Written by: Johnny Bonds
Did you know that an unhealthy gut might be the lead contributing factor in your being obese? Most people aren’t aware of this one simple fact and so they never take the steps to fix their gut to get rid of those extra kilos. The answer as to why some people are more obese than others lies in the gut microbes. It’s the collection of gut bacteria that the body needs to digest, break down, and absorb food.
Let’s talk about the large intestine first which is home to trillions of beneficial microbes/bacteria that make up the structure of your gut microbe. It’s like an ecosystem that controls things like digestion, hunger, metabolism, and even the immune system.
Unfortunately, since we’re programmed to fear bacteria and microbes, this aspect of health gets overlooked most of the time. It’s important to learn about your body including how gut health affects weight distribution and gain. The more diverse and a variety of microbes resides in your gut, the better it is for the health as well as weight distribution. You need the variety because different bacteria perform different jobs in the colon. That’s why microbial diversity is paramount for controlling the metabolism and finally weight gain.
How Does Microbiome/Gut Dysbiosis Fit into The Picture?
What is Gut Dysbiosis? It’s a condition that occurs when there’s an imbalanced environment in your gut. The condition means there’s either an overgrowth of the bad bacteria (opportunistic pathogens that feed on you) or there’s a reduced microbial diversity. Meaning, you don’t have the required bacteria for digesting foods properly.
Either of these can negatively impact your health in a variety of ways; including weight gain. You should also know that microbial health is influenced by a variety of factors, especially diet. Other factors like exercise and overall lifestyle are also important.
Gut Flora and Weight Loss: The Truth
According to the research, the ecosystem of your gut regulates body weight. Researchers feel that about 60% of the microbial diversity is a result of the food you eat, the environment you grew up in, and the antibiotics you consume.
You should also know that the gut composition of obese people and those with metabolic disorder is distinctly different from that of healthy individuals. From the research data, we know that diabetic individuals have less than the required levels of butyrate-producers in their gut. These microbes turn the dietary fiber into short-chain fatty acids that carry out anti-inflammatory functions.
Butyrate is also responsible for protecting the gut lining and regulating metabolism. It also stimulates the gut hormones that signal hunger and satiety. It’s clear how disruption of the gut can lead to all kinds of mixed signals making you crave unhealthy food with an increased tendency to eat beyond satiety levels. If the condition persists for a long time, it can lead to insulin resistance and high levels of blood sugar.
Changing The Gut Bacteria to Lose Weight
While you’ll find a bunch of supplements all claiming to fix your gut issue, most of them are not effective. The only way to alter your gut ecosystem for the good and have a diversity of bacteria is through changing the diet. This is the only way to have a lasting impact. To that end, you should eat enough fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Avoiding unhealthy foods like sugar, meat, artificial sweeteners is highly recommended.
Also, changing the diet won’t have a direct impact on weight loss. Instead, you will see it as a byproduct of the chain reaction that will take place causing a ripple effect wherein the gut bacteria will have an easier time maintaining the weight. You’ll also feel more energy, fewer cravings for unhealthy food, and will hit the satiety levels more quickly. A healthy gut won’t make you feel hungry when the body doesn’t need the fuel.
How to Improve Gut Bacteria for Weight Loss:
Eat Your Vegetables
Changing your diet is the quickest way to change your gut microbes because it’s the direct link between how you gain weight. If gut dysbiosis is the root of your weight gain, you will have higher blood sugar levels and higher exposure to inflammation. Unfortunately, the western diet is rich in sugar and refined fats that make things worse.
According to the research, consuming a plant-based diet leads to weight loss and less caloric intake. Consuming more fruits and vegetables repeatedly shows to nourish the gut ecosystem because plants are rich in the prebiotic fiber which is what the gut bacteria feed on.
One study that involved Type II Diabetic patients observed that consuming vegan was more effective than any other diet in terms of controlling blood sugar levels. The group that consumed a plant-based diet had lower caloric intake which means the weight loss was rapid.
Experiment with Prebiotics and Probiotics
Probiotics are the Cadillac of all the ways in which you can boost the gut microorganisms. These are fermented foods that carry live bacterial chains so it adds to the overall population. Then you have prebiotics that are different from probiotics in that they act as the food for the microbes. Foods like asparagus, bananas, artichokes, berries, and leafy vegetables are all excellent prebiotics.
Some of the best probiotics are:
- Pickled vegetables
- Certain cheeses
What Else Can You Do?
- Make sure to stock up on enough dietary fiber
- Get quality sleep every day
- Avoid processed, refined, fried, junk, sugary foods.
- Engage in mild exercises like yoga, walking, stretching, etc.
- Steer away from unnecessary stress.
- Engage in playful activities and stay happy.
- Avoid trigger foods (if any) like gluten, nuts, and certain grains.
When it comes to fixing your gut, there’s no quick fix. You need to go slowly but surely and make as many healthy lifestyle changes (starting with diet) as you can to create a lasting impact.