Gut Bacteria; All you need to know
Gut Bacteria, otherwise called Gut flora are hugely important to your health. Let’s take a look at what they are, what they do, whether they can make you gain fat, and how to fix them.
What are Gut Bacteria?
These are essentially small creatures that are living in your gut. There are thousands of different species of them and each person has a different mix inside them. The variety of species that inhabit your gut depends mainly on what you eat.
You begin to develop these bacteria within you from birth. The bacteria population can depend on if you were natural born, lived in a city or if you were formula or breast fed.
What does Gut Bacteria do?
The roles that are played by guy bacteria are multiple. These roles have a knock on effect in so many areas of our life, from our weight, our skin, our mental health, allergies, the list keeps going. Let’s just focus on a few of them.
The bacteria in our gut help to ferment some of the foods, and break them down into short chain fatty acids. This is a hugely important function. Added to this, they assist in the production of vitamins B and K. This has led some to define gut bacteria as functioning almost like an organ.
Metabolism, Insulin and Inflammation.
Gut bacteria has been seen to effect metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity and adipose inflammation. These functions are all things that should be very interesting to people who are interested in losing fat and gaining muscle.
Believe it or not, depending on which sorts of critters you have in your gut, your cravings for certain foods can be effected. Some will make you crave junk, some can make you crave good food. Imagine that! Craving for healthy food!
How does it effect my weight?
Certain bacteria have consistently been found to be present in the bodies of obese people. This, given the nature of how these bacteria work shouldn’t be surprising. Why?
Adipose tissue is another word for body fat, and what has been found is that certain bacteria can lead to these fat cells inflaming. This paper here talks about the link between fat cells inflaming and obesity. So instead of the traditional understanding whereby having more fat cells made you fat, it is now understood that the fat cells you have can become inflamed and make you overweight too. In fact, it can also lead to a difficulty in losing fat.
So to put this simply, certain types of bacteria can cause inflammation in your fat cells, thus making you fatter. However, this inflammation has more negative effects that create more problems.
This is a broad situation whereby the normal running of your metabolism is hindered. As you may know, the metabolism is one of the key factors to consider when talking about fat loss. There are many forms of metabolic impairment, and they can result in a whole host of nasty illnesses, one of the key ones being obesity.
Sorry to tell you, but the bad news doesn’t end here. One of the knock on effects of metabolic impairment is insulin resistance.
Your body has a special relationship with the hormone insulin. When you eat, insulin is released to help metabolize the food. It has a special influence over the glucose from carbs. When you become insulin resistant, your cells to do not respond to the effects of insulin.
The effects of insulin resistance are a tendency to store carbs as fat, and abnormal blood sugar levels resulting eventually in diabetes. It also means you will have trouble building muscle, which as we know is vital in creating efficient fat loss.
The Bad Bacteria Effect
So to distill everything written above;
- You have bad types of bacteria in your gut
- Your fat cells become inflamed
- This leads to metabolic impairment
- This leads to insulin resistance
- All of these lead to fat gain, and a host of worse conditions.
At this point, it has been well proven than gut bacteria can make you fat. So, the next question is, how can you change it?
How can you change your gut bacteria?
There are three things you can do right now to start changing your gut bacteria population.
Cut out the crap
As mentioned above, gut bacteria effects your cravings. If you are habitually eating McDonalds then alot of the population of gut bacteria will be from McDonalds (Disclaimer; other crappy fast food chains exist). If you stop eating McDonalds, then these certain bacteria will begin to die out. This is why it gets easier over time to stop eating junk food, your bacteria just doesn’t want it any more.
Vary your diet, keep it raw
People telling you to eat a varied diet all these years may have actually been correct! Eating a variety of foods can be a great way to get a good community of bacteria in your gut. The variety should be from natural sources, i.e Vegetables. Eating plenty of different vegetables, and eating them with every meal is a great place to start.
Another point to add is that eating raw veg can often lead to the greatest effect on your bacteria population. Cooking veg isn’t bad, but it can kill off some of the benefits. Try and add some raw to your daily diet.
These are foods that will kick start the process of transitioning to a healthy gut population. Before providing a list, it is important to understand that overloading yourself with all of these product simultaneously isn’t recommended. Best practice is to slowly introduce them into your diet, and then increase the amounts taken in. This is a long term plan, there isn’t a rush.
There are many more, but these are a good place to start. These will really give your gut bacteria a kick up the ass in the right direction.
Make sure you try these points listed above before diving into any supplements, or “probiotic” products. As is usually the case, the basics are the best.
Bad diet choices can result in a bad gut bacteria population. The effects can lead to obesity, diabetes and many other disorders.
By changing your diet, introducing fermented and raw foods, you can win the battle, and ramp up your fat loss efforts.