Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘Current Postings’ Category

Digestion & Absorption for RYGB Surgery

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Betty Wedman- St Louis, PhD, RD

Digestion of carbohydrates and protein is very dependent on brush border enzymes in the small intestine (1). Deficiencies in these enzymes are common post surgery in Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients. Symptoms of gastro-intestinal need for digestive enzyme replacement are: intestinal gas, abdominal discomfort, flatulence and diarrhea.

Adding the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardi and a bifidobacterum + lactobacillus probiotic may improve digestion, absorption and gut health (2).

These dietary supplements can be ordered from Emerson Ecologics 1-800-654-4432 using the codes below. Set up an account and tell customer service I am your nutritionist.

  • Saccharomyces boulardi SACC2 60 capsules (take 1 or 2 per day)
  • Vital 10 (5+billion) VIT56 100 capsules (take 1 to 3 per day)

Open the capsules and stir them into a shake or applesauce daily.


  1. Nelson-Dooley C & Olmstead SF. The critical role of brush border enzymes in digestion, absorption, and mucosal health. ProThera, Inc. Practitioner Newsletter, August 2016.
  2. Soo I, et al. Can J Gastroenterol 2008; 22:237-42.

Written by PFAdmin

September 8th, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Current Postings

Stress & Body Fat

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During times of stress, the adrenal glands produce cortisol from cholesterol. Another hormone called epinephrine is also produced. Together these hormones flood the body with glucose, stop insulin production and elevate the blood pressure to handle the stressful situation. Long term stress can cause elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance. The unused glucose is stored as abdominal body fat which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

Cortisol arouses the nervous system which can cause digestion and nutrient absorption issues. As the gastrointestinal tract responds to the stress, it becomes inflammed and more cortisol can be released resulting in irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.

A healthy body stores fat as triglycerides in fatty tissues for an energy reserve. When fat metabolism is altered by elevated cortisol for extended periods, fatty liver, obesity and life-threatening vascular events (heart attack or stroke) can result.

Fertility problems, thyroid disease, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, dementia, memory loss and depression have been linked to high cortisol levels. Reducing inflammation in the body can help normalize cortisol levels. A low glycemic, low trans-fat, no alcohol and limited caffeine diet are known to improve inflammation within the body. Going longer than 5 hours between food intake can increase cortisol levels so healthy snacking is important. Probiotics may also be helpful to improve cortisol levels.


High blood cortisol levels significantly increases death rate in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Science Daily. May 27, 2010.

Stress may cause excess abdominal fat in otherwise slender women, study conducted at Yale shows. Science Daily. November 23, 2000.

Tomiyama AJ, Mann T, Vinas D, Hunger JM, et al. Low calorie dieting increases cortisol. Psychosom Med. 2010; 72(4):357-364.

Written by PFAdmin

September 8th, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Current Postings

Everything You Thought You Knew About Calories Is WRONG

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Food digestion is too complex and messy to provide a number for each serving of food you eat. In addition, each person’s digestive ability changes how many calories are absorbed. Food is energy for the body which requires digestive enzymes in the mouth, stomach and small intestine to break it into molecules that cells can use.

The calorie notation listed on a label or quoted in a food composition book is calculated by the amount of energy required to heat one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. Fats provide about 9 calories per gram, carbohydrates and protein deliver four calories per gram. These calculations were approximations from a 1950’s laboratory analysis and have never been replicated.

New research is indicating this is far too simplistic. To accurately calculate the calories a person gets out of a given food, you need to factor in whether it is boiled, baked, fried or micro-waved; how much energy the body expends to break down the food, and to what extent the food survived digestion and bacteria enrichment before transport into the bloodstream.

Every food is digested in its own way. Plant foods involve stems, leaves and roots. Older leaves are tougher than young ones so digestion differs based on age. Cooking breaks down cell walls in the plant but boiling, steaming and microwaving result in different textures and digestive processes. Nuts and seeds are hard to digest with peanuts, pistachios and almonds less digested than other foods with similar protein and fat. A USDA study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2012 showed significant amounts of undigested almonds in feces of the people in the study. Many of the calories and nutrients in the almonds were not available for energy and cell metabolism.
Cooking food allowed humans to consume more calories and increased the nutrition extracted from it. Heat allows meat to be more digestible and kills bacteria. Food processors use flour, sugar, and fats to produce thousands of food-like products for increased energy consumption. These processed foods are so easily digested in the stomach and small intestine that obesity is now a major public health problem.
Counting calories is NOT accurate and the calories on a food label are a LIE. Instead, eat whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables (or lightly steamed), and lean proteins (fish, grass-fed beef, pork) and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, raw butter) to get daily nutrients.

