Scientists talk about how functional foods and super foods are used in healthy diets and how unbalanced diets change the bacteria in your stomach for the worse. For example, if you have metabolic syndrome, maybe you need a certain amount of specific types of fats. Some people need more of certain types of fats than others, whereas some people need less fats in their diet, especially when the fats are mixed with high amounts of sugars.
As for sugar, you'll get enough from fresh fruits. Researchers have done numerous studies on how a high sugar and fat diet, as in some cakes, cookies, and bread products may give you a giant belly, especially if you're genetically predisposed to gain weight in the stomach instead of on the hips and thighs. But what most shoppers haven't thought about is the role of gut bacteria and how the bacteria changes your weight and your mood when high fat and high sugar foods are consumed.
If the usual colony of bacteria dramatically changes due to your high fat and high sugar diet, you probably will gain weight. You can see more details on this in the YouTube video, Bad Diets Can Alter Stomach Bacteria For The Worse.
At least that's what happened to mice in a 2010 study of how diet rapidly changes gut bacteria in ways that affect weight gain. On the other hand, you either have the genes for sugar and fat to go from lips to hips. Or you have the genes to put the weight on your abdomen. Also see the weight loss surgery channel article, "Bad diets can alter stomach bacteria for the worse."
You might also check out the Los Angeles Times article, "Bad diet may alter bacteria to encourage weight gain." Or check out the article, "Bad Diets Can Alter Stomach Bacteria For The Worse |Weight Loss." Also see, Obesity: How Intestinal Bacteria May Cause Weight Gain - TIME.
According to the study, "The Effect of Diet on the Human Gut Microbiome: A Metagenomic Analysis in Humanized Gnotobiotic Mice," in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, 11 November 2009, if you eat a high fat and high sugar diet, the composition of the bacteria in your guts will change in ways that gaining weight becomes easier. It would also be harder to lose weight. However, the research has been done using mice.
According to the study, it only took 24 hours for the bacteria to change. This rapid change in the specific bacteria amazed the researchers at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. The issue is that the bacteria in your intestines plays a key role in how you gain or lose weight, if humans react in the same way as the mice did in that study.
In addition to a change in your intestinal bacteria (or at least in the mouse's gut bacteria) you have genetic factors playing a role in how fast you gain weight on a high sugar and high fat diet. Gaining or losing weight also is affected by various types of physical activities, your environment, and what you eat.
What the study focused on showed that bacteria in the gut plays a key role in gaining weight. The study can lead to new ways to prevent obesity.
UC Davis in the Sacramento regional area is researching super foods
Scientists call these super foods “functional foods.” To Sacramento area farmers and ranchers, they represent a set of crops and commodities—some traditional and some emerging—that may benefit from publicity surrounding their nutritional benefits.
Check out the site of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis. Functional foods is a hot topic that has taken off with the term "super foods." UC Davis studies the topic at the Mondavi Institute. The superfoods or functional foods are the following:
Functional Foods/Super Foods
Almonds: Nutrient-rich tree nuts. Their vitamin E content is particularly noteworthy.
Blueberries: Blueberries top the list of antioxidant-rich fruits and may help prevent age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s and some forms of cancer. They also contain fiber and vitamin C, according to the Feb. 3, 2010 Ag Alert & the March 12, 2010 UC Davis article, "Quest for ‘superfoods’ influences consumer food choices."
Blueberries were first planted commercially in the San Joaquin Valley, inlcuding Fresno in the late 1990s but have since exploded in popularity. Check out the website of the local blueberry farm, Triple Delight Blueberries.
Broccoli: Sulforaphane in broccoli is a cancer-preventive phytochemical shown to reduce cancer in laboratory and animal studies. Same is true of other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms that are briefly exposed to ultraviolet light have a very high amount of vitamin D, according to the UC Davis and Ag Alert articles.
Olive oil: Monounsaturated olive oil may lower risk of heart disease. Choose extra virgin oil for the most health benefits. California farmers in the Sacramento regional area as well as the rest of California grow 100-plus varieties of olives for olive oil. Check out the site of the California Olive Oil Council that certifies California-made oils. Olive oil production in Northern California is expanding.
Salmon: Another good fat in wild-caught Alaskan or Pacific salmon, for example are the omega-3 fatty acids,”The reason why wild-caught salmon is a supe rfood or functional food is that the omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have heart-protective and disease-fighting benefits, and may even help ease depression.
The American Heart Association recommends eating salmon or other fatty fish) twice a week. Choose the fish lowest in mercury, for example wild-caught Alaskan salmon, which is relatively low in mercury rather than albacore tuna which is higher in mercury.
Spinach: The high lutein content of raw spinach is an antioxidant that protects against eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Check out the site of Top Flavor Farms, Salinas, CA.
Tomatoes: The lycopene red pigment in tomatoes helps to lower the risk of certain types of cancer, especially prostate, lung and stomach. Processed tomatoes also have lycopene that isn't destroyed by processing. So you can eat them raw or cooked.
