Resistant Starch & Colon Cancer

Resistant Starch & Colon Cancer
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Fiber isn’t the only thing our good gut bacteria can eat; starch can also act as a prebiotic.

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Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the world. Thankfully, the good bacteria in our gut take the fiber we eat and make short-chain fatty acids—like butyrate—that protect us from cancer. We take care of them; they take care of us. If you do nothing to colon cancer cells, they grow. That’s what cancer does. But if you expose colon cancer cells to the concentration of butyrate our good bacteria make in our gut when we eat fiber, the growth is stopped in its tracks. But if the butyrate stops—if we just eat healthy for one day, and then turn off the fiber, the cancer can resume its growth. So, ideally, we have to eat lots of fiber-rich foods, meaning whole plant foods, every single day.

But what about the populations, like in modern sub-Saharan Africa, where they don’t eat a lot of fiber, yet still rarely get colon cancer? They used to eat a lot of fiber, but now their diet is centered around highly refined cornmeal; so, low-fiber, yet still low colon cancer rates. This was explained by the fact that, while they may be lacking protective factors like fiber, they are also lacking cancer-promoting factors, like animal protein and fat. But, are they really lacking protective factors?

If you measure the pH of their stools, the black populations in South Africa have more acidic stools (lower pH means more acidic), despite comparable fiber intakes. As we learned before, that’s a good thing. We want alkaline pee, acidic poop. And that may account for the lower cancer rates.

But wait a second: low colon pH is caused by short-chain fatty acids, which are produced by our good bacteria when they eat fiber. And they weren’t eating any more fiber, suggesting there was something else—in addition to fiber—in their diets that was feeding their flora. And indeed, despite low fiber intake, the bacteria in their colon were still churning out short-chain fatty acids like crazy.

But if their bacteria weren’t eating fiber, what were they eating?  Resistant starch. The method of cooking and eating the cornmeal as a porridge resulted in an increase in something called resistant starch, which acts in the same way as fiber in the colon—as a prebiotic, a food for our good bacteria to produce those same cancer-preventing short-chain fatty acids.

Resistant starch is any starch that resists digestion; is not digested and absorbed in the upper digestive tract (our small intestine), and so, passes down into the large bowel (our colon) to feed our good bacteria. See, when you boil starches, and then let them cool, some of the starch can recrystallize into a form resistant to our digestive enzymes. So, we can get resistant starch eating cooled starches: pasta salad, potato salad—or, cold cornmeal porridge.

So, this may help explain the striking differences in colon cancer rates. Thus, they were feeding their good bacteria after all—but just with lots of starch, rather than fiber. Consequently, a high-carbohydrate diet may act in the same way as a high-fiber diet. Because a small fraction of the carbs make it down into our colon, the more carbs we eat, the more butyrate our gut bacteria can produce.

And indeed, countries that eat the most starch have some of the lowest colon cancer rates. So, fiber may not be the only protective factor. Now, only about five percent of starch may reach the colon, compared to 100% of the fiber. But we eat up to ten times more starch than fiber; so, it can potentially play a significant role feeding our flora. So, we’re talking about even non-resistant starch.

So, the protection Africans enjoy from cancer may be twofold: a diet high in resistant starch and low in animal products. Just eating more resistant starch isn’t enough. See, meat contains, or contributes to the production of, presumed carcinogens—such as N-nitroso compounds.

If you split people up into three groups, and you put one group on a low-meat diet; the second group on a high-meat diet, which includes beef, pork, poultry; and the last group on the same high-meat diet, but, with lots of resistant starch added, the high-meat groups had three times more of these presumptive carcinogens, and twice the ammonia in their stool, than the low-meat group. And the addition of the resistant starch did not seem to help. This confirms that exposure to these toxic compounds is increased with meat intake, and 90% were created in our bowel.

So, it doesn’t matter if we get nitrite-free uncured fresh meat; these nitrosamines are created from the meat as it sits in our colon. This may help explain the higher incidence of bowel cancer in meat-eating populations, along with the increase in ammonia—neither of which could be helped by just adding resistant starch on top of the meat.

So, the deleterious effects of animal products on colonic metabolism override the potentially beneficial effects of other protective nutrients. So, we should do a combination of both more whole plant foods, and less meat, along with exercise—not only for our colon, but also for general health.

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 Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Ed Uthman via flickr

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the world. Thankfully, the good bacteria in our gut take the fiber we eat and make short-chain fatty acids—like butyrate—that protect us from cancer. We take care of them; they take care of us. If you do nothing to colon cancer cells, they grow. That’s what cancer does. But if you expose colon cancer cells to the concentration of butyrate our good bacteria make in our gut when we eat fiber, the growth is stopped in its tracks. But if the butyrate stops—if we just eat healthy for one day, and then turn off the fiber, the cancer can resume its growth. So, ideally, we have to eat lots of fiber-rich foods, meaning whole plant foods, every single day.

