5 Gut Health Myths Debunked

Gut health has become a hot topic in recent years. Many people are learning the ways in which their digestive system works and how it can be a deciding factor in overall health and wellness. However, just with other largely covered topics comes several misconceptions. Gut health myths can range from how often you should have bowel movements to the best and worst foods for digestion.

Debunking Gut Health Myths

Here at Birmingham Gastroenterology, we understand that it can be confusing to decipher fact from fiction when it comes to your gut health. To ensure proper education for your overall well-being, we have compiled a list of five gut health myths.

1. Spicy Foods Can Cause Ulcers

Do you love spicy foods but have been skipping out on them due to the fear of developing ulcers? If this sounds like you, we have some great news for you— spicy foods do not cause ulcers. Gut health myths such as this one have been debunked by doctors and researchers. The primary causes of ulcers are a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). H. pylori and NSAIDs harm the stomach’s defense against the acid it produces to digest food. This causes the stomach lining to become damaged, leading to an ulcer. It is important to note, however, that spicy foods can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as acid reflux or indigestion. 

2. You Should Poop Every Day

The taboo topic of defecation has landed on some people’s “do not talk about” list. Yet, when the topic is covered, many people believe you should poop every single day. Although pooping every day is normal, it is also normal for people to experience bowel movements three times a week. Anywhere in between that range is normal and greatly depends on the individual. Constipation is generally confined to those who poop fewer than three times a week. 

3. Probiotics Are A Quick Fix For A Healthy Gut

Probiotics are wonderful for your body, as they help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms and influence your body’s immune systems. Gut health myths can start in a number of ways, and although probiotics are great for your overall well-being, they are not a quick fix. Probiotics have been shown to reduce the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but they can not be responsible for curing these diseases. Ways to ensure a healthy gut include eating a range of colorful fruits and vegetables, having healthy sleep habits, and managing stress levels— taking probiotics should be supplemental to these lifestyle habits. 

4. Only Alcoholics Can Get Cirrhosis

Gut health myths can range from harmless banter to misleading information, such as only alcoholics can get cirrhosis. Although heavy alcohol consumption is a leading risk factor in developing cirrhosis, there are other lifestyle factors that can increase your risk. Some of these include diet, mental health, viral infection, and gender. To ward off the risk of liver cirrhosis, it is important to limit your alcohol consumption, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, maintain a healthy weight, and check your medications. 

5. Juice Cleanses Are Good For Gut Health

One of our favorite gut health myths… the infamous juice cleanse. Juice cleanses are thought to be a way to detoxify the body and promote weight loss. However, research suggests that they are not only unnecessary but can also be harmful to your body. These cleanses often lack the necessary nutrients that keep your digestive system healthy- not to mention many juice cleanses are high in sugar. Although they seem like a quick fix, they are not sustainable. Instead, it is suggested to focus on eating a variety of whole foods and engaging in healthy lifestyle habits. 

Here at Birmingham Gastroenterology, we have decades of experience treating diseases and disorders in all parts of the digestive system. To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options or to ask more questions about gut health myths, call us at (205) 271-8000.

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