Allison Webster's blog

Gut Check: Prebiotics and the Microbiome

We might like to think of our gut microbiome as an immobile, somewhat mysterious presence in our gastrointestinal tract. But in reality, these organisms are active, living things—and all living things need food to function.

We’ve talked about the beneficial gut bacteria we call probiotics in another Gut Check article, and now it’s time to focus on a very important question: What feeds these organisms? The answer is prebiotics.

What Makes Something Prebiotic?

Gut Check: Probiotics and the Microbiome

When you think of the word “probiotics”, what comes to mind? A cup of yogurt or a bottle of dietary supplement capsules probably rises to the top, but over the last few years the presence of probiotics has expanded. Take a walk through the grocery store and you’ll see everything from fermented foods to fruit juices to baking mixes broadcasting their probiotic content.

So Long, Seafood? Debunking Myths About Eating Fish During Pregnancy

With pregnancy comes many changes, often including a renewed focus on eating healthfully. In a recent article from The Bump, IFIC’s associate director of nutrition communications Ali Webster, PhD, RD, shares that fish can be part of a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Newsbite: Is Aloe Vera Juice a “Superjuice”?

Most people are familiar with aloe vera in its topical form, where it’s used to soothe sunburn, eczema or acne. But recently, it’s ventured outside of the “vacation necessities” drugstore aisle: Aloe vera juices and waters have been filling the shelves of health food and grocery stores with claims that go way beyond relieving skin problems. A quick internet search will claim that aloe vera drinks alleviate heartburn, improve digestion and boost nutrients. But does it live up to the hype?

Gut Check: Sugars and the Gut Microbiome

Welcome to Gut Check, our running series where we explore how the food we eat is connected to our gut microbiome. We recently took a look at how low-calorie sweeteners impact the microbes living in our gut (I’ll summarize here: we still don’t know if, or how, they do).

Gut Check: Low-Calorie Sweeteners and the Gut Microbiome

We’re back again with another edition of Gut Check, our series on the relationship between food and the gut microbiome. So far, we’ve taken a closer look at how whole grains, fiber, and fermented foods affect our gut microbes.

Unscrambling the Science Behind Eggs and Heart Health

Sworn off eggs because you heard they were bad for your heart? Turns out, eggs have a complicated history with heart health. Because cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, and diet plays an important role in the development of CVD, there is a good deal of research interest in examining the relationship between diet and CVD.

Gut Check: Fermented Foods and the Microbiome

We’re back again with another edition of Gut Check, our series on the relationship between food and the gut microbiome. So far, we’ve taken a closer look at how whole grains and fiber affect our gut microbes. Today we’re exploring a popular topic: fermented foods.

Something To Noodle Over: Can Pasta Help You Lose Weight?

If there’s one universal truth in food, it’s that pasta is delicious. Whether it’s homemade or from a box, whole grain or gluten-free, rigatoni or bucatini, we can’t deny how good it feels to dig into a bowl of noodles. At the same time, low-carbohydrate diets are all the rage — you can’t be on the internet for more than a few minutes before coming across “keto” this or “Paleo” that.

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