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Nutrition

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Gum. Whether it’s serving a purpose as a hunger suppresser, an outlet for nervous energy, breath freshener, or a sweet treat after a savory meal, there’s one underlying question we are often asked – is gum beneficial or detrimental to gut health? There are two sides to every story. On one hand, some sources point out the following benefits of chewing gum on the digestive system: Gum can stimulate bowel movements, as it increases the production of gastric juices. This can be beneficial in those who’ve had surgery, or who have just given birth, and don’t want to or aren’t able to eat right away.Post-meal gum chewing can stimulate the release of bile, digestive enzymes, and acids, all components needed to properly digest foods, and may help avoid indigestion after a large meal. Chewing gum can aid in soothing acid reflux. When you chew gum, your saliva becomes more alkaline, and…

There are lots of diets out there, and many of us have tried one or two of them – maybe with some success… or maybe not. If you’re anything like me, the number one quality I want in my diet is how easy it is to maintain. Many of us diet, lose lots of weight, and then gain it back (with a little extra, in many cases) because whatever diet we tried wasn’t sustainable over a long period of time. This is the very reason why we love the vegan approach to weight loss. For one, it’s incredibly nutrient and microbe rich and does wonders for the gut microbiome and for your overall health and disease risk. But if all you care about is your waistline right now (especially after possibly overindulging during the pandemic), don’t fret. A vegan diet proves effective in promoting sustained weight loss too! A recent…

Gerry: I am an avid follower of Gutbliss and was making and drinking green smoothies almost daily, then I began having intestinal issues, diarrhea etc. I ran across some experts talking about the dangers of ingesting too many foods high in oxalates. So, I’m confused. I’ve since given up eating spinach and Swiss chard and try to mostly eat vegetables and foods lower in oxalates, including fewer nuts and seeds. I’ve been eating more animal protein, pasture raised meats, eggs and dairy products. Now after many months my GI tract is returning to normal and I feel much better. How can it be that all these foods promoted as “health foods” are not good for everyone? I do want to add that I’ve been under an inordinate amount of stress that has probably put lots of strain on my whole body, but especially my GI system. Dr. Chutkan: Gerry, first and foremost, I’m so…

While many of us are concerned about keeping our skin youthful and our bodies agile, what about our minds? Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is on the rise, affecting more individuals each year – a beautiful mind (along with glowing skin and a healthy body!) might be just the place to focus our anti-aging efforts these days. Based on the Alzheimer’s Association 2019 annual report, Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, with it being the 6th cause of death in the U.S. Probably the most shocking statistic is that 1 in 3 American seniors dies with dementia. That’s one third of the senior population! AD costs $305 billion dollars each year; by 2050, dementia related costs are predicted to rise to as much as $1.1 trillion. The majority of primary care doctors believe that the healthcare system is not prepared for the exponential rise in…

New research helps us better understand the causes and trends in the obesity epidemic – and what you can do within your own family to help manage weight. Approximately 42% of the adult population in the U.S. is obese, and obesity triples the risk of being hospitalized for COVID, so understanding the risk factors and treatments for obesity are important. Here are some of the latest studies on important, actionable themes in preventing and treating obesity. Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity. Over 340 million children are obese worldwide, and almost 20% (or one fifth!) of children in the United States are obese. Obesity in early life puts children at an increased risk for obesity in adulthood, as well as a whole host of diseases later in life. A recent study found that the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium breve (a beneficial gut bacteria strain that produces short chain fatty acids and…

A study published in JAMA Network Open looked at survey answers from approximately 1,500 American adults (aged 30 to 59) and found that alcohol consumption has significantly increased during the pandemic. Compared to a year ago, adult men are consuming 14% more alcohol and women, 17% more. The study also showed that heavy drinking in women, categorized as 4 or more drinks within a 2-hour period or less, has increased 41%. In April of this year, the World Health Organization released a statement warning that alcohol intake can increase a person’s risk of contracting COVID and experiencing complications, as it weakens the immune system. If you’re struggling with alcohol during the pandemic, or otherwise, we’d like to extend an invaluable expert and resource on alcohol use: Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment. Here she offers some great tips on Sober October and beyond: Sober October. Like Dry January and Dry…

Shopping and eating gluten-free is a challenge during the pandemic. We get that. While we always recommend consuming whole foods made in your kitchen, there are also some great gluten-free whole food products such as rice pastas, seeded crackers, and more that are excellent additions to your pantry and can make life a little easier. Below are some of our favorite gluten-free foods for you to utilize during this challenging time. Please note: We do not have a relationship with the below companies and do not receive compensation for recommending their brands. While we’ve included the Amazon link for easy access, most of these items can be purchased at your local grocery stores. Crackers Mary’s Gone Crackers Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers San-J Tamari Black Sesame Brown Rice Crackers Gluten-Free Norwegian Crispbread Pastas Tinkyada Pasta Joy Ready Brown Rice Pasta Jovial Brown Rice Pasta Eden Foods 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles…

This post was written by Michael Goran, PhD, and Emily Venutra, PhD, MPH, authors of the new book Sugarproof. Too much sugar can have broad effects on kids’ bodies and, as they discuss in their new book Sugarproof, kids can be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of too much sugar. Growing kids can have delicate digestive systems. Upset stomachs, aching tummies, and other maladies are hallmarks of childhood, and too much sugar may be a silent contributor to this problem. If your child is having frequent, unexplained tummy problems, one possibility is that they are reacting to excessive amounts of fructose and an inability to absorb it properly from the gut. Fructose is a part of regular white table sugar and also found in concentrated amounts in high fructose corn syrup, fruit juices, other fruit-based sugars like fruit juice concentrates, and agave syrup. In order to transfer glucose or…

As we’re hunkered down at home, some of us have seen an influx of processed foods creeping into our kitchens… and mouths! Well, here’s some incentive to get the COVID junk out of the house once and for all. Researchers at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain found that ultra-processed foods (think pastries, processed meats, and ice cream) accelerate the aging process. The scientists involved in the study conducted a cross-sectional study in 866 individuals, aged 57 to 91 years, and looked at the relationship between diet and telomere length, a marker for aging. Telomeres are short nucleotide sequences found on the end of chromosomes that protect genetic information. They shorten with each cell division, which creates the process of aging. So shorter telomere length means increased aging, and this shortening (aka aging) can be accelerated with environmental factors, including the daily consumption of ultra-processed foods. Processed food intake…