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jeyoor

Appropriate kcal-dense foods

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Fairly often I will reach the end of the day with Cronometer showing "All Targets" over 90% but my kcal around 75% of my target.
 
In other words, I reach the end of the day and think, "I'm getting the micronutrients I targeted but need to eat more calories."
 
I used to eat extra beans since they're cheap and relatively calorie-dense, but stopped to moderate protein intake lately. I've eaten rice, barley, oatmeal, store brand cheerios, and corn tortillas which have all worked relatively well.
 
Does anyone have additional recommendations for what to eat in this scenario?

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Fats are the most energy-dense foods. If you can eat healthy fats, then it's EVOO, walnuts, pecans, >= 85% chocolate, most nuts and seeds and so on...

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2 minutes ago, jeyoor said:

.I picked up some brazil nuts during my last grocery trip

Very bad idea. Don't eat more than one Brazil nut per day, and even that may be too much selenium:

 

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I minimize nuts because of high fat and protein. The following are Kcal dense from complex carbs. And they are low protein, have very low fat, and have other beneficial nutrients.  

Ragi - the most dense at ~3.8cal/g, 9:1 carb to protein, very low fat - note, it must be finger millet, other millets can't compete.  interesting fact for you since you have some S. Indian ancestry, ragi is big in Karnataka and I think other parts of south India, too.  Many recipes including an easy to make porridge, sprouted is best.  If you added ~90g of ragi, a little less than 1 serving, you'd get ~500 calories.  

Chestnuts - ~ 1.8cal/g, almost 10:1 carb to protein and almost no fat, even less than ragi. How is this a nut with so little protein and fat? Fun fact: deer also love chestnuts.

Purple sweet potatoes - ~ 1.6 cal/g, a whopping 15:1 carb to protein and zero fat

 

 

Edited by 0ari
added nutritional info

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12 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

Very bad idea. Don't eat more than one Brazil nut per day, and even that may be too much selenium:

  

Huberman's quite popular podcast frequently mentions selenium as being key to brain health and long term cognition. As with everything, there are pros and cons...

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On 2/3/2022 at 2:54 AM, alexthegra8 said:

Huberman's quite popular podcast frequently mentions selenium as being key to brain health and long term cognition. As with everything, there are pros and cons...

It's not about avoiding selenium altogether, but avoiding a massive selenium overdose. A single brazil can easily have 200% of the RDA.


I was actually starting to doubt the old "dangerous brazil nut" lore myself, until I found this study (using just 3 to 6 nuts, 3x per week):

Selenium status in preschool children receiving a Brazil nut–enriched diet     Study highlights: "These children were asymptomatic, but at risk for toxicity"..."Children not receiving a supplemented diet had normal levels of selenium."

That being said, 6 brazil nuts three times a week is a pretty big dose for a preschooler.  Assuming a normal sized adult, that would be maybe 15 to 30 brazil nuts, 3 times a week, for a minimum of 7 months as per the study. And despite the long term high level consumption, none of the preschoolers demonstrated any toxicity symptoms.

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2 hours ago, tea said:

It's not about avoiding selenium altogether, but avoiding a massive selenium overdose. A single brazil can easily have 200% of the RDA.


I was actually starting to doubt the old "dangerous brazil nut" lore myself, until I found this study (using just 3 to 6 nuts, 3x per week):

Selenium status in preschool children receiving a Brazil nut–enriched diet     Study highlights: "These children were asymptomatic, but at risk for toxicity"..."Children not receiving a supplemented diet had normal levels of selenium."

That being said, 6 brazil nuts three times a week is a pretty big dose for a preschooler.  Assuming a normal sized adult, that would be maybe 15 to 30 brazil nuts, 3 times a week, for a minimum of 7 months as per the study. And despite the long term high level consumption, none of the preschoolers demonstrated any toxicity symptoms.

What are the pros and cons here? 

