5: Limit intake of the seeds of plants, as well as the mature above-ground stems and leaves. More importantly, avoid processed foods containing the oils and other substances derived from the processing of such plant matter.
The seeds of plants, including nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes (beans), are rich sources of energy and certain nutrients. Unfortunately, they also contain many substances which have been shown to interact with our body in a way that appears detrimental to our health. They are rich in forms of poly and oligosaccharide carbohydrates, such as fibers, starches, and gums, that are not digestible and lead to fermentation in the gut (1). The detriment of these carbohydrate substances and fermentation will be described in greater depth further into the post. The starch portion of these foods can also be absorbed through the intestine prematurely and damage the vascular system, potentially harming the brain and nervous system (2). They contain some substances, namely the gluten proteins found in wheat and the phyto-estrogens found in soy & flax, which have been linked to metabolic disorders (4) and autoimmune diseases (5). Probably the most significant potential detrimental effect of these foods is secondary to the oils they contain. The highly unsaturated fats, called polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs, contained in nuts, seeds, grains, and beans, have been shown to act in ways that could be extremely toxic. Some authorities disagree with this position and regard PUFAs as healthy, but the studies used to substantiate this position are far from conclusive. In fact, there is better evidence refuting the potential necessity (6) or benefit (7) of such fats. The “pro-PUFA” studies state that the complete elimination of PUFA is detrimental. However, the very same studies show that in the real world it is probably impossible to completely eliminate PUFAs because they are contained in almost all diets in small amounts (8). Additionally, the amount of PUFAs required for health is extremely small and easily available without seeking out food that are high in PUFAs. Thus, there seems to be real potential benefit in purposefully restricting the amount of PUFAs we consume (9). In nature (10) and clinical research (11,12) it is clearly seen that the best known effect of PUFAs are a reduction of the body’s metabolic rate. It is clearly demonstrated that these fats are incorporated into the cell structure and influence the actions of any cell they are attached to (13). The possibility of their contribution towards degenerative cellular function is currently being investigated (13). It has been shown that in the blood they immediately interrupt glucose metabolism. This causes a shift in the metabolic condition similar to that of a diabetic and could play a major part in insulin resistance or insulin independent diabetes (14). PUFAs also interrupt appropriate immune function by degrading the integrity of the white blood cells(15). While this immune suppression has been explored as a means of preventing inflammatory disease, and may be helpful in this setting, it may not be desirable in the setting of a normal immune system (16). In fact it has been observed that PUFAs are associated with the inflammation of the cells composing artery walls and can contribute in a important way to the degeneration of cholesterol setting up the conditions for atherosclerosis (clogged arteries)(17). Further research shows effects of PUFAs that could reduce recovery from a heart attack and increase the risk of future heart complications (18). However, it has also been shown that there is a protective inflammatory action to the restriction of PUFAs (19) The interactions that PUFAs have with the liver directly compromise its ability to use thyroid hormones (20) and regulate blood sugar (20,21,22) which leads to increased need for the breakdown of tissues to supply energy and decreases the sensitivity to insulin. As more PUFAs enter the blood in this state, it is logical to propose a positive feedback loop will form, creating a chronic metabolic disorder similar to diabetes as described above (14). PUFAs also directly effect the metabolic state of nerve cells (23) and are seen to coincide with the development of nerve degeneration (24). Over time, as we collect these fats in our tissues, it affects the very integrity of the cell structure (25). The degenerative functions of PUFAs seen in laboratory settings are in both the Omega 3 (n-3) and Omega 6 (n-6) fats although the toxic effect of n-6 fats seems to be more potent and pervasive. While there has been some interest in the potential benefit of n-3 fats in reducing cholesterol and atherosclerosis, experimentation found that the n-3 fats directly impair the immune system’s defense against the plaque and exacerbate conditions leading to further disease in the arteries (26a). When exploring how it lowers cholesterol production, they found it was due to a damaging effect on the liver that impairs its ability to produce triglycerides (26b). The reason scientists have been curious as to the potential benefit of the n-3 fats is due to the fact an appropriate balance of n-3 fats can alleviate the detrimental effects of the more potent n-6 fats in a “protective” manner by competing for use in the body (27). An appropriately low PUFA level and well balanced n-3/n-6 ratio can be found in a diet containing foods as I have proposed in parts II and III of the Foundation For Human Nutrition series. To recap, the Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids compromise our general metabolism in an immediate manner and with time can also effect the most foundational aspects of our cellular function. They even speed up the aging process in a very real sense (28). If there is in fact a need for these fats in the diet, it is in extremely low amounts and can be easily provided by a natural diet containing Fruits, roots, dairy, seafood, eggs, and meats.
