Categories Health Fitness and Nutrition

Re: 5 Tips For DIGESTION This Holiday Season

I don’t know when this was originally written, an archiving website mentions that it was posted in December of 2012, and it really did not get a lot of views in Total Health Magazine. So why am I writing this article? Well, it was reprinted in a newsletter published by my local healthfood store, which to me, makes it relevant.  I only shopped there because they have some vegetarian/vegan products not otherwise able to be found in the local grocery.

But what do these 5 tips state? Let’s look at them one by one, because they were written by a Doctor, Dr. Brent Barlow, so they MUST be accurate, right?

“Tip #1: Eat the Healthy Foods First
The healthiest way to enjoy a treat is after you’ve had a good meal. That’s why we typically have desert after dinner and not before. When you have a good balanced meal first with lots of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy complex carbohydrates you provide yourself with the necessary nutrients for the body to function optimally. You’ll also curb your appetite for excess sugar. Once you’ve consumed the nutritional requirements you can then enjoy something sweet as an added bonus. If you skip the meal and go straight for the sweet stuff you are more likely to overeat and experience digestive symptoms.”

I can see this as accurate enough, so I will let this pass.

“Tip #2: Eat Protein at all Meals and Snacks
Protein is not only required to build strong healthy tissues like skin, hair, nails, bones, muscle, and connective tissue. It also plays a crucial role in balancing our blood sugar and preventing digestive upset. Proteins take longer to digest than most other nutrients. When you eat protein with carbs, sugars, and fats you will delay the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes. Eating proteins at all meals and snacks helps to reduce sugar cravings and prevents the post-treat energy boost and crash.”

Now correct me if I am wrong, but protein does not work that way. Very few studies about this seem to exist, but one study I saw from 1999 said “Protein has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels with adequate insulin.” I did, however, find a study that said the complete opposite, that eating carbs alongside protein inhibits protein absorption of certain amino acids. Protein DOES, however, take longer to digest than Fat and Carbs, and is known to keep you fuller, for longer.

“Tip #3: Moderation
Try to spread out your nights out, big meals, parties, and treats over the entire holiday season. If you go hard for four straight days it is much harder on the body than if you go out once a week for four consecutive weekends. The body and digestive tract can be pushed every now and then without being overwhelmed but when you link too many heavy meals, late nights, or treats together it leads to more digestive problems.”

Who parties for 4 days in a row? Is that thing that occurs with enough people that this would be of much use? Unless you are a college teen or a rich stickup that parties 4 days a week then it would be better to simply tell people to eat less gravy and Sweet Potato Pie and more white chicken and mashed potatoes.

“Tip #4: Water and Alcohol
Drinking eight or more cups of water per day keeps the body optimally hydrated and reduces cravings for sweats. In fact, many food cravings are actually cravings for water that are misinterpreted. If you drink alcohol, drink at least one glass of water for every serving of alcohol. By doing this you will replenish the fluid you lose from alcohol consumption. It is not only water that hydrates the body. Non-caffeinated teas also provide the same benefits for hydrating the body so go ahead and pour yourself a cup.”

Ahhh, the 8 glasses a day myth that has been debunked for at LEAST a decade… Dr Aaron Carroll has a great video explaining this myth is far more detail than I ever could. Also, this article mentions that non-caffeinated teas helps, giving another commonly debunked myth, that moderate caffeine intake leads to a diuretic effect… it doesn’t.

“Tip #5: Supplements: HCl, Digestive enzymes, and DGL
Overeating is one of the common joys of the holiday season. However, the momentary pleasure often leads to hours of unpleasant feelings. When you know you are going to eat too much or eat foods you know give you some trouble there are a few supplements that can help. Try taking 500 mg of HCl, 500 mg of DGL, and one capsule of digestive enzymes 15 minutes prior to a holiday meal. The HCl increases your stomach acid levels for better protein digestion. The DGL prevents heartburn by coating the upper stomach and lower esophagus. The digestive enzyme helps the intestine break down and absorb proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.”

Nothing sounds more “Natural” than to suggest people supplement with HCl (HydroCloric Acid) DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) and a capsule of random Digestive Enzymes, which would be better if more than 1 out of 5 herbal remedies actually had the ingredients they list that they have on the bottle. It’s better to just try Pepto, or Tums. Maybe try some Mint gum.

For a doctor, this guy doesn’t really do much research.