Importance of selenium and selenoprotein for brain function: From antioxidant protection to neuronal signalling

Abstract

Multiple biological functions of selenium manifest themselves mainly via 25 selenoproteins that have selenocysteine at their active centre. Selenium is vital for the brain and seems to participate in the pathology of disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and epilepsy. Since selenium was shown to be involved in diverse functions of the central nervous system, such as motor performance, coordination, memory and cognition, a possible role of selenium and selenoproteins in brain signalling pathways may be assumed. The aim of the present review is to analyse possible relations between selenium and neurotransmission. Selenoproteins seem to be of special importance in the development and functioning of GABAergic (GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid) parvalbumin positive interneurons of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Dopamine pathway might be also selenium dependent as selenium shows neuroprotection in the nigrostriatal pathway and also exerts toxicity towards dopaminergic neurons under higher concentrations. Recent findings also point to acetylcholine neurotransmission involvement. The role of selenium and selenoproteins in neurotransmission might not only be limited to their antioxidant properties but also to inflammation, influencing protein phosphorylation and ion channels, alteration of calcium homeostasis and brain cholesterol metabolism. Moreover, a direct signalling function was proposed for selenoprotein P through interaction with post-synaptic apoliprotein E receptors 2 (ApoER2).

Importance of selenium and selenoprotein for brain function: From antioxidant protection to neuronal signalling - PubMed (nih.gov)

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2 hours ago, tea said:

It's not about avoiding selenium altogether, but avoiding a massive selenium overdose. A single brazil can easily have 200% of the RDA.


I was actually starting to doubt the old "dangerous brazil nut" lore myself, until I found this study (using just 3 to 6 nuts, 3x per week):

Selenium status in preschool children receiving a Brazil nut–enriched diet     Study highlights: "These children were asymptomatic, but at risk for toxicity"..."Children not receiving a supplemented diet had normal levels of selenium."

That being said, 6 brazil nuts three times a week is a pretty big dose for a preschooler.  Assuming a normal sized adult, that would be maybe 15 to 30 brazil nuts, 3 times a week, for a minimum of 7 months as per the study. And despite the long term high level consumption, none of the preschoolers demonstrated any toxicity symptoms.

The brain is susceptible to oxidative stress due to low level of antioxidants, high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids and increased oxygen demand [3]. Thus, neuroprotective properties of Se may comprise of antioxidative selenoproteins biosynthesis stimulation. Another mechanism of Se neuroprotection is attributed to its ability to modulate Ca2+ influx via ion channels [158-160] and anti-inflammatory effect [72, 161], e.g. abrogation of microglia invasion [162]. In general, inflammation plays an important role in neurodegeneration

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"Chemicals topping the list of environmental hazards in need of further research are β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), formaldehyde, selenium, and four heavy metals: manganese, mercury, zinc, and copper (in order of decreasing significance)."

 

New meta-analysis explores potential environmental causes of ALS disease

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220126144226.htm

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Selenium and human health (2012)   The Lancet 

Quote

The crucial factor that needs to be emphasised with regard to the health effects of selenium is the inextricable U-shaped link with status; whereas additional selenium intake may benefit people with low status, those with adequate-to-high status might be affected adversely and should not take selenium supplements.

 

A U-Shaped Relationship Between Selenium Concentrations and All-Cause or Cardiovascular Mortality in Patients With Hypertension 2021

Quote

This study found that the higher the selenium concentration, it more likely to accompanied by higher TC, and diabetes. Meanwhile, a U-shaped relationship between serum selenium with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was observed in patients with hypertension, and the optimal cut-off value was 136 and 130 μg/L, respectively.

Quote

[...]This suggested that too low or too high concentration of serum selenium might be concomitant with poor outcomes

image.png.8aaab2c415130c0f6b1eecd2ee1a7686.png

Association of selenium levels with the all-cause (A) and cardiovascular mortality (B) performed by restricted cubic spline analysis.

Quote

Several potential mechanisms underlying our findings explained below. During the hypertensive state, bioavailability of antioxidants decreases and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production eventually led to oxidative stress, cellular and tissue damage (26). Selenium is known to defense against oxidative stress through selenoproteins [including glutathione peroxidases (GPx) and thioredoxin reductases (TrxR)] (27). Low level of selenium could be limiting the synthesis of selenoproteins, leading to blunted effect of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (11) and resulting in elevated risk of death (28).

Nevertheless, with increasing selenium concentration, the GPx activity increases directly until reaching a plateau (29), and depletion of selenoproteins may occur when selenium oversupply resulting in health problem (30). In animal model, wistar rats with selenium supplement for 85 days showed elevation of blood pressure, indicating that longer-term selenium supplement may affect cardiovascular health (31). Furthermore, excessive exposure of selenium may also relate to harmful effects (32), including preventing proper protein folding (33), inducing the unfolded protein response (UPR) (34), causing production of superoxide and angiogenesis damage (30, 35).

