Gut Health - 5 Practical Takeaways from Gabrielle Fundaro Podcast

Podcast length (67 minutes)

YouTube link

Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro

Steves Review

*Anyone looking for a thorough understanding of these topics I recommend listening to the entire podcast. When writing a review for clients I want to make them simple and easy to apply. But many of these topics are complex, so please don’t overreact to a phrase in the review that’s taken out of context. The timestamps are provided for you to go back and watch the full discussion of each takeaway.

Low-Fat and Low Saturated Fat Diets Correlate with Healthier Guts (22:11)

Gabrielle shares research showing a high-carb, high-fiber, low-fat intake correlates with greater gut bacteria diversity (good thing) and reduced incidence of gut permeability (also good.) As far as classifying “low-fat” she gives two guidelines.

  1. Less than 40% total calories from fat. I’ve converted 40% into macronutrient grams for better context. 1,500 calorie diet = <67g fat, 2,000 calorie diet = <89g fat, 2,500 calorie diet = <111g fat.

  2. Less than 50% of total fat comes from saturated fat. Using the calorie intakes above, that would be less than 33g, 45g and 56g respectively.

Variety of Protein and Fiber Sources is Best (29:00)

This shouldn’t come as a shock, but Gabrielle discusses a mixture of animal based proteins and plant based proteins is best to promote healthy mucus levels in the gut. However, she doesn’t give any concrete numbers of percent of each. It’s safe to say though, that some of your protein intake should be from plants and or grains. Think oatmeal, beans, nuts, broccoli and peas for some options.

She also touches on the importance of fiber variety. It’s important to get fiber from fruits, vegetables and starches for a total fiber intake of 25-40 grams per day.

Decreasing Lactose and Sugar Alcohols to Ease GI Discomfort (35:43)

I liked her recommendation of removing lactose for one-week to see if that helps your GI discomfort. As oppose to more aggressive approaches, this is simple and most people should be able to adhere to this long enough to find out if lactose is their issue.

She recommends limiting sugar alcohols to less than 20g per day if you’re experiencing GI discomfort. In my experience, excessive sugar alcohol intake is common with physique athletes who consume large quantities of calorie-free foods like Walden Farms and energy drinks. Many protein bars also contain sugar alcohols, such as 5 grams found in One bars. In moderation, such as a protein bar 2-3 times per week, shouldn’t cause an issue. But if you’re the type of person to have erythritol in your coffee, protein bar as a snack and calorie free energy drink in the afternoon, those sugar alcohols can add up and may be the cause if you’re having GI discomfort.

A Probiotic Supplement is Not Needed for a Healthy Gut (38:50)

In this portion of the podcast she discusses pre and probiotics and the usefulness of a probiotic supplement. I found it refreshing that she actually didn’t recommend a supplement for most individuals. With some exceptions, such as individuals currently or have recently been on antibiotics or who have been treated for IBS. She mentioned that a good probiotic supplement will provide billions of CFU’s and cost around $50/month. And cheaper products that don’t provide CFU’s in the billions aren’t doing much.

With Normal Intakes Artificial Sweeteners Aren’t Wrecking Your Gut (45:20)

In the limited research available on artificial sweeteners and gut, the dosages shown to cause issues is astronomical. In one study that linked artificial sweeteners to insulin resistance the individuals consumed roughly 1 diet soda for every 4 lbs. of bodyweight. That would equal 45 diet sodas per day for someone 180 lbs. It’s not hard to find people online bashing artificial sweeteners. They love pointing to a study proving their bias, but not understanding the actual relevance of it. This is a reoccurring theme for pseudo evidence-based individuals and also happens with sugar intake. This is why we have professionals who understand research and human physiology, not just people that read headlines and share them on Facebook.

3 Most Common Faults of New Macro Counters

Article Length: 800 words

Reading Time: 3-5 minutes

Over the past 3 years, we’ve worked with hundreds of individuals, introducing them to flexible dieting and tracking their macros or calories. We like it because it’s sustainable, empowering and shown to be effective in both the scientific research and practice. However, that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made, that leaves users frustrated with a lack of success. 

Each individual will have their own unique struggles, but here are the three most common mistakes we see in our beginner macro counters.

Freestyling Too Soon

“Freestyling” is the method in which an individual wakes up with daily target macros, but no outline on what foods or timing of meals they’ll shoot for. Although not recommend, this could also include not immediately tracking the meal after eating. Instead, having breakfast, snack and a lunch and then tracking it all prior to their workout. 

