Recode editor Matthew Himmelstein talks to two of the experts who have come up with the best way to make the transition.
First, we’ve got Dr. David Ludwig, a gastroenterologist who is also a podiatrist.
Ludwig, who runs a gastro-enterology practice in California, says the easiest way to stop a stomach full of raw food is to simply not eat it.
“What we do is if we get the stomach full and we don’t eat anything, the stomach will release some enzymes that will inhibit the growth of a potentially dangerous bacteria, which is the growth factor-related growth factor (G-FAM) tumor,” he explains.
The other expert is Dr. Stephen Miller, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who has a specialty in gastroenterology.
“I don’t think we need to stop eating, because you can still do the right things,” Miller says.
“If you don’t do the wrong things, you won’t be able to make a good gut microbiome, and you’ll probably not be able make good health decisions, and it’s not going to change the underlying problem.”
A new study from Ludwig and Miller suggests that even though it’s important to eat a healthy diet, a person’s gut can be more effective at protecting itself from toxins and bacteria than a diet that’s full of refined carbohydrates and sugar.
“This means we can get a lot of benefit from a balanced diet, but that balanced diet should be balanced with a healthy gut microbiome,” Ludwig says.
So how do you know which diet is right for you?
“I think a good question to ask is, are you healthy, are your gut microbiome balanced, and do you need to be eating more carbohydrates or sugar?”
Ludwig says, “There are a lot that you can eat, and a lot more that you don, and there’s a lot you can’t.
But if you eat a lot less and you’re eating a lot fewer refined carbohydrates, you can have a very different gut microbiome than someone who’s eating a whole lot more.”
He adds that we have to balance a healthy microbiome with the overall health of the gut, but “I’m not going around saying, ‘This is healthy, you need this and you need that.’
It’s not a choice.
It’s a fact of life.”
For example, it’s often suggested that eating a diet high in sugar, and not getting enough sleep, can lead to diabetes.
Ludwig says that’s not true.
“There’s not necessarily a correlation between sugar and diabetes,” he says.
Rather, “the amount of sugar that we’re eating is what’s really contributing to the development of diabetes, not the amount of sleep that we get.”
So if you’re concerned about diabetes, eating a balanced, healthy diet isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If you’re worried about diabetes and have a high sugar intake, Ludwig says you can try reducing your sugar intake by up to half.
He also recommends trying to cut out all processed foods from your diet, and avoiding sugary drinks, processed meat, and processed snacks.
But Ludwig says we should also focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, and limit processed foods.
“The problem with most people is they have a low gut microbiome that’s in a state where they’re not making enough of a difference to the way their gut is functioning,” Ludwig adds.
“And that’s a huge thing to have to address.”
The Bottom Line On balance, the right diet can help you make healthy choices, but it can also be more difficult to stick to.
If your gut isn’t functioning well, it could be making it difficult to eat the right kind of food.
If that’s the case, it can be a sign that your gut is growing and needs to be treated.
If the problem isn’t making you hungry, but rather a problem with your gut bacteria, it may be time to try a different diet.
“We have to recognize that we don´t have all the answers,” Ludwig concludes.
“It’s a complex issue, and we’re just trying to figure it out.”
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