 

Selenium intake, status, and health: a complex relationship (2020)

Quote

It is of note that some health conditions are associated with both Se deficiency and excess, i.e. increased mortality, type 2 diabetes and increased prostate cancer risk [6, 12, 13]. Increased mortality is seen at both low and high plasma Se concentrations. This was first demonstrated by the Guallar group at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA, which examined data from the US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Serum Se was measured in 13,887 adult participants who were then followed up for mortality for up to 12 years [6] and subsequently for a further 6 years [3]. Mortality showed a U-shaped association, reaching a minimum at a serum Se concentration of 135 μg/L.

Increased mortality was seen at the highest dose level of an RCT of Se in the Danish PRECISE trial, a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, clinical trial with four groups [20]. Participants were 491 male and female volunteers aged 60–74 years who were randomly assigned to treatment with 100, 200 or 300 μg Se/day as Se-enriched yeast or placebo yeast for 5 years from randomization in 1998–1999 and were followed up for mortality for a further 10 years. In an intention-to-treat analysis, the HR (95% CI) for all-cause mortality comparing 300 μg Se/day with placebo was 1.62 (0.66, 3.96) after 5 years of treatment and 1.59 (1.02, 2.46) over the entire follow-up period [20]. The relationship between cumulative mortality from all causes over time by treatment group in the Danish PRECISE RCT is shown in Fig. 1. The results of this study warn that a 300-μg/day dose of Se (as Se yeast) taken for 5 years in a country with moderately low Se status can increase all-cause mortality 10 years later.

[...] The relationship between Se intake/status and mortality is an excellent example of the U-shaped association between Se and health. Figure Figure22 illustrates that relationship, additionally including data referred to in Tables 1 and and22 [23].

 

image.png.eb3949bbb97048c17cd8050b8699b168.png

 

[Read article for discussion of complexities and caveats  related to the U-shaped curve relationship]

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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32 minutes ago, Sibiriak said:

Selenium and human health (2012)   The Lancet 

 

A U-Shaped Relationship Between Selenium Concentrations and All-Cause or Cardiovascular Mortality in Patients With Hypertension 2021

image.png.8aaab2c415130c0f6b1eecd2ee1a7686.png

Association of selenium levels with the all-cause (A) and cardiovascular mortality (B) performed by restricted cubic spline analysis.

 

Selenium intake, status, and health: a complex relationship (2020)

 

image.png.eb3949bbb97048c17cd8050b8699b168.png

 

[Read article for discussion of complexities and caveats  related to the U-shaped curve relationship]

 

Thanks for the helpful info. I think any study that looks at selenium in the context of CVD might be a troublesome, there are so many other things that impact CVD ( so many that I don't think it would even be possible to control for all these factors). 

As such, the most interesting thing about selenium, in my opinion, is that it strongly correlated with longevity in the context of brain health -- research needs to be carried out to determine if the maximum daily allowance is correlated with brain function and protective against some of the heinous brain conditions we humans tend to develop with old age, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc. 

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7 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

Selenium and human health (2012)   The Lancet 

So what mineral does not have risks at high and low levels?  Just get them tested and adjust as needed to get them into the normal reference range of values by supplementing (or adjusting your diet if it is too high, as in taking too many Brazil nuts.)

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13 hours ago, AlanPater said:

So what mineral does not have risks at high and low levels?

Right. I'd just be curious to know in what measure natural selenium (i.e. from brazil nuts or other food) brings about excessive blood concentrations. Also, I give it for granted that we are talking organic selenium, in some minerals like Arsenium the distinction between the organic and the inorganic compounds in the blood is relevant.

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10 hours ago, mccoy said:
On 2/6/2022 at 11:38 AM, AlanPater said:

So what mineral does not have risks at high and low levels?

Right. I'd just be curious to know in what measure natural selenium (i.e. from brazil nuts or other food) brings about excessive blood concentrations. Also, I give it for granted that we are talking organic selenium, in some minerals like Arsenium the distinction between the organic and the inorganic compounds in the blood is relevant.

I believe Michael Rae and others have explained the danger of Brazil nuts, that one is enough on average and the variation in selenium levels is such that relying on them for our selenium intake is risky.