The most common oils used today are from these “PUFA-rich” sources:
Any seed or nut or vegetable oil that is not from a tropical region will be highly unsaturated. This includes the common oils such as Soy, Canola, Corn, Safflower, Sunflower, Flax, Rapeseed, Cottonseed, etc. For this reason one must look at the ingredients list for any packaged foods. Cookies, chips, crackers, breads, pizza, salad dressings, caned and jarred foods, and soups all typically have these fats added to them. Other common ingredients which are concentrated or processed forms of seeds of plants foods are gluten, dextrose, soy lecithin, soy protein, corn starch, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Other than the fruit, most above-ground portions of the plant and the seeds they produce have developed defensive mechanisms to prevent their consumption or digestion and are best avoided when possible. Along with the seeds discussed above, the structural components of the plants containing high levels of cellulose are also rich in other fibers (see table at the bottom) which feed unfriendly microorganisms and cause hormonal and metabolic imbalance. For this reason vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and leaves such as cabbage, and kale are too detrimental to the system to consume even if they are rich in other vitamins and minerals. Juicing fibrous fruits in order to derive the nutrition and discard the fiber is common practice even in chimpanzees. Human populations also have a long history of boiling greens thoroughly to improve the digestibility and derive the nutrients from the plant, making it into a fiberless broth. These foods are only resorted to when more optimal foods are not available in the immediate environment.
Ingesting foods that are poorly digested by humans will alter the body’s ability to appropriately digest and absorb other sources of nutrition. Along the digestive tract, the local environment changes dramatically in many ways that correlate with that segment’s function. When foods are passing from one section to the next without being broken down, this will disrupt the usual separation of environmental conditions along the digestive tract. One symptom of the consumption of indigestible materials is imbalance in the population of intestinal flora and fauna. The flora and fauna are the bacterial and yeast-like microorganisms which primarily populate our colon, but can begin to travel up to the lower portions of the small intestine. Typically the microbial content of the human digestive tract is confined to the lowest portion of the intestine, comprised of the cecum, appendix, and colon (29). When the intestinal conditions have been upset by indigestible materials, bacterial overgrowth can begin to spread up into the small intestine (30). The growth in the upper portions of the digestive tract can begin to significantly interrupt the digestion and absorption of our foods (31). The overgrowth of intestinal bacteria can compromise the intestinal lining’s structure. In some cases this means the gut will begin to allow toxic materials to pass into the blood steam and lymphatic system (32). The effect of the overgrowth and imbalance of the intestinal micro-organisms is a subject of research that is in stages of great development as we speak. For this reason it is hard for these studies to make strong conclusions about the effect of specific bacteria. However, it has been shown that an increased and poorly balanced quantity of certain organisms in the gut (33, 34) are found in individuals with poor health. It also seems that the population balance between species of bacteria can influence the health of the host (35). The family of bacteria found to be highest in obese and diabetic individuals, perhaps the “bad” bacteria, are also those capable of living off of the indigestible materials present in the foods I have listed above (36). The bacteria found to dominate the colon of healthy individuals can feed off the healthy foods I have suggested in the earlier posts.
