Gut Health and Weight Loss: Feel Fabulous in 2019 Part 3
Welcome back to The Science of Fat Loss Hints, Tricks, and Tips: Part 3 to learn how gut health helps to facilitate fat loss, speeds up your metabolism and helps to sculpt your body. Being a holistic nutritionist and personal trainer in Los Angeles for the past 17 years has given me some interesting and key insights into healthy eating and exercise. We will start by discussing how gut health and weight loss are tied together. It is beneficial and important to get the correct advice on your exercise routine, overall nutrition program, daily calorie intake and developing healthy habits. Call us to get started today at (310) 720-8125
In Dr. David Perlmutter’s book Brain Maker, an important new study is discussed that relates to fat loss, gut health and weight loss that will blow your mind! We each have 100 trillion bacterial cells in our gut and over 5 pounds of gut bacteria that play an essential role in our health, including our immune system and hormonal system – 70% of our immune system is our microbiome and our gut health.
In this study, Dr. Jeffrey Gordon shows how the bacteria in your gut determines how lean you are.
Dr. Gordon engineered baby mice to contain microbes or bacteria from either an obese woman or her lean twin. So essentially, they planted in each mouse’s gut or intestines, healthy bacteria from a healthy lean woman in one mouse and unhealthy bacteria from an obese woman in the 2nd mouse. Both of these women were twins – one was obese, the other was lean.
Then, they let the mice eat the same diet in equal amounts or equal calories, and that’s when they observed that the mice soon parted ways in terms of their heaviness. The animals that acquired bacteria from the obese woman not only grew heavier than the mice with microbes from the thin woman, but their gut microbes were unhealthier and less diverse.
Then the scientist, wanted to see if they took the healthy bacteria from the healthy lean mouse and if they implanted that in the obese mouse, what would happen? Once the scientist implanted the lean bacterial species from the slim woman into the obese mouse, behold, the obese mouse became lean.
Dr. Gordon concluded a cause and effect relationship between gut health and weight loss or gut health and fat loss.
Woman Becomes Obese After Fecal Transplant From Overweight Donor
In another example of gut health and weight loss, a woman becomes obese after a fecal matter transplant. What is a fecal matter transplant? Basically, doctors are taking stool from one healthy person and then introducing that stool or bacteria into a different person who is ill and has an infection, either through an enema or endoscopy, or orally in pill form. The idea is to insert healthy bacteria in the gut for the patient who has a deadly infection.
While this may sound gross, fecal transplants are emerging as a promising treatment for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, specifically Clostridium difficile. This deadly bacteria traditionally would be treated with antibiotics. This new novel treatment has shown to be more effective than antibiotics.
One woman suffering recurrent C. difficile infection was recently successfully treated with this procedure, but interestingly, she also rapidly went from normal weight to becoming obese after receiving the fecal matter transplant. The donor was also overweight and the recipient had never struggled with her weight before. There seems to be a connection between the fact that the donor of the bacteria was overweight and the recipient who initially was lean before the procedure, became overweight over the course of about 6 months while eating her normal diet. It seems that healthy lean people have a certain type of healthy gut bacteria and diversity, while overweight people have less bacterial diversity and a different type of bacterial mix which promotes weight gain.
The take away is that gut bacteria affects overall weight, so the question then is, how do you attain a healthy gut that will help you lose weight and lose body fat?
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Even though they sound similar, these powerful duos have different roles in gut health and weight loss.
- Live beneficial bacteria can be found in fermented foods such as:
- Probiotics are available in pill form as well as being an added ingredient in foods like yogurt.
- Two of the most common probiotics are:
- Lactobacillus – This is the most common probiotic that is found in yogurt and other fermented foods, and is helpful for diarrhea and for those who have difficulty digesting milk sugar (lactose).
- Bifidobacterium – This probiotic is naturally present in the large intestine, and fights off harmful bacteria as well as preventing constipation and boosting the immune system.
Benefits of Probiotics
Taking probiotic supplements by patients having taken antibiotics will help repopulate the colon with good bacteria after the antibiotics have wiped out both the bad as well as the good. It is essential to make sure the bacteria found in the probiotic supplements are alive because probiotic bacteria are easily killed by stomach acid.
- This vital source of good gut health is found in the non-digestible parts of foods such as:
- Onion and garlic
- Skin of apples
- Root Vegatables (yams, sweet potatoes, squash)
- The prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine where it is undigested and becomes fermented when it reaches the large colon.
- The fermentation process feeds the beneficial bacteria, which also includes the probiotics and helps to increase the total number of good bacteria in the gut.
Benefits of Prebiotics
Good bacteria increase in population due to the prebiotics feeding them. Also, the prebiotic fiber is not as fragile as probiotic bacteria because it isn’t affected by stomach acid.
