PAMPS – what on earth are they?!
Standing for “Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns” and discovered by the University of Leicester, these harmful bacterial are thought to increase a person’s risk of diseases such as coronary artery disease and type 2 Diabetes.
Announced in February this year by the University, this finding is potentially huge. The PAMPs are found on processed food and may be the key to understanding the mechanism by which processed foods are bad for our health. The hypothesis is that the immune system over reacts to the PAMPs and that over reaction can be damaging to the body.
What is most interesting is the definition of processed foods. Clearly, ready meals, sausages and burgers come up high in PAMP numbers but minced meats, sauces, sandwiches, cheese and ready chopped vegetables did too. What is more surprising is that, if we chop vegetables at home and leave them overnight, the PAMPs increase in number. So not only is fresh very important, so is preparing foods close to cooking rather than in advance.
Leicester University ran a very small provisional trial and have found that, a week of eating foods low in PAMPs was associated with an 11% reduction in bad cholesterol and, when eating high PAMP foods for a week the benefits were reversed. Much more research is needed in this area but I certainly wanted to tell you all about it at this early stage!
The chart below helps to highlight high and low PAMP foods:
I suspect that over the forthcoming months much more research will start on these microbes and this will provide us with much more understanding. However, in the meantime, for extra reading go to this link: