The world of health food and products is full of unproven claims and a whole lot of nonsense. We’re here to help you sort the facts from the…well, bullsh!t.
What even is it? Colonic irrigation/hydrotherapy involves the insertion of tube into your rectum and warm water is then ‘flushed through” your large intestine, sometimes with a herbal infusion. The idea is that waste is flushed out.
What’s the evidence? Well, there isn’t any to suggest health benefits and they often come accompanied by some unwanted side effects like tummy pain, bloating, diarrhoea, soreness and even more severe, dehydration, infection, punctured bowel and some other nasties.
It is specifically advised against if you have specific conditions, including IBD (like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis), anaemia, hypertension and haemorrhoids.
You may experience a feeling of temporary relief but this is only going to be short term and there really isn’t the evidence to support it.
If a product makes bold health and nutrition claims on the packet, it must be true? Right?!
The regulatory world around food is a tough one to navigate and unfortunately, a lot of brands, either consciously or unconsciously, get it wrong and make unsubstantiated claims on or around the product, which not only misleads us consumers but creates an un-level playing field for others.
It isn’t the product that is approved, but the claim itself. There are only 261 health claims approved by the European Food Standards Agency (out of 2,338 applications!).
Poor fruit has had a bad rep over the years and unnecessarily so.
It’s an important source of fibre, polyphenols and micronutrients. Yes, it does contain sugar (in the form of sucrose, fructose and glucose) but the fibre in whole fruit slows down how quickly it is broken down and absorbed.
Like everything, moderation is key. Mix up the types of fruit you have and go for a rainbow of colours. Our go-to is frozen berries – we chuck them into overnight oats, porridge or with kefir and nuts for a snack.
We always get asked about the differences between juices and smoothies and if juice ‘cleanses’ are a way to fix your gut.
We wanted to clear up the confusion.
In juices, the liquid from fruits and vegetables is extracted leaving the pulp.
Soluble fibre survives in juice, feeds your gut microbes and mixes with fluids to form a gel-like substance that slows down digestion. The pulp contains insoluble fibre – the fibre that bulks out your stools, absorbs water as it moves through your gut, speeds up transit time and lowers the risk of diverticular disease.
In smoothies, a blender pulverises the ingredients to a liquid, without getting rid of the pulp so the insoluble fibre remains in the drink.
It will keep you fuller for longer and retains the benefits of both types of fibre. And yes, the fibre still remains intact after blending.
Verdict? Both have their positives and are a way of increasing plant-based intake, but for benefits of insoluble fibre, opt for a smoothie (this isn’t to say juices don’t have their uses either).
Juices can also be useful if you need to get extra nutrients into your diet and have difficulties with digesting fibre. For both smoothies and juices, try not to down-in-one but chew and savour each mouthful.
Skinny, detox or flat tummy teas – what’s the hype?
No matter who endorses them or the promises they behold, let’s be real.
Skinny teas are just expensive flavoured water. Some contain caffeine, a diuretic, and senna, a laxative – weeing and pooing more may make you feel lighter but can cause other issues and come with side effects such as bloating, cramps and diarrhoea. This increase in transit time means you may also miss out on absorbing important nutrients from your food.
Long term use of Senna can also impair how well your gut works, meaning you become dependant on it to make you go. Not cool. Not cool at all.
Next time you are tempted by a beautifully shot and staged ad promising you a quick fix, reach for a herbal tea instead and give your gut the respect it deserves.
We’d like to explore the instant gratification society pushes on us and the need for a constant fix. Surely a magic pill can perfect your gut and cure all symptoms?! If only it were that simple!
As we will keep saying until we are blue in the face – there is no one size fits all and someone would be very rich if there was.
We are a long way off personalised prescriptions, but we may see these for prebiotics, probiotics and even symbiotics (a combo of the both) in the future… but the science is still very young in this area.
So let’s all keep up #fermentingfridays, educating ourselves with the facts, jotting in our food diaries and uppin’ that variety and fibre (it may differ if you have a specific gut condition).
Is that a DEAL?? *handshake*
One-size-fits-all…or does it?
We are identical twins meaning our genetic make-up is identical, yet from our time in the Twins study, we found out only 30/40% of our gut microbes are the same.
We react VERY differently to different foods, fasting and exercise.
Granted, there are somethings that we all need to be doing, like eating more fibre and plant-based foods but there’s no set way to eat. So next time you see a one-size-fits-all diet, screw it up and chuck it in the bullsh*t bin!
