What Is "Gut Rot"? [Causes and Cure]
Oct 13, 2022
Do you just want to take a nap after you eat a meal? Do you experience health related issues such as anxiety, high blood pressure, or acne?
While any diseases and health issues can have a variety of causes, more and more research is showing us that at least part of the cause is your diet.
The good news is that if the cause is your diet, there is plenty that you can do to improve your diet and improve your overall health.
Better food choices and understanding how food affects your body is the first step toward better gut health which will lead to feeling better both physically and mentally.
What Is "Gut Rot"?
While "gut rot" is not a medically recognized term, gut rot is an informal or slang phrase that describes severe stomach pain or the overall feeling of poor gut health.
Essentially, gut rot refers to a feeling of having a rotten belly or stomach. Think of how you feel after a post-Halloween candy binge or after a particularly heavy night out drinking.
You may feel cramping, bloating, sharp pain and other feelings that your stomach is "rotten". This is what gut rot refers to.
Gut Health: The Opposite of Gut Rot
So, if gut rot refers to have a rotten stomach, what is the opposite?
What is the gut? Talking about your gut refers to the entire digestive system. From the mouth to the bowel, this system works hard to break down the food that is being put into the body, absorb the nutrients and vitamins that are contained in the food, and eliminate the waste that the body does not need.
This isn't an easy task, and it is made all the harder by eating highly processed and fast foods. Researchers from the Netherlands have recently reported that a diet high in sugar and fat can damage the gut microbiome and can lead to poor health and a variety of health conditions.
Your gut contains millions of healthy bacteria that aid your gut in the entire digestive process. When the bacteria is less functional or even worse allow destructive bacteria to develop, your gut health deteriorates, and this can lead to a variety of health issues.
There is also a connection between the brain and your digestive health that needs to be nurtured. Something called the gut-brain axis refers to the connection between the brain, nervous system, and intestinal health.
Stress eating and heightened feeling of anxiety after consuming a high sugar lunch are both examples of this gut-brain axis connection. This connection was discovered and began to be researched over 20 years ago when food and the connection to anxiety and depression was investigated.
Gut Health Foods to Avoid
While fast food and processed food diets are not the only causes of poor gut health, they are a large component of your gut and overall health.
The good news is that you can do something about it. When you consume large amounts of sugary and high fat foods, your body needs to process these foods and extract any nutrients that it can before eliminating what the body cannot use.
Sugar for example contains some energy for our bodies but almost no nutrients and vitamins that our bodies can use. Our bodies must call upon the healthy bacteria, viruses, and fungi in our digestive system to process this food with little reward.
You will likely feel a sugar high but then crash. You might feel jittery or on edge or you might begin to experience chronic health issues such as anxiety, brain fog, acne, or sleep issues.
Animal derived fatty foods can lead to destructive bacteria in the gut. Health issues in the gut can be mild such as less than optimal functioning to actual harmful bacteria thriving in your digestive system.
In the Netherlands, 1,425 people were studied and it was discovered that those with a highly processed, animal-derived diet had greater levels of destructive bacteria and toxins in their gut.
This can lead to more serious health conditions such as a variety of cancers, respiratory issues, and heart disease.
Dangers of Gut Rot
Undesired health conditions from a highly processed food diet can range from mild, such as foul smelling flatulence, to life threatening.
It all starts in the gut and the reaction to the processed foods that you ingest can greatly affect not only your gut health but also your overall health. Changes in your diet can adjust your risk for many of these diseases.
Lack of Energy
Lack of energy and fatigue might be the most noticed signs of an unhealthy diet and poor gut health. Your body needs vitamins and nutrients to function.
If you diet of poor in nutrients and vitamins and your body is working hard to eliminate what the body doesn't need, you will lack energy to do what you want in life.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension can eventually lead to heart disease and refers to the pressure of the blood against the arteries of your body. Prolonged high blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
Symptoms of high blood pressure range from no symptoms at all to headaches and heart palpitations.
A variety of cancers can be caused at least in part by a diet of processed and fast food. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancers are just a few diseases that could be life threatening.
Cancer can have a host of cause, but as more and more studies are beginning to prove, the foods that you put into your body can allow malignant cells to grow and thrive in your body.
Anxiety and Depression
The gut-brain axis that we talked about earlier is clearly demonstrated in many studies related to mental health and diet. A diet rich in processed, sugary, and fatty foods can lead to a variety of mental struggles especially anxiety and depression.
Depression affects the way you feel, the way you think, and the way you act. It changes how you see the world and your life.
Anxiety can throw you into a state of constant worry, a feeling of looming danger, and at its worst panic attacks. Both of these conditions can be mild as to disrupt sleep patterns and relationships or may be severe resulting in a constant struggle to lead a normal life.
Inflammation is probably one of the most common results of a poor diet. Inflammation can be the result of a very common reaction of the body.
The common cold can cause inflammation because your body signals a need to attack invaders and rid them from your body. A stuffy nose is a prime example of inflammation in the body.
