Ain’t Nobody Happy


The title of this post refers back to “If Momma Ain’t Happy.” The concept is well-grounded in American folklore. Many musicians either cover someone else’s song or write their own version. For instance, there is “If Mama Ain’t Happy (Ain’t Nobody Happy)” by Blind Rhymin’ Cornbread and the G-Men.

It is not too fanciful to compare the microbiome to Momma, and the rest of the body and mind to the other members of a well-functioning household. This theme is building up to ideas about how keeping the microbiome happy is something that Dr. Pretlow’s W8Loss2Go smartphone app can help with. But first, we explore a few more of the insults that guarantee the microbiome’s unhappiness.

Why do we even care?

Why do we have to worry about whether our gut bugs are happy? When given the wrong kind of sustenance, the digestive system, and mainly, the trillions of inhabitants of the large intestine, will take revenge.

We have learned that some bacteria play more than one role, and can be “good” or “bad” depending on what else is going on. This brief excerpt suggests how confusing the research can be, and emphasizes the fact that variables can make a big difference:

It has been suggested that Prevotella is a beneficial bacteria as it is associated with a plant-rich diet, however it is also linked to chronic inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and mucosal and systemic T-cell activation in untreated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection… It is therefore relevant to consider context as an important factor when assessing the effects of Prevotella on host health.

There are things we should not ingest either because “good” bacteria will be harmed, or “bad” bacteria will like the substance too much and use it to do us wrong. As a very general rule, good bugs like complex carbohydrates, and bad bugs like simple carbohydrates. Pathogenic bacteria adore simple carbohydrates, and so do toxic yeasts.

Some specifics

A pathogenic bacterium known as Klebsiella spp. likes starch, and may be implicated in ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis. The problem with eating meat is that a lot of it will probably arrive in the colon partially digested, and the resident microbes get busy cranking out ammonia, nitrosamines, and hydrogen sulfide.

Here is what David R. Montgomery and Anne Bikle have to say about protein putrefaction:

Eating lots of fat stimulates the liver to produce bile and deliver it to the small intestine… It acts like a detergent and breaks fats into smaller molecules so they can be absorbed. Almost all of the bile used in the small intestine gets transported back to the liver after fats are sufficiently broken down… About 5 percent of bile secretions keep moving down the digestive tract and land in the colon.

Bacteroidetes like fats, that much is clear. For mice, a high-fat diet appears to impair the integrity of the intestinal mucosal barrier, which seems like an interesting fact. Put that together with an article title implying that bacteroidetes are good for the gut, and it is easy to see why researchers are constantly saying that more studies are needed. As Dr. Billi Gordon puts it:

[…] the more research we do, the more we learn about the extensive effects of the gut bacteria on virtually all realms of human existence.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source:”The latest advances regarding the link between Prevotella genus, diet and its impact on host health,” GutMicrobiotaForHealth,com, 02/11/16
Source: “What Your Microbiome Wants for Dinner,”, 12/10/15
Source: “The Interplay of the Gut Microbiome, Bile Acids, and Volatile Organic Compounds,”, 03/03/15
Source: “Much More Than a Gut Feeling,”, 07/22/14
Photo credit: keith ellwood via Visualhunt/CC BY

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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