Our Gut Microbiome Is Becoming Less Diverse

The bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi and protozoa living in the gut, collectively called the gut microbiome, have been linked to several diseases including obesity, heart disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis (read more here and here).

Each person has a unique gut microbiome consisting of around 160 different bacterial species. In total around 1,200 species have been found in the human gut. These bacteria conduct several beneficial functions for their hosts such as aiding in digestion, producing certain vitamins, suppressing the growth of disease-causing bacteria, and metabolising dietary toxins.

Recent research has indicated that the diversity of the human gut microbiome has declined since humans diverged from Chimpanzees, over 6 million years ago. In fact, humans living in industrialized societies have the lowest gut microbiome diversity of any primate.

The first main transition in human history that resulted in a reduction in gut microbiome diversity was the dietary change from a mainly plant based diet rich in fiber to a diet with a higher proportion of meat. This shift dates back at least 2 million years ago and has left its anatomical mark. The small intestine is much larger in humans than in Great Apes while the opposite is true for the large intestine. The large size of the small intestine and small size of the large intestine are characteristic of carnivores (herbivores in contrast have a small sized small intestine and a large sized large intestine).

When we look at the bacteria that have become less abundant in humans we find many that are involved in the digestion of plant materials. For example, humans have a fivefold lower abundance of Fibrobacter, which as its name suggests helps to break down dietary fiber, compared to African apes. When we compare species we generally find that carnivores have a lower microbiome diversity compared to herbivores.

The agricultural revolution, around 10,000 years ago, caused a shift from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle towards agriculture and settlement. When the gut microbiomes of modern day hunter-gatherers is compared with that of traditional agricultural societies no difference in the richness of species is found. However, as expected the microbiome composition is different. In contrast, the shift from a traditional lifestyle to a modern (post-)industrial society has lead to a decline in the species richness of the human microbiome. The exact cause for this decrease is not yet known but the increase in food processing, with the resulting decrease in dietary fiber, may play a role. Indeed, the transmission of certain gut bacteria to the offspring was prevented when mice were fed a diet free of fiber. Also the use of antibiotics, especially during early life, and maybe even the increased use of Caesarean sections could contribute to the reduced richness of the gut microbiome. Although a recent study suggested that children born through Caesarean sections do not have a reduced gut microbiome richness.

Have any bacterial species gone extinct in the human gut? This question is hard to answer but one study failed to detect some bacteria, that are present in all African apes, in humans living in the United States but one was found back in humans living in rural Malawi. Some of the lost bacterial species may remain present in understudied human populations while other species may be lost forever.

In conclusion, humans have lost diversity in the gut microbiome since the divergence from Chimpanzees and this decline has become accelerated in the modern (post-)industrial society. This loss in microbiome diversity may increase the risk for infections, autoimmune disorders, and metabolic disorders.

Moeller AH (2017). The shrinking human gut microbiome. Curr Opin Microbiol 38: 30-35. 

Stem Cells In The Hypothalamus Influence Aging

Hypothalamic neural stem cells taken from newborn mice delay aging in adult mice

Many researchers believe that aging is regulated in a distinct manner, and is somehow signalled throughout the body as we age – with a rate varying species to species. While this is still hotly debated and there is some evidence on both sides of the argument, the brain has emerged as a possible regulator of systemic (whole body) aging. One of the organs now being studied is the hypothalamus.

A role for stem cells in the hypothalamus

Researchers noticed that numbers of neural stem cells in the hypothalamus decline sharply in mice at around 10 months of age – a few months prior to the onset of clear aging symptoms. At 2 years of age most mice no longer have any of these cells left. To study this phenomenon further, and whether it was somehow influencing the rate of decline, the research team targeted these cells in healthy mice with viruses to selectively destroy them. The result was a somewhat quickened aging process; accelerating memory problems, muscle weakening and coordination decline. These mice also died sooner.

“Our research shows that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells naturally declines over the life of the animal, and this decline accelerates aging. But we also found that the effects of this loss are not irreversible. By replenishing these stem cells or the molecules they produce, it’s possible to slow and even reverse various aspects of aging throughout the body”

Exosomes can be used to carry multiple different types of substances throughout the body. Credit: IBM Research Exosomes samples.

Exosomes can be used to carry multiple different types of substances throughout the body. Credit: IBM Research Exosomes samples.

To test this connection further the scientists injected new neural stem cells from newborn mice into the hypothalamus of both healthy mice and those which had undergone destruction of their own hypothalamus stem cells. The injection corrected the decline caused by removing these cells, but more strikingly also extended lifespan by 10% in the ordinary mice. It also boosted cognitive and muscle function.

What might the mechanism be? 

On closer examination these stem cells appeared to be releasing molecules called microRNAs, which regulate gene expression. These are encapsulated within little spheres called exosomes, and delivered into the cerebrospinal fluid. In this manner they are able to influence a large span of the body, in addition to important endocrine signals mediated through hormones. When these specific microRNA exosomes were extracted and injected into other mice on their own, they also proved able to slow aging and improve similar health parameters.

While this will take further study to unravel whether other factors may be at play, and whether additional regions of the brain may be modulating the aging process alongside the hypothalamus. It offers some intriguing findings for now however.

Read more at Nature

More Evidence Of Bacterial Infection In Alzheimer’s Brains

New sequencing results from the post-mortem brains of Alzheimer’s patients has revealed they may suffer from bacterial contamination

Leading on from prior work that determined the beta amyloid found in Alzheimer’s brains may in part act as an antimicrobial response, new DNA sequencing results from a research team in the UK have hinted once again that bacterial infection within the brain may be driving the deadly inflammation seen in Alzheimer’s brains.

“Alzheimer’s brains usually contain evidence of neuroinflammation, and researchers increasingly think that this could be a possible driver of the disease, by causing neurons in the brain to degenerate. Neuroinflammation in the brain may be a reaction to the presence of bacteria” 

New evidence

A UK based team sequenced material from the brains of 8 patients known to have had Alzheimer’s disease, alongside 6 brains of patients considered healthy prior to death. They used next-generation sequencing to scan for specific bacterial genes – which act as indicators of specific strains and populations. The results showed that the brains of Alzheimer’s individuals had a differing set of bacterial species – with a much higher ratio of a type called Actinobacteria compared to Proteobacteria. Perhaps more importantly however Alzheimer’s brains contained on average 7 times more bacteria, whereas healthy brains maintained a low level resembling that of normal blood sample results.

“Previous studies looking at bacteria in the Alzheimer’s brain have primarily investigated specific bacterial species. We wanted to use an unbiased method to obtain the fullest overview possible of the entire bacterial population in the Alzheimer’s brain, and compare these results with those from a healthy aged brain”

What can extrapolate from this data? While these remain relatively small samples and only hint at a possible cause, it does lead to some important questions. Could the blood-brain barrier somehow be broken down in Alzheimer’s patients, or is the ability to remove bacterial invaders somehow diminished? We will have to await further research to delve further into these questions. It certainly adds fuel to the theory of neuroinflammation and bacterial load being potentially the major driving factor of the disease however.

“We need quantitative studies on the bacterial presence in the brain. Larger numbers of brain samples are required, and future studies should also investigate if bacteria are involved in other neurodegenerative diseases involving neuroinflammation”

Read more at EurekAlert

Health Benefits Of Beets And Beet Juices


In recent years, beets have been underutilized. More often than not, they are simply found on a salad bar in slices or as an ingredient in pickled beet eggs.

They are no longer used for the sugar substitute they once used to be. This root and its greens are basically considered undesirable by many people. What people do not realize is beets have a rich history and are just as rich in health benefits.

 

They can be even juiced and enjoyed on their own in a glass, or they can be combined with other things to make delicious treats and meals.

There are a few risks to consuming beets, too, which we will cover in addition to all of the health benefits they offer.

What You Will Learn in This Article

Below are some things you will learn about beets and beet juices in this article.

Beets do not need to be relegated only to salads and egg pickling. They can be used in many other ways, too.

They are practically a healing vegetable with all of the health benefits they offer. They were once so revered that they are said to have grown in the hanging gardens of Babylon.

There is also a story about three beets which were sisters that would squabble about that is more important.

A fairy transported them to a time before beets to prove to them that people suffered without the beet in general, thus proving that all types of beets are important.

The lesson from this story shows the true value of the beet to older societies. Humans and animals alike benefited from different types of beets in the story, just as is so in ancient cultures.

Returning to reality, beets are known for their deep, red-purple color. They gain this color from geosmin, which gives them a fresh, soil or earthy taste and smell.

They often smell like a garden after a rain shower. Humans can be rather sensitive to geosmin, so people normally either hate beets or love them.

What Are Beets?

Beets are a plant that has a taproot portion and a leafy portion. The roots are mostly known for their root portion, and the leaves are not as commonly used. They are also known as beetroot, table beet, garden beet, red beet, and golden beet.

They belong to a cultivated variety of Beta vulgaris. These plants have been cultivated solely to be consumed in two parts: the root and the greens. For beets, these leaves are actually called beet greens.

Many products are made from beets, particularly sugar beets. These types of beets contain a high amount of sucrose, which means it is highly used in place of sugar in some cultures, especially ancient ones.