You may have seen a lot of hype around celery juice and its apparent healing properties. Anthony Williams, the ‘medical medium’ claims to be the originator of the global celery juice movement. According to Williams, drinking 16oz of celery juice daily on an empty stomach has healing benefits for those with autoimmune conditions ranging from Hashimotos thyroiditits, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes to eczema and psoriasis. In addition, he also claims it is a ‘detox’ drink.
A quick search on Instagram for #celeryjuice brings up over 84,000 results!
Sure, you may feel better for drinking 16oz of celery juice, but is this because you are adding an extra portion of vegetables to your diet (with celery providing a source of vitamin K) and increasing your water intake or are you experiencing a ‘placebo’ effect?
Rather worryingly, we’ve seen a rise in the promotion of vitamin drips. There are even IV drip bars promising all sorts, from hangover cures, detoxification to preventing Covid 19. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!
I mean don’t get us wrong, we would LOVE the hangover one to be true.
The UK’s advertising regulatory has already given companies making these claims a slap on the wrist, but it’s also down to you to make sure you’re informed before making a decision about them.
IV therapy is a last resort if there are no other options available and we are talking about lifesaving treatment.
The risks of things going wrong are real, from infection to kidney and heart failure.
A quick Google of common gut symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea and constipation may bring you to a self-diagnosis of candida overgrowth, infection or cadidasis and more often than not, a magic cure!
The candida diet is a low sugar diet which excludes gluten and alcohol, limits dairy, encourages fermented foods and probiotics. BUT there isn’t enough evidence that this works. Most importantly, without a proper diagnosis, it isn’t going to treat the underlying cause of the symptoms being experienced.
Common ‘candida’ symptoms could be due to a whole host of other conditions and should be ruled out by a qualified medical professional with a proper evidence-based examination. Truth is, we don’t know enough.
For more information head here
The low FODMAP diet is a type of elimination diet designed to help manage IBS symptoms (by researchers at Monash University). We get asked about it A LOT and it can be quite a polarising topic within the community.
It includes three phases:
A lot of people stick in the first phase but it is not designed for life. With so much info online, it is important to work with a FODMAP trained dietitian.
@nutritilty gives us the lowdown in our article.
In this week’s bullsh!t bin is the myth that freezer food is bad for you.
Actually, the freezer is your friend (or gut pal as we like to say!).
Frozen food shouldn’t be shunned, it’s a great way of having nourishing food at hand, avoiding food waste and making cooking for one cheaper and more efficient! These are our freezer staples for variety.
Alright, so what even is a probiotic?
A probiotic is a live microorganism that when eaten or drunk in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host (you!).
But tight regs mean you can’t call a product a probiotic – it isn’t an approved claim. So technically, yogurt cannot be called a probiotic on the label even if it contains live cultures.
Where are we going with this you ask? Some yogurts contain live bacteria (these are the ones you need to look out for!) and different brands and types contain different strains of bacteria.
For example, one brand of Greek yogurt contains live cultures: Bifidobacterium, lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Streptococus, whereas another contains: Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, S Thermophilus, L Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casdei.
It’s diversity that’s key for gut health.
So, how do you tell if it’s live? Check the back of the label for ‘live cultures’.
You may have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit – we love facts and figures, but the truth is it depends on the habit.
One piece of research looked at how long it took adults to form a healthy habit from dietary changes to physical activity – on average it took 66 days but there was quite a range, from 18 – 254 days!
Billions vs millions – if a probiotic has more bacteria in it does it make it better?
First up, let’s look at where you find that information. You need to look for something called Colony Forming Units (CFU) usually expressed as 1 x 109 for 1 billion CFU or 1 x 1010 for 10 billion – this tells you the number of viable cells and is actually voluntary to put on the label. Look for a CFU at expiry, not time of manufacture as this tells you what will be alive when you consume it.
A higher CFU doesn’t mean the product is better, a lower dose may actually be just as effective (if at all).
Slam dunk that one into the bullsh*t bin! We are BIG believers that wellness shouldn’t be a middle-class luxury. You don’t need to spend lots of money on superfoods, potions and ‘fixes’ to look after your gut. There are simple steps you can take that don’t need to be expensive (it really can be as easy as adding more variety into your diet!).
We’ve got heaps of advice from experts across different fields over on our site and info on where to get support if you’ve gut issues. Just head on over to the tips section of our website.
“Mental health is caused by poor gut health” – throw that one in the bullsh*t bin.
We’re just starting to understand the impact our gut health has on our minds, but it isn’t the only factor that can influence the way we feel. It’s far too simple to say poor gut health affects mental health alone.
There’s some great research looking into the use of probiotics on mental health and the link between mental health and IBS.