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How to Lose Weight & Which Gut Bacteria Might Make It Difficult
The health and wellness circles have given many people false hopes with fake answers for how to lose weight. From zapping abs with a belt to the war on eating eggs to the celery juice diet, people have tried it all. While some of these supposed weight loss hacks work for some, others achieve little to no results.
There are three primary things you need to do lose weight. Two of them we already know. Those are exercise and diet. Sure, we’ll touch on that in this post, but we’re also going to analyze the science behind gut bacteria and weight loss a little closer. Let’s take a look at how to lose weight in a healthy, active, and fun way!
Is Obesity Genetic?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one-third of the global population is considered overweight 1. Yes, that’s a shocking statistic. However, it’s also important in understanding how to lose weight.
Many of us feel that obesity is genetic. You’re not wrong for believing that. Research supports this theory.
Obesity and Genetics
One analysis looking at obesity and genetics found,
“The development of obesity has an evident environmental contribution, but as shown by heritability estimates of 40% to 70%, a genetic susceptibility component is also needed 2.”– Curr Diab Rep.
That conclusion brings forth two eyebrow-raising facts. For one, heredity plays a 40% to 70% role in obesity.
Therefore, for some, genetics is the highest contributing factor to their weight problems.
The analysis noted that genetic codes are written in DNA that affects several digestive functions throughout the lineage of families predisposed to obesity.
Passed down among their genes are codes that regulate:
- Food Intake Action in the Central Nervous System
- Adipocyte Function
Based on these observations, genes can determine everything from the tendency to overeat to howdietary fat is stored in our system.
While genetics undoubtedly plays a big role in how we maintain our weight, it’s not the only facet. In fact, it’s not the greatest influencer for the people whose genetics influenced their weight by only 40% to 50%.
Obesity and Environment
If genetics isn’t the number one reason a person is obese, the next logical reason is their environment. Our environment doesn’t just mean the outdoors, although that is a contributor as well. By “our environment,” we mean the world that surrounds us. We’re talking about your office building, neighborhood, and house.
There are many toxins in the environment that may trigger unwanted reactions in our systems. Ultimately, these reactions may cause us to gain weight 3. Shockingly, toxins aren’t the primary culprits in your environment that have you wondering how to lose weight.
Your environment also includes the foods in your life. That sentiment doesn’t just include the foods you consume. It also encompasses the foods eaten by those around you.
Many of us write off weight gain as genetics. Sure, your family has something to do with it, but it might not necessarily be their genetic code. They’re feeding you foods laden with allergens, artificial dyes, and refined sugars. This environmental contributor follows you out of the house as you purchase a donut at the coffee shop, a soda at the gas station, and a hamburger at the fast food restaurant.
Now, there’s plenty of people out there that don’t have a predisposition to obesity through genetics. That means up to 100% of their contributing factors to their obesity can be environmental.
The reason that both the genetic predisposed and non-genetic predisposed person is having the same issue comes down to a poor diet allowing harmful bacteria to take over their gut biome.
Tie Between Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss
Our body is home to trillions of microbes that are responsible for everyday functions, both complex and straightforward. They control our thought processes, gastrointestinal issues, and how we digest food. While important, those factors don’t even begin to scratch the surface on the influence gut bacteria has on our system. However, we’re here to discuss how to lose weight.
So, when we eat food, we rely on enzymes to break down the food particles. When this happens, waste can leave the system, while nutrients get absorbed by the bloodstream. Unfortunately, many of us don’t produce enough enzymes to handle all the food we eat. That’s when we depend on our stomach bacteria.
Like us, gut bacteria can be a bit fickle about what gets delivered on their plates. Beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut biome enjoy carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Meanwhile, harmful bacteria dine on refined sugars and saturated fats found in a majority of meals on dinner plates across the globe.
The stomach bacteria that prosper off your diet determines the various unfavorable symptoms you may experience, such as gastrointestinal distress, skin problems, or mental health issues. They also influence how to lose weight.
Which Gut Bacteria Influence How to Lose Weight
Many of us do everything right to lose weight. We exercise, eat properly, and get our beauty rest. Yet, many people have problems shedding excess pounds. So, what gives?
A study followed 26 patients who consumed a low-calorie diet rich in fruits and vegetables 4. Results found that some people didn’t lose as much weight as others who followed the same protocol. So, the researchers conducted a gut microbiome test on the patients.
The researchers found that those who didn’t lose weight seemed to have an elevated level of Dialister in their gut biome.
Dialister and Weight Loss Problems
When we eat food, our gut bacteria eat too. What they consume is called prebiotics. Prebiotics is a term to describe carbohydrates in our food that beneficial bacteria consume.
Much like us, probiotics use carbs for energy. Unfortunately for people trying to lose weight with an abundance of Dialister, they like carbs too. This gut bacteria likes carbs so much that they eat them quicker than probiotics. Therefore, Dialister gains more energy, and you don’t get to burn off any excess pounds.
Now, scientists say Dialister plays a part, but they aren’t the be-all-end-all. In fact, they summarized,
“It makes biological sense that the bacteria may be hindrance, but they can only play a small role as they produce only a small number of calories needed 4.”– Mayo Clinic
So, what else plays a role in the reasons you can’t figure out how to lose weight? Obviously, it’s within the food. However, these suspects are ones you may not be looking for.
What Makes It Harder to Lose Weight?
If you want to have any say on which stomach bacteria stay in the gut biome, you must make that decision each time you fill your plate. The food you eat determines which stomach bacteria are going to take up residence in your system.
