Science Catch-up. Gluten-free Diet Didn’t Heal Gut Lining

by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.

Welcome to our Thursday’s Science Catch-up: curated links by The Health Sciences Academy. Get our email updates every other Thursday here (it’s free).

Let’s catch you up with studies and news that recently made the headlines!

Click on your favourite topics to read our summary:

1. Gluten-free diet didn’t heal gut lining

2. Rebound weight gain may be caused by obesogenic gut bacteria

3. Oats lover? New discovery about beta glucans

4. Oops! Celebrity chefs caught displaying poor food-safety habits…

5. Runners’ brains may have greater connectivity

6. Poll of the year: How much do you remember about 2016’s scientific discoveries?

Gluten-free diet didn’t heal gut lining

Study link

In this new study, 150 children with coeliac disease followed a strict gluten-free diet for 12 months, in the hope to repair their gut lining.


a) normal villi, b) distorted villi, c) severe mucosal damage in coeliac disease, d) mucosal surface is completely flat

However, a year later, 1 in every 5 children still showed signs of continual intestinal damage, even with a strict gluten-free regime.

We can also look at this in a different way: that most children (80%) experienced complete mucosal recovery after a gluten-free year. In other words, you might see this news played by either angle by journalists!

Note: Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not, the healing of your gut lining depends on a multitude of factors. Take a look at what helps in this Science Report (optional resource).

Rebound weight gain may be caused by obesogenic gut bacteria

Study link


Obesogenic gut bacteria, which remains in the gut even after weight loss (Elinav et al., 2016)

Weight regain, also called “rebound weight gain”, is an unwanted occurrence after dieting…

But based on new research, it appears this rebound weight gain might be partly due to obesogenic gut bacteria, which remains in the gut… even after weight loss!

Knowing this is very useful. It confirms that the composition of your gut bacteria matters in weight control.

In other words, addressing other aspects of your diet (before, during and after weight loss) is important. Such as promoting good gut microbiota composition, for example through eating fibre-rich foods (e.g. greens) and probiotics (e.g. yogurt).

Note: Indeed, your microbial garden has a deep impact on your weight – good or bad. If you wish to learn this science, see Are Your Genes, Gut Microbiome and Weight Connected? (optional resource).

Oats lover? New discovery about beta glucans

Study link


More fats and cholesterol were excreted in the presence of beta glucans from oats (Gunness et al., 2016)

Beta glucans are a type of plant cell wall fibres, which are abundant in oats.

We’ve known for a while that beta glucans in oats may help reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and decrease the levels of saturated fats in the blood. However, no one evidenced exactly “how” that works, and loads of hypotheses have been made.

This new study revealed a new piece of the puzzle regarding this mechanism.

Essentially, the scientists proved for the first time that, in the presence of beta glucans, there is much less circulating bile in the intestines. This means that fats, which bile helps break down, are not digested as rapidly or as completely. And that’s why more of them are excreted rather than absorbed into the bloodstream.

Oops! Celebrity chefs caught displaying poor food-safety habits…

Study link

When we think of celebrity chefs, we assume a degree of proper modelling of food safety, right?

Well, this study tells us that they may not be that food-safety role model after all!

A team of food-safety experts watched 100 episodes from 24 celebrity chefs and scrutinised their food-handling behaviours using a checklist.

What did they find? That the celebrity chefs violated food-safety etiquette galore…

For example, although all chefs washed their hands at the beginning of cooking at least one dish, 88% did not wash (or were not shown washing) their hands after handling uncooked meat.

On top of that, many chefs showed poor safety behaviours, such as:

  • adding food with their hands (79%) or eating while cooking (50%),
  • hygiene issues such as touching hair (21%) or licking fingers (21%),
  • not using a thermometer (75%), and
  • using the same cutting board to prepare ready-to-eat items and uncooked meat (25%).

Here’s the list of celebrity chefs under scrutiny, including Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Curtis Stone, Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, and Martha Stewart:


Researchers scrutinised the food-safety behaviours of 24 celebrity chefs (Maughan et al., 2016)

Runners’ brains may have greater connectivity

Study link


Brain areas and connectivity analyse in distance runners vs healthy non-runners (Raichlen et al., 2016)

According to this new study published in the Human Neuroscience journal, runners’ brains may develop a distinct neural advantage…

How? The brains of endurance runners appear to have greater functional connectivity than the brains of non-runners.

This was found using MRI scans. The neuroscientists noticed that running may positively affect the structure and function of the brain in ways similar to complex tasks and precise motor control, like playing a musical instrument.

Other athletic activities that alter brain structure and function are those that demand high levels of hand-eye coordination, such as golf, gymnastics, and tennis.

This shows how plastic and adaptable our brain is, and how running might help build some cognitive resilience against brain ageing.

Poll of the year: How much do you remember about 2016’s scientific discoveries?

It’s that time of the year again, when we take a look back at some of the most remarkable scientific discoveries of 2016… and see if you’ve been paying attention!

So we thought it’d be fun to put your knowledge to the test with our little poll:


How much do you remember about 2016’s scientific discoveries?

For a look back at 2016, take a peek here. That’s a LOT of new science we discussed in the past 12 months!

Plus a few myths debunked along the way (ahem)…

But let me tell you, I just love it that you’re here, boosting your nutrition IQ every other Thursday, along other hundreds of thousands eager Science Catch-uppers.

See, sticking around us scientists puts you in the ‘upper’ layer of scientific understanding…

It is YOU who are making a difference in the real world, applying your knowledge to help yourself and your loved ones enjoy a better life.

And I’m so excited about the scientific advances that await you and me…

Plus, new certification courses we’re developing and getting accredited for you.

I’ll be back in your inbox with a fresh Science Catch-up email on 12 January. It’s already marked in my calendar print-out :-)

Until then, happy holidays and may 2017 be your best year ever!

Leave a comment!

It’s your passion for all things health/nutrition which fuels our scientific research and educational materials…

So if you’ve been enjoying our Science Catch-ups, please tell us!

I’d also love to hear about your plans for 2017… and what amazing plans are you hoping to achieve?

If you want to get the latest science and our tips, make sure you sign up to our Thursday emails HERE.

The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right Alex Ruani, Doctoral Researcher, is the Chief Science Educator at The Health Sciences Academy, where her team of accomplished scientists and PhDs are training a new breed of over 100,000 highly-specialised nutrition professionals who are leveraging the latest personalisation strategies to help their clients. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL Doctoral Researcher who is fanatical about equipping health professionals with the latest science-based tools so they can succeed in their practices – from identifying the unique nutrient needs to building highly personalised nutrition programs. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition biochemistry, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free email updates.

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