Are Your Gut Bugs Making You Fat?
Struggling to lose weight? Or you can lose weight, but then you put it all back on again?
With over 500 million overweight adults in the world and over 250 million obese, perhaps its time we reassessed what’s really going on.
Eating too much? Perhaps. Not moving enough? Perhaps.
But is there more to the story?
As a foetus we are sterile of bacteria but our mothers soon pass on beneficial bacteria through the birth canal. As we grow and are exposed to different environments and different foods, the quantity and species of this population changes. Just like our fingerprints each one of us has a unique bacterial environment, we call a microbiome.
The gut bacteria or microbiota of which there are over 1000 species, are highly responsive to the food and drink that we consume. In fact, every time you consume food, you are feeding these trillions of bacteria and the entire population can alter in as quickly as 1 day.
Essentially, we help them to survive and in a symbiotic relationship, they help us to survive. Keep them happy, they keep us happy. And with over 10 times more resident bugs than human cells, we might want to try harder to keep them happy!
Alcohol, stress, antibiotics, lack of sleep, processed food, excess sugar, and of course food sensitivities, can all contribute to an upset balance of gut bugs and a lack of diversity which can lead to a host of metabolic conditions including leaky gut, diabetes and obesity and is associated with autism and multiple sclerosis.
So is being overweight causing the imbalance of bacteria? Or is the imbalance causing someone to be overweight? Well it’s a little bit of a chicken or the egg situation. What we do know is that slim people have a different microbiome to obese people and we know that certain food impacts this microbiome. We also know that certain gut bacteria taken from an obese person induces over eating in mice, leading to obesity and insulin resistance.
How gut bugs make us fat
- Regulation of fat storage – encouraging the body to store fat and preventing fat from being utilised for energy
- Certain gut bugs are more efficient at energy extraction from food – so an obese person may require a huge plate of food to extract the same amount of energy as a slim person’s tiny snack
- Increased inflammation, which leads to increased insulin resistance
- Certain bugs increase leptin, the fullness hormone. Too much leptin leads to leptin resistance, meaning the body won’t be able to receive the signal that it is full and that it doesn’t need to keep on eating.
Here’s my 7 tips on how to heal your gut so you can tackle those weighty issues, head on…
7 tips on how to heal your gut
1. Feed your gut bugs real food
Feed and nourish the microbiota with real food with optimal nutrients so they can thrive and are a happy population, avoiding processed and packaged foods.
2. Remove trigger foods
Remove high risk foods that trigger inflammation and bad reactions in your gut such as as wheat, fructose and seed oils (canola, sunflower oil) that cause issues in the digestive system, enhance overgrowth of bad bacteria and cause distress to our gut lining.
3. Manage stress
The brain can easily impact the function of the gut with stress creating inflammation, decreasing motility and permeability in the gut. Ever had butterflies? That’s your brain talking with your gut. Manage your stress levels and help out your gut (and that works vice versa too!)
4. Eat fermented foods
Eating raw sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha provide you with probiotics to help rebalance your happy bugs. Try making some at home!
5. Get some sleep
Remember the stomach talks with the brain very closely. If you are not sleeping properly, your gut will feel the effects. And again, that works in the other direction – heal your gut and you might finally be able to get a good nights sleep! Hazaar!
6. Heal your leaky gut
Make homemade chicken soups and bone broths that help to seal the holes in a leaky gut and provide healing properties to aid digestion and absorption
7. Join a gut healing program
Need help healing your gut? Work with an expert to help you heal so you can shed those excess kilos.