Monday, February 25, 2013

Blame the Beans?

Gas rumors don't just start at the pump. Most intestinal gas results from fiber additives (inulin, chicory root extract, sorbitol and maltitol) in many processed or manufactured food items bearing the "high fiber" claim on the label. Thought beans, cabbage and milk are the usual suspects, many additives can be the cause of the exponential amounts resulting in bloating, cramps, or diarrhea. Inulin, along with other more complex sugars known as oliosaccharides are sugars our digestive enzymes can not break down. It ferments in the large intestine; a process that produces gas. Beans also contain such sugars, but soaking dried beans, combined with the cooking process remove most of the culprits. Over-the-counter enzyme remedies help with digestion of the sugars to prevent the gas producing fermentation process.
Some sugar free candies, sodas, and gum contain the sugar alcohols mentioned. Some fiber enriched snack items contain as much as 9 grams of inulin, where a serving of beans only contains 3 grams of the oligosaccharides.
Instead of avoiding the whole foods that provide the best nutrition, check the label of your favorite granola bar, cereal, or yogurt. You may be avoiding the wrong food. Though intestinal gas is un-welcomed, it is not harmful.

~American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1998

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Colon Cleansing...REALLY??

Labels of such products promise to "cleanse, detox, regulate." Some include a bonus "liver cleanser, gastro cleanser," and pills for "kidney health." And those are just the products you swallow. A more motivated person would try the colonic irrigation kits. Do we need to clean our colons and other organs? Absolutely not, according to Ranit Mishori, physician and associate professor of family medicine at Georgetown University. The claims of eliminating your body of toxins to reduce allergies, depression, or whatever is completely unfounded. Our bodies are designed to rid itself of toxins. If anything, taking pills only adds to the work our kidneys do everyday, and liver enzymes are produced and used within the liver. Enzymes you take orally get destroyed long before they can make it to the liver. Colonic cleansers, or "enema's on steroids" have proven fatal. Lawsuits in several states are pending. Such a practice began in ancient times and became  popular in the early 1900's until the American Medical Association condemned the practice in 1919. Such use of "colonic cleansers" upsets the bacterial balance of the gutt, which interrupts the enzyme activities and absorption of nutrients. This imbalance leads to lower GI upsets, inflammation, and reduced immunity from infection & disease. There are much safer interventions to detox and de-stress our bodies. Yoga, walking, talking, a glass of wine, daily servings of vegetables, water. I'll opt for the latter...
 ~ Journal of Family Practice, 2011
 ~American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2009