How can we determine if a product genuinely is good for our gut and overall health?

Updated: Sep 19

Time to debunk food manufacturers’ favourite buzzword for 2022: “Gut-Friendly”


Gone are the days where food was merely seen as a form of sustenance. Beyond seeking a symphony of flavours and textures in what we eat, people are now also looking at ways to improve their eating habits for a healthier gut. This upward trend in consumer demand for gut-friendly products, has given rise to a new wave of packaged foods, with digestive health claims.


But are these claims true, and how does one determine if a product is genuinely great for digestive health? Read on to find out more.



What exactly does it mean to have a healthy gut?

Our bodies contain around 40 trillion microorganisms. Of which, about 200 different species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are found in our digestive tracts. Collectively, these microorganisms found in our digestive tracts are known as our gut microbiome.


Some of these microorganisms can be harmful, but others are incredibly beneficial and play a huge role in maintaining our health.


To have a healthy gut essentially means that there is a good balance of different microorganisms in our digestive tracts.



When products claim that they’re “gut-health” friendly, what do they really mean?

In Singapore, nutrition claims on food products are subject to Singapore Food Agency (SFA) Guidelines. In the words of SFA, nutrition claims by food manufacturers are permitted so long as they meet the guidelines published in “A Handbook on Nutrition Labelling” by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB).


Surprisingly, there are currently little to no formal regulations (at least in the local legal context) on what is required for a food product manufacturer to make a gut-health claim. So basically, virtually anyone could claim that a product is “gut-health friendly”!



What can I do to really ensure that the product that I’m consuming really is good for my health then?


Check For the Ingredient Providing the Gut Health Benefits

Before purchasing a product, check the ingredient list to understand what goes into the product & what exactly is the “gut-health friendly” element in the product. Different strains of probiotics may provide different health benefits. Understanding what you consume would allow you to choose your products wisely and in accordance with your personal needs.


For example, the unique probiotic strain found in Yakult is known as LcS (Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota), and it helps build immunity and improve digestion. Aside from its gut health benefits, it has also been suggested that this strain of probiotics can help to prevent infection and cancer, and modulate inflammatory and immune responses.


Vitagen on the other hand is made up of a combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus & Lactobacillus casei. The acidophilus strain of probiotics is known to help in the treatment of yeast infections and eczema.


Ask yourself:

  • Does the product (or the ingredients used in the product) have prebiotic or probiotic content?

  • If so, what type of prebiotic or probiotic does it contain?



Did you know?
W0W® is formulated with Spent Barley Grains — a grain known to hold one of the highest amounts of the prebiotic, beta-glucan. Research has suggested that whole grains that contain beta-glucan play a role in lowering LDL-cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels, encouraging the growth of beneficial gut microorganisms.


Analyze Nutritional Labels for a More Holistic View

A product may truly be beneficial for your gut microbiome, but "gut-friendly" is not synonymous with healthy. To determine whether a product is healthy or suitable for you based on your health condition, you should also check the product’s nutrition label.


Many gut-friendly packaged products are composed of added sugars. Take Yakult as an example —although it has been proven to benefit our gut flora, it contains 11.2 grams of sugar per serving.


Source: Yakult


For comparison, HealthHub Singapore’s Dietary Guidelines suggests that the average adult consume no more than 10 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar per day. This tiny bottle of Yakult contains a fifth of the suggested daily consumption limit!



Check For Additives

Packaged foods tend to contain lots of food additives or artificial sugars such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. The problem with these is that they cannot be absorbed into our bloodstreams and instead, remain within our guts, causing fermentation and aggravation.


Click here for a list of additives to avoid, to get you started on your health journey.



Did you know?
W0W® is made fresh and is entirely free of chemicals, preservatives, and added sugars. It is nutritionally sound for most consumers, aside from those with gluten sensitivities.


At KosmodeHealth, our mission is to expand access to health from nature. Our products are made from natural ingredients with no added chemicals or preservatives. W0W® in particular is a clean-label brand. It is entirely plant-based and sustainably produced with spent barley grains, a waste stream generated by beer & malt production. It generates ZERO blood sugar response when consumed, which is why it is perfect for those with blood sugar concerns.


Find out more about our product.


References:

https://www.cleaneatingmag.com/clean-pantry/gut-friendly-packaged-foods/