When it comes to growing beets, it should be noted that they prefer colder weather. They actually grow the best in winter with temperatures of at least 40 degrees F (4 degrees C).

Therefore, it is best to plant them during the fall so they can grow during the winter and early spring. They should be harvested before the brunt of summer hits as they do not fare well in warmer weather.

The roots can be harvested in about eight weeks from the time they start to sprout, and the greens might be able to be harvested a little sooner than that.

History Of Beets

Historically, beets were only consumed for their greens and not their roots. These greens were consumed similarly to chard in salads, which makes sense since chard is a close relative to beets.

They became so popular in Ancient Greece and Rome that these cultures found a safe way to grow them during warmer months to make sure there was as endless of supply as possible.

One of the main reasons why beets were so popular in these cultures is because they were considered to be an aphrodisiac because of the belief that they encouraged amorous feelings.

Therefore, stories exist of the goddess Aphrodite eating beets to increase her sex appeal to men. This thought process is actually not too far off from reality as beets contain boron, which heightens sex-driving hormones.

In some of these ancient cultures, there are claims that beets promote love so much that if one person eats from a beet and shares it with another person, then those two people will fall in love.

Beets are so much associated with sex in Ancient Greece and Rome that red beets would be hung around prostitution houses around 740 AD. This trend returned around the 20th century.

There are also other ancient claims about beets. The Oracle at Delphi once contended that beets were worth their weight in silver. Likewise, Apollo was even offered a crop of beets to ensure his wealth.

The root portion of the beet was not really cultivated for consumption until 1542. At least, this year is the first known record of such cultivation.

In the beginning, they resembled turnips or parsnips in size and shape. Their bulbous shape did not first start appearing until the 1500s. This type of beet is said to be based on a variety that comes from northern Africa.

It took almost two more centuries for the current form of the beet to become popular as it is today. A chemist in Berlin named Andreas Sigismund Marggraf is noted with the most modern way to gain sugar from beets.

His pupil, Franz Achard, went on to perfect the method over time, and his research then led to the creation of beet beer, beet tobacco, and beet molasses. Other products were also made, too, but these are the most popular.

The beet was not always safe as far as being a protected vegetable. It took a king, namely the King of Prussia, subsidizing the sugar beet industry for them to sustain.

The first beet growing and processing plant once existed in what is now a part of western Poland, which was a pretty solid investment in the long run for Prussia.

The beet did not really become super popular for its sugar content until 1813. Napoleon Bonaparte ensured the beet’s future for sugar production when he made sure they were grown and processed for sugar when Britain placed an embargo on sugar.

What Are Beets Good For?

We have already touched on the things that beets are good for a few times. First and foremost, they are known for their ability to be turned into sugar.

Believe it or not, 20 percent of today’s sugar production comes from beets. They are much easier to grow than sugar cane, and they require almost one-fourth of the amount of water to grow.

They can grow in even arid conditions in Egypt, though they are most popularly grown in parts of Europe and North America today.

One of the most popular locations where beets are grown for the sugar industry is in Michigan in the United States. In the 1830s, about two dozen companies existed for processing beets into sugar.

It did not really pick up until forested lands began to disappear around 1840, thus making timber a lost resource for the state.

Taking on processing beets into sugar became popular since they could grow easily in Michigan’s climate as it remains cooler for longer throughout the year.

The process of turning beets into sugar has not changed in almost 100 years. The beets go through a process called osmosis, which uses water to draw out the sugars found inside.

Beets are good for many other things than just to turn them into sugar. They are super high in Vitamin C, which means they are great for bones. At the same time, consuming beets can lower blood pressure and boost stamina.

Nutritional Value Of Raw Beets

Like most vegetables, beets are best consumed raw in order to gain as much from them as possible nutritionally. One cup of raw beets only contains 58 calories, but it contains so much more.

Therefore, beets need to be used in more things than just salads and to pickle eggs. In an absolutely raw state, beets contain the following:

Nutritional Value Of Raw Beets

Vitamins

Supplements

Supplements

Vitamin A Fiber Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin C Riboflavin Magnesium
Niacin Phosphorus
Folate Potassium
Calcium Sodium
Iron Manganese
*Daily value not established.

Nutritional Facts Of Raw Beets

Amount Per Serving

Daily Value

Vitamin A 44.9 IU 1 percent
Vitamin C 6.7 mg 11 percent
Fiber 4 g 15 percent
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 3 percent
Niacin 0.5 mg 2 percent
Folate 148 mcg 37 percent
Pantothenic Acid 0.2 mg 2 percent
Calcium 21.8 mg 2 percent
Iron 1.1 mg 6 percent
Magnesium 0.4 mg 22 percent
Phosphorus 54.4 mg 5 percent
Potassium 442 mg 13 percent
Sodium 106 mg 4 percent
Manganese 0.4 mg 22 percent

 

Nutritional Value Of Canned Beets

Canned beets are preferred by many people because they are easier to cook with than the raw variety. In the United States, beets are most commonly found in can form instead of in other states.

One cup of strained, canned beets contains 49 calories, and it offers so many other vitamins and minerals, such as:

Nutritional Value Of Canned Beets

Vitamins

Supplements

Supplements

Vitamin A Sodium Iron
Vitamin C Fiber Magnesium
Vitamin B6 Riboflavin Phosphorous
Niacin Potassium
Folate Manganese
Calcium
*Daily value not established.

Nutritional Facts Of Canned Beets

Amount Per Serving

Daily Value

Vitamin A 37.7 IU 1 percent
Vitamin C 6.4 mg 11 percent
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 1 percent
Sodium 305 mg 15 percent
Fiber 3 g 11 percent
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 4 percent
Niacin 0.2 mg 1 percent
Folate 47.1 mcg 12 percent
Calcium 23.5 mg 2 percent
Iron 2.9 mg 16 percent
Magnesium 26.7 mg 7 percent
Phosphorous 26.7 mg 3 percent
Potassium 232 mg 7 percent
Manganese 0.5 mg 23 percent

Nutritional Value Of Pickled Beets

Pickled beets are one of the most popular ways to consume beets in the United States. They offer many nutritional benefits as well, though they are not as great as the raw or canned versions.

For example, one cup contains far more calories at 148 in total. This information on beets considers the fact that they are in their juices and not drained.

Nutritional Value Of Pickled Beets

Vitamins

Supplements

Supplements

Vitamin C Sodium Fiber
Vitamin B6 Riboflavin Niacin
Folate
*Daily value not established.

Nutritional Facts Of Pickled Beets

Amount Per Serving

Daily Value

Vitamin C 5.2 mg 9 percent
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 6 percent
Sodium 559 mg 25 percent
Fiber 6 g 24 percent
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 6 percent
Niacin 0.6 mg 3 percent
Folate 61.3 mcg 15 percent

Everything Found In Various Kinds Of Beets

As stated previously, beets are used for sugar. However, they can be used for other health benefits.

They contain a great deal of sodium, though, so people need to beware of this situation.

They contain a great deal of fiber, and they are very rich in Vitamin C.

Calories In Beets

Raw beets do not have many calories. They have about 58 calories, which is only a little more than some varieties of canned beets. These beets only contain about 49 calories.

However, people need to be cautious of eating pickled beets if calories are a concerned. There are at least triple a number of calories at 148 on average for most varieties.

Qualities Of Beet Juice

There are so many great qualities in beet juice that some doctors claim most people should drink at least one glass of juice per day. It is so beneficial that many ancient cultures considered it to be a form of medication.

These claims could not be more on point. Beets contain a great deal of calcium, so they are great for bones. At the same time, newer research indicates that beets can help to repair liver and restore liver function.

Additionally, beet juice can give people an energy boost as it helps to improve blood flow to many parts of the body.

27 Health Benefits Of Beets

We have touched on some of the health benefits of beets thus far. However, there are much more that have yet to be explored.

Please consider the health benefits as the reasons why to incorporate more beets into your diet, and that means just more than once a year at Easter for pickled beet eggs, or when you find them on a buffet.