But what about the populations, like in modern sub-Saharan Africa, where they don’t eat a lot of fiber, yet still rarely get colon cancer? They used to eat a lot of fiber, but now their diet is centered around highly refined cornmeal; so, low-fiber, yet still low colon cancer rates. This was explained by the fact that, while they may be lacking protective factors like fiber, they are also lacking cancer-promoting factors, like animal protein and fat. But, are they really lacking protective factors?

If you measure the pH of their stools, the black populations in South Africa have more acidic stools (lower pH means more acidic), despite comparable fiber intakes. As we learned before, that’s a good thing. We want alkaline pee, acidic poop. And that may account for the lower cancer rates.

But wait a second: low colon pH is caused by short-chain fatty acids, which are produced by our good bacteria when they eat fiber. And they weren’t eating any more fiber, suggesting there was something else—in addition to fiber—in their diets that was feeding their flora. And indeed, despite low fiber intake, the bacteria in their colon were still churning out short-chain fatty acids like crazy.

But if their bacteria weren’t eating fiber, what were they eating?  Resistant starch. The method of cooking and eating the cornmeal as a porridge resulted in an increase in something called resistant starch, which acts in the same way as fiber in the colon—as a prebiotic, a food for our good bacteria to produce those same cancer-preventing short-chain fatty acids.

Resistant starch is any starch that resists digestion; is not digested and absorbed in the upper digestive tract (our small intestine), and so, passes down into the large bowel (our colon) to feed our good bacteria. See, when you boil starches, and then let them cool, some of the starch can recrystallize into a form resistant to our digestive enzymes. So, we can get resistant starch eating cooled starches: pasta salad, potato salad—or, cold cornmeal porridge.

So, this may help explain the striking differences in colon cancer rates. Thus, they were feeding their good bacteria after all—but just with lots of starch, rather than fiber. Consequently, a high-carbohydrate diet may act in the same way as a high-fiber diet. Because a small fraction of the carbs make it down into our colon, the more carbs we eat, the more butyrate our gut bacteria can produce.

And indeed, countries that eat the most starch have some of the lowest colon cancer rates. So, fiber may not be the only protective factor. Now, only about five percent of starch may reach the colon, compared to 100% of the fiber. But we eat up to ten times more starch than fiber; so, it can potentially play a significant role feeding our flora. So, we’re talking about even non-resistant starch.

So, the protection Africans enjoy from cancer may be twofold: a diet high in resistant starch and low in animal products. Just eating more resistant starch isn’t enough. See, meat contains, or contributes to the production of, presumed carcinogens—such as N-nitroso compounds.

If you split people up into three groups, and you put one group on a low-meat diet; the second group on a high-meat diet, which includes beef, pork, poultry; and the last group on the same high-meat diet, but, with lots of resistant starch added, the high-meat groups had three times more of these presumptive carcinogens, and twice the ammonia in their stool, than the low-meat group. And the addition of the resistant starch did not seem to help. This confirms that exposure to these toxic compounds is increased with meat intake, and 90% were created in our bowel.

So, it doesn’t matter if we get nitrite-free uncured fresh meat; these nitrosamines are created from the meat as it sits in our colon. This may help explain the higher incidence of bowel cancer in meat-eating populations, along with the increase in ammonia—neither of which could be helped by just adding resistant starch on top of the meat.

So, the deleterious effects of animal products on colonic metabolism override the potentially beneficial effects of other protective nutrients. So, we should do a combination of both more whole plant foods, and less meat, along with exercise—not only for our colon, but also for general health.

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 Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Ed Uthman via flickr

Doctor's Note

This video is a follow-up to Is the Fiber Theory Wrong?

What is this butyrate stuff of which I speak? See:

For videos on optimizing your gut flora, see:

More on preventing colon cancer in

If you’re eating healthy, do you need a colonoscopy? Find out in Should We All Get Colonoscopies Starting at Age 50?

When regular starches are cooked and the cooled, some of the starch recrystallizes into resistant starch. For this reason, pasta salad can be healthier than hot pasta, and potato salad healthier than a baked potato. Find out more in my next video, Getting Starch to Take the Path of Most Resistance.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

124 responses to “Resistant Starch & Colon Cancer

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  1. I am so fond of polenta that it moves into obsession in the winter time. I love it in the evening with some mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions over the top of it, or in the morning with some warmed berries on it, but I always thought I should be eating oatmeal instead because the fiber content is so much higher. This information is great news for me. I was feeling naughty about my love of eating cornmeal that has been cooked then cooled into a solid block of mush. But it is sooo tasty when I smear just a little date paste on a slice of it for a snack.