It is important to remember that healthy individuals have lower levels of all bacteria. This supports theories that much of the influence that the micro organisms of the gut has over the health of the host is through exposure to a lipo-polysacharide substance, termed endotoxin. Endotoxin is a component of the structure of some types of bacteria. The types which produce this endotoxin include some of the “bad” bacteria and most of the “good” bacteria found to dominate the healthy individuals. Endotoxin is a strong promoter of inflammation and thus is highly toxic and degenerative to our health. It is immediately detrimental to the liver (37) and blood vessels (38). Endotoxin is being studied as a possible influence on heart disease and has been correlated with atherosclerosis (39) and chronic heart failure (40). The fact that LDL or bad cholesterol has been seen to be manufactured as a method of absorbing and transporting endotoxin in order to protect us against its harmful effects (41) shows that it could play a role in high cholesterol. In studies within the human population and experimental trials obesity (42), diabetes (42), arthritis (43), chronic fatigue (44), sclerosis (45), Alzheimer’s (46), and anxiety (47) are all seen to be correlated with exposure to endotoxin.
Once again, industry has learned to derive these harmful substances and use them as ingredients in the most common foods. Modified cellulose, carageenan, xanthum gum, chicory root powder, guar gum, modified vegetable protein, pectin, and other “emulsifying agents” used to improve the consumer enjoyment are added to foods that historically would never have contained such substances. These substances on their own are not foods; they add no nutritional value to the body. However, they are excellent for increasing the population of “bad” bacteria. By removing the fiber casings which are less easily fermented, they have essentially created a sort of super food for the microorganisms in the gut associated with having a negative influence on the health of the host. There are claims that these products increase consumer satisfaction by improving texture or appearance, but in reality the products are primarily added as inexpensive fillers which increase the bulk of the product, and in doing so increase the profit. Carageenan, which was initially used to instigate inflammatory reactions in lab animals (48), is one of the most common and most dangerous of these food additives. Carageenan is well known to both induce inflammation and suppress appropriate immune function (49). It has even been shown kill specific types of immune cells (50). Carageenan is also well known to disrupt gastrointestinal health, create ulcers and promote cancer (51). Carageenan is also a common allergen, potentially inducing anaphylactic shock, yet is not considered as a potential irritant in many common foods (52). It is common in dairy products such as ice cream, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and baby formula. It is also added to deli meat – by retaining water, the manufacturers can sell this added water for the price of meat by weight. Most of the time the additives above have to be disclosed on ingredients lists, and so it is important to review the ingredients of processed foods before buying or consuming them. Common products, other than those already mentioned, which may contain the list of additives above are apple cider, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, pancake syrup, cookies, crackers, popsicles, and coconut milk. The list goes on and on, and it is obvious by how delicious and appealing these products can be without these non-food additives that they are not necessary for consumer satisfaction.
Many of my clients find it disappointing that vegetables they had come to believe were so healthy may be a block to further progress towards their wellness goals. Or, that seemingly harmless foods they have come to rely on as staples, such as a certain brand of deli meat, contain additives that may be promoting poor health. For the sake of enjoying salad and vegetable dishes, careful selection of what vegetables you eat can reduce the detrimental influence while still maintaining the nutritional benefit vegetables can add. Immature leaves, such as baby arugula, present less threat and fruit-like vegetables such as summer squash, bell peppers, green beans, and okra can be pretty well tolerated. This can be made even easier when they are well cooked and eaten with coconut oil, butter, or cheese. I do believe that almost any whole food, when consumed in moderation by extremely healthy individuals, will have very little detrimental effect, and there is always some nutritional benefit that can be gained. It is also important to explain the reason why the oils of nuts and seeds from tropical regions are far less detrimental and can even be beneficial. This is due to the fact that the temperature in which they grow has influenced the fats contained by the seeds in a way that reduces the toxic PUFAs.