Inflammation from a poor diet however isn't beneficial to your body. Intestinal inflammation can be caused by irritating waste sitting in your digestive track. Your body displays inflammation not as a benefit to your body but as a reaction to an irritant that your cells are reacting to.
Good Diet vs. Bad Diet
There are three main issues with highly processed and fast food. All of these can greatly affect your health and most processed foods contains all these issues which makes them especially poor choices.
High Sugar Diet
Sugar contains very little to no nutrients that our bodies need but it tastes really good. Sugar makes our body work to digest food that results in very little payoff as far as nutrients and vitamins that our bodies can use.
Sugar can be dangerous for our bodies in another way however. Since sugar tastes so good, our brains tell our bodies that we like it and it is something our bodies need.
This leads to a cycle of sugar crashes caused by a huge quantity of sugar going into our body, our bodies working hard to process it, and our brains telling us that we need more because we feel sluggish.
High Fat Diet
There are good fats that our bodies need in moderation and bad fats that can lead to circulation issues, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart issues.
Not all fat is bad, and our bodies use some fats to help our joints to work well and for our brains to function. High fats however can find their way into your bloodstream which can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
Good fats can be found in avocados, olive oil, and fish. Bad fats are those found in fatty animal products like burgers, in the oil used to fry your food, and other processed foods like cake and pie crust.
Sugary and fatty foods tend to contain very little vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function. We need protein and carbohydrates for energy and muscle. We need vitamin C for immunity. We need vitamin D for mental health. When our bodies lack vital nutrients, a wide range of health issues from lack of energy to anemia.
Better Choices for Gut Health
The good news is that there is much you can do to improve your gut microbiome and in turn, your overall health. Think of your body as a machine that needs to be fueled.
Your body needs a variety of vitamins, carbohydrates, good fats, and protein to function at its best. Without the fuel, your body can not function. Food rich in vitamins and fiber are super fuels for your body.
Vegetables, beans, and whole grains should make up the basis for your diet. Add in fruits, nuts, olive oil, and fat free meats such as chicken for the energy and fuel your body needs.
Slowly these foods will not only reverse the inflammation and unhealthy gut microbiome, but they will help to train your digestive system to function at it best.
Changes are difficult and depending on how much of your diet is currently composed of processed or fast food, you might think that the task is overwhelming.
Start small and make small steps toward better health. Substitute one fast food meal with a homemade, whole grain meal. Add flavor with dried spices, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger.
Healthy food doesn't have to taste bad. Substitute more and more processed food choices with options that your body likes and you will begin to feel more energized and healthier as you go deeper into a healthy diet.
Give your body time to adjust. It takes some time for healthy bacteria to grow, inflammation to be reduced, and energy levels to increase.
Prebiotics and Probiotics Might Help Gut Rot
Prebiotic fiber is a carbohydrate which helps to nourish the good bacteria that you have in your gut allowing food nutrients to be absorbed easier and move through your body faster.
Onions, garlic, and leeks all contain naturally found prebiotics. Probiotics are actual live microorganisms that grow in your gut. Probiotics can help to repopulate these bacteria levels which can lead to better digestion.
Probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt, cheddar cheese, and pickled vegetables.
Diet alone might not be enough to achieve the optimal gut health that you desire. We have a unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics that can help nourish and repopulate your digestive system bacteria and give you a boost toward better health that might not be able to be achieved through diet alone.
Clear Gut & Immunity is specially formulated with probiotics, prebiotics, medicinal mushrooms, and more to boost your immune system, relax bowel irritability, and promote good digestion which will lead to improved energy*.
As we have demonstrated, you diet is closely tied to the results you see and feel. Diet is controllable and can lead to less disease and increased quality of life.
Your gut health begins in your mouth when you chew and begin to break down the food that you are ingesting and ends when waste is eliminated from your body.
Each organ along the digestive tract has an important role to play in not just breaking down your food but in delivering nutrients needed for your body to function at high levels.
Diets rich in processed and fast foods like fried, burgers, and soda struggle to function. Low energy, a variety of diseases, and metal outlook are all affected but these high sugar, high fat foods. They are convenient but shouldn't make up the majority of any diet.
Focusing on your gut health and asking yourself whether or not a food will help your body or harm your body might help you make good choices.
Discover new grains, looks for whole grain breads, add bean dip and veggies into your diet. Reach for carrot sticks and hummus or an apple with peanut butter instead of a candy bar or bag of chips.
Conclusion: Good Gut = Good Health
The more you focus on healthy foods being put into your body the better you will begin to feel. Having a clear mind, reducing your anxiety, increasing your energy levels, and breathing better are all signs that you are moving in the right direction.
Feeling better will be your motivation to keep walking down the path of healthy eating. When you feel good, there is little motivation to go back to feeling ill and run down.
- Bolte LA, Vila AV, Imhann F, et al. Long-term dietary patterns are associated with pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory features of the gut microbiome. Gut. 2021;70(7):1287-1298. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322670. Retrieved from https://gut.bmj.com/content/70/7/1287
- Afshin A, Sur PJ, Fay KA, et al. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet. 2019;393(10184):1958-1972. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30041-8. Retrieved from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30041-8/fulltext