For many, diet and exercise are enough to aid in losing weight. If you cut back on calories and boost activity levels, and make sure to add some strength training; it seems almost inevitable that you will shed some pounds, right? Maybe not.
The last year has shown many breakthroughs that link the bacteria in the gut to many different types of Western diseases, including colitis, depression and asthma. The science isn’t perfected or ready to prescribe anything to fix the problem yet, but studies have found that the foods we eat have a significant influence on healthy stomach bacteria.
Now, there are two new studies that have shown that the bacteria in the gut might not just affect the health; they may be the reason that you’re not losing weight. In one study, 292 Danes were examined to determine the richness of bacteria in their bodies. It found that about 25 percent of them had what is called “low gene count.” Those individuals that had the lower amount of bacteria – or “low gene count” tended to be more obese than those with more bacteria in their guts. Not only that, but these same individuals tended to pack on the pounds more quickly, as well.
Researchers suspect that the amount of bacteria in their gut has something to do with the weight problems and gain, especially since the participants that didn’t have as many bacteria were the ones who had weight problems. In fact, they found that there were eight species of bacteria that the obese participants were lacking eight specific types of bacteria.
Dusko Ehrlich, PhD, research director with the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, and co-author of the study has said that this knowledge helps to open the potential for bacterial therapies, or even a new type of probiotic that could help to fight weight gain.
So, how can you boost your own gut bacteria? It turns out that insoluble fiber, which is found in produce, is fermented in the gut. This allows the right type of bacteria to flourish in there and help people maintain a healthy weight and prevent many different health issues. Therefore, if you’re not eating enough fresh produce on a daily basis, you might be hurting your weight loss efforts.
While the study results are promising, and the bacteria, or lack thereof, in the gut may be the reason that you’re not losing weight, those in the health community agree that more research needs to be done. In the mean time, Elrich recommends eating plenty of fresh produce for optimal nutrition, and to help you to reach your weight loss goals. Of course, plenty of exercise and counting calories will help you, as well.