Diarrhea? Crohn’s Disease? Reducing Dietary Fat Leads To Significant Improvement

I’ve talked about this a lot but it’s worth a revisit.

When you eat fat, any fat, even the little bit in a few nuts or a bowl of plain oatmeal, your body attempts to absorb that fat for its calories and nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins. It uses bile acids to do that. Bile acids are produced in the liver, stored in the gall bladder, and squirted into the intestine when fat is detected. The bile acids emulsify the fat and make it easier to absorb.

Most bile acids are reabsorbed in the small intestine before they reach the large intestine or colon. Sometimes they aren’t (lots of reasons, especially if there is damage to the small intestine or ileum). Bile acids in the colon cause irritation and pain in the colon, less-solid stools, frequent bowel movements, and diarrhea. (They also increase the risk for colon cancer, which I’ve discussed.)

So, eating fat leads to bile secretion; eating lots of fat leads to lots of bile secretion, some of which can end up in colon, irritating it.

The less fat you eat, the less bile you secrete, which calms the intestines. We’ve known this for decades:

Fat-Reduced Diet In The Symptomatic Treatment Of Small Bowel Disease, Metabolic studies in patients with Crohn’s disease and in other patients subjected to ileal resection, Gut 1974

A fat-reduced diet is recommended in the symptomatic therapy of chronic diarrhoea in patients suffering from diseases of the ileum.

Effect Of A Low-Fat Diet On Bile Salt Excretion And Diarrhoea In The Gastrointestinal Radiation Syndrome, Acta Radiologica: Oncology, Radiation, Physics, Biology, 1979

Nine patients with diarrhoea and bile salt malabsorption after pelvic irradiation for malignant gynaecologic tumours were treated with a low-fat diet (40 g of fat per day) for 3 to 6 months. Faecal excretion of bile salts decreased in all patients concomitant with relief of symptoms.

If you are experiencing any irritable bowel or intestinal discomfort, try it. Just try it. Stop eating fat for 1 week. No oil. No butter or cheese or eggs or meat or even peanut butter or nuts. Just 1 week. You can go back to eating anything you like after that. What do you have to lose?

Cephalopods (Octopus, Cuttlefish) Are Masters Of Color-Change. They’re Also Colorblind.

Octopus, cuttlefish, squid, and other members of the cephalopod class are masters of color-change and camouflage. Here’s an octopus:

But …

Cephalopods, in almost all cases, are said to be colorblind.
-Peter Godfrey-Smith, in Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

How do they do it?

One-Third Of All Humans Are Now Overweight Or Obese

This is big news in the public health field. I couldn’t even access the journal’s site yesterday when it came out, “server too busy.” Here’s the NYTs:

More Than 10 Percent Of World’s Population Is Obese, Study Finds, New York Times, 12 June 2017

Instead of accompanying this post with a photo showing how people look today, I thought I’d go back in time and show how people (some people) used to look. Here’s an iconic photo from the Woodstock, New York music festival, August 1969. Now, 48 years later, 2 out of every 3 of these people would be overweight or obese.

The authors of the study said the obesity problem is not a result of less activity, which I have been writing about for years (e.g. Modern-Day Hunter-Gatherers, Who Lead Physically Hard Lives, Burn Same Number Of Calories As More Sedentary Populations In US And Europe)

The study largely did not go deeply into the causes of obesity, but the authors said the growing accessibility of inexpensive, nutrient-poor packaged foods was probably a major factor and the general slowdown in physical activity was probably not.

“The change in physical activity preceded the global increase in obesity,” said Dr. Ashkan Afshin, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and lead author of the study.

It’s the food:

What people eat is the key factor in whether they become obese or not,” said Adam Drewnowsk, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington.

I also think it’s chemicals in food, something I’ve written about over the years. Pesticides, plastics, and other pollutants act as endocrine disruptors in the body, which have been shown to increase risk for obesity, diabetes, and reproductive disorders. By the way, Monsanto’s popular herbicide glyphosate in Roundup, which many countries and localities, even here in the US, ban or restrict, is a potent endocrine disruptor. I think that’s a bigger problem with it than its carcinogenicity because it takes a lot less glyphosate to disrupt metabolism than to promote cancer.

