How Your Gut Bacteria Affects Weight Loss
You’ve probably heard by now that a healthy gut is important or that you should be taking a daily probiotic. But what if we told you that there’s a growing amount of science-backed evidence that links gut health to your weight? And, how balancing your gut flora can influence weight loss? Pretty big news for digestive health!
The type of bacteria (gut microbes) that live inside our gut are linked to many systems in our body and play an essential role in how well those systems are working. Imbalanced gut flora can lead to everything from basic tummy troubles such as gas, bloating, diarrhea/constipation, to brain fog, irritability and more significant issues including a compromised immune system, effects on our cardiovascular system, and a reduced ability to recover from vigorous training and exercise. But what’s even more compelling now is the increasing evidence linking gut bacteria (both how much and type) to its ability to alter the way we store fat, balance our blood sugar, respond to hormones that signal hunger and fullness, and influence the way we store calories; Essentially gut bacteria can affect weight loss.
What Causes Our Gut Flora to Become Unbalanced
Diets higher in processed foods, higher in fats and lower in fruits and vegetables have been linked to a less diverse gut microflora and an inability for those microbes in the gut to grow and flourish. Even if you’re consciously making better-for-you choices at meals (plant-based Mondays, less processed foods or not eating out at lunch, etc.) antibiotics, and environmental toxins all also play a role in how healthy our gut is.
As athletes we also need to remember that high-intensity exercise can cause strain on our guts, thus affecting the health of our intestines and the population of good beneficial bacteria. If you’ve been consistently hitting your workouts but are still suffering from digestive discomfort or weight change, consider evaluating your diet and the health of your gut. In this modern world, most guts today could use a boost!
The good news is that you can do some simple things, specifically related to your diet and supp routine, that can benefit those good microbes, help everything run more smoothly and support your weight loss goals.
Ways to Support Your Good Gut Bacteria
Fibre adds bulk to our meals, slows the transit of food, keeps our digestion regular, stabilizes our blood sugar AND can be linked to weight management. We now also know that plant foods feed the growth of beneficial bacteria that have been associated with a lower body weight.
It’s recommended that we get at least 25g of fibre per day in our diet but the truth is most of us are not hitting that number.
The easiest way to ensure you’re getting enough fibre is to try and include fibre-rich foods in every meal. Look for whole grains like rolled oats and popcorn, seeds like ground flax and chia, beans and legumes, and fruits and vegetables.
Probiotics are how we restore and promote that good bacteria in our gut. Studies are also showing us that probiotics may be able to help you slim down because they protect your intestinal walls, making them less permeable, thus allowing less undesired molecules (that have been shown to contribute to obesity among other negative health implications) into our bloodstream.
Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods including yogurt, kefir, kombucha and kimchi, but eating those foods is best recommended for maintaining the gut flora versus changing it. To really ensure you’re populating your gut with enough beneficial bacteria a probiotic in supplement form is recommended. Look for a probiotic brand that has science-backed testing and offers multi-strains per capsule or powder.
Collagen is a simplified form of protein, rich in amino acids. Studies have linked the amino acids in collagen to the healing of the gut lining (helping with issues of IBS and leaky gut), reduced inflammation, regulation of stomach acid secretion and promotion of good digestion.
Helping repair and protect the gut lining is essential as a healthy gut allows good bacteria to do their job and thrive. Collagen is also linked to weight maintenance and weight loss due to it being a protein, helping to satisfy the appetite and prolong fullness. You can naturally find collagen through foods including bone broth and gelatin, but it’s also very easy to use a supplement. Collagen is tasteless, and an easy way to gain the benefits is by adding 1 – 2 scoops of collagen peptides into your morning coffee or the next smoothie you make.
Simple Gut-Loving Oats
One of our favourite gut boosting breakfasts that also doubles as a perfect post – workout meal is a bowl of steel cut oats with ground flax and one scoop of collagen stirred in. Top with 1 cup of raspberries, a big spoonful of plain yogurt, walnuts and a drizzle of nut butter.
There are lots of other ways you can easily add more fibre, probiotics and collagen into your daily diet. Head to your local Reflex Supplements to stock up on your gut-loving supplements or for some personalized advice on how to get your gut in check. For more recipe ideas, questions or to share on how you’re boosting your gut health find us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We are #ReflexNation.