What is gut health?
When we talk about gut health and weight loss, we aren’t referring to calories, fad diets or diet pills. In fact, we’re not talking about any of your human cells. Gut health is all about the microorganisms living inside your gut. The 100 trillion bacteria that make up your microbiome are responsible for pretty much anything, their aim is to work on your behalf to keep you fit and healthy. As most people may think, the beneficial bacteria in your gut help to support healthy digestion but when you dig a little deeper they do a lot more for you.
The immune system, restful sleep, glowing skin, positive and negative emotions and lovely waistline are all controlled by your bacteria. The one thing I want to focus in this article is the symbiotic relationship your good bacteria have with your metabolism and weight management.
Weight management and microbiome
Worldwide, obesity is a growing public health problem and with extra weight comes extra problems, often known as metabolic syndrome. These include cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. It has been shown in several studies that the lack of microbial diversity contributes to weight gain. However, it works both ways and it becomes a bit of a ‘what came first chicken or the egg’ scenario, because consequently, weight gain may be contributing to your lower bacterial diversity also.
In other words, if you have a predisposition to gain weight and follow an unhealthy lifestyle you enter this endless vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting.
I feel your pain, trust me!
In 2017 one study found a negative association between gut microbiota diversity and long-term weight gain and a positive correlation with fibre intake. Two specific species that have been linked with lower weight gain over time were Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae. In contrast with Bacteroides species that showed a clear link of increased risk of weight gain (1)
But how can you find out which species dominate in your gut?
The best option is microbiome testing. Johnson the co-founder of a venture firm called OS Fund that led uBiome’s latest funding round has once said,
“What if we could understand this thing that is such a big component of what makes us who we are?”
Microbiome results give you answers. There is no better way to explain it. Each bacteria is responsible for something and depending on what you eat your bacteria will vary. For example, there is clear evidence that Bacteroidetes dominate in omnivores (the meat eaters) compare to Firmicutes that seem to overrule in vegans and vegetarians (2)
Microbiome and nourished body
Our beneficial bacteria play a huge role in breaking down and digesting all the food we eat, and consequently, they produce short-chain fatty acids, enzymes and vitamins that play a fundamental role in our digestive process. \
But, if you have a microbial imbalance, your body will struggle to absorb all the valuable nutrients we need and so it won’t matter how healthy your diet is because you will still have some health issues.
A healthy gut and whole plant foods
Dietary fibres are essentially non-digestible carbohydrates that are found in edible plant foods. They are resistant to digestion in the small intestine, and are also potentially fermentable, either partially or completely, in the colon.
Dietary fibre is food for your bacteria, literally! But it does not just keep the digestive system healthy. Dietary fibre also has the capacity to aid laxation, reduce blood cholesterol and lower blood glucose levels. These are all important components and health benefits of introducing a healthy, gut-friendly diet.
Incorporating this form of eating will not only boost your microbial diversity but will be an effective method of weight loss. Because we are not capable of digesting fibre, it does not get absorbed and enters our blood as glucose.
If you follow a sedentary lifestyle along with an unhealthy, Western diet the chances of you having weight problems and other weight-related health issues are pretty high.
Food source of fibre
Fibre is a core component of a healthy, balanced diet and its benefits for preventing and managing many common gut-related disorders is well established, including weight management. For me, fibre is a superfood that most people fail to eat in adequate amounts. The nutrition world has been obsessed with carbs and protein, but somehow we have forgotten or ignored fibre.
The daily recommended target of fibre is 25g for women and 38g for men. This may not seem like a lot but most people struggle to even eat their 5-a day.
The following foods are a great source of fibre:
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Split peas
- Kidney Beans
- Brussel sprouts
Are you struggling to lose weight? It can be a challenging and long process getting to reaching your dream weight, but it certainly isn’t impossible! If you are interested and ready to commit to your health and weight goals feel free to get in touch and book a FREE 30-minute session with a nutritionist.
Start now to feel better and shine brighter. ?
Feel free to book a FREE 30-minute session with a nutritionist specialising in digestive health and finally get some answers that Dr.Google can’t answer for you. ?