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Mechanism,

 

I tend to avoid dried fruit, mostly because it is so easy & tempting to eat more calories of it than one intends because of its caloric density. For example, I used to eat dried figs (which I consider healthy and about the tastiest things on the planet), but I found myself eating more than I wanted to, and feeling obligated to eat less of other healthy things to compensate.

 

Regarding fructose, I eat quite a bit of fructose-rich whole fruit, and I tend to consume it near the beginning of my (very big) meal mostly based on the folk wisdom from the fruitarian crowd who make the intuitive claim that because fruit is so water rich, it will digest quickly and slowing down said digestion by eating slower-digesting foods before the fruit will lead to a "log jam" in one's digestive track and to gastric distress.

 

The two exceptions are the bananas and the durian I eat, which I tend to leave towards the end of my meal, enjoying them with nuts as a sort of dessert. Neither is very water-rich, and I suspect they both are digested slower than other fruits like melon, berries, tree fruits etc.

 

The ordering of the food I eat (fruit first, then veggies and starch, then nuts & avacado) may be part of the reason I don't have trouble eating such a large quantity of food (~8.5 lbs), and so many calories (~3400) at one sitting, and then be ready to go for a run ten minutes after I finish.

 

--Dean

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I'm kinda with Dean on this: love, love, love dried fruit so much I lerrrrve it, haha, and can't seem to control myself with a bag of yum dried figs... So I stopped buying the candy for everyday consumption. Obviously, I eat dried goji berries, though, because they're magical portals into mystical realms with unicorns galloping us into disease-free youth forever. When hiking mountain trails, dried fruit are a healthy backpack companion that's easy to share with fellow sweaty and happy tree-huggers.

 

Dried fruit daily? Probably not for me. But like Dean I do love normal fruit, and in general love that fruitarian vibe, how fruit makes my body hum: apples, grapefruit, oranges, pears, berries, mangoes, papaya, cherries.... Durian are fun around kids, and durian are a test to see who's precocious (I'm hanging out with my eight-year old niece who may be the smartest person I've ever met, and since she ate some durian, I did, too, and so I'm both freaked out and impressed :-)

Edited by Sthira

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Mechanism,

 

I was not aware of the fruitrian "log jam" theory and will keep my eyes peeled for it.

 

It's called the rule of "food combining". Google it and you'll find a never-ending series of debates about what foods go with what other foods, and which should be eaten first, mostly to optimize digestion to avoid bloating etc. The cardinal rule among these people (most low-fat, high-carb vegans like Dr. Esselstyn) is to eat fruit before other types of foods. But also to experiment and do what works for you.

 

I find eating fruit (mostly) first works for me, and my glucose control is quite good as a result of this strategy. Regarding your other questions, it's hard enough to know what foods and macronutrient ratio to eat overall for optimal health and longevity, to say nothing of what order to eat them. I figure the body is smart enough to figure out how to assimilate the mixed set of nutrients provided to it. 

 

In general, it seems to me that it all gets mixed together in the stomach and small intestine anyway, so worrying about how food order impacts absorption (beyond making sure to have fats with a meal to allow fat soluable nutrients to be absorbed) is a bit like guilding the lily, except if you are prone to digestive problems like IBS, GERD, etc.

 

--Dean

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Mechanism,

 

Thanks for pointing to this popular report of a study on the impact that the order in which foods were eaten during a meal had on the postprandial blood sugar levels in diabetes. It found:

 

Finishing the broccoli and chicken before tucking into bread and fruit juice was tied to a lower rise in blood sugar levels over the next two hours, compared to eating the same foods in the opposite order, researchers report in Diabetes Care.
 

This makes sense, especially eating the chicken first - since protein stimulates insulin release, which would then be available later in the meal to help the diabetics cope with the blood sugar spike from the bread and fruit juice. And if someone has trouble with post-meal glucose control, this would definitely be something worth experimenting with.

 

--Dean

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Just my own snowflaky n=1 here regarding lower glucose numbers post fruit meals: I find if I eat a handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts before digging into the berries or sweeter, then my sugar numbers stay lower. According to blood pricks and flimsy consumer meters in time, anyway. And lower blood sugar numbers aren't always optimal, of course, like before rigorous motion when my body needs umph.

