Is It Primal? 7 More Foods Scrutinized
Marks Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Top
8 Most Common Reactions to Your Grain-Free Diet
Since it seems
to be popular with this crowd, and we're never running out of questionable
foods, I figured I'd take the time to put together another round
It Primal?" I got most of these choices from the comment sections
of previous posts, along with follow-up emails. As always, feel
free to fill in the blanks after the post. I have a strong feeling
this will become a recurring series of posts, and I'm going to need
plenty of material. Today, we're talking about seven foods: sprouts
of all kinds and origins; agave nectar, nectar of the metabolic
syndrome gods; soy lecithin; coconut aminos, what hipsters have
moved onto from tamari; tapioca, gummy starch; animal skin, food
of the gods; and Quorn, "food."
a bit like sprites, in that they're all over the place, agile, and
difficult to get a bead on. Whether it's pro-sprout or anti-sprout,
solid data is tough to pin down. For one, "sprouts" is an incredibly
non-specific term. Sprouts can come from legumes, grains, vegetables,
and nuts. In other words, if it's got a seed, you can get a sprout
from it. And so you can't look up the nutritional data for "sprouts,"
because that would be like looking up the nutritional data for "meat."
It could be almost anything.
What we need
to analyze, then, is the sprouting process. Does it do anything
bad? Good? Is it neutral?
to convert some of a seed's sugar into vitamin C (to act as an antioxidant
for the plant). That's good. We no longer make vitamin C ourselves,
so we need an exogenous source. Not a lot, but some.
to reduce phytic
acid (but not saponin content).
specific sprouts? I dug up a few citations:
anti-glycative and antioxidant effects, due to their elevated
sound great, particularly for type 2 diabetics. In a double-blind
placebo-controlled trial, they reduced oxidized LDL (and improved
the oxLDL/LDL level) and decreased triglycerides in diabetic patients.
They also reduced
insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. And finally, they reduced
oxidative stress in type 2 diabetics.
If you're making
your own, note that antioxidant levels wax and wane throughout the
sprouting process, at
least in broccoli sprouts. Sulforaphane,
the potent antioxidant responsible for many of broccoli's benefits,
declines upon germination, then increases slowly until hitting its
high point at 48 hours post-germination, after which it declines.
But don't worry; glucoraphanin, which converts into sulforaphane,
increases during the first 12 hours, sharply drops, then rises again,
reaching the highest levels at 72 hours post-germination. Of course,
glucoraphanin requires the enzyme myrosinase for conversion, but
broccoli sprouts are particularly high in myrosinase, so you're
ending up with plenty of sulforaphane either way.
I see no reason
why sprouted celery seeds, broccoli seeds, radish seeds, or lettuce
seeds wouldn't be perfectly Primal. Lentil, oat, or bean sprouts?
Probably not technically, although even those would be far less
problematic (bean sprouts go great with spicy Thai food on a hot
day). Just be aware that they have been linked
to international E. coli and salmonella outbreaks, probably
due to the warm, moist growing conditions required for sprouts.
Primal, depending on the starter seed.
is a favorite whipping child of the Primal set, but we should substantiate
our claims, don't you think? We need to justify those welts, especially
since a few of you guys were wondering (hoping?) about its place
in the Primal
is insanely high in fructose. Of the sugar present, up
to 92% of it is pure, unadulterated fructose. That's considerably
more than table sugar, most honey, and even high-fructose corn syrup.
If we want to avoid fructose, agave nectar must also be avoided.
post shows that not all sugar behaves the same. Honey a "natural
product" contains a wide range of bee-based phenolic compounds
that appear to render its sugar content less harmful than, say,
a dose of HFCS with the same amount of fructose. Since agave nectar
is also "natural" (it's gotta be, with "nectar" and an exotic word
like "agave" in the name), could it too be different than other
sugars. No. A recent
study found that while stuff like honey, molasses, and maple
syrup all contain significant amounts of antioxidants that potentially
mitigate the metabolic damage wrought by the sugar therein, agave
nectar along with refined sugar and corn syrup has almost none.
Even raw cane sugar beat agave nectar out in the antioxidant category.
Many of your
favorite darkest chocolates contain soy lecithin as an emulsifier,
promoting smoothness and a luscious mouthfeel (whatever that means).
Dark chocolate? Great. Anything with "soy" in it? Bad, or so we
have been conditioned to react. But is it?
In a previous
Dear Mark, I made the case that a little soy
lecithin in your chocolate
is nothing to worry about, even going so far as to mention the choline
content as a benefit. Since the influx of questions on soy lecithin,
however, I've revisited my stance and found some new evidence. It
seems that across a whole host of soy products, soy
lecithin was the most estrogenic (though estrogenic
activity was found in almost all foods tested, even non-soy ones).
And in "frozen rat spermatozoa," soy lecithin but not egg yolk
(another source of choline)
with mitochondrial function. Contrary to my previous assertion
that soy lecithin cannot trigger soy allergy in allergic people,
another study found that soy lecithin could contain "hidden soy
I would caution
any soy-sensitive individuals to stay away from soy lecithin, just
to be safe. If you're worried about missing out on a great dark
chocolate, plenty of legit brands contain no soy whatsoever. Just
check your labels. I would also suggest that any chocolate eaters
with unexplained unpleasant symptoms make sure the chocolate they
favor contains no soy lecithin, and try switching to a soy-free
brand for a month. If you feel better, you might implement soy lecithin
avoidance as a general rule.
don't shy away from good dark chocolate. Just don't eat it too often,
supplement with soy lecithin, nor feed your baby dark chocolate.
Not Primal, but small amounts in occasional chocolate shouldn't
be too bad for most people.
the rest of the article
to Lew's recent podcast with Mark Sisson
May 25, 2012
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