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Starches And The Gut

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#1 NewBrigade

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:06 AM

Lately I have been reading a lot of Paleo threads about "safe starches." Leaving aside the Paleo debate and the question of the GI content of starches, I'm wondering personally if starches can be "safe" for the gut since I have come to suspect that my acne may be a symptom of gut dysbiosis. I most specifically want to discuss the question of starch and digestion. I have been eating sweet potatoes, maybe one or two a day (400g maximum) since I started taking a holistic approach and I'm reconsidering this idea in light of some indications that this might be bad for my gut. (Of course, sweet potatoes are only about 1/2 starch and contain a lot of simple sugars and disaccharides: a whole different issue).

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the GAPs diet both rule out all starches, including sweet potatoes, because they say that the starch will ferment in your gut and allow the unbalanced growth of "bad" bacteria. I'm wondering: are there any studies to back this up?
I have done some research and there are studies that talk about starch being digested in the colon--but none of them suggest that starch consumption will lead to gut dysbiosis (leaky gut), at least not directly.

How do we digest starch? Most of the job is done by bacterial fermentation:

The predominant amylolytic bacteria belonged to the genera Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, Fusobacterium and Butyrivibrio. Mixed populations of gut bacteria rapidly fermented starch with the production of volatile fatty acids and organic acids. Lactate was observed to be a major, though transient intermediate during starch fermentation by these cultures. Approximately 60% of starch utilized was converted to volatile fatty acids, which in the human colon would be potentially available for absorption.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/19562607


But starch happens to be a complicated subject as there is normal starch, such as that in a legume or tuber, and then resistant starch. To quote one study:

RS starch is starch and starch degradation products that resist the action of amylolytic enzymes.

You can get one kind of resistant starch by cooking and then cooling starchy legumes, cereals, and tubers.
http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/19562607
And it seems that resistant starch may have beneficial qualities for the stomach.

To learn about resistant starch, I'd direct you here:
https://www.google.c...rch%3A+a+review

http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/20686513
This article argues that the microbiotic balance of the colon is highly dependent on diet. Individuals fed resistant starch have gut microflora "blooms" of Ruminococcus bromii, Oscillibacter, and Eubacterium rectale. So it seems clear that resistant starch diets will have an effect on microflora. To make a long story short, based on the two following studies, these appear to be" good" bacteria.

F. prausnitzii, R. bromii, Eubacterium rectale, Ruminococcus albus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, P. distasonis, and Alistipes putredinis
were more abundant in healthy than in CD microbiota.


http://onlinelibrary.../ibd.21436/full

The other study stated,

Eubacterium rectale, Bacteroides fragilis group, B. vulgatus, Ruminococcus albus, R. callidus, R. bromii, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii were 5-10-fold more abundant in the healthy subjects than in the CD patients, while Enterococcus sp., Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, and Listeria sp. were more abundant in the CD group.

http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/10647628

In summary, "I'lll just quote one sentence from one more study: "RS [Resistant starch] enhanced the growth of intestinal bacteria assumed to promote health."
http://www.ncbi.nlm....v/pubmed/147628


Resistant starch (RS) is a dietary fibre component and its fermentation generally favours butyrate production. Dietary RS intakes and faecal butyrate levels are high in populations at low risk of diet-related large bowel diseases. Conversely, RS intakes and faecal butyrate levels are very low in high risk groups. This raises the possibility that greater RS consumption could be of health benefit.

http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/21831780

Also, why you should feed Bifidobacteria:
http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/21829582

And in Pigs, high amylose starch fed Bifidobacteria species:

Starch with high amylose content and low in vitro digestibility increases intestinal nutrient flow and microbial fermentation and selectively promotes bifidobacteria in pigs.

http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/21628635

One IMPORTANT caveat of course is that resistant starch only makes up some of the starch that you eat--not necessarily high percentages of it.

However, there is another line of argument that suggests that starches are bad, namely, that starch feeds the bacteria Klebsiella.
As one study puts it,

A link exists between high dietary starch intake and the growth of intestinal microflora, involving especially Klebsiella microbes.

http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/19352192

(I would love it if I could read past the abstract to learn more about that link.)

And Klebsiella is a front runner, alongside Candida, for dysbiosis.
http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/21449078


Anyway, there is some food for thought. I'd be interested to see what other sort of research can be found on the subject.

Edited by NewBrigade, 13 April 2012 - 08:44 AM.


#2 vapor1

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:35 PM

Personally, I digest starch fine and it does not make me breakout. I eat quite a lot of both regular and sweet potatoes (like every other day). I don't think they will cause a leaky gut. The only possible danger might be in the skin on the outside which contains some anti-nutrients. Remove that and you should be good. Potatoes might not be a good food to include if you already have a leaky gut, but if you are healed and have good bacteria, the starch shouldn't be a problem to digest.
Clear as long as I stick to Paleo - lots of meats, vegetables, healthy fats, and small amounts of fruit. Supplements: CLO/ fish oil, Mg, vit. D3, vit. E.

