Can Your Gut Microbiome Make You Fat?
There is no doubt that your gut microbiome plays an important role in your health.
How the gut microbes impact your weight is a connection that is particularly interesting.
However, some people have taken this clear correlation and extrapolated it to imply causation.
Alluring headlines claim that if you could just alter your gut microbiome, you’d lose weight.
If it were that easy, we’d all be taking probiotics with this miraculous weight-loss bacteria.
Studies have indicated that when your gut microbiome has more of the right kinds of microbes and less of the harmful ones, it may be easier for you to keep weight off.
Study like these make us wonder, if you care for your gut will it return the favor and make staying healthy easier?
Science indicates that this may be the case.
What Your Gut Microbiome Says About Your Weight
Scientists noticed that the gut microbiome influences a lot of health conditions, but especially anything related to the metabolism.
The importance of your gut microbiome to your overall health has led to many researchers considering it as an organ on its own. Maintaining a healthy balance within the gut microbiome tends to be associated with better health overall.
When your gut microbiome is out of balance its called dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis has been associated with many gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal malignancy, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Through studying the relationship of dysbiosis on these diseases, scientists have found that the gut microbiome is integral to a healthy metabolism.
The connection between what microbes are living in your gut microbiome and your weight is stronger than you might think. If scientists were to look in your gut right now and take an analysis, they could guess if you are overweight or not – and they would be right 90 percent of the time.
Though this doesn’t mean those gut microbiomes are making you fat, they are just giving away your late night snacking secrets. Hey, we’ve all got bad habits – no judgement here.
Though the jury is still out, what this means for us is that feeding the beneficial bacteria may give us a slight advantage through improving our body’s metabolism.
Because these beneficial microbes regulate fat absorption and metabolism it’s a good idea to do whatever it takes to boost their numbers.
Feeding Your Beneficial Microbes for Better Health
This may be a strange concept to consider, the idea that you are directly feeding the microorganisms that live in your gut, but it’s a fact of life. This is why carefully choosing what you eat has broader implications than satisfying your own personal taste buds.
We are learning more and more that your everyday food choices change the composition of your gut microbiome.
What you eat changes the types of bacteria living in your gut in a very specific way. This is because certain types of microbes prefer certain types of food.
Just like a picky teenager, your 100 trillion organisms residing in your gut prefer specific things. And some microbes make it easier to stay healthy, while others bog your metabolism down.
Even though the microbiome consists of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and more, we know the most about bacteria. Depending on your diet, there are a few different kinds of bacteria that can control your gut, these are:
In general, you want more Bacteroides and less of everything else – think of Bacteroides as the good guys.
According to science, certain diets are more effective in certain people and it’s up to each person to find out exactly what works best for them. However, here are some factors the good microbes have in common. Generally, you should try to:
- Eat high quality food
- Eat a diversity of food
- Eat fermented foods high in probiotics
- Get plenty of animal protein
- Don’t shy away from healthy saturated fats
- Drink less alcohol
- Eat less sugar and carbs
These are the general guidelines for eating and living in a way that boosts the number of Bacteroides in your microbiome.
Though there are a lot of other things you can do to improve your gut microbiome and potentially tip the scales in your favor (see what we did there?).
5 Ways You Can Boost Bacteroides Bacteria
Here our five favorite ways to boost the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome to potentially improve your health.
- Heal any underlying gut issues – Now that we know the impact of the gut microbiome on our health, it makes it incredibly important to heal any unresolved gut issues. This means you should stop ignoring chronic symptoms such as gas and bloating. Listen to your gut when it’s upset, it’s trying to tell you something. Atrantil is a botanical supplement that offers lasting relief to common gut issues like gas and bloating. When you heal your gut, you improve your health.
- Get plenty of sleep – Getting poor sleep has been shown to throw off balance within the gut microbiome. Circadian rhythm disruption and its influence on gut health is believed to be the reason behind why people who work night shifts get sick more easily.
- Reduce sugars and carbs – Harmful bacteria like Firmicutes absolutely love sugar and carbohydrates. When you reduce your sugar and carb intake, you starve these bad bacteria and make it easier for the good guys to thrive.
- Try intermittent fasting – Intermittent fasting means having a 12-hour period or more during the day where you don’t eat anything. This has been shown to improve gut microbiome composition and favor a healthy metabolism. While 12 hours might sound like a long time, you probably already come close if you stop eating at 9 p.m. and don’t have breakfast until after 9 a.m.
- Avoiding antibiotics – Antibiotics are known to cause dysbiosis in the gut. We’re not saying you should avoid antibiotics altogether, just save them only for times when you absolutely need them.
The bottom line is this when you take care of your gut, it takes care of you.
There is no miracle cure-all for losing weight with a pill, just like there is no miracle cure-all for losing weight by manipulating your gut microbiome.
However, it is possible you’ll have an easier time keeping weight off when you do the things your gut microbiome needs to stay healthy.