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    1. I agree completely. I’m a big fan of organic corn but didn’t eat a whole lot of it because it’s low fiber. One morning a week grits for breakfast, Saturday night popcorn, and that was usually all. One of my favorites is just to serve my pasta sauce over polenta instead of pasta. Fabulous! I will now indulge more frequently without remorse. Not surprised to hear this really seeing that grits and polenta are WFPB foods anyway.




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    2. As an African American with southern born parents I grew up eating what I now know as polenta but what we called grits, every morning for breakfast. They also used to make grits from ground hominy but I always thought the corn version had more flavor. We never ate them cold though. In fact my siblings and I used to fight over who had to wash the grits pot after the grits had gotten hard and stuck to the pot. Although we ate them almost daily we probably negated all benefit because we ate them with salt, pepper and a spoon full of melting butter right in the middle, and sometimes even with a thick slice of ham and redeye gravy. It’s a miracle we survived.




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      1. I, too, grew up in the South and remember eating the grits with the butter in the middle and bacon & eggs, too. But fortunately, we ate this only on occasion. My usual breakfast was a big bowl of oat meal. Wish my parents had known about WFPB, but that was a different era when cows milk, meat, and eggs were in vogue and the word “vegan” hadn’t been invented yet :-)




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      1. I always do, but that’s a good reminder. I live in New Mexico where I can sometimes find ground blue corn. Talk about a wonderful flavor!
        We also can get whole fresh hominy to make posole one of my favorite winter stews.




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  2. Great video!
    I was gonna ask you, Dr. Greger, how do I get more beneficial bacteria into my intestine? I’ve tried probiotics, but most of them only contain bifidobacteria and lactobacteria. How do I get prevotella, which is associated with a plant based diet? I eat sauerkraut, but it only has ordinary firmicutes. :/
    Thank you for you help!




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    1. I think that you have answered your own question – “prevotella, which is associated with a plant based diet”

      in other words, you have to eat a plant-based diet on along term basis. Short term changes in diet are unlikely to deliver lasting changes.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3368382/

      And a high carbohydrate plant based diet for preference.
      http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/09/your-gut-bacteria-are-what-you-eat

      I would not be obsessive about this. If you eat a healthy plant-based diet, the benefits will follow. Concentrating on a single factor can be misleading or even deliver unwanted side effects. There is some evidence, for example, that in genetically susceptible individuals, high levels of some prevotella types are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation and certain other diseases.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3816614/
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21133690




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        1. Are you considering probiotic supplements? Most say that probiotics and cultured/fermented foods won’t help since they just won’t be able to make it down to the colon. While I don’t think taking a probiotic supplement or eating cultured foods will help unless you start eating a lot more
          fiber from diverse sources. I figure if eating foods contaminated with bad bacteria can make you sick then there must be
          some way that good bacteria can get down there to colonize, but they
          have to have the right conditions in place first. There’s one probiotic called VSL#3 that might be worthwhile; it is supposed to be used under a doctor’s supervision, though.




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    2. you can get some tigernuts (is a root vegetable not a nut) that also a prebiotic that help good gut bacteria to thrive! The are rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber. You can read more about them here: http://bit.ly/2caUDgv
      Also coconut yogurt is good (very easy to make at home) Onions, leeks, slightly green bananas, and root vegetables are some examples of foods that are especially good sources of prebiotic fiber :)




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  3. Great video.
    Does, sweet potato cooked by microwave,
    Or yellow corn cooked from frozen have enough resistant starch?
    What is refined corn? It is the first time i hear such expression. All corn sold in my country are the same.
    Does frozen legumes such cooked chickpeas from frozen are good source of resistant starch? (in pan without water or oil)




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      1. To get in line here with same subject — the video/transcript could easily be taken as
        we can get resistant starch eating cooled starches: pasta salad, potato salad—or, cold cornmeal porridge. (ONLY)
        I don’t think that is what he means so if it isn’t why doesn’t he say it more clearly?




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        1. It’s my understanding that there are some varieties of starchy foods that contain high amounts of amylopectin (the waxy varieties) which don’t form much resistant starch as compared to high amylose foods (though in some contexts, people may prefer amylopectin, e.g., runners sometimes eat waxy maize products for endurance). Someone please correct me if I am mistaken on this.

