That gut feeling

In the mid-1980’s, my sister began a science project in our garage, with mice. She prepared two cages of mice. One cage of mice were fed nothing but junk food such as cookies. The other cage of mice were fed whole grains. The cage of whole grain mice stayed well-groomed and created very neat and tidy little nests. The cage of junk food mice was a complete mess. The mice were spastic and unable to groom themselves or make anything that resembled a nest. Then, my sister switched their diets. The results also switched. The original junk food mice became neat and orderly and the original whole grain mice completely lost their ability to function on the cookie diet. Then, a snake found our garage, and ended the experiment.

Judy Foreman, author of Exercise is Medicine, contributed the Boston Globe article sub-titled, Practical Proven Methods for Staying Healthy and Active Later in Life, from which came the inspiration for this entry. Don’t worry if you are unable to open the link without a subscription. There are so many facets to this article, I plan to cover each topic in a separate post.

Over the years since my sister’s science project, scientists have continually published evidence supporting her conclusion, junk food is bad for you. In more recent years, scientific studies have revealed additional relationships between junk food and the gut; more specifically to its role causing inflammation and disruptions to our microbiome. However, since the exact human microbiome is not yet reproducible in a laboratory, we may not understand the exact mechanism by which this happens for quite a while. There are many items being marketed right now, still unproven without testing on the identical bacterial strains found in our gut. Yet, the conclusion is simple and clear. Junk food is bad.

According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, the following are good to include in your diet:

  • “blueberries, cocoa, tea, coffee, and other foods rich in fiber, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans, and minimally-processed whole grains…”
  • “fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as cheeses that have been aged but not heated afterward, such as aged feta, Swiss, provolone, Gouda, cheddar, Gruyere and cottage cheese” are also good.
  • Less red meat

I have a personal weakness for cookies and ice cream but definitely planning to decrease my intake. More tips on staying healthy and active longer, coming soon.

Foreman, Judy. “Forget Wordle. Here are 5 secrets to living better, longer. Practical, proven methods for staying healthy and active later in life.” The Boston Globe. 13 Oct. 2022.

Featured Photo of Mouse by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

15 thoughts on “That gut feeling

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  1. Sugar is awful for you. I used to give a presentation in libraries for children called “Make Art Out of Recyclables.” Whenever children were served cookies (by the librarian) prior to the presentation, they were unruly and didn’t want to sit still to create art. The children who didn’t have a snack made beautiful artwork. The difference was like night and day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the mouse experiment! I wish it was on a video so teachers and administrators at schools and churches could watch it. I tried in vain to get them to stop giving sweet snacks to my kids in their classes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When my children were in school, decades ago, the school encouraged healthy snacks of fruits and vegetables, ants on a log, apple slices, oranges, etc. But my granddaughter has to bring snacks that are packaged – not homemade, and no nuts or peanut butter. The schools say it is health reasons, not everyone’s kitchen would pass a health inspection. Sugar does have an impact on people, some more than others.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Last week . cardiologist and I discussed diet. He said he’d rather see me eating big drippy hamburgers than sub sandwiches packed with processed meats because of the salt they contain. Of course he’s not recommending those fat drippy hamburgers and that I certainly drastically reduce meats, sugars and salt. More vegetables and exercise and no smoking (140 days no cigarettes for me) . Then there’s the matter of fruits. I lost the argument re strawberry ice cream, banana split ice cream and orange sherbert counting as fruit. But isn’t chocolate made from beans so chocolate ice cream should count as a vegetable along with lemon marang pie as a fruit?

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  5. I really liked this post. I have been working with my gastroenterologist because of my gerd and found that I was one of those people who was guilty of eating a lot of junk food as well as fast food mainly because of convenience. Believe me, to cut it out was a true lifestyle change that I’m still in the process of working on. But I noticed a difference in how my body felt. I do confess though, soda is still something that I have trouble cutting out of my life because that’s one of my vices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy for you! I love junk food but you are absolutely right that once you cut it out of your diet, you see how much it was making you sick. Learning to prep healthy snacks for the week is one of the hardest things for me. Our son and daughter-in-law though are very dedicated. Sundays are their food prep days.


    2. Have you ever tried watering down your sodas? Sodas have made me sick to my stomach since childhood, yet I love them on certain occasions. I tend to water them down so they don’t upset my stomach so much. Using plenty of ice uses about half the amount you would drink from the can.

      Liked by 1 person

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