Written by PFAdmin

September 8th, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Posted in Current Postings


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Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD

Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins which promote inflammatory responses like Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus, asthma,  and rheumatoid arthritis. They were discovered over 100 years ago and cause leaky gut and gastrointestinal dysbiosis yet the push for a plant-based diet focusing on legumes as meat alternatives has overlooked the damage lectins cause to the gut. Legumes offer inferior nutrition compared to animal proteins so toxicity needs to be considered when recommending food choices.

As carbohydrate binding proteins, lectins are difficult to digest and irritate the brush border of the small intestine. Consequently, the tight junctions of the microvilli are damaged by prolamin and agglutinins which can lead to numerous disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and autoimmune diseases. Lectins are also a major contributor to leptin resistance which contributes to obesity.

As described in The Handbook of Plant Lectins: Properties and Biomedical Applications (John Wiley, 1998), foods that contain these toxic lectins are members of the pea family and include peanuts, pigeon peas, soybeans, kidney beans, mung beans, lima beans, lentils, fava beans, chickpeas, carob, green and yellow peas. Green beans, snow peas and snap peas are usually well tolerated once the gut has been healed since they are immature protein sources with minor amounts of lectins.

Lectins are found in other foods including grains and pseudo-grains. Grains are seeds from grasses- barley, oats, rice, rye, millet, wheat, teff, corn, kamut, spelt and possibly wild rice. Many gastroenterologists believe that the detrimental affects of lectins in grains are a factor in the development of celiac disease. Genetics and frequent consumption possibly play a critical role in the severity of sensitivities to these foods.

Pseudo-grains are seeds from broadleafed plants- amaranth, buckwheat, chia, and quinoa. These seed products were geographically limited to specific populations and only available on a limited basis seasonally. But modern agriculture has greatly increased the consumption of these pseudo-grains because they can be labeled “gluten-free” because US standards allow any grain with less than 20 ppm to be called gluten free.

Omitting toxic lectins- prolamins and agglutinins- from the diet is critical for gut health. Prolamins are predominately found in the seeds of plants. Gluten is the most widely known source of prolamins. They get their name from the high content of the amino acid proline. Research studies have shown that the prolamins in quinoa, corn and oats can cause damage to the digestive tract in people with celiac disease, yet these grains are frequently included in a gluten-free diet.

Aggltinins are named for their ability to cause clumping of red blood cells. The most recent example of how this toxic lectin works is the bioterrorism threat caused from ricin. Ricin is the compound in castor beans that is so toxic that only tiny amounts are needed to cause death. Agglutinins are found on the seed coatings of grains and pseudo-grains and serve to protect the seed from fungus growth. Genetically modified crops- wheat, corn, soybeans- have higher amounts of agglutinins to insure higher yields.

A leaky gut is harmful to the innate and adaptive immune systems. Toxic lectins cause inflammation and induce cytokine production. As few as five soaked, uncooked kidney beans can lead to gut distress for the raw foodies while 1 tablespoon of peanut butter leads to peanut agglutinins entering the bloodstream soon after consumption.

Paolo Zatto and Pamela Zambenedetti from Padova, Italy studied lectins, microglia and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as reported in Lectins and Pathology, 2000. The microglia of 10 AD brains stained intensely for agglutinins. Their research concluded that the glycation reaction seen in AD from lectins may serve as a significant factor in amyloid plaque development and disease progression.

Bacteria overgrowth in the gut is associated with a wide variety of diseases- septicemia, pulmonary infections, enteropathies. Adhesion of pathogenic bacteria to epithelial cells in the gut can be a critical first stage in the infectious disease process. Michele Mouricout and Bruno Vedrine of Limoges, France described how lectins cause adhesion of numerous bacterial strains to intestines, brain tissues, urinary tract, lung and corneal cells. Their research is reported in Lectins and Pathology, 2000 illustrates the mosiac effect of how agglutinins cause tissue damage.

Even though lectins have been identified for decades, little interest has been shown by biological and medical science. Since they are so widely distributed in foods consumed daily, lectins may finally become recognized as partners in the pathogenesis of diseases like cancer. Galectin-3 (gal 3) galactoside-binding lectin is found on the surface of most cancer cells and has been reported to promote angiogenesis. Lectins are not oncogenes but they help in cancer progression once initiated. Some are implicated in adhesion while others cause metatasis.