Our body burden of these chemicals is higher today than it was 10, 20, 50 years ago, and it’s increasing: “The Burden Of Industrial Chemicals Will Continue To Grow Unless We Change Our Path”

Here’s a simple visual from the NIH that shows how Americans’ weight has changed over time. What was going on in the latter part of the 20th century that could have caused that blip up, and maintained it?

Here’s the study:

Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years, New England Journal of Medicine, 12 June 2017

Condor Visits Man Who Saved His Life

When he was born he fell from the nest and people from a nearby farm took care of him. Now the animal lives in the wild completely free, and he passes by to salute his rescuer.

Look at those wings!

Birds are like little dinosaurs, aren’t they. Little flying dinosaurs. Actually

The fossil record indicates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from theropod ancestors during the Jurassic Period. As such, birds were the only dinosaur lineage to survive the mass extinction event.

Wood Thrush In June

Wikipedia says:

The song of the male is often cited as being the most beautiful in North America.

It’s 7:30 am, 75 degrees, and I’m listening to a wood thrush through the open windows. It doesn’t get any better than this. Once you identify his sound, it never leaves you. There’s a characteristic 3-tone phrase in the middle of its song that sounds like a flute!

The first subsong component is often inaudible unless the listener is close, and consists of two to six short, low-pitched notes such as bup, bup, bup. The middle part is a loud phrase often written ee-oh-lay, and the third part is a ventriloquial, trill-like phrase of non-harmonic pairs of notes given rapidly and simultaneously. … The male is able to sing two notes at once, which gives its song an ethereal, flute-like quality.

Where I live, the wood thrush waits until all the robins (wood thrush and robins are related) and cardinals and blue jays and song sparrows and other early risers and singers calm down. Then in the stillness … ee-oh-lay! ee-oh-lay!

Places Around The World Where Glyphosate/Roundup Is Restricted Or Banned

The next time you see your neighbor squirting Roundup on his dandelions, think about the multitude of places around the world where you can’t even purchase Roundup because it’s considered too toxic:

Clicking this will take you to a short, 6-page document. You can flip through it to see just how widespread these bans and restrictions have become, including places in the US. Keep in mind that the active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, but there are “inert” ingredients added to enhance uptake of the active ingredient … which makes the total formulation of Roundup even more hazardous* than glyphosate alone.

* In March 2015, IARC, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, said, “the herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).”

White Bean Salad

This is one of the bean salads I try to have on hand for a quick meal. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator. It’s actually better as it ages (don’t keep in longer than ~5 days though):

1 can small white beans, rinsed, drained, and partially smashed. These are navy beans.
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced bell pepper (red, green, or both)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/3 cup diced tomato
1 tablespoon minced flat Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced cilantro (or omit and use 2 tbsp. parsley)

Sauce:
2 tablespoons salsa
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Spices:
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle (which is smoked jalapeno so a substitute can be smoked paprika plus other hot pepper, e.g. cayenne)

We eat this on toast with a spot of horseradish for even more bite.

The cilantro, cumin, chipotle, and lime give this a Mexican flair. You could omit them and stick to chili powder and lemon for a slightly different take.

Another variation would be substitute black beans and corn (frozen, thawed) for the white beans.

This is a little wetter than my chick pea salad so it’s better with crusty or toasted bread, so you can sop up the juice.

This is vegan and fat-free, or at least no fat has been added. You can add olive oil and top it with grated cheese if you like but we think it tastes great without. I’d bet you could serve this at a BBQ an no one would guess it was fat-free. One way you can get away with not using oil is by smashing some of the beans and adding salsa which creates a spicy, creamy background. (I use a potato masher.)

Cleveland Clinic Says To Buy Eggs From Your Local Farmer, Preferably One You Have Visited

This is from the Cleveland Clinic. Mainstream, not fringe:

Should You Pay More for Cage-Free or Organic Eggs?, Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials, March 2016

The author recommends purchasing eggs that are humanely raised. She describes labels, and:

I suggest you get to know farmers within a 25-mile radius of your house. … You can meet them at your local farmer’s market. Ask if you can visit their farm, and go out and check out their chicken coops. If they say no, that’s a red flag.

My egg farmer lives two blocks away, and I can see his wonderful chickens hanging out in his backyard.

You can also look into community supported agriculture, and have all your eggs delivered to your door from one farmer you trust.

Or here’s an idea: buy your own chickens and a coop, and collect your own fresh eggs every day.

The author lives in a bubble. A privileged bubble.