Gut Bacteria And Weight Loss 101
Your gut microbes may help you to maintain a healthy body shape and even hold the answer to why some of us are protected from obesity.
Your large intestine is a haven for trillions of mutually beneficial microbes that make up your gut microbiota. These gut bacteria form an ecosystem involved in vital functions like metabolism, hunger, and digestion.
Even though it doesnt always receive the recognition it deserves because humanity has feared microbes since their discovery, your microbiome is important for many aspects of your body, including your weight.
However, if your intestinal environment is imbalanced, it can cause what is known as dysbiosis, and thats not good for anyone. It can mean that you have lower levels of beneficial bacteria, more opportunistic pathogens, or reduced diversity all of which can have an impact on your body.
Altogether, this can negatively impact your health and may even explain why you put on weight more easily than other people. But like your weight, gut microbial health is also influenced by your lifestyle. Thats right, food and exercise are also important for the diversity of your gut bacteria.
Its Time To Take Back Control Of Your Weight From Pathogenic Bacteria
The next time you feel a craving to go eat something you know you shouldnt, remember that this craving isnt coming from YOUR brain, but from pathogenic microbes that have hijacked your gut and your cravings!
This knowledge is power. Now you know that you can change your cravings and your gut microbiome just by eating more healthy foods, like fermented foods, veggies, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Over time, those pathogenic bacteria will no longer have a say in what you eat or how you digest your food.
Adding in a daily psybiotic supplement can speed up this transition, supplying your gut with the good bacteria it needs to give you the energy and positive mood to help you achieve your fitness goals.
For a deeper look into how psybiotics can alter your energy, mood, and microbiome, check out our article on psybiotics here.
How Exactly Does Weight Come Back
The scientists were not able to say exactly what the mechanism is or how exactly the microbiome’s persistent post-diet state increases weight gain.
But in further analysis of the microbiome, they found that among key changes were a reduction in levels of plant compounds called flavonoids, in the gut after dieting, and reduced energy expenditure. This suggests, they said, that a flavonoid-based “post-biotic” treatment might help curb post-dieting weight regain.
The team has now started work on exploring whether human gut microbiomes respond in a similar way to those in mice, and whether treatments could be developed to restore the microbiome more swiftly to its regular state after dieting.
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Get Enough Prebiotic Fiber
In addition to probiotics, its important to consume prebiotic fiber;which gives gut microbes the energy they need to grow and multiply. Prebiotic fibers are indigestible, so they can make it into the intestine fully intact. Then they are fermented and broken down by healthy microbes, creating compounds called Short Chain Fatty Acids that have many positive effects on your health.;
Foods heavy in prebiotic fiber include raw or cooked onions, raw garlic, raw leeks, raw asparagus, chicory root, bananas, tomatoes, radishes, berries, apples with skin, nuts, beans, Jerusalem artichokes, raw dandelion greens, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
What To Do Now
Keeping your microbiome healthy keeps you healthy, and when your microbiome health declines, so does your health. Lets look at the many things you can do right now to start maximizing the health of your microbiome .
1. Ask your doctor about functional medicine labs
You may consider yourself a smart health detective, but its easy to overdose on Google. Instead of self-diagnosing, ask about labs that can help you quantify what is going on and give you an objective clinical look at why you feel the way you do.
For instance, blood and stool labs can give you a detailed look at your microbiome, the levels of your specific bacteria and yeast, rule out leaky gut syndrome, give insight into your food intolerances, and measure your autoimmune reactivity.
2. Evaluate your stress
Eating clean but still being chronically stressed sabotages your good attempts to help your body heal. Chronic stress has been;shown to suppress the immune system, decreased blood and oxygen flow to the intestines, and increase gut lining permeability. Its hard to get better with all that going on. Thats why I suggest finding ways to regularly de-stress. Learn mindfulness meditation, tai chi, yoga, or just spending more time in nature. That is an important piece to your healing puzzle.
3. Cut out the junk
4. Take antibiotics and NSAIDs only when essential
5. Eat living food
6. Eat fermented food
7. Try natural medicine
8. Advanced strategies
9. Increase your bacterial diversity
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What To Do Today
Throw out your antibacterial toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash
Antibacterial chemicals can cause antibacterial-resistant microbes and harm beneficial bacteria in your mouth. A small study found that changes in the bacteria in your mouth can impact how well you absorb nutrients like nitrite which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Chronic stress is particularly dangerous because it may increase intestinal permeability and allows the gut microbiota to go where they shouldnt, causing inflammation.
Gut Bacteria And Bad Food Cravings
In addition to altering our ability to lose fat, it appears bad gut bacteria increases unhealthy food cravings. This can occur because of unbalanced microbes according to research.;
A study examined how eating behavior was manipulated by gastrointestinal microbiota . Our body is composed of a diversity of organisms competing for nutritional resources.
