Is There a Link Between Gut Health and Weight Loss?
What you’ll learn in this blog
If you are trying to lose weight, it can feel like a struggle with no end. This feeling is especially strong when you feel like you have tried everything from exercise to dieting with no consistent results.
However, many people overlook their gut health regarding weight loss, despite the fact that there can be a very strong link between the two.
Our recent research showed that information on gut health was among the most sought-after, with people desperate to understand how one impacts the other.
In this blog, you’ll discover the compelling link between gut health and weight loss. So, whether you’re looking to lose weight over the coming months or grow your health knowledge, you’ll find it helpful.
What Are Gut Microorganisms?
The human body is home to over 100 trillion – yes, trillion – bacteria and microorganisms that live on your skin and body.
Most of these bacteria live within your gut, specifically within your large intestine.
I know what you are thinking…doesn’t bacteria make you ill?
Yes, some bacteria are disease-causing, but microorganisms within the gut help the human body digest foods, absorb nutrients, and prevent diseases.
Most importantly (for weight loss), gut bacteria can influence how you digest certain foods and can even be responsible for making your feel full.
It’s beneficial bacteria that are essential for the healthy functioning of our bodies. Think of microorganisms as the tiny workers in the body that keep everything ticking over.
What Causes Bad Gut Bacteria?
It’s pervasive for humans to experience poor gut bacteria. Many different factors can cause this. Certain aspects are impossible to avoid, while others are preventable.
Let’s take a little look at some of the main factors that negatively impact gut bacteria:
Poor Sleep Quality
Yes – believe it not, poor sleep quality can cause harmful bacteria to emerge in the body.
When an individual isn’t sleeping right, then it naturally leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol.
Increased stress can cause intestinal issues, such as food and toxins being able to make their way through the intestine and into the bloodstream.
If you were to go to your doctor complaining about abdominal pain and nausea, they would likely ask you about your sleep patterns and quality.
The reason is the significant link between sleep and harmful bacteria in the body.
When someone frequently drinks large amounts of alcohol, they risk future gut problems.
Excessive drinking can negatively affect your gut microbiome and throw it off track. When this happens, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria can form – which is not desirable.
Next, there are antibiotics.
When you swallow antibiotic pills or liquids, they enter the digestive tract before being absorbed into the bloodstream.
However, when antibiotics are taken too often (or for the wrong reasons), they can change the bacteria in the gut so much that future antibiotics no longer work.
This occurrence is called ‘antibiotic resistance’ and is a significant global problem.
In addition to this, antibiotics can have considerable negative impacts on the microorganisms in the gut, such as changing metabolic activity.
Sometimes, sickness and bugs can lead to harmful bacteria and poor gut health.
For example, many diseases slow down the passage of food in the digestive system, which makes it very easy for harmful bacteria to grow.
However, in most cases, the bad bacteria will disappear once you overcome the sickness bug.
Unsurprisingly, poor diets are another huge driver behind bad gut bacteria and a high body mass index.
This link is especially valid when discussing diets that include lots of artificial sweeteners, high levels of sugar, and (as mentioned earlier) alcohol.
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy for the average person to switch from a bad diet to a good one.
Often, this will be the first recommendation doctors and other healthcare professionals give when you’re experiencing persistent problems with your gut and health.
Can Bad Bacteria Make It Harder to Gain and Lose Weight?
The simple answer is that bad bacteria significantly impact weight gain and weight loss.
In the 21st century, millions of people follow strict workout routines. For example, one individual might go to the gym three or four times a week.
On top of this, they might also go for daily runs – to lose weight, have a healthier body mass index (BMI), and burn body fat.
However, no matter how much exercise or running they do, this individual seemingly can’t lose weight, which can be very confusing.
After all, aren’t they ticking all the right boxes to lose weight?
Well, the answer to this might lay in the gut.
Often, the simple reason why people can’t burn body fat (or gain weight) is because of bad bacteria in their bodies.
Let’s think about an imaginary diet for a second. If your diet consists of lots of sugars and artificial sweeteners, then the bad bacteria caused by this can then (ironically) cause even greater cravings for it.
As a result, you eat more and more sugary foods – sometimes without even realizing what’s going on.
Essentially, harmful bacteria in the gut can be highly demanding, and they will do everything in their power to get what they want. Then, when certain foods and drinks are absorbed, the microbes will produce dopamine and serotonin (the chemicals that make us happy).
In a nutshell, bad bacteria can cause an endless cycle that’s extremely hard to defeat, making losing or gaining weight seem almost impossible.
What Can You Do to Improve Gut Health and Reduce Bad Bacteria?
If you’re someone who wants to achieve specific weight loss goals or improve your overall health, then there are lots of helpful steps you can follow to:
- Improve your gut health
- Reduce bad bacteria in your gut
- Eliminate the adverse effects caused by bad gut bacteria
Let’s examine what exactly you can do:
Eat a Gut-Friendly Diet
Firstly, it’s time to start eating a gut-friendly diet.
A gut-friendly diet should include fiber, fermented foods, vegetables, fruits, and prebiotics.
This level of organization is critical, as consistency is key to a gut-friendly diet.
Without consistency, you may want to return to your old diet, which you obviously won’t want to happen.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
The next step is reducing alcohol intake.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with drinking alcohol. However, this isn’t a call for you to stop drinking alcohol altogether – instead, it’s a recommendation to reduce your alcohol intake if you currently drink a lot.
For instance, if you drink three glasses of wine at night, try reducing it to one glass instead.
Alcohol can negatively impact the gut by reducing the number and variety of bacteria species. In turn, this weakens the gut.
This is why reducing alcohol is an excellent method for maintaining overall gut health.
Only Take Antibiotics When Necessary
The overuse of antibiotics is currently a global problem. Not only is this damaging people’s guts, but it’s also leading to ‘antibiotic resistance’ amongst millions.
Knowing this, it’s crucial that you only take antibiotics when necessary. Your doctor will be able to help you and ensure that you don’t take too many when they’ve been prescribed to you.
Modern life can be stressful.
According to the American Institute of Stress, around 33 percent of people feel extreme stress daily (even healthy people can experience this).
One of the negative impacts of stress is usually an unhealthy gut.
Psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganism in the gut, even with short-term stress. Causes of stress can vary from psychological to environmental stress (like hot weather temperatures).
To de-stress, you can try many different techniques, such as medication, exercise, and therapy.
Again, speaking to your doctor about this can be helpful, as they can provide a tailor-made solution to the specific factors causing you to be stressed.
Take Care of Your Teeth
Not many people know this, but your oral health dramatically impacts your gut.
Bacteria from your mouth can easily pass down to your intestines. Often, this can lead to digestive problems and other similar issues. If you have gum disease, this will likely happen at some point.
The best course of action is to take good care of your teeth. This includes brushing them twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash. In addition, you should also avoid foods that are harmful to your teeth and gums, such as sugary sweets.
If you have taken care of everything else, then sometimes you’ll need a little help in the form of pro or prebiotics - to introduce some more of the good bacteria into your gut.
We recommend YourBiology to as broad-spectrum probiotics and prebiotic.
Does gut bacteria impact weight loss?
If you put all the steps mentioned above into play, you help ensure that your gut remains healthy.
In addition, you’ll also give yourself a much better shot at achieving your gut health and weight loss goals.
Over the past few months, you might have been exercising like crazy and following the current weight loss trends without seeing any results.
This could be because of poor gut health, which is why following the steps discussed in this article could be the missing part of the puzzle.
Good luck achieving your goals, and make sure that maintaining gut health is one of your primary health priorities over the coming years.
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