Click here to learn more about Gut Insight by Jo Ann Hattner with Susan Anderes Click here for reviews about Gut Insight Click here for press about Gut Insight Click here for resources regarding probiotics, prebiotics and digestive health. Click here for to review our Frequently Asked Questions. Contact Us Purchase a copy of Gut Insight

Inside the Book

Table of Contents

Why I Wrote It

Samples From Chapters

About the Authors

Why An e-Book?

e-Consult Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Are probiotics a waste of money? I read some news articles that said so.

I have a recipe for Greek cucumber yogurt sauce that calls for Greek yogurt. Can I use my favorite brand of regular nonfat yogurt?

About 2 days after opening my 32 oz carton of plain yogurt, I find there is a watery layer on the top. If I pour it off would I be discarding anything of value?

I have been reading about probiotics as "protective" against the flu. Should I be giving them to my family of two young children and a healthy husband?

I recently saw sheep’s milk yogurt in my supermarket. Would you please educate me about this yogurt?

In your point of view, what are the best prebiotic foods?

What do you think of probiotic supplements?


What is a probiotic?

What is a prebiotic?

What is probiotic gum?

What are probiotic straws, how is that possible?


What about kombucha?

 

Are probiotics a waste of money? I read some news articles that said so.

We have seen those recent articles postulating that probiotics in general have no benefit for healthy adults and are a waste of money. These articles seem to be from media outlets rather than authoritative scientific or medical sources. We have read the paper to which they are referring (citation and link to full text below) and we have some thoughts.

The paper was not original research, rather a review of previously published reaearch studies. The paper did not say there was a no health benefit of probiotics. What they concluded was:

“Based on our review of the available RCTs [randomized controlled trials], we find there is a lack of evidence to conclude whether or not there is an effect of probiotics on fecal microbiota composition in healthy adults, as assessed by high-throughput molecular techniques.”

The authors also suggest further research.

We have some additional opinions:

The paper looked at healthy people who were taking probiotic supplements. We feel that healthy people can benefit by ingesting probiotics and prebiotics in foods. Healthy adults — if they have to take antibiotics, might benefit from eating some natural sources of live active cultures, for example yogurt or kefir. In addition, they might find a benefit if they suffer from constipation or if they are traveling and want to prevent gut disturbances during travel.

Older adults have decreased gut diversity compared to younger adults. Ingesting yogurt or kefir, in addition to eating prebiotic containing foods to support their healthy gut microbiota can benefit them.

We also advocate that healthy people eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods contain prebiotic fibers that enhance the beneficial bacteria in the gut. We are recommending real food not supplements. Only your doctor should be recommending supplements and then only those which contain bacterial strains with real research behind them.

If you eat real food and pay attention to your gut, you will be able to adjust your intake of certain foods for optimum gut well-being. Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir with live active cultures are healthy, minimally-processed foods and belong in most diets.

Kristensen NB, Bryrup T, Allin KH, Nielsen T, Hansen TH, Pedersen O. Alterations in fecal microbiota composition by probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Genome Med. 2016 May 10;8(1):52. doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0300-5. PubMed PMID: 27159972; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4862129.

See also: Daily Beast Fails in Its Reporting on Probiotics

I have a recipe for Greek cucumber yogurt sauce that calls for Greek yogurt. Can I use my favorite brand of regular nonfat yogurt?

Yes, you can, but you need to drain it first.

Ellie Krieger in her cookbook The Food You Crave recommends spooning the yogurt into a strainer lined with paper towels and let sit for 30 minutes. I tried it with 1 cup of yogurt and it worked beautifully. Remember the liquid that drains off is full of nutrients so you may want to add that to your favorite juice or milk and drink it down.

Top

About 2 days after opening my 32 oz carton of plain yogurt, I find there is a watery layer on the top. If I pour it off would I be discarding anything of value?

The short answer is yes, you would be discarding a nutrient filled liquid.

I contacted Springfield Creamery in Eugene Oregon who helped me identify the liquid as acid whey. It contains valuable nutrients, whey protein and carbohydrate as well as minerals calcium, phosphorus and potassium. It probably also contains some of the active cultures.

I suggest you just stir it back into the yogurt, however, if you like the thicker yogurt that results when you pour off the liquid then rather than discarding it mix it with a little juice and drink it down. That way you receive all the natural nutrients of the yogurt.

Top

I have been reading about probiotics as "protective" against the flu. Should I be giving them to my family of two young children and a healthy husband?

The flu is expected to hit us hard this fall and winter. Pregnant women, children, and young adults are particularly at risk. Research supports that probiotics can optimize your immunity, which is just what you and your family need for protection.

An interesting study was just published in Pediatrics (Probiotics Effects on Cold and Influenza–Like Symptom Incidence and Duration in Children. Leyer GJ, Li S, Mubasher ME, Reifer C, Ouwehand AC. Pediatrics 2009, Volume 124: e172-e179) which reported that probiotic consumption over the course of 6 months reduced fever, cough, and runny nose symptoms in children. They also found a trend towards more positive results with a combination of strains. I think an important.htmlect of their study results is that, if we can use probiotics to reduce symptoms, we can decrease antibiotic use in early life. This is a win-win for you and your family. Check out Gut Insight for a listing of products, all natural food sources, that you can incorporate into your family’s daily diet.