Re organic selenium:

"Selenium also occurs in organic compounds, such as dimethyl selenide, selenomethionine, selenocysteine and methylselenocysteine, all of which have high bioavailability and are toxic in large doses."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selenium#Toxicity

Also, the soils foods are grown in has much to do with foods' levels, as in the central valley in California in which years of irrigation has resulted in high level in their aquifer levels:

https://deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org/water/articles/2018/05/02/pressure-mounts-to-solve-californias-toxic-farmland-drainage-problem

and:

Treating chronic arsenic toxicity with high selenium lentil diets
Shweta Sah, Albert Vandenberg, Judit Smits
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013 Oct 1;272(1):256-62.
PMID: 23800687 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2013.06.008
Abstract
Arsenic (As) toxicity causes serious health problems in humans, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plains and mountainous areas of China. Selenium (Se), an essential micronutrient is a potential mitigator of As toxicity due to its antioxidant and antagonistic properties. Selenium is seriously deficient in soils world-wide but is present at high, yet non-toxic levels in the great plains of North America. We evaluate the potential of dietary Se in counteracting chronic As toxicity in rats through serum biochemistry, blood glutathione levels, immunotoxicity (antibody response), liver peroxidative stress, thyroid response and As levels in tissues and excreta. To achieve this, we compare diets based on high-Se Saskatchewan (SK) lentils versus low-Se lentils from United States. Rats drank control (0ppm As) or As (40ppm As) water while consuming SK lentils (0.3ppm Se) or northwestern USA lentils (<0.01ppm Se) diets for 14weeks. Rats on high Se diets had higher glutathione levels regardless of As exposure, recovered antibody responses in As-exposed group, higher fecal and urinary As excretion and lower renal As residues. Selenium deficiency caused greater hepatic peroxidative damage in the As exposed animals. Thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), were not different. After 14weeks of As exposure, health indicators in rats improved in response to the high Se lentil diets. Our results indicate that high Se lentils have a potential to mitigate As toxicity in laboratory mammals, which we hope will translate into benefits for As exposed humans.

Speaking of arsenic, rice can have high levels.

And then there is high iodine levels in seaweed.

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2 hours ago, AlanPater said:

I believe Michael Rae and others have explained the danger of Brazil nuts, that one is enough on average and the variation in selenium levels is such that relying on them for our selenium intake is risky.

Re organic selenium:

"Selenium also occurs in organic compounds, such as dimethyl selenide, selenomethionine, selenocysteine and methylselenocysteine, all of which have high bioavailability and are toxic in large doses."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selenium#Toxicity

Also, the soils foods are grown in has much to do with foods' levels, as in the central valley in California in which years of irrigation has resulted in high level in their aquifer levels:

https://deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org/water/articles/2018/05/02/pressure-mounts-to-solve-californias-toxic-farmland-drainage-problem

and:

Treating chronic arsenic toxicity with high selenium lentil diets
Shweta Sah, Albert Vandenberg, Judit Smits
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013 Oct 1;272(1):256-62.
PMID: 23800687 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2013.06.008
Abstract
Arsenic (As) toxicity causes serious health problems in humans, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plains and mountainous areas of China. Selenium (Se), an essential micronutrient is a potential mitigator of As toxicity due to its antioxidant and antagonistic properties. Selenium is seriously deficient in soils world-wide but is present at high, yet non-toxic levels in the great plains of North America. We evaluate the potential of dietary Se in counteracting chronic As toxicity in rats through serum biochemistry, blood glutathione levels, immunotoxicity (antibody response), liver peroxidative stress, thyroid response and As levels in tissues and excreta. To achieve this, we compare diets based on high-Se Saskatchewan (SK) lentils versus low-Se lentils from United States. Rats drank control (0ppm As) or As (40ppm As) water while consuming SK lentils (0.3ppm Se) or northwestern USA lentils (<0.01ppm Se) diets for 14weeks. Rats on high Se diets had higher glutathione levels regardless of As exposure, recovered antibody responses in As-exposed group, higher fecal and urinary As excretion and lower renal As residues. Selenium deficiency caused greater hepatic peroxidative damage in the As exposed animals. Thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), were not different. After 14weeks of As exposure, health indicators in rats improved in response to the high Se lentil diets. Our results indicate that high Se lentils have a potential to mitigate As toxicity in laboratory mammals, which we hope will translate into benefits for As exposed humans.

Speaking of arsenic, rice can have high levels.

And then there is high iodine levels in seaweed.

Hi Al!

I assume that the arsenic used in the experiment was inorganic arsenic.  My understanding is that organic arsenic probably isn't toxic.

How I discovered this:  Since I eat fish, I thought that I should test serum heavy metals (to check for mercury).  Pb, Hg, etc were all vanishingly small -- but, to my surprise, As was high.

