Each passing week brings more news that the biggest thing in your body that affects your health and wellbeing is also the smallest thing in your body. It is your micro biome. There are ten times more microbes living in your body than your body has cells. Some estimates are that your micro biome could weigh a couple of pounds.
Science has begun to determine just how important these living creatures are to our lives. We have known for years that without gut microbes we could not live long. As of yet, though, nobody knows how many different specific microbes are. Most cannot be cultured outside of the human body. Evidence of their existence is currently only found by sequencing DNA.
Today’s Washington Post has an article about a woman that had severe digestive problems that went on for years. She was diagnosed at times with celiac disease, irritable bowel, lactose intolerance, gallstones, and bacterial infection. What they finally found, years later, was that the normal function of her small intestine had been compromised by an over growth of a bacteria.
The function of the small intestine — to absorb and digest food — can be disrupted by an overgrowth of bacteria that feed on carbohydrates in foods containing high fructose corn syrup, the lactose in dairy products and the fiber in green vegetables; the result can be diarrhea, bloating and, in severe cases, nutritional deficiencies and even malnutrition.
Last week we found out that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the small intestine and cause insulin resistance. Transplanting the microbes from a gut that has been dosed with artificial sweetener into a normal gut causes the same problems as if the normal gut had been drinking diet Coke all along.
Two months ago we learned that your gut flora are instrumental in whether or not you gain or lose weight when you diet.
In my mind there is nothing more important to your health than maintaining the garden of bacteria and microbes that live inside of you. The bad thing about that statement is that right now nobody knows what the important ones are, or what things we eat that improve their living environment. The only thing that can be determined with reasonable certainty is that eating artificial or processed foods leads to promoting the health of the bad ones. Nobody knows yet how artificial ingredients are processed by you. I mean specifically, YOU. There are no ‘drug trials’ where individual ingredients are scientifically tested to determine adverse reactions. Nobody is studying the mixing of ingredients to see if there are adverse interactions. All of the language of drug trials should be applied to food additives, but it is not.
IN THE MEANTIME…until all of the science is ironed out over the next decade, it behooves us to just stop eating processed foods. Assume that processed sugar, flour, corn, soy and all of the cascade of ingredients derived by processing those things are dangerous. Just because they don’t kill you right away doesn’t mean that they don’t immediately kill your microbe helpers. In the case of diet soft drinks, THEY DO.
Don’t eat any foods out of boxes or bags. The health claims on the labels do not make them less dangerous than other processed foods. Eat nothing but real foods, that have been raised in as close to natural conditions as possible. If you think that eating this way is expensive, then you have not price the cost of contracting diabetes or high blood pressure.