Although we indulge in delicious delights occasionally, or sometimes more than we should, we aren’t always aware of how that food is digested. Sometimes we think that we are eating healthy, when in reality we are not. Part of that has to do with food labels- words like natural, gluten free or low fat are perceived as healthy foods to eat.
Let’s play a quick game. If you had to choose, which of these foods travels through your digestive tract faster: A) Rare steak with butter or, B) a salad with quinoa? The clear answer is (B).
What about how much bacteria are produced throughout the digestive tract of those two foods? The answer is still (B). The reason is shown in an interesting study recently published that determined the longer it takes to pass through the 8 meters from mouth to end, the more harmful the chemicals produced become.
When bacteria break down food, they create chemicals known as byproducts degraded from whatever is traveling through your system. If the food travels quickly through your system, there are fewer byproducts created. However, when you eat food rich in protein, such as a steak or chicken, the food takes longer the pass through your digestive tract and, therefore, the gut bacteria takes more time to break it all down.
Another concern this study raised is that many people who have constipation might have an increase in bacteria stored in the colon. When food is stuck in one place, such as in the colon, the bacteria has time to flourish in the yummy, calorie-rich meal. An easy way to mitigate this situation is to increase your fiber intake and drink lots of water.
When you eat dietary fiber you help food move along through the digestive track. For most of us it is almost impossible to eat to much fiber.