Do You Have The Guts To Lose Weight And Stay Healthy?


In 2014, the World Health Organization estimated that there were half a billion obese individuals world wide. Considering this statistic, the obesity epidemic is a global issue with both health and socioeconomic ramifications.

Obesity is defined as excess adiposity. The key drivers are thought to be:

  1. Excess energy intake
  2. Deficient energy output

In addition to these components, there are genetic and environmental factors that also play a role.

Last week I mentioned how genetics loads the gun, while lifestyle pulls the trigger.

There are a number of lifestyle factors which can upset the gut microbiome and can pull the trigger on obesity and disease, regardless of the energy balance mechanism mentioned above.

These environmental factors act with our genes through epigenetic mechanisms, adversely affecting metabolism and health. The result is obesity and chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, allergies, other atopic diseases (including asthma), autism, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases).

Fat Mouse-Skinny Mouse

Studies comparing  the gut microbiota of obese mice and their lean littermates, as well as those of obese and lean human volunteers, have revealed that obesity is associated with changes in the relative abundance of the two dominant bacterial divisions, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes.

The obese microbiome has an increased capacity to store energy from the diet. Furthermore, this trait is transmissible, i.e. colonization of germ-free mice with an ‘obese microbiota’ results in a significantly greater increase in total body fat than colonization with a ‘lean microbiota’.

The gut microbiota is a contributing factor to the pathophysiology of obesity, regardless of caloric intake.
Prebiotics and Probiotics

You’ve  probably heard of the importance of eating probiotics. Prebiotics are also essential.

A probiotic is a health promoting bacteria.

A prebiotic is a high fiber carbohydrate  that can promote the growth and health of  probiotics.

Microbiota-Accessible Carbohydrates (MACs) are fiber rich foods also known as Prebiotics. These are indigestible dietary carbohydrates that feed the microbes which colonize the gastrointestinal tract.

A diet low in (MACs) can cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota, resulting in  obesity and disease

A diet that contains at least 50 g of fiber should be well tolerated and is the amount needed to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.



Take Home Message

  • The obesity epidemic is caused by more than an energy imbalance
  • The Gut microbiota is extremely important for maintaining and losing weight as well as preventing disease
  • There is a link to the amount of fiber we consume in our diet, a healthy gut microbiome, obesity and chronic diseases
  • We should eat more prebiotic foods (fiber) to support a healthy/balanced gut microbiome


Do You Have The Guts To Lose Weight and Stay Healthy?


Additional References


The Fiber Gap and the Disappearing Gut Microbiome: Implications for Human Nutrition


The obese gut microbiome across the epidemiologic transition


About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin