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The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,858 ratings  ·  219 reviews
The groundbreaking science behind the surprising source of good health

Stanford University’s Justin and Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in the most exciting and potentially transformative field in the entire realm of human health and wellness, the study of the relationship between our bodies and the trillions of organisms representing thousands of species to which our bodies
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Penguin Press (first published January 1st 2015)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  1,858 ratings  ·  219 reviews

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Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-health
I'm suddenly in the mood for sauerkraut and a fecal transplant.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
What I find fascinating about "The Good Gut" is how little science there is given that the two authors are both experts in the fields of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford School of Medicone. There are brief mentions of studies here and there but more often than not, they describe anecdotal evidence stemming from their experience as parents. (Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg are husband/wife.) I realize that this is written for the layperson in mind, but come on now: Can't you tel ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book, but I found the writing tone and examples used to explain scientific research are of supermarket magazine quality. Using Tupperware or an Apple Store example to explain a scientific concept is very simplistic. A lot of the research presented was on very small samples. The anecdotal evidence of the authors' experience with their own family comes across high handed. As a layman I am very interested in the gut biome, but I have learned more about new research and fin ...more
Finally, a book about the gut microbiome that actually offers constructive advice! This is what I’ve been searching for, even if I am a bit disappointed with the authors’ recommendations.
First off, there are things that affect your microbiome that you cannot change—if you were born by C-section or weren’t breastfed, there’s nothing that you can about it. Neither can you change the amount of antibiotics that you took as a child.

There are three things that you can do from this moment on, however.
Lindsay Nixon
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book I’ve read on the topic by far. HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Currently my top pick for health book of the year.

Things I like: it gives a fiber recommendation (29-35g minimum), discusses how antibiotics and antibiotic soap/cleaner affects microbes, mentions the impacts of glycemic load and industrial flour and provides evidence so the reader can draw their own conclusions what’s best for them diet-wise instead of fear mongering.

Things I didn’t like: no mention of resistant starch and the gut benefit
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interested in human health and cutting edge science
Recommended to Peggy by: I won the book
"The Good Gut" confirms scientifically what I have learned empirically. I am a retired RN who has eaten a whole lot of vegetables, rice and beans my whole adult life. I do eat meat and fish several times a week, but know that I feel better when I eat less meat. Just in the past 2 years, since I retired and have more time, we have added home-made kimchi and sauerkraut to our diet, and I have noticed that this makes me feel even better. I was a single mother who worked all of her life, along with ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is decently written (albeit repetitive) and the authors are really the best-equipped people on earth to be writing it, at least at this point. Here's the thing: this science is too new to fill a whole book with any real authority or conclusiveness. Also the "recipes" are kind of random/basic. The gist is birth vaginally if you can, breastfeed, avoid antibiotic overuse, combat necessary antibiotics with probiotics, and eat a lot of yogurt, fermented foods, whole grains, beans, and veget ...more
Tracy Marks
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
What a highly informative, readable and important book- especially for those of us with GI problems, auto-immune disease, allergies and asthma who have found traditional medical remedies to be inadequate! Microbiologists Justin and Erica Sonnenburg do what few health book authors succeed in doing – provide clear and useful explanations and guidance in language that is neither too informal and condescending nor too dense and highly technical.

The focus of THE GOOD GUT is helping us to understand
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, non-fiction
This book was definitely thought provoking. It made me really think, and then I started coming up with questions of my own, which frankly, doesn't happen often.

This book is about the microbiata that lives in our intestines and what vital functions they perform on the behalf of our health, weight, memory, aging, and immune system (and much more). This is a relatively new focus in this arena, and unfortunately, not much is really known about this or at least hasn't been substantiated by a flood o
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if you are interested in microbiota research - this is the book for you

Very interesting book about microbiota research, current findings, unknowns and dilemmas.
It was quite eye opening and very inspiring to read it.
Authors also included sample menu and lists of food that is good for your gut.

4 stars as I would love to have more of practical recommendations there
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is the second book I've read on the topic of the gut, but it felt a lot less comprehensible and interesting throughout the different chapters. It's divided into 10 different chapters, from varieties of bacteria to longlivety, influence on emotions and different ways of absorbing carbohydrates. Most chapters conclude with "a lot has to be researched, we're still very unsure, we know x works on some mice but ..." - didn't give me a lot of satisfaction. It also failed to grasp my attention at ...more
Marilyn B
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Not as easy to read as some other similar books that I've read recently. The information presented feels reliable but the format left something to be desired. I would prefer to be able to quickly flip back to sections on what food I should be eating or which supplements I need to take and that's just not how this is laid out. Essentially I would have to skim read each section to try and find the info that I'm looking for. This isn't a book that I'll return to time and again because of that.
Ayala Sela
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
It's started really interesting and I really liked it, but the devolved into a tale of how perfectly they feed their own daughters and became repetitive and preachy. Too bad
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is a fast introduction to how your guts work, at the microbe level. The writing is void of dense science jargon, using easy to understand constructs to get the point across.

