Top 10 gut-health insights from The Diet Myth
Gut health is set to become the biggest subject in healthy food and wellness. Tim Spector’s book attempts to cover every aspect of modern food’s destructive relationship with our microbiome – the 2kgs of microbes we have in our bodies. It’s the job of these bacteria, fungi and worms to digest our food and regulate our nervous and immune systems, as well as other vital body organs. Processed foods are its biggest enemy. It’s a very worthwhile read.
Here’s a quick digest (pun intended) of the key points.
- A diet of junk food can dramatically reduce healthy gut microbes in only two days
- The diversity of human gut microbes is 30 per cent lower than fifty years ago
- Much of our food is contaminated with low levels of antibiotics used in farming, making us fat
- Foods advertised as ‘low-fat’ are actually making us fatter
- Skipping breakfast may be a healthy strategy for many people
- Around a third of people have genes and microbes that prevent them getting fat
- Eating unpasteurised cheese or yoghurt can improve health and weight, as can dark chocolate
- Olive oil and nuts are ultimate health foods that nourish our microbes
- Increasing the diversity of our diet will increase our microbes, our health, happiness and lifespan
- Gut microbes, when disrupted, are a major cause of obesity and diabetes and can also affect mental health
For the record, Modern Baker sourdough bread made from organic, stoneground, heritage grain flours are highly beneficial for gut health, containing both prebiotics (good fibre) and probiotics (good bacteria).
Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College in London and leads British Gut, a project to understand the microbial diversity of the human gut.