  1. One thing to note about beets is their incredible shelf life. Both beets and their greens can live in a fridge for much longer than other vegetables.
    Hence, their nutrients remain effective for far longer than what is usually assumed. Canned beets can even hold onto their nutrients for up to two years.
  2. As mentioned previously, beets have the power to lower blood pressure. It can do this task in just a matter of hours.
    One glass of beet juice or a cup of raw beet slices can lower systolic blood pressure on average by four to five points.
    Beets have the power to do this because of the nitric oxide the body converts from the nitrates in beets. With a lower blood pressure, people can relax because blood vessels dilate to improve blood flow throughout the body.
  3. We also briefly mentioned that beets could give you a stamina boost. Hence, beets are a great option for eating or drinking before a workout.
    Studies indicate that people who consume beets in some way before a workout at able to endure the exercise about 16 percent longer than when they have not consumed beets.
    Once more, nitric oxide is the key factor in this situation. The body is able to convey more oxygen due to the increased blood flow, so it can endure high-intensity workouts much easier without losing stamina.
  4. Beets contain a nutrient called betaine that performs as cell protection. Enzymes and proteins are also given additional help. Betaine is to thank for this occurrence.
    It also aids the body in fighting inflammation, which not only protects cells, proteins, and enzymes, but it mainly focuses on protecting internal organs. At the same time, reducing inflammation also means lowering the risk for chronic diseases.
  5. Another reason why beets are great at fighting inflammation is they inhibit production and activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, which are necessary to create inflammation.
    Moreover, beets should be an essential part of a diet for a person who has arthritis, especially the rheumatoid variety.
  6. Removing inflammation from the body also means fighting off heart disease in the long run, so people who are at risk for this genetically should be sure to consume as many beet products as possible. The same goes for people in regards to diabetes.
  7. Beets are also great for fighting cancer. These phytonutrients that make beets their traditional, iconic, red-purple color also can prevent and fight cancer.
    They can reduce tumor formations with ease. The most common forms of cancer they can be used to fight are pancreatic, breast, and prostate.
  8. Beets are also full of anti-oxidants, which is another essential aspect of fighting cancer and other illnesses.
  9. The fiber and Vitamin C in beets also serve to boost the body’s immune system. Therefore, fighting infections like flu and colds becomes much easier.
  10. These roots also contain a great deal of potassium, which is essential for muscle and nerve function.
    Potassium is also essential in rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue after a workout, so consuming beets before and after a workout can make exercise more beneficial in the long run.
  11. One of the key nutrients in beets is folate. Most forms of beets contain a great deal of this nutrients.
    Folate plays a key role in reducing the risk of birth defects in pregnant women, so consuming beets throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding makes for a happier, healthier baby in the long run.
  12. For people who are going through detoxification processes, beets can be rather helpful.
    The betalin pigments are once more to thank. They help the body to break down toxins and break them apart from other molecules throughout the body, thus making them easier to flush out.
    At the same time, beets play a key role in purifying the liver for the same reasons.
  13. People suffering from a fatty liver or liver damage due to alcohol abuse will find that the betalins in beets can be lifesaving because of their effects on boosting liver healing and performance.
  14. Beet greens should not be thrown out, either. Believe it or not, they contain more iron than spinach, and they can contain a greater nutritional value than beetroots alone.
    Therefore, people with anemia should consume beets in as many ways as possible to boost and maintain their iron levels.
  15. The green leaves of beets also contain a great deal of Vitamin K, which is essential to help the body create and maintain clots.
  16. The Vitamin K in beet greens also plays a key role in warding off Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  17. Furthermore, beet greens contain 200 percent of the daily recommended value for Vitamin A, which is great for the eyes.
    Specifically, Vitamin A in beet greens is found in the form of beta-carotene, which is known for its roles in eye health.
  18. Another reason why beets and beet greens are great for eye health is the lutein and zeaxanthin they contain.
    Beets and their greens, therefore, help the body to fight off eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
  19. People are at a high-risk today for diseases from inflammation due to processed foods, higher amounts of refined and artificial sweeteners, and an overall lower nutrient consumption due to the typical diet and lifestyle of most Americans.
    Consuming whole foods like beets can undo these stressors to some degree.
  20. The nitrate compounds found in beets and their greens are also great at lowering cholesterol levels, even though they contain a lot of sodium.
    These nitrates are powerful enough to lower cholesterol in the long run, especially if beets or their greens are consumed on a regular basis.
  21. As previously mentioned, beets are known for their sex drive enhancing powers.
    This claim is mostly true thankful to the high levels of nitrates, and increased blood flow beets promote.
  22. Due to the increased blood flow, reproductive organs are also benefited. Women who struggle to conceive should hence include more beets or beet greens in their diets.
  23. Beets promote anti-aging properties, too. Once more, the anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and detoxification enhancements are the ones to thank for this situation. Skin will tighten, and the aging process will slow down.
  24. These roots are great at alkalizing the body by balancing pH. Since most diseases thrive in an acidic environment, beets can be helpful to remove that acid over time.
  25. The fiber found in beets is also an essential benefit. They are great at helping the digestive tract to remain regular, which can benefit weight loss, too.
  26. People who suffer from chronic constipation will also find consuming beets regularly a necessary part of their diet for the same reasons: fiber.
  27. Since beets help the body in the oxygenation process, other mental concerns like dementia can become less of a concern over time, too.

Health Risks From Consuming Beets

Beets are so potent when it comes to helping the body. However, people who consume beets, beet juice, or beet greens also need to be made aware that there are some health risks to consider when adding more of this vegetable to a normal diet.

First and foremost, beets are not necessarily the best idea for people who are susceptible to kidney stones. They are high in oxalates, which build up in the body in the form of small crystals.

These crystals are a key factor in forming kidney stones. Unfortunately, the fiber in beets does not necessarily help to combat this factor.

These oxalates can also be problematic for people who are susceptible to arthritis might want to beware that gout can form from consuming too many beets.

The oxalates contribute to uric acid forming in the body, which can cause gout to form in joints.

One of the more alarming facets of consuming beets is what it does to your stool. People who eat a lot of beets will find that their stool color changes due to the natural colors found in beets.

While this factor is great for creating food coloring, it is not so great for stool. It should not be confused with blood, but it can be misleading.

The same goes for urine color, too. Specifically, 10 to 15 percent of people who consume beets regularly will find that their urine can turn a red color.

This symptom is more likely to occur in people who have iron deficiencies or an excess of iron in the blood.

When these few concerns are put aside, it seems that beets are really a great source of many things for the body.

It should be consumed with some nod towards these risks, but they should not be the reason to stop people from eating beets alone.

What Are The Best Ways To Consume Beets?

Many people have a love-hate relationship with beets. That is, they either love them, or they hate them.

The main reason why people do not like beets is because, as alluded to previously, they have a very earthy taste.

They can be rather sweet, too. Beets can be cooked and added to many dishes, though, so they do not need to be eaten raw or straight from a can.

The aforementioned famous way to consume beets, or at least beet juice, is in the form of pickled beet eggs.

Hardboiled eggs soak in a mixture of beet slices, beet juice, pickling spices, and vinegar to create eggs that are juicy, tangy, and sweet.

Beets are also commonly found on salad bars. More often than not, they are canned slices of beets. This method of eating beets is not the best, as raw beets would be far better, especially since they contain so much less sodium than canned beets

The juice can be used instead of a salad dressing. Do not forget the beet greens when making a salad, either. As discussed earlier, they are full of so many things that even spinach cannot compare.

One of the more classical ways to consume beets is to roast them and then top them with some goat cheese and hazelnuts. This method makes for a sweet-savory combination.

Believe it or not, beets are also great in desserts. They add that smoky, earthy sweet flavor to many dishes.

After all, these vegetables are turned into sugar for a reason. They taste great in a chocolate cake. They can even be turned into an ice cream on their own.

Our Best Recipes

There are so many ways to consume beets. Pickled beet eggs and salads are not the only way. Here are some of our best recipes to consider.

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, And Honey Drizzled Tarts

Ingredients you’ll need
  • 1 red beet
  • 1 golden beet
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • 6 ounces of goat cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F before slicing the greens from the beets after scrubbing the outsides of them.

Then, coat them in olive oil before wrapping them in aluminum foil to be roasted for an hour or until they are tender enough to slice the roots properly.

The skin should peel off rather easily after roasting them, which should be done before the beets are sliced and once the roasted beets have had the chance to cool down.

A knife or a mandolin can be used for the slicing process.

Take the thawed puff pastry and place it on a greased baking sheet before brushing it with the egg wash (beaten egg with water).

Four ounces of the goat cheese should be spread across the pastries, which are then layered with the sliced beets (alternating between red and gold).

The remaining two ounces of goat cheese are placed on top before the mini tarts are drizzled with honey.

These tarts then need to be baked in the oven until the puff pastry is golden and flaky, which should take about 25 minutes.

More honey can be drizzled over the top, if desired, and this dish should be served immediately.

Explore Here For Full Recipe

Mini Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cakes With Beet Glaze

Ingredients you’ll need For the Mini Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cakes
  • 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of (2 ounces) sour cream
Ingredients you’ll need For the Beet Glaze:
  • 1 medium beet
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, sifted
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cake pans by greasing them thoroughly.

Whisk together 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flow, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ plus 1/8 teaspoons of baking powder into a medium bowl.

Then, in another bowl, combine 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar and the zest of two lemons.

Mix these ingredients together to allow the zest to infuse into the sugar.

Add the unsalted butter and mix at a medium speed. This process should take about three minutes.

While the butter and sugar cream, add the following ingredients into a small bowl:

  • 3 large eggs,
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice, and
  • ¼ cup sour cream.

These should be whisked together.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar. This addition should happen in three, small batches.

Then, the wet mix should be added in two batches. Fold in the remainder of the ingredients once this batter has been mixed.

These mini cakes should be poured into their tins and then baked for about 25 minutes. These cakes should not be baked until they are golden.

They should be baked until they look matte (no longer shiny). If they are baked until golden, they will be dense and dry. Allow them to cool for about five minutes.

Roast the beets in a 450 degree F oven for about 30 to 35 minutes before peeling them and cutting them into quarters.

Once they are cooled, combine them with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a blender on high until puree forms.

Strain the puree, and then combine the resulting juice with confectioner’s sugar. It should be added slowly to avoid making a lumpy glaze.

