Gut bacteria and weight gain? SIBO, 'candida', and constipation
Can gut bacteria make you gain weight? Can you really blame your bacteria for your weight? The simple answer to that is YES!
The balance of your gut bacteria is very strongly linked with obesity and metabolic disturbances. People visiting a nutritionist often present with 'SIBO', small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and unexplained weight gain. Often together with constipation, clients will often complain of bloating, wind, and weight that they can’t seem to shift even when eating nothing but lettuce; and/or instant weight gain when they eat carbohydrates.
'Candida', or yeast overgrowth, can also cause weight gain. Sometimes it can feel more like water retention, but overall, the cravings for carbohydrates or sugars can sabotage all efforts to lose weight and cause a real imbalance in the diet. Sugar and antibiotics are generally the cause of excessive yeast in the first place, although simply cutting out everything sugary and yeast-based, and surviving off meat and veg, is not recommended.
The weight gain link with constipation tends to be two fold. One, chronic constipation causes SIBO, and two, it causes general gut dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) and general water retention.
A third cause is bacteria directly. Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria is associated with weight, and the balance of some other bacteria (Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes) is linked with weight gain. This is often seen in so many patient's and client's stool tests. This balance is affected by your diet and lifestyle, in particular a low or high fibre diet. Your bacteria can also affect how much energy you absorb from your food and produce chemicals that help you feel full.
So, when you think you’re simply eating the wrong foods and giving in to temptation, it could actually be the gut flora (and your endocrine/hormonal system) which is creating cravings and an increased appetite, creating a vicious cycle.
It's not always about simply restricting. Your restricting may even lead to cravings of the wrong foods, which may create the unbalanced gut bacteria in the first place. Address your gut, address your diet, and address your hormone system (and inflammation), and you give yourself the best chances of effortless and long term weight management.
Refined and unrefined foods
Eat unrefined foods - always. Refined foods are flours (white being the most refined, whole grain being the least). 'Flour foods' seem to drive hunger for carbohydrates and can create cravings. Moving away from eating just grains (rice, rye, wheat, etc) - or eating them in their whole form only (not always easy to get hold of in the UK) - and introducing a lot more starchy foods such as potato (small and not baked), sweet potato, root vegetables, and peas and beans is the solution. It's hard to overeat on these foods, and they all make your gut flora very happy indeed, by feeding and promoting the growth of the weight loss type of bacteria.
Protein and some healthy fats help manage sugar cravings and always ensure you are hydrated. This is often mistaken for cravings or hunger.
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