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Why you need to eat your vegetables to be healthy
If you’ve got a teenage son or two, in the house – you know just how challenging it can be to keep the pantry stocked.
They seem to always be hungry.
Whatever you dish up is CONSUMED in a jiffy and then, they’re looking for more.
But a couple of teenagers is nothing….
A trillion for dinner
Every day, you’re expected to feed all of your own cells, plus a trillion or so gut bacteria. This is challenging in and of itself, but…….
just like teenage boys, gut bacteria CAN EAT.
And there is a trillion of them !
So what do gut bacteria eat ?
Some are really fussy and some will eat, whatever is going.
Thankfully the fuss pots are in the minority.
When many gut resident finds their favourite, favourite, missing, they make a quick adjustment to their gene expression patterns and start eating something else.
Good for the gut bacteria, but potentially NOT SO GOOD for you !
This is what a group of researchers discovered, when they switched up the diet of a bunch of bacteria.
The bunch of bacteria
Were a select group of critters.
The typical human gut, has up to a 1000 species of bacteria – keeping tabs on so many bacteria, all at the same time, is pretty close to impossible, so the researchers made it easier.
They handpicked 14 types of bacteria for their study.
The bacteria included a few fuss pots and some generalists. At the end of the day, the researchers verified their pack of 14, could munch their way through anything thrown at them.
Next they put the pack of 14 to work, by transferring them into the digestive tracts of gnobiotic mice. These are mice that have been specially bred to have NO bacteria living in their digestive tracts.
Feeding the 14
Once the bacteria had set up home in the mice, the researchers switched up the animal’s diet.
Mice were fed
- A high fibre diet, which was a minimally processed grain and plant based diet
- A fibre free diet, which was processed in such a way, to provide the same amount of carbs, fats and proteins, as the high fibre diet, but with none of the fibre
- A prebiotic diet, which was the fibre free diet, with a selection of fibres added to it, kind of like a prebiotic formulation you might buy
The fate of the 14 was then monitored for 40 days and nights…..
A fibre free diet caused hunger
For a few fuss pots.
But, the go with the flow bacteria – quickly adapted.
When the fibre was MISSING, the plan B food was “bum” cream. I know, I know – it doesn’t sound too appetising.
But, it’s a homemade i.e. human made, food source, so it’s ALWAYS available……
“Bum” cream for gut cells
Just like the cream smeared on baby’s butt, to keep the water out, “bum” cream, officically referred to as mucin, is smeared on the cells lining the gut, to keep things out, most notably, bacteria.
Mucin is edible….
In fact, there are a few fuss pots, like Akkermansia muciniphila, that ONLY eat mucin.
But for most gut bacteria, it is not preferred, food source, but ….
When there is nothing else – eat mucin
The team observed, that when there was no fibre, several species of bacteria, such as Bacteroides caccae, opted to eat mucin.
So what ?
Well mucin supplies are finite.
When bacteria that don’t usually eat it, tuck in, it doesn’t take too long for the overall levels to drop. The net result…………………. a thinner mucous layer.
A thinner mucous layer
This can be seen here…
That’s quite a big difference…………….
Interestingly, and somewhat surprisingly, supplementing with prebiotics, didn’t actually help. The team think it’s because there just isn’t enough of these “fibres” to satisfy the bacteria’s veracious appetite.
Less mucous more vulnerable
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out, when the mucus layer is thinner, the gut lining is more vulnerable.
- To infections
- To damage and inflammation
Which is why, you want to eat your vegetables !
Carbohydrates in the form of natural complex plant fibre is what bacteria LOVE to eat. Feeding them what they love, will keep them satisfied……… so they don’t eat you out of house and home.
If you want to make a mouse fat, just feed it MORE FAT. But fat is now not supposed to make you fat, so what gives ? These high fat diets are missing something
Granny Smith apples contain lots of UNDIGESTIBLE BITS, and it is the UNDIGESTIBLE BITS that matter, they encourage “skinny” bacteria to move into your colon
Endotoxin, a bacterial waste product is partly to blame for the inflammation of obesity, but why is it accumulating ? There is a lack of IAP to clean it up.