I understand this information may feel intimidating. Reading the backs of labels and asking about what oils are used at restaurants are not exciting endeavors. It is an unfortunate situation that so often the foods we have come to rely on have unhealthy ingredients. A good way to start is to have snacks that are whole foods like fruits, carrots, cheese, and Greek yogurt available which are easy to take on the go. Slowly you will learn to put quick healthy meals together in a crunch, and the more you cook, the more left overs are available to fill in the gaps when things get hectic. It is not about being perfect; it is more important to take these dietary changes one step at a time and allow new habits to solidify. Developing a pattern where most of your meals are prepared at home from fresh non-processed foods will build a foundation of healthy eating that will allow you to break the rules every once in a while without feeling guilty. Enjoying going out to restaurants and treating yourself without judgment is important as long as it is done in a way that does not interrupt your progress toward your wellness goals.
Here is a review of the 5 Guidelines to my Foundation For Human Nutrition.
Guideline Number 1: Ripe fruits as well as cooked young root vegetables are the most beneficial source of energy.
Guide Line Number 2: Eat the animals and products from animals that that are fed appropriate diets, and eat every part of the animal.
Guideline number 3: Consume liquids which contain the minerals needed to support metabolism. Salts and egg shells can aid in maintaining healthy mineral balance. Drink to thirst and salt to taste.
Guideline number 4: When adding fat to the diet, use predominantly butter or coconut oil, and use olive oil or macadamia nut oil sparingly for dressings and taste.
Guideline number 5: Limit intake of the seeds of plants, as well as the mature above ground stems and leaves. More importantly, avoid processed foods containing the oils and other substances derived from processing plant matter.
There are countless avenues still in need of exploration, but with the information presented, important steps can be made. Begin making decisions that will improve the way you eat with these guidelines. In my next post I am going to be describing methods of using food to increase the benefit of your exercise.
(1)Some fiber types including pectin, corn bran, oat bran, undergrad carageenan, agar, psyllium, guar gum, and alfalfa are more detrimental in creating tumor growth
Beans contain starches which ferment in gut
|Nutrient||Food additive||appearance / preparation|
|water insoluble dietary fibers|
|Cellulose||E 460||cereals, fruit, vegetables (in all plants in general)|
|Chitin||—||in fungi, exoskeleton of insects and crustaceans|
|Hemicellulosen||cereals, bran, timber, legume|
|Lignin||—||stones of fruits, vegetables (filaments of the garden bean), cereals|
|Xanthan||E 415||production with Xanthomonas-bacteria from sugar substrates|
|water soluble dietary fibers|
|Fructans||replace or complement in some planttaxa the starch as storage carbohydrate|
|Inulin||—||in diverse plants, e.g. topinambour, chicory, etc.|
|Pectin||E 440||in the fruit skin (mainly apples, quinces), vegetables|
|Alginic acids (Alginates)||E 400–E 407||in Algae|
|Propylenglycolalginat (PGA)||E 405|
|carrageen||E 407||red algae|
|Polydextrose||E 1200||synthetic polymer, ca. 1kcal/g|
2) Starches and other fibers can pass through the intestinal wall damage arteries and pose a threat to many other systems in the body including the developing fetus
Starch absorption and possible cause of dementia
(3) Flax and phyto estrogen
(4)Soy beans and thyroid health
(5) Gluten and related health concers
(6) The discovery that PUFA or Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) deficiency can be cured vith vitamin B6 as a water soluble form
(7) Israeli community has high PUFA and Low Saturated fat content in the diet is well suited for evaluation of the effects of such a diet on general health
(8) The original discovery of Essential Fatty Acids
(9) The discovery that EFA deficiency in adult human has tremendous potential benefit by the same scientists
(10) Increased PUFA aids hibernation through suppression of metabolism
(11) PUFA restriction increases metabolic rate without increasing stress even when exposed to cold
(12) PUFAs inhibit mitochondrial respiration thus lowering metabolic rate and compromising glucose metabolism
(13) PUFAs are integrated into the structure of cells and appear to interrupt appropriate cellular function
Cells PUFA content reflects that in the diet proliferation and cytotoxicity are increased with increased pufa exposure vitamin E reduced these effects as a lipid antioxidant
PUFAs can effect the important functions of cells and interrupt appropriate sub cellular structure and signaling
(14) Increased Free fatty acids from soybean oil emulsion creates inhibition in glucose metabolism
(15)Pufas immunosuppressive through interrupting T cell formation and function
(16)PUFAs reduce inflammation by suppressing immune system which reduces defense resulting in increased susceptibility to bacterial and viral infection
(17) Pufa is associated with epithelial cell inflammation Oxidizability and subsequent cytotoxicity of cholesterol.
