Not feeling like yourself these days? You’re not alone. Over the past year and a half, many of us have seen changes in our weight due to the pandemic. Gyms were closed, many were stress-eating loads of sugar and carbs and working from home meant it was all too easy to pop into the kitchen when boredom struck.
But now that we’re all getting back into the swing of things, we thought it was the perfect time to talk about the critical role your gut microbiome plays in weight management.
In this blog, we’re uncovering:
- Why a positive body image is essential for good health.
- The critical role gut bacteria play in weight management.
- Two gut health problems that cause unnecessary weight gain.
- And how you can naturally cultivate a healthy gut microbiome to achieve a healthy weight.
The fact is gut health and weight loss go hand in hand. So, if you’re looking to shed a few extra pounds to improve wellness, decrease chronic pain, or alleviate the debilitating symptoms of an autoimmune condition, read on—we have solutions.
Fostering a Healthy Body Image
First and foremost, this information is designed to help you achieve better health. Every body is different (and that’s a beautiful thing). Because of this, we want to encourage you to approach any attempt at weight management/weight loss from a place of self-love.
- Remember, how we talk about our health directly affects our healing —and weight loss is no different. For some positive self-affirmations that will aid you in establishing a better relationship with the body you are already in, please read our blog, How We Talk About Chronic Conditions Affects Healing.
The Role of Gut Bacteria in Weight Management
While certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, and hormone imbalances are a major contributing factor to weight gain, today we’re focusing on the gut microbiome: the trillions of bacteria living in your digestive tract.
Gut bacteria play various key roles in your health, like producing specific vitamins and communicating with your immune system. But did you know your gut bacteria can also produce chemicals that help you feel full? Because of this, gut bacteria can affect your weight by changing the way you think about calories and eating.
2 Insidious Gut Health Problems That Cause Unnecessary Weight Gain
There are trillions of bacteria in our guts, but there are two main culprits that can throw a wrench in your plans to maintain a healthy weight: Firmicutes and Candida overgrowth.
- Unbalanced Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes— Of the countless types of anaerobes in your gut, two have garnered the most attention in relation to obesity—Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Studies now show that the more Bacteroidetes you have compared to your Firmicutes, the healthier your weight will be.
But the big question is, “why do these bacteria affect our weight in the first place?”. It is thought that these bacteria regulate how much fat we absorb. This was demonstrated in a comparative study that observed identical twins eating the exact same diet. These twins were found to have different ratios of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes. The result? The one with more Firmicutes absorbed more calories than the other on the exact same food. So, if you want to lose weight, fewer Firmicutes and more Bacteroidetes should be your aim.
- Candida Overgrowth— When you eat a high-sugar diet, take antibiotics, live a high-stress lifestyle, have a weakened immune system, or frequently drink alcohol, you can develop an infection called Candidiasis. Candidiasis occurs when an overgrowth of usually harmless yeast that lives in your mouth and intestines runs rampant, resulting in fatigue, a weakened immune system, and inflammation due to a constant flood of toxins flowing through your bloodstream.
Candida needs sugar to grow and reproduce. When you experience an overgrowth, a constant and often insatiable craving for sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods will ensue due to the production of hormones that cause you to crave what your infection needs—sugars. When you give in and eat sweet or starchy foods, the Candida growth process sets in motion again, resulting in a vicious cycle that severely compromises weight loss.
Boost Gut Health (and Maintain a Healthy Weight) With These Natural Solutions
Ready to get started on cultivating a health-boosting, fat-fighting gut microbiome? Try one (or all) of these natural strategies today.
- Fight Candida— A good Candida treatment plan can destroy the fungal pathogens in your gut that cause sugar and carbohydrate cravings (and the resulting weight gain it produces). Firstly, you will need to stop stoking the fungal fires of Candida by avoiding sugars and carbohydrates as much as possible. This will be extremely hard because your body will be screaming out for sugar. But push through. It will be worth it.
But fighting Candida isn’t only about cutting things out. It’s about adding good things in as well. Because of its antifungal properties, fresh, crushed garlic has been hailed as a Candida-busting superfood. A comparative study found that when given to mice, allicin (a substance that results from crushing garlic) seemed to fight Candida yeasts at a slightly less successful level than the antifungal drug fluconazole. It has also been found that curcumin, one of the main active components of turmeric, may kill Candida yeasts in several exciting studies. Curry for dinner, anyone?
- Balance Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes—Because Firmicutes are necessary to absorb fats, high-fat diets cause you to have more of them, which leads to weight gain. You can avoid this by eating a high-fiber diet that’s filled with good carbs like brown rice and oatmeal. Additionally, just like with Candida, Firmicutes grow on sugars, so avoiding high-sugar foods like candy, desserts, soda, and processed condiments is key to keeping them in check. In fact, Firmicutes are known to grow uncontrollably in factories that process sugar cane. Shocking, right?
- Try Intuitive Eating—Recently, we introduced the concept of intuitive eating or the practice of listening to and identifying internal hunger and satiety cues. Research has found that intuitive eating actually aided in weight loss and management while decreasing disordered eating, so we recommend intuitive eating as a way to stay on track diet-wise.
- Enjoy Fermented Foods— Do you love the bright and tangy flavor of sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles? If so, you appreciate the trademark flavor of lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermented foods are an excellent way to populate your gut with healthy bacteria (probiotics) that help you maintain a healthy weight. Also, studies have shown that fermented foods aid in reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and treating gastrointestinal diseases.
- Focus on Stress Reduction— Living a high-stress lifestyle can cause cortisol to rise in your bloodstream. Prolonged exposure to cortisol produces adverse side effects like weight gain, inflammatory response, and blood sugar imbalances. All of these processes can be to blame for the retention of extra unnecessary weight (especially around your midsection.)
we suggest you reference the following blogs for some excellent tips on eliminating stress in your life:
- Stress Management Tools for Better Health
- How to Effectively Deal With Stress and Get Your Life Back
- How Grounding Beats Stress
Get Your Probiotic Supplements Today to Balance Your Gut and Weight
Remember, weight loss starts in the gut. Therefore, supplements that support proper digestive function and gut health like the Sana Therapeutics Digestive Health Kit cannot be underestimated when working towards a healthy weight. Our kit comes complete with gastric support, digestive support, liver/gallbladder support— and finally, a high-quality enteric-coated probiotic, ensuring that the good bacteria are released in your gut and not wasted.