          By this, I would think that glutinous rice would form less resistant starch than basmati. I’d like to see a list of the relative contents of amylose vs. amylopectin of various foods. I did find an article, unfortunately, even though it was published in 1943, it is behind a pay wall. Perhaps there are other sources, but I need to do some actual work now…




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      2. The richest sources of resistant starch are raw potatoes (but not too palatable), green bananas, plantains, cooked-and-cooled potatoes, cooked-and-cooled-rice, parboiled rice, and cooked-and-cooled legumes. Most grains, including oats and wheat also have some resistant starch.




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        1. Cathleen: I couldn’t find it, but I remember Darryl once posted information about the “cooked and cooled” process. I like my food at least warm. I wanted to know what happened if I cooked, cooled and then reheated. The answer is that eating it after re-heating does not have as much resistant starch as eating it cold, but it still had more resistant starch than when it came out of the pot the first cooking. Interesting, isn’t it?

          If I can ever find the references, I will come back and post it. (Or if Darryl sees and takes pity, maybe he will jump in.)




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            1. Harriet Sugar Miller: Thanks for the link. I scanned the article. It seems to be about the GI effects of food and not so much on the topic of resistant starch. At least not much that I could tell, but it looks interesting.




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        1. Though high amylopectin starches don’t retrograde as much, so waxy varieties of potato and corn, for example, would not yield much resistant starch when cooled, correct?




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          1. Most corn (and waxy corn) is high in amylopectin, not amylose. Tubers (potatoes) are also high in amylopectin. Thus, they would not retrograde as much as legumes, which are higher in amylose. According to the Montignac team, the amount of amylose starch (the kind subject to retrogradation) is approximately:

            waxy corn–1%
            cereal grains–15 to 28%
            tubers, including potatoes–17 to 22%
            legumes–33 to 66%

            See http://www.montignac.com/en/the-factors-that-modify-glycemic-indexes/




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            1. Thanks! Looks like a salad with whole chickpeas and maybe some wheat berries would be good gut microbiome food.

              I suppose sprouting, since it converts starches to simple sugars, would be counter-productive in terms of resistant starch?




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              1. Hi there, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger and am happy to help. Sprouting does make the starch more digestible, which allows for better assimilation of nutrients. This is a different benefit than increasing resistant starches in the diet which resists being absorbed and feeds the good colonic bacteria. Basically both are good, but for different reasons. Simply sprouting any grain/legume doesn’t necessary mean it no longer provides any resistant starch. Hope this helps!




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                1. Thanks! Rather surprising, re: sprouting. The pressure cooking thing is a bummer since that’s how I cook my beans. Well, so long as it keeps me eating them, I guess it is a good enough method.




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    1. Protein Deficient, it is my impression from the video that you get the resistant starches by cooking and cooling starchy foods. Although some foods have more than others, your examples of cooked sweet potatoes and cooked corn (even if from frozen) should contain resistant starch because they are starchy vegetables. Refined corn would mean cornmeal (polenta, grits) because these are products from corn, yet they are not in their original form (as in kernels off the cob). I hope that answers your question.




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  4. When you put a picture that looks disgusting people don’t want to share. Such an important topic. That pic makes a lasting mental impression. Starch and Fiber are both good gut prebiotics for a healthy microbiome.




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    1. Or it makes such a lasting impression that you are motivated to change your diet so your bowel never ends up looking that that one. In my college the biology building had a series of photographs of different normal and disease organs lining the main hallway. The side-by-side images of a healthy and diseased lungs from smoking caused me to never take another puff again. And anytime I had the urge all I had to do was recall the picture of that cancerous or emphysemic lung and all urge to smoke disappeared immediately.

      So disturbing pictures can be very effective in motivating one to change. But I do get your point that without context and preparation they can repel before they can instruct/motivate.




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      1. I remember when I was about 3 years old, my mom showed me a display at the local library. Under glass, side by side, were a healthy lung and a lung from a smoker. Pink next to black. It’s still imprinted in my mind, and made such an impression on me at a young age that I never even considered smoking.




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      2. It caught my attention. I’m perfectly okay with it. My 57-year brother-in-law just died of colon cancer. He had just retired with a marvelous pension. Maybe if he saw an image (and, of course, the explanatory video) like that years ago, he might still be alive.




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  5. I recently bought some puffed brown-rice cakes and they were pretty good as a quick on the go snack. Are they considered too processed because they are puffed or are they still a decent whole food, like rolled oats?

    Mark G.




