Transcript: The Exogenous Endotoxin Theory
To recap: until recently, the thinking was that the reason that a single meal of animal foods causes inflammation is because animal foods have saturated fat. The saturated fat causes the breakdown of our intestinal barrier, which could cause a “fat-induced translocation of small quantities of bacterial endotoxin from the gut” into our bloodstreams, which triggers the acute inflammatory reaction associated with Egg [McMuffin®] and Sausage McMuffin® consumption. So, “To date, it has been widely considered that the source of this circulating endotoxin is the resident intestinal microflora.”
Wait a second, though. What’s wrong with this picture? Look at the time scale. The rise of inflammation starts within just a few hours of ingestion. But where are our bacteria? Not in our small intestine, but 20 feet farther down, in our large intestine. That could take like eight hours for a McMuffin to get down there.
So, what’s going on? Where else could bacterial endotoxins be coming from, if not the bacteria in our gut? Maybe the endotoxins are coming from the food itself. This is the new study that changed everything. For the first time ever, they “aimed to determine whether common foodstuffs may contain appreciable quantities of endotoxin.” “Forty extracts were therefore prepared from twenty-seven foodstuffs common to the Western diet, and the capacity of each to induce the secretion of [inflammatory signals from human white blood cells] was measured…”
They found whopping doses of endotoxin equivalents in some pork, poultry, dairy, and chocolate products. What’s with the chocolate? Well, the first step in chocolate-making is bacterial fermentation of the beans. But thankfully, the phytonutrients, the plant-based nutrients, outweigh the effect of the bacteria, and decrease inflammation overall. The same cannot be said for animal products, though.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena
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