What Kills Good Gut Bacteria
When you eat sugar, processed food, chlorinated water, and white bread, we destroy good gut bacteria. Junk food promotes pathogenic growth of bacteria, parasites, and fungus which leads to all kinds of symptoms including fat gain.
Also, beware of fake foods that market themselves as healthy because most are just glorified candy bars or sugar products. Make sure you only buy whole foods that are either grown from the earth (fruits and veggies or root vegetables) or have been hunted, raised or caught such as fish, eggs, turkey, buffalo, beef, etc.
Only grocery shop in the periphery of the grocery store, never in the aisles. Most if not all of the food in the aisles are processed foods – yes, this is even true at Whole Foods. For help with grocery tips, feel free to check out my free grocery list.
Other factors that affect gut health and weight loss include:
- A lack of prebiotics in the diet – Prebiotics supports the growth and activity of good bacteria in the gut.
- Eat lots of fiber – Most Americans eat very little fiber and too much processed food. The ideal fiber intake for women is around 30 to 40 grams and 40 to 60 grams for men. You can achieve this by eating lots of fruits, vegetables and root vegetables. The fiber in your diet will feed healthy bacteria in your gut.
- Food Diversity Matters – The average American eats the same 12 foods which is problematic for good gut health. The more different types of foods you eat, the healthier and more diverse the gut is. Shoot for 30 to 40 different foods in your diet. Eating a diverse range of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and root veggies gives a variety of nutrients that help promote the growth of different types of beneficial bacteria.
- Antibiotics – Taking antibiotics can lead to long-term alterations in the gut flora, but can even cause a short-term decline in the beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli as well as producing an increase in the harmful bacteria such as Clostridium.
- Lack of physical exercise – Recent studies have shown that regular physical activity may promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria include Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia which is another beneficial bacteria that plays a vital role in metabolic health and the prevention of obesity.
- Lack of sleep – When we do not get enough sleep, our bodies don’t work as effectively, and the same goes for our gut. In as little as two days of sleep deprivation, gut flora can be altered, and an increase in bacteria associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fat metabolism was found.
- Too much stress – High-stress levels can affect our bodies including reducing gut flora diversity, reducing beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli and increasing harmful bacteria like Clostridium.
How we can Improve Good Gut Bacteria
A plant-based diet can improve gut health and prevent disease by feeding the good gut bacteria. According to the Associate Director of Nutrition Education, Meghan Jardine, M.S., M.B.A., R.D., L.D., C.D.E. “Since our diet influences our microbes, it’s true: We really are what we eat.” The following are some ways to improve overall gut health.
- Eat High-Fiber Foods – Including more high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and root veggies into your diet has a multitude of benefits including filling you up faster, so you end up eating less and losing weight, but it also benefits your gut by stimulating the growth of good bacteria such as Bifidobacteria. Some plant-based high-fiber foods to help boost healthy gut bacteria include:
- Green beans
- Eat Fermented Foods – Fermented foods are rich in Lactobacilli and can benefit your health by reducing the disease-causing bacteria in the intestines. Some fermented foods include:
- Don’t Eat Too Many Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners may negatively affect blood sugar levels due to their effect on the gut flora.
- Eat Foods Rich in Polyphenols – Since polyphenols can’t always be digested by human cells, they make their way to the colon where the gut bacteria digest them. Some good sources of polyphenols include the following:
- Green tea
- Bell Peppers
- Dark chocolate – 90% Cocoa
Tips for a Gut Health and Weight Loss
- Fill up on fiber – High-fiber foods feed healthy bacteria.
- Choose prebiotic-rich foods – Prebiotics feed healthy bacteria.
- Include probiotic foods – Probiotics are live bacteria or yeast found in fermented foods that reside in the gut and improve health.
- Limit fats – Avoid bad fats like fried foods or trans fats, and enjoy plant-based foods which are naturally low in fat along with grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil that contain the good fats that are beneficial for gut health.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics –
- Overuse of antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria.
- According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “80 percent of antibiotics are used in animal agriculture.” Buy protein such as chicken or beef that is antibiotic free.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle – Managing stress, getting enough sleep and exercising can all have a positive impact on your gut microbes.
Gut health and weight loss are tied together. Having a healthy gut can help in many aspects including fat loss, weight loss and toning, but it also helps prevent numerous chronic diseases from occurring. So, fuel-up on fresh whole foods especially those that are plant-based and get started today to get fit and fabulous in 2019!
If you’re struggling with your health program and would like to tone-up, check out our 8-Week Makeover Program.
Weight Loss is the #1 Health Goal in America
Weight Loss is the #1 Health Goal in America. And, there is a strong correlation between belly fat or a large belly and degenerative disease. Whether you want to look great naked or simply just want to live longer, getting leaner and healthier has to be one of your priorities in life. If you interested in learning more about getting lean and healthy, please check out my 10 part series on the science of weight loss.