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Mechanism,

 

And Dean, where do fats full in your usual order of veggies / fruit / carbs?

 

I eat my 1/2 avocado near the middle of my meal (after fruit, with the vegetables and starches) and leave nuts until the end, with my dessert (bananas and durian).

 

Regarding the rest of your questions, I don't have answers.

 

--Dean

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Could be, Mecha, that you've just gotta experiment to find how your own body reacts. But I think eating fiber (both types) first should universally slow sugary reactions from lucious fruit. I've just gotten into the habit of eating something non-sweet (veggies, nuts...) before going wild with mangoes

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Here's another example of meal ordering, including both type 2 diabetics and normal subjects. 

Patients ate test meals consisting of 150 g white rice and vegetable salad (sliced tomato and cabbage with olive oil dressing), eating either vegetables before carbohydrates or vice versa.

 

There appears to be a benefit to consuming vegetables first even in normal subjects. Figure 2 and Table 1 summarize everything.

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Mechanism,

 

A quick question for you. If you are interested in the impact of food ordering on glucose, why not do some controlled testing on yourself to see what works best? Glucose testing is inexpensive and easy. In fact, it is about the only quick, direct and informative test one can do for and on oneself and learn useful information about the impact of particular foods, eating and lifestyle practices on an important health metric. Plus this recent study [1] that made the rounds and got a lot of headlines claims to show that glucose response to foods varies dramatically from one individual to the next. 

 

You may already do glucose testing, and if so, good for you - please share what you learn about food ordering effects on yourself. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people will talk and speculate to no end about something they can easily evaluate for themselves.

 

My so called "Log Jam" hypothesis is one such personalized observation, supported by the personal observations of many other people who eat a lot of whole plants, namely that certain ordering of foods (e.g. eating fast-digesting, water-rich fruits first) seem to result in less gastric distress and bloating than other food orderings. I've tested my post-meal glucose as well, and I'm quite satisfied with my response, and that is how I've homed in on the food ordering I now follow. In the old days, even when my calories were spread between several meals rather than one very big one, I felt bloated after meals when I left fruit until later in the meal.

 

-Dean

 

------

[1] 1. Cell. 2015 Nov 19;163(5):1079-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.001.

Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses.

Zeevi D(1), Korem T(1), Zmora N(2), Israeli D(3), Rothschild D(1), Weinberger
A(1), Ben-Yacov O(1), Lador D(1), Avnit-Sagi T(1), Lotan-Pompan M(1), Suez J(4),
Mahdi JA(4), Matot E(1), Malka G(1), Kosower N(1), Rein M(1), Zilberman-Schapira
G(4), Dohnalová L(4), Pevsner-Fischer M(4), Bikovsky R(1), Halpern Z(5), Elinav
E(6), Segal E(7).

Elevated postprandial blood glucose levels constitute a global epidemic and a
major risk factor for prediabetes and type II diabetes, but existing dietary
methods for controlling them have limited efficacy. Here, we continuously
monitored week-long glucose levels in an 800-person cohort, measured responses to
46,898 meals, and found high variability in the response to identical meals,
suggesting that universal dietary recommendations may have limited utility. We
devised a machine-learning algorithm that integrates blood parameters, dietary
habits, anthropometrics, physical activity, and gut microbiota measured in this
cohort and showed that it accurately predicts personalized postprandial glycemic
response to real-life meals. We validated these predictions in an independent
100-person cohort. Finally, a blinded randomized controlled dietary intervention
based on this algorithm resulted in significantly lower postprandial responses
and consistent alterations to gut microbiota configuration. Together, our results
suggest that personalized diets may successfully modify elevated postprandial
blood glucose and its metabolic consequences. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 26590418 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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I'll second Dean's suggestion to glucose test yourself after eating. Although I wonder about the accuracy of the consumer testing devices, and the strips get expensive.

 

Dean, just to make it brief, what is your meal order to keep sugar levels low? I know you have a long post here on your diet, but just thought you could make it quick.