This glaze needs to be used immediately, so it will not set without being properly used.

Pour the glaze over the cakes and let them continue to set in cool. Once completely cool, serve or refrigerate.

Roasted Beet Balsamic Mustard

Roasted Beet Balsamic Mustard

Ingredients you’ll need
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of water
  • 1 beet, cleaned, peeled, and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar
Instructions

In a jar, mix together the yellow and brown mustard seeds, balsamic vinegar, and water. This mixture needs to sit for two days.

Then, toss the beets with pepper, olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Afterwards, the coated beets should be roasted in a 375 degree F oven for 35 minutes.

In a food processor, blend the beets with the mustard mixture, brown sugar, and the remaining salt until it is slightly course.

This mustard needs to be used within one month, which should be easy to do as this recipe only makes about ½ a cup total.

Explore Here For Full Recipe

Beet And Goat Cheese Hummus

Beet and Goat Cheese Hummus

Ingredients you’ll need
  • 1 large beet
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Instructions

Scrub the beets and cut them into cubes before baking them at 400 degrees F for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Once they are cool, combine them in a food processor with chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini paste, salt, and goat cheese. Pulse this mixture until it is blended.

Then, drizzle in the olive oil while the processor runs continuously so that the hummus is blended until smooth.

Ginger-Beet Sorbet

Ingredients you’ll need
  • 1-6.5 ounce package Love Beets Baby Beets in Sweetfire Marinade
  • 1 cup Water
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • ½ teaspoon fresh Ginger, peeled and diced
  • 3 small sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice (3-4 oranges)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Instructions

In a medium saucepan combine the beets, water, sugar, orange zest, ginger and thyme over medium heat.

Bring mixture to a boil, allow to boil for one minute and remove from heat. Cover and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Place a fine mesh strainer in a medium mixing bowl and pour the mixture through the strainer. Pour the strained liquid into a blender and add the beets as well. Blend until the mixture is fully pureed.

Place beet puree into a sealed container and refrigerate until it is fully cooled (approximately an hour).

While the beet puree is cooling, combine the fresh orange juice, honey and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat.

Whisk just until the honey dissolved (2-3 minutes) and remove from heat. Place in a covered container and chill in the refrigerator.

When both mixtures are completely chilled, add them together and whisk to combine fully.

Process the liquid in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once sorbet is fully frozen in the machine, remove and place in a freezer-safe container to chill overnight for best consistency.

To Freeze without a Machine: Place sorbet in a shallow freezer-proof pan. Allow almost to freeze fully (1 to 1 1/2 hours), and stir the mixture completely.

Repeat the freeze/stir process a two more time times to ensure a consistent texture (this breaks up ice crystallization).

Dr. Zhivago Borscht

Ingredients you’ll need
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 medium sized beets
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 1 large potato (1 Yukon or 2 small red)
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into thin moons
  • ¼ bunch fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2-1 whole lemon, juice of
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • Dash freshly ground pepper
  • 12 whole juniper berries (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (per bowl)
Instructions

Place water in a pot on low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, chopped onion, bay leaf, and juniper berries. Before adding in the beets, peel them and then cube them up.

Peel and cut the carrots into rounds. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. Add them to the pot as soon as they are ready.

Then, add the chopped celery and the juice from half of a lemon. Bring up the heat and cook the soup until a fork can easily go through one of the larger beet pieces.

On medium low heat, this process will take about 15 minutes.

The foam will form on top of the soup, and this should be removed. Since oil is removed from this skimming process, the other ½ tablespoon of oil should be added.

Turn the pot on low heat and remove the beets. Once they are cool, grate them carefully to shred them back into the soup.

Once this process is done, it should be allowed to cook for another 10 minutes.

Then, add the dill, salt, and pepper to taste. If the soup is too sweet, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice.

This soup can be served hot or cold. Sour cream can be added for a smoother taste. Garlic can also be added for an additional flavor panel to join into the mix.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Ingredients you’ll need
  • 8 ounces of fresh beets
  • 7 ounces of 70 percent dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup of hot espresso
  • ¾ cup and 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons of baking power
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup of fine sugar
Instructions

Lightly butter an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the base with a round of baking parchment. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the beets, whole and unpeeled, in boiling unsalted water. Drain them, let them cool under running water, then peel them, slice off their stem and root, and process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée.

Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don’t stir. When the chocolate looks almost melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once.

Cut the butter into small pieces – the smaller, the better – and add to the melted chocolate. Push the butter down under the surface of the chocolate with a spoon (as best you can) and leave to soften.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together. Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate.

Let sit for a few minutes, and then stir in the egg yolks. Do this quickly, mixing firmly and evenly, so the eggs blend into the mixture. Fold in the beets.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, and then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture.

A large metal spoon is what you want here; work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix.

Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa. Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the heat immediately to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes.

The rim of the cake will feel spongy, and the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken.

Test with a cake tester or toothpick too – if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.

Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink a tad in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so.

It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold.

What Juicer To Use For Beet Juice

When it comes to making beet juice, there is only one way to go. Hurom’s H-AA Slow Juicer is the best option. This juicer is designed to be stylish and functional.

It has a speed of just 43 revolutions per minute, so it works very slowly to make sure that as much juice is gained from any vegetables or fruits placed into it without creating a lot of pulp.

It comes with both fine and course strainers to allow for control over the amount of pulp left over. At the same time, anything that goes into this machine will also leave as many nutrients in place as possible.

This machine is easy to clean and take care of. The strainers can be scrubbed clean with very little effort. It also has a long-lasting motor that is backed by a 10-year warranty.

However, it is not a dual voltage machine. It runs on 120 volts, so it is not suitable to be used outside of the United States and Canada.

This machine makes great beet juice because it takes out a lot of the fibrous parts of pulp while leaving key nutrients in place.

This statement does not mean that fiber itself is completely removed from the juice. It just means that the juice is smooth in texture.

Any juice from this machine will last for about 72 hours before it absolutely needs to be consumed.

Conclusion

In this article, we looked rather intimately at beets. The considered the nutrition and history of beets, and we even looked at how ancient cultures upheld the beet as an aphrodisiac.

We also considered a variety of recipes that can easily be made with beets. It should be noted that these recipes call for raw beets that are cooked or roasted and not canned ones.

Beets are an amazing root. They can take care of many things. They can also be used in more things than just salads and pickling eggs.

They are powerful roots with greens that are more powerful than the almighty spinach.

This root and its greens are certainly underrated. While people either love them or hate them, they really should be given a greater chance considering their sweet taste and many health benefits.

Is The Majority Of Human DNA Really ‘Junk’?

A new study examining fertility rates has estimated that around 75% of the human genome is non-functional – acting as a shield against deleterious mutations

The vast majority of our DNA has an unknown function, and this mystery has led to debate between different scientific teams. One camp believes most DNA is indeed ‘junk’, with little to no important function. The other believes there are essential functions which are yet to be fully established.

In 2012 a large group called ENCODE released a paper suggesting that 80% of our DNA was in fact functional, while this was somewhat liberally defined. The latest entry on the subject, published in Genome Biology and Evolution, has now put forward that 75% of our DNA is largely non-functional aside from the important function of protecting functional DNA by taking up the majority of new mutations.

“For 80% of the human genome to be functional, each couple in the world would have to beget on average 15 children and all but two would have to die or fail to reproduce”

Most of the content of our chromosomes may simply function as a protective mechanisms against rogue mutations. Credit: Andreas Bolzer, Gregor Kreth, Irina Solovei, Daniela Koehler, Kaan Saracoglu, Christine Fauth, Stefan Müller, Roland Eils, Christoph Cremer, Michael R. Speicher, Thomas Cremer, via Wikimedia Commons

Most of the content of our chromosomes may simply function as a protective mechanisms against rogue mutations. Credit: Andreas Bolzer, Gregor Kreth, Irina Solovei, Daniela Koehler, Kaan Saracoglu, Christine Fauth, Stefan Müller, Roland Eils, Christoph Cremer, Michael R. Speicher, Thomas Cremer, via Wikimedia Commons

The study suggests that a large proportion of non-functional DNA is required in species with lower fertility rates. Given that mutations happen regularly, the chances of those mutations interfering with critical genes becomes much more unlikely if a small proportion of the genome is critical. The majority of mutations instead occur in non-functional DNA; keeping the mutation rate in important DNA relatively small.

The scientists put forward that if more of our DNA was critical, it would require a much greater fertility rate to offset the likelihood of infant mortality and disease as a result of mutations in essential genes. The researchers postulate that 25 percent is likely to be the upper limit of functionality, but 10-15 percent is more realistic. If this is true, ‘junk’ DNA does have an important indirect function; shielding the genome from harm. The argument will probably continue for many years as we delve deeper into the human genome, but this theory is an interesting addition to the debate.

“I would like to think that most knowledgeable biologists who properly appreciate evolutionary theory and genomic diversity are well aware of the many problems with ENCODE’s claim” 

Read more at The Scientist

Is The High Fat Keto Diet For You?

Thinking about doing the high fat keto diet? Here’s one woman’s two month experience, plus the dos and don’ts from three experts. Watch Dr. Rhonda Patrick interview keto expert Dr. Dom D’Agostino.