Top

I recently saw sheep’s milk yogurt in my supermarket. Would you please educate me about this yogurt?

Sheep’s milk yogurt is available in some supermarkets — we have it in the San Francisco Bay Area produced by Bellwether Farms in Sonoma County. I tried it recently and it is delicious with a rich, creamy taste. Because it has a higher solids content, it’s nutrient profile has an advantage over cow’s milk, particularly in minerals such as calcium.

The yogurt at Bellwether is made from pasteurized sheep’s milk and the live active cultures L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, L. acidophilus, and Bifidus are added after pasteurization. Fruit is on the bottom. Bellwether Farms web site is www.bellwetherfarms.com/sheeps-milk-yogurt.

If you live in the Eastern US, you can find sheep’s milk yogurt in the Hudson Valley made by Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, on the Web at www.blacksheepcheese.com/yogurt_facts.html.

Top

In your point of view, what are the best prebiotic foods?

Prebiotics, which are the fuel for probiotics, keep beneficial bacteria in your gut thriving. Gut Insight provides a listing of prebiotic food sources that have been identified in the scientific literature. Wild onions are pictured on the cover of the book since onions, garlic, and leeks are among the most common sources of prebiotics. I find it fascinating that these foods are used all over the world in so many cuisines. Additional sources common to our diet are whole wheat and bananas. Again it is interesting that bananas are such a familiar food and one of the first foods we feed to babies is ripe banana. Then there are the less common foods that we are beginning to see in our open markets: dandelion greens and burdock. You can view photos of these “exotic prebiotics” in Gut Insight.

Top

What do you think of probiotic supplements?

Gut Insight's focus is on natural food sources. I believe when you use natural food sources you are more likely to develop a life-long healthy habit than if you are only relying on supplements. For example, the studies on populations of people with longevity found that they had established the habit of eating fermented foods. We encourage natural foods first, although supplements may be appropriate for short term specific use.

Top

What is a probiotic?

Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Gut Insight Chapter 1

Top

What is a prebiotic?

Prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or the activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon and improve health. Gut Insight Chapter 3.

Top

What is probiotic gum?

A trip to the dentist usually includes a verbal reminder that bacteria is related to oral health. So no wonder, gum has become a carrier of probiotics. And again it is BioGaia who offers a chewing gum with Lactobacillus reuteri prodentis, a mixture of two strains. Following your tooth brushing with chewing gum is not what your mother allowed and yet we now have a gum, which according to their research, has oral health benefits. You can read the research studies and findings at www.biogaia.com.

Other companies, specifically gum manufactures, are researching and developing “dental gum” which will combine the pleasures of chewing a flavorful gum with functional dental health benefits. Expect the checkout stand at the supermarket to display these functional chewing gums which may replace the “double your pleasure” types.

Top

What are probiotic straws, how is that possible?

I like to think of them as “functional straws,” providing a dose of probiotics as you drink the beverage. Pro-straw, as some have called them, offer a defined dose of probiotics and extended shelf life so they are ideal for packaged drinks. One of the manufacturers, Unistraw in partnership with Tetra Pak, a packager, is expected to have juices and dairy drinks with probiotic straws which you keep on the shelf rather than refrigerate. This is ideal for mobile people who want to carry a probiotic drink with them and don't want to use a cold pack.

Currently BioGaia, a Swedish Company provides Nestle with a probiotic straw for its kid's Boost product "Kid Essentials" that contains Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic strain. The probiotic, contained in an oil suspension, is released when it comes into contact with the liquid contents in the box. The probiotics are delivered to the child as he drinks through the straw.

Packages of the BioGaia straws are also available if one prefers to use them with their own drink. With 100 million CFU of Lactobacillus reuteri protectis per serving they are promoted as a gut health dietary supplement.

Pretty amazing, and expect to see more products on the shelf as manufactures roll out products with the magical straws including juices, nutritional drinks and dairy based drinks.

You now may be thinking "what's next?" Well, there has been a mention of the probiotic bottle cap.

Top

What about kombucha?

Kombucha is a traditional fermentation of sweetened tea made with a microbial mixture of yeast and bacteria. The mixture varies from product to product and may contain Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Toru.htmlora delbrueckii, Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium gluconicum, Bacterium xylinoides, Bacterium katogenum, Pichia fermentans, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, or Torula species. While there are animal studies that show microbial activity against human pathogens like e. coli and salmonella, studies on humans are few and inconclusive.

Top

Frequently Asked Questions are answered by Jo Ann Hattner, MPH RD unless otherwise noted.

More Questions? Let us know at


Home  :  The Book  :  Reviews  :  Press  :  Resources  :  FAQs  :  Contact  :  Buy

Gut Insight™ ©2011-2017 Jo Ann Hattner MPH RD, Susan Anderes MLIS.
All rights reserved.  Privacy  :  Legal