HEALTHY BITE | The Journey of Food Predigestion and Digestion

Today, in this Healthy Bite episode, I want to talk about the journey of food predigestion and digestion. Dr Pran Yoganathan took us on a fantastic voyage of when we put our food in our mouths, and what happens to it every step of the way. Tune in for a brief explanation and why it's important for you to know those things.

The Journey of Food Predigestion and Digestion

Well, this week’s episode was quite extraordinary. I thought I had the pleasure of speaking to Gastroenterologist Dr Pran Yoganathan. He practises in Sydney. He is prolific in his research and to find a gastroenterologist who is actually focussed so strongly on nutrition, and not just any nutrition. On the nutrition, on ancestral diets and it was quite extraordinary. It took my breath away to hear of and to follow on Instagram and if you’re not following Dr. Pran on Instagram, you really should.

He is just a wealth of information, always looking at research, analysing it, and putting it into the perspective of a gastroenterologist. Many of you may be following people who have done various courses on nutrition and they may have had experience in their own lives but to have somebody who’s gone through med school and who’s gone through a speciality and who is actually a practising gastroenterologist dealing every day with issues that are faced in digestive problems, of which there are many, as you can imagine. To have that kind of advice coming from somebody who is as well qualified as him is really a wonderful discovery for us and I have my partner in the surgery, Dr Lewis Ehrlich, to thank for the connection. I really enjoyed the conversation.

What kind of food do we put in our mouths?

I really wanted him to take us on a fantastic voyage of when we put our food in our mouths. What happens to it every step of the way? And I loved the way when I asked him to start with the mouth, he pulled me back on that and talked about let’s start with what goes on with food before we put it in our mouths and some of the things we can do to food in that process and I thought that was terrific because that’s a very big part of digestion.

For example, our discovery of fire, which I think occurred around Homo Erectus around the same million at least two years ago. As soon as we discovered a fire that changed our relationship with food. What we could, not only put in our mouths but how well we could absorb the nutrient that went into our mouths. Do we ferment our food? How do we prepare our food? He was discussing predigestion there and pre-putting it into our mouths, which I thought was fantastic.

How do we digest our food?

He took us on a tour as we went through what goes on in the mouth, what goes on in the stomach, in the small intestine, in the large intestine, all the way through to the anus, and talked about bowel movements. I know we’ve covered that before. I thought that was interesting what he had to say about that. More importantly, how easy it is to have a bowel movement. That’s a key factor which we’ve touched on before. You know, what does your poo say about you? I did a great episode with Maria Hunt where we talked about the Bristol Stool Chart. I digress for a moment.

The Gut as the Second Brain

I thought it was also interesting when I asked Pran to elaborate on the gut as the second brain. How many of you will know that the gut is now described as the second brain? Not only is the gut the seat of so much of our immune function, but it also is a very important site of producing some important neurotransmitters like Serotonin, which is the target of many anti-depressants, Dopamine, and a whole, which is the feel-good kind of neurotransmitter but the gut as the second brain is a very popular and accepted concept.

Pran took it to a whole other evolutionary level. He felt the gut was the first brain and he went on to explain why. There was just so much in this episode that I thought was so valuable and it was such a treat to talk to somebody like Pran and for him to share his wisdom with us. If you haven’t had a listen to this episode, I would really recommend that you do. Listen to the episode with Dr Pran Yoganathan, Sydney’s one of, I believe, pre-eminent gastroenterologists and a wealth of information. I hope this finds you well.

This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests in this podcast express their opinions, experiences, and conclusions.