Here is how Gut Flora can help you lose weight.
The community of microorganisms that live in your digestive track, better known as “gut flora,” play an important role in all aspects of your health, including weight loss. In fact, a healthy gut is the hidden key to weight loss! Here’s why…
Calories don’t always count.
The reason for this is because different guts metabolize food differently. Obese people have gut flora that cause the body to absorb more calories. This may have been an advantage thousands of years ago, but in these modern times, our guts don’t need to be as efficient when food is so readily available. And although the species of flora in our gut have been around for quite some time, the balance between species changes according to diet. This is because some bacteria will dominate while others diminish when their incoming nutrients are altered.
Insulin sensitivity is regulated by gut flora.
When the gut is overcrowded with “bad” gut bacteria, inflammation occurs and insulin resistance develops. This means that the body can no longer process carbs the way it should, which leads to high blood sugar, sugar cravings, and weight gain.
Gut flora affect your sweet tooth
The reason for this is because when you have a lot of gut bacteria that prefer to feed on sugar, you crave sugar to feed your gut. The more sugar you eat, the more “bad” bacteria thrive in your gut.
Here’s what you can do to get back a better gut flora balance:
1. Get an oil change
Inflammatory fats damage your gut flora. These are the refined vegetable oils that are high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids including canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, and margarine or any other “buttery” spread. Although they have been marketed as “heart healthy,” they damage the gut bacteria and promote inflammation and weight gain. Instead, use oils that are anti-inflammatory and full of healthy omega 3 fatty acids, such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.
2. Eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods.
Avoiding anything boxed or prepackaged is the easiest way to eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods. Packaged foods usually contain a lot of added sugar, refined carbs, and additives that don’t support a healthy gut. The best way to shop at the grocery store is to stay away from most of the center aisles and shop around the outer ring of the grocery store, where the fresh produce, meats, and other whole foods are stored.
3. Pile on the fiber
Fiber is a food you can’t digest and is a major component of plant cells. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into a gel when mixed with water and slows down digestion. Insoluble fiber absorbs water and swells, speeding up digestion. Both are good for you, but gut flora are nourished by soluble fiber while insoluble fiber support healthy bowel movements, which contain a lot of dead gut flora, cleaning out your digestive track. In addition to healthy gut flora, fiber is also filling and soluble fiber provides an excellent source of butyrate, which is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that helps control appetite and speeds metabolism. In conclusion, you should get plenty of both types of fiber, approximately 40 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. To pile on more fiber, leave the skins of most fruits and vegetables on and eat whole grains (unless you follow a Paleo diet).
4. Eat fermented foods
These contain probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your gut flora). They include fermented milk products such as yogurt and kefir with live and active cultures, cheese, and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. Make sure that the fermented vegetables are sold in refrigerated sections, because shelf-stored versions have no live bacteria. Also be wary of probiotic supplements. Although they are meant to provide and alternative way of getting probiotics, the bacteria are easily killed by sitting on store shelves too long, or stored or transported at the wrong temperature. Eating refrigerated fermented foods is a better guarantee that you are getting live bacteria, and it saves you a ton of money.
If you want to lose weight, cut the sugar cravings, and lower your risk of insulin resistance (the path to diabetes), you have to take care of your gut. So take a walk through your kitchen, and find the foods that may or may not support a healthy gut flora. Your belly and scale will thank you!
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