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Anyone who struggles to lose excess weight knows that there is more going on than calories-in and calories-out.
Counting calories can give you the illusion of a healthy lifestyle.
Worse, it can be frustrating if you do not lose weight when following the principle of eating less and exercising more.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2010 Dietary Guidelines:
“People who are most successful at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight do so through continued attention to consuming only enough calories from foods and beverages to meet their needs and by being physically active. To curb the obesity epidemic and improve their health, many Americans must decrease the calories they consume and increase the calories they expend through physical activity.” (1)
The truth is that many men and women have ignored the genuine needs of their body in an effort to lose weight.
Mainstream nutrition does not explain the value of food quality. It does not warn us about the harmful effects of pro-inflammatory foods. It does not explain the role that hormones play in the “obesity epidemic.”
Eating the right food can be more beneficial than eating less food when it comes to weight loss. Eating fermented foods every day can boost your gut with friendly bacteria to calm inflammation, balance hormones, and support weight loss.
Most importantly, mainstream nutrition gives no attention to fermented foods. Fermented foods contain good bacteria that have the power to influence your hormones, reduce inflammation, and encourage weight loss.
Researchers have found that inflammation and the inner ecosystem of the gut are major factors driving weight gain.
Getting rid of inflammation may be a key to getting rid of fat. Healing your inner ecosystem may be the way to balance and maintain a healthy weight.
An inflamed gut is a leaky gut. When the protective wall of the intestines becomes inflamed, the cells lining the intestinal wall weaken. The bond that joins these cells together—called a tight junction—breaks, contributing to “leaky gut.” (2)
What does a leaky gut have to do with weight gain? As it turns out, like inseparable friends, leaky gut and obesity often show up together. (3)
A 2006 article published in the American Journal of Physiology found that genetically obese mice also showed signs of leaky gut. (4) Researchers suggested that patients with metabolic syndrome and obesity were more likely to have leaky gut and systemic, body-wide inflammation.
That’s not all.
Fat cells do more than store energy. They produce hormones. They interact with the immune system.
When it comes to obesity, fat cells themselves will trigger the release of a distress signal. This signal activates the immune system and ignites the inflammatory cascade. A 2013 study published in Cell Metabolism found that growing fat cells act like they are infected. In other words, growing fat cells summon a “runaway immune response.” (5)
Probably one of the most extreme efforts to lose weight is gastric bypass surgery. Also known as Roux-en-Y, a gastric bypass joins a small portion of the upper stomach with the far end of the small intestine.
Those who get a Roux-en-Y lose weight rapidly—but is it simply a matter of caloric intake?
The small intestine, and in particular the first portion of the small intestine that is removed in a Roux-en-Y, is responsible for digesting much of the food that we eat. Studies have found that after gastric bypass surgery, the inner ecology of the gut changes. But scientists wondered if the change in gut ecology might also contribute to the rapid weight loss.
A recently published study used mice to answer this question. (6) Researchers transferred the gut bacteria from mice that had undergone surgery into mice with an intact gastrointestinal tract. The study was the first of its kind to show that gut bacteria unique to Roux-en-Y surgery are able to reduce weight and fat mass.
Other studies have found that two groups of good bacteria (the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes) dominate the gut of lean people. Those who struggle with obesity have fewer “good” bacteria, or Bacteroidetes. (7)
Recent data from 1999-2008 tells us that 72% of men and 64% of women are overweight or obese. At least one third of adults are obese. (8) In order to see these numbers change, it is essential to move past calories.
The most recent research tells us that the obesity epidemic is not simply about how much you eat and how much you move.
Hormones and the immune system both influence how fat cells act in your body—and how hard or how easy it is to lose weight. Remember, inside the gut there are bustling communities of bacteria and yeast. Some are good for your health and help you stay slim. Other communities of bacteria can make you obese and inflamed.
The problem of obesity involves a constellation of factors. Luckily, as complex as the body is, health is straightforward. When it comes to managing inflammation and nourishing your inner ecosystem, nothing has more influence than diet.
What you eat every day, multiple times a day, determines what bacteria live in your gut. In order to maintain a robust inner ecosystem:
It makes sense that eating less and exercising more can help you to lose weight, right? Wrong. This information is found throughout the mainstream health world, yet one important factor is overlooked: good bacteria in your digestive tract. Your gut bacteria can reduce inflammation, influence hormones, and even aid in weight loss.
When the gut is inflamed, it can become leaky. And leaky gut and obesity often go hand-in-hand. When the body becomes obese, fat cells can produce hormones and interact with the immune system to trigger a full-body distress signal and inflammatory cascade. Obese people often have less good bacteria in their gut.
To move beyond the calorie counting treadmill, you can use 4 steps to fight obesity by strengthening your inner ecology:
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