The Jopson Family Garden grows tomatoes using hydroponics. See the article, "California grower makes abrupt switch to hydroponics, and it pays off - eventually." According to the article, The Jopsons had been farming dry land grains and raising cattle on their ranch north of Sacramento, CA, since the late 1800s, so it was quite a change when Tom, his father, and his brother Dave decided to start growing greenhouse tomatoes
The focus is still on hydroponics. They have two greenhouses, one 11,520 square feet and the other 17,280 square feet. Also see the site, Vegetable and herb form a perfect pair.
Whole grains: Reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer as you also reduce blood glucose levels, which contributes to diabetes. If you can stomach whole grains, they also good for weight management because they fill you up fast. Try brown rice, not white rice or amaranth, quinoa, millet, and other grains not so familiar, but higher in protein. Whole grains are counted on the list of functional foods or superfoods and smart foods.
If you have metabolic syndrome, generally you're grains are restricted. Find out which grains are agreeable with you and have a high protein level. Stay away from the starchy grains and choose those such as whole oat grans with more nutrition to them.
Yogurt: The “Live & Active Cultures” on the label or seal are supposed to have “good” bacteria that strengthen the digestive system and overall immunity. If you take antibiotics, your immune system could become more resistant to the strength of the antibiotics. The active bacterial cultures in yogurt are also rich in calcium and protein. Find out whether the bacteria from the yogurt is or is not eating up what's in your antibiotics, if you're on them. And if the antibiotics already have destroyed your own gut's good bacteria, then perhaps it's the time to replace your 'good' bacteria with live and active cultures in yogurt. You can choose non-dairy yogurt such as unsweetened soy yogurt.
Could Bacteria or Viruses Help to Cause Obesity, Belly Fat, or Excess Weight Gain?
Scientists are researching whether a bacterial or viral infection might cause or contribute to weight gain and obesity. Bacteria currently being called "human gut flora" may prove to be an active factor in America's obesity trend.
Scientists tested this idea on mice, inserting the human bacteria into their intestines. When they fed the mice a high-fat and high-sugar diet, they saw an immediate change in their internal structure. The mice quickly showed an increase in body fat and the kinds of bacteria that are linked to becoming obese.
What the University of California, Davis Study Emphasized
According to the abstract of the UC Davis study, "Diet and nutritional status are among the most important modifiable determinants of human health. The nutritional value of food is influenced in part by a person's gut microbial community (microbiota) and its component genes (microbiome).
"Unraveling the interrelations among diet, the structure and operations of the gut microbiota, and nutrient and energy harvest is confounded by variations in human environmental exposures, microbial ecology, and genotype. To help overcome these problems, we created a well-defined, representative animal model of the human gut ecosystem by transplanting fresh or frozen adult human fecal microbial communities into germ-free C57BL/6J mice.
"Culture-independent metagenomic analysis of the temporal, spatial, and intergenerational patterns of bacterial colonization showed that these humanized mice were stably and heritably colonized and reproduced much of the bacterial diversity of the donor's microbiota.
"Switching from a low-fat, plant polysaccharide-rich diet to a high-fat, high-sugar "Western" diet shifted the structure of the microbiota within a single day, changed the representation of metabolic pathways in the microbiome, and altered microbiome gene expression.
"Reciprocal transplants involving various combinations of donor and recipient diets revealed that colonization history influences the initial structure of the microbial community but that these effects can be rapidly altered by diet.
"Humanized mice fed the Western diet have increased adiposity; this trait is transmissible via microbiota transplantation. Humanized 'gnotobiotic' mice will be useful for conducting proof-of-principle "clinical trials" that test the effects of environmental and genetic factors on the gut microbiota and host physiology."
The big picture in this study is that a poor diet may alter intestinal bacteria to encourage weight gain, but also what kicks in are genetics, environment, and physical activities.
With a high fat and high sugar diet, scientists know that sugar is fed to rats to raise their blood pressure because salt affects the salt-sensitive rat, but sugar is an all-around weight enhancer. The high fat diet works if your genetics is such that your genes don't remove the fats. On one hand you can pick and choose the oils or fats.
On the other hand, some doctors say that to reverse soft plaque in your arteries, sometimes you have to reduce the amount of oils and fats in your diet to about 10 percent or tailor your daily fats intake to your individual health issues, according to some of the Dr. Ornish dietary suggestions.
For more information on various possibilities regarding how to tailor your food to what works best in your own body, see such articles as, "These changes will make you live longer, Tweets Dean Ornish," "5 Foods to Avoid on the Ornish Diet | 3FC," and "Heart Attack Proof Diet - Dr. Cate." Also check out Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s best-selling book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease echos the same dietary advice. The outcome of any diet is whether it works for your particular genetic and metabolic requirements when it comes to balancing your diet.