It appears the constant conflict between our body and microbiota may lead to cravings and unhealthy food choices
Unhealthy cravings may be due to the bad microbes that benefit from those foods. Science is simply saying bad gut bacteria wants to be kept alive by the host feeding it what it wants to be maintained.;
Prioritizing nutritious foods may help suppress microbial signals that originate in the gut. According to research, eating healthier can reduce our food cravings by intervening in our microbiota. Reducing bad gut bacteria would help reduce food cravings, make a positive change in our intestinal flora, and enable us to lose weight.
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Your Gut Bacteria May Make It Harder To Lose Weight
01 August 2018
For some people on a diet, the pounds just seem to fall off, while others have a much harder time losing weight. Now, a new, small study finds that people’s gut bacteria may play a role in determining how easy, or difficult, it is for them to lose weight.
The study suggests that, among people who have a hard time losing weight, their gut bacteria tend to be better at using carbohydrates, which provide people’s bodies with more energy. This is usually a good thing, as people need energy to fuel their bodies. But for some people trying to lose weight, the ability of their gut bacteria to provide energy may be a weight-loss deterrent, the researchers said.
The study “tells us gut bacteria are likely an important determinant of the degree of weight loss attained following lifestyle and dietary intervention,” said Dr. Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and co-senior author of the study.
The researchers stressed that the findings are preliminary and need to be confirmed with larger studies. But the study suggests the “need to take the microbiome into account in clinical studies ; and it also provides an important direction to pursue in terms of providing individualized care in obesity,” Kashyap told Live Science.
How To Lose Weight By Balancing Your Gut
The world has no shortage of weight loss programs, but too often theyre difficult to follow or arent effective.
People who need to lose weight, often battle with food cravings that sabotage their progress. But what if your food cravings are caused by your gut, and the best way to lose weight has nothing to do with counting calories or feeling deprived at all?
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Improve Your Gut Microbiome Today For The 4rs
There are a number of factors that contribute to the health of your gut microbiome, including your environment, the amount of exercise and sleep you get, and of course, stress. But the number one factor that determines what microbes live in your gut is your diet.
In Functional Medicine, there is a very successful protocol called the 4Rs, which stands for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. There are many resources for learning more about the 4 Rs. I like Raphael Kellman, M.D.s book, The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss.
The beautiful thing about the 4Rs protocol is that it doesnt have to be followed in order. Once you remove the processed foods and toxins from your diet, you can start doing all of the remaining 3 steps together. Unless you suffer from a serious digestive disorder or other condition, you can follow the 4Rs on your own. Or, find a practitioner who can tailor the protocol to your specific needs.
Here are my suggestions for following the 4Rs and improving your gut microbiome starting today:
How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat And Thin
Intestinal bacteria may help determine whether we are lean or obese
For the 35 percent of American adults who do daily battle with obesity, the main causes of their condition are all too familiar: an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle and perhaps some unlucky genes. In recent years, however, researchers have become increasingly convinced that important hidden players literally lurk in human bowels: billions on billions of gut microbes.
Throughout our evolutionary history, the microscopic denizens of our intestines have helped us break down tough plant fibers in exchange for the privilege of living in such a nutritious broth. Yet their roles appear to extend beyond digestion. New evidence indicates that gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth.
An Inner Rain ForestResearchers have long known that the human body is home to all manner of microorganisms, but only in the past decade or so have they come to realize that these microbes outnumber our own cells 10 to one. Rapid gene-sequencing techniques have revealed that the biggest and most diverse metropolises of microbiota reside in the large intestine and mouth, although impressive communities also flourish in the genital tract and on our skin.
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How The Gut Controls Food Cravings
In recent years, the microbiome has gained popularity. The microbiome is the bacterial landscape of the gut where as many as 500 different bacterial species, and more than 30 trillion bacteria, live. Your gut contains more bacterial cells than your entire bodys individual cells combined.
When we are born, there is no bacteria in the intestinal tract. Colonization begins during birth, and rapidly multiplies throughout the first two and a half years of life. By age three, a childs intestinal flora and microbiome will look identical to an adults. The biggest factors that influence gut bacteria from ages three and up are diet, lifestyle, and exposures to antibiotics and other potentially gut-altering prescriptions.The biggest factors that influence gut bacteria are diet, lifestyle, exposures to antibiotics and other gut-altering prescriptions.
Do you struggle with bloating, gas, constipation, or other digestive issues?Get our FREE Guide to Healing Your Gut Naturally here!
