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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…

C-section births significantly increase the risk of adulthood obesity and type 2 diabetes in female offspring. Researchers conducted a prospective study analyzing data in 33,226 mothers born between 1946 and 1954. Out of those analyzed, 1,089 women were born via C-section. In the cohort 36.6% of children born were found to have obesity and 6.1% were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Results found that adult women had a 46% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and an 11% higher risk of developing obesity when compared to adult women born vaginally. Adjusting for breastfeeding did not change the correlation of risk for obesity or diabetes. JAMA Network Open Takeaway: Scientists who conducted the research conclude that if these findings are replicated in subsequent studies, they point to an incredible need to decrease C-section birth rates. In the United States, the average C-section rate is approximately 30% – a…

Weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic has become a thing and is jokingly referred to as “the Covid 19” – a play on “the freshman 15”; the 15 pounds many college freshmen gain when left to their own devices for the first time. If you find yourself turning to food to de-stress and can’t seem to break the cycle of overeating, oversnacking, or eating unhealthy foods that are easy on the palate but hard on the gut and waistline, the answer may not lie in the food itself, but instead, in the lifestyle practices surrounding the food. Here are our top 5 tips to adhering to a healthy diet during quarantine, and while some of them may not seem food-related, if you follow these tips, you’ll find yourself making better choices in the kitchen that may even lead to a few pounds lost. Tip 1: Sleep – Sleep is strongly…

New research shows that excessive weight is a main determining factor in who experiences complications from COVID-19 and who doesn’t. COVID-19 complications are heavily defined by respiratory symptoms – specifically acute respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome – that can be driven by characteristics common in obese individuals, including chronic, low-grade inflammation and hyperventilation (breathing at an abnormally high rate). A March study conducted across 14 states found that approximately 48.3% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 were obese. A second study found that BMI was strongly associated with the severity of disease; as BMI increased, so did the likelihood of being admitted to critical care. A third study also found that those with obesity were significantly more likely to need mechanical ventilators for care. While the respiratory capacity of excessively overweight individuals is compromised, putting them at a greater risk for COVID-19 complications, the underlying inflammation that is ever-present…

A 6-month randomized controlled trial investigated various dietary fat levels and their impacts on the gut microbiome. The study included 217 young, healthy adults, aged 18 to 35, and provided all of the food participants ate during the 6-month period. Fat consumption was split up among three groups – a low-fat diet (calories from fat 20% of energy consumed), a medium-fat diet (calories from fat 30% of energy consumed), and a high fat diet (calories from fat 40% of energy consumed). Effects of dietary fats on the gut microbiome were assessed using stool samples and plasma inflammatory markers. Study results showed that short chain fatty acid production was significantly lower in the higher fat group, while plasma inflammatory markers were elevated. The lower fat diet was associated with increased microbial diversity and other positive microbial markers. BMJ Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study conclude that a high fat diet in…

Could your medication be the cause of your weight gain or inability to lose weight? A recent study presented at the United European Gastroenterology week this year found that commonly prescribed medications significantly alter the gut microbiome, increasing the risk of infection, weight gain, obesity, and a host of other diseases and conditions related to gut bacteria imbalance (or dysbiosis). The study looked at stool samples from 1,883 individuals, some healthy and some with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and assessed the impact of single drug use as well as multiple drug use on the gut microbiome. Out of 41 drug categories analyzed, 18 were associated with significant alterations in the microbiome. These alterations varied depending on the medication, and included microbial changes such as bacterial overgrowth in the upper GI tract, alterations in fatty acid production, increased levels of E. coli and Eubacterium ramulus, and heightened antibiotic resistance within the…

When we want to lose weight, most of us immediately start counting calories as our go-to method. But did you know it’s not the calories themselves that primarily cause weight gain? It’s much more about what kind of food you eat, not how much you eat. And one of the most harmful foods for an expanding waistline is added sugar. Why? Foods and diets high in processed and added sugar: are strongly associated with leptin-resistance (leptin plays a key role in regulating appetite and fat storage)increase sugar in the blood as well as the amount of time blood sugar remains elevated, creating insulin-resistanceencourage the growth of pathogenic gut bacteria that send signals to the brain via the gut-brain axis, making it more likely to crave and consume sweet foodsare low in fiber and nutrients, therefore they’re less filling and displace other nutrient- and fiber-rich foods in the diet that encourage…

Based on the article published in last edition’s Weight Loss column, we know there’s a strong link between weight management and our gut bacteria. We also know that probiotics have been associated with positively altering the gut microbiome. So, is it safe to say that supplementing with a probiotic can help us lose weight? Let’s take a look at the research. In 2015, a systemic review and meta-analysis published in Nutrition Research identified 4 of 368 studies that were randomized controlled trials with adequate data assessing the efficacy of probiotic supplementation as a weight loss treatment. Results found no significant effects of probiotics on body weight or body mass index (BMI) when compared to placebo. Yet, researchers called for more “rigorously designed” randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes to draw more accurate conclusions. Fast forward three years to a review and meta-analysis study published in Obesity Reviews. The study…