Get to know your Gut Stuff

Food

Meet The Mac Twins. DJ’s and Presenters by night, scientific researchers by day. A fascination with gut health has led them to volunteer for TwinsUK research at King’s College London. Now they spend time interviewing “gut pros”: scientists, academics, chefs and foodies to get the real scoop and science behind what we eat…

How do your lifestyles impact on your health?

Sleep. All we want is sleep ha! Some days we work from 7am until 3am the next morning and everything suffers. It’s also difficult to eat really well when you’re on stage late and travelling a lot but we’re trying. Also I think not having a steady routine makes things difficult as it’s harder to be mindful and listen to your body when you’re racing through life at 100mph!

You’re identical twin sisters (with only 40% of the same microbiota!). How do your bodies react differently?

Alana’s body is a lot hardier. She falls asleep at the drop of a hat, poos regularly, doesn’t really have to do a lot of cardio to stay in shape and is rarely ill. Whereas Lisa is an insomniac, who is always a stone heavier – despite working out more, and has a dicky tum and low energy ALOT. She has to work extra hard in the “Gut” department as her microbiome has been shot to pieces by lots of antibiotics and stress. We’re trying to even out the balance, but both our bodies are great for everyone else to learn from.

The Gut Stuff
Photo: The Gut Stuff

What led you to the British Gut Project at King’s College London?

We were already volunteering for “Twin Research” as “guinea pigs” helping out advances in medical science (as twins are the perfect constant) and have always been fascinated at what the physiological differences between us are – so when they offered us the chance to get our guts analysed we jumped at the opportunity!

There are so many “‘healthy gut” products on the market from gluten free to pickled and fermented foods. What do you hope to achieve through Gut Stuff?

We’ve always just wanted to raise awareness, stay unbiased and hear straight from the scientists – facts not fads! The research is all still so new, we want to be at the forefront of it, so we can pass all the information on to everyone, in a digestible (sorry!) and accessible way.

What do you think about the trend “if it looks good on Instagram you should eat it”

It’s not only ridiculous, it’s really really dangerous. We’re all for eating things that look good and taste great, but it shouldn’t be the primary reason WHY we eat it. If we’re twins and can’t be sold/eat the same thing, then no one can.

The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” – why is this?

The best fact we heard this week is that there are 100 million cells in your gut. Just as many as there are in the head of a cat. It’s never going to do algebra or make a masterpiece, but it’s got to be smart to digest, break down and absorb everything we put in our bodies and decide how we’re going to use it.

When we “feel something in our gut”, what is really going on?

The brain – gut connection is not just metaphorical, they communicate all the time and are connected by all sorts of neutrons and nerves, and what we’re learning now is this is a two way conversation. Before we thought it could only speak one way with the brain speaking to your tummy sending “nervous butterflies” etc, but now scientists are realising that what we eat, can directly affect our mood and emotional state.

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Why is gut health so important to our immune system, mental health and energy levels?

95% of your serotonin is created in your gut. I think that says it all really. There’s loads of new findings coming out and research being poured into the links between your gut and mental health. Let’s all find out together, it’s totally going to change our lives.

Favourite restaurant in London and why?

Raw Duck is brilliant. There’s experimental water kefir flavours, a whole section of the menu dedicated to pickles and ferments. It’s Gut Health heaven!

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