I have noticed in the last few years that many Paleo Dieters believe that potatoes can be regularly consumed without any adverse health effects. Back in the early 1980s before I had discovered Paleo, I had assumed that a low fat, high carbohydrate, plant based diet was the best nutritional plan for good health. In my mind, the memory of early morning, all potato breakfasts has remained with me over the years, and I now fully understand how potatoes are one of the worst foods we can eat not only for breakfast, but as staples in our diets. From the values in the table below, you can clearly see that almost all potato products have glycemic indices that are substantially higher than sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose corn syrup.
Because potatoes maintain one of the highest glycemic index values of any food, they cause our blood sugar levels to rapidly rise which in turn cause our blood insulin concentrations to simultaneously increase.
I have yet to touch upon the most dangerous elements of all within potatoes – antinutrients. I can almost guarantee you that if you ask your family physician about dietary saponins in potatoes and your health; they will draw a complete blank.
Saponins derive their name from their ability to form “soap” like foams when mixed with water. The figure below shows how glycoalkaloids and saponins in general disrupt cell membranes leading to a leaky gut or red blood cell rupturing. Potatoes contain two glycoalkaloid saponins: 1) ?-chaconine and ?-solanine which may adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome). So the next logical question arises: should we be eating a food that contains two known toxins which rapidly enter the bloodstream, increase intestinal permeability and potentially impair the nervous and circulatory systems? I believe that far more troubling than the toxicity of potato glycoalkaloids is their potential to increase intestinal permeability over the course of a lifetime, most particularly in people with diseases of chronic inflammation (cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and diseases of insulin resistance).
When the gut becomes “leaky” it is not a good thing, as the intestinal contents may then have access to the immune system which in turn becomes activated; thereby causing a chronic low level systemic inflammation known as endotoxemia. A final note on potatoes – to add insult to injury, this commonly consumed food is a major source of dietary lectins. Keukens EA, de Vrije T, van den Boom C, de Waard P, Plasman HH, Thiel F, Chupin V, Jongen WM, de Kruijff B. Keukens EA, de Vrije T, Jansen LA, de Boer H, Janssen M, de Kroon AI, Jongen WM, de Kruijff B. Mensinga TT, Sips AJ, Rompelberg CJ, van Twillert K, Meulenbelt J, van den Top HJ, van Egmond HP. Naruszewicz M, Zapolska-Downar D, Kosmider A, Nowicka G, Kozlowska-Wojciechowska M, Vikstrom AS, Tornqvist M. Patel B, Schutte R, Sporns P, Doyle J, Jewel L, Fedorak RN.Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease. While you certainly seem to touch on potato anti-nutrients, specifically saponins as toxic to the human body, you fail to mention all of the benefits that they offer. I think if your going to present information, specifically as a doctor, you should paint the whole picture.
Potatoes were around during Paleolithic times, and there is evidence to assume that they were consumed by our hunter-gatherer ancestors occasionally. Plants and their immune systems have evolved to synthesize a super group of toxic compounds and proteins that play a critical role in the plants’ defense to cope with unfavorable circumstances against microbial invaders, pests and predators including humans. Harmful toxic compounds such as Saponins and Lectins are far too risky for humans to ingest, except in small quantities to keep the body’s immune system on its toes. Dietary Lectins compromise an elaborate collection of dense indigestible macro-proteins capable of recognizing, interacting and literally (enzymatically) eating right through the intestinal linings of those who would eat the plant, causing local toxic, inflammatory and infectious responses, along with penetrations of the gut wall.
It is beyond comprehension why any reasonable person would subject their bodies to such risk and harm.
However, (with genetics aside)* the body’s immune system is such an amazing and wondrous gift that, when healthy, can usually neutralize harmful compounds in small quantities. However, that may be about to change in extraordinary and profound ways in the near future. First off, let me say that I owe ALL my weight loss and self confidence due to the Paleo diet.
I have to agree with broncho, have a few cheat meals here and there, trust me, you will be fine. During the most recent ice age, milk was essentially a toxin to adults because — unlike children — they could not produce the lactase enzyme required to break down lactose, the main sugar in milk. I’m not a person who normally says people need to be strict Paleo and if Paleolithic humans did not eat it, its off limits. Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when a person's blood sugar (glucose) levels are too low.
Your brain needs glucose to run the rest of your body, if levels drop too low, your intellectual function suffers. Important: If you become moderately or severely hypoglycemic, you make simple mistakes, others may even think you are drunk. There are 3 levels of hypoglycemia, varying in degrees of severity and defined by the level of blood glucose.