Learn about the high fat keto diet than might be your ticket to fat loss

For two months, Melia Robinson, a Senior Reporter at Business Insider, went on a diet craze now popular in the Silicon Valley that encourages eating butter and bacon — and it vastly improved her life.

“Bacon became my new best friend on the ketogenic diet”, says Melia in the article she wrote with the descriptive title, I went on the Silicon Valley diet craze that encourages butter and bacon for 2 months — and it vastly improved my life.

This unconventional diet that ignores the basic tenets on healthy eating is gaining momentum among Silicon Valley tech workers who aim to supercharge their lives.

Take Geoffrey Woo, for example. Mr. Woo is the CEO and cofounder of “cognitive enhancement” supplements startup Nootrobox

Like many hard chargers in Silicon Valley, Mr. Woo seems to be set on optimizing his performance, and the ketogenic diet is a key ingredient. But as you’ll soon learn, although it resembles the Atkins Diet, the ketogenic diet hardly seems like a “diet” at all. For one thing, it involves eating a lot of fat.

Mr. Woo likes to start the day with a plate of eggs, cheese, and avocado. That’s a lot of fat! He hopes the high fat keto diet will help him live longer and better. Keto dieters believe that a high-fat, low-carb diet turns the body into a fat-burning machine.

The thinking is that when you turn off access to glucose, a primary fuel source derived from eating carbohydrates, the body taps into its own fat stores for energy. Preferentially use fat for fuel instead of carbs, and guess what happens — once the glucose storage is used up (that only takes a few hours), your body begins to break down body fat to use for fuel.

Tech workers living in the San Francisco Bay Area sometimes go to extreme lengths to improve their bodies and minds. For example, at the supplements startup HVMN(formerly known as Nootrobox), Mr. Woo’s company, most employees don’t eat on Tuesdays — a ritual they say improves ketone production and productivity. Fasting one day a week is one of the many approaches to intermittent fasting, which has been shown to assist ketosis.

 

An increasing number of health nuts — from the internet entrepreneur Kevin Rose to the podcaster, lifehacker Tim Ferriss — swear by the keto diet. And so, Melia Robinson spent the past two months eating bacon, butter, and avocados to see first-hand why the keto movement is so popular.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • What is a “ketogenic diet”
  • The pluses and minuses
  • Melia Robinson’s experiment seeking ketosis
  • The advice she got from keto diet expert, Dr. Priyanka Wali
  • Melia’s results after two months on the keto diet
  • A deep dive into the science via Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s interview with keto expert Dr. Dom D’Agostino

Let’s dig in…

 

The High Fat Keto Diet

Reportedly created by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of surgery at the Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, the high fat keto diet reorganizes the building blocks of the food pyramid. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, Americans get about 50% of their calories from carbs, 30% from fat, and 15% from protein.

As Ms. Robinson reports in her article, the keto diet completely upends these proportions of macronutrients — 80% fat, 20% protein.

If I’ve got my math right, that doesn’t leave anything for carbs, but in reality there’s some wiggle room… you can squeeze in between 20 and 50 grams of carbs a day. To put that into perspective, there’s about 30 grams in one apple or one-half a plain bagel.

Yes, it’s true, you might suffer when consuming such a paltry amount of carbohydrates. Headaches, for instance, are commonplace for many people while transitioning to the high fat keto diet.

Why eat so much fat, so few carbs and suffer headaches?

Because, proponents say, the keto diet is like Atkins on steroids. It turns the body into a fat-burning machine.

Surely you remember Atkins. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Dr. Robert Atkins popularized a version of a low-carb diet dating back to the 1920s when then used to help reduce seizures in epileptics. Like the high fat keto diet, the Atkins diet restricts carb consumption to 20 to 25 grams a day during an introductory phase, but then ramps up to 80 to 100 grams a day, which makes it more carb-friendly than the keto diet.

The human body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is used for energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue.

But the body has a second fuel supply tank.

When carbs go missing from a person’s diet, the body uses up its glucose reserves and then breaks down stored fat into fatty acids. When fatty acids reach the liver, they’re converted into an organic substance called ketones.

What are Ketones and Ketosis?

According to Wikipedia, ketones are three water-soluble molecules (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and their spontaneous breakdown product, acetone) that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake (fasting), carbohydrate restrictive diets, starvation, prolonged intense exercise,or in untreated (or inadequately treated) type 1 diabetes.

The brain and other organs feed on ketones in a process called ketosis, which gives the diet its name. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides most of the energy your body requires.

Keto-dieters eat lots of fat to maintain this state where fat is used for energy, which happens when the body goes into starvation mode and taps its fat stores for fuel.

Studies suggest the low-carb, high-fat diet may promote weight loss, dull hunger, and stave off age-related diseases.

In his article, What Are Ketones and Are They Healthy, Dr. David Jockers lists some advantages that ketones have as an energy source over glucose (carbs):

  • Ketones are able to create much greater amounts of energy per molecule than glucose.   This means when the body begins to convert fat into ketones, you actually have a much more stable and sustainable energy source.
  • Burning fat does not create the same insulin and blood sugar response that burning sugar (carbs) does, such as blood sugar spikes. This is part of the profound benefits of being in ketosis including, improved hormone balance, lowered inflammation and improved brain health.
  • Many people report feeling much more stable when they go into ketosis. Feeling less hungry, gaining control over cravings, and often experiencing a much more stable emotional state.

Here’s Dr. Jokers infographic that explains how ketosis works:

Dr. Jockers infographic about how ketosis works

Ketosis Is Not Necessarily the Holy Grail

More research is needed on the long-term effects of the ketone diet, especially in healthy people. Because the ketone diet is becoming so popular, a good question to ponder is, “Is it safe?”

Dr. Josh Axe weighs in on this weighty question in his article, If You’re Going Keto, Read This First, in which he lists five concerns.

Don’t Do This While One A Ketone Diet
  1. Consume unhealthy fats — Eat olive oil, avocado, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sprouted nuts, organic grass-fed meat and raw dairy products. Avoid conventionally raised meats and non-organic, pasteurized dairy, as well as heavily processed oils like canola, safflower and sunflower.
  2. Eat conventionally raised meat — Grass-fed beef is a top source of animal protein, but it’s also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants, than grain-fed beef.
  3. Choose the wrong carbs — Carbs don’t amount to much on a ketone diet, but choose sweet potatoes; ancient grains (ideally sprouted) like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and brown rice; whole fruits; beans and legumes; and small amounts of natural sweeteners like raw honey.
  4. Ingest insufficient fiber — Low fiber can mean constipation (and I might add, low fiber also can also disrupt the population of beneficial bacteria in your gut), so eat leafy greens like kale and mustard greens, as they’re extremely low in sugar yet high in fiber content and loaded with health-promoting antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  5. Eat processed foods — Focus on consuming whole, healing foods, and beware of any “diet” or “sugar-free” fake foods that contain dangerous artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. These sugar substitutes may have no calories and zero grams of sugar, but they have been linked to numerous health conditions including headaches, digestive distress, migraines, mood disorders and even cancer.

There’s lots more to know about ketones and the ketone diet. I encourage you to watch the Youtube video below where Dr. Rhonda Patrick interviews ketone expert and researcher, Dr. Dom D’Agostino, but first let’s check in with Melia Robinson and read about her experience on the ketone diet.

 

Melia Robinson Goes Ketogenic

Melia Robinson chases ketones

“I love food I’m a chronic snacker”, says Melia Robinson in her article chronicling her experience chasing ketones:

“When I first learned about the keto diet, it caught my interest because dieters could eat seemingly unlimited amounts of healthy fats, like cheese, nuts, avocado, eggs, butter — foods that have high ‘point values’ on Weight Watchers and are severely restricted.”

Pasta was off her menu — a cup of cooked whole-wheat noodles has about 41 carbs (net of fiber), which would blow through her daily carb allowance in just a few bites.

She had to be careful even with fruits and starchy vegetables. A cup of blueberries has about 11.5 net carbs. Low in fiber, it’s also not filling.

But, given that she was on the ketone diet, Melia said “yes to fat!” Much like Silicon Valley CEO Geoffery Woo, a typical breakfast for Melia included coffee with half and half, along with cheesy eggs cooked in butter and two slices of bacon.

For lunch, Melia ate a lot of “sad desk salads.” Two cups of leafy greens, an ounce of cheddar cheese, a handful of nuts, and avocado or cauliflower added about six net carbs to the carb tab.

There was a price to pay for nearly eliminating carbohydrates:

“In my first week, I dug up the willpower to resist those sugar binges. But it was not without consequences. My headaches pounded for hours on end. My mind said, ‘Eat something.’”

Drinking more water and adding more salt to her food eased the headaches.

She searched keto blogs for high-fat snacks — called “fat bombs” — to power through the sugar cravings. Loaded cauliflower made with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon became her go-to treat. The keto comfort food didn’t make her feel deprived like many food-restrictive diets do.

You Must Test for Ketones

A common mistake beginners make on the ketotonic diet is that they think they’re in ketosis when they’re not.  “Surely all this fat I’m eating — and hardly no carbs — has put me into ketosis”, they presume.

Often times, not.

