Gutfull - Episode 4, Diversity is King

January 25, 2023

Gutfull - Episode 4, Diversity is King

Topics of Interest

Available On: Audible (Free)

Time: 30 minutes

Summary: From various plant foods to different fibres, understand why diversity matters in your diet and how to optimise your hut health.

From what we curently know about the microbriome, the diversity of bugs present is king. No one group gets to dominate and it is healhtiest when there are lots of different species and groups all sharing recources nicely.

Diversity is also the clue to the healthiest possible diet ot fule them and us. Moist important is the diversity of plant food, which will bring the required fibres and chemicals into your gut.

what is Fibre?

They're all forms of carboydrates. But these Fibres are ones that cannot be proben down by humans. So they pass through our small intenstive largely unchanged. However, many can be broken down by our partners in the digestve process - our microbiota.

We can gain al of the benefits of a rich plant based diet by ensuring we have diversity in our gut microbiota.

Fibre is needed for regular bowel movements.

However, not all fibres are effective at helping bowel movements stay regular.

25-30g a day for fibre is the recommended amount for most of us.

There are many different types of fibre. The diversity of fibre TYPES in your diet is what helps feed your gut microbiota.

Not all fibres are food for your microbes. Fibres can be broken down into solube and insoluble fibres.


  • Roughage (stalks of brocoolli, skins and woody parts of seeds, nuts, and legumes, outer layers of whole grains)
  • Like a broom sweeping the gut contents along
  • These are the ones to keep to regular
  • Can be fermented by the microbes to use as fuel. FOr example, fibre in whole grain wheat is largely insulubale fibre. About a 3rd of it is fermentable
  • As they pass through, they combine toxins and other nasties carrying them out of your body
  • Keeping your gut contents moving along, they help to stop potentially damaging compounds lingering around where they can do harm to body cells.
  • They help to carry the fibres that are fermentable throughout the length of the colon, ensuring that there are some fuel left of the microbes at the end of the colon so they can do their fermentation. Most colon cancers occur in that latter section and it is one of the proudcts of fermantattaiton. The short change fatty acid buturate that is used ot fuel the colonic cells lining the colon helping to keep them healthy. It lowers the PH and this is important to prevent cancerous changes occuring Buturate also reduces inflammation and procudes mucus in the gut lining. That is key to the integiry of the gut lining, ensuring it is robust enough to function as it should.
  • Whole grains - They have a whole bunch of antioxidents bound to them.

Leaky Gut - Keeping your gut lining robust is key for gut health. You want to have lots of fermentation happening producing lots of buturate supporting a healthy gut wall

Whole grains can also contain soluble fibres. These disolve in water and this explains some of their different effects. once within your gut, they absorb water and swell to form some form of gel. The gels slows down the access of digestive enzymes to the food ingredients. It slows down those that breaks down the carbohydrates in the meal into their simple sugar building blocks, principally glucose. Starch is essentially long changes of glucose units, and to be absorbed into the body to be used for energy production, digestive enzymes must break down these chains and free the glucose ready for absorption across the intestinal wall into the blood stream.

Slowing that process down is usually a good thing, as it helps us control our blood glucose levels after eating. We call the rise and fall of glycemic response. And the GI is a physiological measure or how fast that food or drink will raise your glucose levels, compared to consuming pure glucose in water.

Bile is made in your liver, and contains cholestorol. it is then stored in your gall bladder, which then squrits the bile into the upper part of your small intenstine when you consume fat. Bile is emulsifier, helping to break the fat up into small droplets suspended in the wate rintenstial contens. Allowing the digestive enzymes ot break the fat down further into its various components ready for absorption. The chelstiral in your bile is usually reabsorbed down the end of your intenstine and reused within the body.

We don't want too much cholestoral and we want it in the right places. Some fibres can reduce the reabsoprtion . Beta glucone precense in oats and barley repsonsibel for cholestoral reducing.

When soluble reach the colon - most of them become food for the microbiota. Some can only use fibre as fuel whereas others can choose. Microbes can switch to protein instead.

When carbs aka fibre are fermented, we get all the feels. The buturate that fuels healthy gut cells and all sorts of signalling molecules that account for beneficial change throughout the body.

Although some protein fermentation is a good thing, it's a question of balance. Too much protein fermentation gets stinky, but it can also produce toxic substances that have a damaging effect on our health. Some metabolites produced have inflammatory effects. You don't want it in excess, that's all.

High animal meat, and low fibres will increase pro inflammatory metabolites in the gut, Not a good thing.

One more special type of fibre - resistant starch. It boosts the growth of buturate producting bacteria. Difficult to measure in diets because it can occur naturally in some foods (like firm bananas) but also in whole grains and legumes. It is also made in many starchy foods when they are cooked and cools (potatos, rice and pasta). when it cools after cooking, some of it retrogrades changing its structure. This makes it resistant to our digestive enzymes and we can't break it down. It reaches the colon and your microbiome devourers it.

15-20 grams a days of resistant starch. (bread, legumes, canned beans/lentins, green bananas)

Importance of water

Ingest water with fibre rich food. if you dont, your body will draw water into your gut, leaving you dehydrated.

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