Focusing on Gut Health Can Aid Weight Loss


Feb. 22, 2024 — Injectable weight reduction medication like Wegovy, Saxenda, and Zepbound have been getting all of the glory currently, however they’re not for everybody. When you’re seeking to drop a number of kilos or stop weight problems, analysis suggests there’s one other means. It won’t produce outcomes as dramatic as common injections, however you will get every part you want in a grocery retailer for a lot much less cash — and this method has the potential to enhance your health in numerous ways

In idea, all you must do is enhance your intestine microbiome.

“There are plenty of various factors naturally in weight achieve and weight reduction, so the intestine microbiome is definitely not the one factor,” stated Chris Damman, MD, a gastroenterologist on the College of Washington. He research how meals and the microbiome have an effect on your well being. “With that caveat, it most likely is enjoying an essential function.”

Trillions of Microbes

The concept your intestine is residence to an infinite vary of tiny organisms — microbes — has existed for greater than 100 years, however solely within the twenty first century have scientists had the power to delve into specifics. 

We now know you desire a strong assortment of microbes in your intestine, particularly within the decrease intestine, your colon. They feast on fiber from the meals you eat and switch it into substances your physique wants. These substances ship alerts throughout your physique. 

When you don’t have sufficient microbes or have too lots of the improper sorts, it influences these alerts, which might result in well being issues. Over the past 20 years, analysis has linked issues within the intestine microbiome to all kinds of circumstances, together with inflammatory bowel illness, autoimmune illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic ones like diabetes, and heart problems, bronchial asthma, and even autism.

Thanks to those efforts, we all know rather a lot in regards to the interactions between your intestine and the remainder of your physique, however we don’t know precisely how many issues occur — whether or not some teeny critters inside your microbiome trigger the problems or vice versa. 

“That is the issue with a lot of the microbiome stuff,” stated Elizabeth Hohmann, MD, a doctor investigator on the Massachusetts Basic Analysis Institute. “Olympic athletes have a greater intestine microbiome than most individuals. Nicely, certain they do — as a result of they’re listening to their food plan, they’re getting sufficient relaxation. Correlation doesn’t causation make.” 

The American Weight loss plan Messes With Your Intestine

When you’re a typical American, you eat plenty of ultra-processed meals — manufactured with an extended substances listing that features components or preservatives. In line with one research, these meals make up 73% of our meals provide. That may have a critical influence on intestine well being.

“Whenever you course of a meals and mill it, it turns a complete meals into tiny particles,” Damman stated. “That makes the meals extremely digestible. However in the event you eat a stalk of broccoli, a considerable amount of that broccoli within the type of fiber and different issues will make its option to your decrease intestine, the place it is going to feed microbes.” 

With closely processed meals, however, most of it will get digested earlier than it could possibly attain your decrease intestine, which leaves your microbes with out the vitality they should survive. 

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, PhD, is director of the Biodesign Middle for Well being Via Microbiomes at Arizona State College. Her lab has completed analysis into how microbes use the undigested meals that reaches your intestine. She describes the issue with processed meals this fashion: 

“Take into consideration a Coke. Whenever you drink it, all of the sugar goes to your bloodstream, and the microbes in your intestine don’t even know you’ve had it. As a substitute of consuming a Coke, in the event you eat an apple or one thing with fiber, some will go to you and a few to the microbes. You’re feeding them, giving them vitality.”

Weight and Your Intestine Microbiome 

The hyperlink between intestine well being and physique weight has obtained plenty of consideration. Research has shown, for instance, that folks with weight problems have much less variety of their intestine microbiome, and sure particular micro organism have been linked to weight problems. In animal research, transplanting intestine microbes from overweight mice to “germ-free” mice led these GF mice to gain weight. This means extra weight is, in reality, attributable to sure microbes, however up to now there’s scant proof that the identical is true with people.

Krajmalnik-Brown’s group did an experiment through which that they had individuals comply with two totally different diets for 23 days every, with a break in between. Each offered related quantities of energy and macronutrients every day, however by way of totally different meals. The research’s typical Western menu featured processed meals — assume grape juice, sandwiches made with deli turkey and white bread, and spaghetti with jarred sauce and floor beef. The opposite menu, what researchers known as a “microbiome enhancer food plan,” included meals like complete fruit, veggie sandwiches on multigrain buns, and steak with a facet of complete wheat spaghetti. 

Whereas the research wasn’t designed for weight reduction, an fascinating factor occurred when researchers analyzed members’ bowel actions.

“We discovered that once you feed topics a food plan designed to supply extra vitality to the microbes and to not the [body], our topics misplaced just a little weight,” Krajmalnik-Brown stated. “It appears to be like like by feeding your microbes, it appears to make individuals more healthy and probably even lose just a little.”

One other doable mechanism entails the identical hormone that powers these injectable weight reduction medication. The decrease a part of your intestine makes hormones that inform the complete intestine to decelerate and in addition assist orchestrate metabolism and urge for food. Amongst them is GLP-1. The medication use an artificial model, semaglutide or tirzepatide, to set off the identical impact. 

In line with Damman, you possibly can stimulate your intestine to make these useful hormones with the meals you eat — by giving your microbes the precise gas.

Eat to Feed Your Microbes

The foods you eat can have an effect on your intestine microbiome, and so your weight. However don’t go searching for that one excellent ingredient, specialists warn. 

“Oftentimes we get this micro-focus, is that this an excellent meals or a foul meals?” warned Katie Chapmon, a registered dietitian whose observe focuses on intestine well being. “You simply wish to be certain that your microbiome is strong and wholesome, so it communicates that your physique is working, you’ve acquired it.”

As a substitute, attempt to give your physique extra of the sorts of meals analysis has proven can feed your microbiome, lots of that are plant-based. “These are the issues which are largely taken out throughout processing,” Damman stated. He calls them the “4 Fs”:

  • Fiber: Whenever you eat fiber-rich meals like fruits, greens, complete grains, nuts, and beans, your physique can’t digest the fiber whereas it’s within the higher components of your GI tract. It passes by means of to your decrease intestine, the place wholesome micro organism ferment it. That produces short-chain fatty acids, which ship alerts all through your physique, together with ones associated to appetite and feeling full.
  • Phenols: Phenolic compounds are antioxidants that give plant-based meals their coloration — once you discuss eating the rainbow, you’re speaking about phenols. The microbes in your intestine feed on them, too. “My purpose for a meal is 5 distinct colours on the plate,” Chapmon stated. “That rounds out the bases for the totally different polyphenols.”
  • Fermented meals: You may get a unique type of well being profit by consuming meals that’s already fermented — like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. Fermentation could make the phenols in meals extra accessible to your physique. Plus, every mouthful introduces good micro organism into your physique, a few of which make it right down to your intestine. The micro organism which are already there feed on these new strains, which helps to extend the variety of your microbiome. 
  • Wholesome fat: Right here, it’s not a lot about feeding the nice micro organism in your microbiome. Damman says that omega-3 fatty acids, present in fatty fish, canola oil, some nuts, and other foods, decrease inflammation within the lining of your intestine. Plus, wholesome fats sources like extra-virgin olive oil and avocados are stuffed with phenols.

Consuming for intestine well being isn’t a magic bullet when it comes to weight reduction. However the advantages of a wholesome intestine go far past shedding a number of kilos.

“I feel we have to attempt for well being, not weight reduction.” Krajmalnik-Brown stated. “Maintain your intestine wholesome and your microbes wholesome, and that ought to finally result in a wholesome weight. You’ll make your microbes glad, and your microbes do rather a lot in your well being.”

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