#3 DaftFrost

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

Yea bacterias love starch because its sugar, and sugar is basically absorbed by our cells to make ATP or energy.

Starch is just chain of glucoses. Plants make them, its everywhere in what we eat. Without them we'd be dead. Its essential, we need to keep our ratio of meat and sugar intake same, just because you think sugars are bad doesn't mean you can start eating meat instead, it could even cause more worse problems.

Edited by DaftFrost, 12 April 2012 - 05:24 PM.


#4 Tunnelvisionary

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:12 PM

I began adding about 1-2 sweet potatoes every day for the past week or so just to experiment. It's done wonders for my body temperature, as my hands and feet aren't cold all the time anymore. With the increased circulation, my face looks less aged too. However, since I started eating it, I have been less regular and a bit more constipated.

My face is really clear and smooth, but my digestion seems to have taken a turn for the worst. I don't know if the benefits will eventually go south because I'm not able to excrete wastes properly, but I guess if I keep up the experiment I will find out.

If not, just means I'll have to cut out the starch most days until I've healed properly.

Nice job with the research and references, btw.

Edited by Tunnelvisionary, 12 April 2012 - 11:12 PM.

Call me TV.

Posted Imagemoonbase, on , said:

To the OP. Dieting is silly. The only point of a diet should be to heal your body. Once that's done as long as you get the nutrients you need in you diet, you can eat whatever the hell you want. I think that's the big thing people are missing.

#5 NewBrigade

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:42 AM

My digestion has been o.k. but I can definitely feel the fermentation going on (you know what I mean). Of course, I don't know if it is bad bacteria or fungi or good bacteria doing the fermenting.

#6 whoartthou1

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:10 PM

Yea bacterias love starch because its sugar, and sugar is basically absorbed by our cells to make ATP or energy.

Starch is just chain of glucoses. Plants make them, its everywhere in what we eat. Without them we'd be dead. Its essential, we need to keep our ratio of meat and sugar intake same, just because you think sugars are bad doesn't mean you can start eating meat instead, it could even cause more worse problems.


why would eating meat cause even worse problems (i am assuming worsen acne?)

#7 DaftFrost

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 02:44 PM


Yea bacterias love starch because its sugar, and sugar is basically absorbed by our cells to make ATP or energy.

Starch is just chain of glucoses. Plants make them, its everywhere in what we eat. Without them we'd be dead. Its essential, we need to keep our ratio of meat and sugar intake same, just because you think sugars are bad doesn't mean you can start eating meat instead, it could even cause more worse problems.


why would eating meat cause even worse problems (i am assuming worsen acne?)


From what I've seen, meat is something that would least cause acne. Studies however do show that countries that consume more meat/dairy tend to have lot more higher risk of cancer/heart problem/diabetes. It also loosens, or destroys the nitric oxide in blood vessels which is related to inflammation. You shouldn't worry much about meat, but quitting it will provide lot more various benefits.

#8 dejaclairevoyant

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:54 PM

All I know is sweet potatoes were one of the two things that I'm not supposed to eat (according to the specific carb diet, which worked great for me in the past) that I added back in over time, and now I'm sicker than before. I stopped eating them and will see what happens. I'm sad because I loved them. :(

Current Skin-Care Regimen (A work in progress):

 

Morning:

Gentle wash with DKR cleanser

Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (Following Dan's Regimen)

DKR Lotion + A squirt of Argan or Grapeseed oil (The  lotion alone wasn't hydrating enough)

Skin 79 Korean BB Cream (excellent stuff)

 

Evening:

Gentle Wash with DKR Cleanser

Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (Following Dan's Regimen)

DKR Lotion + A squirt of Argan or Grapeseed oil

 


#9 whoartthou1

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:33 PM

All I know is sweet potatoes were one of the two things that I'm not supposed to eat (according to the specific carb diet, which worked great for me in the past) that I added back in over time, and now I'm sicker than before. I stopped eating them and will see what happens. I'm sad because I loved them. Posted Image


what do you mean one of two things? You can eat other grains?

#10 dejaclairevoyant

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:04 AM

No, I started eating black beans again too. I don't know what hurt me worse, but I began eating black beans for a long time (with no breakouts) and then slowly started breaking out again. A little while before that I began eating sweet potatoes again too. Neither of them causes me direct-reaction, immediate breakouts the way gluten does. But over time, I began breaking out and it got worse and worse and worse and eventually became severe. It is starting to very slowly heal now that I'm back on the specific carbohydrate diet.

Current Skin-Care Regimen (A work in progress):

 

Morning:

Gentle wash with DKR cleanser

Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (Following Dan's Regimen)

DKR Lotion + A squirt of Argan or Grapeseed oil (The  lotion alone wasn't hydrating enough)

Skin 79 Korean BB Cream (excellent stuff)

 

Evening:

Gentle Wash with DKR Cleanser

Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% (Following Dan's Regimen)

DKR Lotion + A squirt of Argan or Grapeseed oil