Researchers looked at common factors that were at play in the diets of people who had trouble losing weight. They found two major contributors that alter the gut microbiome, which ultimately makes it more difficult for someone to lose weight 5.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that sends communication between nerve cells. It is a crucial amino acid that plays a role in many aspects of our body that influences weight, including taste perception and satiation.
When we produce too much glutamate, it can start to destroy cells. This destruction includes our signaling system. Therefore, we might not get the memo that we’re full, which can lead to over-eating.
Foods High in Glutamate
You may remember the high-crackdown on monosodium glutamate (MSG) a couple of decades ago. That rings true to this day if you’re trying to lose weight.
Avoid some of the following foods might be the key to how to lose weight:
As you can see, there are some shocking inclusions on that list. So, try eliminating these foods and see if you lose any extra pounds. Now, let’s take a look at the other factor causing you to look up “how to lose weight?”
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Another gut disruptor that scientists hypothesize may make losing weight difficult is an abundance of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in the system.
BCAAs are three essential amino acids:
Many of us associate BCAAs with putting on muscles and losing weight. However, researchers saw that they also fed some opportunistic bacteria associated with weight gain.
BCAAs and Gut Bacteria
Researchers witnessed that three gut bacteria species seemed to prosper in the presence of BCAAs.
The gut bacteria that were flourishing included:
These stomach bacteria have a unique interaction with our system. However, they all spell trouble for our gut biome and cause various bouts of gastrointestinal distress.
Another study looked at which stomach bacteria led to visceral fat accumulation (VFA) in men and women 6. The researchers noted that women had high levels of Firmicutes and low levels of Bacteroidetes in their gut biome. Interestingly enough, men had the opposite.
However, the study noted that both sexes had one gut bacteria in common,
“At the genus level, Blautia was the only gut microbe significantly and inversely associated with VFA regardless of sex. In conclusion, at the genus level we found that Blautia was the only gut microbe significantly and inversely associated with VFA, regardless of sex.”– Nature
DoreaDorea stomach bacteria doesn’t have much research on it individually. However, studies do note that this opportunistic intestinal flora can have a negative impact on insulin resistance 7.
RuminococcusRuminococcus can actually be beneficial stomach bacteria. It is efficient in breaking down tough plant matter, such as the cell wall. That makes digesting vegetables less likely to cause stomach pain.
Foods High in BCAAs
Many foods rich in BCAAs are very healthy. However, if you are trying to lose weight, you might want to cut down on some of these dietary choices. It’s good to know what your options are.
Here are some foods to cut back on if you can’t lose weight:
You may have noticed, some foods have an overlap in the BCAAs and glutamate department, like whey or processed beef products. If you are wondering how to lose weight, start with eliminating foods that are on both lists.
How to Lose Weight with Probiotics
If you are having trouble losing weight, you might want to get a gut microbiome test. Research shows that the key to maintaining optimal weight levels is to have a diverse catalog of intestinal flora in your gut biome 8. A gut microbiome test will look at which stomach bacteria are missing in your system and which are taking over. Then, you can craft the ultimate weight loss plan.
At Ombre, we use the snapshot created by your gut microbiome test to recommend strain-specific probiotics. These probiotic supplements will help fight off the harmful intestinal flora that is making your weight loss journey so difficult.
We also recommend some foods you should eat to diversify your microbiome. That way, you can finally stop wondering how to lose weight, and share the answer with others wondering the same thing!
- 1 “Obesity and Overweight.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight.
- 2 Herrera, B. M., & Lindgren, C. M. (2010). The genetics of obesity. Current diabetes reports, 10(6), 498–505. doi:10.1007/s11892-010-0153-z.
- 3 La Merrill, M., Emond, C., Kim, M. J., Antignac, J. P., Le Bizec, B., Clément, K., … Barouki, R. (2013). Toxicological function of adipose tissue: focus on persistent organic pollutants. Environmental health perspectives, 121(2), 162–169. doi:10.1289/ehp.1205485.
- 4 Muñiz Pedrogo, David A., and Michael D. Jensen. “Gut Microbial Carbohydrate Metabolism Hinders Weight Loss in Overweight Adults Undergoing Lifestyle Intervention With a Volumetric Diet.” Gut Microbial Carbohydrate Metabolism Hinders Weight Loss in Overweight Adults Undergoing Lifestyle Intervention With a Volumetric Diet, Aug. 2018, www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30148-4/fulltext.
- 5 Filip Ottosson, Louise Brunkwall, Ulrika Ericson, Peter M Nilsson, Peter Almgren, Céline Fernandez, Olle Melander, Marju Orho-Melander, Connection Between BMI-Related Plasma Metabolite Profile and Gut Microbiota, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 103, Issue 4, April 2018, Pages 1491–1501, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2017-02114.6 Ozato, Naoki, et al. “Blautia Genus Associated with Visceral Fat Accumulation in Adults 20–76 Years of Age.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 4 Oct. 2019, www.nature.com/articles/s41522-019-0101-x.
- 7 Brahe, L K, et al. “Specific Gut Microbiota Features and Metabolic Markers in Postmenopausal Women with Obesity.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 15 June 2015, www.nature.com/articles/nutd20159.
- 8 Menni, C., Jackson, M. A., Pallister, T., Steves, C. J., Spector, T. D., & Valdes, A. M. (2017). Gut microbiome diversity and high-fibre intake are related to lower long-term weight gain. International journal of obesity (2005), 41(7), 1099–1105. doi:10.1038/ijo.2017.66.