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If you are struggling to reach your desired weight, you are not alone. In fact, many people find it near impossible to lose weight. And for those who are lucky enough to have success, keeping the weight off poses yet another challenge, one that can be just as tough as the weight loss itself.
The difficult nature of the weight loss process often leads people to take desperate measures like trying very restrictive diets, using dangerous stimulants, or giving up all together. The problem is that none of these solutions lead to a positive outcome and often leave people in a worse position, making the process even more difficult the next time around.
Why is it that people have trouble reaching their desired weight in the first place? Though the reasons vary from person to person, there are a handful of weight loss offenders that often go unrecognized. Here are three of the major offenders:
- Poor gut health
- Low protein intake
- Slowed metabolic rate
“3 Steps to Weight Loss” describes how each of these offenders works to sabotage your weight management efforts and then provides simple methods to help ward off these offenders. To make the information more digestible, the steps are broken up into separate articles.
On that note, let’s get started with Step 1.
Step 1. Boost Your Gut Health
Anyone battling their weight has likely been told that an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle and maybe some bad genes are to blame. Though there is definitely some truth to that, new research provides evidence that the bacteria lurking inside of your gut might also be at fault.
Possibly unbeknownst to you is the fact that you are in relationship with the bacteria residing in your gut – a symbiotic relationship that is. The relationship works in three different ways.
- The bacteria live off you, but do not help or harm you. The relationship is only beneficial to the bacteria in this case. This is the type of relationship you have with most bacteria in your body.
- The bacteria receive a place to live and feed while keeping other harmful microbes from taking up residence. This type of relationship is beneficial to both you and the bacteria.
- The bacteria resist your defenses and grow at your expense. In this case, the bacteria benefit while you are harmed by the toxic substances produced by the bacteria.
For the most part bacteria are helpful, not harmful. In fact, you likely could not live without them. They help you do things like – break down tough plant fibers, maintain immune function, and process waste products. All good things.
But new research suggests that gut bacteria have the potential to set the stage for weight gain. Particularly, the wrong mix of microbes appears to alter your metabolism, modify the way you store fat, and change how you respond to hormones that make you feel hungry or full.
The Human Microbiome Genome
The idea of something as microscopic as bacteria having control over your weight likely seems far-fetched. But believe it or not, there is scientific evidence to support this seemingly outlandish concept.
Here are the facts…
The human genome is often referred to as the blueprint of human biology. It includes all of your genes which hold the information needed to build and maintain your body. At least, all of the genes in YOUR cells.
But what about the genome of the microorganisms living inside of you?
The cells of microorganisms also contain genes that hold a wealth of information. In fact, it is believed that for every 1 human gene, there are 100 associated genes within the microbiome. Which makes sense if you consider that bacteria alone out number your cells 10 to 1.
Until recently, the blueprint residing in the microbiome has largely been ignored. But with expanding knowledge about the role microbes have in regulating human health, more research is being done to better understand the interactions taking place between you and the microorganisms that share your body space.
Gut Bacteria and Health
Your gut contains approximately 100 trillion bacterial cells. There are hundreds of different species of bacteria with the types and amounts varying from one person to the next. It is generally understood that “friendly” bacteria benefit you in two ways.
- They contribute to your defense system, helping your body ward off harmful invaders.
- They help to maintain normal functions of your gut.
Though there is still much to be learned, researchers now have a better understanding of the impact different gut bacteria profiles have on health. One thing that seems to be clear is that ending up with the wrong mix of bacteria can mean bad things for your waistline.
How Gut Bacteria Can Make You Fat
Research looking at gut bacteria and weight status provide evidence that weight gain is associated with changes in gut bacteria. Specifically, studies have shown that overweight individuals tend to have decreased bacteria diversity and a higher ratio of certain types of bacteria.
There are two ways gut bacteria is believed to influence body weight.
Increased energy harvest from the diet
In the case of weight gain, the change in gut bacteria is associated with increased energy harvest from the diet. In other words, overweight individuals are thought to absorb more nutrients from the foods they eat. They also appear to have a decreased loss of calories in their stool. More nutrients absorbed and less nutrients lost translates to more calories that if not used, can be stored as fat.
Changes in gene expression
Another way gut bacteria are thought to contribute to weight gain is by altering the expression of genes. For example, a higher level of certain bacteria appears to suppress a gene that regulates lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme responsible for fat breakdown. Suppressing this gene means less LPL is produced which leads to an increase in cellular uptake of fatty acids and consequently, an increase in body fat stores.
Sources of Disruption
Several factors impact your gut bacteria profile (how many, what type, and the activity level of bacteria in your gut). These factors are broken into two categories – external and internal influences.
External influences: diet, prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotic use, illness, lifestyle, and environment.
Internal influences: age, genetics, stress, physiological processes, as well as the structure and physiology of the digestive tract.
How to Boost Your Gut Health
As you’ve now learned, to promote gut health requires that you have a healthy mix of gut bacteria. To do so involves minimizing your exposure to any number of the potential disrupters listed above.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy:
- Only eat as much food as your body needs. The reason is because your gut bacteria adapt to changes in the number of calories you eat and these adaptations can affect the amount of nutrients absorbed from food. Eating more than is needed to maintain a healthy weight is linked to a certain bacteria composition that has been associated with an increase in nutrient absorption by 150 calories.
- Eat a diet rich in polyphenols and fiber (in other words, eat your fruits and veggies). It has been established that what you eat can impact the composition and function of your gut bacteria. Currently, more research needs to be done to determine the exact effect of specific foods; however, studies have shown positive effects of polyphenols and fiber on gut bacteria composition. Specifically, polyphenols were found to minimize the growth of certain harmful bacteria and both polyphenols and fiber were linked to increases in “friendly” bacteria.
- Consume prebiotics. Prebiotics are defined as a non-digestible food ingredient. They can benefit you by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of “friendly” bacteria in the gut and thus, positively impact your health. These ingredients are carbohydrate-like compounds. Examples include lactulose and resistant starch.
- Take a probiotic. Probiotics are living non-harmful organisms used as food ingredients that have the potential to positively influence your health through their impact on gut bacteria composition.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Research has shown that individuals who have recently lost weight tend to have a lower number of bacteria called Firmicutes and a higher number of the bacteria Bacteroidetes. This bacterial composition is associated with fewer nutrients absorbed and thus, more calories lost in the stool.
- Reduce your exposure to toxins. When it comes to gut health, exposure to certain environmental chemicals can be detrimental in two ways – 1) the chemicals can interfere with bacteria composition and function; and 2) bacteria can metabolize chemicals in such a way that it increases their toxicity to humans. Minimizing exposure to harmful toxins can help boost gut health and thus, promote overall health.
LifeVantage Can Help!
The PhysIQ System is a combination of 4 products that, when used in tandem, help to recharge and rebalance your body’s internal weight management system. It does so by providing a solution for each of the major weight loss offenders. PhysIQ Cleanse and Probio are two products that work to boost your gut health.
Check out the article Not Losing Weight: These 3 Reasons are To Blame to learn more about PhysIQ Cleanse and Probio.
Want to know the second step to successful weight loss? Click HERE.