A Dietitian Reacts to Netflix’s “Hack Your Health” Documentary Leave a comment

Gut health has become a big topic of discussion in the wellness community, with experts and influencers alike talking about the importance of balancing your gut microbiome and promoting the growth of “good” bacteria. And now, to add to the conversation, there’s a new Netflix documentary on the topic.

In Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut, renowned gut expert Dr. Guilia Enders and her colleagues dig into all things gut health, from the basics of how your gut works to her recommendations for a healthier microbiome. Throughout the show, a panel of doctors help everyday people with digestive issues improve their gut health through testing and analysis.

We asked registered dietitian Brookell White, RD, for her thoughts and commentary on some of the information presented in the documentary.

The documentary explains gut health well

White says that Hack Your Health does a good job communicating the relationship between diet and gut health. 

“Dr. Giulia and the other specialists did a great job explaining the gut and its interactions with other organs, disease states and our overall health,” White says, adding that the documentary relays the information in a way that’s easy for the average person to understand.

Some of White’s key takeaways from the film include:

Some areas are still being researched

White noted that microbiome testing, which was featured in the documentary, is still being researched. Microbiome testing is where the experts used a numerical scale to determine foods that are more or less beneficial to the gut. 

“Currently there is not enough research or evidence to suggest personalized food recommendations based on the gut composition,” White explains. “We don’t know enough right now to say that you need to eat a specific food to optimize your gut.”

She adds that our gut composition is very fluid, so a customized diet based on a single sample likely wouldn’t work. Aka, you would likely need to get new samples and new food recommendations every so often based on your current gut composition—although more research is needed.

Overall, White urges viewers to remember that science is about discovery. Experts often use statements that include  “may” or “can” to relay uncertainty or variability. Blanket statements cited as facts can often be a red flag. 

“Science is always evolving and our knowledge of the gut and how it functions is very new,” she says. “We are learning more about the gut all the time, so information should be conveyed as such.”

TL;DR: According to White, Hack Your Health has a lot of good information about the relationship between what we eat and our gut health and overall well-being. White also noted that some information discussed in the documentary is still subject to ongoing research and discovery. 

Even though there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to a healthier gut, there are some general guidelines for a more balanced microbiome. White recommends:

“The big picture will always be more valuable to our health outcomes rather than a single food recommendation,” she says. And if you want even more guidance, stay tuned for MyFitnessPal’s Gut Health Nutrition Plan launching May 15. There you’ll find science-backed and expert-approved advice on how to diversify your diet and, in turn, support gut health.

Download MyFitnessPal to be one of the first notified when the Gut Health Nutrition Plan launches.

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