I checked with my nephrologist:  He had additional test done:  It turned out that my As was organic As, which is believed to not be toxic.  (I don't know if the As in brown rice is organic or inorganic.)  My As almost certainly comes from one of the vegetables that I eat; again, probably affected by the soil in which the vegetable is grown.

  --  Saul

 

  --  Saul

 

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6 hours ago, Saul said:

Since I eat fish, I thought that I should test serum heavy metals (to check for mercury).  Pb, Hg, etc were all vanishingly small -- but, to my surprise, As was high.

I checked with my nephrologist:  He had additional test done:  It turned out that my As was organic As, which is believed to not be toxic.  (I don't know if the As in brown rice is organic or inorganic.)  My As almost certainly comes from one of the vegetables that I eat; again, probably affected by the soil in which the vegetable is grown.

" The worst offender is brown rice, which has the highest values of "good" minerals of all the rices but also the highest concentration of inorganic arsenic. (Organic rice is supposed to have lesser amounts of pesticides, not natural toxins like arsenic, by the way.)"

https://www.haaretz.com/science-and-health/how-to-get-around-the-arsenic-in-rice-1.5386119

Also:

" In contrast to organic arsenic (often found in seafood, for instance), inorganic arsenic is not easily flushed from the body. The Israeli consumption directives are broken down by inorganic (the more hazardous type) and organic."

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This article suggests that selenium status decreases with age.  So maybe checking serum levels is the best way to determine what amount is too little or too much.

Selenium mediates exercise-induced adult neurogenesis and reverses learning deficits induced by hippocampal injury and aging

Summary

Although the neurogenesis-enhancing effects of exercise have been extensively studied, the molecular mechanisms underlying this response remain unclear. Here, we propose that this is mediated by the exercise-induced systemic release of the antioxidant selenium transport protein, selenoprotein P (SEPP1). Using knockout mouse models, we confirmed that SEPP1 and its receptor low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 8 (LRP8) are required for the exercise-induced increase in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. In vivo selenium infusion increased hippocampal neural precursor cell (NPC) proliferation and adult neurogenesis. Mimicking the effect of exercise through dietary selenium supplementation restored neurogenesis and reversed the cognitive decline associated with aging and hippocampal injury, suggesting potential therapeutic relevance. These results provide a molecular mechanism linking exercise-induced changes in the systemic environment to the activation of quiescent hippocampal NPCs and their subsequent recruitment into the neurogenic trajectory.

 

In particular (emphasis added),

Selenium is important for maintaining normal brain function and its deficiency has been linked to a number of age-related neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease  Selenium status also declines naturally with age. In this study, we showed that selenium supplementation can rescue the decreased hippocampal neurogenesis and associated learning and memory deficits in animal models of physiological aging and ET-1-induced hippocampal lesion, models in which the cognitive deficits have also been shown to be rescued by physical exercise 

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2 hours ago, corybroo said:

This article suggests that selenium status decreases with age.  So maybe checking serum levels is the best way to determine what amount is too little or too much.

Selenium mediates exercise-induced adult neurogenesis and reverses learning deficits induced by hippocampal injury and aging

Summary

Although the neurogenesis-enhancing effects of exercise have been extensively studied, the molecular mechanisms underlying this response remain unclear. Here, we propose that this is mediated by the exercise-induced systemic release of the antioxidant selenium transport protein, selenoprotein P (SEPP1). Using knockout mouse models, we confirmed that SEPP1 and its receptor low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 8 (LRP8) are required for the exercise-induced increase in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. In vivo selenium infusion increased hippocampal neural precursor cell (NPC) proliferation and adult neurogenesis. Mimicking the effect of exercise through dietary selenium supplementation restored neurogenesis and reversed the cognitive decline associated with aging and hippocampal injury, suggesting potential therapeutic relevance. These results provide a molecular mechanism linking exercise-induced changes in the systemic environment to the activation of quiescent hippocampal NPCs and their subsequent recruitment into the neurogenic trajectory.

 

In particular (emphasis added),

Selenium is important for maintaining normal brain function and its deficiency has been linked to a number of age-related neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease  Selenium status also declines naturally with age. In this study, we showed that selenium supplementation can rescue the decreased hippocampal neurogenesis and associated learning and memory deficits in animal models of physiological aging and ET-1-induced hippocampal lesion, models in which the cognitive deficits have also been shown to be rescued by physical exercise 

More reason to eat 1-2 brazil nuts a day forever...

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