 

I tend to eat nuts, fats (olive oil) and fiber first, then vegetables, then fruit. But not always -- when I need some jump I'll eat fruit on an empty stomach knowing from prior results that fruit first leads to a greater glucose response in my body. One of my biggest challenges is eating enough calories to maintain weight. I wish I was surrounded by healthier people who think the same way, it's a lonely experience trying to stay healthy.

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Although I wonder about the accuracy of the consumer testing devices, and the strips get expensive.

 

Strips are less than $0.25 each, and just one or two after a meal is all it takes after you get a feel for your postprandial glucose (i.e. when it's highest, etc.). And you only need to do that for a week or two while refining your diet / lifestyle, and then only very sporadically after meals or immediately upon waking to see how you're doing.

 

As for accuracy - mine home unit tends to read ~5 mg/dl higher than when I get a blood test done at Quest or Labcorp. But it is quite repeatable - multiple strips in succession are always within a couple mg/dl. The Wavesense unit I use is now a few years old, but still available (for $11) on Amazon as are the strips at $0.22 each. A very small price to pay for valuable testing of one's lifestyle.

 

Dean, just to make it brief, what is your meal order to keep sugar levels low?

 

Er, I outlined it in the second post of this thread at the top of the page:

 

The ordering of the food I eat (fruit first, then veggies and starch, then nuts & avacado) may be part of the reason I don't have trouble eating such a large quantity of food (~8.5 lbs), and so many calories (~3400) at one sitting, and then be ready to go for a run ten minutes after I finish. The two exceptions [to the 'fruit first' rule] are the bananas and the durian I eat, which I tend to leave towards the end of my meal, enjoying them with nuts as a sort of dessert. 
 
And note that I don't claim this particular ordering is optimal for blood glucose control. I've found for me it is a good ordering to avoid post-meal gastric distress and bloating, while maintaining good glucose control. I'm not one of those people (like Paul McGlothin) who thinks glucose should be kept as low as possible at all times. Brief glucose excursions up to around 120-125 seem fine to me, and a sign that you aren't over-producing insulin.
 

...it's a lonely experience trying to stay healthy.

 

Sthira I'm surprised to hear you say that. You seem like such an independent spirit, "who needs 'em" kinda guy.
 

--Dean

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The more I read scientific papers and the totally opposite conclusions they reach based on same data, the more I think empirical rules derived from practical experience are close to the mark.

 

I've been eating always fruit first, invariably, and this is the rule which most practicioner of natural medicine will enunciate.

One possible exception is when the fruit contains proteolitic enzymes and its main purpose is to digest proteins, then it may come last but in modest amounts.

 

One remark on the 'all food gets mixed in the stomach'. As far as I've observed in my case (n=1 but I doubt my stomach is very mucn different from other humans), there might be some stratification pattern in the stomach, at least in the initial stages of digestion (first half an hour). That is, food consumed first tends to stay at the bottom.

 

Consequently fruit would be digested relatively rapidly when eaten first, and this would justify the traditional rule (and the absence of bloating if the rule is followed and the presence of bloating conversely).

Edited by mccoy

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I find it easier to not go crazy with dried fruit by setting a "rule" that it's a condiment rather than a snack.  I can snip up a small amount of dried figs, apricots, or cherries as a topping for a salad or oatmeal. But no eating them out of the bag.  The other thing that helps is to get these from bulk bins, only buying a small amount at a time. 

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Mechanism,

 

Like mccoy,  I appreciate your article links.

 

1) eat slowly ( better post-prandial thermogenesis)

 

 

Years ago,  I adopted (more or less) the habit of  "yogi mastication" as described in the little book,  "Hatha Yoga or The Yogi Philosophy of Physical  Well‑Being"  (1904) by the once-popular-in-the-West Yogi Ramacharaka  (1862–1932).

 

The whole book is available here:

http://www.yogebooks.com/english/atkinson/1904-08hathayoga.pdf

 

See Chapter X (p. 53)   "The Yogi Theory and Practice of Prana Absorption from Food"

 

Follow the yogic method, and you will get great results. That is my belief.  Of course, the ideas are radically unscientific and really  do not belong in  CR Society forum discussions.

Edited by Sibiriak

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