Monday, 31 July 2017

Does Endurance Exercise Affect Gut Health?

By Dr Ricardo Costa 
Senior Lecturer & Researcher in Exercise Physiology, Metabolism & Dietetics - Monash University 

A recent Monash University review of published studies has found that all people who exercise excessively may be prone to acute or chronic gut issues [1].

Friday, 28 July 2017

Low FODMAP Croutons

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)
Making croutons is very easy and it is a great way to use up your old bread! They are a delicious addition to many salads or sprinkled on soups to give your dishes that lovely crunch. You can use any of our Monash certified breads for this recipe to ensure your croutons are low FODMAP. The croutons are also easy to store and will keep for more than a week (see the tips below).

Monday, 24 July 2017

What's the go with SIBO???

By Lyndal McNamara (Research Dietitian)

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (better known as SIBO) is gaining more and more attention as a potential cause of gut symptoms in at least a subset (4-78%) of IBS patients (1-2). But what is SIBO? And what exactly do we know about the relationship between SIBO and IBS?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Research Update: Long-term impact of the low-FODMAP diet on gastrointestinal symptoms, dietary intake, patient acceptability, and health care utilization in irritable bowel syndrome

By Erin Dwyer (Research Dietitian)

Ever wondered what the impact of a low FODMAP diet is long term, in regards to nutritional adequacy and quality of life? This study is the first comprehensive report on the long term implications of a low FODMAP diet - here is a summary.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Carrot, Walnut and Linseed Cake or Cup-Cakes

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

This satisfyingly filling, moist, tasty and naturally (but not too) sweet recipe makes either a whole cake or individual cup-cakes that the whole family will love! The cakes are great for any occasion such as quick snacks, lunchboxes, afternoon tea or a sweetish treat after dinner. The cakes are simple and easy to make and are good keepers if stored at room temperature in an air airtight container. They are also handy to freeze as either individual cake slices or cup-cakes. Additionally, they are pretty healthy as they are a source of dietary fibre, minerals and even sneak in some vegetables and linseeds into your diet.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Salad Dressing)

By Trish Vetch (Research Chef)

As a follow up to our recent blog post about short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), we thought you may enjoy trying a recipe that incorporates apple cider vinegar, a rich source of the SCFA, acetate. While we don’t yet know whether consuming SCFAs through diet confers any health benefits, we think it can’t hurt to include them in the meantime.
This dressing is a terrifically easy and tasty way to incorporate the SCFA, acetate into your everyday diet. Many salads (see some suggestions under tips) require a dressing and this versatile recipe can be used to enhance their flavour. It is also has a really good shelf life so can always be ready for those quick meals after a long day. Or why not take a jar to work to pour on your healthy lunchtime salads?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The health benefits of fermented foods – is it the probiotics, their by-products or both?

By Lyndal McNamara (Research Dietitian)

Fermented foods are constantly promoted for their health benefits, particularly when it comes to improving digestion, gut function and the balance of good bugs living in our gut. In the past, these benefits have been attributed to the probiotics, or beneficial bacteria naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha. But what if there is another side to the fermented foods story? One which until recently, has received relatively little attention….

As well as probiotics, fermented foods generally contain the by-products of bacterial fermentation – namely acetate, which is the main organic acid responsible for the sour taste of many fermented foods. Apple cider vinegar for instance is a fermented liquid that is a particularly good source of acetate (1). 

Acetate, like its big brothers butyrate and propionate, is a type of short chain fatty acid (SCFA). You may be familiar with the term SCFA, which are produced by beneficial bacteria in our gut as a by-product of the fermentation of dietary fibre (2).

It is these SCFAs that appear to act as an intermediate between our gut microbiome and the rest of our body to deliver health benefits (2-4). For example, butyrate is used as a major energy source by the cells lining our gut, helping to keep them healthy and functioning at their prime (2). In recent years, scientists have turned their attention to studying SCFAs and exactly how they confer health benefits. Although human research is still in its infancy, there is ample animal data to suggest that SCFAs play important regulatory roles within our immune system, particularly when it comes to reducing inflammation and allergic responses (3-4).

Whilst all of the research so far points to the importance of consuming a high fibre diet for optimal SCFA production in the gut itself, there remains a huge question mark around how dietary sources of SCFAs might also play a role. For example, can a dose of acetate from drinking apple cider vinegar have any direct effects on the immune system in humans?

Paul Gill, one of our students here at Monash University is currently conducting his PhD on this very topic. Up until now, the actual amount of SCFAs contained in different foods and beverages was largely unknown. Paul’s research so far has seen him develop methodology for quantifying levels of SCFAs in different foods and drinks and he has now developed a database with over 30 different fermented foods and drinks. Paul now plans to explore the immune effects of high dietary sources of SCFAs in human trials. We hope that this research will add to our understanding of SCFAs and whether oral sources are of any additional benefit to a high fibre diet.

Whilst time will tell, in the meantime, it can’t hurt to try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet where you can – but be sure to check the app first, as not all are low in FODMAPs (read more about fermented foods and FODMAPs here:

  1. Budak NH, Aykin E, Seydim AC, Greene AK, Guzel-Seydim ZB. Functional properties of vinegar. Journal of food science. 2014;79(5):R757-64.
  2. Wong JMW, de Souza R, Kendall CWC, Emam A, Jenkins DJA. Colonic Health: Fermentation and Short Chain Fatty Acids. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2006;40(3):235-43.
  3. Tan J, McKenzie C, Potamitis M, Thorburn AN, Mackay CR, Macia L. The Role of Short Chain Fatty Acids in Health and Disease. Advances in Immunology. 2014;121:91-119
  4. Rooks MG, Garrett WS. Gut microbiota, metabolites and host immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2016;16(6):341-52.