The 4 Foods You Should Avoid for Better Gut Health, According to a Top Dietitian

Looking for improved digestive health? Here are the foods you should eat—and the ones you should avoid.

I can't quite believe I'm typing this right now, but the official kickoff of holiday party season is just a few weeks away. While that may be great news for your Insta story game, all those late nights, cocktails, and skipped workouts can be a serious bummer for your gut. How to get things back into balance—and keep them there—when bloating and bathroom disruption strike? Well, one place to start is with your diet, and it's just as important to know the worst foods for gut health as it is to load up on the best.

In the latest episode of You Versus FoodWell+Good's YouTube series that simplifies confusing nutrition topics—registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, lays out four ingredients to avoid for optimal gut health. Suspect number one: sugar. "A growing body of evidence is showing that a high-sugar diet can alter gut bacteria," Beckerman says. "Plus, refined sugar stimulates the growth of harmful bacteria, known as candida, that can damage your gut lining." (Swap these no-added-sugar "peanut-butter cups" for the real thing, thank me later.)

Beckerman also makes a case for reducing your meat consumption in the name of good gut health. "There is a link between a meat-based diet, gut bacteria, and heart disease," she says. "Because bacteria changes swiftly in the gut—which can either be a good thing or a bad thing—a meat-heavy diet can lead to negative shifts in bacteria in as little as two days." That's almost as scary as the meat industry's impact on the environment—just sayin'.

Check out the video above for two more of the worst foods for gut health, plus five delicious options to load up on instead. Follow Beckerman's advice on the daily, and your gut will be primed to take on your end-of-year social calendar like a champ.

Don't miss Beckerman's six foods to eat when you need a hit of energy—and find out which nut butter she's crowned the healthiest of them all.

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