This is problematic for newbies. Most of us do not look at a bagel and think “60g carbs.” Initially, we’re all ignorant to the energy and macro yields of foods. If you aren’t tracking your food in real-time as you eat, you don’t learn what exactly are in those foods. You may learn later, by having an “oh shit” moment when you’ve met 3/4th of your fat target before noon. 

In order to sidestep these growing pains, we recommend pre-tracking your food the day prior. Make sure you have a game plan to hit your macros. Now, you’ve greatly increased your chances of being successful. The flexibility is still there to remove and add certain foods, but now you’re at a better starting place. You can do this for a few weeks, then you’ll have the knowledge and experience to freestyle if you’d like.

Think of it as taking a road trip to a new location. Not many of us would jump on the road without a GPS and try to figure it out as we go. Instead, we look up the location on our phone to see the major roads and turns, or maybe leave our navigation on the entire time. Then, once you’ve traveled that route a few times you gradually get more comfortable. Roads, buildings and trees become familiar and eventually navigation won’t be needed. 

Not Eating Enough Whole Foods

For many, counting their macros is a release from a food restricted diet in which they weren’t allowed to eat goodies like sugar, dairy or pizza. They learn about this “macro diet” where they can eat whatever they want as long as they hit their macros and take it too literal. Resulting in an overconsumption in junk food or more accurately “discretionary calories.” You know by now, regardless of the foods consumed, if one is in a calorie deficit, they will lose weight. BUT, this requires the individual to be in a calorie deficit for a sustained period of time. It’s no secret that pizza and ice cream aren’t equally as filling as broccoli and chicken. You may be able to get away with over consuming junk once in awhile and be under your macro/calorie needs, but eventually your hunger will be greater than your willpower and it will lead to overeating. How long will you be able to sustain a calorie deficit if you’re constantly hungry? Or even a better question, if you can adjust your food choices to be less hungry why wouldn’t you? 

Enjoy your tasty junk foods, but on most days limit their intake to 20% of total macro/calorie intake. 

You may be able to get away with over consuming junk once in awhile and be under your macro/calorie needs, but eventually your hunger will be greater than your willpower and it will lead to overeating. Ultimately halting fat loss.

Lack of Precision

As counting macros becomes more popular, some of its original tenants have been lost. With origins in competitive bodybuilding, most macro counters used very high precision, weighing out most of their foods on a food scale. Now, some people start off their macro counting journey without ever purchasing a food scale or even bothering to use measuring cups. While those with non-competitive goals don’t need to weigh out foods for the rest of their life, it would suite them well to spend a period of time initially in the OCD zone. 

Our relationships with servings sizes have been skewed by eating out and enormous plates and bowls at home. Until you measure and see what 15g of peanut butter or 1/2C of ice cream looks like, it’s difficult to understand. Too much guessing in the initial weeks will likely lead to an underreporting of intake. Instead, we recommend channeling your inner OCD for a few weeks or even a few months. Then, once you have the ball rolling you can become more relaxed. Guessing when you eat out, not weighing out coffee creamers or condiments like ketchup. Still getting the big things right, but relieving some cognitive energy of the minutiae. Like pushing a large boulder, weight loss is difficult to get started, but becomes easier with momentum. 



Mindful Eating

When I say “healthy,” what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of broccoli or a long-distance runner. While habits and decisions regarding nutrition and exercise will directly affect your health, there’s ultimately a whole field full of factors that determine if your health status is to thrive – or just survive.

Health Food Halo

As you stroll down the grocery store aisles, it’s impossible to ignore the copious amounts of “health foods” – organic cookies, fat-free ranch and sugar-free ice cream – just to name a few. At first glance, it seems like these items would be saviors for those trying to lose weight. Who doesn’t want to have their cake and eat it, too?

Politics of Processed Foods

If you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t eat it if you can’t pronounce the ingredients,” then you may be surprised that all-natural bananas contain 3-methylbutyl 1-ethanoate, which sound like chemicals from Breaking Bad.

Processed foods are typically seen as a no-no for healthy diets, but this view is terribly near-sighted.

Truthfully, processed foods include whole-wheat bread, frozen fruit and nuts. These are foods that most people would consider healthy, but they’re also processed. You see the problem here already – making food choices based on its processed status can be misleading.

Meal Frequency & Energy Balance

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure to eat several times during the day to stoke the metabolic fire. Don’t eat carbs past 7 PM, they turn straight to fat. We’ve all heard these statements regarding meal frequency, but what does the research show? I want to provide you with an objective look on meal frequency and I think by the end of this you’ll leave with a more chill approach to meal frequency and it’s importance.