Everything we know about diet and weight loss is being challenged by bacteria. The little bugs that live within your body. Understanding how foods impact your gut could be the best weight loss trick you’ve ever tried.
If you find that you’re constantly craving sweets or not satisfied after you eat? It could be the doing of your microbiome. These microscopic bugs control your thoughts from a “second brain” located in your gut.
- Your skin health and the creation of acne can be influenced by your microbiome.
- Your microbiome can impact your rational decision-making.
- Feelings of anxiety or depression might be controlled or activated by your microbiome.
- Research shows that digestive bacteria and your microbiome can influence which foods you like (and which you don’t).
There are 10 times more bacteria living in your digestive tract than there are cells in your entire body. As a result, your body makes alliances and enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the majority of the organisms within your microbiome. Gut bacteria aid in digestion and even produce an important nutrient, Vitamin K2 (think cardiovascular and bone health).
Simplifying the Science
Your microbiome is the collection of all the microbes and microorganisms that populate your body.
There are unique groups of microorganisms living in many different regions of your body your skin, mouth and digestive system. Your gut microbiome (the “microbiota”) is home to millions of unique bacteria. Experts believe that having a wide spectrum of different bacteria in your GI tract is beneficial to your health.
Diversity is a good thing. And research suggests that having
a less diverse gut bacteria might be linked to health issues like irritable
bowel disease, cancer and obesity.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are helpful bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can
be found in fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut, and in drinks like
kefir and kombucha. The beneficial bacteria from probiotics provide numerous
health benefits including enhanced immune function, better digestion, a barrier
against microbial infections and much more.
Prebiotics, meanwhile, are foods that feed the microbes that
are already in your body. they are also important because they affect the
bacteria in your digestive system in such a way that it might improve your
well-being and health. Basically, you help the bugs (by feeding them), and the
bugs help you (by protecting you from bed bugs, keeping inflammation down, and
Exactly why this happens isn’t fully understood, but
prebiotics is carbohydrates that resist digestion in your small intestine. They
reach your colon intact, where they wind up getting fermented by the bacteria
there. That can shift gut flora in a positive way.
Some common foods that have prebiotic effects include bananas, whole grain wheat, garlic, leeks, and onions.
How the Microbiome Affects You
The gut-brain axis is a two-way line of communication within your body between your brain and gut.
Your brain affects your gut, and your gut health affects
your brain. When your gut bacteria is out of whack, the signals that get
relayed back up to your brain might cause or worsen anxiety or mood disorders,
including depression. And stress can impact your gut microbiota negatively, and
shift it in a less-than-favourable direction
Gut Dysbiosis describes what happens when you have an
imbalance of gut bacteria favouring the more pathogenic microorganisms. This
sort of imbalance is associated with a number of different problems including
digestive disorders. Those can manifest in many different ways, from consistent
abdominal pain or diarrhoea, fatigue or weight loss. Some skin problems like
rosacea can potentially be linked to gut health issues.
How Your Body Processes Calories and Nutrients.
your gut bacteria impact what you’re able to extract from your food, both in terms of the total number of calories absorbed and the nutrients you take in—and even in determining how much food you want to eat.
There are a number of complex mechanisms that make this possible, so here’s one example of how your microbiome affects energy balance: Gut bacteria break down previously undigested carbohydrates called polysaccharides into smaller bits known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). When your body’s fat cells sense an increase in SCFAs, they release a hormone called leptin, which essentially sends a signal to the brain that says “We’re full, thanks. But, if you’re not releasing enough SCFA because of a break in your microbiome, then the opposite can happen and you never feel full.
This is the reason why some researchers believe there’s a strong link between the condition of the gut and obesity. There’s even some research showing that obese and non-obese people have differing levels of bacteria.
What Foods You Want to Eat
many researchers now believe that your gut bacteria might be manipulating you “like microscopic puppetmasters” to get what they want.
There is an internal battle in your microbiome where different bacteria in your digestive system are constantly competing for resources (food). these bacteria can create food cravings or generate feelings of dissatisfaction that can be alleviated by consuming the foods that benefit them. Your body might be telling you to eat more protein or it could be pushing you for endless amounts of sugar.
There are four main mechanisms that play a role in this ongoing battle:
- Microbes could alter your taste receptors, making certain foods taste better.
- Microbes could release toxins that can affect mood negatively, which can make you want to eat.
- Microbes could influence whether or not you find certain foods rewarding.
- Microbes could “hijack” the vagus nerve, which is a major signalling pathway within the body.
Your Immune System.
Your gut bacteria can assist your immune system by preventing potentially harmful pathogens from entering into the digestive system. This helps protect the intestines against inflammation and prevents pathogenic bacteria from forming colonies.
What’s “Good” or “Bad” for Your Gut Health?
Some of the things that can adversely affect the microbial diversity in your gut include:
They can be potentially lifesaving drugs that absolutely have a time and a place for use. However, indiscriminately kill the microbes in your body, which can lead to a disturbance of gut flora that you will need to work to rebalance and improve.
on a basic level, stress is anything that removes your body from homeostasis or equilibrium. That stress can be psychological (worry, anxiety), physical (sleep deprivation is a physiological stressor that can negatively impact your gut bacteria), to social (feeling like a “loser”). All of them can disrupt the composition, diversity, and number of microorganisms in your digestive tract.
- (Too Many) Processed Foods.
sugar-rich diet feeds the pathogenic bacteria in your gut. Note that eating
some sugar, or processed food here or there, isn’t a problem. It becomes
problematic when you eat too much of them, combined with too little fibre.
Diets that are high in processed foods, and low in fibre, have been shown to
wreak havoc on gut microbes in trials in mice.
Can You Test Your Microbiome?
There are many new tests that claim to give you insight into your microbiome (most involve you sending your poop to a lab). The problem is you will provide science with more (much needed) data…but it won’t really help you get more answers.
limitations of personalized microbiome testing:
“It’s not ready for prime time.”
“You’ll get an enormous amount of data that is basically uninterpretable.
What you can do with the information at the moment is limited. It’s very much a science project, not a diagnostic test.
How You Can Improve Your Gut Health.
Three cups of fermented foods: sauerkraut, pickles and
FERMENTED FOODS ARE GREAT, BUT DON’T FORGET THE FIBER, FRUITS AND VEGGIES.
- Eat more fibre. Carbohydrates and fibre are the most important sources of energy for the beneficial bacteria living in your colon. The fermentation of carbs and fibre in your digestive system helps lower its pH and therefore helps limit the bad bacteria.
as raspberries, apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries
as peas (8.1 grams of fibre per, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn or a baked potato
Grains such as barley, oats or brown rice, Whole-wheat spaghetti.
whether they’re black, kidney, pinto are good sources of fibre. A cup of any
one of them will give you a double-digit dose of fibre.
Nuts, especially almonds, pistachios and pecans.
- Cook more at home. Research shows that food eaten away from home tends to have less fibre on a per-calorie basis. Pressed for time? This approach to meal prep may help you simplify things and get more done in less time
- Eat fermented foods that contain probiotic bacteria, such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Try to keep your stress levels in check. something like meditation or journaling might help.