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    1. mbglife: I think there are various aspects/angles to any food that can make your question hard to answer. So, on one hand, maybe brown-rice cakes are a good source of resistant starch making it good in that aspect. On the other hand, like any food, those cakes are a package deal and puffed grains are not the most nutritious in other areas. I think in making your decision about how much you want to make those cakes part of your daily diet, you might first want to watch this short video from Brenda Davis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkFJZUIUeEA
      .
      I’m not saying those cakes are bad for you. I’m just trying to give you additional information/criteria from which to make your decisions.
      .
      My thoughts are that puffed cakes (my favorites are the corn puffed cakes) are quick, easy snacks with a lot going for them compared to other snacks. The puffed cakes are also probably not the most nutritious whole foods all around, so I wouldn’t make them a staple for myself. Definitely in the sometimes category. At least, that would be my ideal approach. I’m not the best at following my own advice! Argh.
      .
      Does this help?




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      1. Thanks, Thea. I was thinking if these only as an occasional snack of one or two ever now and then. Plus, they only have about 60 calories. So they’re not something that’s going to displace other things in my diet. I just didn’t want to eat then if they are just crap. ;-)




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        1. mbglife: I totally agree with your general reasoning.
          .
          If you had a chance to review Brenda Davis’s mini-video, I’m curious if you concluded that the puff cakes are just junk or if they are a fine occasional snack? It’s really a judgement call in my opinion and I was wondering what your judgement is. :-)




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            1. Don’t torture yourself, Mark. After you have eaten all required nutritious foods, a harmless snack here and there is no big deal. You may do more damage to your mental health by being not happy.




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            2. mbglife: What lovely feedback. So glad it was helpful!

              FYI: The first time I heard the information, it was from a live talk from Brenda Davis. I was trying to describe the information and dredge up what I could remember of it to another poster some time ago, and someone found that video for me. It was exactly what I was looking for and am happy to hear that I’m not the only one who finds it of great value.

              Thanks for taking the time to report back as I value your opinion.




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              1. Hi Thea

                Different topic, I thought there was a video on using amla and erythritol together to form a mouth rinse. This one was different that the amla/green tea video. I thought at the end of it Dr Greger said you can swallow the mixture instead of spitting it out and you’d get an antioxidant boost. Do I have a false memory about this or is it in the files and I just can’t find it?

                Also, I was using a 1/4 to 1/4 teaspoon of amla a day in my morning oatmeal until I started having severe stomach pains all day long. I stopped at it took weeks to clear up. I don’t know if it was related to the amla or not., but I’m going to go slow trying to start up again. However, it doesn’t seem to be a problem just using amla and erythritol as my after meal mouth rinse.

                Thanks, in advance for any help you can give me on these questions.
                Mark




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                1. mbglife: Good timing with your question. I just discovered yesterday that they fixed the search function so that if you enter two search terms/words, it will only return results which match both terms. This is *great* news, because it allows us to research these kinds of questions quickly and accurately.

                  So, I did a search on “amla” and “erythritol”, entered like this in the search box without the quotes: “amla erythritol” The results were no videos, one blog and one ask-the-doctor, both really covering the same topic. So as you will see on this page: http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/09/03/hibiscus-tea-the-best-beverage/ , Dr. Greger discussed a *drink* that includes amla, erythritol and other things such as hibiscus, but the mouth rinse is just the one that you were mentioning in your post above, with amla and the green tea.




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                2. mbglife: I meant to add: That’s interesting what you wrote about your stomach pains. I’m glad they went away. It doesn’t seem to me that 1/4 teaspoon would be enough to cause problems, but if it does, it does. Better to not have a sore tummy!




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      2. Thea, I agree. We should look not only at the health aspects of a given food in isolation, but also as relative to what the alternative would be if we didn’t eat a given food. So if I was going to eat a snack and didn’t eat a puffed grain cake what would I tend to eat instead and how healthy is that alternate snack in comparison. If that alternate was a piece of fruit, probably the fruit is the better choice.

        But if it was a very high calorie density food like nuts, then maybe the puffed grain cake might be better, especially if you are trying to control calories in order to lose weight. I know that Dr. Greger is in favor of nut and oily seed consumption (and I agree the science is very supportive), but unless measured and eaten very deliberately, they are very easy to eat to excess, especially as a stand-alone snack.

        And if somebody was still consuming animal products and the alternate snack was some cheese, then definitely the puffed grain cakes would be a much better choice.




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      3. Great video, Thea. I’m going for ALL grains being intact and mostly sprouted. Think of all the “grain bashing” going on in the Paleo community–how much of the negative effects some see with grains really from consuming over-processed grains (rolled, ground into flour or puffed/flaked)?




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        1. Julie: I couldn’t agree with you more! When people improve on something like a paleo diet, it’s not because they are cutting out wheat berries. It’s because they are cutting out bread (and cookies and cakes and..) and rice cakes, etc.




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    2. If I recall properly, these are very bad in the realm of “glycemic index” or blood sugar response. I’d look into it before making them a daily thing.