You must test for ketones to ensure you’re in ketosis.

Melia’s ketone testing meter kit arrived in the mail during the second week of her ketone diet. The pocket-sized medical device uses a small blood sample to measure the presence of ketones.

People diagnosed with diabetes can have a ketone testing meter prescribed by a doctor, but it may not be covered by insurance. Biohackers and “Optimizers” like Melia simply click over to Amazon.com.

She purchased the Precision Xtra Glucose Meter Kit (which also measures ketones) and a 10-pack of ketone testing strips.

Keto adherents use such ketone testing meters to ensure they’re in a state of nutritional ketosis, which is generally considered above 0.3 millimoles per liter of blood.

Entrepreneurs sometimes share their ketone levels on social media. It’s the biohacking community’s equivalent of posting photos of a bathroom scale to celebrate recent weight loss.

Much Needed Advice from Dr. Priyanka Wali

Dr. Priyanka Wali, ketone diet expert

Dr. Priyanka Wali; pic attribute Business Insider

Dr. Priyanka Wali is an internal-medicine physician with specialty training in obesity medicine. She uses the keto diet routinely for her patients who have insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

Who better to guide Melia through her first time on the ketogenic diet then Dr. Wali?

Melia writes that in 2014, Dr. Wali was moonlighting at a weight-loss clinic in San Francisco, and saw first-hand how her patients struggled to maintain their strict diet and weight loss programs. Seeking a solution, Dr, Wali began reading studies on low-carb diets and became convinced the solution had to do with minimizing carb consumption.

Dr. Wali made sure the keto diet worked on herself before prescribing it to her patients, because she “expected to feel a lot of adverse side effects” from eating so much fat, “but what ended up happening was I felt great. I started to have more energy and concentration. I didn’t lose weight, but my fat distribution changed, so I lost weight from my hips.”

To determine if Melia was a good candidate for the keto diet, Dr, Wali had her get some lab work done, which included a cholesterol panel and a fasting insulin level test. Her results were normal, which let Dr. Wali know that from a medical perspective there was no necessity that she go on the diet, and although it wasn’t made clear, this probably influenced how Dr. Wali guided Melia.

Some advice offered by Dr. Wali:

  • Melia should aim for 30 to 50 grams of carbs during the day and eat regular, carb-heavy dinners, even if they took me over the limit, so that she could ease off a dependence on carbs. “Sugar addiction is a real thing,” Dr. Wali warned her in their first meeting. Easing into ketosis can avoid “carbohydrate withdrawal,” which can cause irritability, depression, headaches, lethargy, and nausea.
  • Track your meals on the Fitbit and Weight Watchers apps, but paper and pen works too.
  • Count carbs the smart way: Carbohydrates – dietary fiber = net carbs.
  • Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It doesn’t raise blood-sugar levels, so there’s no use in counting grams of dietary fiber toward a daily carbohydrate goal.
  • A cup of almonds has approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates, but 12 of those come from dietary fiber, so that cup only nets 8 grams for the serving.
Melia Robinson’s Results from the High Fat Keto Diet

Let’s tick off the Melia’s results bullet point by bullet point, and use her own “voice” as quoted from her Business Insider article:

  • I got 0.4 mmol/L, a low-level state of nutritional ketosis. In less than two weeks on the diet, my body flipped the switch on burning carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel source.
  • Three weeks in, I felt the difference. Even on days when I ate bunless cheeseburgers for lunch, my energy was sky-high. I no longer needed coffee to stay awake in the afternoon.
  • I suddenly could go three, four, even five hours without thinking about food. My snacking became much less frequent, and I became more focused on work as a result.
  • When I splurged on a bagel or pizza, which did happen, I wanted to curl up under my desk and nap within 30 minutes of eating. I felt uncomfortably full and groggy.
  • When my parents came into town over one weekend and I went rogue, I wound up with a ketone reading of 0.3 mmol/L, which meant my body was burning more carbs than fat.
  • [After her parents left] I returned to the diet on Monday, but it takes an average of five days for the body to use up the leftover glycogen reserves and return to nutritional ketosis, according to Dr. Wali.
  • After eating mostly fat, protein, and leafy vegetables for one month, I reached my peak ketone reading of 0.9 mmol/L — a strong indication that I reached a state of ketosis.

OK, so at this point you’ve gotten the basics about the high fat keto diet and got a front seat look at how one such dieter, Melia Robinson, chased ketones.

Now it’s time to take a deep dive into details, because if you’re ever going to try the keto diet, the more you know the better will be your results.

 

Drs. Patrick and Dom D’Agostino — all you need to know about ketosis

At this point, I imagine that only those readers seriously contemplating trying the keto diet have gotten to this point.  Or perhaps you’re a Dr. Rhonda Patrick fan.  (I certainly am!)

In either case, you’re in for a treat, but it will take some time to digest, because the video is long and the material gets sciency from time to time.

This video features a conversation between Dr. Rhonda Patrick of FoundMyFitness.com(and an expert on aging, cancer and nutrition) and Dr. Dom D’Agostino, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and an expert on ketosis.

Without further adieu, here’s the video, and below it is a list of what was covered just in case you don’t have the time or inclination to watch it all:

 

Here’s what Drs. Patrick and D’Agostino covered:

• Dom’s efforts at teasing out the differences between induced nutritional ketosis (through a low carbohydrate, high fat diet) and ketosis from the dietary introduction of exogenous ketones, like beta-hydroxybutyrate, especially in the context of therapeutic and performance enhancing effects.

• His work on formulating ketone esters.

• The differences in tolerability between MCT (medium chain triglycerides) powders versus liquids, as well as the amount of supplemental MCT a person would need to consume in order to achieve mild ketosis without carbohydrate restriction.

• The differences between different types of ketogenic diets.

• The modified Atkins diet which has been demonstrated to have similar efficacy to the classical ketogenic diet in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy and how it may be a slightly more practical option for achieving therapeutic nutritional ketosis.

• The importance of making the correct carbohydrate choices, even and maybe especially in the context of a ketogenic diet, with a diverse variety of raw vegetables being the most favorable.

• What keto adaptation is and what it means, at a physiological level, to be keto adapted and how this is distinguished from short periods of ketosis we experience in our day-to-day lives.

• Some of Dom’s ideas around cycling various dietary strategies as a way of promoting metabolic flexibility.

• How ketones, when used as a source of energy, may result in a net reduction in the number of damaging reactive byproducts known as reactive oxygen species than what may be produced by other forms of energy metabolism while also producing more ATP from, proportionately, the same amount of oxygen. … and a heck of a lot more.

 

Your High Fat Keto Diet Takeaway

A lots to digest here, eh?

Remember these five things:

  1. Aim twice before you pull the trigger, meaning, learn as much as you can about yourself (blood tests) and the high fat keto plan you’re going to do.
  2. Start off slowly; meaning, don’t drive your carbs consumption down from, say, 100 grams per day to 30 overnight, but rather do so gradually over the course of a few weeks.
  3. Eat high quality macronutrients (fats, protein, carbs) per the suggestion of Dr. Axe above.
  4. Test for ketones regularly — get that glucose meter and testing strips.
  5. Recruit a friend to go along for the ride — it sure will help you stick with it and add much needed support and camaraderie.

May you shred the body fat.

Isolated Trans Fats are Unhealthy, Regardless of the Source

Industrially produced trans fats are known to be bad for heart health. Yet the effects of natural trans fats, found in dairy products and meat, are less clear.

For this reason, a team of scientists compared the effects of these two groups of trans fats on the blood lipid profile.

Below is a detailed overview of their results, recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

ISOLATED TRANS FATS ARE UNHEALTHY, REGARDLESS OF THE SOURCE

BACKGROUND

Trans fats are a type of dietary fat mainly found in processed food products containing partially hydrogenated oil.

These include foods such as margarine, shortening, deep-fried food, microwave popcorn, and store-bought cookies and cakes.

However, trans fats are also naturally present in smaller amounts in body or milk fat from ruminant animals like cows, sheep and goats.

Many studies suggest that a high intake of industrially produced trans fats may increase the risk of heart disease, and limiting intake is recommended.

However, the health benefits of natural trans fats are less clear. One type, conjugated linoleic acid, may even have health benefits.

Nonetheless, observational studies in humans have provided inconsistent results about the health effects of natural trans fats in general.

Human trials are few and have not been able to provide strong evidence, due to shortfalls in their design.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A group of researchers examined the difference between industrially produced and natural trans fats on the blood lipid profile.

Vaccenic acid and trans fatty acid isomers from partially hydrogenated oil both adversely affect LDL cholesterol: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial.

BASIC STUDY DESIGN

This was a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial comparing the effects of synthetic and natural trans fatty acids on blood lipids.

Healthy men and women, aged 25 to 65 years, participated in the study. Most of them were middle-aged, overweight or obese, and at a potential risk for heart disease.

The participants were assigned to four diets in a random order:

  • Vaccenic acid (VA): 3.3% of calories were from vaccenic acid, the most common natural trans fat.
  • Industrially produced trans fats (iTF): 3.3% of calories were from a mixture of industrially produced trans fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): 0.9% of calories were from conjugated linoleic acid(c9,t11-CLA), a natural trans fat associated with health benefits.
  • Control diet: 0.1% of calories were from mixed trans fats, both naturally and industrially produced.

