Friday, October 23, 2009

controversy & a bacteria lesson prt 1

My days are completely mixed up after being in Denver for a weekend +. I kept thinking today was Wednesday, and it’s already Friday tomorrow. Yikes. I miss the Denver sunshine; it’s been pretty gloomy here in St. Louis. 
So, do I endorse all of the companies who sponsored FNCE? Well, honestly, no. I know that these companies provide a lot of funding for great causes, but I don’t necessarily advocate their products. I’m all for innovation: I think that product development is a fantastic frontier. But at the same time, I’m just a little wary of highly processed products with a lot of additives and artificial sugars. This is pretty controversial right now amongst members of the ADA. What are your thoughts about sponsorship?
tony the tiger 
One of the best sessions I attended at FNCE was on probiotics and prebiotics. This is a hot topic: globally, the retail sales of products containing probiotics or prebiotics = $15.4 billion!
::basic definitions::
probiotics: live microorganisms that have the potential to confer a health benefit on the host
prebiotics: food for beneficial bacteria; selectively stimulate the growth of one or a limited number of bacterial species in the colon; examples: agave, inulin, FOS, chicory root
control final
[intestinal cells from one of my lab experiments at Ohio State]
  • both good and potentially harmful bacteria live in the gut [called gut microflora]
  • the gut microflora break down vitamins and ferment fibers and carbohydrates that are not digested in the upper GI tract, which supports a healthy intestinal barrier, inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, and contributes to regularity.
  • probiotics increase the number of good bacteria and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria  in the intestine.  They may help the immune system and assist in maintaining barrier function.
  • prebiotics promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestinal tract and may enhance the effect of probiotic bacteria; may also increase the absorption of certain minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) and may help reduce risk factors related to colorectal diseases.
*as referenced by the International Food Information Council
Are you tongue tied yet? Stay tuned for a bacteria lesson part 2, where I’ll talk about specific products and what you should be looking for when purchasing and using them.
Also, I’m getting ready for a pretty big post after a certain Foodbuzz sponsored event this Saturday, so stay tuned.
Happy Friday!


  1. Interesting! Thanks for defining pre- and pro- for me. I have a tendency to think that most of this stuff is gimmicky, but it sounds like there are some benefits to be reaped.

  2. Enjoyed the post Emily...looking forward to Part we have alot of experience with rare, bad husband is recooperating from his second knee replacement due to his second round of rare bacteria (and strong) in his knee. Not the same as your post but the foods which help his body put the good bacteria back is crucial..He is on STRONG antibiotics thru a pick line for 3 more of the 6 weeks..thats how potent this bug is!

    Its a difficult issue and long healing process....

  3. That is so interesting! Agave is pretty much my favorite sweetener because it's reasonably low glycemic, and I didn't know that it's considered a prebiotic! I also didn't know that prebiotics help with the absorption of certain minerals! Cool!

  4. In biology lab we looked at the critters living in yogurt and it freaked me out! I prefer not to think about all of the good bacteria I shovel in my mouth ;) Something about things moving around in there just doesn't sit well!

    Woohoo for a fun event Saturday! Can't wait to read about it!!

  5. what companies sponsored the FNCE? i see you with tony the tiger, and if those sugary cereals were helping sponsor, that's pretty humorous. of course, now fruit loops gets a "smart choices" label on the box....i wish processed products would stop posing as health foods! (also, 100-calorie packs and jello help sponsor the Biggest Loser.... although low in calories, neither are very healthy!) but i guess the companies that make the heavily processed foods are the ones with the $$, so they end up being the sponsors. i don't really know of a good solution for this...I guess the ADA can't take money from companies and then tell people they shouldn't eat their products.

  6. Thanks for the info!
    I try to get many good bacterias in my tummy, specialy when I'm taking antibiotics.

  7. very interesting facts about pre and pro! :)
    looking forward to read more about it!

  8. very interesting to know that good bacteria is essential and lives in our tummies :) can't wait for part 2!

  9. Emily,

    I couldn't agree with you more about this post. I was not pleased with every company I saw at the conference. For starters, the Fruit Loops box that I grabbed had fiber in it, but the first ingredient was still sugar. What a waste. I understand that I'm obviously not going to like every company, but my goodness was there a lot of processed CRAP (maybe ten years from now the more natural companies will be making the big bucks and purchasing huge booths!).

    Also, I keep thinking today is Wednesday, and yesterday was Tuesday too! No joke.

  10. I went to school at SIUE right out of high school. So, a lot of my friends were from the St. Louis area. I found myself driving across the Missouri border at least 3 times a week and the weather was DRAB. Where is the sunshine? It' pretty much the same in Cincinnati.


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