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      1. Thanks, Wade.The video Thea supports what you said. Not only are they not good, they are the very lowest on the list of examples of processed foods made from whole grains, several levels below table sugar. So not only are this off my dailylist, they are just off my list, period.

        I wonder if popcorn, which I don’t eat, is the same.

        Mark




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    1. I usually applaud the NF video producers for their aesthetic and often mirthful preview images. I agree this one was a bad idea. While viscera are never going to be cute, a barium contrast X-ray or one of the sculptural 3D CT scans wouldn’t have deterred the squeamish, as this might.




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    1. Sorry but if a person is on a high-meat diet, he/she probably hasn’t looked at __any__ of the research and will likely suffer most of the diseases of the Westernized diet.

      Feel free to look around here and see what plants have to offer, and that meats cannot.




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      1. I have watched all of the vid’s here on nitrate and understand somewhat. My concern is recommending high-nitrate veg to animal-product eaters. If they have intestinal chemistry that promote the formation of nitrosamines from nitrate doesn’t it follow that adding more nitrate regardless of the good things in the plants it just seems likely to push the formation of baddies. Thanks for replies




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    1. Once a food such as rice or potato that is cooked and cooled the resistant starch forms because the amylose and amylopectin in that carbohydarte structure changes from linear into crystalline form that is in resistant starch. Even when you reheat that food the resistant starch is still intact. I hope that is helpful for you.
      Retrogradation (starch)




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      1. Resistant starch is very interesting , parboiled rice is also a resistant starch according to one commenter at another website .thanks for this info !




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  6. Hardy har! I just realized I was eating _cooled starch_ for lunch-the two small potatoes I “nuked” this morning before work. Also I had a few pieces of English walnut and a handful of fresh spinach.




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  7. Off-topic, but has anyone got a good solution for making acidic foods more basic? I use tomato juice as a stock for my barley-bean-vegetable soups, I add lemon juice to my tomato pasta sauce, and I love Granny Smith apples (I just love sour, tooth-corrosive foods). I rinse after consuming these foods, but is there an additive that can make them less acidic right from the get-go (without a loss in flavour)? Thanks.




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    1. The properties that make a food more alkaline include calcium, magnesium, potassium and chlorophyll. I don’t think you can magically alter these in a food. The only case I’m aware of is when dried corn is soaked in lime (calcium hydroxide), some calcium is added to the finished product (masa harina or hominy). Just might need to add greens to everything!




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      1. Thanks Julie. So, if I add lots of “alkaline” vegetables to an “acid” tomato juice soup base, will the veggies lower the overall pH of the soup? Or might this only happen in a blender-like situation?




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        1. Mike Quinoa, you’d probably get better results with the blender, but eating alkaline greens in tomato sauce will also lighten the acidic load on your teeth (chewing acts like a blender anyway). Fresh herbs are also alkaline–basil and parsley in the sauce, maybe? Also munching on alkaline veggies immediately after eating will help alkalize your mouth, along with your water rinse. I’ve used pH strips to measure my oral pH, and found that after eating acidic foods, munching on celery alkalizes quite well (and cleans as a bonus). Lastly, if you’re interested, you can directly measure the pH of anything you make with a pH meter




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    2. You can add baking soda which will react with the acid (remember making paper mache ‘volcanoes’ which had baking soda reacting with the acidic vinegar?) That said, I’d use it sparringly to avoid altering the flavor. And, be aware the baking soda will also neutralize good acids like vitamin-C. But, a little baking soda will help reduce some of the acid present in the dish.




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    1. SM: Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I feel that these types of decisions need some spotlight on them. I left a (rather heated) note on that blog page. Maybe someone in authority at Harvard will notice.




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  8. For some reason I didn’t get Dr G’s email with this video this morning, and had to go directly to the website.

    I really find that disgusting photo stops me from posting to Facebook or Google+. At first I thought it was a hugely enlarged picture of some gut bacteria or other. I could hardly look at it. Please, Dr G, our friends need this info, not to be shocked out of even reading the article.




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    1. I had a different reaction to the photo… I was grateful to know what I’m avoiding bt attending to/nourishing my body and felt grateful that Dr G has given us the information needed to avoid such conditions. Of course, I’m sort of a geek, so that may have something to do with it, too!

      That said, I’m with you (I think) in that I dislike the *gratuitous* use of shocking images… I just feel that Doc G’s use of the image here is to educate, not simply to shock, and so I can live with it. And of course, one can always just quickly scroll down the page.




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      1. RalphRhineau, I did quickly scroll down the page, but mostly I felt it would be a serious turn-off for others who need the message but aren’t quite as sciency as this group.




