How can gut bacteria affect your weight?The past decade has shed light on the role of the gut microbiome in human’s overall health. Gut microbiome pertains to the collective bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in our gut. Ten years ago, few of us were aware of just how significant they are in affecting our health, other than helping with food digestion.

More recently, studies have shown that they play a crucial role in keeping us healthy. So, you might be wondering, can gut bacteria make you fat or thin?

Digesting Food That You Eat
The gut is one of the main contacts of your body to the outside world—all the foods that you eat passes through it. The primary purpose of the gut microbiome, then, is to break down the foods into tiny molecules, small enough to enter the bloodstream and distribute the nutrients. Unbroken pieces are excreted out of the body as waste.

Studies have shown that certain types of gut bacteria help break down particular types of food. Low levels of such bacteria, therefore, can affect how you digest food and store energy in the body, leading to weight gain.

Suppressing Appetite
Gut bacteria also play a role in producing hormones that affect your feeling of fullness or hunger, such as leptin, ghrelin, and peptide YY. For example, when certain types of bacteria break down fiber, they also produce chemicals such as propionate, which can affect how much of these hormones are produced. Studies showed that those who take propionate supplements experienced reduced appetite and were able to reduce their food intake and weight gain.

Reducing Inflammation
Your gut health plays an important part in keeping your immunity active. When you eat an unhealthy diet, it causes an imbalance in the gut microbiome, prompting an increase in inflammatory chemicals. Too much sugar, fat, and calories can lead to weight gain, and increased inflammation can lead to insulin resistance. Some species of bacteria, however, can ease inflammation, reducing insulin resistance and weight gain.

What You Can Do To Support Good Gut Bacteria Growth
When you’re trying to lose weight, but all your efforts have been for naught or have shown little progress so far, the answer might be lying in your gut microbiome makeup. Trillions of bacteria live in your gut, and what you need is to maintain active populations of the good bacteria that can help you lose weight.

How do you do that?
One way is to eat more fiber. Fiber can help keep a diverse gut microbiome, which is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. You can find fiber in whole grains, some fruits, and vegetables. You must also avoid sugary foods, because some bacteria thrive on sugar, making you feel hungrier and craving for more sugar. Instead, eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and legumes. Also, boost your diet with healthy fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acids that you can find in oily fish.

Some foods you can eat for a healthy gut include the following:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Green tea
  • Red wine

Avoid or reduce your intake of the following foods, which can negatively affect the diversity of your gut microbiome:

  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Red meat
  • Gluten
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Processed foods

Aside from being mindful of what you eat, it is also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get moving and exercise regularly. Physical workouts can help reduce the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria in your stomach, which can affect how you lose or gain weight.

Gut Health And Obesity
Millions of people suffer from obesity, and for many, it’s very hard to manage. Gut health and obesity are a relatively new field of research. More still needs to be done to make conclusions as to how gut bacteria can help treat obesity, but the future looks promising. Understanding how certain species of bacteria affect weight may lead to better, personalized treatments.

Listen To Your Gut
If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy one, take a look at your gut health. Pay heed to the signs of an unhealthy gut microbiome, such as upset stomach, indigestion, gas, and bloating. Then, pay attention to what you eat. If you haven’t been eating healthy foods, it’s time to make a shift and get the ideal body that you’ve always wanted.

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