Calcium and ischemic cell death calcium metabolism dysfunction
PUFAs effect on calcification of cardiac tissue n-3 better than n-6
(18)N-3 increases lipid peroxidation after heart attack even more than corn oil
(19) anti inflammatory effects of pufas restriction
(20)PUFAs effect the function of the liver and glucose regulation partially by impairing the ability of thyroid hormone to function.
(21)PUFAs inhibit the ability to store glycogen this raising blood sugar and decreasing insulin sensitivity
(22)PUFAs inhibit the ability of the liver to use glycogen or store fat thus increasing free fatty acid content of the blood
(23) Pufas increase lipid peroxidation
lipid peroxidation inhibit glucose uptake in neurons
(24) Dietary intake of PUFAs especially DHA directly increases specific neural degenerative conditions
(25)DHA associates with the phospholipids within cells and increases toxic peroxidation
PUFAs alter cellular membrane permeability and transport regulation
(26a)Trying to find out how omega 3 may be beneficial they ended up finding N-3 increases macrophage growth and oxidative stress
(26b)Fish oil damages liver and reduces cholesterol in lab animals
(27)Omega 3 opposes omega 6 which relieves the highly detrimental effects this does not mean it is functionally bennificial just inhibiting the worse substance
(28)PUFAs may accelerate the aging process the change in membrane lipid content alone may explain the longevity produced through Caloric Restriction
(29)Humans have little to no bacteria in the upper small intestine it is very unhealthy to have overgrowth
(30) Fibers other than cellulose are more easily fermented and disrupt the intestinal environment higher up the digestive tract
(31) Cellulose ferments in human gut and blocks absorption
(32) Increased endotoxins an intestinal permeability in obese mice
(33) Obese children have more gut bacteria
(34) Obese humans have specific balance with an increased ratio of firmicetes and transplanting this ratio of colonized microbes into a lean mouse made them become obese
(35)Obese humans have specific balance with an increased ratio of firmicetes and transplanting this ratio of colonized microbes into a lean mouse made them become obese
(36) Firmicetes digest more complex indigestible polysaccharides
In depth discussion of human gut microbes ant actions/interactions GREAT INFO!
(37)Non Alcoholic fatty liver disease and endotoxin
(38)Vascular effects of Endotoxin
(39)Atherosclerosis and Endotoxin
(40)Chronic Heart Failure and endotoxin
(41)LDL helps protect against endotoxin
(42)Gut health and related metabolic disorders (endotoxin/diabetes)
(43)Endotoxin induced arthritis
(44)Increased Endotoxin leaking from gut correlated with chronic fatigue
(45)Endotoxin promotes sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(46)Lipo poly saccharides exposure increases risk factors for Alzheimer’s and disrupts cognitive functionally
(47)Endotoxin induced anxiety and cognitive disorder in humans
(48) Carageenen induced inflammation in skeletal muscle induces weakness
(49)Carageenen and immune system
(50) Carageenan taken up by macrophages resulting in lysosome rupture and death
(51) Review of carageenans effects on the gut as a food additive.
(52) Carageenan allergy and potential implication in food allergies
Reading for further study:
“Precious yet Perilous” written by Chris Master John Blog on PUFA
“Good fats Bad fats separating fact from fiction” you tube lecture reviewing human studies of fat effect on health by Chris Masterjohn
Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer’s, Colitis, Immunodeficiency. by Ray Peat PhD
Vegetables, etc.—Who Defines Food? By ray Peat PhD
Unsaturated fatty acids: Nutritionally essential, or toxic. By Ray Peat PhD