Isn’t it about time that nutrition science took a closer look at the lectin levels in foods consumed daily and customize the diet for lectin sensitivity to better manage inflammation and auto immune diseases? The higher intact of GMO food in the diet, the more lectins are consumed. Without food labeling of GMOs, consumers will continue to be misled and sick.

Written by PFAdmin

September 30th, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Current Postings

Phosphates in Processed Foods = Chronic Disease Concerns

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Dietary phosphorus occurs naturally in foods like dairy products, animal meats and legumes. The institute of Medicine recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 700 mg/day while the NHANES data indicates that the typical American consumes more than twice that every day.

Phosphorus is considered an essential nutrient but it is increasingly being added to processed foods via additives (anti-caking agents to preserve moisture and color) or as a stabilizer, leavening agent or acidifier. Since it is not required to be listed on the label, it is difficult to know how much is being added and consumed. High levels of phosphorus is now being considered an independent predictive factor in mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular, kidney, and osteoporosis disorders.

People with numerous chronic diseases and those wanting to promote healthy eating habits, need to be considering how many processed foods they are consuming as food manufacturers continue to offer increasing numbers of  processed foods.

Phosphates in the form of food additives contribute to the increasing health implications when not consuming a fresh foods diet. Carbonated beverages are the best way to reduce phosphorus levels in the diet. Aside from that, those with osteoporosis, osteopenia, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease must pay attention to ingredient statements that may include these declarations: tricalcium phosphate, trimagnesium phosphate, disodium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate. According to current regulations, these ingredients are safe when used in good manufacturing processes but the more one consumes prepared foods, the more elevated the blood phosphorus levels can rise.

Yes, the food world offers a wider array of processed foods that ever before but just because it states “natural” or “organic” on the label does not mean it is a healthy food for every day consumption. Remember: Fresh is Best!

Here is a guide I use to help those choosing processed foods be a wiser consumer:


Baked Goods– cake mixes, donuts, refrigerated dough = pyrophosphates for leavening and dough “improver”.


Beverages– phosphoric acid in colas for acidulant, pyrophosphate in chocolate milk to suspend cocoa, pyrophosphate in buttermilk for protein dispersion, tricalcium phosphate in orange juice for fortification, tetrasodium phospahte in strawberry flavor milk to bind iron to pink color


Cereals– phosphate in dry cereals to aid flow through extruder and fortification


Cheese– phosphoric acid in cottage cheese to set acidification, phosphate in dips, sauces, cheese slices and baked chips for emulsifying action and surface agent


Imitation Dairy Products (non-dairy products)- phosphate as buffer for smooth mixing into coffee and as anticaking agent for dry powders


Egg Products – phosphate for stability and color/foam improvement


Ice Cream– pyrophosphate to prevent gritty texture


Meat Products– tripolyphosphate for injections into ham, corned beef, sausage, franks, bologna, roast beef for moisture and color development


Nutrition Bars & Meal Replacement Drinks– phosphates for fortification and microbiological stability


Potatoes– phosphate in baked potato chips to create bubbles on surface,  and pyrophosphate in French fries, hash browns, potato flakes to inhibit iron induced blackening


Poultry– tripolyphosphate for moisture and removal of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacterial pathogens


Puddings & Cheesecakes– phosphate to develop thickened texture


Seafood– tripolyphosphate in shrimp for mechanical peeling, pyrophosphate in canned tuna and crab to stabilize color and crystals, surimi (“crab/sea sticks”) triphosphate and pyrophosphate as cryoprotectant to protein


Hyperphosphatemia can lead to muscle tetany, calcification of coronary arteries and pulmonary calcification. The long-term effects of high phosphates in the diet are noted every day by individuals with kidney disease, blocked coronary arteries and skeletal issues. The decreased renal excretion of phosphates is to blame. In addition, untreated elevated phosphorus increases cellular catabolism and reduces energy production in the cell. Tumor reduction post chemotherapy can result in hyperphosphatemia and may be a significant contributor to the fatigue that follows the therapy.


For those not having food composition tables available, here is a comparison of common snack foods to show how phosphorus levels quickly can add up. Many food companies do not provide analysis information on phosphorus because it is not required for the nutrition label.


Hershey Bar with Almonds                                    116 mg

Cola Beverage (12 oz)                                      44 mg

M&M Peanuts (1.74 oz pkg)                                      93 mg

Yogurt (1 cup)                                                300 mg

Total Cereal (1 cup) General Mills                        200 mg

Peanuts (1 oz)                                                150 mg

Apple, raw (1 med)                                                  10 mg


For more information on Phosphorus and its effect on bone health and cardiovascular issues, visit my website


References available upon request.

Written by bwsl

January 7th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Current Postings