Does The Food We Eat Affect Our Gut Bugs?

A major part of our body – our gut – is messed up and we feel like rubbish. Our first instinct for many of us is to find out what medication we need to take. ‘Just gimme a good, strong antibiotic and I’ll be fine!’

Unfortunately when our gut stops working, antibiotics don’t necessarily help and in fact often make matters worse.

If you’ve been struggling with gut issues for years, like many of the folks on our coaching program, you may have discovered through painful trial and error that medications often give no more than temporary relief, at best, or just make matters worse.

The nearest we get in gut health to a magic bullet solution is the probiotic. However generally we need to do more than take probiotics to get the result we want, namely a happy, functioning gut and a healthy body.

Nutrition Isn’t Taught At Medical School

Here at Gut Geek we put a lot of focus on food. Why? How do we know that changing our diet will make the slightest bit of difference?

There are countless scientific studies going on right now into different aspects of gut health and the microbes that live inside us, our microbiome. We are only just beginning to understand this wondrous biology working inside us for our benefit every minute of every day.

However one thing we know for sure is that our diet dramatically affects the makeup of our microbiome, more than any other single factor.

Another thing that’s become increasingly clear thanks to scientific studies since the turn of the century is that the microbiome is really an organ of our body in its own right.

These friendly microbes help us in so many ways that they are actually a crucial and integral part of our body. We can’t really function properly without them!

When our friendly gut bugs die back and become overwhelmed by unfriendly ones – a condition called dysbiosis – we suffer in all sorts of horrendous ways.

So you might think it’s a statement of the blindingly obvious to say that the food we eat affects our microbiome. But then consider that doctors in the UK, US and similar countries receive no training in nutrition, the most important way to care for our microbiome.

Our Microbiome Is VITAL To Our Health

And why is the state of our gut bugs important? Well, although you’re probably up to speed by now that these friendly bacteria are important, what you may not know is how deeply we depend on them.

These bacteria help break down food so we can absorb the nutrients. They create vital nutrients for us from scratch. They help our immune system to spot and fight off invaders. They manufacture brain neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. They drive our appetite signals and can make us fat or thin.

Gut Flora

The list of ways we know of that our gut bugs help us or make us sick gets longer every day as scientists make new discoveries.

In the meantime, keep this in mind: we evolved over millions of years with these microorganisms. To function best they need the food that we ate when we evolved with them, which isn’t Cheerios and Pop Tarts! It’s food made at home in our cave from fresh ingredients, uncontaminated by antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones.

If we consistently give our gut bugs the wrong food they’ll make us pay, not because they have a grudge against us but because they’ll die back and be replaced by other – much less friendly – bacteria. Result? Hey presto… our gut is broken and we feel like total crap!

Yes, you can take a probiotic pill and see big improvement but you’ll see far better results if you also change your diet.

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32 thoughts on “Does The Food We Eat Affect Our Gut Bugs?”

  1. I agree with you here. However, I read recently that when bacteria digest fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut barrier, improve immune function, and can help prevent inflammation, which reduces the risk of cancer. And the more fiber you ingest, the more fiber-digesting bacteria colonize your gut.

  2. I have been relatively lucky in my life but as I grow older, food definitely has been affecting my body and mood overall. So thank you for educating me on how to improve my gut health and teaching me about the microbiomes and their uses in breaking down foods. I guess I need to learn how to utilize them better as I grow older.

    1. “Gut bug”… I’ve never looked at my feeding and digestive issues this way. But I agree with this article, especially the bacteria becoming resistant part.

  3. I have been educating myself a lot as well reading about gut health… I mean that is the most important or one of the most important parts of our body!! Thanks – this is really valuable and helpful insights here!

  4. I have to be honest and say that it is unsettling to think they are bugs in my gut. However, it is a happy thought to know that they are there to be helpful and keep me healthy. It’s like my own little internal arm! Thanks for sharing

  5. Thanks for educating us about microbiomes and the crucial role they play in our health. Our nutrition matters to our health. So, what class of foods enhance our microbiomes.?

  6. Very informative and simply explained. I’m in the medical field and so I know the direct effect our digestive system has on us. For me personally I find that eating healthy and exercising regularly has been a game changer for my gut health.

  7. It’s – literally – vital to know as much as we can about food and the impact it has on our bodies…and souls. So thank you so much for this really educative post!

  8. You are always bringing to light some important key factors to health that we need to be aware of. It’s definitely important to be mindful of what we intake and the different factors that make it up.

  9. oooh super great post! Our gut IS a major part of our body and I wish my school did’t skim over nutrition class so quickly, especially for this particular part of the body! You’ve just reminded me to be more conscious when I go grocery shopping today!

  10. Absolutely true, our gut is ruined by our poor choice of foods. I am very sensitive to it and I found this post very informative. It is appalling how little some medical professionals know about proper nutrition, but also how many people say “but my doctor said…” like it is an absolute truth.

    1. Very informative and simply explained. I’m in the medical field and so I know the direct effect our digestive system has on us. For me personally I find that eating healthy and exercising regularly has been a game changer for my gut health.

  11. I’m learning so much from this post. I tried to eat healthy foods, but sometimes the temptation of having little treats are hard to resist.

  12. Yeah, even dietary fiber from foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains is the best fuel for gut bacteria. When bacteria digest fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut barrier, improve immune function, and can help prevent inflammation, which reduces the risk of cancer.

  13. I’ve been learning a lot more about nutrition this year, and it absolutely makes a difference in our physiology, physicality, and psychology!

  14. this is relevant a post, my eating habits were downright messy and though I have improved over the last few years, yet I do need to go about it in a correct way. Maybe this article and the links would help me with it

  15. After reading books like Grain Brain and others I am obsessed with my gut! I eat way more pre and probiotic rich foods and it has made a huge difference in how I feel!

  16. Great reminder that we “become” what we eat. I can tell a huge difference when I’m eating right and when I eat the typical american diet.

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