Trigger weight loss with the right gut bacteria?
If you struggle from stubborn belly fat, a change in your exercise and diet habits might not be the only thing you need to alter to melt away the pounds.
In the past, people have generally thought that weight gain comes from laziness or over eating, but your body may actually be gaining weight as a reaction to stressors. When your body responds to stress, it stores food in preparation for a shortage of nutrients, which in turn leads to weight gain. In addition, stress can affect the balance of intestinal bacteria in your body, which can also cause unwanted weight gain. The key to weight loss may actually be the bacteria in your gut!
In a study conducted at Cornell University, researchers analyzed the weight changes in mice. They found that by adjusting the intestinal bacteria in the mice, their weight could be changed by 15 percent. Additionally, the bacteria that led to the weight changes could also foresee heart disease, high blood pressure and the risk of diabetes. Another study also concluded that intestinal bacteria has a similar link in humans. When intestinal bacteria was infused from obese humans into mice, the bacteria induced obesity in the mice.
Your gut contains more than 1,000 different types of bacteria, but 99 percent of your intestinal bacteria are unable to use oxygen. These oxygen-free bacteria are called anaerobes. There are two types of anaerobes related to obesity: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. These bacteria affect your weight because they control the amount of fat your body absorbs. In order to maintain a healthy weight, you must have more Bacteroidetes than Firmicutes.
In the past 35 years, obesity rates in the United States have doubled, and the average American weighs 24 pounds more than they did in 1960. These statistics prove there has been a major shift in the levels of intestinal bacteria.
During the last few decades, we have increased our use of antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers, we are more exposed to environmental pollutants and we are prone to higher amounts of stress. The connection between bacteria levels and the use of soaps and sanitizers and exposure to environmental pollutants may seem obvious, but what about stress? As a natural reaction to stress, your body releases hormones that stimulate the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it tells your body to reduce blood supply, leading to poor digestion. This impact on your body’s digestion makes you more stressed and causes you to enter a nasty, unwanted cycle. Your Bacteroidetes will be reduced, and you’ll be more prone to weight gain.
Things that harm your intestinal bacteria levels can be hard to avoid, but there are a few actions you can take to help:
- Avoid high fat diets. Rather, eat foods full of fiber and good carbs. A diet rich in fiber will inhibit the growth of fat absorbing Firmicutes.
- Stay away from sugar and processed carbs. Firmicutes flourish on sugars, so eat less sugary foods and opt for a natural sugar substitute when recipes call for sugar.
- Increase the amount of beans you eat. Beans will help raise your level of Bacteroidetes. If you aren’t able to digest beans, try introducing them to your diet slowly and in small amounts.
- Maintain a regular sleep and eating schedule. Your intestinal bacteria have a natural rhythm that is vulnerable to changes throughout the day. Firmicutes are more likely to flourish when you maintain a consistent schedule.
Don’t make excuses anymore when it comes to stubborn belly fat. With proper management of your gut’s natural bacteria, the road to weight loss might actually be easier than you think!