How envious have you been of that person that can eat anything and not gain weight? Do you look at a donut and gain five pounds? If this sounds familiar to you then this article is for you. If you missed Part I you can catch it here.
There are major discoveries as of late in gastroenterology that may explain this phenomena. The science has revealed that having more bacteria in the gut relates to an individual being lean while a lack of diversity in the microbiome results in obesity (1, 2, 3, 4).
Chubby Bacteria and You
Ok, when I say chubby bacteria I’m not talking about bacteria in your gut that can’t run a mile. What I mean is that there are bacteria in your gut that in an overabundance and little other diversity are causing you to gain weight(3).
As farfetched and ridiculous as this might seem let’s discuss it. When we eat food we are digesting that food and turning it into energy, right? One of the major tools that your body uses in that process of digestion is your gut flora.
When your food makes it through your stomach and small intestine it finds the large intestine. This large intestine is loaded with bacteria and all sorts of other goodies. This might include friendly or unfriendly pathogens, worms, parasites and viruses.
When the food hits the large intestine it is broken down by fatty acids produced by gut bacteria. In an individual that is obese there’s an over abundance of bacteria that metabolize carbohydrates.
What was found in various studies is that mice that were lean excreted more carbohydrates in their stool. While the mice that absorbed more carbohydrates and calories were obese. The mice with a lower diversity of gut flora and an abundance of a specific bacterial strain were oriented towards the metabolization of carbs packed on the pounds. (2).
Of Course, I’m not saying…
Look, of course I’m not saying that you should take a probiotic and eat however you want. That’s not the takeaway here. However, I meet so many people that no matter what they do can’t lose weight.
Calorie restriction and exercise are never enough. This frustration is most likely linked to the composition of their gut flora. So, while it may be ok for you to restrict calories and kick up the exercise you can’t do that forever.
What if while you did that you also populated your gut flora with good bacteria. Eating a diet with a diversity of cultured foods will do the trick. It might even, according to clinical research and some of the most well funded institutions in the world, help you to keep the pounds off this time.