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Digestion & Gut Health Archives - Dietetic Directions - Dietitian and Nutritionist in Kitchener/Waterloo
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Digestion & Gut Health Tag

Do you need a Spring Cleanse?

The word “detox” or “cleanse” sounds so powerful, right? Like it will work some serious magic. Advocates of the “cleanse diet” say it will reset your body; improve energy, digestion, metabolism etc. But does it? What is involved in this drinkable concoction and is it worth your hard earned cash? As a society, we are still easily drawn in by the “quick fix” – especially for weight loss. After all, with advancing science, there must be something that actually works, stays true to their big (empty) promises and actually keeps the weight off? Sorry folks, spoiler alert, still no magic bullet for weight loss. Cleanses are gaining traction in...

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Kefir Fever

When strolling down the dairy aisle have you noticed kefir, a cousin of yogurt? Kefir (pronounced “kuh-FEER") is a dairy beverage made by adding kefir “grains”, which are pellets of yeast bacteria, to milk and heating it to produce a drink. Kefir is like a “drinkable yogurt” with a similar taste, but with a much higher probiotic content! In fact, kefir contains 10 to 20 different probiotic strains whereas yogurt has only a few. Today, we will learn more about kefir and do a general comparison between yogurt and kefir. To begin, it is important to note that probiotics are the “good bacteria” that when consumed in the...

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Digestive Health: Exploring the ‘Gut-Brain’ Connection

It is well known that signals from our brain impact our stomach or gut. Think back to a time where you were extremely worried about a looming presentation and then felt butterflies in your stomach, a lump in your throat and noticed a change in your bowel movements. This is a demonstration of how your digestive system automatically responds to emotions experienced. However, have you ever wondered if these same signals can travel in the opposite direction, so that your gut can communicate to your brain and impact things like your emotional state? It appears that our gut is smarter than we anticipated and is in fact,...

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Inulin causing Gas or Bloating?

This is a follow-up to my previous blog post entitled, the Scoop on Inulin.  We have already discussed how inulin is a type of fibre that many food manufactures use to achieve a “high fibre”claim on their products.  Today, I will delve into how inulin works in the body and why some people experience symptoms of intolerance (ie. gas, bloating, stomach pain or diarrhea). How inulin works in the body: Upon ingestion of inulin, this type of fibre moves through the body undigested (like other fibres) and into the large intestine where it is fermented by your intestinal bacteria.   This is why inulin is more specifically called a ‘prebiotic fibre’ meaning that it feeds the existing, healthy gut bacteria allowing them to...

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The Scoop on Inulin

With all the hype on high fibre foods and their associated health benefits, it is no wonder that we are seeing more and more products emerge on grocery shelves boasting the extremely sought-after high fibre claim. This blog will explore one of the most common ways that these high fibre claims are achieved, which is often through the use of an ingredient called inulin. What is Inulin?  Inulin naturally occurs in some plants and is a type of dietary fibre since the human body cannot digest it. More specifically, inulin is a fructan, which is basically a fancy word to imply that there are fructose (sugar) components.   Fructans occur in foods such as asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions and artichokes and...

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Holiday Heartburn?

The National Library of Medicine defines Heartburn as the painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid travels up into your esophagus from your stomach. Nearly everyone will experience heartburn; however, if you experience heartburn more than twice a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short.   For those with GERD, medical treatment is sometimes necessary as recommended by your physician. Prevalence:  It is estimated by Canadian Digestion Health Foundation that 5 million Canadians experience heartburn at least one time per week!   Similarly, the lost productivity from those who suffer each year amounts to $2.1 billion. What can you do about Heartburn: Whether you have occasional heartburn or chronic issues with GERD, there are dietary and lifestyle factors that play a major role.  Here are my top...

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Gluten, where are you hiding?

If you are a member of the population avoiding gluten (protein found in wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats) you are not alone on your journey!  In fact, you are also not alone if you have an overwhelming feeling that gluten could be subtly hiding where you least expect it!  Sound familiar? If so, this article is for you :) First, for those on a Gluten Free (GF) diet, the importance of LABEL READING each and everyproduct label every time cannot be over-emphasized!!  Even if you previously purchased a product (let’s say a brand of rice crackers) and checked the label to determine that it is a ‘safe’ GF product, you STILL NEED to read the label when you purchase the same product again.  Manufactures can change...

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Is your Bowel Irritable?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an all too common condition also known as “spastic colon”.  It leads to symptoms such as abdominal cramping, pain, gas, bloating and/or a change in bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation) and lasting for over three months.  The exact cause of IBS is unknown and the onset is generally in the teenage years. For reasons unknown, it is twice as common in woman compared to men. If you are someone affected by IBS, you are not alone. It is estimated that 1 out of 6 people have irritable bowel. The severity of the symptoms mentioned above range from mild to severe depending on the individual. The triggers...

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