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Dr. Abby Johnson, Postdoctoral Associate, Knights Lab at the University of Minnesota, discusses her work in research, including detailed information on nutrition and a healthy gut diet.  

Podcast Points of Discussion:

  • Phytochemicals, and fiber compositions of certain foods
  • Can we actually change the stability of the microbiome?
  • How does what we eat impact the bacteria in our gut?

Dr. Johnson studies the relationship between diet and the microbiome. She holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota and devotes much of her time to research. Since 2010, Dr. Johnson has been heavily interested in gut issues and the microbiome. While studying in Chicago, she learned a great deal about fats in the gut, bowel disorders, and more, and her interest was triggered. She states that what we eat can literally change the bacteria in our guts. She talks about the foods we eat and the many microbes that are within. Her research begs the questions: can we change the stability of the microbiome? How do antibiotics have an effect? Dr. Johnson discusses diet in terms of macro and micronutrients, and what exactly is in the food we eat. What is it composed of? She goes into detail about phytochemicals and fiber compositions in foods, and how the gut handles it all. 

Continuing, she explains some of their studies and the data they derived from the diet and nutritional intake of study participants. She explains how nutritional status is maintained in hospital patients and the effect of the microbiome. Dr. Johnson goes on to discuss their findings in other studies. She states that the same food in different participants had various effects and that responses to foods were different in individuals. Interestingly, our personal microbiome may respond quite differently to foods. 

Wrapping up, Dr. Johnson discusses shifts in eating patterns, and how they may impact your gut microbiome. Additionally, Dr. Johnson talks about the areas she hopes to explore in future studies.  

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