Hypoglycemia most often occurs in patients who accidentally overdose on insulin medications. Timing when you eat and take your insulin shots is critical for good blood sugar management. Aspirin (salicylates) can increase the effects of drugs you are taking to lower blood glucose. The usual treatment is for hypoglycemia is an immediate dose of sugar in oral form or by injection.
Use a blood glucose monitor to measure your blood glucose to see if your level has risen enough. In an emergency, if the patient is losing consciousness or cannot sit up and swallow properly, a glucagon injection is necessary. If symptoms of low blood sugar do not improve after eating a sugary snack, call 911 or ask someone to take you to an emergency room. Please Note: Information provided on this site is no substitute for professional medical help. Put your shoes by the doorTake a minute to put a pair of slip-on shoes and socks near the door so you aren’t tempted to go outside barefoot. To provide even greater transparency and choice, we are working on a number of other cookie-related enhancements.
If you have diabetes (not every knows they have the disease), only by looking at the back of the eye will we be able to know for sure if high blood sugar levels over prolonged periods have caused mini-haemorrhages.
Osmoregulation is the physiological response of an organism to maintain a constant water balance regardless of its surroundings, making up for if water if lost and avoid access water. Part of this misinformation seems to stem from writers of blogs and others who are unfamiliar with the scientific literature regarding potatoes.
As with all plant foods, sporadic consumption of potatoes will have little impact upon your overall health, but if you eat them regularly as the majority of your daily calories, your health will suffer.
The figure below shows the per capita consumption (126 lbs) of potato foods for every person in the U.S.
Let’s take a look at the glycemic indices of various potato foods and contrast them to refined sugars, and I think you’ll get the drift. So, in effect, eating potatoes is a lot like eating pure sugars, but even worse, in terms of the harm these starchy tubers do to our blood sugar levels. When these two metabolic responses occur repeatedly over just the course of a week or two, we start to become insulin resistant – a condition that frequently precedes the development a series of diseases known as the Metabolic Syndrome.
More human fatalities and non-lethal poisonings have occurred from eating potatoes than from any other uncontaminated staple in our food supply. These compounds first bind cholesterol molecules in cell membranes, and in the series of steps that follows, you can see how saponins cause portions of the cell membrane to buckle and eventually break free, forming a pore or a hole in the membrane.


Even in healthy normal adults a meal of mashed potatoes results in the rapid appearance of both ?-chaconine and ?-solanine in the bloodstream. Fried potato skins filled with chili and topped off by sour cream and jalapeno peppers would be a real gut bomb with devastating effects upon your intestinal permeability.
If you take a look at Table above you can see that many potato food products exceed this recommendation. In particular, a cell wall component of gut gram negative bacteria called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is highly inflammatory. Prevalence of inflammatory bowel diseases in the Western Nations: high consumption of potatoes may be contributing. Determination of potato glycoalkaloids and their aglycone in blood serum by high-performance liquid chromatography. The toxicity and teratogenicity of Solanaceae glycoalkaloids, particularly those of the potato (Solanum tuberosum): a review. Chronic intake of potato chips in humans increases the production of reactive oxygen radicals by leukocytes and increases plasma C-reactive protein: a pilot study.
Potato lectin activates basophils and mast cells of atopic subjects by its interaction with core chitobiose of cell-bound non-specific immunoglobulin E. Endotoxin, TLR4 signaling and vascular inflammation: potential therapeutic targets in cardiovascular disease. Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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I am now 79 and enjoy perfect health, but then I have always done a lot of sport and exercise. Loren Cordain, PhD didn’t also mention the problem with Acrylamide generation being a health issue, depending upon both what temperature potatoes are stored and cooked.
Science, etc.) these glycoalkaloids are also found in eggplants and tomatoes, and are being shown to be ANTICARCINOGENIC as well.
Furthermore, you conveniently forget to mention all the other foods that seem to be okay in a Paleo diet that also include saponins.
If you’re working to lower your cholesterol level, eating foods rich in saponins may help. You also have to remember that hunter-gatherers or going to place more emphasis on obtaining the highest ranking (i.e. The penetrations of the gut wall allow the Lectins to damage DNA throughout the body through the peripheral blood. They can induce dramatic dysfunctions in the precious bacterial microbiome, which in turn can cause severe diarrheal disease and food poisoning. In fact, it actually needs to be exposed to challenges in order to keep its responses ready and alert.
Even though we have learned more about genetics in the last few years than was ever known in all of human history, the science is still in its infancy and valuable therapies and interventions seem distant. But as farming started to replace hunting and gathering in the Middle East around 11,000 years ago, cattle herders learned how to reduce lactose in dairy products to tolerable levels by fermenting milk to make cheese or yogurt.
