Did you know that you have something called a microbiome? You may not have heard about it, but it is a very important part of you. In our digestive tract, we have trillions of microbes - in fact we have more bacterial DNA in our bodies than human DNA! These microbes are called your "microbiome" and they play a very important role in your health, and in your weight.
A healthy microbiome has lots of different types of micro-organisms - lots of diversity. Overweight people tend to have different bacteria in their guts than lean people.
Things that can affect the types of organisms in a negative way include:
- antibiotic use
- birth control pills
- pain medications
- steroid pills like prednisone
- pesticide residues in our food
Poor quality foods (fried foods, trans fats, sugar, processed food and artificial sweeteners) tend to feed and promote the less desirable type of microbes in your gut. These organisms affect the lining of your digestive tract, causing inflammation and promoting weight gain.
Some bacteria affect our digestive tract to increase the number of calories we extract from food. Evolutionarily this may have helped us survive in times of food scarcity, but in our modern times of readily available, high caloric foods it helps to promote weight gain.
The gut microbes can also cause food cravings. Having excess amounts of yeast, in particular, causes sugar cravings, because yeast thrive on sugar and they literally highjack your brain so you feed it to them. Weight gain is not just dependent on what you are eating, but what your gut bugs are eating!
We know that certain probiotics (the healthy kind of bacteria) and prebiotics (natural fiber that feeds the probiotics) can reduce inflammation and improve the makeup of the gut microbes. For example, a bacteria called Akkermansia helps with weight loss and improves metabolic function. Oligofructose (a prebiotic) increases Akkermansia by 100 fold. Oligofructose is found in foods like onion, artichoke, leek, and garlic.
A nutrition program that helps to balance gut microbes is an important part of a healthy weight loss program (and weight loss maintenance). Once again we can demonstrate that "calories in and calories out" is only part of the overall equation for weight loss!
If you are looking for help with your weight, please let us know! Our medical weight loss programs address the microbiome, as well as the other underlying causes of weight gain including hormone imbalance, hidden food sensitivities, inflammation, environmental toxins. and blood sugar metabolism.
Yours in health,