The Roundup

Roundup

Here is The Roundup, Edition 27, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!

Blast from the Past

A new study has found that the number of salivary amylase gene copies appears to be strongly associated with obesity risk in humans. Those who had less than four copies of the AMY1 gene, which is fairly common, were at 8 times higher risk for obesity than those with more than nine copies. It is estimated that each additional copy of the gene affords a person 20 percent less risk of becoming obese, suggesting that how we digest starch and how our gut handles starch digestion end products plays an important role in the risk of obesity. The number of copies of this gene varies significantly between individuals, and thus this gene may potentially have an important impact on any individual’s risk of becoming obese.

These findings could help explain why some people become obese while consuming a similar amount of carbohydrate to those who stay lean. As I’ve written before, dietary carbohydrates are handled extremely differently by individuals, and there’s no evidence to suggest that starch is unhealthy for those who tolerate it well. This study demonstrates that there are measurable differences in a person’s potential ability to handle dietary carbohydrate, and tolerance depends upon important factors such as genetics/epigenetics (including amylase production), existing health conditions and the volume and intensity of activity, just to name a few.

Ultimately, this research further demonstrates the importance of self-experimentation, and the inaccuracy of the “one-size-fits-all” dietary approach. Carbohydrate tolerance varies immensely between individuals, and it’s up to you to determine the right amount for your health needs and goals.

Research Report

  • Data shows that celiac disease linked to increased risk of coronary artery disease.
  • A randomized controlled trial shows that a high-protein diet, but not a low-glycemic diet, prevents weight regain.
  • Research suggests that bacteria, viruses, and hypothalamic inflammation are potential new players in obesity.
  • Evidence shows that low total cholesterol and LDL are associated with higher mortality risk in the elderly
  • A new meta-analysis of fecal transplant studies shows “nearly all patients were cured” of C. diff. Amazing.

Worth A Look

For the Foodies

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The Roundup

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  1. Jesse Liberty says

    I am absolutely fascinated by FMT. I suspect it will soon be the standard post antibiotic regimen to help people recover their fauna, though I’m sure a more marketable method of extracting the bacteria will be achieved.

    On a side note, looking at the omelette, i LOVE pecorino cheese, well cheese in general, its like an addiction…but i digress. My question here is would you say sheep is the healthier option over the old cow’s milk?

    As i work to reduce my cheese intake, i find that using pecorino or reggiano is more satisfying than other cheeses and i end up eating less of it.

  2. Aria says

    My question is always the same… how do we find out how much amylase we’re producing? I have no idea…

    • Dana says

      One way to do this is to get your genetic testing done by the website 23andMe (findable on Google). Recently the FDA nixed their practice of giving customers a genetics-related health risk assessment, but they are still allowed to give you your raw data. Chris here has already informed us of the name of the gene to watch out for. So you get your genetic data from 23andMe, look up how many copies of AMY1 you have and bingo, at least you’ll know how much of an amylase producer you are.

      Warning: It usually costs about $100 to get the test done. You also get to learn about other genes you have and about your ancestral history (where your genes come from in the world), so some people think it’s worth the money. I might get mine done sometime this year if I can manage to save up for it.

  3. Beth says

    Chris, can you comment on this new article on the Body Ecology site that makes a distinction between “wild” ferments and ones using a starter culture/cultured ferments? They believe that wild ferments like kefir using kefir grains, homemade kombucha with a scoby, sauerkraut without a starter, etc. may not be as beneficial for healing a compromised system as ones using a starter culture. I wonder if this has been studied and what your thoughts might be.

    http://bodyecology.com/articles/is-wild-fermentation-healthy-for-you#.Uz2GGleCU5c

    • says

      I appreciate your bringing forth that link, Beth, it was an interesting read and I understand the spirit of your question and the article to be around a severely compromised immune system but doesn’t it make the pursuit of health tedious when every rabbit hole seems to conclude with “Ta-da! Here’s the solution to the conundrum that we just happen to sell in a bottle! …and don’t forget these 4 other convenient bottles that completes the package – we sell those, too!” …Related: asparagus, dandelion greens, burdock, chicory, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and onions are prebiotic food sources.

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