Thank you for the historical background on dairy consumption and the development of the lactase enzyme. If your blood glucose drop too low, the body panics and sends out a group of hormones to rapidly increase your levels again.
Wearing a diabetic medical bracelet can help medical staff identify your problem quickly if you are unable to care for yourself.
If you skip meals or take your insulin too late, your insulin and glucose levels will not be synch and hypoglycemia results. However, aspirin therapy, that is taking a small daily dose of aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack, does not cause hypoglycemia. Make sure your slippers are in a handy location too, so you’ll remember to wear them inside to avoid injury.This is just one of many simple, quick tips that can be done in minutes to better manage your diabetes and help prevent complications.
It is intended for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
Diseases like glaucoma are very hard to diagnose yourself, as there aren’t always obvious symptoms.
It is not to be used as a replacement for a professionally trained optometrist with knowledge of your exact history and condition. The hypothalamus detects that the blood is too concentrated, so the pituitary is stimulated to produce ADH stimulating the person to drink.
One of my personal experiences at the time was how bad early morning breakfasts of boiled potatoes made me feel. From this information, you can clearly see why those potato breakfasts I ate so many years ago made me feel so awful.
Over the course of months and years, insulin resistance leads to a multitude of devastating health effects. Processed potato foods typically are made with multiple additives (salt, vegetable oils, trans fats, refined sugars, dairy products, cereal grains and preservatives) that may adversely affect our health in a variety of ways. Even astute complementary health care practitioners are usually in the dark when it comes to saponins in our daily food supply. Their function is to protect the potato plant’s root (tuber) from microbial and insect attack.
The toxicity of these two glycoalkaloids is dose dependent – meaning that the greater the concentration in the bloodstream, the greater is their toxic effect. Any LPS which gets past the gut barrier is immediately engulfed by two types of immune system cells (macrophages and dendritic cells). As is the case with most lectins, they have been poorly studied in humans, so we really don’t have conclusive information how potato lectin may impact human health. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. So perhaps it makes sense that our bodies might not be properly adapted to eating potatoes?
Look at the years on all of the references for this article – the most recent I saw was 2008, and going back to 1984. It also seems to be relevent that saponins are fed to livestock to cut down on odor because they bind to ammonia, which contributes to foul smells.
The study noted that saponins cause death of fungal cells, such as Candida albicans, which is responsible for yeast infections, thrush and many hospital-acquired infections.
Lectins can interfere with secretions in human airways causing chronic inflammation and infection. Now I am a bit more relaxed and guess what, I haven’t ballooned into a hideous creature. Oh and not eating Cheese, the time-magazine “Nature” listed an article like last year i think, with the latest DNA science, that proved, that yes, we ate CHEESE!!!
Several thousand years later, a genetic mutation spread through Europe that gave people the ability to produce lactase — and drink milk — throughout their lives. She may not even experience symptoms but only discovers it during routine blood glucose monitoring. Some diabetics even use exercise to bring high blood sugar levels down instead of taking insulin. Certain medications, like sulfonylurea, require a stricter diet regieme or can lead to low blood sugar quickly.
If you know someone who is diabetic and they become less alert or cannot be woken up, get medical help right away. Do a quick body scanAs you dry off from your shower each day, inspect your body from head to toe.


It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. They simply left me drained of energy and feeling nervous, agitated and depressed – only a few hours after my morning meal. If we contrast this total to all refined sugars (137 lbs per capita) in the other figure below, you can see that as a country, we eat nearly as many potatoes as we do refined sugars. The list of Metabolic Syndrome diseases is long: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and other abnormal blood chemistries, systemic inflammation, gout, acne, acanthosis nigricans (a skin disorder), skin tags, and breast, colon and prostate cancers.
If these nutritional shortcomings along with their high glycemic response don’t make you wary of potatoes, then the following information almost certainly will.
Despite a mountain of scientific evidence showing that these compounds can be potent and even lethal toxins, they are rarely considered as dietary threats to our health. When consumed by potential predators, glycoalkaloids protect the potato because they act as a toxin. At least 12 separate cases of human poisoning from potato consumption, involving nearly 2000 people and 30 fatalities have been recorded in the medical literature.
