We all know that too much food and not enough exercise can make us fat. Now recent research has uncovered something else, which is contributing to excess weight.
A new area of research is now focussing on the variety and biodiversity of the bacteria (micro flora) in your digestive system. Recent research has shown that certain types of bacteria in our digestive system play a vital role in our ability to lose weight and stay slim long term.
Research from the School of Medicine at John Hopkins University, Baltimore is changing scientific understanding on why people gain or lose weight and explains how you can lose weight by re-balancing the bacteria in your gut.
Some overweight people have poor diets and now research shows many over weight people have…. poor quality and a lack of variety of “healthy” bacteria. This research shows how successfully loosing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can be helped by the quality, diversity and type of bacteria in your gut. We need to rebalance our gut flora.
We say, “We are what we eat”. More importantly, “we are what we absorb” . One of the roles of the bacteria in our gut, is to help breakdown and absorb nutrients. If the quality and diversity of our gut flora is poor we will not absorb the required nutrients for our bodies and have more difficulty in losing weight.
There are two main categories of gut bacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. The Firmicutes strains are fat forming bacteria and like sugary and fatty foods and are efficient fermenters of fibre. Research shows that this category is over represented in overweight people’s guts and extracts more calories out of food. The researchers consider that the dominance of this fat forming bacteria is why some people increase their calorie intake without eating anymore. The Firmicutes bacteria extract more calories from the food they eat and deposit it as fat. This could be the reason some people found it much harder to lose weight than others.
The bacteria in the Bacteroidetes category however are more prevalent in lean people. This category extracts fewer calories from the food they eat and importantly excess calories are excreted from the body via the body’s natural waste processes. They find it easier to lose weight
How can you change the variety of bacteria in your gut, you may wonder? There are a number of items, which influence which type is the dominant group in your gut, mainly the type of food you eat, Bacteroides are particularly keen on plant foods and anti-inflammatory foods. Firmicutes are keen on sugar and inflammatory foods.
Stress also plays a negative role in the variety of bacteria in your gut. If we are going through a period of stress and turmoil, we need to be aware both mentally and physically what effect stress can have on our bodies and decimate “healthy” bacteria.
Antibiotics are an essential part in helping us fight infectious diseases and have improved our health. However, they reduce “bad” bacteria as well as “good bacteria”. Therefore taken in excess, these can reduce the variety of healthy bacteria in the gut. So if you are on a course of antibiotics think about eating foods to encourage the “good” bacteria and possibly a course of good quality probiotics. Remember too that cattle are given antibiotics frequently as a preventive measure to reduce ill health and in some countries are still used as a growth-producing factor.
So how can we lose weight and remain slim long term?
Research from professor Gerald Mullen at the John Hopkins University has found that a 3 Phase Diet can successfully help you reduce weight and change the variety in your gut helping you to establish a lean metabolism, which supports a slim figure.
Phase 1 lasts four weeks and comprises mainly a high protein ketogenic diet with greens (choosing anti inflammatory proteins). This helps starve the fat-producing bacteria in the gut. There is no sugar what so ever in this phase and it is strict. Long term, this type of high protein diet with greens can be detrimental to health and therefore it is recommended only for the short term, as it will help you lose weight and change the variety of bacteria the gut.
Phase 2 is more flexible; how flexible depends on how quickly you want to achieve your ideal healthy weight, the greater degree of flexibility, the longer it will take to achieve your overall goal. However you can build some “treats” into this phase. You will continue to lose weight evenly during this period. This phase is where new foods are introduced which help cultivate the Bacteroidetes, “ lean healthy bacteria”. This includes fermented foods, which help support your digestive system and restore the lean promoting Bacteroides category. This will help your gut become an efficient fat burning machine with a lean metabolism and help you slim
Phase 3 starts when you have achieved your goal….your ideal weight. Now is the time to consider how you can maintain this leaner, energetic, fitter you for life. You have rebalanced your digestive system with healthier bacteria, which help you support a lean metabolism. which support a healthier, slimmer you.
Your choice of food now is flexible more in the style of a traditional Mediterranean diet, food to be enjoyed and which supports your body’s good health, digestive system and optimum weight for life.
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