With lay science books like this, I ask myself did I learn something. Here, I did. I discovered that my diet, while pretty good, can be improved a bit more to help feed my bugs. The authors introduce the terms to focus on to find the foods that help. As each person is different, it becomes an experiment to discover what
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: food-health
The authors of this book are researchers who study the microbiota that live in the digestive system. Their research has shown a strong correlation between a populous and diverse colony of bacteria in the gut and the health of the host (ie., the human in whose gut these bacteria live). By consuming foods that encourage a diverse microbiota, you can improve your own overall health.

The overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial cleaners in our society is having a detrimental effect on the "good" ba
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The study of gut bacteria is still in its nascent stage. There are a lot of unknowns about how microorganisms in our bodies (microbiota) affect our health. The general recommendation is to eat a variety of fresh foods to nourish the variety of bacteria in our gut. And especially avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. The reason why animals are fed antibiotics is to fatten them up. It should be obvious that antibiotics is doing the same to human beings, which is adding to the obesity prob ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now you can track all the times you have read a book. Make sure to fill in the year finished to have it added to your Reading Challenge! Now you can track all the times you have read a book. Make sure to fill in the year finished to have it added to your Reading Challenge! Now you can track all the times you have read a book. Make sure to fill in the year finished to have it added to your Reading Challenge! Now you can track all the times you have read a book. Make sure to fill in the year finis ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. This book has rocked my intestinal world. While the writing is dense and academic and leaves as many questions unanswered as it answers, it asks the RIGHT questions. The TIMELY ones. As I was reading, I kept thinking of people who need to read this book. People with auto-immune concerns. With digestion issues. With small children. People who are aging. People who are concerned about the overuse of antibiotics. People who (like me) are already sold on healthy eating. The Sonnenburgs do not ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
We're right on the cusp of A LOT of science that will change how we think about the gut and its role in our health. The Sonnenburgs do a great job outlining how the gut works, and explaining many of the early results of small studies that have a lot of promise for how we may someday approach the gut as an ally in our health. I wish there were more definitive, action-oriented changes that this book would suggest, but it's just premature - and not the fault of the Sonnenburgs. I hope they continue ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I liked this book and found it informative. But it went into a level of detail that I didn't really need and seemed redundant at times. I did like the diet change suggestions and recipes though.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Unudeleg Bayaraa
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
After reading this book, I really wanted to have a dog.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My doctor recommended I check out this book, for GI health, and to help me lose weight. I decided to check it out of the library because it wasn't really cheap.
Don't recommend doing that, as the book references "pdf" documents that come with the book. So while the book is very interesting, to really follow-up on everything the author discusses, I'd love to get a hold of the attachments.
Otherwise, I appreciate my doctor's recommendation. It was very interesting to learn about our intestinal micro
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The bad: sometimes the science is a bit too thin.

The good: it's the most well-rounded book I've seen, and it's practical. That's what I love. I've read 3 other books talking about the science and theory, but in this book you are actually presented with examples of what the authors do in their everyday life to support each theory.

Although there aren't as many scientific articles referenced as in other books of the sort, the conclusions are the same. I saw 4 or 5 major principles related to obesit
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I first opened this book, I thought I was going to be reading about how to exercise correctly, how to choose healthy foods, and how to have a positive outlook; which has some truth, but what the Sonnerburg's reveal to us is much more interesting. As they teach us of the complexities and functions of the microscopic world that lives within us, it became more and more apparent to me that the American lifestyle, and even that of other places around the world, is truly the leading cause of dise ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it liked it
The good gut is about how to maintain optimal health by providing a good environment for the healthy microbiata flora that reside in your stomach. I found portions of this book incredibly interesting, for example, the section on how a mother passes microbes necessary for the child's development during a natural birth and nursing process. But, to be honest, while interesting, the book is saturated with tons of clinical trial information and vague microbe impact studies.

So, if you're interested in
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating. All of it. I cannot stop talking about microbes and poop now--just ask my husband. That may not sound like a glowing review, but it is. Read it!
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great insight into the microbes living inside our guts. A lot of facts leading back to the conclusion that there are no shortcuts to health, eat your veggies.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
read for my biology research lad, this book was really set on the idea that the gut is the answer to all health and mental problems despite not much research supporting it.
Claudia Vieira
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating! I'm excited about this relatively new (to us modern westerners) way of looking at health and how to maintain it!
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News & Interviews

  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
37 likes · 5 comments
“registered dieticians, and other health professionals. Justin’s talk was the highlight of the event for me. It conveyed the excitement of discoveries about the human microbiome and suggested answers to puzzling questions I had about health conditions that are on the rise. Asthma, allergies, and autoimmunity have all increased in North America and other developed areas of the world. Why is the incidence of peanut allergy so much greater today than it was when I grew up in the 1950s? And what is the explanation for the spectacular increase in gluten sensitivity? That last question had bothered me greatly. Granted that gluten” 1 likes
“After a single FMT an astounding 81 percent of these recurrent infections were cured, compared to the 31 percent cure rate in the group that tried another round of antibiotics alone. A second FMT was performed on the remaining 19 percent of nonresponders and the overall cure rate climbed to 94 percent. This cure rate was so high that the researchers felt it was unethical to continue the study and abruptly terminated it and offered FMTs to all the participants.” 0 likes
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