While good bacteria, as well as the bad, will send out cravings, its the strong desire to eat junk food that seems hardest for most to resist. Its also these cravings for fast food, sugar, and other highly processed ingredients, that tend to sabotage dietary efforts.
Go With Your Gut: The Secret To Weight Loss Lies In Our Stomach’s Bacteria
Its the variety of food you eat that dictates your health, writes Rosie King.
Its the variety of food you eat that dictates your health, writes Rosie King.
One decade, were told to cut fat from our diets to lose weight. The next, were told to count calories. Then its all about ditching carbs. But could it be that weve had it wrong all along and the secret is actually already within us? More specifically, within our gut?
Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology and author of The Diet Myth , says yes. The more diverse your gut microbes, the more likely you are to be healthy and lean, and the more sparse your microbes, the more likely you are to be overweight, Spector says. This is knowledge that didnt exist five years ago.
Welcome to your microbiome
Each person has up to 2kg of microbes in their stomach and together these microbes make up their unique gut microbiome. The microbes, which include trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses, help the body produce vitamins and amino acids. They also play an important role in the digestive and immune systems, blood pressure and mental health.
To put their findings to the test, the team plucked firmicutes from the obese mice and tube-fed them to bacteria-free mice. The latter put on a significant amount of weight over two weeks, even though they ate less. Now there are numerous studies showing that not only are the microbiomes of obese humans lacking in diversity, they are swarming with firmicutes.
What can we do?
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They Produce Chemicals That Help You Feel Hungry Or Full
Some studies have shown that different bacteria in the gut can affect how much of these hormones are produced and whether you feel hungry or full .
Short-chain fatty acids are chemicals that are produced when certain species of gut bacteria break down fiber. One of these is known as propionate.
One study in 60 overweight adults found that taking propionate for 24 weeks significantly increased levels of the hormones PYY and GLP-1, both of which influence hunger.
People who took propionate also had reduced food intake and reduced weight gain .
Other studies have shown that prebiotics supplements, which contain compounds that are fermented by gut bacteria, can have a similar effect on appetite .
People who ate 16 grams of prebiotics per day for two weeks had higher levels of hydrogen in their breath. This indicates gut bacterial fermentation, less hunger and higher levels of the hormones GLP-1 and PYY, which make you feel full .
Summary Your gut bacteria can produce chemicals that can help make you feel full. By affecting your appetite, your gut bacteria may play a role in your weight.
Give Your Gut The Right Balance Of Bacteria To Make Weight Loss A Little Easier
Overall, theres one big takeaway when it comes to weight loss and your gut: the right bacteria can make all the difference. While you cant poke around inside your gut like a scientific researcher, you can put their learnings into practice by keeping your gut health in mind when youre working to lose weight.
The more diverse your gut bacteria is, the more benefits you can experience. A diverse gut tends to be the healthiest gut and diversity can also make it a bit easier to lose weight. Increasing the ratio of good to bad bacteria may also help you work towards weight loss.
To get just the right balance and diversity in your gut, give these ideas a try:
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Can It Restore Your Gut Health
The Microbiome Diet may improve gut health in various ways.
For starters, it promotes eating foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics two compounds essential for a healthy gut.
Probiotics are live bacteria found in foods like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and unpasteurized fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi.
These friendly bacteria help colonize your gut and prevent unfriendly bacteria from overpopulating it (
Therefore, avoiding these medications whenever possible may contribute to a healthier gut as well.
The Microbiome Diet is rich in probiotics and prebiotics, as well as low in added sugar all of which can contribute to a healthier gut. It also warns against the overuse of certain medications that could damage your gut.
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Finally, limit your antibiotic use to only when absolutely necessary, says Sonnenburg. “Antibiotics dont help fight off viral infections, which are the bulk of the infections we deal with,” Sonnenburg says. That means you don’t need them for the flu.
While it may seem like a lot to take on at once, these simple dietary changes and health practices can improve your microbiome within a few days, beefing up your immune system and getting you closer to your weight loss goals.
If youre looking for some inspiration to get started, try the following kimchi recipe below.
See some of the craziest things people have actually done to lose weight in the past.
1 head Napa cabbage, cut into bite-sized squares, washed and drained
½ cup Kosher salt
¼ cup crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp fish sauce
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ small onion, chopped
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp sugar
How to Make It:
1. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage and salt. Let stand, stirring every now and then, until the cabbage is limp and soft, about 2 hours.
2. Rinse the cabbage well under cold water. Drain it thoroughly in a colander, about 20 minutes. Taste the cabbage. If its too salty, rinse and drain it again.
3. In a large bowl, mix the drained cabbage with the crushed red pepper flakes, fish sauce, scallions, onion, garlic, ginger, and sugar. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.