Food and Behaviour Research

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This Is Your Gut on Sugar

by Markham Heid

Photo by Mike Hughes, FreeImages

Researchers are finally uncovering the exact ways that sugar disrupts the GI tract


This excellent blog by Markham Heid is well worth reading in full, and we've provided only selected, slightly edited extracts below to encourage you to do so. (NB - emphasis in bold or italics is ours).

The author explains very clearly several different ways that sugar damages gut health - on which both our physical and mental health depend - drawing on on interviews with Professor Robert Lustig, a leading authority on sugar, and other experts.

An unhealthy balance of gut microbes - known as 'dysbiosis' - is linked not only with digestive problems, but with impaired immune function (including allergies and auto-immune disorders), and with many different disorders of the brain and nervous system.

Excess sugar encourages gut dysbiosis (by several different mechanisms) - and also promotes inflammation, as this article explains.

As added sugars are found in most of the ultra-processed foods and drinks that now dominate modern, western-type diets, the best way to avoid the damage this causes is simply to eat real, whole or minimally processed foods as far as possible.

And for a healthy gut microbiome, eating a variety of natural foods rich in dietary fibre, such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrains is particularly important, as well as including some traditional fermented foods (such as live natural yogurts, sauerkraut or kimchi).