There Are Bigger Problems Than Just Big Carbs:
So for at least awhile now, a few decades after the 80’s low-fat high-pasta big-hair crazy-times, people have been warned about both the burgers, fries & snacks-style western diet, and also getting too many sweets & “fast” carbs.
Well, now we can add another demerit to the western diet: Health problems that come from probiotic deficiencies.
Because the fiber in your food isn’t just there to keep you functioning, there’s a lot more to it. Read on…
Too Much Of A Good Thing:
Ok, so some of the main issues with the modern western diet, are that it focuses too much on things like burgers, corn, bread, potatoes, & sugar, while also focusing far too little on whole fruit & veg in almost the same state you’d find it if you pulled it out of the ground or off the branch/vine.
That focus has largely made us fat, unhealthy & more-importantly: Very Narrowly-Fed.
Well the surprise is: This process has consequences for all of the many different types of helpful microbes & buggies from your lips, right on down through the rest of you.
We oftentimes think that our stomach is the only thing breaking down food, and our brain, muscles & body-tissues are largely the only things getting fed. Well that’s not just the case.
You’re Feeding What’s IN Your Body, Too:
It turns out the microbes in our bodies; -and the best of that lot, need many special kinds of “foods”, too.
And this is where we run into the problem of food-source-narrowing.
In a series of experiments led by Stanford researchers Erica & Justin Sonnenburg, they’ve shown that the reduced number of foods we eat not just impacts or hurts, but -Starves Out several types of beneficial microbes in our bodies.
I guess they’re not as bad as the CrossFit folks with “Let me sing you the song of my people”, but cue the tickertape parade for the Paleo dudes:
Paleo Looks Like A Winner For Healthy Gut:
The resarchers suggest the best most helpful, healthy, anti-disease set of microbes lived in the bodies of people from long ago, who ate lots of fruit & veg seasonally & as close to the land as possible, and even 50-100mg of fiber/day. -Sound familiar, Diane SanFilippo? ;P
What happens is there are all kinds of fiber-types that our stomachs can’t really digest, but which nourish the Hell out of many types of good bacteria, which in-turn make a person very healthy.
Healthy Gut Bugs = Healthy Person:
And those metabolites result in people who have lower-inflammation, better immune-response, fewer allergies, better digestion, feel fuller sooner, absorb vitamins better, have fewer mood-disorders, and are also quite possibly slimmer.
And when you don’t have them, you get the opposite. All kinds of intestinal problems, allergies, inflammation, and all the different problems that can come as a result of inflammation.
Short-Chain Fatty Acids From Microbes Lower Inflammation:
For the record: These bugs eat the fibers & produce among other things, chemicals called Short-Chain Fatty-Acids. Many of these, including the most-studied one called Butyrate, reduce inflammation; at least in the gut, maybe even further-out.
Also unlikely, but worth a mention: Too much Butyrate & fibrous food for these bacteria can also be a bad thing. So even though it’s unlikely, you don’t want to overdo it. Like anything else, feed them just enough, but not too much.
An Actual Ancient Diet In Modern Times Might Hurt, Too:
So although there may be consequences of trying to recapture an ancient diet in a nutrient-rich world, 100 grams of fiber per day, could actually be a bad thing, given all the other stuff we have in our diets that could complicate things.
So, the best thing you can do is to look for more ways to add those whole, in-season, fruits & veg to obtain a happy-medium.
Check out the details in the Sonnenburg’s book on restoring your gut at Amazon & at the Links:
Photo Credits: “Leaf”, by Joanie Cahill
• Source: Me & My Diabetes-Eric Sonnenburg Interview
• Book: The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health
• Source Study: Cell-Starving our Microbial Self: The Deleterious Consequences of a Diet Deficient in Microbiota-Accessible Carbohydrates