Healthy Living

Biggest weight loss myth exposed and what to do instead!

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For decades we have been told that weight loss was about burning more calories than we consume. I know many of you have tried this and had limited success, and often even if some weight loss does occur, when you stopped the diet that lost weight came straight back!

Although there is some truth to the caloric balance theory, it is often too hard to maintain. Either starvation diets or excess exercise or both are used to shed unwanted pounds, but if the habits that help you lose the weight decrease or stop, the pounds pack on again. Worse, many people gain back more than they lost! It's hard to maintain something you don't enjoy! If you've tried and not succeeded using the diet and exercise methods, it's time to learn what current evidence is showing the real cause to be!

Recent studies have shown that gut health has a great deal to do with weight control.  The difference in gut bacterial colonies between obese and normal weight individuals is astounding. The bacteria in your intestines are either good for you or bad for you, help you properly digest your foods so you extract the nutrients your body needs, or are pathogenic and lead you toward more inflammation and malabsorption issues.

For example, Lactobacillus Gasseri was found to be absent in obese patients, and when colonized via supplementation increased rate of fat loss by near 5% over the control group. 

Good gut health involves several action steps.

1). Consume good bacteria! Either take a full spectrum probiotic, or regularly eat fermented foods (home made is better: Pasteurization kills off the majority of the good bacteria so the product has a longer shelf life!). You can easily make your own yogurt at home, or make kombucha, sauerkraut, or many other fermented foods our ancestors ate. Most online recipes are simple and effective.

2). Eat lots of prebiotics.  Prebiotics are simply non-digestible fiber that your gut bacteria need to eat for their survival. Feed your bacteria what they need instead of sugary refined foods that strengthen the bacterial colonies that imbalance your gut and make you sick (what you've been doing for years to get to where you are now!)

3). Look at your medications. Obviously, antibiotics are known to kill bacteria, but they are indiscriminate and kill the good bacteria in your gut. If you take antibiotics, take measures immediately to rebalance your gut bacteria. Proton Pump Inhibitors (anti-acids) will affect your gut bacteria also. Long term use has been seen to cause significant imbalance in gut biome. Even use of birth control is known to alter gut bacterial balance due to the changes they make in the body's hormone balance. 

4). No more refined and processed foods. 80% of processed foods have added sugar. Add to that the chemicals, pesticide residues, preservatives, stimulants, colorants... it's no wonder bacteria get imbalanced. These foods are not what our ancestors ate! Our great great grandparents ate raw, organic and seasonal foods only! The food quality and nutrients were so much greater than what we get from processed foods!! 

5). Supplementation. Tagging on the fact that our foods are less nutrient dense than what our ancestors had access to, we need to fill the gaps. B vitamins, Vitamin D, Omega 3 (fish oils) have proven highly effective at reducing inflammation in the gut. There are several others that have shown promise, but keep it simple. It's more about the quality of foods and fiber you eat to populate your gut than taking mass amounts of supplements. You simply cannot continue eating garbage and take supplements. It's a waste of time and money, and ultimately a waste of your health.

Balancing the gut biome by making food choices that support proper balance takes time and conscious effort. The consistency of effort pays off with increased energy, better nutrient absorption by the body, improved health and with that the weight loss you were seeking.  

I highly recommend books like "The Microbiome Solution" by Dr. Robynne Chutkan MD and "Superfuel" by Dr. Joseph Mercola DO as references to help you move forward in you quest for better health and sustainable weight.

To your best possible health,

Dr. Warren Smith DC