Each diet lasted for 24 days and was completely controlled. All the diets had the same macronutrient composition: 34% of calories from fat, 50% from carbs and 17% from protein.

The additional calories from trans fats replaced calories from stearic acid, a common fatty acid that has neutral effects on both LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol.

The study had a crossover design, meaning that each participant was in each of the groups on different occasions. At the start and end of each of the diets, the researchers measured blood lipids, inflammatory markers and body weight.

A total of 116 participants started the study, and 91% completed at least one of the four study periods.

Bottom Line: This randomized, controlled trial compared the effects of industrially produced trans fats and natural trans fats on blood lipids.

FINDING 1: ALL TRANS FATS INCREASED TOTAL CHOLESTEROL

High levels of cholesterol in the blood may increase the risk of heart disease.

In the current study, both the iTF and the VA diets increased total cholesterol, compared to the control diet. However, the VA diet increased cholesterol even more.

Cholesterol

Therefore, it can be concluded that trans fats increase cholesterol, regardless of their source. One exception is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which did not affect total cholesterol.

Bottom Line: Regardless of their dietary source, trans fats increased total cholesterol. Natural trans fats in the VA diet, however, increased cholesterol more. CLA, additionally, had neutral effects.

FINDING 2: NATURAL TRANS FAT INCREASED LDL-CHOLESTEROL AND APOLIPOPROTEIN B

When levels of cholesterol become too high, it is often because of increased concentration of low-density lipoproteins (LDL).

Cholesterol carried around in LDL (LDL-cholesterol) is considered especially unhealthy when its levels are abnormally high.

In the present study, LDL-cholesterol increased during both the iTF and the VA diets, compared to the control. The rise in LDL-cholesterol, however, was significantly higher during the VA diet, as shown in the chart below.

LDL-cholesterol

 

These results are supported by a previous study showing that a diet high in vaccenic acid increased LDL-cholesterol.

APOLIPOPROTEIN B

Apolipoprotein B (apoB) is a class of proteins found on the surface of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). High levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

In the current study, both the VA and the iTF diets increased levels of apoB, compared to the control. However, apoB increased more during the VA diet, as shown in the chart below.

Apolipoprotein B

Bottom Line: Both types of trans fats raised levels of LDL-cholesterol and apoB, but VA caused larger increases to both.

FINDING 3: NATURAL TRANS FAT INCREASED HDL-CHOLESTEROL AND APOLIPOPROTEIN A1

High levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL-cholesterol) are considered beneficial for heart health.

Although this is supported by many observational studies, the benefits of raising HDL-cholesterol have not been confirmed in clinical trials.

In the present study, HDL-cholesterol increased during the VA diet. In comparison, the iTF diet had no effects.

HDL-cholesterol

Both the VA diet and the iTF diet increased the ratio of total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol similarly. The same applied to the ratio of LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol.

APOLIPOPROTEIN A1

Apolipoprotein A1 (apoA1) is a class of proteins mainly found on the surface of high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

As with HDLs, high levels of apoA1 have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. In the present study, apoA1 increased during the VA diet, but not the iTF diet.

Apolipoprotein A1

Bottom Line: Naturally occurring vaccenic acid increased levels of HDL-cholesterol and decreased levels of apoA1, while the industrially produced trans fats did not affect either.

FINDING 4: NATURAL TRANS FAT INCREASED TRIGLYCERIDES

Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulate in the blood.

As with cholesterol, abnormally high levels of triglycerides have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

In the current study, the levels of triglycerides rose higher during the VA diet, compared to the iTF diet.

Triglycerides

In contrast, CLA lowered triglyceride levels, compared to the control.

Bottom Line: Vaccenic acid increased triglycerides more than industrially produced trans fats.

FINDING 5: NATURAL TRANS FAT DECREASED FIBRINOGEN

Fibrinogen is a type of protein that helps the blood clot. As a result, high levels of fibrinogen are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

In the present study, the VA diet lowered fibrinogen, compared to iTF and the control diet.

High levels of fibrinogen have been associated with systemic inflammation. In this study, however, levels of inflammatory markers remained unchanged across diets.

Bottom Line: Levels of fibrinogen decreased when the participants were on a diet high in vaccenic acid. Industrially produced trans fats had no effects.

LIMITATIONS

This study did not appear to have any serious limitations, but a few issues should be mentioned.

First, the VA and iTF diets were supposed to provide the same amount of calories from trans fat. However, these two diets actually differed by 0.67%.

The VA diet provided 3.86% of calories from vaccenic acid, whereas the iTF diet provided 3.26% of calories from industrially produced trans fats. These differences might have affected the results.

Second, the study tested much higher amounts of trans fat than are normally consumed in the USA.

Certain subgroups of people may reach similar intake levels for industrially produced trans fats. The amount of vaccenic acid used, however, exceeded normal dietary intakes by far.

Finally, the dietary context may play a role. In this study, the researchers used synthetic vaccenic acid that was not consumed with dairy fat or meat.

Previous studies suggest that vaccenic acid does not affect the risk of heart disease when eaten in normal amounts with milk or meat.

Bottom Line: The study did not have any important limitations.
However, the VA diet provided a greater proportion of calories from trans fat, compared to the iTF diet.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, this study shows that both industrially produced trans fats and vaccenic acid, the most common natural trans fat, adversely affect the blood lipid profile, when consumed in equal amounts.

However, this does not mean that natural foods containing natural trans fats need to be avoided. Studies indicate that when eaten in normal amounts with milk or meat, vaccenic acid does not impair heart health.

Also, natural trans fats include conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may have health benefits.

For optimal health, it is more important to limit the intake of industrially produced trans fats from processed food.

Eating Dairy May Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Many studies indicate that dairy products may protect against heart disease.

To expand and update the evidence base, a team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis, combining the results of 31 previous observational studies.

Below is a detailed overview of their results, recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Eating Dairy

EATING DAIRY MAY REDUCE HEART DISEASE RISK

BACKGROUND

Many studies suggest that dairy products may protect against heart disease. Yet most of the available evidence is based on observational studies, which can’t prove causation.

On the other hand, some scientists have suggested that high-fat dairy containing saturated fat may increase the risk of heart disease by raising LDL-cholesterol.

This is controversial, since dairy products have also been shown to raise HDL-cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

What’s more, emerging evidence indicates that saturated fat does not increase heart disease risk — its effect may simply be neutral.

Other studies suggest that milk fat may have different effects on risk factors for heart disease, depending on what dairy product it comes from.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A group of researchers from EpidStat Institute, USA, did a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies examining the association of dairy products and heart disease.

Dairy consumption and CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

STUDY DESIGN

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies examining the association between dairy products and heart disease.

A total of 31 prospective cohort studies, including over one million adults, were selected using strict inclusion criteria.

A prospective cohort study is a type of observational study that follows individuals over time, investigating how certain factors affect the rates of a certain outcome.

In the present meta-analysis, the included studies assessed dairy consumption using food frequency questionnaires. They then followed the participants for 5–26 years, while recording all heart disease events.

Outcome values included:

  • Heart disease: Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are collectively known as heart disease, or cardiovascular disease. This includes conditions such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD): This disease is characterized by the clogging of the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. It may eventually lead to heart attacks or heart failure.
  • Stroke: Also known as brain attack, stroke is when blood flow in the brain is interrupted, leading to cell death. This may be caused by clogged or ruptured blood vessels.

In addition to examining the association of total dairy intake with heart disease, the researchers divided dairy products into categories and did sub-analyses on each of the groups.

These categories included milk, cheese, yogurt, calcium from dairy products, low-fat dairy and full-fat dairy.

Bottom Line: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the association of dairy consumption with heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

FINDING 1: EATING DAIRY REDUCED THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE

This study suggests that total dairy intake is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

In fact, the reduction in risk may be as high as 5–15%, regardless of fat content.

Additionally, there were no significant differences between intake levels. One serving per day appeared to be as beneficial as three servings.

These results are also supported by previous meta-analyses on the association of dairy products with heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Bottom Line: Total dairy consumption was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

FINDING 2: EATING CHEESE REDUCED THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE

Previous studies indicate that eating fermented dairy products, such as cheese, may protect against heart disease.

The present study supports earlier findings, suggesting that cheese may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 18% and stroke by 13%.

All levels of intake appeared to be protective.

Bottom Line: Eating cheese was significantly associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

Several additional findings were reported, including:

  • No benefits from milk: Drinking milk was not associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease or stroke.
  • Calcium reduced stroke risk: Calcium from dairy products was not significantly linked with coronary heart disease. However, it was associated with an estimated 31% reduction in the risk of stroke, on average.
  • Yogurt is inconclusive: Due to lack of data, the study couldn’t form any conclusions about the effects of consuming yogurt. More studies are needed.

Bottom Line: Milk consumption was not associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, whereas dairy calcium seemed to protect against coronary heart disease. The effects of eating yogurt are still unclear.

LIMITATIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis appears to have been well planned and implemented. Nevertheless, it has one important limitation: it used data from observational studies, which can’t prove causation.

