Food & Nutrition Blog

The New Diet

By April 16, 2019 No Comments
Apr 16
cooking barleymax, barleymax flakes, barleymax, gut health, cereal

Disclosures:
Graphic descriptions of personal physiology.
The author benefits from sales of BARLEYmax™ barley.

Apology:
Extrapolation from n=1.

The History:

Dr Paul Sims, Technical Business Manager at The Healthy GrainI’m Dr Paul Sims, Technical Business Manager at The Healthy Grain. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of my experiences with BARLEYmax™, I should give you some background information. I’m a 67kg male, reasonably fit for my age. I have personal goal of completing at least one marathon (albeit slowly) each year. Up until about 6 months ago, I was following a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (with plenty of fermented foods such as kim chi, natto and yoghurt). I was also eating small (and increasingly diminishing) amounts of fish. I was eating three meals per day.

 When I first started to work on BARLEYmax™ commercialisation nearly a decade ago, I did try incorporating it into my daily diet. The attempt was not successful. I already consumed a very high fibre diet and the addition of BARLEYmax™-containing breakfast cereal tipped me over the edge so to speak. Instead of once or twice daily defecations, my visits to the toilet became more frequent; and the consistency became more diarrhoea-like. Not ideal!

Anecdotal information suggests that people who add BARLEYmax™ to their diet though initially experiencing more frequent laxation or farting will gradually adapt to the increased dietary fibre intake. Sometimes people reduce the initial amount of BARLEYmax™ eaten and then build the amount back up over time. However I was not able to eat the BARLEYmax™ for more than a day or two so was not able to check if this adaptation occurred.

This effect of BARLEYmax was probably not unexpected given the existing  fibre intake was already extremely high (think 3 Vita Brits, up to 10 serves of fruit and veg per day and rye bread sandwiches).

Cut to September 2018.

New diet - BARLEYmax bread

Normally when I travel to the UK to see my mum I stop at Tesco’s in Winchester. At Tesco’s I used to buy muesli for breakfast, but on this instance, I brought the Freedom Foods BARLEYmax™ breakfast cereal with me instead. The first day I had breakfast at about 0900h and to my surprise ate nothing for the rest of the day.  I had no appetite.

Next day exactly the same. One meal only and this time a few serves of fruit.

And so it has continued. I eat one meal a day and the rest of my food intake is fruit and vegetables and some pieces of cheese. I’d estimate that I currently eat about 100g of muesli per day, of which 60g approx. is BARLEYmax™ flakes.

Before this experiment, I had not fully appreciated the difference in the terms satiety and appetite. I sure do now.

After eating my BARLEYmax™ muesli there was certainly no feeling of satiety (which is often reported with high fibre meals) but the appetite diminished substantially. I do get the sensation of ‘my-stomach-feels-empty’ but this is not associated with hunger pangs or any drive to eat. With one exception; I love Lebanese bread and one evening had a falafel roll plus lots of Lebanese bread about an hour later. Two hours later I had hunger pangs and had to eat more to quell these hunger pangs.

New diet - BARLEYmax flakes

With this diet I managed to undertake a significant level of physical activity, 20k cycle or 10k slow (and I mean slow) jog without requiring any top-up calories. However currently I am boosting my jogging to say 20-25k in preparation for a June 1st marathon and I do notice that I am adding in extra carbohydrates a few hours after the run or the next morning.

Of great interest to me is that in the past I was prone to hypoglycaemic headaches and would normally experience headaches if I ate only one large meal a day. It seems that in some way this new diet has improved my body’s glycaemic control.

I rapidly lost about 5kg which I assume was visceral fat. The belly-button fat remains stubbornly in place. The weight has plateaued out at around 62kg, which has been my historic weight. One of my current targets with this diet is to see if I can shed this belly-button fat.

And finally, the laxation frequency is unchanged but the amount of gas has increased (on some days).

My experience led me to start asking questions such as:

New diet - weight loss

Why no extra diarrhoea but more farting this time?  My conclusion is that the BARLEYmax™ is having a different effect on my gut microbiome this time around. Why? The principal difference I can see is that this time around I’m eating a larger amount of BARLEYmax™. Now its plus 50g, previously probably less than 20g. Could there be dose-dependent effects?  Also, on previous occasions I was eating at least 3 Vitabrits per day. Could the combination of BARLEYmax™ and Vitabrits have a different effect to BARLEYmax™ alone? Could my gut microbiome have changed over the past decade such that it responds differently to BARLEYmax consumption?

Could the same effects have been achieved by food intake restriction?  Certainly, many people will have managed similar achievements with food intake restriction. However, my past experience says no – due to hypoglycaemic headaches.

How does BARLEYmax™ mediate its effects on appetite? Certainly there is no mediation via satiety. After eating my BARLEYmax™ there is absolutely no sensation of satiety at all. Based on the literature it is possible that the short chain fatty acids produced in the colon are altering the levels of one or more of the appetite hormones.

My current experimentation is to see how much exercise I can do with this current diet. Can I manage to undertake some 25kg jogs without additional carbohydrates?  Can I reduce the belly-button fat? Anecdotes suggest intense exercise on an empty stomach can mobilise this sub-cutaneous fat.

This is a record of my personal experience and is not intended as a recommendation for BARLEYmax™ consumption. It is likely that people will respond differently to BARLEYmax™ consumption. However I have found the experience fascinating and hope that by writing this report I can generate more discussion to explain some of my unanswered questions and maybe if there are other people with similar questions help them too.

I would be really interested to hear of similar experiences and to share ideas about such diets. Share your experience with me in the comments below.

 

Yours in great gut health,

 

Dr Paul Sims

Technical Business Manager – The Healthy Grain

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