With regards to weight loss, we have all heard the ‘Calories in calories out’ approach. The basic principle is that if you are gaining weight, you are eating too many calories, and not expending/burning off those calories. Hence the weight gain. It sounds so simple. Just eat less, and exercise more. If it were this simple, there would not be so many people struggling with their weight. I am happy to be practicing in a time where research has disproved this theory. We now know it is not just about calories, willpower or about increasing the exercise you hate to do. There are so many factors that affect our weight including hormones, quality of food and the gut.
Yes the gut.
The gut is called our second brain. Chinese medicine views the gut as the center, or the organizational nexus–of bodily life and social relations.
New evidence demonstrates that intestinal bacteria play a key role in obesity. Having a diversify of the good gut bacteria is imperative for our health. Bacteria help break down our food and use the energy instead of storing it for later use. Gut bacteria are responsible for the fermentation of indigestible polysaccharides into absorbable and usable forms of monosaccardies in our body.
Obese rats have been shown to have higher levels of ‘bad’ bacteria that cause inflammation. This inflammation leads to leaky gut and insulin resistance. Insulin is a glycogen and fat storing hormone. Insulin resistance causes your pancreas to overproduce insulin, therefore leading to weight gain.
The Standard American Diet, which is high in saturated fats, animal proteins and refined carbohydrates, causes imbalances of gut microbiota, lowering the good bacteria and increasing the bad bacteria. Here are some ways to improve your gut microbiota