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  9. Would you please confirm that I just learned about cooking, even beans at high temperatures, aka pressure cooking it turns resistant starch to non resistant, I can’t find this study but I found this… it talks about “retrograded resistant starch.” Did any one look into this?

    retrograded resistant starch”

    Read more: Pressure Cooking Potatoes Turns Bad Starch Good http://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooker-potato-nutrition/
    http://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooker-potato-nutrition/




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  10. Dear Dr. Greger and fellow discussion members,

    I’ve came across this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/29/long-term-vegetarian-diet-changes-human-dna-raising-risk-of-canc/

    I’m interested in this DNA mutation that makes one more susceptible for colorectal cancer. I would very much like to see this covered in one of your videos as the study covers a negative aspect of the vegetarian diet while this website heavily emphasizes the benefits.




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    1. Wow, where do we begin? First of all this article is sensationalizing vegetarian and vegan diets as bad, without telling the whole story. 1) For those who have this gene, all they have to do is limit omega 6 consumption, since it’s the omega 6 fatty acids that convert to dangerous arachidonic acid. That’s what the WFPB community always talks about — no oils and limit omega 6. The article failed to mention that meat is already loaded with arachidonic acid. 2) “Vegetarian men have lower fertility because of all the pesticides they eat in all those vegetables”. Uh, meat and dairy have even more pesticides and you can always consume organic veggies to eliminate the problem altogether. 3) “Vegans are low in calcium, D and B12.” Sure, if they don’t take B12, get enough sun or take D, and don’t eat their leafy greens they will be low in these nutrients. If vegans follow Dr. Greger, Brenda Davis RD and others recommendations to take B12, get safe sun exposure &/or take vitamin D, and eat plenty of calcium-rich leafy greens, they will not have any of these deficiencies. The article failed to mention that omnivores can also be deficient in these nutrients. Vegans who eat a healthy diet with plenty of greens and exercise, will have STRONGER bones than omnivores–like Brenda Davis who floored her doctor when her bone density was off the charts after consuming a WFPB diet for decades.




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      1. Julie: Excellent response! I had a response already saved up from previous people asking about the study. Your response is very nice and easy to understand.




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    2. Dean: As I see it, there’s no inconsistency between what is in the Telegraph article and Dr. Greger’s message, which is: don’t consume refined oils from any source.




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    3. Daan: Dr. Greger has addressed this in a post not too long ago. Below are links to a whole host of excellent responses to the interpretation of the study you are talking about. Bottom line: Basically, the article is criminally misleading “journalism”–not an understanding of the actual study.
      .
      Dr. Greger: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-treatment-for-angina/#comment-2597611517
      Dr Katz: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vegetarianism-nutrition-science-meets-media-nonsense-davidDr
      Garth Davis: https://www.facebook.com/drgarth/posts/1126374594050114?hc_location=ufi
      NF Moderator Dr. Jon: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-diets-and-artery-function/#comment-2596819840
      NF Moderator Renae: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/almonds-for-osteoporosis/#comment-2601476959
      NF Moderator Dr. Jen: http://nutritionfacts.org/2016/03/31/dr-gregers-new-google-talk/#comment-2599942486 and http://nutritionfacts.org/2016/03/31/dr-gregers-new-google-talk/#comment-2601267177
      NF Moderator Dr. Alex: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-based-treatment-for-angina/#comment-2597863794
      ​Tom Goff: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/gut-dysbiosis-starving-microbial-self/#comment-2734176559​
      ​Jim Felder: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/gut-dysbiosis-starving-microbial-self/#comment-2734894622​
      .
      Here’s how I put it all into perspective in my head: *Suppose* someone found out that descendants of *some* healthy people have developed an adaptation where consuming table sugar is even more unhealthy than it already is for everyone else. Thus, future generations might be even more sensitive to the negative health impact of eating Twinkies than we are today. Does that mean we should all eat a bunch of Twinkies today so that our descendants aren’t worse off eating Twinkies in the future? Of course not. That would be absurd. And that’s essentially (as I understand it) what the article you are quoting is saying in regards to eating meat. What’s more, that claim is a complete twist of what the actual study is actually saying.
      .
      Does that help?




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  11. Both people running for President of the U.S.A. are in the spotlight right now concerning their health . One would think that both candidates as rich as they are would have have no bull advisers like Dr. Greger on staff .
    Wealth without health is nothing at all.




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    1. I do not keep up with politics now, but do remember that Ms. Obama was “promoting health” at one time with diet and exercise advice and THEN they shut her down on the dietary side. Too many “conflicts” of money. Oh yeah, that’s in some videos here.