Once engulfed by these immune cells, LPS binds to a receptor (toll-like receptor-4) on these cells causing a cascade of effects leading to increases in blood concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines (localized hormones) . However, preliminary tissue studies indicate that potato lectin resists degradation by gut enzymes, bypasses the intestinal barrier and can then bind various tissues in our bodies. Saponins appear to enhance your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and parasites as well. The exact mechanism of these cell deaths varies depending on the source and dose of saponins. I hate it, when people exclude Diary, yes, it was different back then, but it wasen’t like Cows didn’t get pregnant!!!
That adaptation opened up a rich new source of nutrition that could have sustained communities when harvests failed. If you don't adjust your food intake and insulin levels to match your exercise, you can end up with hypoglycemia. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the BootsWebMD Site. For example, with glaucoma your nerves can deteriorate without your knowledge, subtly and gradually affecting your peripheral vision. Potato saponins can be lethally toxic once in the bloodstream in sufficient concentrations because these glycoalkaloids inhibit a key enzyme (acetyl cholinesterase) required for nerve impulse conduction.
Two recent human studies have shown that high potato diets increase the blood inflammatory marker IL-6. Potato lectins have been found to irritate the immune system and produce symptoms of food hypersensitivity in allergenic and non-allergenic patients.
Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans.
Rice too, but being born in India I have eaten rice since birth, as with all these diets the human body adapts its digestive and circulatory systems to environment and habit, I mean starting something new can often lead to problems, If it works why change it? The detergent qualities of saponins allow them to bind to bile and prevent its reabsorption. Pharmaceutical manufacturers often include saponins in vaccines to increase their effectiveness. Some are: celiac disease, peptic ulcer, IgA, nephropathy, insulin resistance and diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. They still use Raw Milk, in for instance African cultures, mixed with Blood for more Protein!!! But later, after poring through the medical literature, I discovered a novel idea which could explain my symptoms.
When rodents and larger animals, including humans, eat glycoalkaloid containing tubers such as potatoes, these substances frequently create holes in the gut lining, thereby increasing intestinal permeability. The levels of both ?-chaconine and ?-solanine in a variety of potato foods are listed in the table below. Without chronic low level systemic inflammation, it is unlikely that few of the classic diseases of civilization (cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and diseases of insulin resistance) would have an opportunity to take hold and inflict their fatal effects.
He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide.
Additionally, the potatoes that we consume today from the supermarket were nothing like wild tubers from the past.
I hate, when people say, that Bacon and Salt aren’t Paleo, cause it is, it just depends on how it is made, and what Salt is used, ever heard of the Ocean!? From this it can be concluded that water loss can be regulated by hormones that control the rate of sodium excretion or the water permeability of the excretory ducts. If glycoalkaloids enter our bloodstream in sufficient concentrations, they cause hemolysis (destruction of the cell membrane) of our red blood cells. More research would provide a better picture of the potential role saponins play in cancer treatment and prevention. And before some idiot, try to tell me off, keep also the bigger things in mind, if you think about Paleo, they walked or ran to work, they didn’t get their lazy ass into a car!!! Many of those with autoimmune conditions cannot tolerate any amount of potato or other plant foods from the nightshade family. It showed us that certain food such as potatoes caused our blood sugar levels to precipitously rise and then dramatically fall.
Prepare emergency snack packsPut a few glucose tablets and sweets (for example jelly babies) into bags. I ate potatoes for breakfast, and they caused my blood sugar levels to spike – only to fall drastically below their original levels shortly thereafter. Skipping a meal, taking too much diabetes medication and exercising harder than usual without eating can trigger it.
Take a 2-minute testPut your glucose monitor on your bedside table to remind you to check blood sugar first thing in the morning and before bedtime, if your doctor advises.
Checking before and after exercise can help you learn how it affects your levels and it may help you avoid dangerous drops in blood sugar levels.  Make insulin work for your lifestyleIf your days are fast-paced and meal times are unpredictable, ask your doctor about rapid-acting or fast-acting insulin. These rapidly acting insulins can be taken just before eating and have an effect on your blood sugars within 30 minutes. Diabetes UK has plenty of low glycaemic index suggestions, meaning they aren't likely to cause spikes in blood sugar.
Put a list on your fridge so it's at the ready when you make your shopping list, plan meals or look in the fridge for something to eat.
Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids to help your skin stay hydrated and healthy.
Remember your medical alert braceletPut your medical alert bracelet or pendant near your watch, rings or other jewellery you wear every day. In an emergency where you’re confused or unable to speak, it can save critical time by letting others know about your diabetes. Exercise in spurtsExercising 30 minutes a day is an important part of managing your diabetes, but it can be difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle.
Assemble a first-aid kitDiabetes complications can turn a minor injury into a major problem.




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