Gut health has become very popular over the last years. As there are a lot of information on the internet and other channels, this trending topic can get confusing. In this weeks article we take a closer look at four gut health myths and related misconceptions.
Myth #1: You should be pooping once per day
According to experts, pooping regularly can mean anything from three bowel movements per day to three a week. In fact, there isn't a magic number of times you should poop a day. The frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person and is dependent on several factors, including ones age, nutrition, fiber intake, lifestyle and stress levels.
Your overall health and how you feel internally is more important than the number of times you poop a day, however, if your poop schedule is something you are concerned about, start by paying closer attention to the changes in frequency/ consistency of your bowels movements. For instance, if you go from pooping daily for months to going twice per week and feeling uncomfortable and bloated, you should consider looking further into what is causing this problem.
In the meantime you can check out the Bristol Stool Chart to find out your poop type and whether your bowel movements are normal or not.
Myth #2: Fiber causes Bloating/Stomach Discomfort
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's review the basics about fiber. Dietary fiber - mainly found in fruits, vegetables whole grains and legumes is probably best known for its ability to relieve and prevent constipation. However, consuming a diet high in fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease and some types of cancer.
Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn't difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the top foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks in our latest Article: Top 26-High Fiber Foods You Should Eat Every Day.
However, if you are not used to consuming a high-fiber diet and all of the sudden decide to change your eating habits, keep in mind that your digestive system takes time to adjust to any dietary changes. Therefore, we recommend slowly increasing your fiber intake to avoid any abdominal bloating, discomfort or digestive distress. In addition, make sure to increase your water intake when consuming more fiber. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.
Another way to get started on your fiber journey is to begin by adding a high quality fiber supplement such as Fiber G to your routine. Fiber G contains just the right amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber to get you started. It's a great way to start increasing your daily fiber intake without any of the common side effects + it tastes absolutely amazing.
Myth #3: Bloating is completely normal. Everyone deals with it.
Correct. Everyone has experienced bloating at least once in their lifetime and this could be due to various reasons, including:
- Eating Related (eating too quickly, overeating, eating foods you are intolerant to etc.)
- Lack of Hydration
- Stress & Poor Sleep
- Changes in Hormones
However, these days people on social media are promoting the idea that bloating is something we all should normalize. I'm sure you have seen someone posting a before and after belly photo with the caption "I don't walk around with a six pack 24 hours a day. This is my belly before and after eating. It is totally normal to get bloated after consuming food". As much as their efforts are well-intended, they are perpetuating this myth that bloating is normal and just something that we all deal with.
Here’s the thing, there is a difference between COMMON and NORMAL.
It’s incredibly common to feel bloated after the ingestion of meals (especially since so many of us are dealing with hidden digestive issues), but no, this does not mean that it is normal. If you are experiencing chronic bloating or find that no matter what you eat/drink results in GI discomfort it may be a sign that something in your digestive tract is off and needs to be further looked into. Chronic Bloating might be a result of the following:
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Disease)
- SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
- Food Intolerances/Food Sensitivities etc.
Therefore, it is best to seek professional care if you think you may be dealing with any of the conditions mentioned above to prevent symptoms from worsening.
Myth #4: Probiotic Supplements cure all Gut Issues
Probiotics are often referred to as "the cure-all" when it comes to managing gut health, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast present in the gut microbiome that help the intestines break down food. Probiotics are labeled as the “good” or “healthy” bacteria because they help to fight off pathogens and keep the gut function optimally. Probiotics supplements can help reestablish a healthy gut microbiome, but but lifestyle changes are needed to heal the gut and prevent gut health problems.
Lastly, you need both prebiotics and probiotics. It’s a synergistic relationship. Without prebiotics as fuel, probiotics would starve — leaving you open to a host of problems, such as leaky gut, a compromised immune system, and constipation. And with no probiotics around to eat them, prebiotics would be of little value to your gut.
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- Bjarnadottir, Adda. “Carrots 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.”Healthline, Healthline Media, 3 May 2019, www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/carrots#:~:text=6%20%2C%207%20).
- Dreher, Mark L, and Adrienne J Davenport. “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects.”Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Taylor & Francis, 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/.
- Fiber content of foods in common portions. Harvard University Health Services. Website: http://huhs.harvard.edu/assets/File/OurServices/Service_Nutrition_Fiber.pdf. Accessed December 10, 2015.
- UCSF Health. “Increasing Fiber Intake.”Ucsfhealth.Org, 22 June 2021, www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing-fiber-intake#:%7E:text=Total%20dietary%20fiber%20intake%20should,about%20half%20the%20recommended%20amount.
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