Real Member Questions: Dried Fruits, New Viome Foods, Soy Sauce vs. Soybeans, and More!
Welcome to Viome's Monthly Deep Dive!
Every month, we dive deep into the questions and curiosities of our community, where people like you seek to understand the profound connections between your body, your nutrition, your microbiome, your health, and ultimately – your happiness.
Our mission at Viome is to empower each individual with knowledge, creating a world where illness is optional. In this spirit, we've selected four pressing questions from our members this month, answering them with detailed insights backed by the latest research.
For those of you keen on learning more, we've also added a 'Deeper Dive' section at the end of each answer, directing you to further resources and studies to quench your thirst for knowledge.
This Month's Featured Member Questions:
When it comes to fruits, is there a difference between fresh and dried?
We generally recommend sticking with fresh fruits when possible. Dried fruits are a more concentrated form of natural sugar. On top of that, many have added sugars. Some dried fruits also contain preservatives like sulfites and added oils like soybean oil. Dried fruits are convenient for hiking or outdoor activities, but we suggest limiting them to occasional use and always choosing options without added sugar.
If you wish to use dried fruits when you need convenience or for specific recipes, there are some positive aspects of this form of fruit. Because dried fruits are essentially reduced down and concentrated from the dehydration process, you also tend to get a more concentrated source of polyphenols, which are wonderful for our microbiome.
There are some concerns that dried fruits can also be more concentrated in DDT (and other pesticides), so be mindful when selecting dried fruit products, and choosing organic when possible. Because there are many potentially negative variables (added sugar, added oils, preservatives, pesticides) that can all impact the gut microbiome, we encourage you to be very picky when it comes to the dried fruit you purchase.
I noticed that foods like sea bass and bison are not on the foods list, but other fish, venison, and elk are. Nor are organ meats or bone marrow, which are vitamin and nutrient-dense. Can these foods be added to the Viome food lists?
Also, what makes some foods Superfoods, Enjoy or Avoid? Is it the vitamin and nutrient profile or the way they’re digested?
Great questions! We are actively adding new foods to our Viome food list and love hearing suggestions from our customers. We have a group of new foods that we hope to add in the near future, and we have definitely heard requests for more game meats and fish. It's a bit of a process to add a new food as we want to ensure that we have all of the nutrient data (beyond the typical protein, fats, and carbs) in our database to allow our recommendation engine to make an informed decision. As you can probably tell from your results, we love looking at the nitty-gritty of nutrients.
Your Viome food list is categorized into Superfoods, Enjoy, Minimize, and Avoid. Your test results look at pathway activities within the gut microbiome and human gene expression via RNA that contribute to specific functions. We utilize the latest research to determine nutrients that can influence those pathway activities (positively or negatively), which drives the placement of foods on your list. We also utilize our AI-driven Glycemic Response Model, developed to predict your body's blood sugar response to individual foods based on the signatures we see in your samples. The Glycemic Response Model will put foods onto your Minimize list if it predicts you will have an increased blood sugar response to that food.
Take a look at the “Viome 101” on how your personalized food lists are created in the replay of our Live Event Signal In the Noise: How Viome Generates your Food Recommendations. Hear it straight from our Founding CTO and Head of Discovery AI, Guru Banavar, as well as Clinical Nutritionists Janelle Connell, Grant Antoine, and Hilary Keiser.
Soy milk is Enjoy for me, and soybeans are Minimize. What about soy sauce or liquid aminos, which is made from soybeans?
Plant milk manufacturing affects the nutritional profile of the source food it’s derived from. You'll see differences in Viome's recommendations between similar foods like almonds and almond milk, soybeans and soy milk, etc. Our advice would be to apply the soybean Minimize recommendation to soy sauce and liquid aminos and Minimize those as well. If you’re looking for a replacement to swap in, we suggest using coconut aminos. Hope this helps!
Coconut aminos is a condiment made by fermenting coconut palm tree sap and sea salt sap. It’s an excellent substitution for soy sauce, liquid aminos, or tamari. The color, consistency, and taste profile are similar. However, coconut aminos are not quite as rich as traditional soy sauce.
Coconut aminos’ main advantage over traditional sauces is that it is soy, gluten, and wheat-free for those of you with sensitivities. Additionally, it has only about a third of the sodium (just a reminder, coconut aminos is not a low-sodium food).
Coconut palm sap does contain sugar. However, the fermentation process to create the aminos reduces the sugar in the end product. You're left with a salty, slightly sweet, umami condiment, and much lower in sodium than other options. This is a great option if you find coconut meat, milk, or oil on your Enjoy or Superfood lists. Use sparingly, and enjoy.
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