Is an unhealthy gut the underlying problem with blood sugar control?
More and more research says that it could very likely having an impact.
You may have read or heard that the main problem with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is insulin sensitivity – our insulin just isn’t working as effectively as it should.
But did you know that . . .
So what throws our gut microbiome out of balance and what can we do to make it healthier?
First of all, the main culprits of microbiome imbalance are too much sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. So keeping those to a minimum is part of it. And that is not easy in today’s world.
But switching to artificial sugars may be even worse for your gut.
In fact a new research study that you should know about if you ever use diet or sugar free foods or drinks. It’s about sucralose.
What is sucralose? You might know it as the brand name Splenda.
The results of the study were so concerning that the researchers are flat out saying stop using it. Usually, research articles will say something like “more research is needed before we can make recommendations”. But not this time, and that gets my attention. This actually isn’t the first research to show that sucralose is bad for us.
Past studies have found it may mess with our gut bacteria balance. They found that sucralose causes DNA to break apart, putting people at risk for disease. They also linked sucralose to leaky gut, which is a health condition where the lining of the intestines are worn down and stuff leaks through. Problems digesting food – including stomach discomfort, diarrhea, gas, and bloating can all be symptoms of leaky gut.
Personally, I try to avoid artificial sweeteners but occasionally I do order a diet soda when I am on the road and need to get something to eat, but this study really concerns me. Guess now my choices will be water or tea!
Another drink I sometimes buy is Fairlife chocolate milk. I don’t tolerate lactose well and Fairlife is lower sugar and higher protein BUT did you know they use artificial sweetener to replace the natural and added sugar you would normally have in chocolate milk?
Makes me sad because it tastes like a chocolate shake 😔! Now will be taking that off the grocery list as well. Anything that damages my DNA I am going to avoid!
If you are buying any diet or sugar-free foods, be sure to look at the ingredient list. Many diet drinks I have noticed now are using a combination of different artificial sweeteners. Most of them are not good for us anyway so the simplest solution would be to avoid them altogether. But based on this latest research study, I would definitely stop putting sucralose in your body.
What are some things we can do more of?
Besides probiotic therapy, exercise and diet are big ones. Exercise can increase bacteria that help blood sugar control. And diet is a big part as well, especially when it comes to fiber.
Here are 3 types of foods to help you keep a healthy gut microbiome . . .
1. Soluble Fiber Foods
Soluble fiber is good for the bacteria and can help control blood sugar spikes. Plus, it’s good for cholesterol and weight management as well! Try to get 10 grams of soluble fiber daily. Here are some great soluble fiber foods:
- Black Beans: One cup of black beans has 4.8 g of soluble fiber; Navy beans have 4.4 g and light-red kidney beans have 4 grams.
- Oats/Oatmeal: A bowl of oatmeal made from 3/4 cup of dry oats has about 3 grams of soluble fiber.
- Veggies: Brussels sprouts top the list with 2 g per 1/2 cup. Sweet potatoes are next with 1.8 g followed by asparagus with 1.7 grams.
- Fruits: Oranges are the top pick, with 1.8 g of soluble fiber in one small orange. Apples, plums and many other fruits have soluble fiber as well so just enjoy your fresh fruits and veggies that are in season!
- Chia and ground flax seeds: You can add these to smoothies or sprinkle on your oatmeal for an easy way to get soluble fiber. Just be sure to store according to package directions. Ground flaxseed needs to be refrigerated once you open it!
- Psyllium husk: If you don’t like alot of the foods above, you can go with a natural supplement such as Metamucil, which has about 2 grams soluble fiber per teaspoon of the powder version.
Here’s a collection of 7 Meal Ideas for Soluble Fiber.
2. Fermented Foods
Yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented foods are great for gut health. You can read more on my blog post about fermented foods.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a big reason why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy. Besides helping lower inflammation, olive oil apparently helps stop the growth of bad bacteria in the gut that cause infection. Good reason to enjoy more olive oil this summer by making your own oil and vinegar dressing or sauteing veggies in olive oil! I know olive oil is very expensive, but you do want to try and get a good quality olive oil if possible.
I hope this article has cleared up a little of the confusion on what foods are good and not so good for our gut health.
If you are having trouble with blood sugars, coming up with healthy meals, or struggling with gut issues feel free to contact me for support. For more information on my services, click here.