11 Foods to Avoid For a Healthy Gut Diet

So you’ve jumpstarted your gut health diet by eating more foods that contribute to your gut health.  Go you!

But what if you’re accidentally messing up your healthy gut diet by including some of the worst foods for gut health?

What are the foods to avoid for a healthy gut diet?

11 Worst Foods for a Healthy Gut Diet

Here are 11 foods with the highest potential to damage or disrupt your gut health.

1. Alcohol

Overdoing the alcohol isn’t great for your overall health, and can really do a number on your gut health as well.

In a study of 41 alcoholics and 10 healthy people who consumed little-to-no alcohol, dysbiosis was present in 27% of the alcoholics, but not found in any of the healthy people in the study. (source).

Dysbiosis is is the imbalance in good to bad bacteria in the gut and is the root of most gut health issues.   This is the stuff you’re trying to fix when you try to improve your gut health!

If you love your wine, don’t despair though.

In another study that looked at the effects of different types of alcohol on gut health,  the type of alcohol imbibed was discovered to be important. (source)

While gin decreased the number of beneficial gut bacteria, red wine actually increased the abundance of good gut bacteria and decreased the number of harmful gut bacteria.

The polyphenols that give red wind its vibrant color escape digestion and are broken down by gut bacteria.

Alcohol and gut health are linked.

So pour yourself another glass of that pinot – just make sure to keep your consumption to a moderate level.

2. Artificial Sweeteners

So many people turn to foods with artificial sweeteners when they want to lose that extra weight.  If they help in your weight loss journey, what could be wrong?

A whole lot it turns out!   And a lot that contributes to bad gut health.

Animal research dating back to the 1980’s has linked artificial sweeteners to shifts in the bacteria balance in the gut microbiome in rats.

Follow up studies show that artificial sweeteners appear to change the population of gut bacteria and cause glucose intolerance that can lead to a whole host of other health problems, including diabetes, liver problems, and heart disease.  (source)

So, if you’re trying to heal your gut, it’s best to put down that diet soda.  If you must have something sweet, try a little bit of the real thing.

3. Saturated Fat

High-fat diets like the Keto diet are all the rage now.  And they do work wonders for weight loss.  But…..early research suggests that a diet rich in saturated and trans fat may not be so good for the gut.   Studies have shown that diets high in butter or fatty cuts of meat may increase the “bad” gut bacteria population and decrease the “good” bacteria. (source)

If you are really rocking the Keto diet, try switching to more unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.

4. Dairy

Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, dairy may not be the best choice for your stomach. Studies have shown that dairy consumption changes the bacterial makeup of your gut within days, allowing strains linked to intestinal disease and inflammation flourish. (source)

5. Animal Protein

Red meat, in particular, can encourage the growth of certain strains of bad bacteria that can negatively affect the balance in your gut microbiome. (source)

6. Farmed Fish and Factory Farmed Meat

If you buy your meat in a grocery store, chances are the meat comes from a factory farm, where animals are often dosed with antibiotics.

When you eat this meat, you’re likely to get exposure to traces of these antibiotics.  Just small traces of antibiotics can upset the balance of bacteria in your gut.

The same goes for farmed fish.   Because these fish are being raised outside their normal environment, they are fed a diet they wouldn’t normally eat in the wild which makes them highly susceptible to disease.  To ward off health issues, fish farmers use large amounts of antibiotics to keep them healthy.   Again, eating these fish can result in exposure to these antibiotics.

So choose wisely – opt for wild fish and meat grown sustainably without the excessive use of antibiotics if you want to add animal protein to your healthy gut diet.

7. Food Additives

Food additives can harm your gut health.

If you’re trying to heal your gut, you’re probably already staying away from high-fat, low-fiber, processed foods.  And that’s a good thing because those kinds of foods are usually loaded with food additives.

In animal studies, there has been a link discovered between common food additives and upset to the gut microbiome.

8.  Genetically Modified Foods

You’ve probably heard of GMOs, but you may not know why they are bad for your health and gut.

The traits that help GMO crops resist pests and disease can have terrible effects on gut health: studies have found that consumption of GMO foods can reduce the beneficial bacteria populations in the gut.

90% of the soy and corn grown in the United States are GMO crops.  So, be extra careful when choosing soy and corn to make sure you’re choosing non-GMO products.

9.  Gluten

Even if you don’t have Celiac disease, studies have shown that gluten can lead to bloating, fatigue and stomach pain even in those without the disease.

Going gluten-free can lower inflammation and insulin resistance, so it may be a good choice if you’re on a healthy gut diet as well.

10. Processed Foods

Processed foods are packed with ingredients you may not even know how to pronounce.   Always read ingredients and stick with whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.  It’s easier to heal your gut when you know what you’re putting into your body.

11. Sugar in a Healthy Gut Diet

Sugar is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to messing up your gut biome.  And not just refined sugar either.  Any kind of sweetener, even the more healthy ones like coconut sugar pose a risk to your gut health. (source)

Sugar is the biggest offender in harming your gut health.

Sugar (in all its sneaky forms) feeds the bad bacteria in your gut and can lead to yeast overgrowth like Candida.

High sugar diets have been shown to cause overall poorer gut function, so try to minimize sugar in your healthy gut diet. You may even want to consider doing a sugar detox it you’re really addicted to sugar.

Can’t I Have Any Fun on a Healthy Gut Diet?

The more you know, the faster you can heal your gut and achieve your best health.

But even the healthiest person needs to indulge sometimes!  A glass of wine, a piece of pizza or a bowl of ice cream now and then should be enjoyed if they are something that makes you happy.

Get into a daily gut health routine and make and sure you are eating the best foods for gut health most of the time.  Don’t overdo it on a daily basis with any of these “bad” foods and you’ll be a step ahead with restoring your gut health.

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11 foods to avoid if you are trying to heal your gut.