My Gut Bugs Made Me Do It
You may have noticed everyone talking about probiotics; fermented foods like kombucha and Kim Chee and Sauerkraut are all the rage at the moment and there are so many new probiotics hitting the shelves with a new gut bug discovery every day. It looks like the gut bugs may be the cause of everything bad in our bodies; and our saviour to protect us from harm while guiding us to a wonderful symptom free place of flat tummies and clear minds.
One interesting finding coming out of this new research was the concept that your gut flora population can determine your body shape. You cannot maintain your new body shape until your gut flora changes to be that of a lean person with a fast metabolism.
This new research can help to explain “yo-yo dieting”, “rebound weight gain” and post dieting “metabolic damage”.
Your food choices during a fat loss campaign can determine how long the weight stays off by how these foods change your gut flora population.
What you eat determines your microbial load (how many bugs do you have), types of bugs you carry around and the ratios between the different strains.
Did you know?
There are 10x as many gut bug cells in your body than there are your own functioning cells
Gut bugs can make you crave certain foods that they want or need to survive. Sugars, lactose and starchy carbs are their favourite foods. Gut bugs need nutrients too; they will make you eat what they need
Gut bugs can change your:
- Hormonal balance
- Insulin sensitivity
- Body shape
- Mental clarity
- Immunity and allergies
- Detoxification and elimination
- Changing your food choices changes your gut bugs
- Starving your gut bugs creates the “Herxheimer Reaction” nausea, burping, bloating, farting, gurgling, alternating constipation and diarrhoea. This is a sign of gut bugs changing and not food intolerance, detox reaction, IBS etc. that may make you quit or give in to the bugs.
- Ratios and balance of gut bugs is more important than their numbers. You can get too much of a good thing
Do you know what poop is?
- 75% water
- 25% solid
- 30% is dead bacteria
- 30% fibre
- 10-20% cholesterol and other fats
- 10-20% inorganic substances, such as calcium phosphate and iron phosphate from supplements and fortified foods
- 2-3% unused protein
- Cell debris shed from the mucous membrane of the digestive tract e.g. villi.
- Bile pigments (Bilirubin is yellow and after the action of gut flora changes to brown).
- Dead immune cells.
- Odour is from chemicals produced by bacterial action.
Do you have skinny gut bugs or fat gut bugs?
A scientific paper published in the Nature journal 2016 from a group of Israeli scientists who were trying to find the reason behind rebound weight gain after successful dieting said “80% of cases in which weight loss was initially successful, reduced weight is not maintained, and instead is followed by recurrent weight gain and relapsing metabolic complications within 12 months of initial weight reduction that may even exceed the pre-dieting metabolic derangements”. Meaning 80% of people put their weight back on and often they add more and are sicker than before they lost the weight.
This group of scientists went on to make a major discovery. The discovered that an intestinal microbiome signature persists after successful dieting, which contributes to faster weight regain and metabolic aberrations upon re-exposure to obesity-promoting conditions.
This means that people with obesity had a particular combination of gut bugs that helped to make them fat and that same colony of bugs will keep them fat. While calorie constriction, diet and exercise helped them to lose the weight it all came back on and more if the gut bugs did not change. Basically, if you don’t change your population of gut bugs that made you fat then you can expect to struggle to keep the weight off until you change your gut bugs to suit your new body shape.
Those with a fast metabolism, good energy and body shape have a particular intestinal microbiome signature that helps to keep them lean and struggle to gain weight.
Too much of a good thing?
If you look at the “what is poop?” stats; you will see that there is about the same amount of dead bacteria in your poop as there is fibre! Yet all of the marketing is telling us we need more and more bugs and probiotics. More! More! More!
In obesity, the bugs have been overfed and they want more food. While on a fat loss campaign they may starve, and lay dormant. As soon as you put their favourite foods back in after restriction they thrive and grow and change you back to the way you were.
So, here is the best bit.
Science has also proven that diet in the form of calorie control and macronutrient manipulation (changing ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrates) and exercise can effectively help you to lose the weight. The new science regarding gut flora has given us some insights into what sort of food to use to make up your macros.
Step 1. Work with your healthcare practitioner to create a plan for diet and exercise plan that works.
Step 2. Add the following foods into your macro plan. The foods I am about to list can help to change your gut bugs while you are on a fat loss campaign.
You can simply follow the calorie and macronutrient plan that works and just add in certain foods that will help to create an intestinal population of bugs that will help to keep the weight off.
- Herbal teas (for flavonoids and polyphenols) – green tea, white tea, black tea, hibiscus (rosella), rosehip tea.
- Cranberry, grapes
- Kelp, nori
- Garlic and onion
- Rosemary, parsley, coriander, rocket, Vietnamese mint, mint
- Almonds and hazelnuts with skin on
- Mustard and horseradish
- Pomegranate, persimmon and grapefruit
- Pomegranate seed oil, coconut oil
- Dorrigo pepper / mountain pepper (Australian native)
- Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, watercress, mustard greens
- Radishes – red, daikon, horse
- Fermented foods except yoghurt (not because they give us heaps of new and live bugs because they don’t. But because they give the polyphenols we need to keep other bugs under control.) – kimchee and sauerkraut