Tag Archives: Sugar

Butyrate Series, Part 1


diagram of a human digestive system

diagram of a human digestive system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It all sounds like voodoo until you can find the sense (science) to understand it.


A Working Goal of my blog:  Inspiring all people, but particularly parents with school-aged children, to understand that it is a true medical necessity to return our diets to a whole foods diet, free of processed foods, and lower in overall sugar (sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, juice, corn syrup, date sugar, rice sugar, we-can-make-sugar-out-of-anything-sugar, and we-can-make-anything-taste-good-with-enough-sugar sugar).

What the upcoming series of posts will be about and why it is important to you:  The upcoming series of posts is going to be about butyrate.  It is a very important chemical that our body needs in order to function properly.  You probably haven’t heard about it, but it is important.  I guess if I had to try to compare it to something that you did know about, I’d liken its importance to vitamin C.  I am not saying it is vitamin C, but I am trying to relay the importance of the stuff.  The best source of butyrate comes, not from food, but from bacteria in the colon working on vegetable and plant matter.  It comes from bacteria that live naturally in your colon which ferment vegetable and plant matter and turn it into butyrate, which your body in turn uses to maximize health and function in many splendid ways.

Butyrate, then, is one specific retort to the statement and question:  “I don’t like vegetables.  Why do I have to eat my vegetables?”  You now have something concrete to say besides, “They’re healthy.”

Try this for a change:  “Aw, sweetie.  I know you don’t.  But the bacteria in your colon do!  And they will gobble them all up for you and turn them into butyrate.”

Or, “Tough.  I don’t care.  Eat them anyway.  Your bacteria do (like them).  You’ll be low on butyrate if you don’t.”

Blurb on my failure leading into a discussion of the body’s interconnectedness and “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria in the gut:

We used to eat junk.  (Society and medicine would label me “physically fit,” but we ate junk.)  When my first daughter was 5, she started crying about tooth pain.  I saw the black cavities, the rot.  That should have been enough to grab me.  Nah.  It just served to make us more diligent about brushing and flossing after the tooth was pulled and the others filled.  It was going to take more than black teeth to interfere with our food chain.  If you think cavities are no big deal, I’d say, “Sure.  They happen to all of us.  Don’t fret.”  But now I’d also say, “There’s too much sugar coming in from somewhere:  breakfast cereals, pancakes with syrup, Pop Tarts, muffins.  Breads, ketchup, milk, and Fruit Roll Ups.  Crackers, juice, and cookies.  Soda pop.  Sports drinks.  Candy and ice cream.”

Dear reader, cavities are simply a sign of microbiology gone awryIf bad bacterial growth is happening in the mouth, there’s a sure bet bad microbiology is going on in important other places!  By feeding too many processed carbohydrates, starches, and sugars to your children and yourself, you are creating one nasty Petri dish (what bacteria are grown on in microbiology labs).   You must remember the body is an interdependent system.  What happens in the mouth doesn’t stay in the mouth (!!!!!!).

A Pause for a Song to Appease My Humor (My daughter thought it was funny):

‘Dem Good Bacteria
Singing to the tune of “Dem Bones”

The mouth hole is connected to the throat tube…the throat tube is connected to the stomach bag…the stomach bag is connected to the small tube…now hear the word of the Lord (or if you prefer, now shake them bac-ter-i-uh…)

‘Dem bacteria, ‘dem bacteria, ‘dem bac-ter-i-uh…’dem bacteria, ‘dem bacteria, ‘dem bac-ter-i-uh…’dem bacteria, ‘dem bacteria, ‘dem bac-ter-i-uh…now hear the word of the Lord (or if you prefer, now shake them bac-ter-i-uh…)

The small tube is connected to the large tube…the large tube is connected to the bacteria…the bacteria are connected to your health (or insert a problem you may be dealing with—headaches, tummy aches, cavities, acne, eczema, bloating, etc)… now hear the word of the Lord…

Repeat chorus.

Health has a lot to do with balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria:  Health literally does start in your colon, your large tube—large intestine.  You have billions of bacteria wanting to be fed in your gut.  It’s okay and completely normal.  If you eat good foods (vegetables, fruits, and meats) that are not processed and full of types of sugars, the “good” bacteria are fed.  They grow.  They make wonderful chemicals that our bodies will absorb from them and use to help with all kinds of things: our blood sugar and weight, fighting off infections, fighting off food intolerances, and so much more!   If the “good” bacteria are not fed good food, they will not be strong enough to outgrow the “bad” bacteria.  The bad bacteria overgrow in a sugar-rich diet.  They do not make the nutrients we humans need so well and they also make “toxins” that are bad for us (later in the series I will give names to those “toxins.”)   I used Narnia as an example for my kids.  That wicked Snow Queen (sugar) and her snow and servants and how winter just got deeper and deeper and colder (bad bacteria overgrowing).  In contrast, the green grass, the sun, the warmth and goodness in contrast is the equivalent of vegetables and good bacteria.

Your “good” bacteria regulate your immune system, your cancer fighting system, your bone strength, your mental health, your just about everything—ALL FROM THE COCKPIT OF YOUR GUT.  The brain is great, but it loves its friends found in the gut.

Closing part 1:  If you are armed with understanding, you can stand firm in your conviction to help you and your family eat better.  If you don’t understand, you will never feel the necessity for change and staying-power in your heart. You will throw your hands up and say, “Healthy.  Whatever. They just keep changing it on me!”  Next up is an introduction to short chain fatty acids.


Part 2