BOOK REVIEW: 'Gutbliss': A Physician Examines the Real Reasons Why Gastrointestinal Problems Afflict Women

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Gutbliss': A Physician Examines the Real Reasons Why Gastrointestinal Problems Afflict Women

"All disease begins in the gut" -- Hippocrates

If you're a woman suffering from bloating, indigestion, constipation and other gastrointestinal ailments, the problem is probably tied directly to the food you eat, says Dr. Robynne Chutkan in "Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Intestinal Baggage" (Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 304 pages, $26.00).

She says that, if you're feeling "sad" about your intestinal health, the culprit may be the Standard American Diet (SAD) of foodlike substances masquerading as real food. Although the book is aimed specifically at women, men will benefit from her dietary advice. I've already changed some of my eating habits after reading "Gutbliss."

Before I saw the book, I had already cut way back on some of the dairy products I had previously enjoyed, including cheese and yogurt. My next goal is to eliminate products containing gluten. I wondered why men and women differ on gastrointestinal issues, and Dr. Chutkan explains on Pages 28-29 that women have colons that are four inches longer than men and are more likely than men to be constipated.

In addition to quoting Hippocrates with the remark about disease that I've used in the epigraph, Dr. Chutkan quotes him again on Page 183: "Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food."     We've been lied to by so-called experts for generations about food. Dairy products are on Dr. Chutkan's list of foods to avoid, (Pages 193ff). If you think you can avoid dairy by using soy products, think again, she says. Almond milk, which I've  been using to replace soy milk, is a good choice, providing it's not artificially sweetened, she says.     Here's a list of six items to avoid (Page 227): soy, artificial sweeteners, dairy, gluten, sugar and alcohol. (I'm still going to have my nightly glass of wine and an occasional beer, but if you're a woman, it might be best to avoid either wine or beer).  

Dr. Chutkan says -- and she profiles real people from her practice to back up her writing -- that most "cures" for women’s bloating and indigestion, from juice cleanses to specialty diets, are based on junk science. For women seeking true relief from that overall feeling of discomfort in any size jeans, Dr. Robynne Chutkan has the perfect plan for feeling light, tight, and bright in ten days. Gutbliss offers:

  • A primer on the real reasons for gastrointestinal distress, and why it’s much more common in women
  • A look at the debilitating side effects of supposedly healthy habits—from Greek yogurt to bloat-inducing aspirin
  • An expert analysis of symptoms that could indicate a serious underlying condition
  • An indispensable checklist to pinpoint the exact cause of your bloating

Dr. Chutkan writes that just a few small changes in diet, lifestyle, and exercise can make a huge difference in a woman’s digestive health -- but the changes have to be the right ones. 


Summing up, "Gutbliss" helped me understand ailments like diverticulosis and its more severe relative diverticulitis that two people I know have suffered from -- along with many other ailments and diseases. Our over-processed "frankenfood" is to blame for many ailments, and Dr. Chutkan provides easy-to-follow recipes to get back on the right  dietary path.


Coincidentally, after finishing the book, I saw an NPR review of a book by Daniel Lieberman, "The Story of the Human Body" that lends support to Dr. Chutkan's observations that "primitive" people who eat a lot of fiber and nonprocessed foots have far fewer gastrointestinal problems that those in "advanced" countries like the U.S. Lieberman says -- in a book I'm going to look up -- that our stone age bodies have to struggle with modern foods --- Dr. Chutkan would put them in the SAD category -- that cause many of our problems, including cancers and heart disease: Link:

   About the Author
Robynne Chutkan, M.D., FASGE, is one of the world’s leading gastroenterologists and has been widely featured in the media, including frequent appearances on The Dr. Oz Show. She is the founder of the Digestive Center for Women and a faculty member at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Her website:  
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