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I’ve Got A Gut Feeling Why You May Be Sick and Fat

 

The intestinal tract is inhabited by microorganisms collectively referred to as the gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome provides important benefits to our bodies, including regulating metabolism and immune function.

Disturbance of the gut microbiome is associated with numerous chronic inflammatory diseases, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and the group of obesity-associated diseases known as Metabolic Syndrome (increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels).

The intestine is protected from microorganisms by mucus structures that cover the intestinal surface. This allows the gut bacteria to be kept at a safe distance from cells that line the intestine.

 

Agents that disrupt mucus-bacterial interactions have the potential to promote diseases associated with gut inflammation. Commonly we think of anti-inflammatory medications as substances that damage the gut lining.

There are also a number of chemicals ubiquitous in processed foods that have been shown to damage the gut lining:

Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are detergent-like molecules added to processed foods that allow ingredients to mix that would not normally do so, like oil and water. They can increase bacterial translocation across the intestinal protective cell lining and promote the increase in IBD.

Two commonly used emulsifiers are carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80, often referred to as “cellulose gum”- edible glue.

These are added to keep sauces smooth and frozen confections from separating. In addition, they plump up fast-food shakes, keep bottled salad dressings creamy, and prevent ice cream from dissolving into an unsightly soup.

Emulsifiers have been shown to perturb the gut lining, causing microbiota interactions that can result in low-grade inflammation while promoting weight gain and associated metabolic effects.

The broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/Metabolic Syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25731162

 

What should you feed your gut to promote a healthy microbiome?

                       

  • Plenty of well-sourced protein and fat from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds
  • A lot of c o l o r f u l, fiber-rich foods like vegetables and fruits
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates, sugars and inflammatory fats (vegetable oils and trans fats).

 

Other foods good for your gut:

  • Yogurt (organic, full-fat)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kevita (cultured coconut water)
  • Kombucha
  • Tempeh

 

Mainstream medicine and dietetics continue to focus on calorie quantity when it comes to weight loss. This old-school approach is overly simplistic, and based on the obesity epidemic, obviously ineffective.

The evidence is in. Its time to listen to your gut and eat a diet that supports a healthy microbiome, reduces inflammation and promotes overall health.

Additional References

Researchers took pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other was thin. They transferred gut bacteria from these twins into mice. The mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat; those that got bacteria from thin twins stayed lean.

 

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6150/1241214

About the Author

Dr. Geoff Lecovin

Naturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/

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