What’s on TV? Trust Me I’m A Doctor Review

Hooray for Kefir!

Trust me I’m a Doctor returned this month and the first episode included a small study on probiotics. Thirty volunteers were split into small groups and consumed either an ‘off the shelf’ probiotic drink, kefir or prebiotic foods for four weeks in an effort to improve their gut health. Whilst the other groups showed some improvement, they found that the group who consumed the kefir had the greatest increase in all types of Lactobacillus bacteria.

As a nutritional therapist I have been advocating the benefits of kefir for a long time so I’m really pleased the programme has helped to raised its profile! The bacteria found in kefir and other fermented food such as sauerkraut are a great way to improve your gut health but the benefits extend beyond this. Optimising levels of friendly gut bacteria can help to modulate the immune system, balance hormones and reduce inflammation.

You can buy good quality kefir from Riverford, Abel and Cole and many supermarkets. You can often find it a bit cheaper in Polish shops. Just be sure it is the real deal and has no added sugar! You can also try making your own, which is particularly good if you’re dairy free. See the homemade kefir recipe here.

The group who consumed a diet high in prebiotic food for four weeks also showed some good results. Prebiotics act as food for the probiotics thus further improving your gut microbiome. Food sources include leeks, onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes.

Exercise doesn’t make you hungry, but sleep deprivation does!

It’s often stated that exercise and lack of sleep make you hungrier due to their affect on our hormones. One important hormone involved in short term appetite regulation is Ghrelin. Ghrelin is released in the stomach and stimulates appetite. Trust me I’m a doctor undertook a small study where ten people were split into two groups, one diet and one exercise. 

On the first day they all received exactly the same breakfast then had their ghrelin levels tested. On the second day at breakfast the dieters consumed 500 fewer calories and the exercise group went running to burn off 500 calories before eating. The dieters had significantly higher ghrelin levels 3 hours after eating than on day one. The exercise group had ghrelin levels very similar to the control measurement taken on the first day. Whilst this was a very small study it supports the body of research that is building to bust the myth that exercise increases appetite.

The doctors also conducted a small study on the effect of sleep deprivation on appetite. They found that getting less than 7 hours sleep is more likely to lead to higher food consumption from unhealthy sources. This supports other similar research on this topic.
The link between lack of sleep and obesity is well documented and thought to be due to the disruption of ghrelin, as discussed above, and Leptin, our satiety hormone. This is another good reason to practice good sleep hygiene and is an essential part of any nutritional programme, especially weight management.
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Meet Sarah:
Sarah is a registered nutritional therapist with a specialist interest in diabetes, hormonal health and cancer care. Sarah see clients at Louise Digby Nutrition in Chelmsford, Essex and is currently taking on new clients. Book an appointment with Sarah here.