      I also am aware that Bill Clinton HAS IN FACT changed his eating ways and has let his body repair itself. It really shows if you see him now.

      I shall say no more of political figures.

      Wonder what the stats are, how many ACTUALLY change their eating significantly after having those multi-bypass surgeries that fund big yachts and exclusive club memberships and Phizer jets?




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      1. 69% of Americans are overweight and 1/3 Obese and very very few doctors recommend “Vegan or plant based diet” for better health, lower food cost and reducing weight (probably the # 1 cause of stroke, heart attack, cancer, diabetes, etc….). It’s not politically correct to mention “vegan or plant-based”. The politicians and media will tear you apart alive.




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        1. Ray, As a medical moderator and physician I would suggest that indeed many of us do indeed recommend a plant based diet with minimization of animal products. However as your probably well aware changing one’s habits takes real desire and discipline. Unfortunately, we have not instilled the real impact on multiple generations, by how one modulates their diet.
          See an overview of this information at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgenerational_epigenetic_inheritance You might find that if more physicians were aware of the real impact and communicated the facts more effectively we would indeed have more compliance and acceptance. The winds of change are very slowly coming don’t lose faith in knowledge driving realities. For your entertainment, you might look at the 400 yes 400-year delays for vitamin c use in the current issue of Life Extention magazine. Dr. Alan Kadish NF Moderator




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          1. I think Dr. Greger and you yourself intentionally avoid calling a human a “Herbivore” because it’s not politically correct and instead dance around “Plant based diet” and very little animal products instead. When there is an overwhelming (all these videos and physical proof including teeth & digestive system) objective scientific evidence that we are herbivores and that is the reason animal products are not good for us. We don’t need Doctors, physicians, surgeons and hospitals to recommend plant-based diet, because they make money off sick people & they will lose $ if they do so. Once they understand we are herbivore (not omnivore) then all these videos become obvious and redundant.




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            1. These videos help us help others begin to understand the bullshit that we are fed (on two levels) and how it’s killing the Westernized world and how EASY and EFFECTIVE it is to change and begin a “new life”.

              For that I, I thank Dr. Greger and all his volunteers for each one.

              Best to you Ray.




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  12. Such a informative and excellent video. Thank you so much Dr greger. But please change the image on the first screen of the diseased colon. It is nauseating and I have to look away!




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    1. Thanks for sharing. It was such a great publication!

      Full article here:
      http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2548255

      & as per the following publication by Nestle in a opinion paper about the link you shared:

      “Industry-sponsored nutrition research, like that of research sponsored by the tobacco, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, almost invariably produces results that confirm the benefits or lack of harm of the sponsor’s products, even when independently sponsored research comes to opposite conclusions. Although considerable evidence demonstrates that those industries deliberately influenced the design, results, and interpretation of the studies they paid for (…) Kearns et al urge policymakers to view industry-funded studies with some skepticism. This is excellent advice. Disclosure of funding sources helps but is not sufficient to address the potential conflicts that can occur with such funding”




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    1. I would guess no, but maybe somebody else will refute this reasoning. The process of creating resistant starch requires a/ gelatinization (a starch swelling in water), followed by b/ retrogradation (cooling, which causes a gelatinized starch to reorganize so that it becomes more resistant.) Thus, potatoes that have been boiled, then cooled, would likely have more resistant starch than ones that have been baked, then cooled. Potatoes that have been made crispy (by baking or frying) don’t undergo that initial gelatinization process. See http://www.montignac.com/en/the-factors-that-modify-glycemic-indexes/




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  13. I recently came to these scientific findings, if you guys could brainstorm on the implications…

    “Treatment with either antibiotics or a low-carbohydrate diet reduced cell proliferation as well as the number of tumors in the small
    intestines and colons of these mice. These two treatments also reduced levels of certain gut microbes that metabolize carbohydrates to produce a fatty acid called butyrate. When the researchers increased butyrate levels in the antibiotic-treated mice, cell proliferation and the number of tumors increased in the small intestines. Taken together, the findings suggest that carbohydrate-derived metabolites produced by gut microbes drive abnormal cell proliferation and tumor development in mice genetically predisposed to colorectal cancer.”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.04.051

    New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates stem cells are located in “pockets” in the intestine to avoid contact with a prominent metabolite produced by beneficial microbes living in the gut. That metabolite — butyrate — restricts the proliferation of stem cells, potentially hampering the intestine from repairing itself after an injury or damage resulting from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s and colitis.”

    “When there’s damage to the lining of the intestine — whether from acute injury or disease — stem cells have to divide to repair that damage,” Stappenbeck said. “Inhibiting stem cell proliferation could be an unfortunate side effect of butyrate treatment.”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.05.018




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