Ep 50. Diet, Exercise, and the Gut Health with Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro

May 16, 2021Nutrition, Podcast

Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro

Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro

You might know Dr. Fundaro as a former Renaissance Periodization Nutrition Coach, but now she runs a telehealth coaching business, Vitamin PhD Nutrition.

“When working with individuals experiencing gastric distress, I apply a practical, personalized, and evidence-based approach to modify diet and lifestyle factors which can contribute to improved digestive comfort.”

Today I speak with Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro , an expert on gut and microbiome. I invited Gabrielle to help me shed some light into the problematic of gut health so you better understand the current state of research on microbime, why good gut health is essential not only for health but also for performance, and what you can do to keep a healthy gut.

Time Stamps

00:03:20 What is healthy gut

00:07:50 Should you eat according to your microbiome or eat in a certain way to develop your microbiome?

00:13:10 How much variety of food should you eat for healthy microbiome?

00:17:20 What is the role of microbiome in conversion of EPA to DHA?

00:19:25 Does mcirobiome modify how much energy you absorb from food?

00:21:40 What is benefit of healthy gut?

00:23:40 Importance of healthy gut for athletes. Protein and fat intake has a negative effect on microbial diversity, if fiber intake is low.

00:26:00 Probiotics and prebiotics. Are they beneficial to supplement with?

00:26:55 Are prebiotics as effective as the real food?

00:29:25 Probiotics do not directly lead to improvement in performance but probiotic food can help athletes to prevent respiratory tract infections and strenghten immune system.

00:31:00 Does low energy intake impacts gut health? Intestinal permeability.

00:37:10 Allergies vs intolerances.

00:41:50 What are the best practices for healthy gut?

Show notes

How much variety of food should you eat for healthy microbiome?

The short answer is to eat at least 30 different plants in a week.

Microbe-accessible carbs in the form of fermentable fibers can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.⁠

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be found in nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.⁠

Whether or not you choose to eat animal protein doesn’t seem to make a difference, as long as you are ingesting adequate dietary fiber! ⁠

Does microbiome affect the energy balance?

It is true that our microbes can synthesize fatty acids and vitamins for us–something that we really need with our comparatively tiny array of genes! But current evidence indicates that the overall effect on our energy intake is relatively small, and doesn’t occur at all in some people.⁠ 5-15% (or up to 200kcal) seems to be possible, but we cannot measure this precisely. It would likely not be enough to stall a weight loss in appreciable calorie deficit.

Are prebiotics as effective as the real food?

If we spend the same amount of money on a variety of real food (different types of fiber) rather than prebiotic supplements (one type of fiber), we will get much bigger bang for the buck.

What is food sensitivity and can you believe the tests?

The term people use to define food intolerance is usually food sensitivity, measured by IGG response. It is an antibody recognition system. which simply tells us you have ingested that food before and your body’s immune system recognizes the antibody. It does not mean you have a negative reaction to it.

Can the comprehensive stool analysis (CSA) predict your perfect diet?

In this newest iteration of gene-based dietary recommendations (circa the 2010’s), manufacturers sell kits that function similarly to CSA’s, identifying microbes and sometimes gene pathways. They then make recommendations about which foods would be ‘ideal’ for your specific microbiome.

Long-term dietary habits are associated with certain taxa (groups of microbes) as well as markers of inflammation and gene activity. Because different microbes have different functions governed by different genes, we would expect to see a wide variety and some influence of the diet that contains compounds they might metabolize in some way.⁠

But, it doesn’t go the other way around. I mean this: Your microbes are responding to your long-term dietary habits. You are (partially) influencing who’s there and what’s going on. You are influencing which genes are actually “on”, and which microbes thrive. ⁠

These tests are a snapshot of your current microbial ecosystem, which has been influenced by tons of factors, including your recent diet. Your microbes aren’t asking for what they need. They’re telling you what they’ve been getting.

What are the best practices to promote healthy gut?

The three main drivers of microbial diversity are:

  1. Eat a variety of plant foods, ideally at each meal.
  2. Engage in regular physical activity trying to meet the general recommendations of 30 minutes per day.
  3. Bias diet more towards higher carbohydrate intake, rather than higher fat intake.



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