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Let's Gut Real - Easy to Digest Nutrition Science

Making nutrition science accessible and easy-to-digest. Andrea Hardy, Canada’s Gut Health Dietitian, is on a mission to connect people to credible, up-to-date nutrition information about gut health and digestive disorders. Nutrition misinformation is rampant. If nutrition advice online scares you, it’s probably not true. Let’s Gut Real is all taking the fear out of nutrition messaging, cultivating critical thinking, and helping you understand nutrition science. Andrea talks with guests about digestive health, the gut microbiome, hot nutrition topics, and nutrition misinformation, sharing messages that are easy to consume and that inspire sustainable action. Andrea likes to say her goal is to get people to take nutrition a little less seriously – which may come as a surprise coming from a dietitian. Through humour, she injects fun into her science-based media messages. After all, poop jokes aren’t her favourite kinda jokes, but they are a solid #2.

Jun 14, 2022

With diets like keto and carnivore gaining traction, I've had many people ask - what impact do plants specifically have on our microbiome and human health? 

Today I interview Dr. Veronique Braesco, Dr. Petra Louis, and Dr. Ian Rowland, researchers that have contributed to the latest scientific update summarizing the impact of plant-based diets on the gut microbiome and published through the Alpro Foundation.

The Alpro Foundation has been a scientific platform for over 25 years dedicated to supporting research and the dissemination of evidence-based knowledge on plant-based nutrition and its impact on health and environment amongst academics, healthcare professionals and key stakeholders in nutrition. The ultimate aim is to help drive the transition to more healthful plant-based diets for human and planetary health.

Underpinning Alpro Foundation’s scientific integrity is an independent Scientific Advisory Board of 8 leading academic experts who provide direction and advice and ensure the scientific credibility of the education tools. Professor Ian Rowland is the chair of this Scientific Advisory Board.

Professor Ian Rowland is editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Nutrition. Until his recent retirement, he was the Hugh Sinclair Professor of Human Nutrition at University of Reading. He holds a BSc and PhD in microbiology from University College London. Prof. Rowland’s main research area is the role of diet (in particular probiotics, prebiotics, phytoestrogens, and phytochemicals) in the prevention of colon, breast and prostate cancer. In his current research, he is investigating the role of fruit and vegetable intake on markers of cancer risk. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Gent in Belgium for his work on nutrition and cancer. Professor Rowland has published over 300 papers.

Petra Louis is a molecular microbiologist with an interest in the human gut microbiome, diet and health. She obtained her Diploma in Biology and PhD in Microbiology from the University of Bonn, Germany, where she conducted research on osmoadaptation in halophilic bacteria.

Véronique Braesco holds a PhD in human nutrition. Her academic carrier in Public Research at INRA, as senior scientist, has been focused on vitamins. She then headed the Nutrition Research Department of the Danone Group. In this position, she managed the design and implementation of scientific strategies, in particular in the field of probiotics. She was later responsible for the Human Nutrition Research Centre in Auvergne, dedicated to studying the role of diet in healthy aging. She is now at the head of VAB-nutrition, a consulting firm specialized in human nutrition that she created in 2007.

We talk about:

  • What characteristics are associated with better health by way of the gut microbiome
  • Beneficial and deleterious dietary components and their influence on gut microbiome
  • Fibre from supplements versus food - is one ‘better’ for the gut microbiome?
  • The role of the food matrix, the various chemical compounds found in food like polyphenols, and the role variety of fibres plays in the gut microbiome composition
  • Polyphenols - where are they found, and what are potential ways in which they influence our health by way of the gut microbiome 
  • What are SCFA’s, what their role is in our health, and what influences the production of SCFAs in the gut
  • Microbial metabolites from protein - when do we digest protein, how this occurs, how does it influence health?
  • How fibre impacts microbial metabolite production in our bodies
  • Dietary recommendations we can ultimately take away from the current evidence

The most recent Scientific update with the Alpro Foundation is about the 'Interaction of Plant-based diets and gut microbiota'