Fiber Fueled Book Summary - Fiber Fueled Book explained in key points
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Fiber Fueled summary

Will Bulsiewicz

The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome

4.7 (260 ratings)
17 mins
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    Fiber Fueled
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    Meet your gut microbiome

    Whatever you think you know about the importance of your microbiome is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Research in the field is growing at an exponential rate with 12,900 papers published in the last five years – that’s 80 percent of all the papers published about the gut microbiome in the last 40 years. And in the last 15 years or so, we’ve gone from knowing about 200 species of bacteria in the human gut to 15,000. It’s believed that there may even be as many as 36,000 species.

    So what exactly is your microbiome? Well, the collection of microorganisms living inside you which includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and archaea, is usually referred to as the gut microbiota, and the term microbiome is reserved for its genetic makeup. Let’s look a little closer at each of the microbes.

    Bacteria are single-celled organisms that most people associated with illness. It’s true that some are bad – E. coli, for example – but most of them are good for us.

    Fungi, on the other hand, are multicellular. Just as with bacteria, some are bad and some are good. Bacteria and fungi often compete, so while one flourishes the other withers.

    Viruses are simply particles of DNA or RNA. And yet again there are bad ones that cause illnesses like hepatitis B, HIV, and, indeed COVID-19, but there are also good ones that work to keep your bacteria in harmony.

    Parasites in your microbiome are like thieves – they steal energy from you and try to remain undetected. Some, like worms that can grow to 80 feet long, are – thankfully – rare in the Western world but others, like Toxoplasma gondii currently infect 60 million Americans – again, thankfully, mostly asymptomatically. 

    And then there are the archaea, ancient organisms that have been around for billions of years. Not only are they found in your colon, but also in ocean rift vents and volcanoes. They’re incredibly resilient and, right now, barely understood at all.

    Your own gut microbiota is quite unique and diverse. For example, it contains from 300 to over 1,000 of the bacteria species possible from the 36,000 that are thought to exist.

    So what does your gut microbiota do and what happens when it goes wrong?

    Your microbiota is critically important to your digestive function, allowing you to extract nutrients from your food. Your food is also the food of the microbes in your microbiota and they thrive on different things. Remove a food group completely and the microbes that live on that starve to death. Not only that, your food choices in any 24 hours affect the evolution of the next 50 microbe generations. Effectively, this gives you a particular set of microbes that’s as unique as your fingerprint.

    The importance of your microbiota has a reach far beyond the colon. Think of it as a kind of command center for your health. It’s involved in your immunity, metabolism, hormonal balance, cognition, and gene expression. Things that happen in your body or brain can often be traced back to the work of your gut microbes.

    Disharmony and a lack of balance in your gut is known as dysbiosis and can lead to a loss of diversity of species which, in turn, can lead to a greater proportion of microbes that cause inflammation. When the wall of your colon is no longer protected by good microbes, this can lead to what’s called bacterial endotoxin entering your bloodstream. This bacterial endotoxin is produced by the likes of E. coli and Salmonella. Although the resulting inflammation can be quite low-grade it can also lead to life-threatening sepsis and even organ failure. It’s also linked to autoimmune diseases, obesity, coronary artery disease, type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases. Bad news indeed.

    In the next section, we’ll look at some of the factors that can cause the balance of your microbiota to go awry.

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    What is Fiber Fueled about?

    Fiber Fueled (2020) introduces you to your gut microbiome and its importance for your health. It explains how you can keep your microbiome healthy by eating a wide variety of plants.

    Who should read Fiber Fueled?

    • Junk-food junkies looking for a way out
    • Weight-conscious folks searching for something that really works
    • Gut microbes that need to train their human to eat healthily

    About the Author

    Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, or Dr. B as he’s known, is an award-winning gastroenterologist not only for his clinical work but also for his research. He’s contributed to over 20 published scientific articles and has also cowritten a companion book to his New York Times best-seller Fiber Fueled, aptly named The Fiber Fueled Cookbook.

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