For example, people who eat a lot dairy products may simply have healthier lifestyle habits, compared to those who eat less dairy.

However, most of the studies included in this meta-analysis adjusted for dietary and lifestyle factors, and other studies have consistently reported similar associations.

This indicates that the observed associations are at least partly due to the direct effects of dairy consumption on heart disease risk.

Finally, it would have been interesting if the study had looked into the effects of different dairy fats. For example, butter appears to raise LDL-cholesterol to a greater extent than cream, as discussed in our previous research review.

Bottom Line: This study was both well planned and implemented. However, it was based on observational studies, which can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

This study suggests that consuming dairy products may reduce the risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Among the different types of dairy products, cheese seems to be an especially good choice.

Simply put, eating dairy appears to be healthy for your heart and blood vessels.

Collagen Supplements May Help Manage Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by the breakdown of cartilage within joints.

Pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce symptoms, but their impact on arthritis is limited.

Dietary supplements containing collagen may also be effective. Recently, scientists examined the effects of undenatured type II collagen on symptoms of osteoarthritis.

COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS

Collagen Supplements

Collagen Supplements

BACKGROUND

Type II collagen is found in articular cartilage, which helps the joints move smoothly and prevents the bones from rubbing together when you move.

Previous studies indicate that taking type II collagen supplements may reduce joint pain and stiffness for people who have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

However, the collagen in supplements is sometimes processed by heating. This type of collagen is referred to as denatured collagen, which may be less beneficial than undenatured collagen.

Undenaturated type II collagen (UC-II) is a patented dietary supplement produced from chicken bones.

Several previous studies have found that UC-II may significantly relieve symptoms in people with arthritis. Below is an overview of their findings from over the years:

  • 2002: Taking 10 grams of UC-II for 42 days significantly reduced pain and morning joint stiffness.
  • 2009: Supplementing with 40 grams of UC-II for 90 days improved symptoms of osteoarthritis by 33% — significantly more than glucosamine plus chondroitin.
  • 2013: Supplementing with 40 grams of UC-II for 120 days improved knee joint mobility. However, joint pain did not decrease.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

Scientists from Interhealth Nutraceuticals and the University of California examined the effects of UC-II supplements on knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

STUDY DESIGN

The purpose of this double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was to examine the effects of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) on symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

The study, which lasted for 180 days, was conducted at 13 research centers in southern India. The 191 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups:

  • UC-II: Participants took two capsules, containing 40 mg of a UC-II supplement, every day. This dose provided 1.2 mg of bioactive UC-II.
  • GC: This group took capsules containing a mixture of glucosamine hydrochloride (1500 mg) and chondroitin sulfate (1200 mg) each day.
  • Placebo: Participants in this group took a placebo, which had no effects on osteoarthritis.

At the beginning and end of the study, the researchers assessed the symptoms of osteoarthritis using the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).

Other measurements included knee mobility, joint function, subjective ratings of pain and circulating levels of inflammatory markers.

164 arthritic men and women completed the study, or 86% of those who started.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, controlled trial examining the effects of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) on osteoarthritis symptoms.

FINDING 1: UC-II IMPROVED SYMPTOMS

Osteoarthritis symptoms were calculated from the results of the WOMAC questionnaire, which contains three subscales: pain, stiffness and knee function.

The score ranged from 0–2400, from no symptoms to severe pain and dysfunction.

Supplementing with UC-II improved the overall WOMAC score by 39%, significantly more than the placebo or GC. These results can be seen in the chart below.

UC-II

When the subscales of the WOMAC were examined separately, UC-II significantly improved symptoms in all of them.

Conversely, participants in the GC group experienced no statistically significant improvements.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II, 40 mg/day for 180 days, significantly improved subjective ratings of knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

FINDING 2: UC-II IMPROVED KNEE JOINT FUNCTION

Knee joint function was estimated using the Lequesne Functional Index (LFI), which is a 10-question survey assessing pain, walking distance and activities of daily living.

The LFI score ranged from 0–24, from no symptoms to a severe condition.

For the participants who supplemented with UC-II, the LFI score improved by 37%, compared to the start of the study.

This improvement was significantly greater than in the GC group or the placebo group, which can be seen in the chart below.

Lequesne Functional Index

These results were consistent with the results of the WOMAC questionnaire, which showed that supplementing with UC-II improved knee joint function by 39% and stiffness by 41%.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II significantly improved knee joint function and stiffness.

FINDING 3: UV-II REDUCED KNEE PAIN

Knee pain was assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS) questionnaire, which included 7 pain-related questions.

Supplementing with UC-II improved ratings on the VAS scale by 39%. This was greater than both the GC group or the placebo, as shown in the chart below.

visual analog scale

These results were supported by the pain subscale of the WOMAC questionnaire, showing a 41% reduction in knee pain.

However, despite improvements in pain, inflammatory markers did not decrease significantly.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II significantly improved knee joint pain, compared to the GC or placebo supplements.

LIMITATIONS

The study had a few potential limitations. First, the results were based on subjective ratings of symptoms, which are prone to bias.

Second, the study was solely funded by InterHealth Nutraceuticals, the company that owns the patent for UC-II.

Additionally, all study materials were supplied by Interhealth Nutraceuticals, and two of the paper’s authors were employees of the company.

However, the study was independently conducted by an Indian company, Laila Pharmaceuticals. Also, an independent statistician performed all analyses and calculations.

Although there is no specific reason to doubt the findings, the results should be confirmed by an independent research group.

Bottom Line: The study’s main limitation was a potential conflict of interest. However, apart from funding the study and writing the paper, independent partners conducted the study itself.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, this study showed that supplementing with 40 mg (two capsules) of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) improved symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Specifically, UC-II improved knee function and reduced pain and stiffness.

Simply put, if you have osteoarthritis, taking UC-II could make a difference.

Dieting Increases Appetite More than Exercising

There are two basic weight loss methods: diet and exercise. When used separately, it’s unclear how these methods affect appetite.

For this reason, a team of scientists examined how diet and exercise affect appetite. Their results were recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Appetite

DIETING INCREASES APPETITE MORE THAN EXERCISING

BACKGROUND

Losing weight is hard. This is because your body doesn’t really want to lose weight, and uses several tricks to prevent this from happening.

One of them is to increase appetite and cravings to compensate for any lost weight.

However, previous studies suggest that losing weight by exercising may increase appetite and calorie intake less than dieting.

Several studies have also shown that calories lost via exercise are not completely restored by increased calorie intake afterward.

On the other hand, dieting seems to have much stronger effects on appetite and calorie intake.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A group of scientists compared the effects of calorie depletion by dieting or exercising on appetite and calorie intake.

Energy depletion by diet or aerobic exercise alone: impact of energy deficit modality on appetite parameters.

STUDY DESIGN

The purpose of this small, randomized, crossover study was to examine the effects of dieting or exercising on appetite, appetite hormones and food intake.

A total of 10 healthy, young and relatively fit men participated in the study.

The study started with a control period, during which the participants followed a standardized diet for three days.

The participants were then assigned to two groups in a random order:

  • Dieting: During this three-day, calorie-reduced diet, the participants consumed 25% fewer calories than they needed to maintain stable body weight.
  • Exercising: For three days, the participants did aerobic exercise. The amount of exercise was carefully adjusted so that the participants would burn 25% of the calories they needed to maintain stable body weight.

Since this trial had a crossover design, all participants exercised and dieted on different occasions, separated by a 2-week washout period.

At the beginning and end of each of the three study periods, the researchers measured appetite hormones (ghrelin and leptin). Calorie intake and appetite were measured only at the end of each of the three study periods.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, crossover study comparing the effects of dieting and exercising on appetite and calorie intake.

FINDING 1: DIETING PROMOTED GREATER CALORIE INTAKE

Calorie intake increased significantly more after dieting, compared to exercising.

It was measured at a 30-minute buffet at the end of each of the three study periods. The findings are shown in the chart below.

Bottom Line: Calorie intake was significantly higher at the end of the dieting period, compared to both the control and exercising.

FINDING 2: DIETING LED TO A GREATER INCREASE IN APPETITE

Dieting led to greater subjective ratings of appetite, compared to exercising, as assessed with a visual analogue scale (VAS) questionnaire.

Specifically, the ratings of “desire to eat”, “hunger” and “prospective food consumption” (PFC) were significantly higher after dieting.

The chart below shows the differences between groups.

However, there were no significant differences in appetite hormones between groups.

Bottom Line: Subjective ratings of appetite were significantly higher after the dieting period, compared to exercising.

LIMITATIONS

This study appears to have been well designed and implemented. However, a few limitations should be mentioned.

First, it was a small, pilot study with a limited statistical power. Second, the study was of short duration. The long-term effects of dieting and exercising may be different.

Finally, the participants were all young, relatively fit and healthy men. The results might not apply to other groups of people.

Bottom Line: The study’s main limitations were its small size and short duration.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

This study showed that if you want to lose weight, dieting may increase appetite more than exercising, resulting in higher calorie intake to make up for the calorie deficit.

However, it would be difficult to imitate this study’s tightly controlled setting in a real-life situation.

Nevertheless, if you want to lose weight, exercise may make a difference.