digestion  GI  GImapping  weightloss
By Chris Jones, DC, DNM
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Today I want to tackle 5 Common Myths that I often hear when it comes to gut health. These misconceptions are important to discuss because it can drastically change your perspective, and in turn, your treatment plan. 

Let’s dive in! 

“Eating dairy yogurt is good for your gut.” 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. When the subject of “gut health” is brought up, there is always someone who starts talking about “probiotic yogurt” in the same breath. 

“I’m all about gut health, I eat a container of —- brand yogurt every day which has live and active cultures in it!” they say. 

Most people have the idea that eating a container of flavored yogurt that is covered in advertising about “gut health” is the silver bullet in caring for the digestive system. Unfortunately, it’s simply not true. The reality of the matter is that most flavored yogurts are a) filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners b) highly inflammatory for most people. Dairy is actually one of the most common trigger foods and irritants to the gut and digestive system. While there are a few people that may enjoy kefir or yogurt from a local raw-dairy farm, the majority of the American public is grabbing yogurt off the shelves of a grocery store which is highly processed, filled with additives, irritants, and sugar, and has very little health benefits - despite what the labels say. 

Don’t fall prey to smart advertising. There are much more effective strategies for improving gut health that don’t involve a plastic container of yogurt. 

“Being constipated doesn’t affect your ability to lose weight.” 

I’m going to dive right into a topic that most people shy away from talking about. And that is how often you poop. We’re not in the habit of patting our buddy on the back and checking how many BM’s he’s had so far this week or letting a group of friends know that we’re feeling a little constipated the same way we would complain about a headache. Because it’s a taboo subject, many of us don’t actually know what normal is when it comes to digestion. We only know our own experiences and, without anything to compare it to, it seems more or less normal. 

Fortunately for you, I’ve got the “inside scoop” so-to-speak on all things related to digestion. I hear about people’s bathroom troubles constantly. Gut health and digestive issues are my profession. As such, I can tell exactly what normal is. You should be having 1-2 nice-n-easy bowel movements a day. Only having 3-4 BMs a week is not normal. On the flipside, being glued to the toilet 5-6 times a day with loose, watery stools is also not normal. 

Here’s where the myth comes in, two of them actually. First, many people think that having only 3-4 good bowel movements a week is normal. It’s not. Secondly, many people think that constipation isn’t affecting their ability to lose weight. Actually, it is. Proper digestion is an integral part of the weight loss process. It’s also the key to achieving that flat belly you’ve been looking for. You can’t do enough sit-ups or crunches in the world to make up for bad digestion. 

“I don’t have any severe GI symptoms so my gut must be healthy.” 

Many people assume that the only indicator of gut health issues or food sensitivities is potty problems. This leads them to believe that if they don’t have awful gas or stomach cramps or diarrhea, they must not have any gut health issues or food sensitivities. 

It is true that digestive disturbances are some of the best indicators that you have a GI or gut related issue. But these aren’t the only indicators. Skin breakouts, headaches, hives, eczema, joint pain, fatigue, and brain fog are just a few of hundreds of other indicators that you have a gut related issue or food sensitivity. 

Don’t assume that just because you’re not having potty problems you don’t have gut health issues that need to be addressed or food sensitivities that need to be dealt with. 

“All probiotic supplements are the same, any brand will do the trick” 

Nowadays, you can walk into any local pharmacy, grocery store, or big convenient store and pull a multivitamin off the shelf. The labeling will claim that it’s designed to cover all your vitamin and nutrient needs and the entire 30-day supply will only set you back about $10. Seems like a good bang for your buck, right? So why are the supplements your natural wellness practitioner suggested more expensive? They both say, “high in this vitamin” and “300% of your daily needs of that vitamin” and so on and so on. Why the price difference? 

Here's what I would say: Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. Not all supplements are created equal. The difference in quality can vary quite drastically when it comes to vitamins and supplements. With one you’ll likely receive little to no benefit from, while the other can do wonders for your body. 

What’s the main difference between low quality supplements and their higher quality counterparts? 

Synthetic Vitamin Forms

Synthetic vitamins are isolated vitamins. These vitamins are compounds, created in a lab, that mimic natural vitamins like biotin, Vitamin D, or many others. On the back of a multivitamin label, you’ll see a lot of long, complex-looking chemical names associated with the various nutrient components of the product.

Lower quality supplements are much cheaper to manufacture but are often harder to break down and pass through the digestive lining making them less affective.

Unnecessary Binders, Preservatives, and Coatings

Supplements require product stability and adequate preservation to ensure quality from the manufacturer to your mouth. While a long shelf life is needed, it also must come in a delivery form (capsules, pills, gummies) that can be broken down and become usable to the body when swallowed. These factors make it necessary for all supplements to contain at least some additives rather than exclusively active ingredients. The variance between quality in binders, additives, coating, and preservatives is massive. The low-quality versions are unhealthy and toxic for the body and should be avoided. Additionally, some supplement companies add lactose and gluten to their products. While these may be in small amounts, if you are dealing with a sensitivity or intolerance, it can be a big problem.

Mineral Oxides, Salts, and Carbonates

Minerals are not generated by the body and can only be obtained through food or supplements. Many require stomach acid to be effectively broken down and properly utilized. Again, cheaper, low-quality supplements are often harder to break down and pass through the digestive lining. 

Artificial Sweeteners, Flavors, and Dyes Synthetic Colors

Supplement companies know that if you are given the choice between swallowing a horse pill that tastes like grass or pounding back a few fruit punch flavored gummies, you’re going to pick the gummies. I’m not saying that all gummies are bad for your health, but it is important to pay attention to exactly what companies are using to create the candy-like experience. Steer away from dyes such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and aspartame, as well as artificial flavors. 

When choosing supplements, go for quality. At the bare minimum, make sure that what you buy has the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) stamp which is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA)’s final regulation on dietary supplements with stringent requirements for companies. Additionally, learn how to spot natural ingredients over synthetics and have an eye for low-quality additives and preservatives. If you can find a company that does third party clinical testing, that is optimal for ensuring quality and integrity. 

“Your GI symptoms are random - there’s no way to really know what makes you bloated, gassy, or upset in the stomach” 

Many people are dealing with digestive disturbances constantly and have resigned themselves to living this way. We’ve come to normalize bad gas or bloating or constipation as if it’s a natural occurrence with no rhyme or reason behind it. Some people who are dealing with severe symptoms understand that there is some kind of problem but don’t seem to think that there is any real way to diagnose the problem or find out exactly what’s causing it. 

“Well I tried to get off gluten for a few weeks and it didn’t change anything so I guess I’ll never really know why it happens or what causes it.” I’ve heard this too many times.  

Many people see digestive issues like having a headache. It’s there and it’s uncomfortable, but there’s no way to know why it happened, you just gotta ride it out and manage the discomfort. 

On this subject, I would say very clearly and firmly that there are ways to get conclusive answers. One of the benefits in the advancement of modern medicine is the ability to test, not guess what is going on in your gut. I have seen the visible relief and surprise on hundreds of my clients' faces when they get conclusive test results back and have proof, evidence, and a clear diagnosis of what is going on inside their body. 

Don’t spend your life waiting, guessing, or managing pain and discomfort when there are proven tests available to help you diagnose exactly what’s going on inside your body. 

If you’re ready to get conclusive answers on a health issue you’re dealing with, I invite you to set up a free consultation with me. We’ll discuss your symptoms and goals and see if one of my programs is a fit for you. Just click here

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